Which iMac for FCP X?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by laserbeam273, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. laserbeam273 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Location:
    Australia
    #1
    I'm looking into doing some lightish video editing with FCP X (dive videos), and would like to upgrade from my 2.4 GHz C2D 15" MBP. Half because of the screen size (the video is 1080 HD.. wouldn't mind actually seeing all them pixels), and half to get a machine with a bit of grunt to be able to handle it.

    Because of my budget, I'm not getting anything more than a 21.5", which leaves me with roughly three options: 2.5 GHz i5, 2.7 GHz i5, or 2.8 GHz i7. Now the hyperthreading on the i7 sounds very appealing, but that is $450 above the base model. SSD sounds appealing too, but that ends up being close to $800 above the base model. And I don't want to put it in myself.

    As for RAM I'll probably grab 8 GB off OWC or wherever, not paying Apple's prices.

    So given that I'll be video editing (converting, rendering, adding/removing frames to mess with speed, interlacing, splicing and dicing and all that jazz) with 1080 HD films up to 15 minutes long, what type of iMac would be practical? I don't need anything that fancy, just so long as it doesn't take forever to do tasks.

    I'm in Australia and can get the education discount, in case anyone was wondering. Thanks in advance for the help.
     
  2. sth, Jul 26, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011

    sth macrumors 6502a

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    The old world
    #2
    The hyperthreading in the i7 should give you ~30% more performance for rendering/encoding.

    Can't really comment on the SSD for video editing. I could imagine that you'll be CPU-limited even with a normal HDD, but I haven't tried it.

    Good choice not to get the Apple RAM.

    I also suggest getting the trackpad (instead of the magic mouse) because of all the new gestures in Lion. Just use a normal USB mouse.
     
  3. laserbeam273 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Australia
    #3
    Yeah the hyperthreading does sound very nice, so I'm guessing that the 21.5 w/ i7 will be working around 50% faster than the base 21.5 for heavy tasks.

    As for the mouses, probably will get Apple trackpad then buy a good non-Apple mouse, like a logitech.

    I suppose I'm just trying to get an idea of the performance of FCP X on different iMacs - if the base 21.5 still works fairly well I'll sit with that, but if the base 21.5 is a bit limited, I suppose I'll get the i7 21.5. Wouldn't want to spend >1k for an underperforming computer, but neither would I want to spend close to 2k for a computer that's unnecessarily powerful, and rarely max the CPU and GPU.
     
  4. sth macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I think it will definitely be less than 50% because the difference in clock speed is not that big. Also keep in mind that this only applies to rendering and encoding, where all cores are completely max'ed out. In most other tasks, the difference between even the base i5 and the high-end i7 will be absolutely unnoticable.

    Anyway, if you have an Apple Store nearby, I would strongly suggest looking at the base 27" as well and maybe compare Final Cut on both machines directly. Personally, I'd rather go for the bigger screen than the i7 upgrade.

    (I know, I'm not making the decision easier ;) )
     
  5. laserbeam273 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Right, that first thing you said is good to hear. If it still runs smooth on the i5, and the i7 just slims a bit off rendering and encoding times, then I don't think I'm that fussed.

    Do they have FCP X on the iMacs at apple stores? I should go have a look, last time I checked they had no serious apps, which made it impossible to actually test the speed of the machine, other than by opening all the apps at once.

    The 27" would be cool, and also has the clock speed bump (you're right though, not particularly significant), and also the 6770 rather than the 6750, but when it comes to watching HD film, how is it? Do people usually stretch it or just have it centred at real size? It seems a bit awkward to me.. . Also it is $500 more than base, which when combined with FCP X means this computer purchase will be around $2,150 AUD, and $2,350 USD for a bit of perspective - that's a fair bit of cash. Maybe I could just sit with the base 21.5" at the moment, and later on, if I start to make some good videos, I can consider upgrading to something better.
     
  6. sth macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Usually they have Logic, Aperture and Final Cut installed but not sitting in the dock.
     
  7. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    #7
    For light video editing either 21" will be fine, however the upper model has more space, as well as a better video card and slightly faster processor.
     
  8. laserbeam273 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Australia
    #8
    I'll have a better look next time. I think some do and some don't, so I'll look for those that do.

    Thanks for the replies though, definitely helps me with deciding what mac to get.
     

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