iMac - will it be enough to handle my workflow

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by champro, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. champro macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2009
    While I'm pretty well versed in Apple's offerings, I've been waffling over whether to pick up a new iMac for long enough that I figured I'd solicit some outside advice.

    I'm a freelancer, and as such money is always a bit tight, but my computer aside from my camera's is basically my main tool. Currently I'm plugging away on a 2 year old white macbook - 2.16 ghz and 2gb of RAM, and boy do I make it work. I'm looking to upgrade mainly to shorten my renders and to get myself some decent screen real estate. Part of me wants to go the easy way and get a 24" imac with the best graphics card I can, but I'm worried the performance bump won't be worth it. I know the mac pro's are beasts, but starting at 2500$ without a monitor is pretty steep. Plus if an imac is going to be five or six times faster than my current macbook that would be amazing, even if a Mac Pro might be 15x faster, I'd consider the imac worth it.

    So I throw my plight to you all to see what advice there is. Typically my workflow is heavy into After Effects, Final Cut, and Photoshop. Usually rendering and color correcting full 1080 HD or 2K res footage or working on very large images. It's not uncommon for me to have 2-3 hours renders for a 30 second clip. (I also realize that the imac screen isn't the best for color correction, but that can be another discussion). Obviously the graphics card would be a big bump from my macbook but I hear that for rendering graphics/footage it won't be much help (as opposed to 3d stuff where it would rock).

    Any help is appreciated.
  2. Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    I'd say go with the 2.93Ghz iMac. Get the 130 GT GPU if you afford it, and, if you feel like it, upgrade the RAM from 3rd parties. I don't know about HDD, though.

    And yes, it will run way faster, as everything is better: GPU, CPU, RAM, and I don't know, but if in time you upgrade your HDD to SSD, this will also be faster. You could do some savings and sell your current MacBook in order to have the money. Maybe even afford a Mac Pro :)
  3. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    It's a laptop which stands up. Did you consider getting a new laptop and gaining portability as well?
  4. MacFanUK macrumors 6502a


    Jul 29, 2009
    In the UK, there's only £100 difference between the high end iMac and the Mac Pro but not sure what the difference is in the US. If it were me though and I was looking at buying an iMac with the upgraded graphics card, I'd go for the Mac Pro instead for the extra few $
  5. ag55 macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    Yes the difference between the top imac and base mac pro is only about $100 i think. The base pro is hands down faster, and snow leopard will increase the distance by a long way as it has better utilisation of multiple cores.

    I'd say get yourself a base mac pro, and a good screen (dell monitors are the best value for money and what you get). Its going to sting the wallet a bit now, but you can be comfortable knowing it will be going for at least 4-5 years minimum, can be upgraded so easily its like making cereal, and its quick enough to support your workflow, and then some.

    The iMac is a great machine, but you'd need a high end imac, and then when your in that price range the difference between that and the pro is too small.
  6. bumzo1 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 31, 2009
    Dallas, TX
  7. champro thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2009
    Thanks for the help, and its kind of what I expected to hear, votes for the mac pro. neiltc13 is totally right that the imac is basically a laptop that stands up, kind of knew it, but that 24 inch screen is the siren to my ship. Prolly comes from the fact that I'm trying to edit footage that doesn't even fit on my little macbook's screen at full resolution, its a bit absurd. The other issue that I forgot to mention (weighing in the mac pro's favor) is the 4.5 terabytes of USB drives sitting on my desk that I have to swap whenever I need to access new footage. This is an issue I think I'd still be facing with the iMac.

    Looks like I may bite the bullet and shell out for the Mac Pro (kind of just needed a push over the edge). Of course that's money out of the camera budget. Never envy a photographer, they're forced to decide between spending their money on computer gear or camera gear.

    On that note, here's what I do if you care to look, its the time lapse that really eats up the CPU cycles.

  8. MWPULSE macrumors 6502a


    Dec 27, 2008
    i'd go with the Mac pro as well, then upgrade the RAM at some point (save up! :p) it will definitely help with the teras of drives you have :) (have you considered taking them out of the enclosures and mounting them in a nice big chunky enclosure with SATA straight out the back? that would feasibly be possible with the Mac Pro :D Sommat to think about


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