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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few months ago I bought a dual core pentium PC from Monarch and then added Theatertec


It's still not working properly - I hate it - Driver conflicts....!!!!


I have 15 Maxtor 500Gb (Firewire400/USB2) hard drives with my 1000 DVD collection and simply want to play them on my Sony Ruby


My other needs are Adobe CS2 for editing RAW shots from my Canon 20D


My questions are very naive I'm afraid


What spec Mac Pro do I need?

Is it possible to add more Firewire / USB ports to a Mac pro?

Can the mac Pro deal with my hard drives and their ripped DVD's with IFO and VOB files?

Will my Dell 24" monitor work on a Mac Pro?

Will the Mac Pro run Windows apps?


Sorrry for my lack of smarts here


Appreciate any help

Rob
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Holloway /forum/post/0


A few months ago I bought a dual core pentium PC from Monarch and then added Theatertec


It's still not working properly - I hate it - Driver conflicts....!!!!


I have 15 Maxtor 500Gb (Firewire400/USB2) hard drives with my 1000 DVD collection and simply want to play them on my Sony Ruby


My other needs are Adobe CS2 for editing RAW shots from my Canon 20D


My questions are very naive I'm afraid


What spec Mac Pro do I need?

Is it possible to add more Firewire / USB ports to a Mac pro?

Can the mac Pro deal with my hard drives and their ripped DVD's with IFO and VOB files?

Will my Dell 24" monitor work on a Mac Pro?

Will the Mac Pro run Windows apps?


Sorrry for my lack of smarts here


Appreciate any help

Rob

Well you were smart enough to post here first


My other needs are Adobe CS2 for editing RAW shots from my Canon 20D


&
Will the Mac Pro run Windows apps?



CS2 is available for OSX but is not a intel based native app yet so it runs a little slower than it would if it was a Universal Binary which is a native intel Mac application type. CS3 is a UB and so far looks pretty fast on my MacPro as a beta. There are two ways you could go here. Wait for the CS3 update in a few months and get it in the OSX version, I think Adobe allows for cross-grades, or you can install Windows XP and run it in pseudo-emulation under an application called Parallels. I say Pseudo because it is making native calls to the Intel CPU and runs pretty much as if it were running on a regular PC, a quad core Xeon in the case of the MacPro. This runs within the OSX environment like any other application and so it is quite convenient to run Windows stuff. The other option is through Apple's Bootcamp which lets you install XP on a partition on one of your drives inside the MacPro and you boot directly into XP. This basically turns the MacPro into a full fledged PC and runs pretty much like a similarly equipped PC would. This is a good solution for gaming or any 3D graphics intensive application because the one place where Parallels falls down is it can't do 3D stuff very well. Most 2D stuff, CS2 included, wouldn't be affected however.


Another thing to consider is Aperture for RAW work. It isn't as full featured for all out editing as CS2 or CS3 but is is designed to take most of the pain out of RAW conversions and cataloging. It is one of the cooler apps Apple has come out with in the last few years and can make RAW a whole lot more fun to deal with. It does basic touchups and correction stuff you'd do to photos most of the time and you can still use CS2 for the things that need more than a little work. Check it out on Apple's website.

Is it possible to add more Firewire / USB ports to a Mac pro?


Yes, should be no problem there. The MP has two FW800 ports, one front and one back, and the same goes for the two FW400 ports but they do have PCIe cards you can add for more.


Can the mac Pro deal with my hard drives and their ripped DVD's with IFO and VOB files?


Yes, I think VLC can do that among other apps but I don't do it myself. I'm sure someone else can confirm that.

Will my Dell 24" monitor work on a Mac Pro?


Yes, many people use Dell panels on their Macs.

What spec Mac Pro do I need?


Just about any Mac Pro would do what you need. They are powerhouses. I would probably stick with the 2.66GHz model if I had to buy one today as it is the sweet spot, the 3.0 GHz is nice but probably not worth the extra money unless you really use the machine to make money. I would recommend waiting a couple of weeks if possible though, with the imminent release of quad core Xeon chips by Apple, that means 8 cores total in the machine, the current crop of machines may see a price reduction in the coming weeks.


-Jerry C.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Jerry


Many thanks for this reply. It answers many of my Qs


I have no doubt that CS2 and CS3 will work great on an Apple Mac Pro


Thanks for confirming my 2.66 suspicions


I guess my only real worry is does Apple have an application that will run my collection of 1000 DVDs that I've ripped - and amazingly, they are legal and purchased by me - sad fool!


Rob
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Holloway /forum/post/0


I guess my only real worry is does Apple have an application that will run my collection of 1000 DVDs that I've ripped - and amazingly, they are legal and purchased by me - sad fool!

Welcome, Robert. I don't know if this will comfort you or not, but you are far from the first person to post here with these sorts of questions and in that specific situation -- and probably far from the last.


Most of us run the Mac OS and most of us are quite happy with it. There is a small group that prefers the WMC, so they run Windows. However, I would point out to you that running Windows on your new Mac, as Jerry described, will not likely solve the problems you are having now.


Having said that, let's move to your question about ripped films. Apple currently offers its DVD Player (free) that can open and play VIDEO_TS files from hard drives. However, as Jerry pointed out, VLC can do it as well.


If you have a large collection and would like to have an on-screen menu where you could scroll through your collection and point-and-click to play, there are a number of programs to do this, but they are mostly (if not only) shareware. One we have been discussing lately is called DVDpedia ($18) and seems to work very well.


Unlike Windows and Linux, Apple has offered hardware suitable for htpc use for a relatively short time. Some Windows software companies have announced Mac products (SageTV, for example) and some new companies have appeared to offer other htpc programs. Nevertheless, this is still early days for the Mac as htpc and the selection is not as great, nor as extensive as for Windows or Linux. OTOH, how many good DVD players do you need?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Further


Thanks for your reply


I'm in hell at the moment - so anything is better than where I am


As long as it's physically possibble to play ripped DVD's from a PC, I'm good to go :)


What is the Apple app that plays ripped DVD's?


Many thanks

Rob
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Holloway /forum/post/0


What is the Apple app that plays ripped DVD's?

It is simply called DVD Player and is installed by default when you buy a Mac. It is a very simple app, you simply go to the File menu and select "Open DVD media", maneuvre to the VIDEO_TS directory you want and select it. VLC works the same way, but it does not come from Apple, but is is also free.


The main differences between the two programs are that VLC can play most media, while DVD Player cannot and that VLC has many more options than you will need, while DVD Player has relatively few. It probably won't be necessary since you ripped the films, but DVD Player cannot skip past the standard crap at the beginning of the DVD, while VLC can.
 

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Robert:


The Intel-based Mac Pro is a nice way to go. You'll come to appreciate using Macs for photography. There are good reasons why so many pro photographers prefer them.


Keep in mind that you don't need more than 3 GB of RAM for OS X right now (if you're thinking of maxxing out the memory). Anything else would be wasted until a more capable 64-bit version of the OS becomes available...And don't sweat the timing of the next Photoshop release, which is soon. It will take you a month or two to get everything up and running smoothly anyway. You can use that time to familiarize yourself with the Mac OS. By that time, the new version of Photoshop should be be out...


"...15 Maxtor 500Gb (Firewire400/USB2) hard drives with my 1000 DVD collection and simply want to play them on my Sony Ruby..."


15 500GB HDs? Purchasing all the original movie DVD's? Wow. As a professional photographer myself, I salute you -- and your (apparent) respect for copyright law. Don't apologize for these purchases. If you have children, it teaches a strong ethics lesson about intellectual property and the rights of others. On behalf of all creative artists, thanks.


Back to the movies, are you running your drives as mirrored RAID arrays to keep all those ripped movies backed up? Or do you simply rely on the original DVD as the backup? Have you ever considered Apple's Xserve RAID?


It is a serious server product that is gaining much respect in small business and recently, even corporate IT managers have started to take Apple's revamped server business seriously. A pro photographer friend of mine started with a storage system like yours (though Mac-based) and kept adding FireWire drives until he had a bewildering rats nest of dasiy-chained drives and cables -- and serious system maintenance issues. Finally, he landed a couple of nice national advertising accounts and graduated to an Xserve RAID system and loves it. While expensive to justify for the home, if you've been successful in life and have the resources to do things right, it may be the way to go someday...The 1U rackmount server has a quad-core 64-bit Intel Xeon processor and starts at about $3000. It will house up to 2.25TB of storage, has two PCI Express slots, dual onboard Gigabit Ethernet, and a combo drive. The RAID box that can be added has fourteen drive bays that hold up to 7TB of storage (calculated with 500 GB drives).


The Xserve RAID greatly simplifies backup and drive maintenance/replacement, and gives you serious media streaming, Web/LAN serving and desktop management. It would be terrific for your raw and finished Photoshop files as well as movies. Someday, I hope Apple will produce a more affordable SOHO (and home theater) server system based on this very nice technology.

http://www.apple.com/xserve/
http://www.apple.com/xserve/raid/
http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPL...clm=XserveRAID


Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
GM Wedding.


I'm not a Pro photographer. Just a serious amateur.


I've just been on a chat with Apple and i seem to be good to go.


They recommended a program called Parallel to address my Access needs


One thing I'm not sure about is the Graphics card on a Mac pro

I want to output 2 signals

One to a Dell 24" at 1920x1200

and one to my Sony Ruby at 1920x1080


As for my hard drives. They are just linked to the PC at the moment. No backups other than the original DVDs


Thanks again

Rob
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Holloway /forum/post/0


Thanks Further


Is there any reason not to switch?

Well, I can't really answer that for you, however, there are many who have done it before you and I haven't heard of any who switched back. So, for that reason, I think you have a very good chance at not hating your new htpc
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Holloway /forum/post/0


GM Wedding.


One thing I'm not sure about is the Graphics card on a Mac pro

I want to output 2 signals

One to a Dell 24" at 1920x1200

and one to my Sony Ruby at 1920x1080


Even the stock 7300GT card in the Mac Pro has two DVI outputs on board. The card is fine for 2D and ok with 3D. For more heavy duty 3D stuff the 1900XT option is worth the extra $250 and it gets you a nice 512MB of video memory on it compared to the 7300GT's 256MB. Some of Apple's applications actually leverage the GPU power on the video card to do some interesting things. Aperture is an example of this.


wildrock referred to dual link but that is something different. Dual link means a single DVI port can handle higher resolutions than standard DVI connections can. The 30" Cinema display for example is too high a resolution to be handled by standard DVI implementations so dual link essentially ties two DVI channels into one DVI connector port. All of Apples current shipping cards have at least one dual link port so they can use one 30" Cinema Display and another normal display. Some cards like the 1900XT have two dual link ports so they can use two 30" Cinema displays at once.


For an Amateur photog who likes RAW I would definitely recommend you take a look at Aperture when you get the Mac Pro. They have a free 30 day trial which should be enough to help you make up your mind.


-Jerry C.
 

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Robert,


I've owned a Mac Pro (stock configuration) since September and find it to be a fantastic piece of equipment for the uses you'd like it for. Photoshop CS2 functions well for being a PowerPC application running under Mac OS X's Rosetta emulation, and the new CS3 beta (which any CS2 keyholder can upgrade to or install alongside CS2) is even faster. Once Adobe removes the debug code from CS3, I suspect Photoshop will absolutely scream on the Mac pros.


Also while DVD player or VLC both work to play ripped DVD folders, a little known fact about the Mac Pro's is that Front Row IS in fact installed by default. It just takes a little tweaking to actually get working. But once it's working, you've got a clean interface to display for your HT screen rather than just a desktop.


And of course, another nice feature with the Mac Pros is that they are whisper-quiet the vast majority of the time (assuming you have the stock config with the fanless 7300GT anyways--i don't know about the x1900xt), so the machine is unlikely to lessen your movie experience with fan noise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Jay


I'll be putting the Mc Pro in a closet along with hard drives etc

This is a great post and another reason why I'll be down at the Apple Store this week


FYI - Apple chat on line has been an awesome resource. Really nice people.


Many thanks

Rob
 

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I just ordered a Mac Pro myself (3ghz/4gb ram) for photoshop and video editing (my first mac!). Also got an imac for the kids.


If you're a photographer (as I am) take a look at Apple's site on Aperture - I was totally impressed by it and have purchased it. The x1900 video card upgrade is a must if you're going to use aperture and getting at least 2gb ram recommended.


Sorry if it's OT.


Edit: Oh, and I'm also dumping all my windows PCs after years of frustration with them. I think we have 6 in the house so I only have 4 more to go...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
PAP


Interesting post


Just back from the Apple store and they seemed to think that the NVidia GE Force 7300GT was plenty adequate for Aperture and CS2 and that the Radeon X1900 was more for gamers.


I'm looking at the 2.66 GHz and 2Gb ram


Why do you think I need the 1900?


Cheers

Rob
 

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Good question, but if it uses a standard DVI interface when hooked up over HDMI I don't see why not. I don't have a Pearl to test it on, I hate cheapo projectors... jk
but if you are concerned it won't you could bring it into a Local Apple store and hook it up to a MP and confirm that it does. Hopefully someone else here has one and uses one with it, you may want to cross-post over on the projector forum to see if anyone has though.


-Jerry C.
 
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