Which iMac for Video Editing?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by icemantx, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. icemantx macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    #1
    Hi Folks,

    After about 7 years with my Dell 4550 I am close to making a purchase of a new iMac and leaving the Windows world - Yeah!!! My decision is now coming down to how much I should spend on the video card. Basically it is a 300-500 premium to upgrade to the discrete video cards compared to the integrated graphics in the 2.66 model (granted you do get a ~10% faster processor at 2.93 as well).

    What I am wondering is that for video editing (using iMovie) is there a significant difference in performance of the machine based on the video card? I do not play video games on the computer much as I have a Wii and XBOX already to have that area covered. Primarily I will use it for iTunes, iPhoto and HD Video (have a new baby we need to record!)

    So my choices are mainly these four configurations to select from:

    iMac, 24-inch, 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Part Number: Z0FP
    2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    1.0TB Serial ATA Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M
    $1599

    iMac, 24-inch, 2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Part Number: Z0FQ
    2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    1.0TB Serial ATA Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 256MB
    $1899

    iMac, 24-inch, 2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Part Number: Z0FQ
    2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    1.0TB Serial ATA Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 130 512MB
    $2049

    iMac, 24-inch, 2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Part Number: Z0FQ
    2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    1.0TB Serial ATA Drive
    ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB
    $2099

    Since I will not be gaming, are the more expensive video cards worth the premium in relation to video editing, iTunes and iPhoto main purposes of the computer? Is the 4850 worth the wait and a $200 premium over the GT 120 being that I am not into gaming on the computer? I have read Snow Leopard will offload some processing from the CPU to the GPU, but not sure how much of an impact that would have either of these configurations...

    I can afford the top of the line model, but do not want to spend money that is unnecessary spending for my needs...
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
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    Finland
  3. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    #3
    Basically spend as much as you can afford. Any of the machines you mention above will do great with video editing (even HD). The faster processors will give you better rendering times.

    Heck, one of my iMacs is a 2.0 GHZ with 4GB of RAM and it does great with video.

    One other thing to consider. You can save a bundle of you don't purchase the RAM with the iMac. Purchase the minimum amount of RAM and use an online retailer (like crucial or OWC) to purchase and upgrade yourself. It could save you hundreds of dollars.
     
  4. czachorski macrumors 6502a

    czachorski

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    #4
    I believe that the OP is planning to edit in iMovie. iMovie will render transitions in HD in real time on all the iMacs. The only time you will be "rendering" rendering is at the end of a project for archiving or compressing to post to the web or burning. For me, that is a "click-it and walk away" task - it really doesn't make much of a difference if it takes 10 minutes or 12 minutes to render a clip then. I believe the OP would be happy with any of the iMacs.
     
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
  6. icemantx thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    #6
    You are likely right... I have read up a lot on the graphics processors reviews of the 9400m on Gizmodo and PC Mag (Editors Choice) and the reviews seem to point to the 9400m as very good for multimedia and the only reason to go up from the 2.66 with the 9400m is if you play games a lot on the computer - which I don't...

    That said I have narrowed it down to the 2.66 9400m vs. 2.93 GT 120...

    Price difference is 300 bucks and the bang for that 300 bucks looks to only be with gaming. Without gaming being a need, the 300 bucks extra looks to be wasteful spending, granted the dedicated graphics card adds peace of mind for the future (a little)...
     
  7. czachorski macrumors 6502a

    czachorski

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    #7
    Where are you at in your "gaming career"? When I was in my 20's I would have put up extra for a better graphics card for gaming. Now that I am in my late 30's, most gaming is the bejeweled type games that my wife and kids like. When they do play a game of spore, or Civ 4, half the time they are playing on the default resolution (something like 1024x768) and I have to show them that they can crank it up to 1900 x 1200. The graphics card would hardly matter in our family.
     
  8. czachorski macrumors 6502a

    czachorski

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    #8
    I went out on a limb, and assumed that anyone asking about video editing in iMovie (like myself) would not be in a "time is money" situation when using their Mac. :p :D
     
  9. icemantx thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    #9
    I am in my late 30's now so gaming is on the XBOX or Wii - not the computer. This computer would likely only be used for light gaming at best...

    iMovie, iTunes, iPhoto, eMail, Web and iWork are the main things I will use...

    So mainly it is down to the extra processor and dedicated graphics and whether or not they are worth it for my situation and thinking a couple of years from now... I would imagine for resale down the road dedicated graphics are more desireable...
     

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