Imac for 4K video editing

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jksylvester, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. jksylvester macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2018
    #1
    Hello,

    I'm thinking about buying an iMac, with my budget I can get the 27 inch iMac with 5k display,

    - 4.2GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
    - 32GB RAM
    - 2TB Fusion Drive

    I mean i'm pretty sure that this will be good for video editing and I'd be very surprised if it isn't but I just wanted to double check there isn't a better option at that price. Anyone have any advice?

    Thanks!
     
  2. satinsilverem2 macrumors 6502a

    satinsilverem2

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    #2
    I would highly suggest getting a SSD for video editing. Mac OS since like Yosemite has been optimized for flash based storage. You are really going to notice a performance hit when rendering and editing video especially 4K footage with a spinner vs flash you are better off getting a smaller SSD if money is the limiting factor and fast external storage is cheap these days if you run out of space. The CPU and RAM choices are going to suit you fine. What editing software are you planning on using?
     
  3. imaccooper macrumors 6502

    imaccooper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #3
    I use a virtually the same machine to edit video weekly and it does great, but as was mentioned above, an SSD will definitely be worth your upgrade. I have a 256 ssd with a couple of external drives, but you can always up it to 512 or 1tb if the money works.

    Also, you didn’t mention if you were doing your own ram updates or paying the premium, but I suggest you save a bit of money buy the lowest ram possible and update the ram yourself. Super easy on a 27in and intended to be available to the user.
     
  4. jksylvester thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2018
    #4
    Thanks for the advice! I'm using final cut pro x to edit on.

    I was paying extra for the RAM from apple? So maybe the best thing to do is go for the lowest possible ram, use the money I save on that to upgrade to 1TB of SSD and upgrade the RAM myself? I'm guessing the hard drive isn't easy to upgrade?
     
  5. imaccooper macrumors 6502

    imaccooper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #5
    Yeah I would definitely go for upgrading the ram yourself. There is a little trap door type thing in the back that opens up and you can replace or add to the ram. I bought mine with 8 gb which as I recall was 2x4gb. I added 2x8gb of crucial ram to get to 24 and everything is great.

    As far as the HDD replacement, it is certainly possible, but that is a far different thing than a ram swap. If you are comfortable popping the screen off then go for it, but be sure to watch a few videos before you decide that’s what you want to do to confirm you feel good about it. For me, I just got a 256 ssd and a couple of external drives. USB 3 is fast or you can go up to thunderbolt 3 or usb c for even better speeds.

    Definitely a great machine, you won’t be disappointed editing video on it. The screen is fantastic.
     
  6. adamjackson macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    #6
    I have the top of the line 2016 5K iMac but I did 3TB Fusion drive instead of SSD. Every day I regret this decision. Don't sacrifice and get the fastest CPU instead go a line down and spend cash on the SSD. Final Cut Pro struggles just playing back a single camera angle on the iMac. I have a 4Ghz Core i7, 32GB of RAM machine that can't edit iPhone video .
     
  7. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #7
    I had a 2013 i7 with 3TB Fusion drive and still have all-SSD 2015 and 2017 i7 iMacs and a 10-core iMac Pro, all used for professional FCPX video editing. I tested the 2013 i7 iMac with 3TB FD vs the 2015 with 1TB SSD extensively -- boot time, app launching time, many FCPX encoding and performance metrics. There wasn't much difference.

    There *is* a major difference in the 2015 vs 2017 i7 iMac in FCPX performance on 4k H264 material -- the 2017 model is about twice as fast, likely due to the improved Quick Sync logic in the Kaby Lake CPU. It is not dramatically faster on general workloads but editing H264 is a very common task.

    Despite how fast the 2017 iMac is at FCPX, you still may need to create proxies for multi-cam H264 editing. Note that each H264 codec can have different performance characteristics, even if they are all 8-bit 4:2:0 and 100 megabit/sec. The XAVC-S material from the Sony Alpha series is somewhat sluggish, whereas similarly-encoded material from the Panasonic GH5 and DVX200 is smoother.

    Mere "iPhone video" can be HEVC depending on the settings. HEVC material is vastly more compute-intensive than H264. Recent versions of FCPX on High Sierra or Mojave can use Quick Sync to accelerate this (for 8-bit, not 10-bit) but only for Skylake and newer CPUs: https://www.anandtech.com/show/1061...six-notebook-skus-desktop-coming-in-january/3

    If you are editing H264 or HEVC video that is a compute issue not an I/O issue unless you have transcoded to optimized ProRes media. In that case it can become I/O intensive but otherwise the data rates aren't that high.
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    Of course, you want the 2017-design iMac 27".

    Get "the base level" of RAM -- 8gb. Add more yourself later. Cheaper and the iMac 27" is the last Mac with "easily-upgradeable" RAM.

    Get either a 256gb or 512gb SSD (depending on what you can afford). If you need more storage, add external storage via USB3 or thundebolt3.

    I suggest (as did others above) the you DO NOT buy a fusion drive, particularly for 4k video.
     
  9. adamjackson macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    #9
    Not a compute issue, My Radeon 395x and 4Ghz Core i7 barely show 50% utilization.

    My iMac also takes 25 minutes to get from cold boot to actually up and running though versus my Core i9 MacBook Pro 2018 which takes 30 seconds. HDD is healthy it's just incredibly slow.

    I actually think I should shoot a video of the boot process just so people can cry with me. I did a full reinstall of Mojave in September and installed everything I use from scratch without restoring from backup. still sucks.
     
  10. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #10
    That's not an inherent Fusion Drive performance deficiency -- something is wrong. I'd suggest booting to recovery mode via CMD+R and running Disk Utility First Aid on the system drive. Running it in recovery mode ensures single-user mode and more reliable checking.

    You can also run Apple Diagnostics. It won't find everything but some serious problems it might find: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202731

    After doing that run Black Magic speed test on your system drive and report what numbers you get. My 2013 i7 iMac with 3TB FD would do about 300 MB/sec write, 570 MB/sec read. It would slow down some as the drive filled up but would still boot up and was fully functional in a minute or so.
     
  11. adamjackson macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    #11
    I was an Apple Tech for a few years. The iMac itself (according to Apple and their utilities) is in good shape with no problems.

    I only have 1 out of 3 terabytes used...although I generally grow that figure to two terabytes when I'm working on a project.
     
  12. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #12
    If your 2015 i7 iMac 27 takes 25 minutes from a cold boot to get up and running, there's something wrong with it -- something an SSD won't fix. The SSD option was only about 3x to 4x faster on read speed than the Fusion Drive. If your problem was an I/O limit it would only boot 4x faster, which would still take 6.25 minutes. This implies the problem source is elsewhere.

    There are various things that can cause extremely slow boot performance. Whether the problem is software or hardware you could likely get that resolved and have good performance without buying anything.
     
  13. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2018
    Location:
    The Sillie Con Valley
    #13
    It all depends. You have not told anyone enough. 4K Video can be a lightweight use for an i5 or it can require an 18 core iMac Pro.

    For some users, it can involve a Maya 52 core rendering station that costs $150K.

    If you have all the time in the world, go ahead and get a Fusion drive. Otherwise, get an SSD as everyone recommends. Cost isn't the issue. It needs to be large enough to hold all of your apps, system files, plugins plus the largest file you're ever likely to work plus an additional 50%. For many, it will be 512G. For me it's 2T. 1TB is safe enough for non-professionals.

    Yes, buy the minimum RAM and upgrade in the aftermarket.
     
  14. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2018
    Location:
    The Sillie Con Valley
    #14
    Nonsense. It depends on the task. Before I went all—SSD, 25–30 boot time till my applications were up and I was logged into all the web sites required by my job was normal. I booted, went to breakfast and hoped that it would be ready for work when done.

    Nowadays, if it takes longer than a minute, I get impatient.

    Mine is similar—I can do it but it takes forever to do so in FDCPx. Hoping that I can make my budget swing an iMac Pro soon.
     
  15. driftless macrumors 65816

    driftless

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago-area
    #15
    It defies the imagination that a 25 - 30 minute boot time is normal or acceptable.
     
  16. adamjackson macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    #16
    I work in a Windows environment. All of my colleagues come in, boot up their computers (since IT forces us to shut down to save power) and they go get coffee or breakfast. The first half hour of their day is "technical unemployment" when an IT survey came around, I was very clear that this is costing them millions of dollars to give everyone hard drive based machines and still no changes.

    I use my MacBook Pro at work and if anyone is looking over my shoulder, "wow you are so fast and getting things done"
     

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15 December 4, 2018