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2 X Dual core vs 2 X Quad core

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Marc2 X Dual core vs 2 X Quad core
by on Oct 25, 2007 at 4:03:41 pm

Hi All,

I edit mostly 30 minute docs, 2 or 3 video layers max, not many complex effects. In the forum's opinion, how much benefit would I get from investing in a 2 quad-core machine vs a 2 dual-core Mac Pro. In a perfect world, I wouldn't have to try to balance processing power vs budget but I'm wondering if going 8 cores will give me the most bang for my finite bucks.

By the way, I'm thinking of going for the HDe system with an Atto 41ES card and a G-Speed array. Any opinions and insights are greatly appreciated.


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Kieran MatthewRe: 2 X Dual core vs 2 X Quad core
by on Oct 25, 2007 at 6:39:11 pm

Hi Marc,

Here are a few things you might want to consider,

1. Processing power is only part of the equation.
RAM is very important in Mac Pros, anything below 4Gb actually causes a bottleneck on the bus affecting performance. When striking a balance in a tight budget, make sure you have enough RAM as well as things like a good screen and plenty of HD space. (Oh and FYI, don't buy the RAM from Apple - buy it from Crucial or Kingston and fit it yourself - much more bang for your buck - same goes for HDs)

2. Not all software utilises all 8-cores.
For instance, on my HDe I use Boris RED for my graphics work - it doesn't use more than one core let alone 8. All software is evolving and this will change with time, but as you have limited finance, is the money better spent elsewhere?

3. Is processing power key to my workflow?
Would the money you save going for a lesser model be better spent on other software to expand your range or make your workflow easier? If you are making the leap to Intel, have you factored in the other costs including upgrading to universal versions of software you already own. Would an upgrade to After Effects CS3 be more useful? Would buying FCS2(which happily uses the HDe hardware) give you greater flexibility?

Personally I have the Quad 3Ghz Mac Pro, which was the fastest machine you could buy at the time. I rarely get the chance to buy new machines so I wanted the fastest available so it would have the longest lifespan.

Another point to consider is a new MacPro is going to ship with Leopard (OS10.5). Media 100 is only compatible with Tiger (10.4). Media 100 are working on it, but until it is cleared, you would have to buy a copy of Tiger to install. Not much, but another cost for the budget.



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Andy StintonRe: 2 X Dual core vs 2 X Quad core
by on Oct 25, 2007 at 8:20:35 pm

I have 2x2.66 running HDE. When I first got it I watched the activity monitor with great interest. I found that very few progs use anywhere close to all of the processing power about 50% at best. The only exception is Episode which grabs everything it can get.

My advice go for the dual not the big baby, and use the extra money as Kieran suggested.

Andy Stinton
Corporate Video
Live & Stage Events
Business Practices

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MarcRe: 2 X Dual core vs 2 X Quad core
by on Oct 26, 2007 at 1:54:17 am


Thank you both for you help. Confirms what I had found reading up on the subject. I now feel a bit more confident in getting the boss to drop 20+K on the new system. I will go for at least 4gb of RAM, I will source it and the drives from my local screwdriver shop. Although I've been using Media 100 for years and want to stick with it, the idea of having FCP on a second drive, to slowly start playing with it, sounds interesting. Opens up a few more freelance doors.

Again, thanks for your time,


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SomeGuyFromSeattleRe: 2 X Dual core vs 2 X Quad core
by on Oct 26, 2007 at 6:12:39 pm

Just my 2 cents worth....

In situations where we are working with 3rd party hardware (ProTools, Media100, Avid, etc.) we typically avoid the top of the line Apple machine. Past experience has taught us that the super-souped-revvin-top-of-the-glitzy-line machine has a tendency to be a little LESS compatible with 3rd party hardware----and therefore a little more problematic.

Simply stated...when (significant) 3rd party hardware is involved...Apple's "speed demons" tend to be a little on the demonic side....

We typically equip one of the TOL Apple machines with After Effects and a video card for NTSC monitoring (Blackmagic Decklink). This seems to work best in our shop.


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Scott_F Media 100Re: 2 X Dual core vs 2 X Quad core
by on Oct 29, 2007 at 3:46:23 pm

You'll need the extra processing power for your compressed codecs, Apple Pro Rez, DVCProHD. If you're working with the Media 100 HD codec, or a mix of compressed and uncompressed codecs then you should be fine with the dual core systems, 2, 2.6, 3Ghz systems.
The 42-ES, and the G-speed should work very well for you.

Media 100/Boris Fx

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MarcRe: 2 X Dual core vs 2 X Quad core
by on Oct 29, 2007 at 5:47:14 pm

Thanks SomeGuy and Scott_F.

And Scott_F, I always appreciate it when M100 folks chime in on the forum. Just comforting to know you guys are monitoring what ails us and our hardware.


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