FCPX users, I need your advice on a new iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by TJPhotoguy, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. TJPhotoguy macrumors newbie


    Feb 7, 2018

    I tried searching the forum first, but could not find the answer I am looking for. I currently have a macbook pro, which does not cut it for 4k video editing. I do film and photo editing for work and I just got a Panasonic GH5. My computer can't edit anything without converting it to a proxy file first.

    So my question is, what Imac configuration (27") would be able to smoothly edit 4k 200mb All-i 10-bit data without any hicups. I also one day would like to edit 4k 400mb 60 fps 10-bit colour smoothly, once I get my ninja inferno.

    Thanks for your knowledge and suggestions.

  2. Samuelsan2001, Feb 8, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018

    Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Ok you need to provide some more information. What software do you use? This is important all software uses its resources differently and what is recommended can depend heavily on this for example we may recommend a windows system down to software. What sort of editing?? How complicated, length of video etc etc etc. Is this for home use or is it for work?? What is recommended will highly depend on the professionalism of the use case, no point recommending a low end imac when its for a film making company and the imac pro is the one to go for.

    Just to let you know this is way outside my area of expertise, but we have some very very knowledgeable video and photo editors on here and this information they will want to give you the advice you need.

    Edit: sorry just seen the title FCPX is mac so yeah a 27 inch imac or the pro depending on budget and usage.
  3. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
  4. BeechFlyer macrumors regular


    Nov 5, 2015
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    I would suggest the iMac Pro for this, with the biggest SSD you can afford.
  5. joema2, Feb 8, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018

    joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    There is no Mac made, including the iMac Pro, that can edit 4k H264 with total smoothness in FCPX (or Premiere) without proxies. I know because I'm a professional editor and I have both a top-spec 2017 iMac 27 and a 10-core Vega64 iMac Pro sitting on my desk. We use the GH5 a lot and the 10-bit codecs are even more difficult than the 8-bit ones.

    For 8-bit 4k H264 in FCPX, a top-spec 2017 iMac 27 is *really* fast. It is about 2x faster than a top-spec 2015 model, likely due to the improved Kaby Lake Quick Sync. It's fast enough you can edit one stream of 8-bit 4k H264 without proxies. However all 8-bit H264 is not alike. But on all the Sony XAVC-S from our Sony A-series cameras and 8-bit 4k H264 material from our Panasonic DVX-200, Inspire 2 drone, GoPro Hero 5, etc, it handles it well. You still need proxies for multicam. Also FCPX is slow on the 4k 200 mbps All-I Panasonic codec, at least on 10.3.4. I haven't re-tested on 10.4 yet.

    For H264 4k multicam you need proxies, but that's the case with almost any NLE on any hardware. For anybody who (1) Uses FCPX (2) Edits 4k H264 video and (3) Is on a 2016 or earlier Mac, the 2017 top-spec iMac 27 is a good deal. It's about 2x faster than a 12-core D700 Mac Pro on most H264 tasks, including ingest, proxy creation and export. It's way faster than any MacBook Pro 2016 and earlier. I haven't tested the 2017 MBP.

    The iMac Pro doesn't have Quick Sync but apparently FCPX uses the dedicated video acceleration logic on the Vega GPU. It's much faster on H264 than a 2013 12-core D700 Mac Pro, but overall it's no faster than Quick Sync on the 2017 iMac. Therefore you are no closer to editing 10-bit 4k H264 without proxies. The iMac Pro is very quiet under high load -- almost like the trash can Mac Pro, so if acoustic noise is important that's a factor.

    The Ninja Inferno will let you capture to ProRes which *can* be edited without proxies (inc'l multi-cam). However the files are about 6x the size of H264. On a ProRes workflow the iMac Pro is significantly faster than the 2017 iMac, but ProRes by itself improves editing performance on the iMac enough you might not need the iMac Pro.

    The $4,000 deal sometimes available on the base-model iMac Pro is one option, also (if you can wait) evaluating the 2018 iMac update. If it has a 6-core i7-8700K that might be a good choice. If you need a machine today for improved FCPX editing performance on 4k H264, the 2017 iMac is a good choice and the least expensive option.
  6. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

    Sep 27, 2008
    OP, as with everything joema2 posts, you are receiving thorough and solid advice. As a full-time media content creator myself, I always enjoy and benefit from the knowledge he/she shares.
  7. TJPhotoguy thread starter macrumors newbie


    Feb 7, 2018

    I feel honered that you took the time to give me such great advice, thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for and more. Cheers!
  8. iamchrisstone macrumors newbie


    Feb 18, 2018
    I edit 4K video from my drone and 360 degree footage with my GoPro Fusion. I have not taken time yet to get into deep color grading and heavy effects, but so far I've had no issues. I've been using FCP (used to only use the Adobe CC Suite).

    iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017)
    macOS High Sierra
    Version 10.13.3
    4.2 GHz Intel Core i7
    64 GB 2400 MHz DDR4
    500 GB SSD
    Radeon Pro 580 8 GB

    External 3 USB3 slots with 27 card reader mounted under the iMac

    Displays (total of 3)
    27-inch (5120 x 2880) (the iMac)
    Dual LG Ultra HD Display 27-inch (3840 x 2160)

    Super Drive - I still haven't used it yet, but at least I have it.

    500 GB Flash Storage (Macintosh HD) used for programs and stuff that stays on the iMac

    WD 8TB External HDD - used for every day storage such as pics, documents and stuff most people keep on their machines..

    1 TB External SSD (I forget exactly which one) - used for my work flow if all the footage is smaller than 1 TB

    12 TB External HDD RAID 0 - used for my work flow if all material is over 1 TB; This runs pretty fast, but still nothing compared to SSD. Will upgrade to a large SSD RAID setup later this year.

    I use BackBlaze. It backs up all of my iMac and 1 external (I have it backup my 8TB)

    Time Machine - I have a 4 TB WD My Passport I used for Time Machine because I also have an iMac at the office and a Macbook Pro, so I partitioned it and use Time Machine at least once a week on all machines.

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7 February 7, 2018