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Editing raw video on a $900 Hackintosh as well as on a $5000 Mac Pro

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Please don't confuse the i7 processors with the Xeon processors found in MacPros

 

i7 which are "desktop"

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processor-comparison/compare-intel-processors.html?select=desktop

Xeon which are "server" class processors

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processor-comparison/compare-intel-processors.html?select=server

 

You really haven't built a MacPro. You're closer to a 2011 iMac (Sandy Bridge i7) with some modifications.

Granted the MacPros haven't had a processor upgrade since 2010 (except for a minor speed bump). I'd expect the 2013 MacPro replacement will be using at lease Sandy Bridge Xeons. Xeons tend to be 1 generation behind. Current i7 is Ivy Bridge. Current Xeon is Sandy Bridge.

 

You might find this article interesting

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/review/2157358/intel-xeon-e5-2670-vs-core-i7-3960x-review

 

If you look at PCs with Xeon comparable Xeon processors, they are comparable to MacPro (when they were comparable in 2010) and my hunch will be in 2013 when MacPros get replaced.

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I'm coming from an Apple background but I'm also quite used to Windows.

Seeing Apple going for the consumer-electronics market more than for the media professionals, I'm considering switching to Windows ... even though I much prefer the look and feel of OSX.

 

Reading this article, I'm wondering if investing in a proper PC would not be an easier solution. Recommended and tested configurations are available for Resolve - wouldn't this be the safest route?

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I think the grafik power of the mac mini is the grafic card...

 

Did anyone ever use an external Grafic - Card from Matrox?? There are several external boxes ... http://www.voelkner.de/products/203186/Grafikkarte-Matrox-TripleHead2Go-DisplayPort-Edition.html?WT.mc_id=googlebase&utm_source=google&utm_medium=base&utm_campaign=C42905

 

@Jens, thanks for that tip.  I never thought of doing an external, outside the mac mini for graphics solution.  In fact, I did not such solutions even existed.  I will look into this as a viable option.  I just don't want to 'buy in' to Apple's Mac Pro.  (never did).  Apple pays too little attention to machine.  And besides,  they are exorbitantly over-priced.    But, I think the Nvidia Cuda is being recommended as the (only?) solution for dealing with Resolve and raw video.  But, if one is not concerned about raw video and just doing ordinary video editting in FCP-X, I imagine the MacMini configuration I specified earlier on up in this thread should suffice to do efficient production.

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@pask74

I'm coming from an Apple background but I'm also quite used to Windows.

Seeing Apple going for the consumer-electronics market more than for the media professionals, I'm considering switching to Windows ... even though I much prefer the look and feel of OSX.

 

Reading this article, I'm wondering if investing in a proper PC would not be an easier solution. Recommended and tested configurations are available for Resolve - wouldn't this be the safest route?

 

I think I like Karoliina's suggestion on how to deal with this.  

 

There is this easier option for Resolve: it also runs on Linux. Run Ubuntu on the fast machine with fast Geforce 680. Very easy to setup and very similar operating system to OSX. I have several Macs and then the biggest number crunchers run Linux. Blender is therefore ran on Linux natively (3d animation/compositing). Also I do not need to use 5dtorgb converter with my DSLR footage since 5dtorgb uses ffmpeg to do the conversion. I use ffmpeg directly from command line, it is fully scriptable, and my footage converts by itself after I run my script convert.



Even better: add huge raid to this Linux machine and share the drive to network and mount it from your Macs to access it with FCPX. If gigabit ethernet is in between, the speed is reasonable. Macs and Ubuntus live very nicely together. They are almost cousins from technical perspective unlike OSX vs. Windows which have about nothing in common.


I have been tempted to try Hackintosh though to run FCPX and Motion fast.

 

 

Rather then Apple and their MacPro (too little change too seldom and waaay overpriced),   and the stigma of Windows (don't think I want to return to Windows for all it stands for),   Karoliina  mentions an Ubuntu Linux solution.  You can choose/build the machine of your choice,  and Ubuntun, also built on Linux and 64-bit,  is free.  May require some work to build, but, I imagine it will be far less hassle then a 'hackintosh' route.

 

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Forget Windows 8. Stick to 7. It's a very stable, professional OS. OS X is a kids tool compared and Windows 8 is a weird joke.

 

You can easily build a great Xeon/i7 pc for quite a bit less cash than an equivalent mac. Actually you won't even get an equivalent mac. PC's just go way higher in performance/cost, especially when self build.

 

One thing about graphics cards... The GTX690 is an absolute monster. You can run Resolve in two gpu mode with it. After Effects raytracing utilises all the cores. It blows the GTX580 (which is old and discontinued anyway). The only problem is Premiere, you have to disable one of the gpu's for Premiere to work. Thankfully that happens with a couple of clicks. It costs a grand but still way less than Quadro cards.

 

One thing about Ubuntu is software support. If you do a lot of editing, vfx work and just generally are in the biz, you need an OS that has good software support. Ubuntu can be used for certain things but I wouldn't recommend it as a general OS for everything.

 

cseeman: You were kinda comparing different things there. Xeon processors and i7's are not really that different. That article actually compared TWO xeon processors to one i7. If you plan on going one CPU, go with i7's. They are cheaper and clock higher.

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Forget Windows 8. Stick to 7. It's a very stable, professional OS. OS X is a kids tool compared and Windows 8 is a weird joke.

 

You can easily build a great Xeon/i7 pc for quite a bit less cash than an equivalent mac. Actually you won't even get an equivalent mac. PC's just go way higher in performance/cost, especially when self build.

 

One thing about graphics cards... The GTX690 is an absolute monster. You can run Resolve in two gpu mode with it. After Effects raytracing utilises all the cores. It blows the GTX580 (which is old and discontinued anyway). The only problem is Premiere, you have to disable one of the gpu's for Premiere to work. Thankfully that happens with a couple of clicks. It costs a grand but still way less than Quadro cards.

 

One thing about Ubuntu is software support. If you do a lot of editing, vfx work and just generally are in the biz, you need an OS that has good software support. Ubuntu can be used for certain things but I wouldn't recommend it as a general OS for everything.

 

cseeman: You were kinda comparing different things there. Xeon processors and i7's are not really that different. That article actually compared TWO xeon processors to one i7. If you plan on going one CPU, go with i7's. They are cheaper and clock higher.

 

Windows 8 runs smooth.  I haven't had one problem since upgrading from 7.  I've been rocking Premiere since v5.  my rig for the last year has been an i7 990x 24gb board initially running a GTX 590 (dual or single mode) and moving to Quadro cards.  They are DEFINITELY better in CS territory or editing.  GTX is for gaming.  at least that's what nVidia markets it like on their site.  if people are trying to kill two birds with one stone and assume that because it has CUDA technology it would work just fine then that's where the problem starts.  and its not like nVidia is going to discourage you from buying any of their cards..

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@Jens, thanks for that tip.  I never thought of doing an external, outside the mac mini for graphics solution.  In fact, I did not such solutions even existed.  I will look into this as a viable option.  I just don't want to 'buy in' to Apple's Mac Pro.  (never did).  Apple pays too little attention to machine.  And besides,  they are exorbitantly over-priced.    But, I think the Nvidia Cuda is being recommended as the (only?) solution for dealing with Resolve and raw video.  But, if one is not concerned about raw video and just doing ordinary video editting in FCP-X, I imagine the MacMini configuration I specified earlier on up in this thread should suffice to do efficient production.

 

I do understand... I will buy myself a matrox card in the early future.. and try it out

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I've got no love for Macs or Mac OSX, but I am generally pretty fond of iPads. I'm also an app developer, which necessitates owning a Mac of some sort. Have been chugging along with a 2009 Macbook Pro for a while, pushed to the limits with memory and SSD upgrades. A Hackintosh is awfully tempting though... since it's iOS development I don't need a very heavy machine, our serious high end stuff is Windows based anyways. So I'm also looking at a Mac Mini or iMac as possible upgrades.

 

On the other hand the Retina MBP exists. Dang.

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I have no love for Macs and their high ticket-price for readily available components off the shelf either.  The primary attraction is the OS-X (versus the alternative, Windows).  iPad I also have.  I am here checking out the world of Android as a more open environment and an alternative to the Apple-controlled world of iOS.   If Hackintoshes were a bit more straightforward,  I might go that route.  But,  if it starts becoming to geeky and tinkering,  I'd rather have something that works out of the box.  When you buy a car, you want to stick the key in the ignition and go from point A to point B.  You don't want to start tinkering with radiator belt adjustments,  spark plugs, etc.

I'll see what sort of power I can push from the 2012 Sandy Bridge quad core i7 MacMini with 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD.  Graphics though is the weak link for video editting.  If not doing raw video, then the Intel integrated 4000 should be OK.  Earlier, an external solution using a matrox card was suggested.  I may try that myself,  but, need to confirm if will make that much more of an improvement for video editting, conversions, etc., to justify the cost versus using only the internal Intel HD Graphics 4000

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First off i work for Microsoft however this thread is somewhat an oxy moron, from saying not to use Windows because it is unstable but to use a hackintosh is a contradiction. Apple nor any PC manufacturer supports hackintosh, which means support is non existent no driver updates, no firmware patches etc! Also a Hackintosh is no way as stable as a PC running windows. 

 

As for Windows is it stable? well do fortune 500 companies use Windows? YES!!!

 

As for ease of use, I have used both Macs and PCs both to anyone with common sense are easy to use! For people who go on about Windows being hard, let me ask you do you use right click? On a mac enabling right click is something that needs to be configured!

 

Windows 8? Has anyone here used it yet? I am running win 8 and it is stable! 

 

I myself recently migrated all my photos from Aperture on a Mac to Lightroom on a PC? Why the cost of PC hardware is far cheaper, and an iMac upgrade cannot accommodate an internal hard drive expansion without validating warranty! 

 

Each OS has its strengths and weaknesses, it comes down to preference and what you worf flow requires!

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Each OS has its strengths and weaknesses, it comes down to preference and what you worf flow requires!

 

and it all comes down to budget/economics. Do I want to save 4 grand and spend x days playing with hackintosh? If money earned in x days is far less than 4k then maybe yeah. If I earn far more than 4k in x days then fuck it. etc. etc.

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... Ubuntu can be used for certain things but I wouldn't recommend it as a general OS for everything.

 

That is my problem.

Linux is a very tempting route but I definitely need an all-in-one machine for both editing, grading and running audio apps.

My core business being audio, running Linux unfortunately sounds like a no-solution due to the limited plug-ins availability.

It's a real shame as I would definitely prefer Linux over Windows in terms of philosophy.

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Without getting too deep, and in hopes of avoiding debate- I think buffered RAM is a big part of the Mac fidelity and 4-5 years ago, this is most of what you were paying for.  Now, you can buy it without having to buy Mac.  I see a lot of Hackintosh builds out there that go for the fast I7 and regular DDR3 RAM, and I think this is a mistake.  I personally would go for a Xeon processor and the EEC RAM.  RAID is also very important.  I see my processors and RAM barely working unless I'm using RAID.  

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Although Xeon processors have a bigger cache, which makes them faster at some tasks, their biggest advantage is that they allow for more ram. But these days I think 32GB of RAM is plenty for editing video.

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Although Xeon processors have a bigger cache, which makes them faster at some tasks, their biggest advantage is that they allow for more ram. But these days I think 32GB of RAM is plenty for editing video.

 

.....and, even the new iMac 27" will accommodate 32GB of user-installable (for now) RAM.  I am doing editting (not raw video) with 16GB of RAM in my 2012 MacMini.

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[quote name="karoliina" post="24029" time="1356342323"]There is this easier option for Resolve: it also runs on Linux. Run Ubuntu on the fast machine with fast Geforce 680. Very easy to setup and very similar operating system to OSX. I have several Macs and then the biggest number crunchers run Linux. Blender is therefore ran on Linux natively (3d animation/compositing). Also I do not need to use 5dtorgb converter with my DSLR footage since 5dtorgb uses ffmpeg to do the conversion. I use ffmpeg directly from command line, it is fully scriptable, and my footage converts by itself after I run my script convert. Even better: add huge raid to this Linux machine and share the drive to network and mount it from your Macs to access it with FCPX. If gigabit ethernet is in between, the speed is reasonable. Macs and Ubuntus live very nicely together. They are almost cousins from technical perspective unlike OSX vs. Windows which have about nothing in common. I have been tempted to try Hackintosh though to run FCPX and Motion fast. [/quote] Nice idea karoliina. Have you installed resolve in Ubuntu? Saw from one of the forums that Linux install is a disk image or Linux installer is a disk from blackmagic ( http://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=49&start=20#p7852) Have you also found a Linux nle that is any good? Thanks!

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Nice idea karoliina. Have you installed resolve in Ubuntu? Saw from one of the forums that Linux install is a disk image or Linux installer is a disk from blackmagic ( http://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=49&start=20#p7852) Have you also found a Linux nle that is any good? Thanks!

 

I would love to being using Ubuntu Linux (or, Mint Linux) as an alternative to Windows and should OS-X not be suitable any longer.  Only problem is, and as they point out at BMD is,  the lack of centralized support for hardware as you have in the Windows and OS-X camps.

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Please don't confuse the i7 processors with the Xeon processors found in MacPros

 

i7 which are "desktop"

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processor-comparison/compare-intel-processors.html?select=desktop

Xeon which are "server" class processors

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processor-comparison/compare-intel-processors.html?select=server

 

You really haven't built a MacPro. You're closer to a 2011 iMac (Sandy Bridge i7) with some modifications.

Granted the MacPros haven't had a processor upgrade since 2010 (except for a minor speed bump). I'd expect the 2013 MacPro replacement will be using at lease Sandy Bridge Xeons. Xeons tend to be 1 generation behind. Current i7 is Ivy Bridge. Current Xeon is Sandy Bridge.

 

You might find this article interesting

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/review/2157358/intel-xeon-e5-2670-vs-core-i7-3960x-review

 

If you look at PCs with Xeon comparable Xeon processors, they are comparable to MacPro (when they were comparable in 2010) and my hunch will be in 2013 when MacPros get replaced.

Crucially a proper Mac Pro can have dual Xeon processors with a total of 12 cores which is going to grind through rendering etc a whole lot faster than any quad-core i7. Once you start pricing up dual Xeon motherboards with Xeon processors you start to see where most of the cost of a Mac Pro goes.

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Hi Andrew

Another way forwards for the cost conscious user is an old Mac Pro. There seems to be a recognition that a new Mac Pro is imminent this year and the price of old 8 core 3.2gig 3.1 on ebay has dropped to around £1000 or less. The new i7 machines are fast but the imacs only have 4 cores so for instance in after effects I ran my old 3.1 3 gig against my friends 3.4 gig iMac and the render time was about the same. The new generation stuff due to ram speed and architecture etc. is about twice as fast. Now you can get a GTX570 for around £350. I have the hacked one with 2.5 gig ram. Premiere and Resolve see the cuda cores after tweaking the text files. There is also the K5000 out for £1400!

Upsides to buying an old mac 3.1 or later is that they are 64 bit, intels and so you can run mountain lion and with rosetta on have FCP7 or X and Avid MC, Symphony and Premiere and Resolve. They just work and of course have plenty of slots to put in cards and raid 0 hard drives. I have no doubt that the faster bus of the 4.1 and 5.1 MacPro would make more of the Cuda cards but you pay your money and take your choice.

I will be investing heavily this year in a crazy system to do higher end work at www.sublimepictures.tv but my old 3.1 is a great workhorse that has had a boost in life with the GTX570. I am looking forward to getting my Black Magic Camera and grading the footage on Resolve.

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Crucially a proper Mac Pro can have dual Xeon processors with a total of 12 cores which is going to grind through rendering etc a whole lot faster than any quad-core i7. Once you start pricing up dual Xeon motherboards with Xeon processors you start to see where most of the cost of a Mac Pro goes.

This is important; if you run the numbers on a serious Windows based workstation with Xeons, a Quadro, ECC memory, etc like the Mac Pro has, you find out the pricing is really not THAT far out of the ballpark.

 

That said, the Mac Pro is horribly out of date hardware for probably another year, and for many of us all we want is a decent 4-core/8-thread i7 with a high end GeForce, SSD, and a bucket load of memory. I just built a Windows machine like that, with the works, for around $2,000 out the door. Effectively a "gaming" type computer. Unfortunately it's not a configuration Apple offers. I also happen to think Xeons and Quadros and ECC memory are all a rip off, but I guess somebody's getting use out of them. At the very least, SSDs mean some of these dual socket configurations are not totally pointless since the IO system is finally able to get out of its own way.

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 also happen to think Xeons and Quadros and ECC memory are all a rip off, but I guess somebody's getting use out of them. At the very least, SSDs mean some of these dual socket configurations are not totally pointless since the IO system is finally able to get out of its own way.

 

I don't think they're a rip off, but they are designed for the professional market. If i want to run STATA with more than 64GB of RAM, my only choice is a Xeon based system.  It's basically just companies using price discrimination: the demand curve for people who need more than 64GB of ram looks pretty different than the demand curve for everyone else.  Apple is not special in this regard. Pretty much all the big boys: Dell, HP, and Apple offer comparably priced workstations. In fact, i'd argue that the "Apple premium" paid for Apple workstations is less than for their laptop/desktops. 

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12-core MacPro's are a great deal if one is looking for a fast, stable quiet Mac or PC (or both). I use my 12-core MacPro mostly as a Win7 workstation (+Quadro 5000 and GT120 (3 displays)). The Q5000 now works in OSX too, but only after booting (not in the ROM screen).

 

It's not possible to find a lower-priced 12-core for a PC (might be possible building from scratch, however the CPUs and dual-socket MBs are very expensive). If you factor in your time to get everything working properly, it's probably not worth it (I used to build all my own workstations from the best parts). HP and Dell make decent 12-core workstations, but they are not any cheaper.

 

If one is looking for the absolute fastest workstation, Boxx appears to make them: 16-cores, water-cooled and overclocked, with multiple GPU cards: http://www.boxxtech.com/Products/3dboxx-8920

If you have to ask how much, you probably can't afford them.

 

I can edit everything I need in real-time in PPro CS6 (except noise reduction with Neat Video)- so no need to render out to see what the final look will be (I only use real-time GPU effects) in most cases. After Effects is slow no matter what, so I don't use it (except for occasional experiments). I can also edit most everything in real-time on my MacBook Pro Retina in OSX Lion. Unfortunately (and amazingly), it's not possible to share PPro CS6 projects between OSX and Windows without issues (at least for medium complex projects), even when doing a clean archive/export. As others have noted, Win7 is a bit faster than OSX on the same hardware.

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Hi Andrew

Another way forwards for the cost conscious user is an old Mac Pro. There seems to be a recognition that a new Mac Pro is imminent this year and the price of old 8 core 3.2gig 3.1 on ebay has dropped to around £1000 or less. The new i7 machines are fast but the imacs only have 4 cores so for instance in after effects I ran my old 3.1 3 gig against my friends 3.4 gig iMac and the render time was about the same. The new generation stuff due to ram speed and architecture etc. is about twice as fast. Now you can get a GTX570 for around £350. I have the hacked one with 2.5 gig ram. Premiere and Resolve see the cuda cores after tweaking the text files. There is also the K5000 out for £1400!

Upsides to buying an old mac 3.1 or later is that they are 64 bit, intels and so you can run mountain lion and with rosetta on have FCP7 or X and Avid MC, Symphony and Premiere and Resolve. They just work and of course have plenty of slots to put in cards and raid 0 hard drives. I have no doubt that the faster bus of the 4.1 and 5.1 MacPro would make more of the Cuda cards but you pay your money and take your choice.

I will be investing heavily this year in a crazy system to do higher end work at www.sublimepictures.tv but my old 3.1 is a great workhorse that has had a boost in life with the GTX570. I am looking forward to getting my Black Magic Camera and grading the footage on Resolve.

I 100% agree with. I have a dual CPU 2.8GHz Mac Pro 3,1 & have seen similar for as little as £600 on eBay which is a fantastic bargain. I have just down a few upgrades. The used GTX570 just £125 off eBay was probably the most cost effective as it has made Premiere Pro so much smoother & faster. It is 2X faster for CUDA & 3X faster for OpenCL than the GTX285 it replaced. I also added an SSD first in one of the drive sleds but because these systems are SATA-II the bus is the bottleneck so you don't see full SSD speed so just yesterday I put the SSD in one of these PCIe cards that gives SATA-II speeds & the read speed doubled to a tad under 500MB/s http://www.expansys.com/apricorn-velocity-solo-x2-ssd-sata-iii-6gb-2-5-235130/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=shopping&utm_campaign=base&ito=1701&mkwid=svHjLhmZB&kword=adwords_productfeed&gclid=CMKe6Pb_0LQCFaTMtAodNFkAJQ My final upgrade is 16GB (4x4GB) of RAM for the bargain price (for ECC FBDIMMs anyway:-) of £230.

 

With all the performance boosts from improved graphics, SSD & RAM upgrade this system will be good for at least another couple of years.

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Working with an  older Mac Pro got me thinking. 

 

I found one for sale with these specs:

 

Mac Pro 3.1

8 core Harpertown processor

16gb RAM (667 mhz)

Nvidia GeForce 8800GT

500 gb hard drive

Possibly with Adobe CS 5.5

An average 19" monitor

 

He wants $1050 USD

 

Does this seem like a good deal? Any issues/concerns for upgrading this computer?

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It real boils down to 2 issues:

1. Objectives: What do you want to accomplish with the machine

2. Budget:  Do you have the budget to buy it?

 

Again, I prefer to stay with current technology.  I also prefer to stay away from that era of large beige boxes (grey in the case of Apple's MacPro).  I came from a PC environment of days gone by.   If I want to get the most power nowadays,  it will be a max'd out 2012 iMac Pro 27"..... which, ironically is not quite yet even available yet on the market. :-)

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