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florio

Buying a new system

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Hey Duders,

 

So last week my Mac Pro 12 core finally died and now I'm on the lookout for a new box for mograph and VFX stuff. So I guess now is the inevitable stupid question ... What should I buy next?

 

Should I buy the trashcan or an iMac? I was thinking PC and I'll probably end up doing it later but I don't wanna quite leave the ProRes workflow yet

 

I figured you guys would have some input since you've probably been in the same pickle

 

Thanks in advance

-Florio

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My 2009 8-core hasn't died yet, touch wood. (What happened to yours?) But I'll be buying a new system soon and facing similar questions. The new Retina iMac has a nice CPU in terms of clock speed but the consensus so far seems to be that the GPU will be stretched so far by the display that there won't be much headroom for anything else like Viewports. If you're only doing AE, no C4D then iMacs maybe make sense but I always think they aren't quite Pro machines because of the mobile GPU's and limited expansion.

 

I'll probably buy a refurb nMP - in the states there are some on Apple's refurb store right now. Switching to PC would be a cost-saving but the cons will probably still outweigh the pro's, namely:

 

1. The portability of the nMP will actually benefit me as I tend to move around a bit

2. The design of every PC Tower I've ever seen is just ugly. Maybe I've just got Apple-goggles on though

3. Some of my software licenses are Mac only and they'd have to be cross-graded, if possible

4. I am used to OS X and I think I would probably prefer it to Windows

5. Most people I work with have Macs

 

I don't actually mind spending the extra on a Mac over PC equivalent. I just wish they were faster CPU's, maybe it's intel's fault more than Apple, Moore's law seems to have gone over to mobile chips.

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I switched over to PC about 4 years ago and it's been great for me. The new Intel Haswell-E chips just came out, planning on building a new workstation around this guy soon: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117404

 

Some people just want to stay mac which is fine but building a machine with more cores, higher clock, more ram, and all the other stuff for less money just seems too good for me though. Part of that depends if your building yourself or buying a name brand workstation, which definitely reduces the savings.

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I really don't care to start a mac vs pc thing, but I just want to say you should give PC a good look. I think everyone who hasn't touched one in a long while would be extremely surprised after a month of use.

 

For PCs... There are some decent cases out there. You just have to shop around.

 

The ProRes workflow can be replaced verbatim with an Avid DNxHD workflow. There are encoding solutions to get proRes to macheads if needed.

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Yeah as someone who's just bought a nMP I can say that I was very tempted by the PC option. Ultimately it was laziness and maybe fear of the unknown. I didn't want to interupt my workflow changing machines.

Obviously with mac you pay more. And you get no CUDA which is a bugger if you want to use Octane etc.

PC is the smart choice I think.

Saying that I do love my nMP, it does run quick. The HD speed is pretty amazing. And who knows, maybe there will be some useful OpenCL stuff soon...

 

Unfortunately there is no easy answer as I'm sure you know.

 

And if this thread doesn't turn into a Mac/PC rant thread I'll be surprised.

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personal opinion:

 

i just got a new system:

i7 4790k ( highest per clock speed currently available, 4.0ghz - 4.4ghz boost) with no overclocking.

 

Why is this important? Because a large chunk of c4d is no multithreaded ( eg: xpresso, hair, OM). some not yet, some not ever( logic gets in the way of multithreading stuff that goes step by step).

so you need high clock speed for this. And as a result you get a much more responsive viewport, which saves a lot of frustration while working.

 

yeah, it only scores around 800 on cinebench for rendering, which is less than a dual xeon x5650 mac pro ( ~1300). But if you really need the rendering power, we now have teamrender. so just buy a $700 z600 http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-Z600-Dual-X5650-Six-Core-2-66Ghz-16GB-2-160GB-10K-Warranty-/231354654512?pt=Desktop_PCs&hash=item35ddcfdf30

 

And ta-da you have a 2000 cinebench score when you need to render.

 

i got a gigabyte Gaming 3 motherboard, which has 3 pci slots. so i can cram 3 gpu's in there for rendering on GPU or calculating turbulenceFD ( if i ever get around to buying and learning it).

Right now just have a 970.

 

======Cases

there are lots of pretty cases out there, for example:

 

http://www.coolermaster.com/case/mid-tower/silencio-550/

 

if you really miss your mac pro: http://www.lian-li.com/en/dt_portfolio/pc-v1000l/

 

other pretty stuff: http://www.fractal-design.com/home/product/cases/define-series/define-xl-r2-titanium-grey

 

corsair obsidian series is nice too.

 

Ok I think im done =D

Edited by vozzz

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I can't speak to the PC side, but after having a maxed out new Mac Pro for the better part of a year now, I would say that the value proposition on these boxes is questionable with the software vendors still taking their time with Open CL acceleration. Don't get me wrong; it's a terrific machine and I don't regret buying it, but until those expensive dual GPU's are making a significant contribution to your every day workflow, it's hard to justify the full cost of the box.

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A top spec iMac retina against a 6 core medium spec new Mac Pro saves me at least £1000, is equally fast for many things, and has a free 5K screen thrown in!

It is very tempting. Can the screen be set to pixel double (still a pretty good 2.6K resolution) to free up GPU cycles for viewport previews in C4D?

 

Can Todd reveal when, if ever, a mid spec dual GPU Mac Pro will actually be noticeably faster than a top end iMac for use with AE or PrPro?

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I'm not sure if it's practical for you or your needs, but I actually do both and it works well for me. I've got a 2009 MacPro that I use for working on and then a PC I built last fall for rendering. I figure that way I get the flexibility of being able to upgrade my rendering hardware easily without having to sacrifice my OS X workflow and when my MacPro takes a shit I can move to an iMac and it'll likely be comparable if not a bit faster for working on. Downside is I have two desktop machines, which takes up a lot of space in my small apartment.

 

R

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A top spec iMac retina against a 6 core medium spec new Mac Pro saves me at least £1000, is equally fast for many things, and has a free 5K screen thrown in!

It is very tempting. Can the screen be set to pixel double (still a pretty good 2.6K resolution) to free up GPU cycles for viewport previews in C4D?

 

Can Todd reveal when, if ever, a mid spec dual GPU Mac Pro will actually be noticeably faster than a top end iMac for use with AE or PrPro?

Based on his answer the other day (see here) I'd say not any time soon with AE. If that Retina can run at half-res and then offer Viewport performance on a par with the D300's then I'm interested.

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Ok (super long reply post by person imminent ... you have been warned)

 

kitkats

 

My 1st gen 12 core finally gave out under the weight of rendering, travel and just overall abuse (not that I abuse my machines but 6 years of rendering hasn't helped). The only reason the nMP was even on the table as an option is the discount my roommate gets on apple products ... 25% off an expensive ass machine makes that price tag hurt a bit less. Looks generally don't dictate the decision but I've grown use to the mac look and OS. Software licenses would be a costly issue so that isn't exactly helping but if I gotta pay it, I gotta pay it. I think the iMac might not have the horsepower I need and the 5k monitor seems kinda excessive when the GPU's kinda suck. Finally if Todd Kopriva says no then I'm not gonna push for the AMD chipset

 

scofield

 

I have no issues with a PC it's just I have no idea how to build them. I also don't have to tech knowledge to troubleshoot them

 

AromaKat

 

I think we're at a point now where both have their pros and cons (hopefully no mac/pc wars start out of this). Looks don't really matter but the machine needs to deliver. I'll look into a DNxHD workflow (got any tips I'd appreciate it) but I'll definitely give the PC a second look

 

simonfarussell

 

Apples switch to AMD kinda surprises me, you'd think with NVIDIA's lock on the pro-software market jumping chipsets would be a poor business decision. Then again I think Apple doesn't care about the pro user. I've heard mixed review about rendering on the AMD GPU's and it kinda scares me

 

vozzz

 

mah brotha from another motha - Yeah the clock score on the chips on the nMP are horrible

 

foughtthelaw

 

Yeah it seems the gap for the Mac Pro and iMac are closing pretty rapidly, then again we've seen this for a while. Good find with the article duder

 

scott frizzle

 

yeah the AMD GPU set makes the nMP kinda a deal breaker unless you edit in FCPx and don't need to calculate alot

 

basilisk

 

That's actually my biggest concern with the 5k iMac ... with the system driving that 5k monitor, whats the viewport performance in a 3d application? It seems (logically) that viewport performance would take a major nosedrive in order to keep the monitor working. So if I went the iMac route I'd buy the old one with the NVIDIA cards and the 2k screen.

 

RVA8

 

Your workflow is actually what I want. It's at the point where the PC is great for rendering and the heavier 3d files, but the Mac could be used for design and AE. As I respond to these I have given up on the nMP and if I stay Apple i'll get the older iMac's (which should be fine) and then throw some cash at building a nice PC over the next year or two. Also I'm in NYC too so I feel you on the whole apartment thing

 

 

... guys thank you so much for all of your help I've gotten alot to think about and I think I have a good idea of what I'm gonna do. Now it's time to crunch the numbers and give my 12 core the viking funeral it deserves. Silver lining in all of this is that at least I can write this off on my taxes.

 

- Florio

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Apparently there is a (new?) way to render to pro res on the PC side:

 

http://lesterbanks.com/2014/10/render-ffmpeg-directly-effects-aempeg/

 

while this does work. ffmpeg exporting things like prores (which is patented by apple) or h264/mp4 have certain patent issues which could leave you open to potential legal issues. if you read their legal page it seems like a super vague and nebulous legal grey area. if you're an individual or small business you're probably never going to have trouble but bigger companies could be opening themselves up to trouble.

 

shameless plug opportunity: if any of that concerns you consider peeking over here and dropping a few bucks.

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... guys thank you so much for all of your help I've gotten alot to think about and I think I have a good idea of what I'm gonna do. Now it's time to crunch the numbers and give my 12 core the viking funeral it deserves. Silver lining in all of this is that at least I can write this off on my taxes.

 

- Florio

 

I wouldn't fully kick that thing to the curb completely, might be worth holding onto and taking at look at what's wrong with it or getting it repaired for an extra render machine. Something could be as simple as a dead power supply, who knows.

Edited by Grundly

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Seems like the Retina iMac can scale to 2560x1440 kind of like the Macbook Pro's. And it beats the 4 core nMP in some tests, including Cinebench.

 

I bought the first Retina Macbook Pro in 2012 and had some issues with image retention on the screen. Apple fixed it in the end but I am slightly wary of such a high-res new panel. I am considering it now though. I liked the idea of being able to chuck the new Mac Pro in my bag but maybe I could manage with this thing and a custom Peli case. Need to go check them all out in the store really.

 

http://barefeats.com/imac5k.html

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Does C4D take advantage of SLI or Crossfire? Thinking of getting a new video card for the hackintosh and value-wise dual 970's vs a single 980 makes more sense, especially for gaming performance. The older threads I found said C4D wasn't but those were from a few years ago...

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nope, no sli support for cinema4d. As it seems its mostly the cpu that limits viewport performance anyway..

 

but for stuff like gpu rendering, 2 970's is definitly better than 1 980.

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Seems like in the everyday world of C4D and certainly AE, large GPU leverage isn't going to take off anytime soon.

 

So what do we know IS going more GPU? By which I mostly mean OpenCL

 

3rd party C4D render engines like Octane and VRAY

Nuke?

FCPX

VC Element

Red Giant Universe

 

Anything else obvious?

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Seems like in the everyday world of C4D and certainly AE, large GPU leverage isn't going to take off anytime soon.

 

So what do we know IS going more GPU? By which I mostly mean OpenCL

 

3rd party C4D render engines like Octane and VRAY

Nuke?

FCPX

VC Element

Red Giant Universe

 

Anything else obvious?

 

I know Davinci Resolve relies heavily on CUDA for real time processing and seems like Premiere is pushing to offload effects to graphics cards as well via CUDA. I also know Maya's Viewport 2.0 can benefit greatly from a beefed up graphics card.

 

So I guess the same question goes for any of these apps, would SLI/Crossfire benefit in any way or are none of the professional applications optimized for multi GPUs?

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Thea render. also uses GPU and has cpu fallback. So if you dont have enough memory you can still get your stuff rendered.

 

I think im going to be buying it in the next week or 2. looks like its finally at a point where some of my projects will work with it.

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