Best Imac specs for final cut

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by R.H., May 27, 2008.

  1. R.H. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    #1
    Hey guys, I need some help in deciding which of the new Imacs to get, I'm pretty much set on getting the 24 inch w/ upgrade of 3.06 cpu, 4 gig ram, 320 hd, but the question is whether to go for the nvidia card or ati?? I will be starting off most likely with final cut express but i wanna move on to pro real soon and use motion 3 etc. My question is, if i go with the ati card, will it be sufficient for use with motion graphics and other applications that require that type of graphic use?? or will i be better of with the nvidia, I' m really torn, please help!!!

    Thanks.
     
  2. RemarkabLee macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 14, 2007
    #2
    Bear in mind you are using Pro level apps with consumer level hardware, which is not ideal.

    Having said that, the current ATi drivers perform better with Pro apps, but hopefully upcoming drivers for the Nvidia cards will fix this.

    So as things stand now, the proven best choice would be an ATi based machine. Whether software fixes this in the future, only Apple and Nvidia know - but I hope they improve things soon.
     
  3. jnash macrumors regular

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    Michigan
    #3
    When I had the ATI card (first gen alum 24") motion 3 ran very very good I never had any problems, the only thing I think that would be a problem is the render time, I sold mine thinking of going with a quad core pc buttt I might go back to the imac because I like the software better and macpros are too damm expensive.
     
  4. R.H. thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 26, 2008
    #4
    cool, so u actually used motion on a imac with the ati 256 mb graphics card and it ran smoothly? That gives me some confidence with that purchase then. So in theory, when the nvidia card gets the driver updates then render time will be faster and overall quality will be better yeah?? i thinks i may have to wait for the update first b4 buying if i were to get nvidia card, not long to go anyway, thanks 4 ur help.
     
  5. LouisBlack macrumors 6502

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    Jun 21, 2007
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    Balham, London
    #5
    Now that is not actually true is it? Have you ever looked at the specs of an iMac in comparison with a Macbook Pro? In fact, the iMac tops out with a much faster processor.

    Final Cut should run fine whichever GPU you choose. The Nvidia card might have fairly immature drivers but that will be sorted out in time. As mentioned, the render times may be slow compared to an 4 or 8 core Mac Pro but they will still be decent.
     
  6. R.H. thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 26, 2008
    #6
    has anyone else used motion 3 with imac and ati card and had a good experience like jnash, runs smoothly etc....now im really considering just settling for ati card as its proven to be solid but cant help wondering if it will be much better with nvidia card when its updated drivers.
     
  7. LouisBlack macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Motion runs acceptably on my iMac with a ATI X1600 card with 256MB RAM so it will run well on the new ATI cards.

    Remember, many amateur/semi pro film makers use Macbook Pros as their main machine to edit their films. Apple really would look stupid if it's pro level laptop couldn't run their pro level applications.

    So as the new iMacs are faster than even the MBPs, we can safely assume that all apps in Final Cut Studio will run well.
     
  8. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

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    #8
    Let's keep two things in mind while we are on this topic:
    • Today's entry-level iMacs easily beat the performance of the Mac Pros from three years ago, and they were used for pro video editing at the time. Even today, many professional editors still use their G5-based Macs. The current line of iMacs can support editing very well. Where they don't look so good is when it comes to expanding them - putting video capture devices into them or fast RAID adapters.
    • Whether things run smoothly depends, on any machine, on how much load you put on it. Thinking of editing uncompressed HD video? Forget about it on an iMac. Will Motion run smoothly? Well, it depends on the complexity of your graphics.
    If you are just getting serious with video editing, maybe the best thing to do is NOT max out your first computer that you buy, but get a moderate iMac and use that to learn - learn how the software works, and learn better what your real needs are for the equipment, because that will likely change over time as you experiment with different editing/postprocessing workflows and other audio/video gear.
    - Martin
     
  9. geardos macrumors newbie

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    May 30, 2008
    #9
    the best imac would be the fastest one you can afford. The 24 inch has a higher quality screen so I'd get that if you can afford it.

    You definitely need an external hard disk though. I would suggest getting a firewire800 one from a company such as lacie (since all the new imacs support fw800). You should use that disk as your storage drive for edited material, and use the internal disk for everything else.

    You can save money by getting the computer with the stock hard disk and ram configuration, upgrade the ram yourself (I upgraded my 20inch imac from 1gb to 3gb using a 2gb crucial stick, from crucial.com, no problems whatsoever). I'm not trying to advertise that manufacturer but I have had good experiences with them. Buy an external fw800 disk to use to store video material instead of getting a bigger stock drive.

    I have the base level 20 inch aluminum imac from last year and it runs final cut pro fine (way faster than my 1.5ghz g4 powerbook, that's for sure!). But I do have 2 external fw800 drives and I never use the internal one for editing.
     
  10. slug32 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    #10


    • Hi Martin

      I find your post very interesting. I am currently debating as to whether or not to get a MAc Pro or a nice Imac (which I would prefer sue to space issues etc)
      In your first point you say that an iMac will handle editing... were you specifically referring to SD or what? as you say in the next paragraph that it wont handle uncompressed HD...

      Now the latter is what I am interested in manipulating... Would you recommend a Mac Pro for uncompressed HD editing period and forget about an iMac for this?
     
  11. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

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    #11
    Yes, to my knowledge even the latest iMac models will not allow you to handle uncompressed HD. The bottleneck isn't the CPU in this case, but the hard drive. Uncompressed HD requires transfer rates between the computer and the storage system that go beyond FireWire's capabilities, and you really need a RAID system where the performance of multiple drives is added up to deliver the necessary transfer rates. On the Mac Pro, you can build a RAID using solutions from Apple or from various third party companies.

    Another problem would be the capture solution. I'm not an expert here - I mostly use HDV, which works fine over FireWire - but I am not aware of an iMac-based solution to capture uncompressed HD into the computer.

    Just out of curiosity, what drives your need for uncompressed HD?

    - Martin
     
  12. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Los Angeles
    #12
    You can either wait and see if the Nvidia drivers get better or you can go ATi now. I personally wouldn't go Nvidia now w/the assumption that things are going to get better.


    Lethal
     
  13. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    Apr 16, 2008
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    Tempe, AZ
    #13
    True, but most editors use external RAID arrays anyway. An external FW800 RAID-0 enclosure from OWC loaded with decent hard disks works great for this. A setup like that will maintain 80-100MB/sec easily. This is more than adequate, even for 2K proxies from REDCODE.


    Anyhow, I think we really need to determine what the OP really means by "uncompressed HD." Outside of very high-end HD cameras, a lot of popular HD codecs are already compressed. HDV, AVCHD, DVCPRO-HD and even REDCODE are compressed HD codecs. For example, DVCPRO-HD is 100Mb/sec; that's 12.5MB/sec. Even a single-disk FW drive can handle that.
     
  14. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

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    #14
    But not sufficient for uncompressed HD.
    Agreed. That's why I asked slug what the rationale behind uncompressed HD was. My gut feeling is he's really looking for something else.

    - Martin
     
  15. Sijmen macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 7, 2005
    #15
    My 2007 model alu iMac 24" (2.4 C2D) doesn't handle 720p well in Final Cut Express.
     
  16. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    Apr 16, 2008
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    Tempe, AZ
    #16
    Well, of course not. :)

    Then again, about the only cinema cameras I can think of that shoot HD that's truly uncompressed are the DALSA Origin, Arri D20 and Panavision Genesis.

    But, "uncompressed HD" terminology has seemed to extend itself to anything produced by an HD camera that hasn't yet been compressed with a different codec.
     
  17. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

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    #17
    It seems obvious from this thread that some confusion exists with regard to what uncompressed HD is. But really, the simple definition is that uncompressed has not used ANY CODEC at all. It's raw picture information, pixel for pixel, without any compression.

    If the HD camera cannot record without compression, then there are capture cards for computers that can record a video image (typically fed into the capture card using HD-SDI or component video) from about any HD camera. It's recording straight to the computer, not to the camera, and that's where the computer needs a very fast storage system, apart from the capture card.

    - Martin
     

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