Best option for video editing.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jj2009, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. jj2009 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    #1
    I am trying to figure out which iMac to buy that would be the most suitable for video editing, having just commenced a university course in film production. I am trying to choose between:

    24'' 2.66Ghz with the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M shared 256GB graphics and the
    24'' 2.93Ghz with the NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 256GB graphics.

    They both have 4GB RAM and a 640GB HD. I am on a fairly tight budget so I need to know whether paying the extra $300 is really worth it. I am told that the difference between the processors doesn't really matter, that the graphics card is the important thing to consider... but I don't know a thing about graphics cards, so I can't tell if the cheaper option is good enough for what I will be doing. I will be using Final Cut Pro and I have a 750GB external FireWire hard drive.

    I was also considering the 20'' model and upgrading to 4GB RAM. It has the same graphics card as the 24'' 2.66Ghz. I feel like the 24'' screen is just so huge... will movies distort in full screen mode with such a huge screen?

    Thanks
     
  2. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #2
    Final Cut does not rely on the graphics card at all. Stuff it with RAM (4GB will be plenty) and you will be fine with the lower end machine.

    However, if you plan to use Motion, that's where you might run into trouble. I know Final Cut Studio does not support the integrated graphics in the older MacBooks - double check and make sure its compatible with the NVIDIA graphics. I suspect it might be, but I haven't actually looked at the specifications recently.

    As for 20" vs. 24" - they will offer comparable performance, so the only difference if you're looking at the low-end 24", so that's a non-issue. I edit routinely on a 24" and love the screen space. A 20" would be manageable, but the extra space is sure nice. :) No, movies will not distort on the bigger screen. Whatever player you use will simply add black bars if the movie's resolution does not match the screen resolution.

    Finally, if price is a concern, consider looking at a Refurb iMac. They're much better priced than the new machines, offer the same warranty, and imo are better machines since all of them (even the very base model) offer dedicated graphics cards and will all run Final Cut Studio. They have their downsides (less stock RAM and HDD space), but are still excellent machines and very well priced at the discount. I'm considering picking up a refurb 24" iMac in the next few months.

    Final thought: have you ever done post-production before? I would presume your school will offer editing facilities, so is it really necessary at this point to invest in your own platform? A new iMac plus Final Cut Studio will run you about $4000 - that's an awful lot of money in before you even know if you want to do post-pro full time. Especially if the school offers facilities already... One of my friends is a film major, and has her own MBP and FCS, but she still winds up using the school's facilities most of the time.

    Just food for thought.
     
  3. jj2009 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    #3
    Wow, thank you... that's all very helpful.

    I need a new computer anyway, so I figured I would get one that I can utilise for my course... the school does offer editing facilities but it would be nice to have the option to work from home, too.

    How do I go about finding a Refurb?
     
  4. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #4
    Remember, the education discount only saves you $50 on the low end iMac while you save $100 on the Mid range-iMac. So $1399 for that 24" iMac is a great price so unless you need a powerful GPU that's the one I would recommend.

    Of course if money is an issue and your school has the facilities perhaps you can save your money until the summer or some other time for a notebook if you decide that you want to do more with film than just this class. Remember that the iPod deal starts during the summer when you buy a Mac with it and the iPod is free. There is always a free printer deal (up to $100) throughout the year.

    A refurb may also be an option but you don't get the benefit of the education discounts/offers. The previous iMacs were good also but the ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT was not a good GPU on the low end 20" iMac. In fact, the new integrated 9400M G is more powerful. I have the ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO in my mid-2007 iMac and it is a decent card and better than the 9400M G. Not much has changed in the Aluminum iMac line since this latest upgrade to DDR3 RAM more L2Cache, and faster CPUs. Prior to that, almost everything was the same since 2007 other than L2Cache, slightly faster front side bus, and DDR2 800 vs. the older DDR2 667.

    You may also want to look into pricing at your school if they sell Macs or Mac software so you can save a bit of money. If you are looking to buy AppleCare you should check out ebay.
     
  5. MacAgent84 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    #5
    Best place to go is the Apple's Refurbished Mac section on their website. You can get a 1 year warranty with your purchase.
     
  6. jj2009 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    #6
    Thanks everyone.

    I'm actually in Australia so our pricing and special discounts are a little different.

    I'm not sure how to find the information about whether FCP is compatible with the NVIDIA card... anyone know?
     
  7. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #7
    On Final Cut Studio 2 I think you just can't use Color with older integrated graphics. Other than that, apparently FCP works on older Macbooks but just isn't "supported". So it will work just fine on any of the new iMacs.

    In this thread people are using the new Mac Mini with FCP.
     
  8. jj2009 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
  9. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #9
    As long as the NVIDIA graphics support Final Cut Studio, then the low-end iMac is a very tempting option at that price. It's really quite good value in the United States. :)

    Best of luck with whatever you end up with. Make sure to check your campus computer store for deals on FCP. I think I could get it for nearly half price compared to buying from Apple... I went with FCE, which was less than half of Apple's educational price. :)
     
  10. waiwai macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    Location:
    Florida
    #10
    GT120 will help a lot to speed up video encoding... but as far as being worth $300... that dedicated GPU is not worth $300, its just apple gouging its customers because they can...
     

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