iMac specs for HDV editing

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by no use, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. no use macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2009
    Hi all

    I tried so hard to get an aswer on this from all other forums...close but no cigar.

    I am doing my first video project - a short doco shot with a Canon HV30 in HDV. I now want a mac to edit - probably with Final Cut Express, maybe premiere pro. It will be a simple project - but will be building to more complex ones in the future.

    So I am going for a 24" imac - but really need to now whether it is worth the additional spec of the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS graphics card. I am reading that this spec is only really for gaming and will not help in any way with the smoothness of my editing or speed/quality of playback. Instead I should just load up on RAM, and ensure I store everything on an external harddrive with firewire.

    Any thoughts?

    Caus thats what I am goin for - as smotther editing as possible - with quality/fast playback. Or is this a dream in the beginner HDV world?

    Any advice would help. Thanks.
  2. dollar398 macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2008

    the graphics card upgrade will not help in editing unfortunately, only playback. You may want to wait just a bit though (if you can) for the next imac upgrade. Shortly (I'd say by March) we should see the next gen imac's come out. Definitely included in this update will be new core i7 processors. These core i7's are pretty sweet, they are capable of hyperthreading and have an onboard memory controller.

    Surely they will also have some other nice hardware improvements but exactly what is a little too speculative even for me to say.

    Waiting or not, beef up on RAM for sure.

    Interestingly as a side note NVIDIA has developed a method of co-opting the video card's power, called CUDA processing. GPU's have many slower processors that can handle simple repetitive tasks quite well. This makes the GPU a better candidate then the CPU for things like video encoding. Right now there isn't anything to my knowledge that utilizes this CUDA processing but it is on the horizon (as nearly all the video cards produced by NVIDIA are CUDA capable now). When you see programs utilizing this new form of processing then it would make more sense to get the beefiest card you could to do video editing.
  3. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    This is incorrect. The iMac can not house an i7 processor due to heat issues.
  4. akbc macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2008
    Next iMac will not have the Core i7's, period.

    But for the OP, if you have the money for 8800GS, go for it.

    When Snow Leopard comes out, the graphics processing unit (GPU) will combine its powers with the CPU (OpenCL).

    Which means stronger GPU = better.

    And since most of the video editing is done with processors, not the GPU... Why not 8800? right?

    Besides, you never know if you'll be reselling it or not. Resale values are the best when the spec's are top-end for the time of the purchase.

    BUT, I would wait. Next iMac shouldn't take too long to come out. If you have the time, wait for it. Your "simple" project, if it can be done with another computer for the time being, that'd be great.
  5. dollar398 macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2008
    heat issue?

    Nehalem is a 45nm microarchitecture that is more power efficient (in several ways) than current penryn (aslo 45nm) chips? so where is this heat issue?

    alternatively what other processor would be implemented in this speed bump? Granted the Bloomfield/Core i7 is a desktop processor, but it's mobile counterpart Clarksfield/?? will not be released until later this year.

    anything < nehalem in the upcoming imacs = fail.
  6. no use thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2009
    thanks for the input all.

    yes I had read about the 'speculation' we could see new iMacs by March. But had also read people were 'waiting' in Feb, Jan, Dec... But I might hold off a little.

    So the better graphics card looks like it would be worth it for my video editing? Out of interest, do people believe simply adding it as an upgraded spec to the 2.8GHz 24" will work OK? Or do you need to go with the 3.06GHz if you go the better graphics card?

    Sorry my tech knowledge a little limited here.

  7. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination
    Here's the truth of the matter.

    To use Final Cut Express or Premier Pro or Final Cut Pro 6 all you need is a G4 processor and about a gigabyte of RAM. As far as graphics cards all you need is an AGP or PCI Express Quartz Extreme graphics card. So any iMac will do you just fine.

    The beefier stuff is really just for smoother operation when working with larger files and such.

    So once again, for HDV editing with Final Cut Express you will do fine with ANY iMac. In fact once again, you won't see an improvement in anything other than render times and encoding with a higher spec'd machine.

    Just in case you just want me to tell you which machine you should get, I suggest the base model 24" iMac with maxed out RAM and an external 1TB HDD for footage.
  8. bumzo1 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 31, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    by any imac do you mean any current imac? because I have a white CD imac and it takes me 2 hours to from start to finish to make a video for youtube because it cant handle FCE.
  9. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination
    Even your iMac, yup. It can handle FCE, but are you taking HDV footage and encoding it? It will also depend on your settings and workflow. Tasks like that will take a lot longer.

    The machine can run and handle FCE/FCP but if you want to do things faster you'll need a higher end machine.

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