iMac or Mac Pro for prof HD Video editing

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jonquarter, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. jonquarter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    #1
    I know this question has been asked a dozen times and I’ve read all the threads, but I wanted to give specifics for my situation and get some opinions.

    I am trying to decide between the iMac 27” 2.93 Quad Core i7 and the Mac Pro.

    I will be using the machine for multi-camera HD video editing in Final Cut Pro.
    The footage is from two Canon Vixia’s, a Canon 60D and a Canon XHA-1. (4 camera angles total) Clips can be as long as 30 minutes each. (no 3D editing)

    Question 1. Will the quad core iMac equipped with an eSATA port from OWC (for external hd) handle what I am trying to do?

    Question 2. If I need to go up to the Mac Pro, how “far up” do I need to go to see a big difference in process/render times? (do I need the hex-core to see a difference?)

    Question 3. For either machine what is the minimum RAM you suggest. I’ve read that FCP doesn’t use over 8gb. Is that true?

    Question 4. When it comes to graphics cards, a couple of the refurbished Mac Pro’s have 512mb cards. Is that a problem?

    Misc. info:
    I don’t mind having my desk cluttered with external drives if I get the iMac.
    If I get the Mac Pro I will have to sacrifice on display and get a 20” or 23” off eBay. (I’ve already got a 17” so, I’ll have dual displays)
    I’m less worried about upgrading in the future and more worried about speed right now. My budget is about $2800 (trying to stay under 3k)

    Hope this wasn’t too long I appreciate the help!
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    1. Definitely. Of course the eSATA is only 3Gb/s while Mac Pro has several SATA 3Gb/s ports but a single HD cannot provide more than 150MB/s, so eSATA should be fine.

    2. 6-core or better. These start to be quite a lot over your budget though.

    3. RAM is cheap now so you could get 12GB for iMac for less than 100$ (get 2x4GB from aftermarket). I would get at least 8GB though 12GB isn't that much more.

    4. What GPUs are those? VRAM isn't an indicator of the performance and in most cases, 512MB is more than fine.

    If you're fine with the limited upgradeability of the iMac, then go with it.
     
  3. Lord Appleseed macrumors 6502a

    Lord Appleseed

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Location:
    Apple Manor
    #3
    I'd say the iMac i7 with 8GB ram will do the job quite well. I'd go for it...especially since the iMac looks awesome.

    You could also use the 2TB HDD Option
     
  4. jonquarter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    #4
    Thanks guys! I do love that 27" display!!

    I should have done this to begin with... Here are two specific machines to compare:

    Refurbished Mac Pro 2.26GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon = $2,699
    Two 2.26GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processors
    6GB (6x1GB) of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC memory
    640GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s 7200 rpm
    18x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB GDDR3 memory

    NEW iMac 27” Quad Core 2.93 = $2,399
    2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x2GB
    1TB Serial ATA Drive
    8x double-layer SuperDrive
    ATI Radeon HD 5750 1GB GDDR5 SDRAM

    Obviously one is missing a beautiful 27" display, but between these two machines is there going to be a noticable difference in the processing speed?

    I just don't know how to compare different GHz speeds between the 4 and 8-core.
    Thanks for the help.
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #5
    8-core will be faster in encoding/rendering as it offers more raw processing power but its issue is its low clock speed. Most apps, including Final Cut Suite (excluding Compressor), are still single-threaded. Some apps support 2-4 cores for some tasks (like Photoshop) but only very few apps can really take advantage of all 8 cores and those are mainly encoding and rendering apps. When the amount of supported threads is limited, the clock speed will become the main part of performance. In this case, 2.93GHz i7 will be faster than 2.26GHz 8-core as it has much higher clock speed (+ greater Turbo).
     
  6. jonquarter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    #6
    Thanks! Those are the kind of things I know nothing about. I think I mis-spoke originally when I mentioned the hex-core. After going back and looking at it, that's definitely out of my price range. I confused that with the 8-core that I just mentioned. I've already got an external e-SATA drive so I'm thinking the e-SATA port from OWC is a no-brainer. e-SATA is faster than Firewire 800 right?
    Does anyone know if the e-SATA port from OWC voids the warranty or effects your Apple protection plan?
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #7
    eSATA - 3Gb/s (~285MB/s in real world)
    FireWire 800 - 0.8Gb/s (~80MB/s in real world)

    In theory, as long as nothing is damaged while it is done, it shouldn't but since it is a pretty big hardware modification, it most likely will. I would contact OWC and ask what is their policy on the warranty
     

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