iMac vs Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Momojojo, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. Momojojo macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2011
    I need some advice on which to buy. I use Final Cut Express currently. I would like to start editing longer movies soon (Does that cause problems on express??). At this point I have a Powermac G5 and as much as I hate to say it, I need to upgrade soon (Intel, Need Adobe CS5). I would prefer iMac price over Mac Pro so can I get by with going the cheaper route? Please help... oh and by the way, please explain as if I know nothing :D (please try not to abbreviate the technical stuff) :apple:
  2. Full of Win macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

    Nov 22, 2007
    Ask Apple
  3. legreve macrumors regular


    Nov 22, 2010
    Define editing? I'm playing around with animation and plugins for AE, on a 4-core, and that's not much fun. It's fine when only dealing with the basic cutting and grading, but for more heavy stuff, I wish I had a mac pro.

    To comparison... I did three music videos this summer. A friend of mine handled the editing and grading along with effects on his mac pro 8-core. In my opinion that was even too slow.
    It's more in regards to work flow, as you sometimes want to nitpick maybe 5 specific seconds of a clip and see it rendered out before it's done.
    Time is money and sitting around waiting for 5 minutes every time is in my oppinion unacceptable in a steady work flow.

    So my judgment is:

    - Short easy editing where you don't have to do effects, iMac could prolly handle it
    - Longer, more elaborate editing with nice effects like lens flares or 3d compositing, I would prefer to work on a pro.

    But you know how they always say, handle the things you're good at yourself and send the rest out of the house for someone else to do... if that is an option.
    I just want to learn to be multiskilled and efficient at the same time, so I can't sit idle around drinking coffee while waiting for a render :)

    Look at the bright side, at least you dont live in Denmark where the base version of the 12-core mac pro costs 6700 dollars :¨(
  4. SatyMahajan macrumors regular

    Apr 26, 2009
    Cambridge, MA
    I have a Mac Pro and it works admirably for the tasks you have listed. However, the iMac is a nice machine, with only one real flaw for pros: Storage. 1 or 2 TB is not really enough storage, not to mention you absolutely need a second drive for scratch/data. Plus no eSata option unless you're willing to void your warranty ( to get it installed after-market. Which leaves you with Firewire 800 and USB 2.0.

    If you need something today, I'd get a Mac Pro. But if you can wait another 6 months, you might see an upgrade to iMac which gives it Thunderbolt, which would solve your storage needs.

    Just my $0.02.
  5. Momojojo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2011
    Thank you all for the advice! At this time I'm not fancy enough to do anything but simple cutting, I hope eventually to get into effects... but we'll see. I do have time (Still writing my script) so maybe I will wait to see if they come out with a new and improved iMac. I hate long render times, but if I have to wait I will (since I'm just working on my own stuff).

    Thanks again!!! ;):p
  6. LimeiBook86 macrumors 604


    May 4, 2002
    Go Vegan
    I'd say wait for the new iMacs, they'll probably have a Thunderbolt port. So fast external storage wouldn't be a problem. And I've heard from friends that an i7 iMac can out perform a Mac Pro due to it's turbo boost in some areas. So it wouldn't hurt to wait a little bit. We should have a refresh in the not-too-distant future. :)
  7. SpinThis! macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2007
    Inside the Machine (Green Bay, WI)
    For 3D, even a fast machine you can't render in full quality all the time. For Premiere and AfterEffects, speed up your workflow by rendering half or quarter res if you're not already until the final output.

    These programs also like a lot of RAM, especially if you're planning on keeping both open at the same time. The less RAM you have, the shorter previews will be and the longer waits you'll have. This is among the big reasons an iMac falls short when it comes to editing—that and storage. Firewire 800 is decent but you easily setup a RAID array for scratch inside a Mac Pro instead of keeping it external with an iMac.

    As others have written, I would wait to see what the upcoming iMacs have up their sleeves. At the very least, you can score a discount on one of the older models if you decide the older spec'ed ones are more reasonable.

    Even if you get a new machine with Thunderbolt, it's going to be awhile before you can even take advantage of it since peripherals won't be available right away, either. And with any new technology, it's going to be somewhat buggy as more users put it through real-world scenarios and find bugs.

    You'll be thrilled at the how much faster an Intel Mac is over PPC though. And this probably goes without saying... don't buy ram from Apple.

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