Which Graphics card for prof. hi-res editing...?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Definitely mayb, May 8, 2008.

  1. Definitely mayb macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2008
    Hey People,

    So here's the deal...I'm buying an imac for editing (FC Express 4.0 and possibly also buying the FC Studio 2.0 later) and possibly some color grading (just for my own productions) and I can't figure out which one to get.

    I want to do smaller projects, but maybe also a feature on it (my own). No gaming!
    These last few days I've been trying to figure out whether to get an
    imac 20'' with the ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT or the imac 20'' with the ATI
    Radeon HD 2600 PRO
    or... the Imac 24'' with the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS card?

    Preferably I'd go with one of the imac 20'', because I can take it
    with me on flights as carry-on luggage, which is perfect because I live between Copenhagen and Paris (where I have an additional monitor) .
    That's why I'm not just getting a Macpro.

    But I keep hearing **** about the graphic cards in the imacs 20'' - especially the ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO (the 2400 is suppose to
    be better?!). But maybe it's because it doesn't perform as well as the
    NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS with 3-D? But I also read in a forum, that the
    monitor kept freezin' in FCP and that it was due to the HD 2600 PRO

    Have any of you guys experienced this any of this stuff, and which graphics card/Imac would you go for? I just want the editing to run smoothly :)
  2. cpcarrot macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2008
    I wouldn't look at the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS as it doesn't perform great with Pro Apps at the moment. Great for gaming but as your not interested in that I would stear clear.

    For video editing the bigger screen is better and only the 24 inch will show all of a 1080 HD image at full res so that is what I would lean towards. Alternativly you could get the 20 inch and get a seperate larger monitor. Most people perfer dual screens for video editing anyway (including me) so that might be something worth considering.

    As you seem to commute a lot have you considered going down the route of a Macbook Pro? Would give you much better portability than taking the 20 inch iMac as hand luggage and it is just as good an editing machine than an iMac (especially when combined with a second monitor + Firewire 800 drive).
  3. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    the 2600 is actually better than the 8800 for stuff like this (as said), check on barefeats.

    Whether this is because of Nvidia's inability to make a decent driver for any platform, anywhere, or because ATI are just better for this sort of thing, its unclear, although I suspect both.
  4. Definitely mayb thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2008

    Yeah I did think of getting the macbook pro, how does the graphics card (NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics 256) run with pro appl.?

    although I think I'll go for the imac 20'' using an the big additional monitors that I have on the side. If I go for that, do you think I should go for the ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT with 128MB or the ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB?

    I read somewhere that the ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT actually had better performance?
  5. Tattoo macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2005
    Miami, Florida
    You REALLY should just go for the Single Processor 2.8 Mac Pro with your exisiting monitors. As you grow and make more money you will have plenty of "Internal Storage", Video Card Options (made for Pro Apps), and lots of Memory upgrades for the future.

    An iMac really shouldnt not be an option for the work you intend to do.;)
  6. taino macrumors newbie

    Dec 18, 2008
    HOW did it go? I am right now having the same issue as to wether the imac 20-in is good enough to run FC studio and do some hd projects.
  7. tri3limited macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2008
    You can edit HD on a 20" but for the color correction thing you'll want an external monitor and possibly an MXO 2 which will solve the issue of the 20" iMac having less colors than ther 24"

    Personally I have the 24" 3.06 which is nippy as even when doing a lot of 3D stuff in Motion. Graphics card wise it doesn't matter, I got the nVidia as i believe that the upcoming OS update (Snow Leopard) will make better use of the nVidia than the ATi but no one will really know til it's release.

    For what you're doing i strongly suggest a MacBook Pro (New 15" model) and an external HDD (1TB - Firewire 800) as you shouldn't really use your OS and Software HDD to capture footage on as 1. it becomes messy and 2. it'll slow down the software side of things. Then simply add the extra monitor if you wish to use it when editing or go straight MXO 2 to monitor.

    I'm currently looking at investing in the MacBook Pro solution i've offered.
  8. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2004
    ^ the MXO2 will not work with an iMac. It requires a PCIe slot. The OP could use the original MXO and a 23" ACD.
  9. tri3limited macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2008
    My bad, I just made the assumption that since it works with the MacBook Pro it would do the iMac justice too. Forgot about the expansion port on the MBP! Thanks for the correction!
  10. aki macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2004
    just really repeating what other people already say but.....

    if u need portable...just go mbp

    otherwise the 24" is definitely great for editing....u always need the space if u edit video/film

    i have imac 3.06 24" with the 8800gs and it runs great no problem with fcp at all

    its tru what people say that the 8800gs drivers under osx are v new and not optimized at all much yet but.....it runs fine with fcp so so what....plus we can expect driver to improve.....especially coz it looks like apple likes nvidia these days

    good luck!!

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