Question by Reptar88: Apple Mac Pro configuration advice…?
I am about to purchase my first Mac for video editing. I’m a film student and want a good machine that will get me started. I have most of the configurations figured out but I could use advice on what I’ve listed below. If anyone could offer me suggestions based on my needs, I’d be grateful:
3.0 GHz vs 3.2 GHz (both are Two Quad-Core Xeon) ($ 800 difference in price! How about performance–will it make much difference?)
RAM: I am leaving it at 2GB so I can purchase some RAM somewhere else for less $ , probably from crucial.com or newegg.com
My question is, how many ram slots are in the Mac Pro? It will already come with 2GB of RAM so can I just purchase 4GB elsewhere and have 6GB of RAM on my machine? I’m trying to save money…and 8GB can wait until later!
Also, I am going with the standard hard drive. Where can I find an affordable external terabyte hard drive that is 7200 rpm, and fire-wire 800? I need this for my classes and I will use this as my “other” hard drive at home, too. I like the LaCie TB hard drive, but it costs so much. Any advice where I can find an affordable external HD with the given specifications above?
In case you need to know, I am going with the 4 x ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB. So in summary, all I need advice on is the processor (3.0 or 3.2), RAM, and an external HD. Keep in mind I am looking for the best bang for my buck ($ ).
Thanks everyone!! Additional suggestions or comments are welcome.
Answer by slowlemur
3.0 GHz vs 3.2 GHz: The 3.0 GHz should probably be sufficient for your needs. I would save your $ 800 and put it down for RAM, especially at a $ 800 premium. There will, obviously, be some improvement with 3.2 GHz.
RAM: Yes, definitely purchase the RAM from somewhere other than Apple, which is VERY overpriced. I use Other World Computing, which has been great so far. There are 8 RAM slots (and you have to buy them in pairs) and they also recommend you have 4 or more modules installed to take advantage of 256-bit wide memory architecture.
External Hard Drive: Though I know it’s hard not to skimp, especially after dropping so much on the machine, but remember that this is ALL of your critical information. So look for quality, not just specs when looking for an external drive. There are many drives that will meet your requirements, but some are more reliable than others. I like NewEgg for drives personally, they also have reviews, which you have to take with a grain of salt as most people are more likely to complain than complement.
Also, I’m not sure if you need to use firewire-800 (if, for instance, your machines at school have this), but you might also want to consider eSATA. You can buy a small extension cable that taps into the SATA connection on your motherboard and access them as eSATA (about $ 25) which will give you (roughly) 3x in performance improvement over firewire-800 (theoretically…though actual performance will vary depending on what you are actually doing). Just thought I’d mention that, Apple doesn’t have eSATA available directly as an external port, but it’s a relatively cheap add on. But if you need to bring the drive around, this may be a non-starter.
What do you think? Answer below!