Need advice on building a video editing iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by scrill, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. scrill macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2013
    Hello everybody. So I've been looking to get an iMac for months now but have been holding out on the update. I will be using this mac 90% for video editing. Can someone please give me a quick summary of which components help with certain phases of editing. I use FCPX and Motion on my current 2010 macbook pro and it's slower than dirt to say the least (in terms of rendering and importing/exporting). I was looking to spend around 2500$ maybe give or take a few depending on what is necessary. And I do most of my editing from an external hard drive. Just fyi.

    This is what I have built so far.

    3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz

    Memory (8 GB, 16 GB, or 32 GB ???)
    16 GB

    Storage (Serial ATA Drive, Fusion Drive, or Flash Storage ???)
    1TB Fusion Drive

    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5

    External Thunderbolt Storage (Necessary???)

    Any advice/info is appreciated. Thanks
  2. Bluebros macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2013
    I am no expert but I've been reading the forums long enough to answer this question. I also do a good amount of video editing so I paid attention to these types of posts before I bought my iMac.

    This was my choice...

    3.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz
    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2X4GB
    1TB Fusion Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5

    The CPU is plenty fast enough and while the i7 will have slightly faster rendering times, I am not editing massive movies. It will be way faster than any machine I've used in the past.

    8GB of Ram because as I was advised by so many on this forum, you can easily install some Crucial memory cards (2x8GB) and bump your system up to 24 GB ram for an extra 140 bucks, (look up crucial Memory on Amazon) and that saved me a load of cash that I used to upgrade to Fusion.

    The debate is ongoing but all seem to agree that SSD (flash) is the way to go but it ain't cheap. Fusion is a good compromise that offers 128 GB of SSD and 1 TB of HDD storage. You get the speed of SSD and the large storage that HDD offers. If you have the money, upgrade to flash and you can find many topics that discuss the advantages but for my purposes, Fusion will do just fine.

    I am not a gamer but because I run FCPX, I didn't want to mess around with the GPU so I maxed out. If you are editing, this seems like a smart upgrade as well.

    Again, I am no expert but this is the system that I went with and I feel good about. As a part time video editor, I feel great about my choice.

    We are lucky that no matter what machine you choose, you are going to get a beast!! Best of luck to you!!
  3. chevalier433 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2011
    Processor:i7 for hyperthreading
    Boot drive:SSD
    GPU:Go with the base.Doesn't matter if you don't play games.
    External drive:Thunderbold raid 0 for your media files and rendering.
  4. bp1000 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2011
    Op I think your spec looks good

    I went with 16gb, I know it's cheaper to do it yourself but it means when I upgrade myself I can go to the full 32gb without throwing the stock sticks away.

    Base ram you upgrade to 24gb unless you ditch the 2x 4gb sticks for another 16gb kit
  5. scrill thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2013
    appreciate all the feedback. Hoping to order this within the next couple days.
  6. MrGimper macrumors 603


    Sep 22, 2012
    Andover, UK
    I tend to have the mindset that you don't actually pay for the 2x4GB anyway.
  7. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    I think with video you would benefit from a SSD (256-512GB) with HD instead of fusion. You can fusion that as well, but the SSD part of a regular fusion is only 128GB, and that is easily filled with large video projects. It will fall back to HD speed all the time.
    You could also opt for a 512GB SSD and an external USB3 Seagate Barracuda 3TB. Those drives are really fast for all the storage and raw data. I don't know what Apple picks as 3TB drive, but when it's a WD Green you're way better off with that external Barracuda.
  8. scrill thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2013
    So can someone explain to me how ram and storage effect video editing?
  9. bluescale macrumors member

    Sep 27, 2013
    I can't speak to the veracity of this information, since I don't do video work, but here's an expert from a blog post on maximizing performance in FCPX:

    The full post is here:
  10. scrill thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2013

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