i5 or i7 for video editing?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Siderz, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Siderz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    So, I checked the iMac student pricing on my campus, and it's quite a bit less than I thought, so I'm thinking of getting better BTO options.

    I've already made a thread on the iMac video editing if you want to check it out - http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=16271465

    Originally I was going for the 21.5" with Fusion Drive (That's the second one; with 650M GPU) but considering it's cheaper than I thought, I'm thinking of going up to 16GB RAM and getting the i7 processor. I'm wondering what people feel before I go into it more than I have.

    Obviously the BTO prices aren't available yet so we're relying on speculation.

    I will be using my iMac for HD video editing, VFX (In After Effects - I'm gonna save for Element 3D once I have the iMac, so note down 3D work), I use Photoshop often (Mainly creating set extensions for After Effects, also doing funny stuff), and the regular stuff like Chrome, Mail, Skype etc.

    I really won't be gaming much, I'm not a gaming type, I feel there's very little to gain, but I used to host a Minecraft server, and my friends will likely get me back to doing that, and in turn I will probably play some Minecraft as well. I also have a Portal 2 copy on my Steam, I might download that and play it to the point where I feel it's eating my life. That's literally it for gaming.

    So, yeah, i5 or i7? How much of an improvement is the i7? I've been told the i7 isn't much of an improvement over the i5 from a gaming perspective, but I believe you need different parts for video editing and gaming. i7 + 16GB RAM or one of the two? I guess it boils down to future proofing; I'm hoping to have it maybe 3 years, or if the next Mac Pro is really good/at a good price, I'll save for that.
  2. gmanist1000 macrumors 68030


    Sep 22, 2009
    I have the i7 in both my iMac and rMBP, and even in FCPX, I experience lag. The i7 would be your best option for the best performance.
  3. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    Definitely i7. The 2012 imacs should fare well with video editing and 3d work if you pretty much max them out.
  4. dkersten macrumors 6502a

    Nov 5, 2010
    An i7 is really only necessary if your doing video editing. I would definitely pay a little more for better performance
  5. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    A 21.5" iMac will only be so good at video editing. That said, I think it'll be fine. A Fusion Drive is a definite must, especially given that the drive used in that iMac is a 2.5" 5400RPM drive; the SSD portion of the Fusion Drive will definitely help off-set the speed decrease of the hard drive; plus, my guess is that you will largely have your footage files on an external drive (toward this end, I'd recommend either 7200RPM drives or SSDs and connected via either Thunderbolt or FireWire 800 via Thunderbolt, since the new iMacs no longer have built-in FireWire 800). As for whether or not to do 16GB of RAM; it's not later upgradable, therefore it is a no-brainer, do it now so you won't wish you had later on when you actually need it. As for Core i5 vs. Core i7, the i7, among many other features, has 2MB more of Cache than the Core i5, which will help a ton with video editing. Since you can afford both upgrades, I say just do it.

    If we were talking about a 27" iMac, I'd give you a different recommendation, but given your choice of a 21.5" iMac, a Fusion Drive and 16GB of RAM seem like no-brainers, while the Core i7 will likely serve you and your uses well. Go for it.
  6. wmy5 macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2012
    upstate NY
    I think 21.5 iMac's RAM is still upgradeable, as long as you dare to tear your iMac up, which is not so hard for previous model. It's not soldered to motherboard like rMBP or MBA, just two conventional notebook RAM hide inside.
  7. MacPat333 macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2012
    Who will rip apart a brand new iMac without knowing how to reassamble it back together? And if you can't put it back together you gonna have a nice $ 1500.00 letter weight!

    Nice... :rolleyes:
  8. wmy5 macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2012
    upstate NY
    Come on, it's not that terrible. iFixit will have a detailed guide the first time when the new iMac is available. I did it lots of time, MBP, iMac, Mac mini...and I even upgraded an iMac's CPU. All you need is patience.
  9. PavelT macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2012
    im in the same exact boat as Siderz, but i am looking at the 27 inch imac, @ Yebubbleman, what would you recommend on the 27 side of things for video editing, best bang for my buck?
  10. 12dylan34 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2009
    Start Video Copilot rant

    "3D work" and Element 3D are worlds apart in terms of what kind of machine you need. I wouldn't regard Element 3D as 3D work, since it has no modeling abilities and has only an extremely limited set of motion graphics tools to work with only pre-made models, but it's up to you if you want to shell out for that. I'd go for a real 3D program like Maya (free for students with a .edu email, plus it's the standard for real VFX work), Cinema 4D, or 3DS Max. Video Copilot is good at the "ooh, shiny" crap to appeal to hobbyists. The downside is that what you make ends up looking exactly like what every other VCP fiend makes.

    End Video Copilot rant

    Anything of that nature, though, get the i7. Especially if you'll do real 3D work. For 3D, "get the best machine that you can afford, then double it and you'll still be waiting for renders." My workplace has a 128 core render farm and we still sit around waiting a lot of the time.
  11. Siderz thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    Well it would be good for a bit of beginner stuff, it looks easy to use and Andrew Kramer is great an explaining stuff simply.

    I could use Blender to try and model a few things, but otherwise there are plenty of websites with free models, they're not that great, but they're free.

    I don't have a .edu email address (Not that I know of at least).

    I'll do what I want...I want to be an editor; VFX is just a bit of a hobby for now.
  12. Siderz thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    I wonder why I didn't Google it beforehand -_-

    Thanks a lot, I haven't read the whole thing yet, so I apologise if it's listed, but will the iMacs come with a GPU on the processor as well like the 15" MBP?

    It doesn't appear to say it on the website for the iMac, but it definitely says the 15" MBP comes with Intel HD 4000 (Which is part of the processor right?) and a 650M. Dunno if it's simply because it'll save power or if they can be used in conjunction?
  13. gmanist1000 macrumors 68030


    Sep 22, 2009
    Just remember you can never upgrade the processor, so opt for the one that's future proof.
  14. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    You don't know that for sure as it's not out yet. Secondly, opening an iMac isn't hard, but it's still one of those things that I wouldn't recommend one try at home. No one knows what the procedure will be for these new iMacs as, again, they're not out yet.

    Given that the new 27" iMac has removable and replaceable RAM, going beyond the base amount from Apple do anything for you; it's cheaper getting aftermarket. I'd give yourself at least 1GB of VRAM (and thusly, I'd go with the higher end model, and thusly a minimum of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX); if you do gaming, max it out and get the GeForce GTX 680MX. Otherwise, I'd say the higher-end 27" iMac would much more benefit from the bump to the Core i7 from the Core i5 than it would the bump to the 680MX from the 675MX. The added VRAM is good, but for the most part a majority of the initial benefit is for gamers. If you can afford both, do it. For me, when I owned a 20" Early 2006 iMac, the 2GHz Core Duo and the 256MB VRAM (a CTO option at the time) both made the machine last longer for me than it would've if I had gotten the 17" at the time (which had a 1.83GHz Core Duo and 128MB of VRAM with no CTO option for 256MB). That said, your mileage may vary.
  15. the8thark macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011
    You are aware about platter density? And I think personally that the 5400 drives in the new iMac won't be all that bad. If the 5400 worries anyone, then best to wait for the benchmarks of it before making any judgement.
  16. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    I do video editing - 16GB RAM is a minimum today that I'd have on my main work machine. If I do some simultaneous stuff like Photoshop and AE, I'm easily using 10-14GB RAM.
    When I start rendering, sometimes I wish I had a bit more, I'm thinking of putting another 16GB in my Mac Pro.

    But 16 gigs will be fine if the stuff you do isn't crucial to be done within minutes. 95% of the time it is enough. Definitely get as much RAM as possible, nobody really knows now if the RAM is really upgradable.

    I'd definitely go with i7, it really helps for rendering! Sometimes, it can cut your render times by 10-30%.

    Also don't forget - storage will make a HUGE difference. Fusion Drive seems like it would help but I'd recommend getting fast external drive for storing your media and then ANOTHER drive (can have slower connection like FW800/USB2) for saving your exports. This workflow speeds things up even more than having a faster processor. Don't skimp on this, its important too if youre serious about editing.

    For storing your media I would recommend USB3 RAID enclosure for regular 3.5" drives. You can get them cheap and have 300-400 MB/s reads which is useful when working with HD. Of course, Thunderbolt drive like Pegasus Promise is the best and fastest, but also very costly. Nowadays, USB3 is a good balance between speed and price.
  17. DeafRaiders macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2012
    Caotbridge (outside Glasgow, UK)
  18. Vuddha, Nov 14, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012

    Vuddha macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2012
    I Agree

    ;) To bad that did away with the FW800. But the USB 3 is a good add.

    I too am waiting for the Imac to come out. I work with Photoshop. And I game a little. So I am Going with:

    27" 3.4GHz quad-core Intel core I7 with 8MB L3 cache
    8GB Ram, Upgrade to 32GB 1600MHz DDR3 from OWC for =+$200.
    3TB 7200rpm Fusion Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX Graphic processor with 2GB of GDDR5 memory
    AppleCare Protection Plan
    Samsung SE-506AB Slim Portable Blu-ray Writer =+$89.

    The 768GB SSD may Speed things up a bit more but the cost of an added $1000.00 Plus is a bit much for me, bring it over $4000.

    Just a Guess like every one Else.

    I already have a Synology DS1512+ NAS for External Storage

    Have a Great day

    Hope they come out soon!!!!!
  19. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I am aware of platter density. Regardless, you can't tell me that a 7200RPM 3.5" drive isn't faster than a 5400RPM 2.5" drive. I'm not saying that the experience will be terrible. I'm saying that given this disparity, the decision to go Fusion in the 21.5" iMacs and the Mac minis is that much more of a no-brainer.
  20. HurtinMinorKey macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2012

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