I need a Mac upgrade but I don't know which is best
I'm tired of watching the spinning beachball icon when multitasking using After Effects and other Adobe programs simultaneously and need an upgrade.
I use a dual core Macbook Pro at home with 4gig of RAM and a dual core iMac at work with 8gig of RAM, neither of them are quick enough for what I want them to do, and I've never experienced using a Mac Pro so I have nothing to compare against.
After just speaking to Apple they tell me the Mac Pro's are soon going to be discontinued so it makes no sense whatsoever for me to buy one from Apple when I can get a cheaper one from eBay.
I've looked at a couple of options.
One is an 8 Core Mac Pro, released January 2008, 16GB DDR2 RAM, 250GB Solid State Drive.
The other a Quad Core Mac Pro, released March 2009, 32GB DDR3 RAM, Solid State Drive.
Both specs cost around £1500. DDR2 RAM is more expensive for the 8 Core which is why I've only chose a 16GB option but 32GB would be available at extra cost.
Which one is faster for rendering in AE and multitasking?
Would I notice the difference from the Macbook Pro I'm using at the moment?
Let's say a video takes 4 hours to render on my Macbook Pro, how long would it take a video to render on the 8 core Mac Pro?
Any help would be very much appreciated, thank you.
Creative Multimedia Design Manchester | S©tt Green | Splurj
If you absolutely need to upgrade right now I think the options really are either an iMac (if you desperately need to stick with Apple) or buy a PC.
For £1500 you can get a pretty decent up to date PC that will blow those two old MacPro's out of the water.
I wouldn't get an iMac myself, but plenty of people seem to be very happy with them even for After Effects. It won't match a PC for price/power or flexibility of upgrade though.
With regards to memory, I'd say 16GB is OK for a 4-core machine. For 6/8 cores I'd aim for 32GB. A 6-core i7 with 32GB is a reasonable aim for a low cost workstation, whether it's a PC or an iMac.
If you can wait, Apple has supposedly promised something to replace the MacPro later this year. What it will be only Apple knows.
Remember when comparing old vs new workstations, it's not only clock speed (GHz) and number of cores that count. Newer generation CPU's are a fair bit faster than the older ones. Newer memory also run much faster.
Jon Bagge - Editor - London, UK
Avid - FCP - After Effects
[Scott Green] "After just speaking to Apple they tell me the Mac Pro's are soon going to be discontinued so it makes no sense whatsoever for me to buy one from Apple when I can get a cheaper one from eBay.
I'm not sure who at Apple told you this, since the CEO, Tim Cook, announced that "something" for professionals would be coming in 2013. There are plenty of rumours as well about an impending new machine. See: http://www.macrumors.com/2013/02/06/apple-tells-reseller-that-the-new-mac-p...
However, you can tie yourself in knots trying to read the tea leaves and predict what Apple *might* do and when.
I've owned the 8 core 2008 Mac Pro and now own a 2010 12 core. You should check out the benchmark scores for each machine, but I'd say the 2009 which uses the Nehalem processor would be a better buy if you're seriously considering one of those used machines.
You can compare benchmarks here: http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks
There are 3 primary bottlenecks to rendering, the speed of your processor, how many cores and threads can be run concurrently, how much RAM is available to each process, and how quickly your hard drive(s) can read and write.
[Scott Green] "Let's say a video takes 4 hours to render on my Macbook Pro, how long would it take a video to render on the 8 core Mac Pro?
The nature of your After Effects work determines where the bottlenecks lie. Todd Kopriva has a terrific FAQ on getting the best performance out of After Effects, see: http://blogs.adobe.com/aftereffects/2011/02/optimizing-for-performance-adob...
I should add that with the advent of CS6, an nVidia graphics card with many CUDA cores is necessary for speedy renders using the new ray traced 3D engine.
If you are not restricted to just two options that you have mentioned above, then you can explore what computer you should buy for AE in more detail.
Check this link:
What computer and components should I buy for Premiere Pro or After Effects...
3D and Motion Graphics Artist
2011 3D Demo Reel: