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Crazy iMac Alternative

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Dan Stewart
Crazy iMac Alternative
on Dec 27, 2013 at 11:06:34 pm

So this might sound crazy but I was pricing up a 6core Tube with two Apple displays (ouch) and it came out about the same as 2 top specced iMacs, one with a 3tb fusion drive and one with a 1tb SSD. Otherwise identical quad core i7's with everything maxed out. About $6k all in IIRC.

Then I saw this:






So the question is could this system work in the real world? Could the slave machine be rendering/encoding in the background? If so it would take 'background tasks' to the next level. Cutting on one and encoding on the other would be easy, running two simultaneous sequences with heavy rendering also trivial (on Avid anyway via 'Open Bin').. but could you leverage all the cores at once if you needed them via Qmaster or some such? I've never had luck with it in the past. Also, could you attach a fast Tbolt raid to both machines at once or would you need to go via a network?

Im probably missing something but a system you could buy half at a time is pretty attractive for me right now - unless I start to hear great things about the Tube with Avid/Baselight and/or Smoke/AE/Motion then I'm probably going for an Imac next in any case.. but to know I could double up if I needed too and end up in the same league would be nice..



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David Mathis
Re: Crazy iMac Alternative
on Dec 27, 2013 at 11:27:49 pm

Very interesting. I assume you can use an iMac as a second monitor with a Mac Pro, new or current. If this is the case there are some nice possibilities and will make working with X more enjoyable. Having everything crammed onto one screen can be a bit annoying at times. Thanks for posting!


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Oliver Peters
Re: Crazy iMac Alternative
on Dec 28, 2013 at 12:39:01 am

Or why not simply get a new Mac Pro and get two Dell monitors with MiniDisplayPort connectors? A lot cheaper and should work fine. Plus you have better size options.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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David Mathis
Re: Crazy iMac Alternative
on Dec 28, 2013 at 1:25:13 am

* Edit *
I meant to say connecting an existing iMac to a Mac Pro. I assume that is also possible.


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Bret Williams
Re: Crazy iMac Alternative
on Dec 28, 2013 at 5:33:18 am

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3924#1


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David Mathis
Re: Crazy iMac Alternative
on Dec 28, 2013 at 6:10:01 am

Thanks for the information.


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Bret Williams
Re: Crazy iMac Alternative
on Dec 28, 2013 at 6:15:33 am

Wish I'd tried this before I sold my 2011 iMac. It was just sitting there for 6 months doing nothing. Well, the kids played a lot of angry birds and nickjr games on it.


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Dan Stewart
Re: Crazy iMac Alternative
on Dec 28, 2013 at 5:39:54 pm

OK thanks Bret - it looks like the slave machine will keep on doing what it's doing while its screen is being used by the other machine. I'm assuming this means it will continue to be a usable network location as well - though whether that will run down the same tbolt cable or not I can't tell. There's always the ethernet.

So is anyone interested in the practicality of this? It seems like the two machines could share files and instantly switch from being 2 workstations to one with 2 screens (and with 4 cores doing encoding or whatever truly in the background..). I'm thinking the SSD machine could be resolve or smoke at full res spitting out prores 422 or dnxhd220 for the other to put the timeline together..

But I'm still not clear if all 8 cores could be brought to bear on one task? What are people using for clustered rendering - compressor? If so does it work? I gave up last time I tried to get it working - I had 14 cheesegraters (112 cores + gpus!) on a local network and ended up staying all night because I could only get one to reliably work.. this is the big question for me because to compete with a 6 core xeon I'd need to put all 8 i7's on the case when I needed to.

The other big plus of course is I could buy the one machine for now and add the other if I needed it.. And the two machines could be separated for 2 suites if necessary with only a couple of spare LCDs needed - which I have.



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Jack Zahran
Re: Crazy iMac Alternative
on Dec 28, 2013 at 7:32:29 pm

You need Compressor 4 if you're using Mavericks (you may need to delete the plist files and restart compressor twice if you used it before the upgrades.) Set the number of cores you use to half the memory, i.e., 8 GB RAM, let it use 4 cores. Set Qmaster on both iMacs. An interesting thing to do would be to set up a Thunderbolt over IP network between both iMacs to leverage the 10Gb/s removing the network as a bottleneck. Set up the work folder on the fastest drive.


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Jim Giberti
Re: Crazy iMac Alternative
on Dec 28, 2013 at 8:34:41 pm

FWIW, I was really surprised at a couple of things regarding the two monitor/imac setup.

I picked up a mstand (awesome) and a mini display to mini display for my 15" Retina and iMac 27".

I don't need to do anything but plug the cable in and the iMac instantly becomes monitor 2.

I can drag FCPX from the Retina to the iMac and then show the viewer only on the Retina with my browser and timeline on the iMac.

Both computers represent the Retina but if I open an app in either dock it opens on that screen.

To shut it off I just unplug the cable from the Retina and the iMac goes back it's own system.

Curious why I don't need to do anything like Apple stays.


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Bret Williams
Re: Crazy iMac Alternative
on Dec 28, 2013 at 8:44:27 pm

So what happens when you press cmd f2 on the iMac and on the retina ? Does it give the iMac a second screen in your retina?


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Jim Giberti
Re: Crazy iMac Alternative
on Dec 28, 2013 at 8:54:08 pm

Absolutely nothing happens when I press Com/F2 or Com/FN/F2 but I really love this setup.

I can access the FCPX menu from the top of either screen (but only the Retina represents my actual desktop.)

I can have inspectors and time lines for FCPX and Motion on the 27" and the viewers on the Retina.
Aside from wanting more RAM on my Retina, it's great having it run everything so easily.


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Robert Sala
How about MacPro farms?
on Dec 29, 2013 at 10:59:52 am

It would be also interesting how the new MacPros work in parallel with IP over TB (Qmaster?). Three TB2 bandwidths equal to one InfiniBand 57Gbit link. That could be an interesting way of building render farms...


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Phil Hoppes
Re: How about MacPro farms?
on Dec 30, 2013 at 12:58:14 am

You could stack them end to end for a MacPro Bazooka ;-)



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Dan Stewart
Re: How about MacPro farms?
on Dec 30, 2013 at 3:57:13 am

Flamethrower more like.



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Robert Sala
Re: How about MacPro farms?
on Dec 30, 2013 at 1:11:41 pm
Last Edited By Robert Sala on Dec 30, 2013 at 7:22:23 pm


http://www.thetechgets.com/2013/06/macstadium-announces-plans-for-mac-pro.h...

Prefer the wine-rack model...



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