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Viability of older G5 system

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Gary Farhner
Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 12, 2010 at 1:10:45 am

I am trying to get set up to learn final cut studio and have a G5 dual 2.5 ghz. I found a deal on a Kona 2 card and Firmtek SeriTek 1V4 internal 4 port SATA card with 4 - 250gb hard drives in a raid and ram to max me out at 8gigs. I have a version of FCP5 and was shopping for FCS2.

Would this be a viable system today or be too outdated? What would the main limitations be, like with HD formats?

I noticed some of the forum leaders show that they still have G5 systems. I also read Jerry Hofmann's article on, 'Achieving a Rock Solid Final Cut Pro System'. That was very helpful, any updates to that?

Appreciate any guidance,

Gary


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walter biscardi
Re: Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 12, 2010 at 1:15:57 am

[Gary Farhner] "I am trying to get set up to learn final cut studio and have a G5 dual 2.5 ghz. I found a deal on a Kona 2 card and Firmtek SeriTek 1V4 internal 4 port SATA card with 4 - 250gb hard drives in a raid and ram to max me out at 8gigs. I have a version of FCP5 and was shopping for FCS2.

Would this be a viable system today or be too outdated? What would the main limitations be, like with HD formats?"


For learning this is fine, but honestly it's a waste of money today to purchase a G5 system. Purchase the bottom of the line Mac Pro or even an iMac if all you want to do is learn Studio. Then you have a computer you can learn on now and earn money later.

We edit full documentaries with iMacs in our shop and the newer machines are very powerful and not all that expensive.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" Winner, Best Documentary, LA Reel Film Festival...

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Gary Farhner
Re: Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 12, 2010 at 3:10:37 am

Thanks Walter for responding. I am curious what that actual limitations would be for such a system? Is it purely processing power, so, rendering times would be slower? Would it be an inability to interface or download from cameras currently out there?

I realize video editing equipment in general is many times less expensive than it was 10 to 20 years ago and I would love to be able to afford the latest but it is still more coin than I have right now.

I'm really trying to figure out what I can do with what I Have plus adding the other necessities at minimal cost. If I add to my existing G5 with the components listed before, for only $1000, am I only throwing my money away or am I coming up with a useful tool for at least some applications?

I kind of feel like Spock attempting to build a mnemonic circuit using stone knives and bear skins.

There's a thrill of the challenge brought on by these challenging times. I guess all the more reason to make sure I am not wasting money.



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Michael Gissing
Re: Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 12, 2010 at 4:42:56 am

The old G5's of that vintage often had PCI-X cards (from memeory). Getting a Kona or other interface cards for those old machines might be a problem. I was running FCS2 (fully updated to FCP 6.0.6) on my old G5 before I upgraded. Issues like slow rendering bothered me plus Snow leopard is not designed to run on a G5 so if you go that way, you are stranded with a legacy machine which can go no further. Also if you want to learn Color, it really improved with FCS3 and you also need a serious graphics card which again may be hard to get for a G5.


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walter biscardi
Re: Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 12, 2010 at 1:08:24 pm

[Gary Farhner] "
I'm really trying to figure out what I can do with what I Have plus adding the other necessities at minimal cost. If I add to my existing G5 with the components listed before, for only $1000, am I only throwing my money away or am I coming up with a useful tool for at least some applications?"


Anything you add internal to that G5 in terms of cards will not be useable for any Intel based machine. So you're spending that $1,000 once right now and you will not be able to use any cards moving forward as the internal architecture has changed.

You should be able to work with most camera formats out there if you have an AJA Kona 2, but I can't see any advantage to purchasing a G5 today.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" Winner, Best Documentary, LA Reel Film Festival...

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John Pale
Re: Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 12, 2010 at 5:30:15 am

You could edit just fine with that system for learning purposes, and even do professional level work with it. Until the end of last year, I was using a system of similar specs.

The Kona 2 is a very capable card. It lacks the cross-conversion capability of the newer AJA cards and the Kona 3, but for everyday use, its just fine. The SATA drive array will be fast enough for your needs. You will not be able to capture or edit ProRes in HD, as that requires an Intel processor. You can capture HD video in the DVCPRO-HD codec and edit with it just fine. The quality will be very good (but not quite as good as ProRes)

You will only be able to go as far as FCS2. FCS 3 will not install on that machine.
If you are primarily using the system for learning...there are not many significant differences in the interface of FCS 2 and 3. FCS 3 supports some newer cameras and formats, of course.

This might be a useful system for you, but I would definitely not pay too much for it. Is not upgradeable in any way (hardware or software).


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Michael Gissing
Re: Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 12, 2010 at 6:01:03 am

[John Pale] "You will not be able to capture or edit ProRes in HD, as that requires an Intel processor"

Just as well I didn't know this as I was using ProRes for HD work on my G5 from FCP 6 onwards. The new flavours of ProRes (4444, HQ & LT) are FCS3 specific so no go on the G5, but ProRes422 worked fine on my G5.


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John Pale
Re: Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 12, 2010 at 3:47:29 pm

[Michael Gissing] "ProRes422 worked fine on my G5."

I had a Dual 2.0. It did not work at all in HD. Not a drive issue. My RAID could play uncompressed HD.

The last incarnation of the G5 Quad could deal with Pro Res in HD, but I seem to remember a post by Gary Adcock that stated the G5 did not actually play it back at full quality. Will have to do a search to see if i remember that right.


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Michael Gissing
Re: Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 12, 2010 at 10:59:50 pm

I had a dual 2.5. I never tried Prores as a capture codec but I would always use ProRes 422 as the final render for HDV docos and then play to HDCam via the Decklink card. I didn't see any problems with ProRes with that setup.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 12, 2010 at 1:18:13 pm

[Gary Farhner] "I found a deal on a Kona 2 card and Firmtek SeriTek 1V4 internal 4 port SATA card with 4 - 250gb hard drives"

Doesn't the G5 only have bays for 2 SATA drives?

[Gary Farhner] "Would this be a viable system today or be too outdated? What would the main limitations be, like with HD formats?"

It's a viable system for learning, but I wouldn't put it into production today. Although you could work with ProRes, on-the-fly conversion to ProRes of HD material during capture is only supported on Intel-based MacPros and quad-core G5s. More and more software requires Intel, and as applications begin to require Snow Leopard, they'll require Intel by default.

By all means, keep your G5 if you've already got it -- it will still do everything it did 5 years ago when it was new -- but as Walter said, think about investing new dollars in a modern machine.

I've still got a G5 in my office, but I retired it from production work a couple years ago when I noticed that my laptop rendered faster. Now it's my FTP and backup server. And a space heater.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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John Pale
Re: Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 12, 2010 at 3:52:36 pm

[Walter Soyka] "[Gary Farhner] "I found a deal on a Kona 2 card and Firmtek SeriTek 1V4 internal 4 port SATA card with 4 - 250gb hard drives"

Doesn't the G5 only have bays for 2 SATA drives?"


Using the G5 Jive kit, available from OWC, it was/is possible to add additional drives.

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other%20World%20Computing/SATAG5SM3TB/

I had a 4 drive raid in my old G5 using this kit. It worked flawlessly.


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Gary Farhner
Re: Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 12, 2010 at 5:14:33 pm

Thanks everyone for all the input. It sounds like when we come out on the other side I will at least have a space heater, and hopefully, be able to offer a valuable service.

Gary



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Mark Petereit
Re: Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 12, 2010 at 8:51:22 pm

Since we have an active G5 thread here, I thought I'd piggyback and ask a question:

Is it possible to use a G5 with a BlackMagic or Aja board to capture HD-SDI (720p) to Prores? I'm looking to hack together a cheap direct-to-disk acquisition solution. A couple of G5 XServes would be even better, as they would only take up a couple of rack slots.

(Yes, I know. No Intel, no Snow Leopard, no FCS3, yada yada yada. No need to reply if you're just going to tell me it's not the BEST idea, but go ahead and reply if you KNOW that it just can't work. Acquisition would be the ONLY purpose for these machines.)


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Walter Soyka
Re: Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 12, 2010 at 9:01:39 pm

[Mark Petereit] "No need to reply if you're just going to tell me it's not the BEST idea, but go ahead and reply if you KNOW that it just can't work. Acquisition would be the ONLY purpose for these machines."

I'm probably in your first "not-the-best-idea" category, but I wanted to refer you to the link I posted earlier in this thread in case you didn't see it before: Capture to ProRes is only supported on Quad-G5s and Intel-based Mac Pros. Other systems are unsupported and may drop frames during capture.

Does it have to be ProRes? Might DVCPRO HD be an option? Or capture uncompressed and transcode to ProRes later?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Mark Petereit
Re: Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 12, 2010 at 9:28:38 pm

DVCPRO HD would probably work just fine.


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C David Miller
Re: Viability of older G5 system
on Oct 30, 2010 at 7:00:29 am

Well, I know Walter and David are all going to bash me again, but FCP 7 is the best running version I have ever loaded on my G5 2x2.5 PPC. I use ProRes and ProResHQ for capture thru a LA AJA Box. If you want to know more, just drop me a private message at my email address.

C. David Miller
video7105@comcast.net

Comcast Network Television




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