Our machine room struggles with an old Dual G5 running FCP to handle much of their enormous workload. With the great global tape shortage upon us their workload for compressions, uploads, captures etc will expand greatly. I need to spec out a MacPro for a new system. The easy thing to do is just select all the biggest and fastest parts on the Apple website. Of course that would not be the responsible thing to do from the standpoint of using company financial resources wisely. :)
We will keep the old Xserve RAID because that's all we got right now. I know that is limiting, but it will be adequate for now. I will put a Kona 3G card in the new system and install FCP 7. The remaining questions are: how fast does the CPU need to be and how much RAM will we need? At what point does RAM not matter to FCP or will it use as much as you give it? This system will be set up to use Qmaster for Compressor too.
The six core machine runs FCP 7 as fast as the 12 core machine does...
HOWEVER... nobody knows what FCP 8 will hold for us, and my guts say it will take full advantage of those 12 cores. Rumor has it that it's going to be released very soon... might wait to see what it's all about before you buy a new machine?
I'd buy an SSD for a startup disk, and load it with at least 12 gigs if not 16. and DO buy the upgraded display card ($200 or so?)
8-Core 3.0 Intel Mac Pro, Dual 2 gig G5, AJA Kona SD, AJA Kona 2, Huge Systems Array UL3D, AJA Io HD, 17" MBP, Matrox MXO2 with MAX - Cinema Displays I have a 22" that I paid 4k for still working. G4 with Kona SD card, and SCSI card.
FCP and Motion do not take advantage of multicore processing technology so today you would want to go with the fast clock and minimum number of cores to acheive cost-effective performance. Its kind of sad to watch your project just sit there with a big wait bar while activity monitor shows a core here and there doing something.
But as the other poster says, FCP8 is coming out and we don't know if it will have the same drawbacks.