27 inch iMac settings for FCPX 4k editting

Discussion in 'iMac' started by AppleHater, Oct 31, 2015.

  1. AppleHater macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 9, 2010
    #1
    I have narrowed down to a few settings for my new iMac. The main focus at this point is future-proofing the iMac for 4K editing using FCPX without overblowing. Since I don't make money out of this, I don't need the fastest iMac. At the same time, I don't want my iMac to be be painful to use in next 2-3 years when most of my footages will be in 4K.

    1. I5 3.2Ghz CPU, m390 GPU, 512GB SSD
    This is the cheapest option. If this setup can handle 4K editing fine in the future, I don't need to spend extra.

    2. I5 3.3Ghz CPU, m395 GPU, 512GB SSD
    If m390 GPU isn't fast enough to make 4K editing smooth, I don't mind upgrading it to m395.

    3. I7 4.0Ghz CPU, m390 GPU, 512GB SSD
    If the CPU is only bottle-neck, I can go for I7

    4. I7 4.0Ghz CPU, m395 GPU, 512GB SSD
    This is the maximum I may consider, although I need to justify it much...

    Again, I don't mind waiting a few more minutes exporting footages at the end, but I'm seeking smooth performance while editing 4K with FCPX.
     
  2. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

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    Sep 1, 2007
    #2
    There are many variants of 4K footage and ways to deal with it. That said, the i7 and 395 are what you want. If you are adding a lot of effects and such, consider the 395x, even though it is outside your budget.
     
  3. fa8362 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 7, 2008
    #3
    You can't future proof a computer. If the cheapest option today is 10% slower than the most expensive option, it will be only 10% slower than today's most expensive option 5 years from now. Unless you're doing it professionally, save the money.

    One other point. There's a performance penalty for pushing all those retina iMac pixels around. I saw a youtube video where a video editor compared a top non retina iMac to a top retina iMac, and the non retina iMac smoked the retina iMac, and the retina iMac did not deliver smooth 4k previews. That wasn't the most recent top retina iMac, but it's possible that the latest top retina iMac still underperforms.

    Do your homework.
     
  4. AppleHater thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 9, 2010
    #4
    I understand it. But, my current iMac stutters pretty badly even with 1080p if I push it a bit; hence the upgrade. I'm hoping for a longer usable time since retina iMac doesn't come cheap.
     
  5. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

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    Sep 1, 2007
    #5
    I find the 395X and i7 push around 4K video handily -- and drives an external monitor (at 1080P). The same video was not so happy on last years i5 m290. For 4K video, i7 and 395(x) are highly recommended.
     

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  6. AppleHater thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    FCPX benefits more from I7(fromI5) or m395(from m390)?
     
  7. Thiagordc macrumors 6502

    Thiagordc

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    Dec 9, 2013
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    Belgium
    #7
    I have the same problem. Don't know which to order. Also for 4K editing. Already know I'm going for the I7 with ssd. But don't know which gpu, 390, 395 or 395X.
     
  8. Scott6666 macrumors 65816

    Scott6666

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    Feb 2, 2008
    #8
    +1

    Apple's not done a good job helping people choose between all the GPU options.
     
  9. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

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    Sep 1, 2007
    #9
    The GPU helps accelerate effects, color correction, and more. you want a 395 no question, and the X if you can afford it.
     
  10. Thiagordc macrumors 6502

    Thiagordc

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    #10
    Ok, thanks!
     
  11. AppleHater thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    How about I7 vs I5 on editing 4K? Would there be noticeable difference?
     
  12. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    Sep 3, 2013
    #12
    I have tested a 30% difference in FCP X export performance on an i7 with hyperthreading on vs off. That is at the same CPU clock speed. With an i5 to i7 you'd have the CPU speed difference on top of that.

    4k video editing is incredibly demanding. It is 4x the data of 1080p, hence about 4x the CPU/GPU load to achieve the same frame rate. You simply cannot have too fast a computer for this in the CPU and GPU area. This is especially when doing compute-intensive effects such as stabilization, noise reduction and optical flow retiming. Those things are agonizingly slow relative to HD.

    The nominal I/O load of a single H264 4k stream is not that bad, but the CPU load is so high you often must use proxy files which take time to build. You don't necessarily need SSD but rather a lot of relatively fast storage such as a Thunderbolt RAID array, plus additional backup for that.
     
  13. looking4anotebo macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Real question is how much gain is there in 395x over the 395?
     
  14. AppleHater thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Would FCPX trigger turbo mode and all 4 CPU units during 4K editing? Or Just single thread or normal speed?
     
  15. xmichaelp macrumors 68000

    xmichaelp

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    Jul 10, 2012
    #15
    Yes. FCP X renders as you edit. It uses as much power as it can.
     
  16. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    Sep 3, 2013
    #16
    Editing is comprised of various activities, some more CPU or GPU intensive than others. FCP X usually does a good job of utilizing all available CPU cores for most activities where that would be beneficial. In general the 2015 iMac i7 seems to run at full speed on CPU-intensive activities without thermal throttling:

    However, what exact editing sequence runs at what exact CPU clock speed (turbo vs base) is impossible to tell without using a diagnostic tool like Intel Power Gadget, which I have not done: https://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/intel-power-gadget-20
     
  17. magbarn macrumors 68000

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #17
    i7 no question, the hyper threading will give you a much bigger speed boost. The m395 should be good enough unless you're running adobe premiere (I don't). Premiere supposedly will use up all the 4gb of VRAM the m395x has, while FCPX doesn't use that much vram so m395 should be enough. Depending on my tax returns I'll be probably be going with a i7/m395/1TB or 512gb SSD/32gb RAM(I'll upgrade this myself as Apple is charging 4x market value!) for editing footage from my 4K AX100. Right now I'm editing videos on my 2012 iMac 27 and just proofing the final on my 4K Samsung using a rMBP 13 (not the most ideal setup)
     
  18. fathergll macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #18
    I would personally go with the following

    27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display
    • 4.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz
    • 8GB 1867MHz DDR3 SDRAM - aftermarket 16 GB for a total of 24 GB
    • 256GB Flash Storage
    • AMD Radeon R9 M395X with 4GB video memory
    • External Storage
     
  19. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    Sep 3, 2013
    #19
    IMO it's wise to select the highest-available configuration for 4k video editing, if possible. It is incredibly CPU and GPU intensive. When I render 4k multicam video with a few effects on my 2015 iMac 27 with M395X, iStat Menus shows over 80% GPU memory utilization. I don't know if that is correct but 4k is so demanding you need every little advantage.
     
  20. AppleHater thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 9, 2010
    #20
    The above two are my finalists. Sure, the faster the better but when reality kicks in, you have to compromise... Which would make more sense between the two? More CPU or more GPU power. Of course, the percentage of the improvements matter the most on common FCPX operations like moving clips around cutting and pasting and so on. Am I saving 10% of my time? 40%?
     
  21. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

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    Sep 1, 2007
    #21
    Prioritize CPU over GPU. However, I think both are bad choices and there are other compromises you can make. For example, you are probably planning on upgrading the RAM. Don't Hang on for a year with 8GB and use the savings towards what is not upgradable later. 2. You have to have an external drive for media anyway. I hate to advise this, but either go to a 256GB Solid State Drive or a 2TB Fusion. The savings on the drive (which you can always add a speedy external SSD later) and RAM (you can always add RAM later) will allow you to get the proper machine.
     
  22. fathergll macrumors 6502a

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    #22

    Agreed. It clear the OP has a tight budget so why is he getting an 512 SSD to begin with?
     
  23. AppleHater thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 9, 2010
    #23
    Because I appreciate the speed of fast storage. For every day use, SSD makes the biggest improvement compared to HDD (eventually even Fusion drive once the HDD gets filled up) in my opinion.
     
  24. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

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    Sep 1, 2007
    #24
    The bigger SSD only makes sense for programs and of course files you need frequently. But in truth, you don't need anywhere near 512GB frequently. And that's not big enough for a media drive. For video editing, I think the best advice is to go with the 2TB fusion and the highest end CPU and GPU. You can add RAM and an external SSD later. I do this professionally and this is my professional advice.
     
  25. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

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    Sep 1, 2007
    #25
    PS Using Premiere Pro now and with iStat menus, using about 3GB VRAM editing and color correcting 4K footage. With a LUT and an effect, footage begins to drop frames. Fine with one or the other, but not both.
     

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