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hamtickle Level 1 Level 1
I do a lot of video editing: (transcoding from DVD to mp4, transcoding from windows DVR format to mp4, trimming out commercials, personal video editing using adobe) etc, and my old windows machine is very slow - these files are also very big (a bluray can be about 8gig once it is transcoded). I use my windows machine as a DVR - run the cable box right into it to capture the TV shows I want, then I transcode/edit them to play on devices such as my kids TV and the ipod/blackberry.

I am contemplating my options:
1. upgrade my windows machine with new cpu, board, memory, gpu etc) or
2. buy a mac... so I am guessing I would have to go mac pro to get the performance I want.

Any thoughts? Will the Mac do what I want QUICKLY (the speed is very important because I am sick of sitting around waiting for files to be processed). I also want to know if the mac supports recording TV and if so, which program does that?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

My current Windows configuration is:
XP MCE, Pentium 4 (yes it is old), 2 Gig ram.

Windows XP
  • Samsara Level 4 Level 4
    You must already have a large collection of PC software and hardware. What will getting a Mac do with all that?
    I believe there's no real speed advantage in the high end machines of either platform. Since you seem to want raw power, and I'll assume for as little money as possible, I'd see how far you could take the system you have, upgradeability-wise, up the scale. If it can match or come near the performance of most modern machines, mac or pc, your solution is there.
    Good luck.

    Edit: I use something from this page on my Mac. You'll need a device to record TV.

    Message was edited by: Samsara
  • hamtickle Level 1 Level 1
    Thanks for the post Samsara. Most of my software is freeware although I have had to buy some of the critical components (Slysoft's AnyDVDHD is one of them). It seems that you have a high end mac to work with. Do you have an opinion about whether a quad core processor is of any benefit for high end number crunching (transcoding) or will a fast dual core processor work better? (imac vs mac pro, or i7 vs dual core type of question). The quad core's do not clock as high as the dual cores... and if I upgrade I have to make these kinds of decisions. I would hate to create a new build that didn't yield better performance for this type of workload.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  • Samsara Level 4 Level 4
    First,... Hi Hamticle, Welcome to the Apple Discussions. I wasn't sure that you would be more than a passing stranger, on your way to continuing your PC use. Glad your researching the options.
    I'm out of my depth here as the video editing I do is on the software side, where Photoshop and After Effects are the thing.
    I know enough about encoding to do what I need to do, but I'm not an expert in Video production or DVD authoring. There may even be better pages here centering on those issues.
    Barring any hardware issues like devices you would need to have, I can only speak for the Mac Pro side of things. What I see so far in the Apple line up right now, the top three in my opinion are the, 8 core 2.93, 8 core 2.66 and anything else. The 2.66 is the better value over the 2.93.
    If you're looking for speed, then top of the line everything is what you want. But with things being so good in all the DTs out there, especially Apples, speed has become more relative. If you haven't used anything other than your older machine, you'll be in for a pleasant surprise with almost anything you get.
  • hamtickle Level 1 Level 1
    Again thanks. I am really interested in moving to the mac world and so I pursue the questions in this forum. There is something about the OS that makes me want to try to move to Apple and away from windows for editing but still have many questions.

    Point is well taken, the old machine I have today is slow compared to current options, but still, a mac pro is thebest part of $3K so I don't want to buy one (and update software and periferals) to find it was not well suited to the type of video work I do.

    I will continue to scan the forums as you suggest. Cheers for now.
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9
    You could build an Extreme Core i7 975 and run Handbrake. If you go for a 1:1 or faster type performance, and are looking at dual socket processor, then yes the Mac Pro might have something harder to build.

    Not sure about EyeTV and recording and the rest, but having built a couple PCs I spent almost as much in the end as 4-core Mac Pro. Oh, and you can run Windows on Mac Pro if you want.

    Core i7 975 3.3GHz in Quad Mac Pro

    Touring Intel Nehalem

    Core i7 920 is popular and most likely what you would be building around

    Pro apps - more RAM, more and faster processor

    It would be easy to spend a fortune to do it right, no matter which platform. The Mac makes sense if you plunge into dual processor.
  • Samsara Level 4 Level 4

    One thing to keep in mind is how upgradeable your pc is. I personally know little about them. But from posts here I understand that the option to swap out processors is a real option on some machines.
    Good luck. You sound determined to proceed in a direction once you've found the best one. I wish you luck.
    Come back often if it's the Mac you choose.
  • Samsara Level 4 Level 4
    Cool, thanks Hatter... good stuff.
  • hamtickle Level 1 Level 1
    thanks - I use Handbrake occaisionally now, but have spotty results with it. I find that it gives me an ok transcode to mp4 about1 in 5 times and so I use it only when other software fails me. Still, it is free and you have to love that.

    So, about the dual processor - given the software available, will transcoding be quicker with the two processors? Or is that a hedge against future software releases that can take advantage of them? I currently use Slysoft AnyDVD HD (a pc based solution) for ripping, movavi video converter/handbrake to do transcoding, DVRMStoMPEG for transcoding the DVR/TV shows and MPEG Streamclip for editing out the commercials and clipping the mpegs. Adobe Premiere and photoshop for editing my home video and photos. So given that I will have to replace most of this software (mostly freeware so no great loss) if I move to a Mac, will the dual processors be worth it?
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9
    There are benchmarks showing how more cores and threads scale.

    The PC i7 X58 socket 1366 can not only take the current 920 series, but also the 6-core / 12-thread Gulftown due in 2010.

    I spent over six months researching, was going to be my 1st PC build. Of course I learned a lot and took that to build a second! (#1 is now my test bed).

    I only mentioned Handbrake because it understands and works well with hyper-threading, and we had a thread here back around March/May.

    If you planned to use Apple's Final Cut and other Suites, the Mac makes more sense.

    The one thing you can do with Mac is still run Windows, use PC graphics, but SLI/CF are not supported, focus is on OpenCL based CUDA/GPGPU. And I think anything that can be done with using a highend GPU for parallel processing, like the ATI 5870, is all good.
  • hamtickle Level 1 Level 1
    I am probably making this overly complicated... I should walk before I run. My guess is that a mac pro (single processor) will be significantly quicker than my current set up, and with plenty of memory it should work fine for starters. Seems the technology is upgradeable, albeit not as cheaply as the windows world.

    I also rip bluray but I don't think Apple has embraced that technology yet. Any opinions?
  • Faddh Level 1 Level 1
    The Quad Mac Pro basically is a i7 Windows PC, which you can built yourself starting from around US$800,-

    The Octo Mac Pros are workstation level machines, which are well worth their money, but for your purposes I do think a single i7 PC/Mac would suffice, as you do typical, albeit in quantity, homelevel video transcoding.

    Now, I don´t know your exact motherboard specifications, but probably you could pop in some Intel Core Duo E6400 series CPU, or even a Quad Core Q6600 one. They are cheap at the moment - you even could buy them used, and they would significantly speed up your system. If that is possible, I would bump up the RAM to 4GB and upgrade the CPU.

    For video encoding more cores is always better, BUT: The software must support this, like the already mentionned "Handbrake", which scales well with multicore environments.
  • hamtickle Level 1 Level 1
    thanks also for your thoughts. I assume you meant a windows PC for around $800 - I haven't heard of anyone building macs... My motherboard is probably a slow board (FSB speed etc) so I would upgrade with a new boad, cpu and memory to get the best performance out of the components if I went that way. That also suggests that the Powersupply and other things will need upgrading and now we are talking about serious surgery, not just a cpu and memory upgrade. I am not a pc builder though, and the thought of something going wrong and trying to fix it sounds like a headache and a waste of time (I want to use it not fix it...).

    I have also heard that for video editing that you are well served with a CPU that gives you more L3 cache (6MB vs 3MB). Not sure what to think of graphics cards - do they improve performance for video editing or are they just good for gaming?
  • TomWheeler Level 1 Level 1

    I began video editing many years ago on an Amiga using the Video Toaster. In 1995 I moved to the PC platform when several good NLE systems became available for the PC. I have used the Newtek Video Toaster, Sony's Vegas Pro (through version 8), Edius from Grass Valley (now at version 5), and Newtek's SpeedEdit all on the PC. About 2.5 years ago, I moved to the Mac for my all of my computing needs including video editing. Initially I purchased an iMac and installed and used Final Cut Studio 2 successfully on that platform. As I grew more familiar with Final Cut Studio 2 and began to make more demands on it, I gave my wife my iMac and purchased a Mac Pro (Early 2008 with 12 GB of RAM, 2.8 GHz 8-core processor). Recently when Final Cut Studio 3 came out, I upgrade to that for my video editing. I present all of the above simply to let you know that I am quite familiar with video editing on both PC's and Mac's and still maintain and use both platforms although all of my video editing is now done on the Mac.

    Here are a few things that I think will be helpful to you. If you are doing basic video editing, then either the PC or the Mac will do a fine job for you. In fact, all Mac computers come with the iLife suite of Apple programs that includes iMovie '09 an excellent program for doing very quick and pain-free video editing. I would encourage you to visit Apple's web siteand look at iMovie '09 as it may be all that you need to edit your videos. If you wish to do more advanced video editing, then I do not think you can find a more capable or versatile NLE than Final Cut Pro 7 which is part of the Final Cut Studio 3 package. FCP7 and its predecessors has been used to produce full length motion pictures as well as broadcast commercials, documentaries, etc. FCP7 should not present a difficult learning curve to you if you have some familiarity with NLE on the PC. I find the Apple Pro Training book by Diana Weynand to be an outstanding way to become familiar with editing using FCP7.

    Apple has indeed been very slow to support Blu-ray on it computers, although to some extent the void has been filled by third party software such as Toast Titanium Pro (for authoring and burning Blu-ray disks on the Mac) and Adobe's Encore CS4 which does a fine job of authoring and burning Blu-ray disks. More recently, with FCP7 and Compressor 3.5 (both a part of the Final Cut Studio 3 package although note that Apple does not use the "3" in the name), Apple has offered basic Blu-ray disk preparation directly from FCP7 or (with more control over encoding) from Compressor 3.5. I have prepared several Blu-ray disks using both FCP7 and Compressor 3.5 and I think the Blu-ray disks look great and playback fine on my Blu-ray players. Note that it is also possible with FCP7 and Compressor 3.5 to create Blu-ray disks on regular red laser DVD's although the length of your program cannot exceed about 20-30 minutes for a single-layer DVD. Note also that these Blu-ray disks on red laser media will only play back on Blu-ray DVD players. Finally, if you wish to play back your Blu-ray disks on a Mac, you are out of luck. At this time, there is no software available from Apple or third parties that allows you to play back Blu-ray disks on a Mac. You can, however, install Windows on a Mac, boot your Mac under Windows using Boot Camp, and use Windows software to play back Blu-ray disks on a Mac.

    I realize I have covered a lot of ground here, but I hope it has been of some help to you.

  • Nadav Level 3 Level 3
    Hey Steve!

    Geez.. thanks for telling me that my 3.0 harpertown 2008 mac pro can't do much in terms of efficient video editing
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