Need some advice purchasing my second iMac for video editing

Discussion in 'iMac' started by chkdg8, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. chkdg8 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #1
    My 2007 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo is showing its age. Editing and rendering a 10 minute 720p video takes close to an hour in iMovie. Even YouTube videos are becoming problematic. It's safe to say that I'm ready for some quad-core action. Here's the deal, I just built a powerful $1500 gaming PC i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core + GTX570 so I'm finding it a tad bit difficult dropping $3K on a decked out 27" i7 when comparing the power to price ratio.

    I do everything on my Mac except gaming. Editing, movies, music, console game capturing and soon, I'll be moving my audio only podcast to a skype video format by utilizing the iSight's 720p recording ability and capturing that with ScreenFlow along with Final Cut Pro X for editing.

    Are there drastic differences in performance between the i5/3.1GHz and i7/3.4GHz besides the $200 price? Is video rendering all processor based or does the video card (6970M 1GB vs 2GB) play a major role here?

    Finally, all of my media including my iTunes library is on 3TB externals so my internal is strictly for OSX. When configuring a build on the site, they have the option for a 256GB SSD [Add $500]. Does that mean that by choosing this option you only get an SSD and that's it? My Win7 machine is very snappy so I'm aware of the performance boost by having an SSD but is it a must? Basically, I need to make the best financial decision for the performance as this new iMac will more than likely last me as long as my first one did.

    Thank you for your input.
     
  2. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2003
    Location:
    NJ USA
    #2
    http://www.macworld.com/article/160469/2011/06/ultimateimac2011.html:

    MacWorld compared the 27-inch 3.4GHz Core i7 iMac with SSD to the BTO 21.5-inch 2.7GHz Core i5 iMac with SSD:
    The 3.4GHz Core i7 iMac is 16 percent faster overall.
    File duplication and uncompressing zipped archive results are identical.
    File compression, Pages, and iMovie export tests are all a couple of seconds faster on the 3.4GHz Core i7 iMac.

    The biggest differences between these two systems are in processor-intensive tests where the i7's Hyper-Threading can be used.
    Handbrake: i7 is 30% faster
    Cinebench CPU: 37.5% faster
    MathematicaMark: 41.5 percent faster

    So, when comparing to the 3.1Ghz i5 these difference will be much smaller.

    The SSD will give you benefits on any file based operations done on that disk. So think file copies, file compression, loading applications and loading files. If all your files are on an external mechanical drive, you will probably only see the benefit of SSD in booting and launching apps.

    I think there should be an option to add both SSD and 1TB HD to the iMac.

    MacWorld states that the 3.4Ghz iMac with SSD is 18% faster than the same system without SSD in file based operations.

    The SSD will not make any real difference in Handbrake or iMovie rendering.

    http://www.macworld.com/article/160311/2011/06/ssdimac2011.html
     
  3. chkdg8 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #3
    Thank you very much for your insight. I need to make a decision fairly quick but I also want to make the right choice here as well. I'm more than sure that with information you provided, I'll probably be going with the 3.4GHz iMac.
     
  4. laserbeam273 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Location:
    Australia
    #4
    Yeah I've had to make a similar decision (base 21.5" iMac vs i7 21.5" iMac) as I'm also looking to do FCP X editing. Given that it's quite processor intensive, and FCP X is written well to use up every ounce of your computer, paying a bit extra for the i7 will be worth it I'm sure. It's definitely more than just the clock boost, having hyperthreading should help loads.

    So if you're getting the 27", go for the i7!

    EDIT: Also, a slight comment about your comparison between your PC rig and the iMac, remember that the iMac has a very expensive display in it. Around $1000 if I remember correctly.

    And I don't think you should bother with the 2 GB graphics card upgrade. Also if you want to save costs go refurbished, if the i7 is available.
     
  5. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #5
    Get the i7, an additional 4GB of (third party) RAM, and buy it as a refurb to get the best bang-for-buck of the line. Forgo the SSD for now -- you could always go with an external on Thunderbolt in the future (when the price drops).

    My nearly 2 year old 2.8GHz i7 27" iMac still flies, and having 8 cores (albeit half of them are synthetic) is great when rendering.
     
  6. chkdg8 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #6
    So you're saying to skip on the SSD for now? Additionally, where can I get a decent refurb? Apple's own store?
     
  7. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #7
    Prices are dropping on SSDs and I really don't see it making that much of a difference for video. It's major claim to fame is fast bootup and program loading, and how much of your time is spent doing that? For video editing you would probably need a fairly big SSD, driving up the price. As you point out, you are already using multiple 3TB external drives.

    Refurbs need to be ordered from the Apple online store. At the time of this post they are in stock http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD063LL/A?mco=MjMxMjQ0MjE $1869
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    "Here's the deal, I just built a powerful $1500 gaming PC i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core + GTX570 so I'm finding it a tad bit difficult dropping $3K on a decked out 27" i7 when comparing the power to price ratio."

    Since you are already familiar with "PC building", have you given any thought at all to "Hackintosh"?

    Just askin'....
     
  9. chkdg8 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #9
    No, not really. My friend runs a Hackintosh on a laptop just for kicks and he's constantly running into instability issues. I'd much rather go for the real deal.
     
  10. chkdg8 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #10
    I completely agree that SSD's are extremely overpriced although they are indeed dropping in price. I think that I'm going to pull the trigger on that refurbished model that you linked. It even has the exact processor that I want. One question, I see that it comes with the AMD Radeon HD 6970M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory and not the 2GB, since I do all of my gaming on PC, I don't see the need for the 2GB right?
     
  11. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #11
    That's correct!
     

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