Best iMac for Video/photo Editing for my hard earned?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dhc, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. dhc macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    I’ve been editing with Final Cut Express on my 15” 1.83CD Macbook Pro and am finding the screen size a little restrictive. I toyed with buying an external display to solve this, but actually, when I’m editing I’m always sat at my desk so I’ve decided to sell the MBP and buy a desktop computer for this kind of work and an entry level Macbook to meet my limited portable needs.

    I want to spend ~£1500GBP, and for this I could either get

    20” iMac with 2GB Ram, 2.33 processor, 500gb hd and x1600 graphics card


    a base level 24” iMac, with maybe one upgrade (Ram? Graphics? Processor?)

    I use FCE, Aperture, photoshop and InDesign mostly, all of which benefit from greater screen estate, and because of that I’m leaning towards the 24”, but perhaps the improved performance available from the upgrades on the 20” outweighs that?

    Care to share your thoughts/experiences?



    PS - want to make this the last Mac I buy for a while (wife is starting to complain:rolleyes: )
  2. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Get the 24", but upgrade the video card to 7600. Dont bother upping the cpu to 2.33, its realy expensive and gives you a very small performance boost. You can get 2 gigs of ram later if you cant afford it a once, but you cant change the video card.

    However, if you'll end with 20", also dont bother upgrading the CPU - not worth it IMO
  3. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    Good advice, although I'm not 100% sure that the OP would really utilize the upgraded GPU. I agree, in principal, that upgrading the video card would be the smartest move for longevity, but if the goal is to get the best machine for the specific job at hand up and running right away, I'd recommend either the 24" with more RAM, OR... maybe get a 20", add RAM, upgrade the VRAM, buy a second 20" Dell LCD for $230 or so, and add a FW HDD later on when you need more storage?

    Or a refurb Mac Pro (4x2ghz model) plus said 20" Dell LCD would run you about the same price as well.

    Either way it sounds like you're looking to spend about $2200 on a new machine, and for that money you can get a great setup anyway you slice it. Personally, I'd look at the 24" or the Mac Pro just for the fact the 20" lacks FW800 which it sounds like you might want to add more storage and connect DV devices to the system at the same time if you are doing a lot of video editing.

    EDIT: Oh, and while it's true that at the moment the video card isn't really replaceable, the 24" does use MXM so it's likely that an aftermarket will spring up for those parts at some point in the next year or two.
  4. dhc thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    Both, thanks for your input. I could probably push to upgrading both the Ram and Graphics on the stock 24", so will probably go down this route - I've got both firewire and USB external drives, so could most likely forgo the additional internal hd storage, too.



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