Imac VS Mac Pro: For Budget Video Editing?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by UnePommeDeTerre, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. UnePommeDeTerre macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2014
    Hello all,
    First of all, if there was already a thread created on this subject, please link it to me. I unfortunately didn't see it.

    So here's the deal: I've always wanted to really get into video editing. I've always loved it. The problem is at the moment I've only got a 2011 MacBook Air, so it can barely run iMovie good enough to make a half-decent short video. So I'm thinking about selling the MacBook and buying something that could be more adapt for video editing. I've seen the 2011 MBAs online (in used condition, like mine) selling for around $500-$600. So that gives me an overall budget of $500 or $600, and I could probably throw in another $100 if it really, really makes a difference.

    I read up on the issue and found that my best bet would be getting an iMac or a Mac Pro for video editing. Obviously, they wouldn't be new, and at least a couple years old. I was advised to go for a '06 Mac Pro, put Yosemite onto it, then upgrade the graphics card with a graphics card like the ATI Radeon HD5870, but I don't know how well that will run iMovie or FCPX. I could also opt for a 2009-2010 iMac. But I don't know which one to go for.

    Any help?

    TL;DR: I need help choosing between getting an iMac and getting a Mac Pro for video editing purposes. My budget would be at around $600.

  2. imaccooper macrumors 6502


    May 29, 2014
    North Carolina
    I have a 2009 iMac and use iMovie on it fairly regularly. It works well especially for short videos. Do remember that with that type of budget you are going to have to compromise a little bit on overall speed. With that said, I can personally tell you that a 2009 iMac will do well with video editing.
  3. MacProFCP macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2007
    I have been doing video editing on Final Cut Pro for about 10 years now. I have also used a MBP and more recently an iMac for on the road editing.

    The most important thing for video editing is the processor speed. That is what will hurt you and cause your delays for rendering, especially for real time rendering. Graphics cards are important, but my first generation MacPro could edit HD, even with those old graphics cards.

    Go with the fastest processor you can afford and then put in as much ram as you can afford.

    For the sub-$1k budget, I'd go with a used, but recent, iMac and put in 16 - 32 GB of ram.
  4. Hrududu macrumors 68020


    Jul 25, 2008
    Central US
    2009/10 Mac Pros can be had under $1000 pretty easily these days. I helped my brother get a 2.93GHz quad 2009 to use for video work as he was less than pleased with his late 2009 Core 2 Duo iMac's performance when it came to rendering. He used Final Cut sometimes, but preferred Premiere for his work. He has been more than pleased with the performance from the Pro. It also offers out of the box support for 10.6 -10.10 OS and offers lots of room for RAM, Video card, and CPU expansion. Naturally all the internal drive space is also a major plus.
  5. fuchsdh macrumors 65816


    Jun 19, 2014
    I don't know what you'll find at what prices, but at least around here, $600 will probably get you an entry-level single-processor config of a 2009 Mac Pro. Especially with regards to upgrades and compatibility, it's still a decent buy; I can't really recommend anyone buy 2006-8 Mac Pros at this point.

    As for the iMacs, you're definitely limited in terms of upgrades, but I've found that in real-world scenarios, especially when you aren't doing massive renders, the more-recent i5 and i7 iMacs tend to best the Mac Pros, especially given their higher single-core performance. And you get a nice screen as part of the bargain. Downside is that it seems like they haven't deprecated as fast based on eBay listings I checked up on.

    Given your price point, it's a bit of a tossup but I'd say going for a Mac Pro is a better option if you think you're going to hold onto the machine for any longer period of time and put any more money into it.
  6. senseless macrumors 68000


    Apr 23, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Yosemite can't be installed on a 2006 Pro. You need an early 2008 or newer MacPro to use Yosemite.

  7. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ


    Anything more is overkill for budget video editing, and it rendering time is an issue, just save that for when you sleep.

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