Hmm...the legendary iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by c0t0paxi, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. c0t0paxi macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2017
    Hello! I want to emphasize that I'm a hobbyist so I do NOT need top tier specs.

    I recently got into making drone videos with my DJI Mavic. I'm new to Apple products, video making, and don't know much about computers+specs. I do plan to purchase an iMac 21" or 27".

    1) Which model of 21" & 27" should I get to edit 4k footage w/ Final Cut Pro X? It would be great if you all could recommend me the spec (i5? i7?, processor, RAM, storage, graphics card, etc) for BOTH the 21" & 27" to do the job--still deciding on the size. I'm hoping to spend a max of ~$2000.

    Seems like Apple separates models by the processor;
    -21" (1.6 vs 2.8 vs 3.1 GHz)
    -27" (3.2 vs 3.3 GHz)

    2) I've heard good things about Apple Refurb store, but have always felt that buying brand NEW is important when it comes to computers. Thoughts on getting a refurb iMac vs brand new?

    Thanks! I'd appreciate the help!
  2. Lunder89 macrumors 6502


    Oct 16, 2014
    Hi there.

    When editing video, the most important thing is the processor. An Intel Core i7 is the only real way to go.
    I can make two suggestions, one within budget, and on a little over.

    1) An iMac 21,5" 4K, custom build at with the Intel Core i7 and the 256 GB SDD drive. ($1,899)
    For more space (and $100 more), you could fit the 2TB Fusion drive, if the 256 GB SSD is too small and an external harddrive won't work for you, (on principal) you could go for Fusion drive, you want the 2TB Fusion drive, any lower and you will find the Mac very slow. Especially if you intend on working with 4K video. The 1TB Fusion drive is only a 5400RPM drive, and might not even be fast enough to handle the video. The 2TB Fusion drive is a 7200RPM drive.

    You can do the work on an Intel Core i5, but lagging during editing will very likely occur, and could prove in the future to simply be too slow.
    The graphics card is only Intel Iris Pro, which might not be enough, depending on your needs. A lot of effects, layers or other complicated edits, might send the graphics to its knees.
    I do edit 4K video myself on the Intel Iris Pro (MacBook Pro 15" Retina, 2014), without big problems, but I only do the simple stuff.

    2) An iMac 27" 5K (Tier 2, with AMD R9 M390), custom build at with the Intel Core i7 and the 256GB SDD drive. ($2,399)
    Over the budget, but will do anything you ask of it. It has a proper graphics card, and therefore the extra oomph.

    In both cases 8 GB ram should be enough to start on. It is cheap and easy to upgrade later, if it is not enough. (I am not sure, but I remember reading that the 21,5" iMac can't have its RAM upgraded later, if so, buying it with 16GB will be a good idea)

    I don't know about refurbished Macs, I have never done it myself. I am sure someone else can answer that :)
  3. Fravin macrumors regular


    Mar 8, 2017
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Well, I think you won't need such powerful machines as Lunder89 have suggested. Bera in mind that the current Line-up of 21" iMacs is powered by iGPU, from their Intel's CPU. That's not necessary bad for daily use, but it will compromise Final Cut's performance a lot, mainly in high resolutions videos with layers. Those iGPU (means internal Grahpics Processor Unit) won't be a clever choice for editing videos.

    Macs has an overall profile very different from windows computers. MacOS is build to optimize hardware and a computer that runs windows with poorly performing could run MacOS snapy. So keep it in mind. You'll have to think different.

    As a professional from graphics and desktop publishing using Macs since 1995, I can tell you.

    I would suggest you the middle configuration of "27 iMac. It has an discrete GPU that will render very fast your videos in Final Cut. It has an internal HDD helped by an SSD. It's i5 @ 3.2Ghz performance is very good under heavy loads. It cost $1.999 + taxes, and you should consider buying one of these Crucial Memory Upgrades to raise RAM to 32Gb. You'll have to spent extra $350 for that. Nut it will be worth.

    If you can spend $2650+taxes, I would suggest the top 27"iMac with the 3.3Ghz i5, with a large HDD and a powerful GPU. It costs $2.299, but again you should upgrade their RAM with an extra $350.
  4. c0t0paxi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2017

    So if I plan to edit 4k footage using FCP, are these specs capable of doing the job for a hobbyist?

    iMac 21.5"

    1) 3.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz
    -Other option is 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz

    2) 8GB 1867MHz LPDDR3
    -Other option is 16GB 1867MHz LPDDR3

    3) 256GB Flash Storage
    -Other options are 1TB ATA 5400 rpm, 1TB Fusion Drive, 2TB Fusion Drive, & 512GB Flash

    4) Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200
    -Apple website doesn't let me change this for this specific model (3.1GHz)

    from the Apple Website; worth it????? OR is it necessary to go with the 27"???
  5. Fravin macrumors regular


    Mar 8, 2017
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    So if I plan to edit 4k footage using FCP, are these specs capable of doing the job for a hobbyist?

    The Intel Iris Pro is not a clever choice. Keep in mind that this iGPU was planned to run a Desktop PC for office use in 1080p resolution. Apple managed to make it run an 4k resolution. It's 4x more pixels to handle. So, unless you will use this iMac for ocasional use, it will be ok. But not for editing Videos in 4K, specially in FCPX.

    The 27" is the only way to have a discrete GPU. I don't know why Apple decided to move this way. A few years ago you could buy a MacBook Pro with discrete GPUs, that was capable of running FCPX like a beast. In the 2016 line-up Apple decided to use that GPU from intel, there's a lot of yelling about this. Try to take a look in MBP's forum threads. Indeed, there's a lot of people returning their brand new MBP to replace it with a refurbished 2014 model.

    Take a look in this:

    Apparently, the negative response to the MacBookPro with Touch Bar, which many complained was not oriented towards pro users, was a major factor. Apple saw a surge of orders for older MacBook Pros instead of the new model
  6. gian8989 macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2015
    Don't even think about the 21" model. That is only good for web browsing, writing email or documents.
    In the 21" you won't be able to add more Ram so you would need to buy 16GB from the start; moreover hdd and 1tb fusion are horrible options so you would need to chose the 2tb making the price similar to the 5k with the M390 card.
    The i7 is faster for video editing but it won't make a big difference for you so just go with the i5.
    If I were you I would take a look at 5k refurb models but remember to chose one with at least 2TB fusion drive (the 1tb has only 24GB ssd vs 128GB).

    Again AVOID the 21" model.
  7. MacGizmo macrumors 65816


    Apr 27, 2003
    You need to forget the 21" iMac. Just. Forget it. And while you're forgetting it, make some time to forget the i5 processor. Forget the standard video card option, forget anything less than 16GB of RAM (32 would be better), and forget Fusion Drives.

    Save more money to pay for the 27" iMac's upgraded processor and video card, as well as more RAM from 3rd party resellers. Stick with the standard 256GB Flash drive and just add external storage drives (they're faster, cheaper and offer more storage anyway).

    Or you can choose to ignore this advice and come back here in less than 2 years and do this all over again when you realize that you made a mistake trying to save a few hundred dollars and getting underpowered hardware that isn't future-proofed enough.
  8. c0t0paxi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2017
  9. Amazing Ox Space Monkey macrumors regular

    Sep 21, 2015
    I beg my pardon but there is something I don't understand. While we stay at the topic of editing 4k videos, If a hobbyist is recommended to buy a 27" iMac with i7 and SSD (or at least 2TB fusion) then what do the professionals buy?

    What he/she gets recommended is like 80% of the top iMac configuration. And that for just occasional video edit? It is gonna be an impressively expensive facebook computer.
  10. redheeler macrumors 603


    Oct 17, 2014
    A professional would buy a Mac Pro, pro stands for professional. Or a Windows workstation due to better performance/expandability compared to the 2013 trash can. :)

    But seriously, editing 4K (whether as a hobby or professional) is a task which benefits from a higher-end computer; and if the benefit is worth it to you and you can afford it, then why not? People's recommendations will vary of course due to their perception of this.
  11. Fravin macrumors regular


    Mar 8, 2017
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    That's the whole point about Apple's strategy.
    Where is the PRO's machines?
    --- Post Merged, Apr 16, 2017 ---
    Just pick the middle 27" iMac. It will be far enough to your needs.

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