current iMac prices - buy now or wait new models?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by SyrianFilmmaker, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. SyrianFilmmaker macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2012
    Hello all!

    this is my very first post on this forum. I am studying film production and although i've been a die hard Apple hater and PC lover but i finally had to succuumb and bite my tongue and decide to get a mac, we get taught on Final Cut Pro X and i am not willing to learn on any Windows based editing systems - basically because this interfere with what im currently learning.

    anyhow, im in the market for a 21.5" iMac. i am a student so budget matters. Should i wait till new models arrive (july?) so i can get current iMac's cheaper? or what do you guys think? im a straight Mac noob so im not sure how Apple's pricing strategy is played out. Please advise and any other tips about video production on a Mac is greatly appreciated!
  2. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    First of all: Welcome to the forum! :)

    Second: While it may be easier to use the same software at home that you use in your courses, it is not completely necessary. Most of what you learn will be applicable in almost any editing software, since editing skill is not really dependent on what software you use. But I don't want to keep you off a Mac and Final Cut, both are very nice for video stuff.

    And third: Apples pricing strategy is not "We will sell the old models cheaper when the new ones are out." You can buy two kinds of computers from Apple: The newest model, which is always roughly at the same price, or "refurbished" models, which are cheaper and might also include previous models. You can always buy both those types, although there are usually more refurbished machines available when new ones just came out...

    About those refurbished machines: They vary greatly in the amount of reduction you get. You should check how much more expensive they were as "new" models. You can not combine this offer with the discount you get as a student (in Germany, that's about 15 percent...). So sometimes, the new model is just as cheap as the refurbished one.

    "Refurbished" means that the machine is not new, but has been used e.g. as demo in a store or sent to a customer and returned. They have all been checked for errors and repaired if necessary. I've had some bad experience with refurbished Macs, but worst case scenario (something is broken), you have the same warranty and can have it repaired or return the whole machine.

    When it comes to choosing your iMac: What's great about an iMac in video editing is the pretty good monitor (for the price) and the not so crappy (compared to the Laptop models) graphics chip. The CPU is more or less standard. I would recommend you (if you can somehow afford it) to get an iMac with the slightly better GPU, the less powerful CPU and very little RAM. You only need the CPU for transcoding or exporting, and you'll have to wait for that anyways. The RAM you can easily upgrade yourself and will end up way cheaper. The GPU and enough RAM (that you built in yourself, I would go for 16GB if you can, but at least 8) will make the editing process itself more fluent and you won't want to smash in the monitor as often during editing. :)

    If you need more details on how to get the student discount, the refurbished Macs or what exactly I would recommend, go ahead and ask again.

    Hope that helps a little.
  3. SyrianFilmmaker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2012
    thanks Floh! my uncle lives in Stuttgart :)

    Your post has been very helpful. You are absolutley right about the skills of editing. Its just that i like the workflow and layout of FCPX very much. I've tried Adobe Premiere, felt like it was too complicated and all buttons are crammed... maybe because of my 13 inch laptop screen :D

    I usually get refurbished machines too, i got my Acer 3830tg refurbished for $200 less than new and with more ram and HD space. It was like-new but it had trouble with the touchpad so i sent it for warranty, they replaced it with a new one, and ever since its been great.

    do you know when the new models are coming out? i will look for refurbs and compare it to a new one with student discount though.

  4. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    That's very interesting. Many professional editors hate on FCPX, since it does not look like the NLEs they are used to and has a different workflow (Adobe Premiere is much closer to the last version of Final Cut Pro...). There are of course other reasons too, but I think if you are unbiased, it is actually a good idea to go with FCPX. At the very least, you won't find such a cheap pro program anywhere else.

    Sadly, I have no idea, and no one really does. I can tell you that rumours existed it would be presented at the WWDC (which it didn't) and that rumours existed it will be in 2013. But some sort of benchmark leaked and there are rumours it will be "rather sooner than later". But as you probably have noticed, those are all rumours. Apple is pretty secretive when it comes to any information on new releases, the best you can do is guess.

    However, if you look at the dates of the last releases on MacRumors Buyer's Guide, a new model is overdue. So it might be soon.

    But as I said, if you are not too interested in the new version, the old one is already available as refurbished and will not get cheaper when the new ones come out. It will only (maybe) get more numerous. If you want to buy a new model, I would highly suggest you wait for the new release. But for refurbished, it's not that important.
  5. bagelche macrumors 6502


    Nov 2, 2007
    Western Mass.
    Floh has many great points and good advice. I have a couple of additional thoughts.

    I am very much a fan of buying refurbished. I've done it on my own machines and what I buy for work. I don't get the student discount, so the savings are an excellent deal, especially with the full warranty and the as-new computer. You get a plain box, but I can live with that.

    I don't know the pricing world outside the U.S., but since you mention Stuttgart I'm assuming you are. I like the site for checking out the prices and specifications of various models. I'd stick to the 2011 releases for refurbs.

    Having said that, I, too, would wait for the new ones to be released if you can. I suspect it will be relatively soon (but what do I know?). I have found that the prices of refurbished machines do drop slightly within a few days of new models being released.

    As for FCPX, I like it (with caveats) and it's what I'm now teaching for my public access TV members (having moved on from FCP7). The tightly-defined Pro world is moving to greater acceptance (here's a great blog post by Oliver Peters), but it definitely has some full stops if you're trying to work in certain post environments. I'd hate to edit with it on a 13" screen. I use it on a 15" laptop, 21" & 24" screens. Definitely the more screen space the better.
  6. SirYossi macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2012
    The issue with referbs is not entirely true. I bought a referb imac in dec and checked the serial number and said the date of birth was less than a week before I got it. I was wondering what such a new machine - i expected a older serial but what i got was newer then any of the apple stores. I pondered the reason then i noticed a pea size over buffing blemish in the base - not really an issue since it is covered anyhow. I had other referbs and in most cases they are better than the new models. Rarely are referbs store demos or returned items - most are old or over stock and or items that for what ever reason had issues before leaving the factory - then they were sent back to be fixed thus in my case the base got a little too buffed leaving a slight imperfection not affecting the unit itself.

  7. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    It's one thing to prefer using what you're learning in school on your home machine. However the phrase above shouldn't be in your vocabulary.

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