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December 19, 2013

New Redesigned Mac Pro from Apple is Finally Available. Here's What It Will Cost You

mac-pro-step1-hero-2013After years of waiting, a new Mac Pro from Apple has finally arrived. The landscape has changed tremendously since the last major upgrade, with many loyal Mac Pro users splintering off into different directions, with some choosing iMacs, Hackintoshes, or PCs. The new design is a radical departure from anything the company has made in the past (or really anything any computer company currently makes), and it's going to be heavily reliant on external enclosures and devices for expandability. There was some word from Apple about a few configurations, but we've finally got the complete rundown on what each system will cost, and you can officially order one right now.

The Verge did a quick hands-on with the new system:

Apple has not yet introduced a 4K monitor, so you can either go with a monitor of your choice, or pick from either the Thunderbolt Cinema Display or a Sharp 4K monitor they are selling right on the site (which is about $3,600). If you really want a monitor that does 4K, you're probably going to get a better bang for your buck with something from Seiki like the 39" 4K model at $500 or the 50" 4K model at $770. They are budget monitors for a reason, but 4K TVs and Monitors are going to change very much over the next few years, especially as HDMI 2.0 comes out allowing higher than 30fps.

As far as configurations go, if you work in video, GPUs have become almost more important than the actual processor. New programs like Resolve and Premiere/After Effects have been able to utilize the increase in GPU power to offload tasks from the CPU. This means that a more powerful GPU with more memory is probably going to make a more noticeable difference for many of these applications than a more powerful CPU with more cores, especially if you're doing a lot of effects and color correction.

Breakdown of Some Possible Configurations

If you're looking at getting one of these trash can machines, there are a few options to choose from.

Least Expensive System without Monitor $3,000:

  • 3.7GHz quad-core with 10MB of L3 cache
  • 12GB (3x4GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC
  • 256GB PCIe-based flash storage
  • Dual AMD FirePro D300 GPUs with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM each

Middle of the Road Option without Monitor $4,700:

  • 3.5GHz 6-core with 12MB of L3 cache
  • 32GB (4x8GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC
  • 512GB PCIe-based flash storage
  • Dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM each

Middle of the Road Option without Monitor $6,100:

  • 3.5GHz 6-core with 12MB of L3 cache
  • 64GB (4x16GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC
  • 512GB PCIe-based flash storage
  • Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each

Most Expensive System without Monitor $9,600:

  • 2.7GHz 12-core with 30MB of L3 cache
  • 64GB (4x16GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC
  • 1TB PCIe-based flash storage
  • Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each

All Configuration Options for Mac Pro

And here is a list of everything, and how much more it will cost over the base system.

Processors

  • 3.7GHz quad-core with 10MB of L3 cache
  • 3.5GHz 6-core with 12MB of L3 cache [Add $500.00]
  • 3.0GHz 8-core with 25MB of L3 cache [Add $2,000.00]
  • 2.7GHz 12-core with 30MB of L3 cache [Add $3,500.00]

Memory

  • 12GB (3x4GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC
  • 16GB (4x4GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC [Add $100.00]
  • 32GB (4x8GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC [Add $500.00]
  • 64GB (4x16GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC [Add $1,300.00]

Storage

  • 256GB PCIe-based flash storage
  • 512GB PCIe-based flash storage [Add $300.00]
  • 1TB PCIe-based flash storage [Add $800.00]

Graphics

  • Dual AMD FirePro D300 GPUs with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM each
  • Dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM each [Add $400.00]
  • Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each [Add $1,000.00]

Displays

  • Sharp 32" PN-K321 - 4K Ultra HD LED Monitor [Add $3,595.00]
  • Apple Thunderbolt Display (27-inch) [Add $999.00]

Connect a 4K display to your Mac Pro and see your work on the ultimate big screen. With a resolution of 3840 by 2160, the Sharp 4K 31.5-inch display has over 8 million pixels. Not only can you see Ultra HD 4K content pixel for pixel and high-resolution photography in more detail than ever before, but you get a massive desktop to spread out all your work. The Sharp PN-K321 display connects to your Mac Pro through a Thunderbolt 2 port using the included Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable. In addition to the DisplayPort 1.2 input, the Sharp PN-K321 display includes two HDMI 1.4 inputs.

Compatibility: 4K DisplayPort operation only compatible with the new Mac Pro (Late 2013). 4K HDMI operation compatible with MacBook Pro (Late 2013) and the new Mac Pro (Late 2013). Note: HDMI input not available in European-market Sharp PN-K321.

But Should You Buy One?

I think it's important to decide what kind of user you really are. If you don't think you're going to need a lot of external expansion beyond hard drives, the Mac Pro is compact and ready to go. Even the lowest-end GPUs should provide quite a bit of hardware acceleration in programs like Resolve and Premiere, so the new Mac Pro is perfect for people who not only want to keep working in OS X, but also need something a bit more powerful than an iMac. If you're going to be working with 4K footage, more GPU memory is going to make a difference, so it might be worth it to get the highest end GPU since they are not expandable.

Many people are going to be able to put together some pretty powerful PCs and Hackintoshes that will either come close, or surpass the performance of some of these configurations for the same money (and probably less in some cases). These AMD GPUs are specific to the Mac Pro, so you're not going to be able to get the exact model, but many of these hardware components will be found elsewhere. What Apple has tried to do, however, is streamline performance through the entire system, by using very fast storage and memory that's designed to work perfectly with the rest of the hardware and software.

Unfortunately, that also means there isn't much in the way of internal expandability. It's unclear if anything can be expanded internally without some serious work. Memory might be expandable in the future if you can get the same modules, but Apple hasn't really said anything about this. That's really the major downside to the new Mac Pro. Like Apple's other products, they are relying more and more on expansion via Thunderbolt (in this case the faster Thunderbolt 2), so if you need literally top of the line internal hardware every year, you're pretty much stuck with what you have.

For the average intermediate to advanced video user, who may not even be working in 4K yet, this system (even the cheapest model) is going to be plenty powerful for years to come, and it's extremely portable on top of that.

When Can You Get It?

When Apple first put these up for order, the site said they would be shipped by December 30, but now it says February, which either means they aren't making many, or there is some serious demand (or a little of both). Some people may get them sooner than February, but planning for sometime around then should be a safe bet.

You can put together your own system on Apple's site, or find some pre-configured versions on B&H using the links below.

Links:

Your Comment

59 Comments

...And still no mention of the major FCPX update that came out today. I've cut a few projects in it this morning and afternoon, and have found the updates to be quite useful in providing some extra utility.

December 19, 2013

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I know, pretty lame for NFS to have ZERO things to say about the NLE that is most affordable and useable for people who didn't go to film school. Especially since it would start a flame war and get a ton of views for this site. I use FCPX every day and am very excited about this update as it adds a lot of simple functionality in a lot of places, and it's FREE!

December 19, 2013

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Julian

> "I know, pretty lame for NFS to have ZERO things to say about the NLE that is most affordable and useable for people who didn’t go to film school. "

Don't you mean Sony Vegas? ;-)

(oh look, here comes the flame war you mentioned....)

December 19, 2013

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Did Sony update Vegas today?

December 19, 2013

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julian

Yes, it's a solid update. Lots of improvements, including the ability to store media on any old network drive for workgroups, a whole new media management strategy and a ton of minor improvements (auto backups, direct MTS importing, better retiming, fit to fill, completely custom and seemingly unlimited project sizes). Some in-depth reviews:

http://provideocoalition.com/mspencer/story/final-cut-pro-10.1
http://www.philiphodgetts.com/2013/12/final-cut-pro-x-10-1/
http://www.macprovideo.com/hub/review-2/review-final-cut-pro-x-101-update

…and a great way to update for those with plenty of media:
http://www.philiphodgetts.com/2013/12/upgrade-your-events-and-project-to...

December 19, 2013

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For Chrissakes, NFS isn't a news agency. Heaven forbid they don't have an article up within hours of an announcement!

December 19, 2013

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Swissted

They didn't post anything last time Adobe released a major update either, so what?

December 19, 2013

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Gabe

Gabe, first reply didn't work or I can't seem to find it.

Actually, they did. http://nofilmschool.com/2013/10/adobe-premiere-pro-cc-7-1-update-speedgr...

December 20, 2013

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I mean the one last week.

December 20, 2013

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Gabe

Dell is allegedly coming out with sub-$1K 4K monitors. Currently, they have a 24" Quad HD for $1,399.

December 19, 2013

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DLD

I don’t think people are comparing apples to apples. pun? I priced out an equivalent Dell and HP. XEON processor, professional video card etc. The PC workstation ends up being around 1500 more. I don’t think you can compare the Mac Pro with an i7 desktop. Just a thought.

December 19, 2013

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Terry Jun

Well yeah it's a bit silly to compare a Xeon to an i7, but you can still hate the markup that Apple puts on parts. The E5 2697 (2.7ghz 12 core) costs $2,750 on Newegg while Apple wants $3500.

December 19, 2013

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Alex

No, Apple wants $3500 on top of the price they've already bundled into the base product (so really more like $4200 or so).

December 20, 2013

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Steve

Talk about markup. Like the 300% markup for an iPhone?

http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2013/09/30/how-much-does-it-cost-to-mak...

December 20, 2013

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Nick

I understand that it's small and round (and beautiful) and I know it's how Apple likes doing things, but I don't like that ALL the ports are on one side. Having half the thunderbolt, USB, and audio ports on the opposite side might have been a visual compromise but I think it would have improved usability.

December 19, 2013

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Or at least at 90 degrees.

December 19, 2013

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Luca

you could always spin the computer around.. :P

December 20, 2013

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Kinda like the imac, I find I'm always craning my neck around the back of the monitor just to plug in a USB stick! Put one on the front apple!

December 20, 2013

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Clayton

We have just ordered a fully loaded system for our company, would probably share our experience with you guys once we've got it!

December 19, 2013

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It's just a piece of hardware, and the only thing you need to share is the benchmarks.

December 20, 2013

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Razor

no I'm actually interested in much more than just performance.. when you are talking about an entirely different build, different OS there is so much more to take into account than benchmark numbers.

December 20, 2013

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What? Entirely different build? It comes with the same OS X Mavericks 10.9. I think your emotions are reaching for something that's not there. Hobbyists don't care about benchmarks, but professionals do.

December 20, 2013

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Razor

RAM is upgradable..
http://www.macrumors.com/2013/12/19/owc-announces-ram-upgrades-for-new-m...
OWC has already shaved a serious chunk off the price of some of the higher upgrades

December 19, 2013

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Looks like mac pro gives great value for those looking for top end GPU power..today. In a year they might look rather less so while alternative machines swap in the latest and greatest cards...

December 19, 2013

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Thats always been the case and in a year someone will say the same about those machines and so on.

The only way to win in this rat race is to buy the cheapest of the new models more often. The entry model each year or two rather than the most expensive every 4 years for example. Unless your really cashed up.

December 20, 2013

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I'm sure it's a good computer, but It looks like a high tech trash can.

December 20, 2013

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Bolex16

Is that better or worse than a high tech box? Also, who has a trash can that small?

December 22, 2013

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Travis

I’m sure someone is readying a NFS post on this, but we *also* all woke up this morning to Final Cut Pro X 10.1 (tons of new features beyond 4K workflow, perhaps most exciting among them for the middle-tier prosumer is native MTS support for AVCHD cameras) along with new Compressor (MAJOR rewrite, especially the interface).

I’m giddy about the new Macs, but won’t want or need one for a couple years. FCP X on the other hand, thanks to the release of these things, is now finally growing up to be what I’ve always wanted it to be and that makes me excited as hell right now!

December 20, 2013

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trackofalljades

As I always do and have done for years when the Mac vs PC debate start I ask,
To all of you that says that you get so much more for your money or PCs are so much cheaper,
Please show me so I can buy it!

Im not a Apple fanboy Im a producer looking for the best and cheapest tool that will do the job.

Evereytime I buy a new computer I get tricked into beliving that there are PCs with the same specs for much less money and I spend hours upon hours looking for them. I ask for links and get answers like "there is plenty" or a link to astore but no one dares to show me an actual product. Not once, never, ever have it turned out true.

No man or woman have ever showed me a computer with the same specs as a Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, Mac Mini, iMac or now Mac pro that at the same time have a much lower price.
Its always "almost the same specs" or its only a couple of hundreds cheaper which does not justify the swich.

Once again, I will go PC if they are "so much cheaper", help me then, give me a link :)

December 20, 2013

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MattiasB

*cricketchirp*

December 20, 2013

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trackofalljades

Talk to Eric bowen at ADK, they sell macs and make custom PCs. I can't say enough good things about them. If you use your equiptment in a professional environment (no matter what you get or where you buy it) I recommend to them before doing anything. It's what they do and they're great at it. Phone/ 859-635-4549
All the best to you.

December 20, 2013

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Anthony Marino

Eric and crew, yep!

ADK stopped advertising MACs quite a while back, their expertise uses the (I believe) Sanger/Clevo channel sourcing for MOBOs in LTs. There are configurations that compete with anything offered by adherents to MAC and or HP, Dell, Sanger etc.

As for stand alone, the builds begin at around $1500 to $32,000 dependent on type of usage or need.

To say that one cannot find the PC equivalent cheaper than a MAC, belies the issue of what an investment entails and why, one, some, others etc. consider the platform secondary to the task and workflow.

In agreement then, PCs may not be less an outlay but arguably, between Intel and Nvidia, systems eclipsed MAC a few years ago and parity came to the platform wars to which iJOBS now has responded as many hoped they would.

The other (overlooked?) aspect is that EVERYTHING ADK sells, is run under load, put through real-time testing with NLEs or DAR suites, which Sanger does not do for example (on paper, yes) and before ADK releases a run, there have been enough flaming hoops employed to singe all of the hair from the circus poodle.

December 28, 2013

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Rob Manning

@MattiasB - I'm thinking that being a Mac owner is right where you need to be.

December 20, 2013

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Razor

Macbook pro: Dell XPS 15 gives the EXACT same specs of the MBPr with retina, has a better and higher resolution screen, has a longer battery (2-3 hours more on 1 charge) and is a few hundred dollars cheaper. Not to forget that the Dell has touch, which is weird in the beginning, but is awesome after you acustomed to it!
For the Mac Pro there are lots and lots of faster machines at a lower cost with upgradability for the next 10 years (gpu's in the mac pro are average, even the high end ones). So upgrading ram, processor, gpu's,... is much cheaper than having to buy the next gen mac pro next year because this gen cannot cope with 8K raw video.
If you want to build it yourself I would suggest going for an I7 extreme (4930 or 4960, both will be much faster than the 6-core mac pro xeon) and not the highly overpriced Xeon's. Nvidea GTX 780 or Titan that beats the W9000 by a long shot (D700 is a underclocked W9000).
If you want to add storage to the macpro you need at least 4000$ for a few terrabytes, in a case you can put a few terrabytes of storage for under 400$.

December 20, 2013

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Henri

Wow, so much bullshit in one shot :-)

December 20, 2013

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FrederikO.

@FrederikO. - Ha ha at first glance I thought you were going to say something witty and intelligent, oh well.

December 20, 2013

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Razor

Explain yourself please.
I am a current Mac Pro and Dell XPS 15 user btw, so I know both systems and won't buy the new Mac Pro.

December 20, 2013

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Henri

@Henri,

Your breakdown is legitimate. I'm curious about the performance differences in your own benchmark tests.

December 20, 2013

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Jerome

I guess the first thing would be you suggesting an i7 over a Xeon. I won't waste your time addressing anything else, I'm sure you have plenty of gaming to get back to.

December 22, 2013

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Travis

what a damn good article. I’m a indie filmmaker and I only work with h.264, 720-1080p footage and its time for me to upgrade soon. I don’t plan on working with 4k footage until I upgrade my camera from my 550D to a Sony fs700. Then I would just build a PC i7 for my needs. For ppl like me this works. I normally work off HP business notebooks with 16gb configs and normally only use desktops. I know I won’t have a problem building my PC when I start working on feature films & 30mins+ projects. I have a 15yr IT, background, always been a PC fanboy and I work for Apple Inc :-)

December 27, 2013

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The idea is that you can build a PC up from scratch, picking pocket friendly components that in the end match a Mac's performance at a lower price. You do have to do some research, because not all PC parts go well together (as there are so many options by so many companies). With a Mac, they already did this part for you.

Also, my 2005 PC runs the latest version of Windows at a usable level, while my 2006 MacPro (that costed a TON more than the PC) can't run Apple's latest OS. Even tough both are definitely outdated and I upgraded to a new iMac anyway, I think not being forced to upgrade if you don't want to is a cool thing.

So the idea is, both systems have their good & bad. Choose whatever suits your need and your budget and don't just be an Apple fanboy :) (not saying anyone here is)

December 20, 2013

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Andrew

Not that easy, generally. I tried that. As usual, the outcome is somewhat different. A true statement would be: "I don't need all that stuff that Apple built into model X, and if I assemble a computer on my own without the stuff I don't need, it gets cheaper than X" An untrue statement, however, is "If a buy the exact same stuff that Apple uses, I still end up having spent much less (like half, e.g.) money"

Your statement is of the second kind, and hence untrue. Just to give you three examples where people generally cheat:
-They use Core 7 CPUs for their config, and non-ECC RAM, instead of Xeon and ECC RAM. Of course, that is possible, but it is less reliable for long computing processes
-There is simply no configuration with six Thunderbolt ports available. There is a board with a single Thunderbolt 2 port from Asus. Not even shure if it is for Xeons.
-They use cheap, ugly, or noisy cases. Well, that's up to everybody's own choice, but good cases are not a 100 bucks.

I tried configuring a PC with equivalent components, and ended up at a Price where there were a mere 80-100 Dollar price difference per additional Thunderbolt port, which happens to be a typical price, also for ports at the peripheral side.

December 20, 2013

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Thyl Engelhardt

The problem for me and people I know, is that the MacMini is woefully underpowered in certain departments, I do not want a 27" iMac (which has a nice CPU, but underpowered GPU and is not really upgradeable) and I cannot afford a new MacPro. What I would dearly love and I know this will never happen, is for Apple to put an i7CPU plus consumer grade GPU into the MacPro cylinder. It would cost more than my MM, it would be less than the Xeon version, but it would be very fast.
So I feel almost forced to build a hack for myself and one for a mate who does Resolve.
If anyone has some other solutions that fit my need for Compressor, FCPX, Resolve and After Effects, then I would love to hear about it.
PS I don't want another cheese grater.....

December 21, 2013

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Robbo

what a damn good article. I'm a indie filmmaker and I only work with h.264, 720-1080p footage and its time for me to upgrade soon. I don't plan on working with 4k footage until I upgrade my camera from my 550D to a Sony fs700. Then I would just build a PC i7 for my needs. For ppl like me this works. I normally work off HP business notebooks with 16gb configs and normally only use desktops. I know I won't have a problem building my PC when I start working on feature films & 30mins+ projects. I have a 15yr IT, background, always been a PC fanboy and I work for Apple Inc :-)

December 27, 2013

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And I only work with Adobe Premiere CS6 & After Effects CC

December 27, 2013

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December 20, 2013

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trackofalljades

A perfect trash bin!

December 20, 2013

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Fabio

Does anyone know if going with more cores would have any dramatic effect on production software (mainly Premiere and After Effects)? I'm intending to get the best video card option - but I'm wondering if I'll really see a day to day difference in getting more cores.

December 20, 2013

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Carlos D

Hey Carlos.

This is what I found best when working with Premiere and After Effects:

More Cores: I currently use 6 Cores, I found that it works well and you can even select in AE if you want to work with multiprocess or not. A lot of plugins don't play nice with muliprocess and so I advise to not work with it at all. However, when working with dynamic link, or just having a couple of Adobe programs together, it balances things out nicely to have more Cores, but it isn't as big as the next to points.

More RAM: This is the most important thing for RAM previews and rendering. With every RAM upgrade you WILL feel a major difference working in After Effects. The more you can have, the better. Just take notice, if you want to get the most out of your cores - for each core, have at least 3GB of RAM + 3GB extra for background processes. Meaning if you have 6 cores, you want at least 21GB RAM (Which is 24GB). Otherwise, you risk bottlenecking.

Video Card: Specifically for Adobe, you want a Card with as many Cuda processes as you can. That's why you should go for Nvidia cards only. Adobe has many effects and the Mercury Playback Engine, that will run video smoothly without rendering, if you have enough Cuda processes. I don't know how it works with AMD card, there could be a workaround, however, I had a lot of bad history with that company, so I stay clear of their products.

December 20, 2013

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Thanks dude, that's really helpful! Probably going to with 6-cores.

December 20, 2013

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Carlos D

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