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HELP ME CUSTOMIZE MY MAC PRO - What's most important?

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Braden WheelerHELP ME CUSTOMIZE MY MAC PRO - What's most important?
by on Jul 21, 2008 at 1:10:41 pm

Hi everyone, business has been picking up a bit and I'm requiring faster render times and a generally more kick-ass system. I do a lot of after effects compositing and animation, as well as HD editing in Final Cut Pro. We've decided to pick a Mac Pro to handle the heavier loads. What is most important to spend the money on. Is it worth the extra $700 for the .2gHz on each processer (720 extra for the two 3.0 quads and 1400 extra for the two 3.2 quads)? Right now I'm aiming at 10 gb of ram (thanks to, but I hear AE can only use 3gb? Is this per processor (using multiprocessing), or it is total, no matter what? My question is where should the money go in an ideal system.

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Kevin CampRe: HELP ME CUSTOMIZE MY MAC PRO - What's most important?
by on Jul 21, 2008 at 3:57:24 pm

here's a link with some benchmarks (including an ae render benchmark) comparing a newer 3.2ghz & 2.8ghz, along with some older macs. hopefully that can help you figure out what's right for you...

personally, i think i might go for the 2.8ghz and spend the money on 16gb of ram... rather than a 3.2ghz machine with 8gb of ram...

the general order of importance for ae is:
1. cpu speed & number of cores
2. ram
3. drives

ae is a 32-bit application and as such can only address 3gb (although, i believe, theoretical is 4gb... i'm not sure why there is a discrepancy). however, with multiprocessing enabled (or nucleo pro) ae can launch a render engine fro each processor and each render engine can address it's own ram. 2gb per render engine is what is being recommended, so if you want to get the most out of 8 cores, shoot for 16gb of ram (you can always add ram as you get the chance).

also, as per this article, you may be able to squeak out as much as a 15% increase in speed if you can fill all 8 ram slots with ram... note, that the test was using a ram benchmark utility and was not a real world test, so take it for what it's worth...

you didn't mention drive setup, what are you planning for your media drives..? sata2 is a good way to go, they are fast and relatively cheap, but you would like to get those on a separate controller (so your media drives won't run on the same internal sata bus as the boot drive), so you will want to look at a separate sata2 card.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer

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Ron LindeboomRe: HELP ME CUSTOMIZE MY MAC PRO - What's most important?
by on Jul 21, 2008 at 4:25:46 pm

Since Kevin gave you such a great answer, there isn't much to add aside from the fact that make sure you buy your RAM in certified/matched pairs.

We recommend Other World Computing who sells certified RAM that meets and beats the Apple spec, they are at and they have great prices, as well.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

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