Mac Setup: Mac Pro Video Editing & Music Production Workstation

Dec 20, 2014 - 19 Comments

mac-setup-mac-pro-workstation

The weekend is here which means it’s time for another featured Mac setup! This time we’re sharing the awesome workstation of Philip S., a media producer from the UK who has some great advice on building a dream setup. Let’s jump to it and learn a bit more…

What do you use your Mac workstation for?

I use my Apple gear for video editing, video compositing, and music production.

What hardware makes up your Mac setup?

  • Mac Pro (2009 model) 2x 2.26GHz Quad Core Intel Xeon (8 Core)
  • 32 GB RAM
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX680 2048MB Graphics Card
  • 256GB PCi Express SSD for OS X & Apps
  • 128GB SSD Scratch Drive
  • 3x 3.5″ 7200RPM 2TB Raid0 array for media files
  • USB 3.0 Card with External USB Time Machine
  • Black Magic Intensity Pro PCi card for HD video output to 46″ Samsung panel
  • Griffin Powermate used as volume control, jog wheel
  • Logic colored-shortcut Keyboard for editing
  • Apple Magic Mouse
  • Mackie Control mixer control surface
  • 9″ lilliput touch-screen scopes monitor to check video output signals
  • Alesis M1 MKII near field monitors (speakers)
  • 2 x 27″ Samsung LED Display panels
  • Electronically height-adjustable desk

mac-pro-desk-workstation

Mac 05

Mac 06

Why this particular Mac setup?

I have chosen these pieces of equipment based on my needs, what I can afford and what other industry specialists have recommended. It has taken a decade of testing what works and what doesn’t, along with designing the room and treating it right.

I bought my Mac Pro through a recycling company. A post production house had a contract for new machines every year or so. The old ones are removed and new fresh ones put in. The old machines are recycled by a company and sold at great prices. I got it for a great price and didn’t have to add much hardware initially as it came from a post-production house, so it was ready to perform as needed. The graphics card was upgraded to take use of Adobes Cuda technology along with USB 3.0, the SSD’s, Black Magic Card etc gradually to fit the rest of my gear and my workflow.

Same story with the desk. It’s RRP was £5,000 ($7800) but after over 12 months of online searching I found an ex-display model the company used to take to shows and events. Slight wear marks but nothing major or noticeable and I got it for £500 ($780) after some haggling. They even delivered it!

Mac Pro media producer workstation

What are some of the apps you use most often?

My most used apps are Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Logic Pro X.

TRIM Enabler was a great app that saved a couple of SSDs and bought them back up to speed but since it doesn’t work now with Yosemite due to their change in Kext-Signing, I may downgrade to Mountain Lion.

It’s taken 10 years to find a setup I am really happy with but it’s a great environment to work in, and my Mac Pro munches through audio and video like PacMan!

Mac 03

Do you have any workstation advice you’d like to share with others?

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it is to bide your time and take things slow when building your workstation. Everybody wants the perfect setup yesterday, but patience pays off in the end. I NEVER DREAMT I’D BE ABLE TO AFFORD A SETUP LIKE THIS!!!!  Hunt down the bargains!!!

All the best from the UK.

Mac Pro media producer workstation

Do you have a Mac desk setup or Apple workstation you’d like to share with OSXDaily? Go here to get started, basically you’ll take a few good pictures, detail the hardware, and answer a couple of questions of how you use your workstation and send it on in! You can always browse through other featured Mac setup posts too!

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Posted by: OSXDaily in Mac Setups

19 Comments

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  1. RJJ (Ron Jay) says:

    That thing is ready for the scrap heap. A 2009 model? It’s an antique.

    And that is what Ron Jay has to say.

    • David says:

      This may surprise you Ron Jay, but the 2009 Mac Pro is still more expandable, better for professionals, and offers nearly the same performance as the overpriced 2014 Mac Pro Jony Ive Trashcan Edition Pro, which is basically a Mac Mini on steroids with a Tiffany’s price tag.

  2. Medalion says:

    Awesome setup, nice score on the desk and hardware too.

    I landed a great deal on Craigslist a while back for a MacBook Air at a deep discount, good finds are out there if you look.

  3. Frank says:

    I’m sorry, £5,000 doesn’t make US$ 3,200 but about US$ 7,800 so obviously £500 is US$ 780…

  4. Phil says:

    Hi. This is my setup. Granted the mac is a little old now but it does its job and does it very well indeed. I considered an upgrade a while back but thought better of it. Why pay more for something that will do the same job just as well only depreciate just as badly and lose me more money? Until circumstances require an upgrade, I’ll hold back. That Mackie mixing control surface is 11 years old, yet still regarded as the best by many. Age doesn’t always deem something redundant.

    • Peter says:

      It’s a great setup, don’t listen to that grinch. My primary computer is a 2011 MacBook Air, which is not even 1/3rd of the speed of the 2009 Mac Pro, and I use it for development and design work. The fact is all modern Macs from basically 2008 onward that are Intel are really high quality and will last forever. It’s silly to be on the constant upgrade cycle, waste of money.

  5. archie says:

    really a hot setup – would like to get my hands on a desk like that, too!!

  6. Walter says:

    Can you tell me something about that griffin knob? How do you use it, do you recommend it?

  7. Phil says:

    The griffin powermate is something I’d recommend to everybody. It can be assigned to do almost anything including custom keystrokes at various frequencies. It changes dependant on the current app in the foreground too. I have it set so when in premiere or final cut, rotating it is a jog wheel, moving the playhead in the time line. Pushing it cuts the clip where the playhead is. Pressing and holding hides the app. In Web browsers I have it scrolling the page, volume knob, hold down to sleep or activate time machine backup / launch a certain app. It’s very popular amongst editors and media professionals but creates a better user experience all round for me. One of the cheapest yet most rewarding purchases in my setup. Seriously! Couldn’t do without it!

  8. Shilo Watts says:

    What games can you play on this?

  9. Phil says:

    Hi Shilo, no idea I’m affraid. It’s purely a workhorse.

  10. Trim Enabler does indeed work in OS X Yosemite. I’m using it on my Mac mini.

  11. Phil says:

    It does work, however if your PRAM gets reset or you remove/install hardware the mac can fail to boot and requires a dodgy process to recover it. Also getting it to work means disabling a security/safety feature. Hopefully apple will remove the restriction on apple-only SSDS. A lot of people are kicking up a fuss about it so let’s see.

  12. Thomas says:

    Hey
    I am very curious to know what pci-e ssd do you use?
    Thanks for sharing.
    Thomas

  13. Phil says:

    Hi Thomas. I’m using an Apricorn Solo PCi-e card with a Samsung Evo SSD. Gets 500MB/s read and write. More pricey SSDs can give better performance but its quick enough for running OS X and apps!

  14. Shilo Watts says:

    Will this run Everquest?

  15. Phil says:

    Shilo, I don’t use this for gaming but the GTX680 is quite a powerful chipset.

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