Help me choose an iMac for photo and video editing, up to $2k

Discussion in 'iMac' started by 13ms13, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. 13ms13 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Location:
    Tychy, Poland
    #1
    Hi,
    I want to buy an iMac for photo editing (ca. 75%, Photoshop CS5) and video editing (ca. 25%, Final Cut Pro). I can spend up to $2000, maaaybe $2200. Of course, I'm happy to spend less than.

    Screen: I understand that I would benefit from the 27" screen a lot, so I'm going to opt for the bigger screen.

    Memory: Getting 8GB Crucial RAM for 60 bucks seems like a no-brainer. 16GB is crazy expensive so I'll pass on that.

    Hard drive: I could get the $1700 model ($1600 on Amazon) and save some $$$ or get an external 128GB SSD (I don't want to risk voiding warranty by swapping the internal HD). Would I benefit from the SSD more than from the better GPU or CPU?

    GPU: This is basically 512MB 6770M vs 1GB 6970M. OR even 2GB 6970M upgrade. Is this necessary? I've heard that the 1GB 6970M is 70% faster than the 6770M but I'm not doing any gaming nor will I be using any other types of 3D software.

    CPU: 2.7GB i5 vs 3.1GB i5. I could upgrade to the 3.4GB i7. I'd see some video rendering time improvement, but Photoshop is more important ;)

    Thanks for taking the time to read and helping me out!
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
  3. 13ms13 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Location:
    Tychy, Poland
    #3
    Thanks for the answer!

    Well, a refurbished iMac is something I have to consider. $325 cheaper compared to a brand new one. EDIT: only $200 after tax :/

    I guess I can get an external SSD drive in the future, once they feature the Thunderbolt technology.

    Does the 27" iMac have 4 RAM slots? Does that mean I can buy two 2x4GB RAM kits and have 16GB RAM for around $110? EDIT: Is 16GB necessary or is 8GB enough?

    And could you please elaborate a little bit on the GPUs and CPUs? Which is more important for me? How much will I benefit from the faster i5 or even i7 processor? How much will I benefit from the 1GB 6970M GPU? Maybe the $1700 model will be enough for my needs? I don't have to spend the additional $$$ ;)
     
  4. B.A.T macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Location:
    Idaho
    #4
    The 27" has four slots for ram. Buy 8gbs and install it with the 4gbs that come with the machine and you will have 12gbs which is plenty. Get the i7 for hyper threading. Buy the machine and stop worrying about it, it's a powerhouse.
     
  5. 13ms13 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Location:
    Tychy, Poland
    #5
    Ok, I'm leaning towards the i7 refurb. I hate to be annoying but I still want to know if I actually need such a machine. 6970m might be much faster than 6770m but if I won't even be able to utilize 6770m's full power, there's no point in shelling out additional money. Same with the CPUs. If I'm going to get let's say twice faster rendering times with the i7, I'll happily spend the additional money. But if that's going to be 4 hours vs 4h10min vs 4h30min, I'd rather keep the 400 bucks.
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #6
    The faster GPU won't really play a big role but the i7 would definitely speed rendering up. That is due to Hyper-Threading which provides up to 30% performance increase in heavily multithreaded environments. Here is a comparison. As you can see, some tasks are sped up whereas in some there is basically no difference. Compressor supports multithreading so rendering times should be faster.
     
  7. osu2317 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    #7

    I just bought a 3.4 27 in iMac... i was going back and fourth between i5 and i7... i asked several teachers video editors so on and so on.... the rep at apple who i talked to actually talked me out of the i7... I told him i was not doing any professional editing (motion picture, tv production, 3D) but just "prosumer" editing.... I work for a college basketball team so i do all of our highlights and game film break down on an imac. He said the i7 would actually be more than i would need especially since i was upgrading to 16gb of RAM, said that would by far do the job... so if you don't do heavy editing maybe settle for the 3.1 or 3.4 i5


    Can't really go wrong either way
     
  8. 13ms13 thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 24, 2010
    Location:
    Tychy, Poland
    #8
    Thanks for all the help!

    I decided to go with the i7 refurb. Maybe that's more than I need but I don't want to experience buyer's remorse just because I wanted to save 300 bucks on a $2000 machine :eek:
     

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