9 Replies Latest reply on May 23, 2016 1:16 PM by Szalam

    Mac Pro Trashcan is Trash

    asal;naxax

      I did post this in the Premiere forum. I apologize for posting it here also, I just wanted to make sure I got as much help as possible from all users of Adobe Premiere and AE. Here goes.

       

      Like most that purchased the Mac Pro trashcan for performance in video editing (Premiere and After Effects), I am EXTREMELY disappointed with all of the problems, most noticeably the performance I am getting from a 5 thousand dollar system. I have decided to list my computer on eBay and cross my fingers.

       

      Here is my question.

       

      Should I just bite the bullet and switch back to PC? Or can I get superior performance with a beefed up Mac Pro 5,1 2012 model?

       

      I have been researching and it seems you can get them with the PCIe SSD hard drives, nVidia Titan Cards (and Quadro of course) loaded with RAM. It seems the best processor you can get in these things are the Dual 3.46 ghz 6-Core (12 total) Xeon (Westmere) processors. seems they may be a bit out-dated. Thoughts?

       

      I would really like to keep the stability of the OSX system and of course all of my apps/files/workflow, etc with minimal downtime by just restoring from a time machine backup.

       

      Could I see a much more significant boost in performance by going back to PC or should I give this Mac Pro 5,1 a shot?

       

      My budget is around $5K. I already have plenty of external drives and RAIDs. Would like to stick with OSX. Any advice or suggestions? I was kind of looking at something like this

       

      3 46GHz 12 Core Mac Pro 128GB RAM 960GB PCIe SSD 16TB USB 3 0 12GB Titan x 5K | eBay

       

      If the link is bad or you dont want to go to ebay here is the description:

       

      This is a REAL 5,1 Mac Pro, NOT a modified 2009 model. It has been MAXED OUT with the 12-core 3.46GHz (X5690 3.73GHz Turbo Boost) and 128GB of 1333MHz registered ECC RAM.

       

      The main drive is a super fast 960GB PCIe flash solid state. Along with the SSD, there are also four 4TB 7200RPM hard drives. A MASSIVE 17TB total storage capacity, plus two 6Gb/s eSATA ports for external storage.

       

      The graphics card is a 12GB GeForce GTX Titan X, fully Mac compatible. The card can drive up to four displays simultaneously. There is a dual-link DVI, three DisplayPorts, and an HDMI. 3072 CUDA cores!

       

      The standard ports include two Gigabit Ethernet, five USB 2.0, four FireWire 800, and optical digital audio in/out. A powered four-port USB 3.0 card is included, along with AirPort wireless and bluetooth modules.

       

      I havent had a PC since 2012 so I am kind of rusty with the new hardware technology. But would be willing to go back to PC for a better performing machine for $5K than this trashcan that is the bane of my existence. Thanks for any advice.

        • 1. Re: Mac Pro Trashcan is Trash
          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          You can get a PC for roughly the same specs for much less money - especially if you grab some used parts off of eBay to boost it up. I have one that's very similar to your specs (minus the GPU - mine has two Quadros instead) for less than $800. Got a used Dell off of eBay and added some really cheap used parts or things on sale on Amazon. It works great!

           

          Windows 7 and Windows 10 have both been really stable for me - not like the Windows of yore. People who think Windows is crashy are living in the past. I've had the same number of issues on my Macs as on my PC's lately. (Actually, more issues on the Mac, to be honest.)

           

          These days, I would not purchase a Mac for my workstation. They seem to be snubbing the professional market with their offerings. I have a MacBook Pro for traveling, but I just can't justify the cost of Mac Pros compared to their performance.

           

          That being said, you're talking about buying a used one from back before they went all nutso with their workstations, so let's look at the specs from an After Effects point of view (you'll have to ask in the Premiere forum for their thoughts).

           

          I don't think those processors are outdated. Desktop processors aren't really improving as quickly as they used to. 12 cores at 3.46 GHz is pretty good for working in Cinema 4D (which comes free with AE), etc. You want the higher clock speed for the many things that are single-core in all of your apps and you want a bunch of cores for the things that will benefit from it. So I say that's a good choice!

           

          GPU doesn't matter much in the current version of AE unless you use the obsolete ray-traced renderer. Now, if you use Element or other third-party plugins that render on the GPU, it's a different story. That graphics card is a pretty fantastic one for Element, for example, but you might look to see if the new NVIDIA cards (1080) are a better choice. More bang for the buck if they'll work in your workstation. They beat the Titans on some things despite costing less. I will say, having four monitors while working is awesome, so keep that in mind.

           

          In general, I recommend getting two SSD's; one for your OS, software, etc. and one for AE's cache, but as long as you have a couple hundred GB available to use for AE's cache on your main SSD, it should be okay. And remember, you want to keep about 20% of any hard drive free. So you need to have at least 400 GB free on that system once you install everything and let AE use 200 GB of that for its cache.

           

          You've got more RAM than you'll need in that workstation. Enjoy it!

           

          So, I guess I'm saying the machine you're looking at is okay, but you can spend $4,000 less and have a similar experience on a PC.

          • 2. Re: Mac Pro Trashcan is Trash
            asal;naxax Level 1

            Thanks for the in depth response. Lot of good info. I'm still a bit timid about switching back to PC.

             

            If I really wanted to stick with OSX, do you think I would see a phenomenal performance increase with the tower over the trash can?

             

            plus, I run a videography business on the side and want minimal downtime, restoring from a time machine backup really keeping me on the Mac side of things. Again, I appreciate the response. If I can see a nominal increase in performance with the stew box I think I might go that route. A PC sounds like a good idea too. Maybe a hackintosh as an option?

            • 3. Re: Mac Pro Trashcan is Trash
              Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              asal;naxax wrote:

               

              If I really wanted to stick with OSX, do you think I would see a phenomenal performance increase with the tower over the trash can?

              Without knowing the specs of your current "trashcan" or anything about how it's actually behaving, it'd be impossible to say for sure.

               

              I know the performance for many Mac users has improved immensely with recent updates to AE. I know my old MacBook Pro is working pretty well with it. Are you running version 13.7.2? Double-check (lots of people have had their CC app telling them they're up to date when they weren't). IT LIES! If you're not on 13.7.2, you should probably update to it.

               

              If that doesn't make things better, you still might consider holding onto your current machine for the next version of AE to see if it's better. The After Effects team has built a new previewing engine and have done some GPU acceleration (on Macs using OpenCL and Metal) for some effects, so your performance should become even better. Check out some of their sneak peek videos, NAB presentations, etc.

               

              How long would you have to hold on to see? Well, if memory serves, for the past three releases of AE, the new version has come out in mid-to-late June. Also, there was an Adobe blog post about Character Animator that said Preview 4 would come out in "early summer". Summer starts in June and since Ch is tied to AE, they're probably releasing together... I feel it's a safe guess that the new release would be towards the end of June. So, if that is a correct guess, you'd only have to hold on for a month longer if the 13.7.2 version isn't cutting it for you.

               

              If 13.7.2 isn't working for you, would you mind sharing the issues you're experiencing? My 2011 MacBook Pro running El Capitan is actually doing pretty well with it.

               

              asal;naxax wrote:

               

              plus, I run a videography business on the side and want minimal downtime, restoring from a time machine backup really keeping me on the Mac side of things.

              Very understandable. In your case, sticking with Mac might be your best bet. Like I said, I'm running AE on my MacBook Pro with El Capitan and I'm happy with how it works.

              Although, considering how cheap you could put a PC together for, you might just build one on the side while you keep on working on your Mac and then you can compare.

               

              asal;naxax wrote:

               

              Maybe a hackintosh as an option?

              I wouldn't bother. Once you're inside AE or Premiere Pro, you really can't tell what OS you're using! (Well, except for the alt/opt ctrl/cmd thing, but since those keys are in roughly the same places, it's a pretty minor difference.) And it's a lot easier to deal with Windows than trying to run OSX on PC hardware.

              • 4. Re: Mac Pro Trashcan is Trash
                asal;naxax Level 1

                Thanks again for your responses. I may hold out in that case. However, I am running version 13.5 and am not able to update it. Creative Cloud claims I'm up to date. Is there any way to manually update and download the patch?

                 

                The problems I experience is just that its incredibly slow. One layer of motion tracked text cant even preview at more than 2 frames per second. It takes forever to render a preview. Dynamic Linking crashes my system often when I try to import an AE comp into premiere. I would love to update After Effects and see if I get some better performance. Are there settings I need to change to get the most out of my processor? I understand AE is processor driven for the most part.

                • 5. Re: Mac Pro Trashcan is Trash
                  Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  Wow. You should notice a significant change just by updating!

                  There were a number of people who had issues updating. I don't remember all of the fixes. One was to quit all running apps, sign out of your CC account in the CC app, restart your machine, then sign in to the CC app again. (You may see updates for other Adobe software come through too!) If that doesn't work, you can search the forums for other folks with the issue and/or contact Adobe support.

                   

                  Seriously though, updating may solve most of your problems. 13.5.0 to 13.7.2 is like night and day.

                  • 6. Re: Mac Pro Trashcan is Trash
                    Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    First I don't want to start a hardware war and second I assure you that my brand loyalty is based entirely on customer service and experience rather than a cultish following of any brand.

                     

                    I would hold out for a while. The Adobe developer conference is coming right up and Adobe products are due for another update anytime. Planning a current hardware purchase on the current version of software rather than planning based on your experience with the platform is a bad idea because everything changes all the time.

                     

                    Personally, I have found the Mac OS and hardware much more economical in the long run by a lot than any custom built or factory built Windows machine. Mac has always lasted longer and resold at a much higher price than any Windows machine I have ever owned. I commonly keep hardware for three years or just a little less then sell it and upgrade. For the last 15 years I have kept careful records on the cost of maintenance and downtime on every business asset I own. For 9 of those 15 years  I have had both platforms in my office and I routinely work on other folks machines as a freelancer. About 60% of the other folks run on Windows, the other run on a Mac.  Historically considering all factors I get more profit from my Mac systems. If you are lucky enough to live close to an Apple Store nobody in any field beats Apple customer service. There is no contest there.

                     

                    To be fair for the last six years I have not purchased a high-end Windows machine of my own so I don't know exactly how well they are holding their resale value. I do know that home built PCs have almost no resale value.

                     

                    I will agree that Windows is a lot more stable than it has been, and somewhat less vulnerable to malicious software attacks. My Mac Pro as a dual-boot installed so I can run Windows 8 and AutoCAD.  It's a mid 2008 – still working fine, and the only piece of hardware I have ever held onto for more than three years because it just works and works every day. I just checked the sold listings on eBay and one just like mine with one quarter the memory and only one internal drive sold for $425. Hard to find any PC that would sell for that much that is that old.

                     

                    You will be fine if you base your decision on sound business principles, especially if this is a part-time business for you.

                    • 7. Re: Mac Pro Trashcan is Trash
                      Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      Rick Gerard wrote:

                       

                        If you are lucky enough to live close to an Apple Store nobody in any field beats Apple customer service. There is no contest there.

                      Truth. Apple is amazing at customer service.

                       

                      Rick Gerard wrote:

                       

                      To be fair for the last six years I have not purchased a high-end Windows machine of my own so I don't know exactly how well they are holding their resale value. I do know that home built PCs have almost no resale value.

                      You know, I wasn't considering resale value in my recommendations. I usually use computers until they die or they're so old nobody would buy them anyway, but even then I keep them just in case I need to go back for some reason. I still have a Dell desktop from 2002 with AE versions 5 through 7 on it.

                      • 8. Re: Mac Pro Trashcan is Trash
                        bogiesan Level 4

                        Not getting into the hardware war. My MacPro 2013 is fun, fast, stable, robust, nice looking, and runs everything I need quite well including living behind a military grade firewall and a smattering of invisible security apps. I would have been happy with the iMac that was available at the time but my boss went for the (far more) expensive machines. Do you know anyone else who has a similar Mac? Before you sell it, try editing AE on a different unit. All I can tell you is mine works well and far exceeds my needs and expectations.

                         

                        Late 2013, 3.5GHz 6-core,32 G RAM, SSD 1T, AMD FirePro d500 3072 MB

                        MacOS 10.10.5 Yosemite

                        • 9. Re: Mac Pro Trashcan is Trash
                          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          bogiesan wrote:

                           

                          My MacPro 2013 is... nice looking

                          See? Here's another thing I didn't consider. If you have clients coming in, nothing looks prettier than an Apple product!

                           

                          Anyway, as I suggested, once the original poster updates AE from 13.5.0 to 13.7.2, they should find their Mac Pro to behave itself a LOT better.