Archive for July 28th, 2010

28
Jul
10

new mac pro = bleh (?)

I would sit here typing my own opinion on the new Mac Pro lineup but why bother when I can simply plagiarize, err quote, Nat Jencks’ FCP-L post:

I agree that it’s a bit of a dissapointment, but the thing is, that to integrate high quality usb3, esata, SAS, Bluray, HDMI, would bump the price significantly. Typically when this stuff is built into the motherboard it’s a fairly low quality component.

The beauty of a tower is that you have the ability to add these on as cards without paying for what you don’t want.

That said, I agree, a disappointment. Apple’s benchmarks showing ~1.3 speed increase from the last generation are underwhelming given that its been a year and a half.
I think these machines are an afterthought for apple at this point. i’ve noticed that apple has removed the towers from most marketing pictures that show their lineup. Apple has started to frequently refer to itself as a “portable computing company”… I think that its clear to apple that there’s not much innovation to be to done in this sector, and the hardware is essentially the same that you would get from any manufacturer.

Also a bit frustrating that Apple is continuing to push ATI GPUs.

For better or worse, almost all the high end applications that heavily lean on the GPU seem to be optimized for Nvidea Quadro’s, and use Nvidea’s CUDA architecture. It seems like there is some politics going on there, as Apple is pushing it’s “OpenCL” standard. The end result of all this seems to be that Apple likes ATI, and works with them to create good drivers for the ATI cards, but most developers are developing for the Nvidea cards, but the drivers are comparitively poor compared to their windows couterparts.

Blech. The whole situation is a FAIL for the user.
Here’s hoping that developers start optimizing for the ATI cards, or that Nvidea starts prioritizing their mac drivers.

Well put Mr. Jencks.  From the comfort of my  Final Cut Studio & Adobe Creative Suite Production Premium centric edit suite, I’m still quite happy with my current Mac Pro and don’t see a compelling reason to upgrade. 2 x 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon with 12GB RAM and an ATI Radeon HD 3870 running Final Cut Studio 2 (FCP 6.06) and Adobe Production Premium CS4 is all I need to keep cranking out 720p YouTube videos.  Throw in a Kona 3 and a monitor of your choice for broadcast work and you’re set for the next however long.

The only feature request I have for Apple at this point is update FCP to allow for real time playback of H264 files from my 5dmarkii.  Seriously, that’s it.  And by-the-by, has anyone considered the fact that Apple’s minimal update with FCS3, which many also considered to be underwhelming, was actually a favor to the small production house business owners?  In this economy Apple hasn’t unleashed a beast that everyone has to buy.  Instead we get to keep racking up the profit margin on already paid for hardware and software.

proactively • thank you Mr. Jobs • peter

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.  Oh yeah, and he’s an Apple Certified Trainer so you can derive his bias for yourself.

***UPDATE***

Brook Willard has written the post EVERYONE is reading and talking about.  Read this snippet for a glimpse of the awesome and click thru for the full, thorough read:

Brook Willard in his own words

***UPDATE 2***

Thanks to Oliver Peters’ kind words and linkage on the FCP-L, I felt compelled to put a few more thoughts out into the blogo-listserv-er-sphere:

Oliver, thank you for your kind words. I just finished reading Brook’s post and it is extremely thorough and well thought out. The history he walks us through does a lot to support his perspective. I can only hope the right eyes read what he said about the importance rally car racing has for Subaru, that NASCAR has for Ford, etc. The last thing Apple needs to do for the long run is “strap a V12 to a Yugo.”

For the post production needs of my employer and of many shops in the DC market FCP 6 on a year old Mac Pro with sufficient RAM and GPU to cut 3 or 4 streams of 1920×1080 ProRes in real time is totally acceptable. Ethernet based SANs have come a long way so we don’t even need to use FW800 except for transferring footage to and from Rugged LaCie’s or logging and transferring P2 media. I think we are all familiar with the multitude of shows making it to broadcast on Discovery, Travel Channel, History, etc based on workflows as dated as this.

My only requested upgrade from Apple at this point is software based: real time playback of H264 footage in FCP’s timeline. That would help make the next 6 months of my life easier with all the Canon 5D Mark II footage I’ll be working with (and I’m sure a lot of other people out there too).

At some point I do want to see the hardware / software FCP Extreme or Phenomenon that’s been rumored forever. While I was trained on Avid I grew into my own with Final Cut Pro and I’m much happier doing more complex editing, compositing and grading in the Studio suite of applications. With almost 10 years of FCP editing experience, growing again with one app to rule them all driven by a Volkswagen R32 would be awesome. Stick shift please.




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