I'm looking to crowd source some ideas for the best approach for a (small) scale-up in my editing operation. We've just gotten an order for 6 episodes of a half hour cable travel show, and will need to add 2-3 FCP 7 systems. I want to add systems that will do the job well, but like most people, I'm also looking to do it economically, especially since it's such a time of transition for Apple's computer offerings, and of course for FCP itself.
Currently we have 3 early 2008 8-core 2.8ghz towers, loaded up with RAM, and performing very well despite their age. I've been happy with the Mac Pro's ability to handle the work we're doing, so my first move would be to add a couple more of these (maybe a newer version) and go from there. But admittedly, I haven't stayed entirely up to date with the advent of Thunderbolt and the rise of iMacs and MacBook Pros as viable studio solutions.
The material is 1080 ProRes, coming from Canon C300s. I will be doing the final finishing and layoff to HDCAM of all of these episodes out of house at a facility with decks. So I don't necessarily need deck control on these systems, but I am intrigued by the offerings from Matrox and AJA in particular for Thunderbolt-capable connections that would give us better monitoring, and I/O capability if we needed it (everything's card-based for now, but you never know...)
I'd be interested in hearing some real-world examples of how you guys are setting up systems at a comparable level to this these days. Anything you swear by? Anything to avoid like the plague?