iMac 21.5 Purchase Priorities for Using FCP X

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by RCAFBrat, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #1
    My son will be studying communications with a special interest in video production. He needs a new computer and we are convinced that in the long run, switching from PC to Apple will yield more reliability for him and less aggravation for me. Our expectation is for the computer to be good enough for the next 5 years.

    His preference is a desktop and he wants as much bang for his limited bucks as possible so we are looking at the 21.5” iMac with i7 CPU and 16GB RAM.

    Given the fact that the most important use of the computer will be for video editing (he is not into gaming so I am posting this thread in the digital video forum rather than buying tips), I just want to ensure our priorities are correct.

    Plan is to purchase FCP X and possibly After Effects (he doesn’t know whether AE will be affordable or not).

    Based on the many helpful posts I have read on MacRumors, the following are the upgrades in order of importance that I think we should be shopping for:

    (1) i5 to i7 (extra threads for faster rendering)

    (2) 16GB RAM (checked out the OWC video and decided I have no interest in doing the upgrade myself and don’t see much cost advantage over Apple store since there are only two slots anyways)

    (3) 1TB Fusion Drive (will forego due to added cost and possibly look at adding an external SSD in the future)

    We are also looking at a 1TB HDD (ADATA DashDrive) for backups.

    The only 27” iMac in his budget would be the basic model (2.9GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5) although upgrading the RAM to 16GB or 24GB is obviously something we could do ourselves. That said the 27” iMac would probably be too big for his desk!

    Also, since his HP laptop has already died and we want to take advantage of the BTS specials, waiting for the expected iMac refresh is not really an option.

    Appreciate any feedback you can offer.

    Cheers
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    #2
    You more or less spelt out the "DO & DONT". You know what you want. Is your son in agreement ?.
    All you stated is fine. I would recommend to your son to keep all his video files on an external hard drive.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #3
    Originally we were thinking base model and maybe hard drive upgrade; it is was my belief that an SSD would improve reliability by eliminating the moving parts of a HDD but I am no longer sure that is the case, especially since it seems many on MacRumors are recommening external HDD due to frequent read / write operations when rendering. I gather this is an issue for SSD?

    The new iMac will be a substanial upgrade from his old PC but then again he was using Corel Video Studio for editing at home and I have no idea how much more computer is needed for FCP X.

    The cumputer we have chosen is more than his budget so my wife and I are paying for the upgrades and I want to be sure money wouldn't be better spent elsewhere (had briefly considered offer of a friend to put together a smoking fast PC and also Mac Mini).
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    RoelJuun

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #4
    Your SSD will not suddenly die. Modern SSD's will not die due to heavy writing operations. Whenever you buy a computer in 2013 and you need it for work, always buy with SSD. Especially since you cannot upgrade the iMac. (Although you can use an external SSD but that isn't convenient) The SSD is the biggest improvement to any computer.
     
  5. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Consider the fusion drive for inside the iMAC.
    16GB RAM is more then enough for FCPX.

    All video projects should be stored on an external drive - due to the high read/write operations a traditional HDD is fine as an external. An SSD wouldn't offer much more of a noticeable advantage when used in this setting and it would die quicker since they have a more limited lifespan.

    For external drives you want a connection that will stream the video smoothly.
    USB3 sends data in packets, so isnt suited to being used as a video editors scratch disc.
    Thunderbolt is perfect, but the cost of an external ThunderBolt drive may be a concern.
    FW800 speed works fine with video editing - although you may need the Thunderbolt to FW800 adapter - not sure if the iMAC comes with a FW800 port any more?

    In an ideal world you want the program to be run from a SSD (internal) and the video/project files to be on a HDD (external).
     
  6. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #6
    The question is then, does one prioritize the Fusion drive (perhaps even a factory installed 256GB SSD) over the CPU upgrade and / or RAM upgrade?

    This is the question I am on the fence about.
     
  7. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    No. Personally I'd prioritise CPU and RAM, since you cant really upgrade the CPU later on, and for video editing these are much more important.
     
  8. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #8
    The base 27" is $1650 at B&H Photo. Don't know about taxes or shipping to Canada, but here in the states, there would be no tax and shipping is free.
     

Share This Page