Which new Mac to upgrade to.

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Sdougherty, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. Sdougherty macrumors member

    Nov 8, 2009
    I'm interested in upgrading to a new Mac. Its a throw up between

    Mac Pro 3.2GHz Quad-Core w/ 16GB (aftermarket) RAM, Two ATI Radeon 5770's 1GB each. which is ranging in around $3,150 (delaware no tax)
    iMac 27' Quad-core 16GB (aftermarket) RAM, AMD HD 6970 2GB, 1TB HDD w/ 256GB SSD for around $2,900

    Each one has its advantages, but right now I am leaning towards the iMac. It will be a great workstation, my only issue is the future upgradability. The Mac Pro is the obvious choice for future accomidations, but the iMac is really impressive.

    Help me weight in on the pros and cons if you would!

    (Final Cut Studio 3, CS5, and AVID)
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    My default opinion is always to get the MP because of the expandability but it's only an asset if you realistically see yourself using it. For example, I don't know how many Canon XL-1 and XL-H1 owners I've talked to that cited interchangeable lenses as a reason for the purchased but then never actually swapped out the stock lens. It also depends on your needs because there is such a thing as overkill.

    An i7 iMac (I assume you are looking at the i7 and not the i5) w/Thunderbolt is actually the first iMac that's made me go, "Hmmm... that might be a viable option instead of a tower" (especially against a 4-core Nehalem). The Thunderbolt port really boost the expandability of the iMac but Thunderbolt accessories can be rare and expensive compared to their PCI counter parts.

    Off the top of my head a couple things to keep in mind are:
    FCS 3 is limited in the amount of RAM and cores it can use so it won't really take full advantage of either machine and other than Motion and Color it won't utilize the GPU. Speaking of the GPU, having more than one video card can cause problems with Color and I don't know if it's beneficial for any of the other programs.

    CS5 and Avid recommend Nvidia cards for best performance although they are trying to bring performance parity to ATi cards.

  3. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    Where will you be purchasing these machines from? The iMac looks pretty darn good (except you'll want the i7 if you are choosing it over the Mac Pro). Does the Mac Pro purchase come with a screen or do you already own one? What kind of storage does the Mac Pro have? For the programs you have mentioned you will be fine with either machine, but depending on how long you want to keep it you will have more future expandability with the Mac Pro.
  4. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    Im for Pro due to video card options.
    I only use Nvidia since most of my apps warrants it.
    Hoping Apple will go back to them in the future.
    Till then, I have a pile of AMD 5770/5870 doing nothing at work :p


    With your software list you should be fine with a 27" iMac.
    But if you get really into heavy duty Avid, you should get another display.
    Ive had many bouts with deskspace on a MBP using MC :p
    Im not sure how Mercury works with any of the recent AMD cards so no comment on Adobe other than After Effects CS5 crashes just as much on the Nvidia side as AMD :p
  5. Sdougherty thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 8, 2009
    Hey everyone.
    1st. It would be the i7 iMac
    2nd. I have two 21' screens that the MP would be running to. Not apple screens though, they are HP.
    3rd. If color has issues with two graphics cards, what would be my best option in terms of a fix? Would getting the MP and switching the graphics card over to a Nvidia help the issue? what would in your eyes be a good fix for this?
    4th. If I am to get the 27' iMac, I would like to get a screen to go along with it, one that is equal in size. The Apple screens are just a little bit much, would there be a comparable 27' screen to purchase to have a dual screen setup?

    Thanks for all the info guys. Im hoping to purchase from Apple directly, but I also have some options at B&H.
  6. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    3rd. Color works great with ONE ATI card. No need for nVidia.
    4th. Comparable third party monitors are not necessarily cheaper, and, if at all, not by much.
  7. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    You could either get a single ATi card which would work best w/Apple's software and not the best with CS5 or Avid. Or you could get a single Nvidia card that wouldn't work the best with Color but would work better with CS5 and Avid. Blackmagic has a free version of their DaVinci color grading software called DaVinci Lite and it also works best w/Nvidia cards, IIRC.

    How much of a difference you'll see probably depends on how much you'll be pushing the system. I mean, if the fastest you'll drive is 30mph it doesn't matter if you get a car that tops out at 60mph or 100mph.

    I'd take a look at Dell.

    If all you need is a monitor to see the GUI you can get much better value from third parties, IMO. If the monitor needs to be color accurate for print work then it will cost more but I have a Dell 2408 and an Apple 23" ACD and I think the Dell is a much more cost effective general purpose monitor. If the monitor needs to be color accurate for video then that's a whole other ball of wax.

  8. TheWalrus macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2009
    Interested to know which way you went with this decision?

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