What type of hardware do I need for editing specific type of video? (Details inside)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Reminisce32, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. Reminisce32 macrumors regular


    Mar 13, 2009
    I'm currently a PC user and I have a very old laptop and I'm considering getting a Mac, but I want to make the right choice. My desire is to be able to edit videos that are MP4's, approx. 3.4 GB in size, and close to an hour long of 720p HD footage.

    Given the information above, and since I'm computer hardware illiterate, my questions are as follows:

    1) What piece of hardware determines how long it takes me to import a video into iMovie or FCP?

    2) What piece of hardware determines how long it takes me to generate/output/produce a video once it has been edited in iMovie or FCP?

    3) What piece of hardware determines how smoothly I can edit the video (split clips, move them around) without freezing, crashing, etc?

    Also, please specify the minimum and desired amount of speed/size for the hardware requirements.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    My educated guesses are...

    Question 1:

    If import from external media, the speed of the connection. In this case, in the current Macs, FireWire and Thunderbolt are the best bets. Here the processor and the RAM plays a role

    Question 2:

    Processor and RAM

    Question 3:

    Processor and RAM

    Having said the above I will recommend:

    If mobile user a MacBook Pro, 2.9 Ghz, maxing out the RAM to 16 GB with a external FireWire 800 hard drive

    If desktop user

    If can afford it, a 12 core Mac Pro 12 core, 3.06 GhzWestmere, 2010 version. Upgrade the HDD to at least 1 TB and the RAM to at least 32 GB
    If not the above, then a Six core Mac Pro 3.3 Ghz Westmere, 2010 version, maxed out to 32 GB of RAM.

    In my experience, more cores, the better. Maybe the software is not optimized for multiple cores, but again, you will have plenty of raw power to work...Hope the advice helps.....:):apple:
  3. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2011
    The quick and dirty rule - cores, ram, i/o speed to media are your limiting factors.

    The easiest way is to direct you to system requirements for the big 3 editing programs - FCX, Adobe Premier, and Avid Media Composer, and remember that minimums are minimums.....more is better

    You can edit .mp4 files, but that format is more of an output format than an editing one, and most editors transcode it before working with it (google for details)

    In general, enough RAM is needed, but editing software is not like photoshop, which will eat all the ram you throw at it.

    Cores, and the graphics card, however....will determine your transcode/render/output times, as well as limit what gets rendered on the fly.

    Your media should be on separate drive to the system, and the higher the read/writes and throughput to it the better ie ssds>7200, raid>single disk, and SAS>thunderbolt>usb3>firewire800, will also determine the top limit for what quality media you can work with, and how fast you output your finished work
  4. george-brooks macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    For mp4s and an hour of 720p footage? puh-lease! Any modern mac will be able to handle these types of files with ease, especially if you're just running iMovie. Get the fastest processor and the most RAM you can afford. Don't bother buying extra RAM as a build to order option (unless you decide to get a retina macbook pro). You can get it much cheaper from other sources.

    I would recommend a 15" macbook pro or either size iMac with the fastest processor you can afford.

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