I have a Mac Pro 2xDual Core 2.66 (quad core)with a NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT video card.
I am looking to upgrade my system to better handle various codecs of HD editing. I am hope to be able to upgrade the system for $500 to $1000.
Can I just upgrade the video card or would you recommend a processor upgrade as well? If so, what configurations, etc. OR is it better to save up and buy a new MacPro in the Spring? Any help appreciated. I don't know where to start on this one.
MAC OS 10.5
FINAL CUT PRO 6
Model Name: Mac Pro
Model Identifier: MacPro1,1
Processor Name: Dual-Core Intel Xeon
Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz
Number Of Processors: 2
Total Number Of Cores: 4
L2 Cache (per processor): 4 MB
Memory: 3 GB
Bus Speed: 1.33 GHz
Boot ROM Version: MP11.005C.B08
SMC Version: 1.7f10
NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT:
Your Mac Pro should already be a fairly capable editing system. What kind of HD are you planning to edit?
Upgrading the graphics card will make no difference in editing and rendering speed in Final Cut Pro. Applications whose performance is directly influenced by graphics hardware include Motion and Color.
You'd be better off increasing your RAM to 8GB - the best configuration for your model of Mac Pro would be 4x2GB, with 2 slots filled in each riser.
Final Cut Pro's editing performance (overall responsiveness and number of concurrent realtime streams) is directly proportional to storage throughput speed. If you can't afford a true hardware RAID, you could always create a striped RAID-0 volume using three internal drives in your Mac Pro, leaving the fourth drive dedicated to the OS and applications. Just make sure to have regular backups of your media, as RAID-0 offers no redundancy. Never store video on your system drive.
What formats of HD are you planning to work with? Codecs like HDV are fairly processor-intensive for editing, and rendering speed in FCP is mainly limited by CPU speed. If you want to speed up rendering time in FCP, buy a new Mac Pro with the fastest CPUs you can afford, and make sure you have adequate RAM.