Is having RAM (8GB vs 16 GB) or processor (i5/i7) better for video editing?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 11, 2017
I wanna buy an iMac for video editing and film making. My budget is at most 2600 euro (and i can use student discount).

I found two offers on apple store;

1) 3.2 GHz corei5 (with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz) + 2*4 GB RAM + AMD Radeon R9 930 GPU + 1TB Fusion Drive FOR 2,167 Euro (incl. discount)

2) 3.3 GHz corei5 (with Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz)+ 2*4 GB RAM + AMD Radeon R9 935 GPU + 2TB Fusion Drive FOR 2,450 Euro (incl. discount).

I assume between the two, first one is worth more. So instead of going for the slightly better, considerably more expensive one, I’m thinking of enhancing the first offer with these optional upgrades (in priority):

  1. 2*8 GB RAM → + 225.6 Euro
  2. 4GHz Core i7 (with turbo boost up to 4.2GHz → +339 Euro
  3. 2*8 GB RAM + 4 GHz Core i7 (although it’s too much over my budget as the total cost would be 2,730 Euro)
Which one of the first two upgrades do you suggest more? And what do YOU recommend?
Last edited:


macrumors 6502
Oct 16, 2014
I do some video editing myself, but only on a hobby level.
But in terms of processor, if at all possible go for an i7. You might not need it now, but you will in the future. If you are working with 4k video, no argument, go for an i7.

8 GB of memory can do the job, if you don't have too many background tasks. But 16 GB memory will be a good improvement.

I am aware of the budget, but when asking for video editing, CPU and Memory are both important, and making a compromise on the price will punish you in the future. It might do what you need now, but what about in a year??

The fusion drive might also bite you in the but, since there is very little SSD, so depending on what source material you work with, it might not be fast enough. 4k video is relentless.

My best bet advice would be choice 2 for the iMac, and then upgrade the CPU.
Memory can always be upgraded later, when needed.

Choice 2 because the 2 TB fusion drive comes with a larger SSD portion. And that might keep the Mac faster longer.
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Sep 17, 2001
Wellington, New Zealand
If you get a 27" iMac, you can upgrade the ram yourself later.
If I were you, I'd get the i7 27" with 2TB fusion, as that has a larger SSD part than the 1TB fusion.
You will notice the difference with the 2TB fusion.
You can take the 27" iMac up to 64GB ram at a later date, but a 21" iMac is fixed ram size with what you buy at firstis all it will ever do.


macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
Like mentioned you can always up the RAM on the 27" iMac fairly easily. I wouldn't worry too much about that.

For video editing an i7 can be leveraged. Not required but will help with encode times.

On the late 2015 iMac if you are going the Fusion drive route I would go for the 2tb or 3tb models because they have a larger SSD portion than the 1tb models. It's just better value.
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macrumors 68020
Jul 19, 2002
It used to be an easy question on processor vs. memory. You always buy the fastest processor you can as you could always upgrade memory and drives later. But with Apple now only allowing memory upgrades on 27" iMacs and Mac Pros (and starting to solder storage on other systems as well) it really complicates things. If you are looking at the 27" iMac then that adage still holds true as others suggested.
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