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Ask Max: Is the 8-core Mac Pro necessary for editing HD video?

Asked on 07/08/2009:

I own a small editing studio, and am updating my Mac towers. I'll be buying new Mac Pros. Will I notice a difference in speed between the new 4 core and 8 core Nehalem models? I'm doing HD work in Final Cut Pro. Don't want to waste the $ on 8 cores if FCP doesn't use them. Many thanks.

- Nathan


I would have to say that if you edit HD footage, that yes you want the 8-Core Mac Pro. Not only will the multithreading features of Final Cut Pro run faster on the Octal Mac Pro, but you will be able to install more RAM. As you probably know, the new Mac Pro likes its RAM installed in threes per processor. The forth RAM slot shares its channel with the third slot. So for peak performance in the Quad-Core Mac Pro you will be effectively limited to 6GB. In the 8-Core Mac Pro you can get 24 GB of highly efficient RAM. Although 12GB will probably do just nicely for most of your HD projects.

- Jacob

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