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Advice concerning my purchase of a new mac

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Philip Leech
Advice concerning my purchase of a new mac
on May 13, 2012 at 8:30:45 pm

Hi Guys,

I have owned a mac for seven or eight years but when it comes to processing power I don't really know what I'm talking about. I've worked with FCP for most of that time and had no problem working on a G4 with standard definition. Now I'm beginning to work more with Motion and After effects to produce graphics and I want to buy a Mac Pro but I'm not sure what kind of processor to look for. I'll be buying second hand, around the $2000 mark, or less.

I know this is quite a vague question because it depends on the work I'm doing, but I'm asking you guys because I don't know whether to go with single core, dual, or quad because I don't know how motion and after effects use the hardware. As I understand it, FCP only uses a single core. I also know from experience that Motion eats up RAM. Is it ok to buy an older model and spend money on maxing out the RAM? Any advice you guys can give me would be great, if possible.

What I can say is that the graphics work probably won't ever be bigger than XGA, if that.


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Bret Williams
Re: Advice concerning my purchase of a new mac
on May 13, 2012 at 8:52:42 pm

If you've been rendering anything on a G4, even SD, with any 3D space and complexity, you could easily be experiencing render times like 5-10 hours. Switch over to even the slowest MacPro made, and you'd be looking at half an hour or less for same animation.

$2000? Get the best NEW iMac you can afford and put the maximum of RAM in it. That's what AE needs for rendering. RAM RAM RAM. A used Mac at this point isn't going to serve you well for long.


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Advice concerning my purchase of a new mac
on May 13, 2012 at 11:19:52 pm

The golden rule here has Always been:

Buy the Most Powerful Computer your budget will allow.

With that being said, if you can hold out another 8 weeks or so, Apple is long over-due for iMac and MacPro updated models and is rumored to release in late June...

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Bret Williams
Re: Advice concerning my purchase of a new mac
on May 14, 2012 at 2:53:02 am

True true.

Although I bought the lowest end MacPro there was back in 2007 and it did last me until December. Well, it's still my Legacy system. Updated the Burner, RAM, Radeon card, etc. It served me well. And still does.

Loving the 27" iMac for the most part.


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Jeff Hinkle
Re: Advice concerning my purchase of a new mac
on May 14, 2012 at 3:56:19 pm

One thing to keep in mind before you start eyeing the iMacs: their AMD graphics cards are not compatible with the 3D raytracing in After Effects CS6 (and the cards can't be replaced). While you can technically do the new 3D stuff without an NVIDIA card, it is going to be unbearably slow waiting for it to render. If you want the option of using the 3D raytracing, you might need to look at a Mac Pro instead.


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Philip Leech
Re: Advice concerning my purchase of a new mac
on May 15, 2012 at 12:22:08 am

Ok, thanks for the advice guys. I'd rather go the Mac Pro because of the graphics card issue and because I can upgrade it if need be, and there are some other reasons too, not worth getting in to. But in terms of dual or quad core, do Final Cut Studio apps and After Effects take advantage of that enough for me to pay for the quad?

The way it's going maybe the next mac pro might be a nice collectors item....


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adam taylor
Re: Advice concerning my purchase of a new mac
on May 15, 2012 at 8:44:40 am

i know its just hearsay, but an editor friend told me he was talking to an Apple Store Genius last week who let slip that they had been sent some advance documentation relating to new MacPro's.
No details - just that the stores seem to be getting notice of them.

and as i say, its ony hearsay.


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Bret Williams
Re: Advice concerning my purchase of a new mac
on May 16, 2012 at 3:54:21 am

True that. I have an iMac and put together my first Ray Trace project. Actually, it's not even ray traced, just extruded. IOW no reflectivity. Some boxes on a conveyor belt. It's 42 seconds long. Estimated render time left after an all night render at ray trace level 2... 104 hours. So right now I'm working on changing that animation to at least make it an all nighter.

I have an old Mac Pro and was looking at the compatible cards on the internet last night. But, might be better to invest in a Zwhatever from HP just for AE.

Been playing with Premiere, but it's still just as hokey as ever. And if AE is gonna be a nuisance, I'm very willing to spend my money on Smoke if it's all that.


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