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Craig Alan
new 5k config
on Nov 27, 2015 at 7:24:36 pm

Does FCP X use multicores?
Asking if the i7 config is worth the upgrade (see http://barefeats.com/imac5k16.html).

Would getting the minimum ram and using OWC ram chips be a good option?

(I would save the original apple chips for trouble shooting and repairs under warranty like I have done in the past)

Is this the best graphic card config?: AMD Radeon R9 M395X GPU (4GB GDDR5)

Is the fusion drive nearly as good as the flash options? I'm thinking either 1TB fusion or 500gig flash.

Any other advice for new iMac configure would be welcome.

I'm hoping that when Thunderbolt 3/USB-C MacPro comes out that using the iMac 5K in target disc mode will be an option to save $2000+ on a 5k monitor. Was hoping the new MacPro would be here by now.

In the real world how much faster is Thunderbolt 2 than 1 - I have a bunch of thunderbolt 1 raids that need to have their individual drives updated to 4TB x4.
And I plan on getting one of these:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/985459-REG/highpoint_5212_2_bay_thund.....

for backups and archiving.

Any advice on brands of 4TB bare drives for all this.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Joe Marler
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 27, 2015 at 7:49:47 pm
Last Edited By Joe Marler on Nov 27, 2015 at 7:50:15 pm

Yes FCP X and Premiere both are heavily multithreaded and can use multiple cores effectively. You can see this by monitoring performance with Perfmon (Windows) or Activity Monitor or iStat Menus (Mac) when doing various editing operations. Often you'll see all available cores at high utilization. Encode/decode/export of long-GOP codecs like H264 is mostly CPU-bound so in general the more cores the better.

Minimum Apple RAM then using OWC RAM is a common procedure. It does not invalidate your warranty.

Yes the M395X is the best GPU in the new iMac. Whether on FCP X or Premiere it seems you can never have too much GPU, so getting the top available choice for your budget is usually a good idea. This is especially so on iMacs which cannot upgrade the GPU.

Fusion Drive is not bad but for video editing you usually want your media on external storage. If media is external it raises the question of why use FD since you don't need the space. I have both FD and SSD iMacs and with external Thunderbolt media I really can't see much perf difference attributable to the boot drive. I don't usually see much difference in boot time of various apps. However when moving lots of data you can encounter situations where FD "falls off the cache" and drops to nearly HDD-level performance. SSD has more consistent performance, so I'd generally recommend a 512GB SSD and external fast storage.

I don't think you'll see much perf. difference between Thunderbolt 1 vs 2 for your situation. The RocketStor dock looks interesting but I haven't used it.


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Craig Alan
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 27, 2015 at 8:30:14 pm

Thanks Joe!
Any advice on bare drives or are all the name brands pretty much solid?

Pegasus mentioned:

Toshiba 4TB 7200 rpm in our standard shipping configuration in Pegasus2 family.

But they only recommend drives they have tested and they do not test them all. Not sure it matters and they no longer test in pegasus thunderbolt 1 raids which we have.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Joe Marler
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 27, 2015 at 8:59:32 pm

I have the Pegasus R4 Thunderbolt 1 and am familiar with their certification. Mine also has the Toshiba drives. I don't know the best choice on replacement drives.

Seagate gets a lot of bad talk due to one particular meta study of one model of 3TB drives: https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-reliability-stats-for-q2-2015/

This one situation may be blown out of proportion. I'm not sure reliability comprehensively tracks the *brand*. I have about 150 terabytes of hard drives (various brands) used on video projects, and have had occasional failures from all brands. Even solid state SSD drives can have significant failure rates, although they are usually more reliable than spinning hard drives: http://media.bestofmicro.com/4/T/302141/original/ssdfailurerates_1024.png

In a prior IT job around 1990, we had 100% failures from a large batch of Maxtor hard drives. It was so bad we had to fly out to CA and talk to the manufacturer. In those days one of Maxtor's top competitors was Priam, and we had excellent reliability from those. Today Priam is out of business and since 2006 Maxtor is owned by Seagate. Not much logic there :)

This has little direct relevance to any current models, but it shows how certain batches or model numbers can be either good or bad, and it is almost impossible to know ahead of time.

This large meta study by Tom's Hardware found that so-called "enterprise" drives did not necessarily have better reliability than consumer-grade drives at the same capacity level: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-reliability-failure-rate,2923-2.htm...

I've had good results with the Promise Pegasus but I face the same situation as you. In the future I may use the OWC Thunderbay 4. If a hardware RAID chassis (like the R4) fails, you can only put those drives in another same-type box. By contrast if a sofware RAID like OWC fails you can put the drives in any other similar chassis. http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderbolt/External-Drive/OWC/ThunderBay-4

My main advice is plan ahead and allow time for "burn in" testing using utilities like ScannerZ: http://scsc-online.com/Scannerz.html or DiskTestR: http://diglloydtools.com/disktester.html

BTW here are some test results I did on the RAID 5 sync rate of the R4. In general I'd suggest not using a 128KB stripe size.

https://joema.smugmug.com/Computers/Pegasus-R4-RAID5-Sync-Rate/n-p2Nn4p/i-p...


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Craig Alan
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 28, 2015 at 6:45:42 pm

Thanks Joe.

I was talking to OWC support and the only thing he added to the picture is that all drives within a raid need to be the same firmware. He said the enclosure does not determine what firmware to use but just that the internal drives match. Is this true and if so how can I determine what the firmware is on a drive during pre-sale? If it's the same model drive will it match and if not how can i tell?

Can I see what firmware is on an existing drives if one has failed and the others are good? One of our R4s Raid 0 got corrupted data and Pegasus tech said that the utility report indicated that drive 3 (of the 4) had bad sectors. If I were to replace just that one I'd need to match the firmware yet I'm not sure if that 4 year old model is still sold. hitachi dec 2011 2TB hds72302 (but model number tends to include additional digits when I see these on-line). Plus not sure I want to invest in older drives rather than replacing them with 4TB ones.

[Joe Marler] "BTW here are some test results I did on the RAID 5 sync rate of the R4. In general I'd suggest not using a 128KB stripe size.

https://joema.smugmug.com/Computers/Pegasus-R4-RAID5-Sync-Rate/n-p2Nn4p/i-p....."


Sorry, above my head a bit. I assume stripe size is an option when you configure the raid using Promise utility?
If so what stripe size do you recommend? I've always left all options on the default settings. It took almost a day to format it and have already copied about 2.5TB of Aperture libraries onto it which also took a day since I was copying from a Mercury Elite raid using usb 2 because thunderbolt was no longer stable with these raids.

I'm beginning to suspect that one of the Yosemite updates messed up the Mercury raids thunderbolt compatibility because several of them are failing and they are newer than the Pegasus raids. I took one that would no longer mount even using usb and plugged it into to a newer iMac. It mounted. Then I updated OS X and Aperture on that newer iMac and when I rebooted the raid was not recognized. Now hardware failure can be and has been intermittent so who knows but its getting very frustrating.

So unless there is a real reason to create a new raid 5 using a different raid format and copying over from the one with stripe 128K, I'll leave this as is and consider your suggestion as I reformat the rest of them.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Joe Marler
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 28, 2015 at 10:35:38 pm

[Craig Alan] "I was talking to OWC support and the only thing he added to the picture is that all drives within a raid need to be the same firmware. He said the enclosure does not determine what firmware to use but just that the internal drives match."

Well, you'd think OWC would know, but I asked Lloyd Chambers who wrote this review and has extensive experience in system-level I/O. He said you can mix and match freely in the Thunderbay 4: http://macperformanceguide.com/Reviews-OWC-Thunderbay.html

[Craig Alan] "I assume stripe size is an option when you configure the raid using Promise utility?
If so what stripe size do you recommend?...So unless there is a real reason to create a new raid 5 using a different raid format and copying over from the one with stripe 128K, I'll leave this as is and consider your suggestion as I reformat the rest of them."


The main implication of my tests were the R4 was very slow to format using a 128KB stripe size. To a lesser degree this can also effect your I/O efficiency since you ideally want the average I/O size to match the stripe size.

In general a larger stripe size is better for images and video. You can crudely approximate I/O size on a given workload by running those tasks while watching Activity Monitor. In Activity Monitor select "Disk" and divide "Data read/sec" by "Reads in/sec". E.g, 100 megabytes/sec divided by 100 reads/sec = 1 megabyte I/O size. It fluctuates a lot -- you just want a rough number. Ditto for writes, but typically reads predominate so are more important. In general it's not that critical so I wouldn't worry about it. Maybe next time you reformat (if ever) use 256KB or 512KB stripe size.


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Craig Alan
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 30, 2015 at 9:48:32 pm

[Joe Marler] "Well, you'd think OWC would know, but I asked Lloyd Chambers who wrote this review and has extensive experience in system-level I/O. He said you can mix and match freely in the Thunderbay 4:"

Yeah but my drive is a Mercury which is a 2 drive hard raid not soft. And my Pegasus is a hard raid as well. I've heard this before that the drives need to be the same in these.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Jason Jenkins
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 28, 2015 at 2:43:16 am

[Craig Alan] "But they only recommend drives they have tested and they do not test them all. Not sure it matters and they no longer test in pegasus thunderbolt 1 raids which we have."

I've been running a Pegasus TB1 for maybe four years now, in RAID 5. I had my first drive death two weeks ago. I ordered a couple of HGST Ultrastar replacements––enterprise class. The 4TB models have a 2 million hour MTBF rating; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822146071&cm_re=hgst_...
There were no issues with plugging it in and rebuilding the RAID 5.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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Craig Alan
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 28, 2015 at 6:48:14 pm

I was told the firmware on each drive within the unit must match. How could you tell what will match?

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Gary Huff
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 28, 2015 at 7:00:52 pm

[Craig Alan] "I was told the firmware on each drive within the unit must match."

Yeah, I'm not sure I buy that, to be honest.


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Jason Jenkins
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 30, 2015 at 8:13:46 pm

[Craig Alan] "I was told the firmware on each drive within the unit must match. How could you tell what will match?"

I just bought what I thought was a good drive and put it in. It's been flawless.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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John Davidson
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 27, 2015 at 8:36:18 pm

I agree with all this - but get the 1TB SSD. We constantly have to clean our 1TB SSDs because they fill up quickly. 512 would be a disaster for me. Check out the Areca tb2 enclosure with Hitachi 4TB deskstars. Had some kinks with it at first but I love mine now.

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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Craig Alan
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 28, 2015 at 7:27:49 pm

Thanks John. I'll check it out but already have a lot of the Pegasus and mercury Elite enclosures.

As far as the system drive, I store all my media on external enclosures so on my current set up my system drive has less than 200GB on it. On the other hand, Apple sure makes replacing the drive difficult.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Mitch Ives
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 27, 2015 at 10:15:37 pm

Yes, TB2 is noticeably faster than TB1. That's why we waited on the latest RAID's...

Mitch Ives
Insight Productions Corp.

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." - Winston Churchill


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Matt Galuszewski
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 28, 2015 at 9:03:25 pm

I'm hoping that when Thunderbolt 3/USB-C MacPro comes out that using the iMac 5K in target disc mode will be an option to save $2000+ on a 5k monitor. Was hoping the new MacPro would be here by now.

When you mention saving $2000+ on a 5k monitor that suggests you are thinking of using the iMac in Target Display mode as a monitor. Am I correct? Target Disk mode is different as you may know.

The 27" 5k iMac does not support Target Display mode.



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Craig Alan
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 28, 2015 at 9:37:14 pm

Right Display mode. Sorry.

My understanding is that the 5K could support it but

that there's no port that can properly drive the 5K ... yet.

I read somewhere that

should become possible with Thunderbolt 3.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Matt Galuszewski
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 28, 2015 at 9:58:51 pm

Then aren't we an agreement

Thunderbolt 3 and DisplayPort 1.3 could support the data rates, etc required but the current 5k iMacs have neither of those.

Maybe I have misunderstood and you are considering buying an iMac later when those connections will supported



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Craig Alan
Re: new 5k config
on Nov 28, 2015 at 10:30:05 pm

Yes we are on the same page. I had hoped that it would be supported before I invested in my next Mac.

Just feeling that based on the release of Intel's latest chips that it might be a short time before the next gen of iMacs/MacPros are released with significant improvements.


http://www.macrumors.com/2015/08/19/intel-skylake-three-4k-monitors-60hz-de...

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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