Retina 5K Video Editing Specs?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by umby, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. umby macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2015
    I'm a video editor looking to upgrade my system. My 2007 imac just isn't cutting it anymore. I've already decided on the Retina 5K, 1TB SSD. I'm also thinking I'll start with 8GB RAM (I can always add more...?). I'm leaning toward the i7 processor (I read a forum post somewhere stating it cut down on render times compared to the i5). But I am not sure about the graphics card. Will I be happy with the M290 or the M295?

    My work consists of:

    Video editing in FCP7 and Premiere, usually multi-layered timelines with basic VFX and a graphics work that require rendering. I also do basic After Effects graphic work. I like to run photoshop at the same time, because often times I am creating assets in Photoshop while I edit. I do a lot of video conversions / compressions. At any given moment I am running batch conversions in Compressor or Media Encoder. I want my rendering times to really be zippy and cut down on my export / conversion / compression times.

    I love the idea of putting the assets of my main project right onto the 1TB SSD, and working right from there. It just seemed like a better plan than the fusion drive. And I have way more than 3TB of information backed up total, so I'd be needing to use external drives anyway even if I did get the 3TB fusion drive.

    I don't do any 3D modeling, gaming, or anything like that. Just standard to advanced video editing and basic motion graphics.

    Pricing is important, but ultimately I'll spring for what I need.

    What do you guys think? I already perused the forum which was helpful, but found little advice for video editing and/or opinions on the graphics card.

    Thanks in advance!!! :D
  2. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    Do you (or will in the next few years) use 4K video? You're on FCP7 now, but is FCPX in the future (I've read users have installed FCP7 on Yosemite, but it seems to be getting trickier with each new OS X release)? I assume you've already considered a Mac Pro, but want to stick with the iMac?

    With something like video editing, the hardware is the bottleneck, i.e. the more you have of everything (faster CPU, more cores, faster GPU, more RAM, larger SSD), the noticeably faster working with video will be (that might sound "obvious", but it's in contrast to Safari or basic productivity apps which are, practically speaking, just as fast on a Mac Mini as a Mac Pro). So then it's just a matter of how much you're willing to spend for faster performance, and once a budget is determined, prioritizing components for a balanced system within that budget.

    Regarding the GPU specifically, the faster, the better. FCPX already makes extensive use of the GPU, and while I'm note sure whether Premiere Pro supports the 5K iMac GPU acceleration yet, if they don't, they're very likely to (they already do for most recent Macs with discrete GPUs and Iris GPUs).
  3. phpmaven macrumors 68040


    Jun 12, 2009
    San Clemente, CA USA
    Based on your work flow and apps, you are definitely going to want to go with the I7. It seems like the only other option that's a question is the GPU. I would assume that you will get a similar amount of longevity out of this iMac than you did the last one. When you spread that $250 out over the 6+ years you will have this system, I think it's a no-brainer. I get a feeling by looking at the posts here that the people (such as myself) who sprung for the M295 are glad they did.
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    You're doing multi threaded tasks, so an i7 is needed. Rendering also eats up GPU power, so get the M295X.

    You can always upgrade RAM yourself.
  5. AppleGraph macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2015
    Holy moly! And you were doing that all previously on a 2007 machine? You're gonna be a happy pappy with your new hardware.
  6. umby thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2015
    Thank you everyone for your input! I ordered the computer last night :D :apple:

    I went with all of the highest tier options, save for the RAM - I opted for 16GB to start with, and will upgrade down the line if I feel the need. But I'm sure it's going to be WAY better than the mere 3GB I have in my 2007 at the current moment -_-!

    I don't even have the computer yet, and already I am actually WANTING to get back to doing work! May even open up some old projects that have been sitting unfinished for many years.

    Thanks again! I feel confident in my purchase thanks to you smart people :cool:
  7. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    I can't even begin to imagine the performance jump you're about to experience.

    Hope you get a good unit and enjoy it!
  8. poematik13 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2014
    i7 and 295 gpu are basically required for any type of serious editing. Just get it because you'll regret it if you dont.
  9. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2007
    This is absolutely true! (I'm a filmmaker and I use premiere.) You want the most powerful CPU and graphics chip you can get. Waiting for anything to render, encode, or playing back in lower resolutions is frustrating and a waste of your time. Footage only gets more demanding year after year --especially as we move to 4K and RAW files.

    That said, never put your media files on the same drive as your system files. Get a separate external thunderbolt drive for each major project. You will also want 16GB RAM minimum. (But install it yourself). If you can afford the internal 1TB SSD, great, but it is less important than the above.
  10. poematik13 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2014
    yeah ideally you are editing off a TB2 RAID or something like that
  11. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014

    I wonder what serious editors used 5 years ago? :eek:
  12. poematik13 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2014
    5 years ago nobody was really editing 4K/5K/6K in real time (it might have been 4k source from a film scan or from the RAW but they edit in 1080 proxy), or color grading with multiple nodes in real time, or have 2-3 monitors set up with different settings/outputs/scopes on each one. And NOBODY was exporting their finished product in 4k for web/DCP distro....1080 and 2k footage is easy to work with, my MBP rips through it. 5 years ago thats all anybody worked with.
  13. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    We're just in 2015, so five years ago would essentially include 2009/2010, when the widely deployed cameras and codecs would date from 2008 and 2009.

    The first DSLR capable of shooting 1080p (5D mark II) was only released in 2008 and not widely available until 2009.

    The first widely viewed 1080p DSLR video was Vincent Laforet's "Reverie":

    Reverie was was transcoded to ProRes 422 and edited in a Mac Pro (likely 2008) using Final Cut Studio. That Mac Pro has slower single-processor performance than my 2013 MacBook Air.

    So five years ago a lot of serious material was still shot in SD, often on DV tape. Five years ago AVCHD (which uses a compute-intensive codec) was just entering the market and was still considered a mostly consumer technology. Many editing suites in use five years ago (e.g, Premiere Pro CS3) didn't even support that.

    Five years ago a lot of local market news material was still being shot at standard def on ENG (Electronic News Gathering) cameras. Also workflows were still often tape-based, not tapeless. This constrained the amount of shot material due to the required real-time capture phase.

    You can edit standard def material with a pretty basic computer. As AVCHD (and other interframe codecs), HD and tapeless workflow began making further inroads, this increased the need for faster editing computers.

    Five years ago, GoPro wasn't in wide use. Today many shooting crews use multiple GoPros, drones, multiple HD and 4k cameras.

    Five years ago, shooting 10GB per weekend from DV tape was common. It took less powerful computers to edit that. Today a similar size crew can shoot 500GB per weekend. It takes more editing horsepower to handle that, esp. if editing in camera native codecs. That mostly doesn't consider 4k, which is an additional factor.
  14. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014

    It's just funny how the requirements just keep going up like crazy. I remember when computers got powerful enough to edit 1080 real time I thought....well we finally hit the HD milestone.... and then it just keeps adding on.. 4k...etc :D

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