Upgrading Mac Pro hardware?

Posted by jwilliam 
Upgrading Mac Pro hardware?
August 01, 2011 12:27PM
Well this has certainly been an interesting month to be an editor, hasn't it?

Earlier this year, I was considering upgrading my Mac Pro hardware. My current tower is 4 years old this month - a 2x2.66 Dual-Core Xeon. It's a solid machine and generally runs trouble-free, but it is getting to the bottom end of "supported hardware" lists.

The Mac Pro line is long overdue for a hardware upgrade, but looking at the direction Apple seems to be going as a company, I'm wondering if it might be a wiser idea to buy my next (and possibly last) Mac Pro now. It looks pretty clear to me that Apple is getting away from desktop computing & pro users, and I don't feel so optimistic that their Pro line is getting a massive overhaul that will be a game-changer. I'm even less optimistic that Apple is going to keep supporting the non-laptop line of pro hardware.

I'm an AVID user, and I just bought the Premiere package, but I'm not eager to see my FCP 7 studio package go extinct. You can still get Mac Pro towers with OS X 10.6.7, and until AVID & Premiere no longer support Snow Leopard, you could conceivably lock in a few more years of life of FCP7 without breaking a sweat. Or until FCPX comes up to pro standards.

Is anyone else considering upgrading now? I'm very happy with the editing rig that I've put together, and swapping in a new tower with 10.6.7 might buy me at least 4 more years of hassle-free editing.

Now twittering @jeffrey723
Re: Upgrading Mac Pro hardware?
August 01, 2011 01:19PM
Jeff, I believe I have the same Mac Pro as you do, Mac Pro 1, 1. It came out August of 2006. I've been upgrading it ever since. I just bought the ATI 5770 graphics card. And FCP 7 runs a lot better. You will see a big improvement working with Motion 4 & 5. I'm about to add another 8GB of ram. So I'll have 16GB's total. For $188.00 from transintl.com for a 8GB kit, it's a no brainer. My Mac Pro has been very reliable.

As far as buying the current Mac Pros that Apple has right now for sale, it might be wise to get one. I don't think Apple is going to put out anymore Mac Pros. But that's just me. I could be wrong.

Let us know what you end up doing...

Re: Upgrading Mac Pro hardware?
August 01, 2011 01:26PM
All indications I've seen and heard through my little network of friends tells me there is a new Mac Pro pretty close to be released. Some folks say it's a little smaller, others say it's the same size. But there is one coming according to them and it's due any time now.

i'm personally waiting on a new Mac Pro until they are released.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
Re: Upgrading Mac Pro hardware?
August 01, 2011 01:29PM
Walter, That would be good news. Thanks for jumping in with that info. I did hear something about a rack type Mac Pro that had PCI slots. But that could of been a rumor.
Re: Upgrading Mac Pro hardware?
August 01, 2011 05:42PM
Thanks Russ, upgrading the video card isn't a bad idea either.

If the new Mac Pro's come out with Lion installed, how much of a pain in the ass is it to get back to snow leopard? Has 10.6.7 been end-of-lifed like FCP 7?

Now twittering @jeffrey723
Re: Upgrading Mac Pro hardware?
August 01, 2011 07:07PM
You would probably have to reformat the HD and install SL. The only catch would be is if the new Mac Pros have a thing where you CAN"T install any OS's earlier than Lion.
Re: Upgrading Mac Pro hardware?
August 01, 2011 08:07PM
Well we know FCP 7 will run on Lion - not so sure about the Avid and Premiere installs though. Would you need to sell your old rig to upgrade? Might be worth it to keep them both online.

Re: Upgrading Mac Pro hardware?
August 01, 2011 10:59PM
I thoughts the reports were that FCP was a mixed bag on Lion?

In any case, I'd most likely try to hang on to my old tower. Last time I checked, Avid would buy it back for just under $800. I thought about it, but decided against it. If I could ever get busy enough, it'd make for a battle-tested backup or overflow work system.

This whole thought-exercise started when I envisioned the new Mac Pro's coming out and only running Lion, and if FCP is a little buggy on it, then it's kind of useless to me and I go back to considering the HP workstations (which is a scary but partly necessary thought).

Wonder what the specs on the new Mac Pro lines are going to be?

Now twittering @jeffrey723
Re: Upgrading Mac Pro hardware?
August 01, 2011 11:17PM
Yeah I'm in the same place really. It's time to upgrade, but I have no idea to what until things settle a bit more.

Re: Upgrading Mac Pro hardware?
August 02, 2011 03:27AM
I have the Mac Pro 1,1 too. Aside from the problem of finding compatible graphics cards -- it required an nVidia GeForce 8800 GT flashed by AppleMacanix -- I don't see it soon being obsolete.
Older Mac Pros have two SATA sockets on the logic board from which cables with eSATA sockets can be attached. (I did the easier of the two.) I believe the latest Mac Pros don't have these connectors. The convenience of being able to boot from an external eSATA drive -- foo on firewire -- keeps me loving my old Mac Pro.

Dennis Couzin
Berlin, Germany
Re: Upgrading Mac Pro hardware?
August 02, 2011 05:57AM
I work on the MacPro 1,1s. Not particularly speedy for today's day and age. No issues for offline editing, but it's not a machine I will want to use for batch transcoding of RED footage. But technology changes fast, and I think the speed on the MacPro 1,1 is comparable to a MBP of today.

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