Experienced Video Producer - Moving up to new iMac, need specific guidance

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by hjb, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. hjb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    #1
    I use Adobe Premiere Pro 2019. It is time to consider replacing a 2011 iMac which does the job but the graphics card now displays confetti more often. It's also a bit slow for current needs.

    Current specs: mid-2011 iMac 21.5 inch, 2.5GHz i5, 24GB 1333 MHz DDR3, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 512MB, external 6TB drive

    The workflow is consistent. I start with a pair of 30-minute video files, 1080 not 4K, with no plans for 4K in the future. I sync the files (one from a SONY RX-100 and the other from a ZOOM Q8 because the audio is so much better). I then edit the files down to about 4 segments, each one about 4 minutes long. There are now hundreds of these finished files on Vimeo, and there will be a thousand before year end.

    I hope to see faster rendering, faster exports, and more clarity on the screen.

    So: I suspect I need the best of the new 21-inch models, or either the low- or middle- 27-inch model (which would provide more screen real estate, nice for timelines etc.)

    Bearing in mind that my future plans are more likely to involve making more and more of these short form projects, and my most ambitious plan would be an hour long single camera documentary in HD (not 4K) with few if any special effects, I hope you will express opinions about:
    - Which processor I should get
    - Whether I need 16GB, 32GB or more
    - Whether the 21 inch makes any sense at all

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. kohlson, Apr 18, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019

    kohlson macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #2
    As you probably realize by now, as a general rule the more resources you can apply to video the better things are. And resources mean money! There is a lot of discussion about whether hardware vs. software (Quicksync, GPU vs CPU) encoding and decoding are better at various places around the web, specifically for PP. But I think you can't go wrong with:
    - Faster CPU, and at least 4 cores
    - More memory
    - SSD, both more apps and as a cache/working disk (that's 2 disks...)
    - Big screen

    From what I understand of PP, GPU may not be the most cost effective.
     
  3. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #3
    Any 2019 iMac you get will be much faster than your 2011. Your 2011 iMac doesn't support USB 3.0, so using common external drives can be difficult.

    There have been six versions of the RX-100; the newer ones can shoot 1080p using the XAVC-S codec which might be easier to manage than AVCHD.

    Newer Macs starting with 2017 have a faster version of Intel's Quick Sync decode/encode acceleration -- provided the software uses this. So far on the Mac, Premiere only uses this for encoding (to output files) not for decoding during playback. However Adobe will supposedly be releasing performance improvements for this relatively soon.

    In general I'd recommend a mid-range 2019 iMac 27 with a SSD drive. At first glance the 27" screen might seem large but the slim design fits into many decors. The larger screen real estate and retina screen are very nice and helps with managing complex screen layouts.

    You can order it with minimum RAM and do the upgrade yourself which will save money.
     
  4. hjb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    #4
    --- Post Merged, Apr 19, 2019 ---
    Thanks, Joema. Several questions for clarification. And of course, I welcome guidance from others in the community as well.

    1. The current internal 1TB is a Samsung 850 EVO, and I plan to replace the new computer's internal drive with this one. Is that a reasonable idea, or should I simply buy a new 1TB (or 2TB) internal drive?

    2. There are several other drives connected--a 1TB, a 6TB and an 8TB. I need to check specs on these.

    3. Yes, I am up to date on the RX-100 series. I actually prefer the earliest version. It's inexpensive, battery life is good, I don't desperately need the viewfinder, and I carry a duplicate as a backup.

    4. I need to read up on Quick Sync. This is new for me.

    5. Where would you start with RAM? Just the 8GB? From Crucial, Apple, or another source?

    Thanks!

    ---------

    Your message below...

    Any 2019 iMac you get will be much faster than your 2011. Your 2011 iMac doesn't support USB 3.0, so using common external drives can be difficult.

    There have been six versions of the RX-100; the newer ones can shoot 1080p using the XAVC-S codec which might be easier to manage than AVCHD.

    Newer Macs starting with 2017 have a faster version of Intel's Quick Sync decode/encode acceleration -- provided the software uses this. So far on the Mac, Premiere only uses this for encoding (to output files) not for decoding during playback. However Adobe will supposedly be releasing performance improvements for this relatively soon.

    In general I'd recommend a mid-range 2019 iMac 27 with a SSD drive. At first glance the 27" screen might seem large but the slim design fits into many decors. The larger screen real estate and retina screen are very nice and helps with managing complex screen layouts.

    You can order it with minimum RAM and do the upgrade yourself which will save money.[/QUOTE]
     
  5. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #5
    No. In general I would not recommend opening the case of a 2012 or later iMac to replace a hard drive. In general I'd recommend getting the new iMac with whatever size internal SSD you can afford, then use external storage to supplement that.

    By contrast the RAM is designed to be user-upgradable via an external hatch, so that is easy. You can order the machine with minimum RAM from Apple then use OWC or some other RAM upgrade kit.

    Remember -- if any of those are over 4-5 years old the probability of failure is much higher. This has nothing to do with getting a new iMac but it may be a good time to take stock of this.

    The new iMacs have USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3 ports. If you have any Thunderbolt 1 or 2 drives they will need this or similar adapter: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MQ26QIY/


    Start with minimal RAM and get an upgrade kit. I don't have personal experience with that but many people use OWC. Maybe others could offer advice.

    Re where to purchase, be advised that B&H does not allow returns of any computers, including Macs.
     
  6. hjb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    #6
    Very clear answers. Thank you. I just chatted with OWC--they do a good job with tech support--and they felt I could simply connect my old drives to the new iMac. I will, however, check the age on those drives, heeding your good counsel.

    I do wonder about whether the 1TB SSD that I put into the 2011 iMac two years ago should be repurposed. You don't think that's a good idea. Can you elaborate? Thanks.
     
  7. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #7
    I meant the iMacs before 2012 were easier to get inside and modify. If you want to remove it from your 2011 iMac, that's up to you. I assume it's SATA interface? But cracking the case of a brand new 2019 iMac to install a SATA interface SSD is probably not a good idea.

    You could remove it from the old iMac and externally plug it into your new iMac using the SATA-to-USB 3.0 adapter: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HJZJI84

    OTOH a brand-new 1TB Samsung T5 is only $177: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073H552FJ/
     
  8. hjb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    #8
    I visited my local independently owned Mac speciality store today. Here's what I learned:
    • We discussed Fusion drives vs SSD. I have about 250GB in files and applications that should reside on the computer's main hard disk (removing documents, pictures, music, and working files). They recommended a 512GB SSD for about $300. More than I would spend with Samsung, but add the installation and (in theory) Apple's extra speed, and this seems to be a reasonable decision. If there is enough SSD space for the future.
    • If we install a non-Apple SSD, Apple Care is certainly affected for the drive (makes sense), but any potentially related issues could make it difficult to get things fixed under Apple Care.
    • If I start with 16GB RAM, which seems like a minimum, then we add $200. If we jump to 32GB, which seems like it will be necessary, that's an additional $400. I was unable to find directly comparable 16GB or 32GB kits on Crucial. I suspect Apple will cost about 2x the price of Crucial, and I am unsure whether I am being conservative or foolish in paying Apple for these upgrades.
    • When I described my work, the store thought the middle of the 27-inch line was appropriate:
      3.1GHz 6‑core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 4.3GHz). I don't know how to evaluate their guidance.

      Your thoughts are welcome.
     
  9. kohlson macrumors 68000

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    Apr 23, 2010
    #9
    Do you have access to an Apple Store? The ones near me are very open and accepting about using display models to try out your workflow. Bring in some CC files, download a trial version and see how it works. Activate the Activity Monitor and take pictures with your phone of CPU, memory, and GPU usage at various points in your workflow.
    Alternately, go to a local videographer club, and ask around.
    But, I think there is no upper limit on what you can spend while seeing some improvement. The question is whether it's worth it. The biggest single thing, imho, is SSD.
     
  10. hjb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    #10
    More helpful findings from dealer visit:

    • There are three 27 inch models. The middle one is very similar to the low end model, not worth the additional $200 for the capability increase. Better to compare the low end and the high end.
    • The best 27 inch comes with a 2TB fusion drive for $500 more than base model—but the processor is 3.7 which seems better than 3.0 or 3.1
    • I explained why I wanted SSD instead—reliability and speed. Dealer says I will probably keep the 27 for 5-7 years, so reliability is unlikely to be an issue. As for speed, yes for start up and for opening apps, but less so for workflow editing with files on an external drive. Better to buy the 2TB fusion than the $100 higher 512GB SSD. OPINIONS WELCOME!
    • So now the questions seem to be: 3.0 vs. 3.7 processor, and 512SSD vs. 1TBfusion vs. 2TBfusion.
    • With 16GB to start with possible upgrade to 32GB if needed.
    Narrowing it down! Thanks for all ideas and input!
     
  11. kohlson macrumors 68000

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    Apr 23, 2010
    #11
    I think you will be disappointed. But the only way to verify is to try it out - can the dealer accommodate?
     
  12. hjb thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 23, 2011
    #12
    Kohlson — working on your plan. Good idea but I need a local place to say yes. So far, no luck.
     
  13. kohlson macrumors 68000

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    Apr 23, 2010
    #13
    Costco may be a possibility. They offer iMacs. They have an excellent return policy, though I do not know if that applies to iMacs, so worth verifying. But if their policies meet your needs, that might be an option.
     

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12 April 18, 2019