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Victoria Murphy
I think I need a new computer
on Apr 3, 2010 at 9:35:33 pm

RAM previews are taking a dreadfully long time on my 6 1/2 year old (!) G5 so I may need to take the plunge and buy a new computer. My computer has a dual 2GHz PowerPC Processor and 6 GB DDR SDRAM memory.

To give you an example of what I am doing: I have a comp with 10 layers of video directly above each other, I repositioned them, and applied a blending mode. Later I will color correct each layer and may apply a mask. I need to play with the positions of the layers and need to be able to RAM preview it many times.

I from the Apple Web site that the major decisions I have to make concern (1) One or two processors (I presume two); (2) Which processor: 2.26GHz; 2.66GHz; 2.93GHz; (3) Memory: 6, 8, 12,16, or 32 GB (4) Graphics card: NVDIA; ditto x 2,3 or 4; ATI Radion HD. (I don't need additional internal hard drives so am I correct in thinking a RAID card is irrelevant?)

A max-ed out one would run around $10,000; that is way over my budget. What are the more important things to spend my money on?

Many thanks.



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Todd Kopriva
Re: I think I need a new computer
on Apr 4, 2010 at 3:42:08 am

> A max-ed out one would run around $10,000; that is way over my budget. What are the more important things to spend my money on?


In order: RAM, processors, multiple fast disk drives.

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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
putting the 'T' back in 'RTFM' : After Effects Help on the Web
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Victoria Murphy
Re: I think I need a new computer
on Apr 5, 2010 at 3:28:10 am

Thanks, Todd.

Am I right in thinking that RAM can be upgraded once I have the new computer, where the processor cannot?

I may have more specific questions regarding decisions about exactly what to buy. Is Cow an appropriate forum for such questions?

Regards,
Victoria





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Jason Myres
Re: I think I need a new computer
on Apr 5, 2010 at 5:51:50 pm

Buy a Dual CPU Nehalem if you can. The single cpu model is a much less capable machine. After Effects will drop the hammer on whatever you can throw at it, and a dual cpu machine will have much more value when the day comes that you want to sell it.

Nehalem Mac Pros work optimally with ram in sets of three (3GB or 6GB for single cpu, 6GB or 12GB for dual cpu). You will see a 15% CPU performance hit if you occupy ram slots 4 & 8. More on that here:

http://www.barefeats.com/nehal02.html

If you want to go big on ram, it might be cheaper to order with 6GB, then remove that ram, and buy a set of six, matched dimms (12, 24, or 48GB) from a reseller like OWC. Brands that have worked well for us include Kingston, Hynix, and Samsung. They are often what Apple sends you in your Mac Pro as well.

Buy the Radeon 4870 if you can can. Its rock solid and worth the extra $200. It will be a huge help if you are using FCP, Motion, and Color.

JM


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Victoria Murphy
Re: I think I need a new computer
on Apr 6, 2010 at 1:14:07 am

Jason, Thanks, this is super helpful.

So I will definitely get a computer with a dual processor. If I can afford either the 2.66 or 2.93GHz one, is that money well spent?

Re RAM, I should fill slots 1, 2 ,3, 5, 6, & 7, leaving 4 and 8 empty (who would have thought?) with as much RAM as I can afford. I will check out OWC.

I have a basic understanding of the function of processors and RAM. I am less clear about graphics cards. But in any event, you recommend the Radeon 4870 over the NVIDIAs. In the scheme of things, $200 is not a big hit.

Thank you again.



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cowcowcowcowcow
Jason Myres
Re: I think I need a new computer
on Apr 6, 2010 at 5:14:38 am

When it comes to creative applications, more CPUs is generally more helpful than faster CPUs, so by getting a dual CPU machine you are already 90% of the way there.

Beyond a certain point, you start to pay a very heavy premium for clock speed, which is only justifiable if you are rendering so much content (think Pixar) that the benefit in time saved is directly related to money saved (i.e. release movie faster). It doesn't sound like you are under that sort of pressure, so I would get the 2.66 if you can, but spend any extra money on ram and fast storage.

If you can get the Dual 2.66, 24GB of ram, and the 4870 I think you will be in the pocket. Beyond that, adding (3) 1TB or 2TB Hitachi Ultrastars in drive bays 2,3 & 4 and then striping them as a RAID0 in Disk Utility will give you several (quiet) terabytes of internal storage that will do 250+ MB/second for very little cost. If you want a larger, protected, RAID5 array, especially if you are doing a lot of video editing, Maxx Digital (Evo) or G-Tech (G-Speed) are good places to look.

JM


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Victoria Murphy
Re: I think I need a new computer
on Apr 7, 2010 at 2:58:41 am

It's a huge relief to know that I can get the 2.66GHz processors without compromising myself greatly.

I actually don't need a lot of hard drive space. On my project I am maximally manipulating my footage, but I don't have that much footage. I have never quite understood the whole RAID thing, but until I need more space (on another project, perhaps) I won't take the time to educate myself. I will hold on to the info though, for future reference.

I'm going to do a little fundraising to help me pay for this computer (it's an art project, more specifically, a "cinedance") so it may be six weeks or more before I buy it. If I want to ask you additional questions, if I just reply to this post again, will you get flagged? I'm still pretty new to forums and don't have the total hang of it yet (or the etiquette)

Thanks again, Jason.

Victoria



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Jason Jenkins
Re: I think I need a new computer
on Apr 7, 2010 at 4:57:30 am

[Victoria Murphy] "I actually don't need a lot of hard drive space. On my project I am maximally manipulating my footage, but I don't have that much footage. I have never quite understood the whole RAID thing, but until I need more space (on another project, perhaps) I won't take the time to educate myself. I will hold on to the info though, for future reference."

Hi Victoria,

Different Jason this time! Just make sure you get at least two separate hard drives. One for the operating system, software, etc... and one for your project files and media. You'll get better performance that way.

[Victoria Murphy] "If I want to ask you additional questions, if I just reply to this post again, will you get flagged? I'm still pretty new to forums and don't have the total hang of it yet (or the etiquette)"

As time goes by, this thread will get pushed way down on the list as new threads are started. So, if you have additional questions later, just start a new thread.

I would suggest looking at the refurbished Mac Pro's available from Apple. You can save money and still get a screaming machine. Apple Store Refurbs

One last piece of advice: Always pay the extra $250 for the AppleCare protection. If anything goes wrong with your hardware, you can get it repaired or replaced for nothing.


Jason Jenkins

Flowmotion Media

Video production... with style!


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