New 27" iMac for Video Editing

Discussion in 'iMac' started by TD95, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. TD95 macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2014
    Hey Guys,

    I've recently ordered a new 27" iMac (Late 2013) from Apple with the following specs:

    - 3.5 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    - 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM
    - 3TB Fusion Drive
    - NVIDIA GeForce GTX-780M 4GB GDDR5

    I'm a film student who will be starting University later this year and will be using this machine primarily for heavy video editing work in After Effects and Premiere (mainly DSLR footage), as well as frequent photo editing in Photoshop and Lightroom. I'm also planning on adding an extra 16GB (2x 8GB) of Crucial RAM, bringing it to a total of 24GB RAM.

    As this will be my first Mac I've done some extensive research to ensure this will be suitable for my needs and have a couple of questions:

    1) Will this set of Crucial RAM work okay with my iMac? I know it doesn't mention the 'Late 2013 27" iMac' model under the compatibility section, but I believe the specifications match, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

    2) Do you think this setup will be suitable for the type of work that I will be doing, will there any issues in the long run? Aside from running out of storage of course, I intend on getting additional external HDDs in the near future.

    Many Thanks in advance! :)
  2. kitsunestudios macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2012
    Looks good to me.

    The memory specs are correct for your machine. The actual Crucial site seems to have slightly cheaper RAM available though:,-late-2013)

    We just got new 27" i5 iMacs with the 780M for Flash animation work at the office. If you download the CUDA Mac drivers from nVidea, you can get a boost over OpenCL render times in Adobe Media Encoder.
  3. TD95 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2014
    Thanks for the quick response and link, didn't even think to check the official Crucial website for prices first! (Face palm). And cool thanks for that, I'll be sure to check that out too :)
  4. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
  5. poematik13 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2014
    Your CPU and GPU are more than adequate for the types of work you'll be doing. However, I would recommend that you

    a) make sure that all your ram slots are filled and are all the same manufacturer/type/size for the best performance. So invest in 4x 8GB sticks for a total of 32GB.

    b) the only bottleneck right now is the spinning disk hard drive in that 3TB fusion drive. If I were you, I would have just gotten the 512GB flash option and have the apps and critical documents stored on there, and all your video files/media references externally via thunderbolt drives. OSX will automatically put all apps and the os onto the SSD portion of your fusion drive, but it would be best if you edited off of externals. This will also save your ass when that internal disk fails, and since it's an iMac it would be difficult to tear the thing open to replace
  6. Cole Carrera macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2014
    Don't forget the time machine or alternative backup system.
  7. lab83 macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2014

    I also just order my first mac ever..

    IMAC 27

    3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2X4GB
    256GB Flash Storage
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5

    extra RAM and keyboard skins for OS X shortcuts also on the way..

    I am very excited to switch from PC to Mac. :)
  8. MMcCraryNJ macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2012
    I would have also suggested to dump the Fusion Drive and go with all SSD. I don't know if you're planning on doing any audio production with your video production, but many users have complained about issues with popular DAWs, sessions freaking out, stuff like that. It got to the point where Avid has recommended not to go with any Fusion Drive setup for a Pro Tools install due to session corruption and program errors.

    Look more into it, and if you think it will affect you, it might be a good idea to cancel the order and re-order with SSD.
  9. TD95 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2014
    Thanks for all of your responses, it's much appreciated! It's a shame I didn't ask this any sooner, as I require this computer ASAP to complete my Final Major Project at college which is due in 20th June. My initial order with the 3TB Fusion Drive hasn't shipped yet and has an estimated delivery date of 10th-12th June. But I have a bad feeling the order would be delayed if I changed it say tomorrow. I don't know if Apple have already installed the FD in my iMac, and if it's possible to change this at such a late stage without delaying it too much...

    Would it be a better option for me to cancel my current order and re-order the same spec iMac but with a 256GB SSD instead? Considering that I would keep my media files on an external HDD via USB 3.0 (soon to be ThunderBolt).

    Or alternatively, would I be able to adapt with the 3TB Fusion Drive by transferring the media files from an external HDD to the 128GB SSD (in the Fusion) whilst working on a project? I'd then remove them from the Fusion once it's complete to free up space and back up those files elsewhere.

    I'd appreciate anyone's help with this, feeling quite stumped now. :confused:
  10. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2013
    Montreal, QC
    I was goinig to suggest buying from B&H since they stock many configurations that are BTO from Apple plus, depending where you live, you would probably save the sales tax. Unfortunately, I just checked stock using their app and it looks like there are no pure SSD configurations in stock. They are closed today so I would suggest trying them tomorrow morning if you think it is a better option than waiting for Apple to ship the one you have on order.

    That all being said, you have a pretty sweet iMac on order and that external storage solution you would need for an SSD only iMac may not come cheap (difficult to find inexpensive multi-bay HDD enclosures).

    Best of luck!
  11. TD95 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2014
    Thanks for the suggestion, I live in the UK, so I don't know how that would work out with sales tax, delivery charges etc from B&H - wish we had that store over here to be honest! I did occasionally check the Apple Refurbished (UK) Store too, but they never seemed to have the right spec iMac for my needs that was affordable.

    I've given it some thought and think Ill stick with the 3TB Fusion Drive in my current order. I actually got the Apple Care 3-Year Protection Plan with my order as well, so say the FD does break/malfunction for whatever reason, would Apple be able to replace this with an SSD - even if it was the 256GB with less space and smaller cost?
  12. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    Don't let these people scare you. I have the exact same iMac and have done a ton of video projects (in Final Cut Pro X) and have had no issues with the Fusion drive. Just keep all of the important stuff on an external drive and you will be fine. Also keep a Time Machine backup as well.
  13. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    Ditto on that. I do professional video editing using FCP X on a 2013 iMac 27, i7@3.5Ghz, 32GB, 4GB GTX-780M, 3TB Fusion Drive, and it works fine. I have most of my media files on a 6TB Pegasus R4 in RAID 5, but for smaller projects I've tried putting them on the FD, and it still works OK.

    If anything could use improvement, it's the CPU not the disk. FCP X is very render-oriented during the edit phase, and all available cores are commonly busy. It does a good job of background rendering, so it doesn't really slow you down, but to see exactly how it will look you must wait a few seconds for each effect to render. An 8 or 12 core machine would be better, but you can do professional work on a 4 core iMac.

    With FCP X you'd ideally want media files and library files on two different disks, separate from the boot drive. Likewise with Premiere you'd like media, project and scratch files on different disks. But is that really needed? In both Premiere CS6 and FCP X, the disk is rarely maxed out whether during editing or final export. This is clear from observing various edit operations using iStat Menus and Windows Perfmon. With FCP X you are much more commonly waiting on the CPU or GPU than the disk. If your common task is not disk-bound, then making the disk faster won't help any.

    However you are using Premiere, which reacts differently to the same hardware than FCP X. Typically Premiere has been better at using the GPU to accelerate effects (blur, sharpen, color correct) so these are instantly done. Also Premiere has historically been better at editing in the original codec without transcoding to optimized media, but the latest FCP X is a lot better.

    I use both Premiere CS6 on Windows and FCP X 10.1.1 on Mac, and even CS6 is usually CPU-bound, not disk-bound. That is for common codecs like H.264. Very low compression codecs, raw video, or 4k may tilt things toward I/O.

    If you deal with very large projects, you'll need a large external drive array, then something else to back that up with. In that case an iMac with 512GB SSD might be a little better than a 3TB FD. However the FD is pretty fast and it avoids having to always worry about running out of space.
  14. kitsunestudios macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2012
    Agreed with the "don't worry" crowd. Worst case scenario, you can go for an external Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 SSD or RAID (or SSD RAID).
  15. TD95 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2014
    Thanks for the reassurance guys! It's great to hear from people who have the same/similar setup with some hands-on experience when it comes it these kinds of subjects, and it really does help! :) I'll definitely be investing in a decent External Thunderbolt SSD soon, does anybody have any suggestions? (Except RAID systems, as they're way out of my budget at the moment).

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