What iMac for pro video editing?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Samurai Shampoo, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. Samurai Shampoo macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2017
    Hey, how are you guys doing?

    I'm a video editor (starting out) and beginner music producer. I work with Adobe CC programs.
    Im looking to buy a 2017 27 inch iMac.

    I have a budget of about 2700€ / 3000$. I'll be crying when I spend it because it took so long to earn that money but hopefully the new iMac will will bring me more joy in return.

    Probably wont do much or no 4k editing for now.

    Did a lot of reading and I think the general consensus is:

    4,2 i7 7700K = by far best performance but loud and hot
    3,8 i5 7600K = Hotter than 7600 but cooler than i7
    3,5 i5 7600 = sweet spot
    3,4 i5 7500 = for the regular consumer

    I thought about getting the follwing configurations:

    3,5 i5 7600
    8GB RAM (will upgrade in future)
    256GB SSD (only OS, applications and cache on SSD. Footage, sound libraries, VSTs on external HDD)

    Any video editors or music producers here ? What are your thoughts ? How can I get the most out of my budget ?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. fitshaced macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2011
    I got the 3.8 i5 because I want to be able to edit 4K video. But also I want to be able to apply CPU intensive processes such as noise reduction. Real time rendering of 4K is a nice to have.

    So far this machine handles it all well with only a little testing. I'm waiting on 32GB of ram which will then allow proper testing. But really happy with this machine so far. My 2012 i5 just took too long and became really hot and loud when running Final Cut Pro alongside anything else.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 2, 2017 ---
    Also, I went with 2tb fusion but have video files on an external ssd.
  3. Floris macrumors 68020


    Sep 7, 2007
    Video editing? You want the best GPU you can get, and an SSD drive.
  4. BeechFlyer macrumors regular


    Nov 5, 2015
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    I just ordered the i7 with 2TB SSD. Will have 40 GB RAMby the time I've installed the extra memory from OWC.

    I do video editing, not yet 4K but multiple full HD streams/multi-cam. Maybe my configuration is overkill at this time, but I want it to be sufficient for a few years.

    With video work, depending on what you do you're either I/O limited or processor-limited. With the i7 and the fast and large SSD, I hope to do alright on both fronts. (The computer isn't here yet, so no performance report at this time.)
  5. MacStu09 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2009
    For entry level video editing, you could literally buy any iMac, without noticing much of a difference. If you want to get serious into editing/grading/and even AE at some point, since you're using Adobe CC, I'd advise you to not get a Mac. Buy a more powerful PC setup for anywhere from $250-1,000 with much better GPU options, and spend your other $2,000 on a Mac for personal use, if you want.
  6. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014

    Yes for Final Cut but is that true for Adobe programs with an AMD GPU?

    "if you're working with Adobe programs and don't game, you can save some money and go for the mid tier i7 with 4GB 575 graphics since these programs don't make use of the better GPU, but are more CPU limited."

  7. faneos macrumors member


    Jul 26, 2012
    If you need a future proof computer for video editing and willing to spend this amount of money go for i7 or you are going to regret it later.You need hyper threading for rendering and encoding purposes.iMacs by design tend to be hot under heavy load.Noise is bearable and only under heavy load.
  8. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    So over the life of this machine, you won't be editing any 4k content from an iPhone, GoPro, drones, etc? Or you mean you don't currently envision producing 4k content for distribution? Today much content distributed in 1080 is actually shot and edited in 4k.

    I don't think there is much basis for that. I have a top-spec 2015 iMac 27 with 4Ghz i7-6700K and have ordered a similar 2017 iMac with 4.2Ghz i7-7700K. I'm a professional video editor and often use the machine 8-10 hr a day. In FCPX it is not loud and I rarely hear the fans for normal editing. I also have Premiere CC on Mac and it does spin up the fans more, but it probably would do this on an i5 as well.

    Video editing is highly CPU-intensive, especially on Premiere on the Mac. Anyone can see this by just fast forwarding on a 4k H264 timeline and watching the CPU levels. This is because Premiere does not use Quick Sync on Mac so it results in very high CPU levels for basic operations.

    This is a Mac forum but as MacStu09 said, if you'll be using Premiere I really don't see the advantage of using a Mac. It's the same same editing software, has the same interface with the same features on both Windows and Mac. On Windows you can get a more powerful, less expensive machine to help compensate for the lower efficiency of Premiere vs FCPX. I think Premiere on Windows uses Quick Sync to some degree (Adobe says it does) but I have not tested this.

    Premiere is a great program, especially if you use the entire suite don't mind paying $50 per month. All editing software has strengths and weaknesses. My documentary team used Premiere on Windows from CS3 to CC, but now use FCPX on Mac. If we still used Premiere we'd be on Windows not Mac.
  9. Tjmckay4 macrumors member

    Apr 24, 2014
    Perth, West Aus
    Wow..... that must of cost a fortune....

    Wouldn't you been better off buying the 512gb with external storage?
  10. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014

    External 2TB Samsung USB 3 SSD would run $750. Subtract that from the price and it's a $450 difference. Nothing to sneeze at but also not quite as large as you think. Also if you sell the iMac it will bump the price up nicely on the user market. I'm not suggesting thats a better option but food for thought.
  11. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Can you provide more specifics for your video editing workload?

    Resolution being captured?
    Does the camera(s) have simultaneous recording for a proxy?
    Are you using any effects?
    Color grading?
    Will you be exporting a highly compressed rough copy for review by a client/friend/whatever?
    Final export file codec?
    Etc etc etc.

    Without a bit more info your hardware requirements for video editing range from the base model being more than enough to needing the top of the line model.

    Probably the most important question though. How confident are you your needs will not change before you are comfortably ready to upgrade your iMac? Be a shame for a slight shift in your workload to render your iMac inadequate for the job.
  12. xWhiplash macrumors 68000

    Oct 21, 2009
    There is still some overhead due to the fact that it is an external vs internal drive. Things are not as snappy when editing on my external SSD vs doing the work on the internal SSD and transferring it after.
  13. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Any 2017 iMac is going to edit 1080p video just fine. I've been using FCPX and motion on a stock 2012 21" -- didn't intend to do it on that machine just worked out that way and never bothered to upgrade until now. Even on that machine there have been very few hiccups. Now if you are going to be editing 4K, then go for top of the line. Forget the middle.

    I will say this -- you need to upgrade to at least 16GB. FCPX, for example, needs 4GB for itself to be really functional. Like I said, I've been doing videos on a machine with just 8GB. You literally need to shut down all your other programs or at some point you'll get a spinning beachball and your drives will start spinning madly. It's not a plesant experience, especially if you are in a rush or anxious to apply a great concept to your video before you forget it.
  14. zyr123 macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2009
    fully loaded 27. I push fs7 4k footage in full quality in premiere. a fully loaded 2013 Mac Pro at college can't even do that.
  15. teohyc macrumors regular


    May 24, 2007
    Research to see if Premiere can actually perform as well as Final Cut Pro. If not, you are buy a fast computer but throttling it with the software. In short, not a good use of money and does not improve productivity.

    There are Youtube video comparisons you can check out.

    If you don't mind Windows. Ryzen processors currently are the best bang for the bang. I use a Mac Pro and even I am tempted to go back to Windows because of the raw processing power those systems can reach.
  16. xWhiplash macrumors 68000

    Oct 21, 2009
    It won't. If people are strictly Premiere/Adobe users, I often HIGHLY recommend a Windows system instead so they can use NVIDIA and CUDA.
  17. faneos, Jul 7, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017

    faneos macrumors member


    Jul 26, 2012
    If it is 1080p low compressed format from a professional video camera,I don't think an i5 Mac will do the job like a breeze.For example AVC Intra 100 1080p from a Panasonfic P2 HPX500.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 7, 2017 ---
    Raw footage?
    FS7 has a CMOS sensor not CCD thus the video quality is significantly lower.
  18. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Maybe but you are getting into the weeds. Anyone who knows they will be editing that kind of footage is likely using broadcast-level editing too and not asking "which Mac should I buy" here. But the vast, vast, majority of 1080p material isn't from that kind of source, it's from consumer or devices that shoot video secondarily like DSLRs, and is heavily compressed in-camera. There are plenty of people who edit this kind if video for a living. And that is something any 2017 iMac can do. No need to waste $ on a top end iMac for that.
  19. EugW macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2017
    As of now, even just birthday videos from my iPhone are recorded as 4K 8-bit HEVC.
  20. Samurai Shampoo, Jul 8, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017

    Samurai Shampoo thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2017
    Thanks for all the replies!

    Some people suggested Windows because of me using Premiere.
    Windows is no option for me. I used Windows PCs and laptops all my life and while cheaper and more bang for your buck I now value system stability, hardware longetivity and optimization much higher than I did in the past.

    Anyway, I continued to read thru various mac forums and despite the i7 being suggested here the most I am going to decide btw. the 3,4 base model i5 and the 3,5 mid tier i5.

    What made me scratch the i7 off the list was me editing on a friends 2012 27" i7 iMac. The editing process with Premiere was really smooth and my friend said he will be using this imac for another 2 years.

    Todays i5s beat 2012 i7s and that i7 was fast enough for MY needs.

    The only decisions I have to make now are 3,4 or 3,5 i5 (and the GPU of course)
    and 256gb or 512gb SSD.
    Any input on those is of course highly appreciated!
    --- Post Merged, Jul 8, 2017 ---
  21. PJivan macrumors 6502


    Aug 19, 2015
    Actually compressed video are sometimes harder to work with...this is why if you want a speedy rendering, the optimised media will convert it in apple pro res 422, which is very low compressed and fairly exceed the bitrate of the AVC intra.

    some action cam codec are definitely slower than that simply because there is an extra layer of decompressione/recompression to do

    Truth is Premier is super slow anyway and differently from Davinci and FCP, it make no good use of GPU
  22. RastabLind macrumors newbie


    Jul 8, 2017
    Hi. There's not much difference between the 3.4 & 3.5. Either choose between 3.4 (low cost) or the top tier 3.8 ( extra bucks). 3.4 gives you A GPU with 4GB video memory and the 3.8 has 8Gb. The 3.4 & 3.5 GPU benchmarks are almost the same or have less difference between them according to reviews, 3.8 on the other hand has the best GPU performance. So if you want to save $ that will handle most of your job 3.4 is your bet save the extra money for the RAM but if you want some extra juice get the 3.8.
  23. EugW macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2017
    The GPU for the 3.5 is much faster than the GPU for the 3.4. The 3.5 also Turbos stably to 3.9 GHz multi-core, where as the 3.4 goes to 3.6 and the 3.8 goes to 4.0 GHz multi-core. So in terms of CPU performance there is a somewhat bigger jump going from the 3.4 to the 3.5 ironically than there is going from the 3.5 to the 3.8.

    The 3.5 is also significantly cooler than the 3.8. Form our tests here it would appear the 3.4 guarantees silent operation at all times, the 3.5 likely has silent operation at all times, and the 3.8 may be able to cause the fan to ramp up moderately under very heavy usage.
  24. faneos, Jul 8, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017

    faneos macrumors member


    Jul 26, 2012
    ProRes used mainly for mainstream projects that needs a quick turnaround time and low storage environments.
    AVC Intra 100 that I referred is a 10bit format and ProRes 422 is 8bit so there is no comparison.
    Even though the highest quality ProRes 4444 10bit retains a wealth of "image information", this data is still far less than what you get with RAW.And for serious projects, in post production for example color correction,you need that missing "image information".
    Try in the college to work with 4k RAW files to see how taxing is for the computer.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 8, 2017 ---
    Don't compare apples with oranges.New generation i5 proecessor is faster in single core tasks.Old generation i7 processors are a lot faster in applications that use hyper threading and every avalaible core.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 8, 2017 ---
    So lets shoot a documentary or a tv show with your iPhone.They even make tripods for it :D.
  25. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014

    Is that true for the 2012 i7 vs 2017 i5?

    The multi core benchmarks are showing a clear advantage to the newer i5 chips over the 2012 i7. It's not night and day but there seems to be a difference unless I am missing something with Premiere and the chip architecture.


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