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My New MacPro Configs, What Say You

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Alex D'Eath
My New MacPro Configs, What Say You
on May 28, 2010 at 1:58:32 pm

Good Morning Fellow Final Cut Experts,

We have decided after adding a large amount of storage space in the form of Several CalDigit RAIDS that it is time to upgrade our 2006 era MacPro. We simply don;t have enough speed on the expansion lanes to support our video card, AJA Card, CalDigit RAID Card and the CalDigit card for our HDPro. I have specced out the following machine and wanted to get some input from some other folks to make sure that what I think is best is actually best.

Our current box is has 2 X 3.0 Ghz dual core processors with 4 GB of 667 MHz Ram. We are running FCS 6.0.5. There are 4 750GB internal drives. 1 for the system drive and 3 raided 0 for client exports and the like. I have a 12TB CalDigit HDOne Pro and 2 CalDigit Elements Raided together with 4TB. Both are raided 5 for protection. We edit primarily in DVCProHD 720p60 from P2. 95% of our graphics and comp work is done on another box in Adobe and imported as DVCProHD quicktimes to match the sequence settings. For the most part this box does everything we need. Forgot to mention we use an AJA Kona LHe card for ingest.

Given the relatively light load we are using with this machine I don't want to go overboard with my new box. I just want to make sure that any future upgrades to FCS will work, i.e. a new 64 bit version. So here is what I have specced out.

8 Core 2.66
4 1 TB drives (1 for system other 3 raided 0 for non essential stuff)
1 optical drive
16 GB Ram
ATI Radeon 4870 graphics card
AJA Kona LHi card with breakout box (I want to be able to up/down/cross convert)

I am looking at sending in an order thru my local Apple VAR today or Tuesday. I think I have a pretty good handle on this but would like any comment and criticisms. I do want to mention the I do a lot of compressor for clients and would like to think that work will be much faster with the new arrangement.

Looking forward to your notes,


Alex D'Eath
Operations Manager
Space City Films, Inc
Above... & Beyond

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Andrew Golden
Re: My New MacPro Configs, What Say You
on May 28, 2010 at 2:26:42 pm

Hey Alex,

Your configuration looks pretty good. My only observation/suggestions surrounds your graphics card choice. Are you doing a lot of work in Color?? If not, I would stick with the nVidia card. A lot of programs (such as the new Adobe CS5 suite) are optimized for nVidia chipsets. If using Color was your primary focus of this machine, I would use the ATI, but in most cases, I'd just use the stock GT120. If you wanted to upgrade the video card to something more advanced, I would recommend the nVidia Quadro FX 4800MAC; since it would be a significant upgrade and would allow you to take advantage of the new features in CS5 and also give you an upgrade path to Autodesk Smoke For Mac. However, for a lite-duty machine, the $1500 price tag of the 4800 is pretty steep. On the other hand, I see no benefits to spending the extra $200 for the ATI unless you are using Color a lot.


Andrew S. Golden
Illusion Media LLC

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