iMac vs Macbook Pro for Media Prodution

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by luminancenow, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. luminancenow macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2014
    I will be purchasing a new system within the month, and I need some buying advice.

    This will be a two to three year purchase and needs to meet current needs as well as future needs.

    I am debating between an iMac and a Macbook Pro. The power-hungery part of me leans toward the iMac, but the mobility hound leans toward the MBP.

    Regardless of choice, I will have available mobility and/or adequate screen size. I will be purchasing a large screen, if I get the MBP. I will be purchasing an iPad, if I get the iMac.

    I will be writing film/video scripts, writing essays, and preparing lectures for work about 1/4 the time.

    I will be using the following programs about 1/4 the time:
    • Premiere Pro (mostly)
    • FCP X (when desired by clients and prepping for teaching editing)
    • After Effects (moderately)
    • Photoshop (frequently)
    • AVID (rarely)
    • MAYA (looking to learn)

    The remaining 1/2 the time I will be surfing the web and watching TV/Movies.

    It really comes down to the performance/mobility of each combo.

    I've listed the theoretical builds below. Thank you for your input.

    iMac w/iPad air:
    • 27" screen
    • 3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
    • 32GB RAM
    • 256GB Flash Storage
    • GeForce GTX 780M 4GB

    Macbook Pro w/24" Asus pro monitor:
    • 15" Retina
    • 2.6GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz
    • 512GB PCIe-based Flash Storage
    • NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2GB <--This worries me the most.
  2. casperes1996 macrumors 68040


    Jan 26, 2014
    Horsens, Denmark
    That's tough

    Hard question you're throwing at us. The apps you'll be using are quite intensive, so on that front, I'd suggest you the iMac with an iPad, but on the other hand, writing essays and film scripts etc. won't exactly be an enjoyable affair on an iPad, even if you get a keyboard for it. If you're going to be on the move a lot, I'd say go for the MBP, but if you're going to be mostly in the same spot, iMac. An alternative would be iMac+MacBook Air(instead of iPad, since it's more suited for your writing needs, and will also be suitable for video and web surfing, although maybe not as much as the iPad)

    The iMac is more suited for you heavy apps, but that is not to say that I don't think the MacBook Pro would deliver an acceptable experience. If you're using long hi-def files with Premiere and FCPX though... MBP would slow you down a bit here and there, so just keep it in mind.
  3. luminancenow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2014
    It is a very tough choice. I was thinking of the Macbook Air alternative you suggested as well.

    I did use a Macbook Pro for three years of film school, and I found that I was never as productive as I wanted to be on it, because I work better in an office situation whether writing or editing.

    I also often made the trip to the editing labs just to be on the MacPros because of rendering times. My wrist is getting bad too from angling it to type when I'm in bed or on the couch.

    I am more and more leaning toward the iMac.

  4. casperes1996 macrumors 68040


    Jan 26, 2014
    Horsens, Denmark
    Alright then

    If you're not going to be utilizing the portability of the laptop that much, just go iMac.
  5. martinm0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2010
    Agreed. The iMac is definitely the more powerful of the two in every area, except portability (and its not that far off!).

    I have both the late 2012 27" iMac 3.4 i7 and the early 2013 rMBP 15" 2.7 i7, 16GB, 512GB. The rMBP is certainly an amazing machine, but the iMac is just better at everything I throw at it. Not to mention runs cooler and quieter on those heavy jobs.
  6. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    For the sake of getting words "on paper," my iPad (first generation, at that) plus Bluetooth keyboard has served me very well. I use the Apple wireless, so it's the same keyboard I'm used to.

    When I have the need to brain dump, it's far more important to get the words out while they're fresh than to work in a specific app, format properly, etc. The combination of iPad and keyboard is still lighter and more compact than any laptop, and it fits better on airline tray tables. The fact that I can leave the keyboard behind means I'm even more likely to have the iPad in hand when the words arrive - even the built-in keyboard is better than not having a writing tool at all.
  7. casperes1996 macrumors 68040


    Jan 26, 2014
    Horsens, Denmark
    iPad + keyboard

    With regards to using an iPad and an  keyboard, I'm happy it works for some, but I tried it for a while, and it just didn't cut it for me. I used it for writing notes in a chemistry lab, to avoid getting acids on such on my Mac, but eventually had to whip out my Mac. It became too much of a hassle, securing stand, and turning noon bluetooth, waiting for the connection, and having apps that didn't work with the shortcuts. I kept trying to cmd+tab between apps, and close them with cmd+q... Obviously it didn't work, and constantly having to move my hand from the keyboard, to swipe to my periodic table, and then back to notes to write, just didn't work. If you can do this, great, but before someone goes out and buys an iPad and a keyboard, consider having to constantly take your hands off the keyboard, and then back again.
  8. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    I can't compare the rMBP to the iMac, but I can report that someone I know (a professional video editor) experimented with cutting Red 4K raw on the exact rMBP you're thinking about, and said it worked well and that with Premiere CC, transcoding was at about 3X real time. I don't know about rendering.

    The same person is going to be cutting a low-budget feature film on that rMBP with a couple of 27" Dell monitors, a gRAID and other peripherals, using Avid MC7. He's going to cut in ProRes. Another shop's doing the transcoding from Red to ProRes.

    The rMBP was on hand and budget constraints wouldn't allow for a stronger machine. Low budget is low budget. He'll produce an EDL and other shops will do all the final stuff.

    Nevertheless, the daily editing machine's going to be an rMBP.

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