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

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Posted

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?

 

youre talking about an original Mac Pro right? well what are the benefits of an original Mac Pro? that you have support from apple, but with a machine that seems to be at least 5 years old, you dont even get that. so why not build a brand new, faster Hackintosh for less money.

 

i paid around 700euros for mine with ivy bridge overclocked i7, geforce 650 ti (incredbly efficient that card), 16GB ram, brilliant case and a cpu cooler that i cannont hear if i put my ear against the case. im so so happy with it. its fast as shit and updates work. setting it up isnt all to bad if you follow one of the golden build on tony mac x86.

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i paid around 700euros for mine with ivy bridge overclocked i7, geforce 650 ti (incredbly efficient that card), 16GB ram, brilliant case and a cpu cooler that i cannont hear if i put my ear against the case. im so so happy with it. its fast as shit and updates work. setting it up isnt all to bad if you follow one of the golden build on tony mac x86.

 

Pietz

Any chance that you might give us a full build spec list for your PC.

Would maybe help get us in the right direction as €700 sounds a good price.

 

Many Thanks

Alex.

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The big advantage a Mac Pro has is that it's a dual CPU 8-core machine (12-core for the latest models).  Using all the cores this will grind through renders faster than even the fastest Hackintosh. The Nvidia GTX570 runs without any hacks on Mountain Lion with the Nvidia drivers & is the fastest CUDA card available. Add an SSD in a PCI slot carrier for preference as it will give you full SATA-III speed.

 

Mac Pros are built like tanks & an absolute steal on the used market. I have had my dual 2.8GHz 8-core Mac Pro 3,1 from new over four years ago & with the upgrades above it flies. I have seen similar configurations on eBay for as little as £600 (under $1000)

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The big advantage a Mac Pro has is that it's a dual CPU 8-core machine (12-core for the latest models).  Using all the cores this will grind through renders faster than even the fastest Hackintosh. The Nvidia GTX570 runs without any hacks on Mountain Lion with the Nvidia drivers & is the fastest CUDA card available. Add an SSD in a PCI slot carrier for preference as it will give you full SATA-III speed.

 

Mac Pros are built like tanks & an absolute steal on the used market. I have had my dual 2.8GHz 8-core Mac Pro 3,1 from new over four years ago & with the upgrades above it flies. I have seen similar configurations on eBay for as little as £600 (under $1000)

 

The issue for me is that I'll be buying everything from scratch to get started: so in addition to the $1000 for the used Mac Pro I would need to spend around $600 for a really good monitor, add in a SSD drive, keyboard, mouse, maybe update the RAM and video card and I'm getting somewhere near $2000 I would guess.

 

A new Imac with self installed RAM upgrade, 1TB fusion drive, their best video card upgrade would be around $2600. I can get a 15-20% discount through a friend and I start to wonder what is my better deal. With USB 3 and Thunderbolt on the Imac it looks more future proof.

 

But will it run as good?

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I thought that the choice was between a Hackintosh & a used Mac Pro & I would plump for the latter. However if the budget is higher then a new top of the range iMac will give you outstanding performance & with Applecare worry free computing for years. 

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I also would plump down for the iMac.  For one, I don't like buying into aging and/or obsoleting technology.  If it were $500 to buy some thing from years ago and  really wanted or needed it that bad for some specific purpose,  maybe.  But, to invest 2 grand for resurrecting dying technology? No way!    As nigelbb points out though, the new iMac with AppleCare for 3 years protection (want it for that big screen) and worry free computing, a quad core i7,  32GB of RAM,  1TB Fusion (a quasi-SSD)   USB3 and thunderbolt for I/O to expand on that 1TB through externals,  having both integrated and discrete graphics....  for.... $2600? And, a 10% discount on that making it $2,340?  That should be a slam done deal!  Personally I am planning to go that route but I am just waiting until the iMac 27" 2012 becomes more readily available and there are some reviews on the product.

 

Technology has advanced enough that what use to require big beige towers (grey in Apple's case) with noisy and high wattage power supplies is no longer the case.  Similar production tasks can be done with the compact, portable and  AIO computers these days.  Similarly thick, heavy notebooks are giving  way to ultrabooks (PC camp), Macbook Airs, Pros.  My rMBP alone in and of itself connected to an external 27"  can be a workstation in and of itself.  I've easily done FCP, Adobe Premiere Elements work with it.  Simpler tasks are a given.  Talking about the 'heavy weights'.  I don't do 3D gaming, or gaming at all for that matter, but,  I am quite sure it is capable for that stuff too.   I don't like the lockdown on memory and SSD, etc., but, that seems to be the industry trend, PC or Macs, spearheaded by Apple.  That is why you pay the AppleCare protection 'tax' on the device. Then, it's Apple's problem for the next 3 years.  For myself, prior to that expiration, the machine most likely will be sold on auction.  I usually rotate my equipment every 1-2 years to: (1) keep technology current, and (2), to recover a good chunk of my money via auctions.  The amount I don't recover is the 'rental fee' over the time of usage with right of ownership should I so desire.

Back to the original point of this article....  building a cheap $900 Hackintosh versus purchasing a MacPro......  along with the price savings (if one can be built that cheaply even)  one inherits the headaches, trials,  tribulations, and the need for technological know how to make a non-Mac machine work like a Mac computer.  Great if you don't mind and are a tinker type.  In the final outcome, you hope every thing 'orchestrates' well together. (like plug 'n pray times gone by for Windows).  But... if you are into heavy 'RAW'  video editting,  and really doing it semi-professionally or professionally for a living, making money at video post in RAW  (going to create Avatar 2?  :-) )  then perhaps you want to go the route of not just one Hackintosh, but perhaps a couple.  But, if doing ordinary video editting work, I already do that on my max'd out 2012 macmini for that matter.

 

One other issue plays on my mind, perhaps maybe not relative to Hackintoshes..... what is the future of MacPro?  It takes Apple literally years to come out with a new iteration in that lineup.  Why?  Well, maybe  only one new  model once every 4-5 years might be sufficient in spite of technological advancements.  BUT.......  my contention and gut feeling is,  Apple eventually will let that line drop.   There's no money in the MacPro lineup, nor volume of sales.  They screwed around with Final Cut Pro to the dismay of professionals in the industry when going from FCP7 to FCP-X.  The decided to discontinue X-serve.   Also, Apple OS-X Server, for the what-its-worth department, used to cost several $100s as a professional server package has come down to being an add on to OS-X that some one can purchase for.... $49 or so? via the Apple Store.  Apple's nose follows the money.  And, these days,  iPhone and iPad is where the money is... not X-serve,  not server OS,  etc.   To a lesser degree,  their income is also derived from Mac sales.  From a business perspective this is well and good for Apple (iphones and ipad sales).  From the consumer perspective though, expecting Apple will continue to feeling empathy for those desiring a new MacPro every year, I don't think it's going to happen.  Comparatively, there is no money in it.  Similar to the 17" Macbook Pro which is already gone,  I believe/feel Apple is going to axe the MacPro line, as they've already done with X-serve.  Oh,  they may still come out with a new MacPro this year so that Tim Cook remains good on his word from last year.  And, I reckon it will satisfy the MacPro campers for the next couple of years.  But then, that buys Apple  the 'breathing room' to just let that die off if they choose to do so. And, I think they will choose to do so.     So, for myself, it is just one more thought / reason I personally will not go with the Mac Pro, not to mention Apple will charge a premium again for a new MacPro model.  They are a high priced, high margined product company.   For myself, the high end Macbooks,  Ultrabooks, AIOs are becoming sufficiently powerful enough.  The only thing really keeping me tied to all this 'lock in',  'lock down' so to speak, is the operating system,  OS-X.  If Apple mucks around with that excessively.... well.... I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

I reckon I got carried away here a bit.  Anyway, I hope there is some comment of value to derive as 'food for thought' in the decision process.  :-)

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Posted

So i finally caved and bought a BMCC (it arrived today), now i need to get a desktop to tame the beast. I've gone back and forth between Mac OS and Windows(I own both already), and I've finally decided on going with Windows for my workstation. It was a close call, but at the end of the day the the price/power of a WIN desktop won over the ease of use Mac.

 

Here are the specs:

  • ASUS P9X79 WS
  • Sealed Liquid Cooling Systems
  • Overclocked Intel Core i7 3930K 4.0GHz - 4.2GHz LGA 2011 Hex-Core Processor (12MB L3 Cache)
  • 850 Watt Corsair TX850M
  • Single 4GB EVGA GTX 680
  • Genuine MS Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit Edition
  • 240GB Intel 520 Series
  • 2X 3TB SATA 6.0Gb/s, 7200RPM, 64MB Cache
  • 12X Blu-ray (BD) Disc Combo (Reads BD and Writes to DVD/CD) (No DVD/Blu-ray Playback Software Included)

 

Anyone with last minute suggestions, please chime in.

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I'd go with a Seasonic X-850 80+ Gold PSU. It is 80 Plus Gold certified, more efficient than the Corsair (80 Plus Bronze). Seasonic is a very well reviewed high end brand for PSU's. They are also quiet. The Corsair will do fine I suppose, but I don't think the price difference will be that big.

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Seasonic-X-Series-850-W-Power-Supply-Review/1169

 

You didn't specify the RAM. But I suppose it's a sh*tload :)

 

Everything else looks good to me. Not sure if a liquid cooling system is worth investing in though. Depends on the price.. With a high end air cooler you can get pretty far I think. I wouldn't spend a lot to go that extra 10%. But I'm not so much into overclocking anymore.

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The author mentioned the necessity of investing in an external sound card, quoting the Sound Blaster HD, by that do you mean the X-FI model? I need to know as I need to order one pretty quick.

 

Perhaps this sounds familiar, I had a hackintosh built for me for editing with FCP. I have with it a Tascam MKII ext sound card. However when editing footage, the sound will cut out without warning. To remedy this I would go into the FCP settings, and have to flick between output devices (e.g. from MKII to default, and later back again). This is very weird, and the fact that I can get the sound to work for a while before it cuts out is even more weird. Anyway as of late it's become a real problem, as I edit for my job and can't spare the time flicking between settings, closing and re-opening fcp, and even restarting the machine. I hope a new sound card will remedy this problem, and seeing the soundblaster recommended, I aim to pick one up in the next 24 hours, but need to know it's the right one.

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The author mentioned the necessity of investing in an external sound card, quoting the Sound Blaster HD, by that do you mean the X-FI model? I need to know as I need to order one pretty quick.

 

Perhaps this sounds familiar, I had a hackintosh built for me for editing with FCP. I have with it a Tascam MKII ext sound card. However when editing footage, the sound will cut out without warning. To remedy this I would go into the FCP settings, and have to flick between output devices (e.g. from MKII to default, and later back again). This is very weird, and the fact that I can get the sound to work for a while before it cuts out is even more weird. Anyway as of late it's become a real problem, as I edit for my job and can't spare the time flicking between settings, closing and re-opening fcp, and even restarting the machine. I hope a new sound card will remedy this problem, and seeing the soundblaster recommended, I aim to pick one up in the next 24 hours, but need to know it's the right one.

 

Perhaps too late already since you already invested into a Hackintosh.  But I reckon this is one (of many) trials and tribulations one encounters when cutting corners by going the Hackintosh route rather then using equipment that the OS is designed to be used on.  Sooner or later one will run into little irritations and tweaks maintenance.  Brings back memories of the Windows era of plug and pray.   :blink:

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