Whats your current computer setup like?

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Re: Whats your current computer setup like?

Post by calaverasgrande » Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:16 am

Ashe37 wrote:
calaverasgrande wrote:I'm running 2 MOTU audio interfaces, a UAD DSP card and a raid array box off of mine, and that is before I get to USB.
The only thing I really see as a PITA on integrating a 2013 Mac Pro into a production environment is the lack of TB to fiber channel. So working with a NAS/SAN using fiber means a pricey TB to PCIE adapter. But then if you are using a fiber storage solution, $1000 for an adapter is a mere collateral expense.
Meanwhile, in the pro graphics space, competitors to the Mac Pro can take four graphics cards, one or two PCIe SSDs, and four or more 2.5" SSDs, in addition to not needing to waste a USB port just to have an optical drive.
I run the IT side of a broadcast facility . I'm familiar with what a workstation can be set up as.
A workstation with 4 graphics cards and multiple SSDs might be good for molecular modeling, medical imaging or advanced CAD CAM. In our workflow, we create motion graphics in C4D and a After Effects with no such frippery. We use a render farm which is more cost effective and does not tie up the user interface while jobs are getting done.
If you need an excuse to hate the new Mac Pro I can furnish a ton. Why no kensington lock slot? Why is the power switch on the back? But comparing it to an absurdly configured Z840 is silly.
The 840 can blow it out of the water, but such a Z840 also costs a ton, weighs a ton and consumes a ton of energy just sitting there. And at the end of the day you are using Avid on Windows, which suuuuuuucks.
The forte of Macs has never been leading edge performance. They are stable and work pretty damn well for content creation.
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Re: Whats your current computer setup like?

Post by Ashe37 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 4:10 am

calaverasgrande wrote: I run the IT side of a broadcast facility . I'm familiar with what a workstation can be set up as.
A workstation with 4 graphics cards and multiple SSDs might be good for molecular modeling, medical imaging or advanced CAD CAM. In our workflow, we create motion graphics in C4D and a After Effects with no such frippery. We use a render farm which is more cost effective and does not tie up the user interface while jobs are getting done.
If you need an excuse to hate the new Mac Pro I can furnish a ton. Why no kensington lock slot? Why is the power switch on the back? But comparing it to an absurdly configured Z840 is silly.
The 840 can blow it out of the water, but such a Z840 also costs a ton, weighs a ton and consumes a ton of energy just sitting there. And at the end of the day you are using Avid on Windows, which suuuuuuucks.
The forte of Macs has never been leading edge performance. They are stable and work pretty damn well for content creation.
If you're using GPU rendering, it doesn't tie up your UI, and depending on your exact render jobs, it can be much much faster than CPU rendering. You can still use render nodes, just a tenth as many of them with a couple GPUs.

A Z840 with the same number and size of drives, and one or two equivalent GPUs, is only going to consume about 24w more than a mac pro (with all of its external device power supplies added in) when at idle. At max power, it will consume less than 120w more- that's idle consumption of CPU versus full TDP- and it will be twice as fast. And be able to take *more than* twice the memory since the Z840 will be using DDR4 and has twice as many slots. The previous Mac Pro *was* made to compete with the original Z800 (or Dell's and Lenovo's equivalent).

By only having one processor socket, the current Mac Pro cripples its UI interactivity for multithreaded applications. You don't send every test frame to the render farm, and previewing your AE animations by sending frames to the farm can take longer than a quick preview on your own machine- both of which are either dependent on your local CPU and GPU power. It also cripples how much RAM you can have- in Xeons, a second CPU socket also doubles the number of RAM slots you have.

So just like the G4 Cube, their 'new' 'edgy' design just ends up screwing their high-end users.

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Re: Whats your current computer setup like?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Mar 25, 2015 4:30 am

The only issue I have with the new Mac Pro is that I have to really fight the urge not to chuck rubbish in it. Seriously, the first time I saw one was in a Mac shop after just getting a replacement iphone. I peeled the sticky protective layer of plastic off the screen and bunched it up and then without thinking threw it into the nearest rubbish-bin-looking object, which happened to be a Mac Pro.

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Re: Whats your current computer setup like?

Post by calaverasgrande » Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:25 am

Ashe37 wrote:
calaverasgrande wrote: I run the IT side of a broadcast facility . I'm familiar with what a workstation can be set up as.
A workstation with 4 graphics cards and multiple SSDs might be good for molecular modeling, medical imaging or advanced CAD CAM. In our workflow, we create motion graphics in C4D and a After Effects with no such frippery. We use a render farm which is more cost effective and does not tie up the user interface while jobs are getting done.
If you need an excuse to hate the new Mac Pro I can furnish a ton. Why no kensington lock slot? Why is the power switch on the back? But comparing it to an absurdly configured Z840 is silly.
The 840 can blow it out of the water, but such a Z840 also costs a ton, weighs a ton and consumes a ton of energy just sitting there. And at the end of the day you are using Avid on Windows, which suuuuuuucks.
The forte of Macs has never been leading edge performance. They are stable and work pretty damn well for content creation.
If you're using GPU rendering, it doesn't tie up your UI, and depending on your exact render jobs, it can be much much faster than CPU rendering. You can still use render nodes, just a tenth as many of them with a couple GPUs.

A Z840 with the same number and size of drives, and one or two equivalent GPUs, is only going to consume about 24w more than a mac pro (with all of its external device power supplies added in) when at idle. At max power, it will consume less than 120w more- that's idle consumption of CPU versus full TDP- and it will be twice as fast. And be able to take *more than* twice the memory since the Z840 will be using DDR4 and has twice as many slots. The previous Mac Pro *was* made to compete with the original Z800 (or Dell's and Lenovo's equivalent).

By only having one processor socket, the current Mac Pro cripples its UI interactivity for multithreaded applications. You don't send every test frame to the render farm, and previewing your AE animations by sending frames to the farm can take longer than a quick preview on your own machine- both of which are either dependent on your local CPU and GPU power. It also cripples how much RAM you can have- in Xeons, a second CPU socket also doubles the number of RAM slots you have.

So just like the G4 Cube, their 'new' 'edgy' design just ends up screwing their high-end users.
I kind of did a poor job of saying what I meant there. I often do this forum posting kind of stuff while I'm killing time at work as something cooks. What I was trying to point out about render farms is that more than one person can toss jobs at them. Where a maxed out workstation with tons of local storage and openGL/Cuda cores is pretty much a render farm of one. So it is only available to that person in front of it. Of course this is not strictly true, but in practice Alice gets ticked at Bob for throwing jobs on her Z830 while she is working.
Either way, we passed a point of diminishing returns with computer resources and audio production. AFAIK nobody is yet leveraging CUDA/OpenGL for audio DSP. And a single SSD of recent vintage is more than adequate for dozens of tracks in and out simultaneously. So unless you need more than two TB ports it is almost kind of silly to justify anything bigger than a 15" Mac Pro, or one of those 8000 series Elitebooks on the HP side. (which are pretty sick, if pretty heavy) for audio production.
I dabble in video production in addition to being a full time IT guy and part time musician. So I had to get the 2013 Mac Pro. Had nothing to do with the Darth Vader looking-ness, or tax write offs. :roll:

As far as 'screwing' their users? Nobody has a gun put to their head to buy a Mac.
You are free to get a big ole Z830 and uninstall all the garbage they jam it up with.
That is what we are doing for 4 more Avid positions next week.
(ok we will probably get an Avid provided image, still I hate HP's bloatware)
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Re: Whats your current computer setup like?

Post by Ashe37 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:31 am

calaverasgrande wrote: I kind of did a poor job of saying what I meant there. I often do this forum posting kind of stuff while I'm killing time at work as something cooks. What I was trying to point out about render farms is that more than one person can toss jobs at them. Where a maxed out workstation with tons of local storage and openGL/Cuda cores is pretty much a render farm of one. So it is only available to that person in front of it. Of course this is not strictly true, but in practice Alice gets ticked at Bob for throwing jobs on her Z830 while she is working.
Either way, we passed a point of diminishing returns with computer resources and audio production. AFAIK nobody is yet leveraging CUDA/OpenGL for audio DSP. And a single SSD of recent vintage is more than adequate for dozens of tracks in and out simultaneously. So unless you need more than two TB ports it is almost kind of silly to justify anything bigger than a 15" Mac Pro, or one of those 8000 series Elitebooks on the HP side. (which are pretty sick, if pretty heavy) for audio production.
I dabble in video production in addition to being a full time IT guy and part time musician. So I had to get the 2013 Mac Pro. Had nothing to do with the Darth Vader looking-ness, or tax write offs. :roll:

As far as 'screwing' their users? Nobody has a gun put to their head to buy a Mac.
You are free to get a big ole Z830 and uninstall all the garbage they jam it up with.
That is what we are doing for 4 more Avid positions next week.
(ok we will probably get an Avid provided image, still I hate HP's bloatware)
HP with bloatware on their workstations? boy the ones they send me must be stripped down, then. Have a ZBook 15 G2 in the other room right now...

As for why CUDA/OpenCL isn't being used for DSP, it has a lot to do with the latency of GDDR memory.

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Re: Whats your current computer setup like?

Post by calaverasgrande » Wed Mar 25, 2015 4:24 pm

Ashe37 wrote:
HP with bloatware on their workstations? boy the ones they send me must be stripped down, then. Have a ZBook 15 G2 in the other room right now...

As for why CUDA/OpenCL isn't being used for DSP, it has a lot to do with the latency of GDDR memory.
So yours did not come with the 'HP ProtectTools' suite? That is 20-30 running processes that do nothing useful.
We use Avid images for almost all of our HP's. But there are a few one offs that for whatever reasons meet the Avid spec but we do not get an image for. It is a major pain cutting down an HP install to give us back the nascent performance of the hardware and be Avid compatible.
To be fair this is nothing unique to HP. Dell and Lenovo also load up their machines with applications of questionable utility. I've seen PCs with 3 wifi access utils, 2 different antivirus programs that aren't full versions (so they expire) and all kinds of silly things like off brand PDF viewers? Then there is that dumb stuff like how the trackpad, sound card and every other device on board want to have a tray icon. We have seen the total running processes cut in half from out of the box to Avid configured.
Macs have their pre-installed stuff too. But that is mostly useful, though I have never liked Mail or the separation of contact management into its own program. OTOH they do have most of the pieces of a LAMP stack and native PDF display without need for Acrobat.
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Re: Whats your current computer setup like?

Post by Ashe37 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:26 am

No Protecttools. Yes on the performance advisor (fairly handy) and the support advisor, but i set those to only run when i want them to.

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Re: Whats your current computer setup like?

Post by gmeredith » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:33 am

Pentium IV 3.2G single core, 768MB RAM, 250G Seagate 7200rpm, AudioTrax Inca 8-8 sound card, Guillemot ISIS Maxi 8-8 sound card, Samplitude Studio 5.58, Windows 98SE - Hah! :lol:

Well, actually, it really still does everything I want it to do - I've had it for 11 years now and it always works, I've made over 4 albums on it including video clips and CDs and CD artwork. 16 simultaneous analogue recording inputs/outputs + digital inputs etc.

Meh, why not??
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Re: Whats your current computer setup like?

Post by meatballfulton » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:43 am

Just wanted to say (putting on my electrical engineer's hat) that Apple's move to disable upgrading memory and drives is due to shrinking the size of the machines not trying to force you into buying only from Apple.

The current Mac Book Pros are as thin and light as the original Mac Book Airs and iMacs are as thin as my 2010 Mac Book Pro (think about it). The usual sockets for RAM and bays for drives just aren't possible. That's also why Apple got rid of optical drives...remember the original Air was the first Mac with no CD drive, no room for it.

If Windows machines ever get as thin as current Macs, they won't be upgradable either. A PC tower is huge by comparison but it makes swapping out everything...even motherboards and power supplies...simple. So if DIY is important, stick with towers.
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Re: Whats your current computer setup like?

Post by Ashe37 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:50 am

there is entire class of PCs that are as thin and light as the current Macs, they are called Ultrabooks. and many of the AIO PCs are the same size as a current iMac- unless you're looking at something like a Z1.

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Re: Whats your current computer setup like?

Post by ninja6485 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:21 am

meatballfulton wrote:ust wanted to say (putting on my electrical engineer's hat) that Apple's move to disable upgrading memory and drives is due to shrinking the size of the machines not trying to force you into buying only from Apple.
Apple would never design products or make business deals to strongly encourage its costumers to only buy Apple products and products from their affiliates. Never. No sir, not Apple computers.
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

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Re: Whats your current computer setup like?

Post by silikon » Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:51 am

meatballfulton wrote:Just wanted to say (putting on my electrical engineer's hat) that Apple's move to disable upgrading memory and drives is due to shrinking the size of the machines not trying to force you into buying only from Apple.

The current Mac Book Pros are as thin and light as the original Mac Book Airs and iMacs are as thin as my 2010 Mac Book Pro (think about it). The usual sockets for RAM and bays for drives just aren't possible. That's also why Apple got rid of optical drives...remember the original Air was the first Mac with no CD drive, no room for it.

If Windows machines ever get as thin as current Macs, they won't be upgradable either. A PC tower is huge by comparison but it makes swapping out everything...even motherboards and power supplies...simple. So if DIY is important, stick with towers.
While I completely concur and also understand from an engineering standpoint, these laptops are their "professional" laptops. I can see this happening on the Air's... not so much the MacBook "PRO". I mean, it's neat that they shrunk the form factor down but I'd rather sacrifice a few mm of depth for upgradeable SSDs. And with m.2 hardware being readily available, there can't be THAT much reason to go throw everything onto a single board. Even though SSDs lifespans are typically quite long (under 'reasonable' circumstances) this also means that down the road, upgrades are going to be almost nonexistent as the pool of motherboards in circulation dwindles because there's no way to upgrade/refurbish (other than factory refurbs, which will always be time-limited) them. The previous generation with replaceable parts had arguably a longer lifecycle since there was separation of the mainboard (longevity wise, would likely outlive most rotational media and SSD) from the storage medium, not to mention the ability to grow with a user's needs -- I'd much rather buy a laptop with the CPU topped out, and be able to upgrade RAM and SSD later (saving substantial cost in the process) versus having to order their maxed out rig right out of the gate and be tied to their pricing schedule for everything. Those things never go on sale, and even when you get their corporate discount, it's either at or below 5% under retail.
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Re: Whats your current computer setup like?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:38 am


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Re: Whats your current computer setup like?

Post by silikon » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:20 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:MacBook Pro SSDs are upgradable. http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/ ... rnal-Flash
While certainly promising, that doesn't account for newer 11 series machines. Perhaps that will be remedied later? One can certainly hope.
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Re: Whats your current computer setup like?

Post by calaverasgrande » Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:24 pm

Hey I am the first guy to be annoyed by Apple's trend towards consumerising their products. There used to be more of a distinction between their pro-level stuff and the pretty candy they sell for the marketplace.
However I also am weary of Apple bashing for cheap thrills.
While Mac OS is hardly perfect, the last few iterations of Windows have been progressively worse than each previous. Such that most manufacturers are still offering their Windows products with Win 7, and a coupon for 'upgrade' to 8.1.
Mavericks and Yosemite had minor glitches, but nothing as bad as 8 or 8.1. People hate those OSes.

Personally I feel that creatives are stuck in a wasteland. Apple is leaving us behind to sell shiny trinkets. Microsoft is determined to make their OS hipper and more interesting, and more useless.

I would love to see Linux fill the void but am not holding my breath. (Linux can run Reaper, but not a lot of plugins by third parties, and driver support for stuff like Motu, Apogee etc?).
Times like these I wish we still had BEOS.
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