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Old Dec 31, 2012, 11:18 AM   #1
tictaktwonk101
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Getting new Mac but which?

Hi everyone!

Looking to get a new Mac but not sure which one to get. I'm going to be using FCPX and Motion (maybe aftereffects) so what would be the best set up I've got about 1500 to spend.

Max mini 2.6i7 fusion drive & 16G ram.
Base 21" imac + 16g ram
21" iMac with 2.9i5 / fusion drive + 16g ram
21" iMac with 3.1i7 / 16g ram NO fusion drive.
Base 27" no upgrades

How important is a fusion or is it just a luxury extra? Never had ssd so would I miss it?
The more money I can save the better but I don't wont to miss something out if it will really add a good benefit to the system.
Or are there any other configurations I've missed.

Any thoughts would be great!!!!
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 04:02 AM   #2
phuocsandiego
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by tictaktwonk101 View Post
Hi everyone!

Looking to get a new Mac but not sure which one to get. I'm going to be using FCPX and Motion (maybe aftereffects) so what would be the best set up I've got about 1500 to spend.

Max mini 2.6i7 fusion drive & 16G ram.
Base 21" imac + 16g ram
21" iMac with 2.9i5 / fusion drive + 16g ram
21" iMac with 3.1i7 / 16g ram NO fusion drive.
Base 27" no upgrades

How important is a fusion or is it just a luxury extra? Never had ssd so would I miss it?
The more money I can save the better but I don't wont to miss something out if it will really add a good benefit to the system.
Or are there any other configurations I've missed.

Any thoughts would be great!!!!
First off, forget the fusion drive. It will provide little to no benefit for video editing. You'll be working with very large files that are not used frequently enough to benefit from the fusion drive. Hell, some of my clips are larger than the SSD cache portion of the fusion drive. I don't know about your workflow but mine with video is such that after I'm done with a project, I rarely use those assets again so the benefit of the fusion drive goes out the window... it's just $1,000 down the drain.

Second, max out your RAM, which I see that you're doing, so you're good there.

As for processor, that's a tougher call in terms of value. All the current iMacs are equipped with quad-core i5's running between 2.7 - 3.2 GHz and any of these are adequate. I wouldn't spend the money to just go from a 2.7 i5 to a 2.9 i5. But opting for the i7 upgrade at $200 is worth it ONLY if you're going to buy a model that allows it for other reasons. My thinking here is that if you're sticking with the base 21" iMac, to get the i7 would cost you a net of $400 since you must change to the 2.9 21" iMac first in order to even have the i7 option... in that case it's not worth it. But if you're already thinking about the base 27" iMac for example, that extra $200 for the i7 is worth IMO.

The one thing you didn't mention is to get as large a drive as you can internally. Sure, you can use external drives (and I do) but it's just nice to have a massive internal drive. Unfortunately, that's not possible with the 21" iMacs. So this leaves you with the following recommendation:

Budget:
Base 21" 2.7GHz i5 iMac with 16 GB RAM

Better:
Base 27" 2.9GHz i5 iMac with 16 GB RAM, 3 TB ATA Drive (no fusion)

Best:
27" 3.2GHz i5 iMac with i7 upgrade, 16 GB RAM, 3 TB ATA Drive (no fusion)
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 02:57 PM   #3
Dave Braine
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Quote:
I'm going to be using FCPX and Motion
The recommendation for video editing is to do it on an external drive. It prevents excess wear on the internal with the constant reading and writing during editing.
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 05:18 PM   #4
phrehdd
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by phuocsandiego View Post
First off, forget the fusion drive. It will provide little to no benefit for video editing. You'll be working with very large files that are not used frequently enough to benefit from the fusion drive. Hell, some of my clips are larger than the SSD cache portion of the fusion drive. I don't know about your workflow but mine with video is such that after I'm done with a project, I rarely use those assets again so the benefit of the fusion drive goes out the window... it's just $1,000 down the drain.

Second, max out your RAM, which I see that you're doing, so you're good there.

As for processor, that's a tougher call in terms of value. All the current iMacs are equipped with quad-core i5's running between 2.7 - 3.2 GHz and any of these are adequate. I wouldn't spend the money to just go from a 2.7 i5 to a 2.9 i5. But opting for the i7 upgrade at $200 is worth it ONLY if you're going to buy a model that allows it for other reasons. My thinking here is that if you're sticking with the base 21" iMac, to get the i7 would cost you a net of $400 since you must change to the 2.9 21" iMac first in order to even have the i7 option... in that case it's not worth it. But if you're already thinking about the base 27" iMac for example, that extra $200 for the i7 is worth IMO.

The one thing you didn't mention is to get as large a drive as you can internally. Sure, you can use external drives (and I do) but it's just nice to have a massive internal drive. Unfortunately, that's not possible with the 21" iMacs. So this leaves you with the following recommendation:

Budget:
Base 21" 2.7GHz i5 iMac with 16 GB RAM

Better:
Base 27" 2.9GHz i5 iMac with 16 GB RAM, 3 TB ATA Drive (no fusion)

Best:
27" 3.2GHz i5 iMac with i7 upgrade, 16 GB RAM, 3 TB ATA Drive (no fusion)
Great post - thoughtful and logical.

Only a couple of points to add - 27" get minimum ram during purchase and largest internal drive - upgrade (third party) the RAM to 24-32 GB as PS loves RAM. Second point - PS and video/movie editing works best with 2 drives or more. Consider external drives as relevant and weigh the options for what kind of drive you want externally.
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