21 Feb Master rig.
Category: Personal

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The wireless whips that tame the octocore beast on my wooden office desk.

On a calm afternoon of working with my intern in the office, I got a call from my girlfriend; my Mac Pro was finally coming home. I had ordered one of these workstations when they were updated, and I was delighted to move up from my first real Mac workstation, my dated, damaged and dented rev. A Macbook Pro. It’s fast, it’s blazing, and it locks up at occasions. Read on for the verdict.

I posted a few hastily snapped images on flickr of the rabid unboxing (it’s a huge box), and naturally the first day was all about speed tests. Coming from a Core 1 Duo Macbook Pro, it was a frightening experience. After having set it up, I launched all the applications in the Dock and then some. I wasn’t able to produce a beachball or a small wait time (note; my Mac Pro is a BTO, with 2 GB RAM, 500 GB hard drive, dual superdrive, Airport N and Geforce 8800GT) at all.

After this minor test, I fired up some Cinema4D scenes and rendered them with various complex render settings. Combining the results from some renders and Photoshop filter and operation times, I can safely conclude this machine is about a tenfold faster than my Core 1 Duo, first-gen Macbook Pro. A render that took half an hour on my Macbook Pro is done in less than two minutes on my Mac Pro; a Photoshop radial blur operation that lasted almost an hour on my Macbook Pro was done in less than ten minutes on my Mac Pro. Overall, everything is a lot more snappy™ and it’s quite hard to reach the machine’s operational limit with something else than multi-threaded rendering engines.

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Chees- er, Photoshop Grater of Flaming Doom.

I chose a wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse to go with the rig, and I’m really enjoying the new slim-factor wireless Apple keyboard. I’ve bought the wired version previously, and having a very small and lightweight keyboard to carry around is pretty awesome. I hope the Mighty Mouse won’t be as bad as I’ve heard it will be, but so far, I think it’s an okay mouse, compared to my Logitech MX and Intellimouse Explorer (from 2001 or something). Besides, wireless really saves on cables, which I have plenty of.

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Wrapping up, it’s a pretty hardcore machine, and quite silent to boot. The only issue I’ve had in these last few days were two total GPU lockups, where the system is in a frozen state and a hard reset is your only option. Very bothersome. I hope I won’t see it anymore, as I haven’t lost work on it so far and I’d really hate it if I did. I can recommend a Mac Pro to most professionals for sheer speed, but the price is quite hefty – I consider it an investment in my work, seeing I’m doing a lot less waiting on progress bars now – but if you’re serious about performance, don’t let that deter you. I hope to scrape together more savings for a Cinema Display from projects in the next month so I’ll be able to post some nicer setup pictures. For now, just keep an eye on my flickr.

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8 Responses

  1. Awesome. If I wasn’t dreaming of travelling around the world to snap pictures or the WRC Rally, I’d start saving money for one of those. But for now, the extra RAM I bought for my MBP already got me where I wanted. You should make some movies of that beast doing amazing stuff – Snapz Pro will be the last you’d worry about :P

  2. Congrats mate :)

  3. 3
    Hjalti 

    Nice!
    I got mine today. I picked the wireless to, since I already have two wired. Still prefer the wired one but the wireless is just too cool.

    Anyway, have you decided to choose the Cinema Display after all?

  4. 4
    Moitah 

    Wow…
    Dreaming ;-)

  5. 5
    Sebas 

    Congratulations on your quad-powered dreadnaught.

    I must say, i’m jealous of that table. Looks like a nice piece of furniture.

    No, i’m not jealous of the machinery. No. No no. Nu-uh.

  6. 6
    Menge 

    Is that a DVI to VGA adapter you’re using?
    You should consider using a DVI monitor with that. I can tell you that the difference is not life changing but after a while it’s just one of those things that, when you look at a VGA screen, you think there’s something dull and blurry about it :)

  7. Screaming machine!!

  8. 8
    Matt 

    They’re nice aren’t they!

    I bought myself an 8-core last year after finally getting rid of my PC. I’ve worked on macs for about 20 years but never got round to having one at home (mainly because of cost). I finally got the money together last year. I’ve never looked back, as you say a few Cinema4d renders a week and it’s paid for as far as I’m concerned. I got more ram from OWC (I’ve 6 gig so far) though I’m still waiting on a 8800GT upgrade.
    Get that Cinema Display, it makes it all worthwhile :)

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