14 Replies Latest reply on Mar 28, 2016 6:19 PM by RjL190365

    Hardware recommendations please


      I apologize in advance for posting a question that has probably been asked and answered a lot, but I couldn't find the exact info I needed by searching the forum. I own an audio post production studio specializing in sound for TV, and I am planning to build a simple video suite running Adobe Premiere and CC. I would also like to add CC to my Pro Tools Mac.


      Adding CC to my Pro Tools Mac:

      My current Mac Pro is a 2010 8-core 2.4ghz Xeon (Westmere) with 22GB RAM, running OSX 10.8.5 (Mountain Lion) for Pro Tools 10 compatibility. Do I need to upgrade my OS to run Adobe CC 2015, or can I run a legacy version like CC 2014? I use 2 DELL U2211H monitors as my main display, and also feed preview video for clients to an LG HDTV through an Avid Mojo. The Mojo needs to go. I have heard many conflicting opinions about which Blackmagic HDMI card to get to replace it. I just need to output HDMI, not capture. It also needs to be compatible with Pro Tools (I know this is not the forum for that, though). Will the installed ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card work, or do I need to upgrade that? Any other components I need to add?


      Buying or building a Mac-based CC setup in the new suite:

      I want the new suite to be compatible with the setup above. Should I essentially duplicate the components, or is there a better base Mac to start with? I am also considering using a Macbook Pro as the computer so I could take it on the road with me when necessary. Any thoughts on that?


      Please let me know if you need more info from me in order to give answers. Thank you in advance for the help!



        • 1. Re: Hardware recommendations please
          Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

          I would suggest you talk to Eric Bowen at ADK.  Not only are they experts in custom editing configurations they are also experts in audio post production.

          • 2. Re: Hardware recommendations please
            RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

            there are some pc guides here that may give some insights into setup configs Tweakers Page  which hardware you need depends on the project and media.


            the ati radeon hd 5770 might be compatible, but the performance will be poor. a gtx 960 or 970 will be many times faster. if you dont plan on alot of gpu effects the gtx 750 may be enough. you will want to check which power leads you have available to help get a compatible new card. some of the gtx 750's like the ones from evga, don't require any power plugins. if you buy a regular gtx card it wont have boot options for the mac, as it doesn't have a mac bios. you can keep the old card around to swap out if you need, or get a mac specific version. the gtx 680 mac version is a fast card, but might have to buy used. there is also this website that flashes new cards to work with mac's. MacVidCards.com - Home  you may want to ask on mac forums for upgrade specifics and compatibility as this forum is primarily pc and you may not get those answers here. maybe some mac people will chime in and be able to answer better.


            media storage will be the next concern, using ssd's will help access media faster. you can have one ssd for os/apps, one for cache, and another for media. if you dont plan on using rendered previews in premiere, you can consider placing the cache on the os/apps drive and just using two ssd's. if you need alot of space for the media, you can look at raid hdd's or multiple large ssd's. the 2tb samsung ssd's are coming out soon if you do need large storage and want ssd's.


            a new macbook pro 4 core cpu will come close to the 8 core westmere you have, but none have a very good video card. if you dont plan on using alot of gpu effects or color grading on the laptop, it may work for simple cuts and allow for portability. if you want a fast computer to handle even raw and/or 4k footage and handle gpu effects and coloring, then you will want a mac pro. you can still look at faster 12 core last gen mac pro's, or the new mac pro's. here's a website with some benchmarks to see, your 8 core westmere should be the one listed with the xeon E5620, which is about half the speed of the fastest 12 cores. Mac Benchmarks - Geekbench Browser  (click on 64 bit multicore tab to see). if you go with another older mac pro, you will want to look at the same upgrades as your current. meaning ssd's and video card and making sure it has enough ram (24-32gb area).


            you will want to use the same version of premiere on both computers. a few versions of premiere (including cc2015) use different project formats, which aren't backwards compatible. so if you had to transfer a project to the other computer and it was using an older version of premiere, you wouldn't be able to open it.


            i don't know if premiere cc2015 will work or not on osx 10.8.5, but the website lists 10.9. System requirements | Adobe Premiere Pro   you can always download the trial and try the different versions all the way back to cs6, to see which ones will run and which one you like.


            if you are looking at the blackmagic devices, they have several different ones depending on your needs, including 4k. if you just need simple playback the mini monitors may be enough and are very affordable. they have thunderbolt versions as well, and the website says its compatible with protools. you may want to check further with them for compatibility between the os version and protools versions you are using.

            Blackmagic Design: UltraStudio Thunderbolt™ Software

            Blackmagic Design: DeckLink Software

            • 3. Re: Hardware recommendations please
              ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

              The media you will be working with on the video side has a very large impact on the hardware requirements. The 2.4Ghz 8 core chips from I7 Gen 1 though are going to struggle with most of the complex codecs out today especially if they are higher compression level and greater than 1080 res. Even upgrading the video card on that Mac Pro is going to have limited impact on the editing performance. You will want an Nvidia card and I do suggest you go to CC 2015 versus 2014 since the new system should handle that well if you get the right specs. The Blackmagic cards should be fine for monitoring and the only issues I have seen have been OSX based versus issues with the Hardware. I would strongly suggest you take a look at an X99 workstation though for the videoediting system versus Mac. The nMPro's are still I7 Gen 3 or Ivy Bridge. The current Intel platform is I7 Gen 4 Haswell E which introduced DDR4 to the market. DDR4 has a tremendous impact on GPU acceleration applications in the media content creation realm along with audio editing production especially Protools which utilizes ram buffering far more now. The i7 5960X would be the CPU to look at with atleast 32GB of DDR4 and a 980Ti video card. Windows 10 is releasing next week so I would also consider that as well. The media itself and your archive storage requirements will decide the ideal storage config. BTW as long as you network the Windows system to the OSX systems, file system support is handled by network protocols and services. You don't need to purchase HFS+ or NTFS software support for the OSX or Windows machines.




              • 4. Re: Hardware recommendations please
                jimmyg95327409 Level 1

                Thanks to everyone for the amazing advice. You guys are the best! I'll report back once I get things up and running.

                • 5. Re: Hardware recommendations please
                  jimmyg95327409 Level 1

                  Well, it has taken awhile, but I just bought a used Mac Pro to use in my new edit room. It's a 2010 12-core 3.46ghz Mac Pro 5,1 with 64GB RAM, 500GB SSD, and a GTX680. My next step is picking out the right storage device(s). I have decided on a PCIE-based RAID 0 with 2x1TB SSDs, and 2 internal HDDs running as clones for backup. Please let me know if you think this is not a good plan, if there are better options, or if I'm wasting money. I'm open to suggestions and/or face slaps. Here are the SSDs and controller card I am looking at:


                  Samsung 850 EVO 1 TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E1T0B/AM)


                  Sonnet Tempo SSD Pro Plus Storage Controller Plug-In Card (TSATA6-SSDPS-E2)


                  Thanks a lot!



                  • 6. Re: Hardware recommendations please
                    RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

                    that doesn't look like a real raid card. for that price you might as well invest a real raid card that can do 4 or 8 drives to give yourself more options later. areca has some that are mac os compatible.

                    • 7. Re: Hardware recommendations please
                      Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                      The 850 EVO SSD's are lousy write performance devices, do not believe the specs. 

                      • 8. Re: Hardware recommendations please
                        jimmyg95327409 Level 1

                        Thanks again, Bill & Ron. I have been struggling with finding the right storage solution for this editing system. I have looked at so many RAID cards and enclosures that I think I'm even more confused than I was before. For example, people have recommended Rocketraid cards, but there are like 40 different versions, most of which get mixed reviews. Here is my question:


                        Given the Mac Pro specs below, can you please recommend a specific storage and backup solution to handle general broadcast TV projects?


                        2010 12-core 3.46ghz Mac Pro 5,1 with 64GB RAM, 500GB SSD, and a GTX680, running OS X Yosemite.


                        I would love to hear one or two specific models of cards, enclosures, drives, and/or software RAID schemes that would be suitable. Ideally I would like to stay under $1,500, but if I need to spend more, I can. I just need to know that the hardware I purchase will work with the Mac Pro, and will provide enough speed and redundancy for my needs.


                        Again, thank you so much!

                        • 9. Re: Hardware recommendations please
                          Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                          Sorry, but I do not know enough about Mac's

                          • 10. Re: Hardware recommendations please
                            RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

                            i do not use mac either. i can give my 2 cents, but you will have to check for your mac compatibility. you could also check on mac forums.


                            many raid cards around $100 are going to be considered "software" raid cards. they depend on the systems cpu, instead of having their own dedicated cpu. those types of raid cards are value/budget type and will be hard to find one that's good. these won't be much different than the ssd raid card you found, but some do have more sata ports. however the ssd raid card you linked would keep the hdd bays open for more storage options. if you did plug in the ssd's to the motherboard with something like these http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/MMP35T25/, software raid-0 might be better than dealing with a cheap raid card. i've seen "softraid" mentioned several times before. however doing this setup would limit the ssd's to the mac pro's sata II 3gb speeds, which would reduce their performance.


                            if you want raid 5 or 6, you will want a real raid card. areca has some that say they are mac compatible. these are going to be somewhat expensive, so if you plan on just doing a couple of drives in raid-0, the other raid options might be easier and cheaper.


                            for backups, it will depend on how much space you need and if you want it internal or external. for example, an internal backup could be a single large hdd or a mirror with two drives. there seems to be some workarounds for drives larger than 2tb, as well as some using different screw locations and depths. https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6774631?start=0&tstart=0  if you want external backup, it will depend what connection you have and want to use. network vs usb, i don't know if you have thunderbolt available. you may be able to add in another card, like a faster usb 3 card, preferably one that doesn't need a molex power connector. network storage (nas) can be a bit more expensive, but opens up more options, like bigger capacity. some nas devices also have usb ports and raid. usb can be as simple as a single drive dock or cage, or multiple drive bays. enterprise drives should be higher quality and have lower failure rates, if you are worried about that.

                            • 11. Re: Hardware recommendations please
                              jimmyg95327409 Level 1

                              Thanks a lot, Ron! The thing I like about the card I found is that it gets great reviews from Mac owners, and the PCIE connection is faster than the SATA II connection for SSDs. It also uses only 1 PCIE slot for 2 cards. That would free up my 3 remaining internal SATA slots for backup drives and an additional SSD for caches if needed. I plan to get a USB III card for client drives, and could always use one of those ports for additional external drives.


                              Comments welcome. Thanks!

                              • 12. Re: Hardware recommendations please
                                cc_merchant Level 4

                                That controller card is a waste of money. It has no IOP, no cache memory, no support or logic for any raid level, so it is nothing more than a connector card. If you want a raid controller, it must have a dedicated IOP, dedicated cache memory and hardware logic for parity raid levels. Reasonable cards are not found for prices lower than around $ 600 (at least in the PC world. MAC may be more expensive), and can go up to around $ 1500 for really good controllers with lots of ports and large fast cache.


                                If all you want is to stripe some SSD's in raid0, you may be able to do that right off the motherboard in software mode. If you need parity raid, you need a dedicated raid controller like an Areca ARC 1883ix-12/4G or better. The big plus of Areca is that it supports raid3, the drawback is the price. An alternative may be LSI, but then you only have raid5 or 6, both levels are less than ideal for video editing.

                                • 13. Re: Hardware recommendations please
                                  RjL190365 Level 4

                                  Bill Gehrke wrote:


                                  The 850 EVO SSD's are lousy write performance devices, do not believe the specs.

                                  I can confirm this with an old 120 GB 840 EVO: Its write speed performance when exporting from the PPBM9 (for CC2015) Disk I/O timeline is a crummy 170-ish MB/second. The 850 EVO may be faster, but still can't do much above 200-ish MB/second with the PPBM9 Disk I/O timeline. These results are no faster than most single mechanical spinning hard drives.


                                  In addition, when I performed the CrystalDiskMark sequential write speed benchmarks, both the 840 EVO and the 850 EVO exhibited a substantial drop in the sequential write speed performance with disk caching turned off in Windows. Most of the other drives (and yes, this includes spinning hard drives) do not exhibit anywhere near such a precipitous drop in sequential write performance with disk caching turned off.


                                  For that matter, none of the lower-to-middle line SSDs perform particularly well in this particular write-speed test: The problem lies within the NAND flash memory itself and/or the SSD controller.


                                  As a result of my limited testing, the EVO series (and other low-to-middle-end SSDs) should be used only as the OS/programs drive.

                                  • 14. Re: Hardware recommendations please
                                    RjL190365 Level 4

                                    After a retest, I am taking back what I stated about the 850 EVO in this thread.


                                    I tested a new 500GB 850 EVO in both my main system and in my laptop, using a USB 3.0 UASP-enabled enclosure. I also tested another 500GB 850 EVO in my main desktop rig through its native SATA III ports.


                                    My results, using the PPBM9 Disk I/O timeline, proved that it was only the 840 EVO (not the 850 EVO) that delivered lousy PPBM9 write speed results. The 850 EVO delivered 400 to 500 MB/second PPBM9 Disk I/O timeline results, depending on the installation (400 MB/second with a USB 3.0 enclosure connected to a laptop, 430 MB/second in that same enclosure but connected to my main desktop, and 500 MB/second connected directly to the SATA III ports inside my main desktop). By contrast, I could not get my older 120GB 840 EVO to produce PPBM9 results any faster than 160-ish MB/second regardless of the enclosure or connection (this despite the CrystalDiskMark benchmark sequential write speed results of nearly 400 MB/second through USB 3.0 and nearly 500 MB/second through SATA III).


                                    Thus, I can determine that it was the 840 EVO's 2D TLC NAND that's seriously limiting the performance. The 3D TLC NAND that's used in the 850 EVO doesn't suffer from anywhere close to those same write speed problems. And what's more, the expected write durability of 3D TLC NAND is almost as high as that of 2D MLC NAND.