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Professionals Successfully Push Mac Pro to Absurd Limits With 558-Day Video Timeline in Final Cut Pro

FCPX Mac Pro stress test
After waiting for several years for Apple to release a new professional tower, the company finally released the new Mac Pro last year. With dual-GPUs and an innovative cooling system, the diminutive machine has impressed professional users.

FCP.co decided to test out Final Cut Pro X and their well-equipped 8-core Mac Pro to absurd limits. The site put 1600 connected clips into the GUI, and actually got the Mac Pro to play 50 'layers' of 4K video for a few seconds before it began dropping frames. It also made a 500,000 pixel wide project, useful perhaps for making (extremely wide) digital signage projects. Finally, the site successfully made a 558-day video time line -- roughly a year and a half.
We pushed FCPX and the Mac Pro to silly limits, of course nobody will make a year long or a 500,000 pixel wide timeline, but it's good to know the combination will go that far.

It seems that the real limitation is a hardware one, yes FCPX will do 16K, but you have to have the storage bandwidth to supply the huge number of pixels per second. When creating that huge timeline, we used the same clip over and over. Making the same timeline from different shorter clips wouldn't be as easy as we think very large numbers of clips within FCPX will slow the machine down.

Apple have however, built a combination that will be good for nearly all different media sized projects within the foreseeable future. The Mac Pro and FCPX handle 4K like SD, so 8K should be fine.

FCP.co notes that most of the limitations occur with the hardware, not artificial limitations with Final Cut Pro X itself.

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24 weeks ago

That's pretty good! All that power for the low price of at $7,000!


If paying $7000 for this kind of power is an issue for you then you definitely don't need that much power.
Rating: 28 Votes
24 weeks ago

Using industry current parts from other companies (intel) to build a relatively fast computer is innovation? Its not like Apple invented super fast parts that no one else has.
I guess its 'innovation' that they were able to cram those parts in a small cylander. But a year from now are you still gonna be oohhing and aahing over that black cylander?
Probably not. You wont even think or care about how it looks.


Did you think that Apple was going to build a machine with technology that didn't previously exist? Did you expect that it would have something other than an Intel CPU, or that it would have proprietary video cards?

What you described is exactly what innovation is for a company like Apple; to take existing technologies and integrate them in a creative way.

I don't know what your criteria are for being able to say that Apple innovated with the MP. Maybe you could enlighten us and tell us what would constitute an innovative MP for you.
Rating: 24 Votes
24 weeks ago

The MacPro does't drive stock price iToys drive stock price and Google has taken the innovation mind-share in that domain.


What do stock prices have to do with it? Apple makes their billions by selling devices and computers, not by trading stock. Google makes their billions by selling ads. And it turns out Apple makes more billions than Google. So if you want money to be the deciding factor in who is more “innovative” then Apple wins anyways.

But seriously, money is the worst metric for determining innovation. They’re not related at all.
Rating: 21 Votes
24 weeks ago
I hereby ban all instances of the phrase "iMovie Pro" or "iMovie on Steroids."
Rating: 18 Votes
24 weeks ago
....And they said apple could not innovate.
Rating: 17 Votes
24 weeks ago

Money is the best metric of innovation as true innovation generates money.

you couldn't be more wrong. Bugatti is perfect example. They have built the Veyron just to proof the engineering excellence. Not to make money! In fact, that project lost money but the result is pure delight. If you think that metric for innovation is money then I don't think we will continue this discussion in a constructive manner as you are blatantly ignorant to what innovation is.
Btw, the inventor of a wheel didn't make money, yet the innovation is still used!
For crying out loud, does everything has to be about money for you to even move a finger?
Rating: 17 Votes
24 weeks ago

I don't need that much power. I build machines more powerful for less though. Not as fancy of a case, but you get the idea.


You should list what hardware you are talking about. Some very tech blog (ars technica I believe...?) said that for the price, you can't do better, performance wise, (not even talking about the design). That ain't my expertise, but I bet you can't build a Mac Pro clone for much less, if any less.
Rating: 16 Votes
24 weeks ago

E5-1650 - $550
2 Firepro D500 - $490 a piece ($980)
12 GB DDR3 1866 ECC - $180
Motherboard - $160
PSU - $90
256 GB SSD - $140

= $2,100~

Apple Mac Pro cost - $2,999

I don't even pay the prices mentioned above, anyone with Google does. I pay even less, probably $1,900. So $1,000 off. I didn't include a case or any 'innovation' though. :D

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"It is. Period.."

That's not how you make a point. If fitting already existing components into a smaller case is innovative to you then Apple has a fan for life and doesn't have to do much.

The retina displays are innovative. Touch ID as well. Motion co-processor. They are plenty innovative, but shrinking a tower is not new. They shrunk the iMac a while back if you heard. They shrink things all the time.


You are talking about "building something like a Mac Pro but cheaper. First: Your components don't match those from the Mac Pro, your processor , an ES -1650 is 3.2 G, and the one at the $2,999 Mac Pro is 3.7; you talk about 256gb SSD at $140, and yes, that's the price you can get that kind of memory... for mSATA; for PCI Express, the one the Mac Pro Uses, and much faster than mSATA is more expensive. You talk about a motherboard for $160, but... what kind of motherboard?? Because that's the part that will do the components, and the architecture to bring all the performance of the computer, and that price: 160, well, that's the price for motherboards that support i5, i7, but motherboards that support Ivy Bridge and can use thunderbolt are about double the price.
finally: yo make the math for those components, but... you're not even talking about the gabinet, the connectors, all the additional hardware you need to build the computer, and yes, there's been already comparisons between the Mac Pro and other servers that use the same processor and very similar configurations, and they are about the same price, some of them even more expensive and are bigger and even slower, so THERE'S the innovation factor for the Mac Pro: to have a good price-performance ratio and to be very small, silent and efficient. So no: it's not very easy to make a custom-made computer that will be similar in performance to a Mac Pro and will be cheaper.
Rating: 15 Votes
24 weeks ago


256 GB SSD - $140


This is the problematic part. A PCIe SSD costs a lot more than a regular one. So your computer would be around 2300$.

And 2 Firepro D500 - $490 a piece ($980) is also wrong. First of all, there's no D500 for sale. It's closest cousin is W7000 which costs 800 each, so if you go with that, you get 600$ more, and there, you reached the price of Mac Pro.

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but shrinking a tower is not new. They shrunk the iMac a while back if you heard. They shrink things all the time.


And they are all innovation.
Rating: 12 Votes
24 weeks ago

Using industry current parts from other companies (intel) to build a relatively fast computer is innovation? Its not like Apple invented super fast parts that no one else has.
I guess its 'innovation' that they were able to cram those parts in a small cylander. But a year from now are you still gonna be oohhing and aahing over that black cylander?
Probably not. You wont even think or care about how it looks.


Do you know who will be oohing and awing next year? All the PC customers over the Mac Pro rip offs. This design will be stolen. And now that they know how to make a thermal core that small, are getting TB 2 chipsets for motherboards and fast PCI flash, PC makers will release lower priced versions of this because Apple did all the hard work already for them. That's who.
Rating: 12 Votes

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