Will a 2.8Ghz iMac be fast enough?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by dannyboxer, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. dannyboxer macrumors regular

    dannyboxer

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    #1
    I'm going to buy my first ever Mac in a few weeks time. I will buy a iMac and will use it mainly for editing high definition video on Final Cut Express.

    Is the 3.06Ghz iMac worth the price over the 2.8Ghz model? Also will the faster graphics card in the 3.06Ghz iMac make playing and editing video smoother? I will not use it for gaming at all by the way.

    I would want to buy brand new and not refurbished as it will be my first ever Mac and I don't want it to be all scratched up and used.

    Thank you for replies.
     
  2. kornyboy macrumors 68000

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    #2
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    The 2.8 GHz and the 3.06 GHz will probably work. It will be very nice to have a little extra processing power when it comes to video editing as well as a better graphics card. With either one, make sure that you max out the RAM. I would recommend buying the computer as is and upgrading with third party RAM to save quite a bit of money. Apple is notorious for overcharging for RAM.

    As far as editing HD video is concerned, the Mac Pro is a much better choice but if you are patient the iMac will be fine. Again I would recommend getting all the processor power, RAM, and graphics card you can get in an iMac. All of these will help. Don't get me wrong, either iMac will do what you are asking just fine, your bottle neck will come when you render and export your videos.
     
  3. dannyboxer thread starter macrumors regular

    dannyboxer

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    #3
    Thanks for the reply but there is no way I will ever be able to afford a Mac Pro unless I go into crime...:rolleyes:
     
  4. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    Russia
    #4
    The difference between 2.8 and 3.0 isnt noticeable in 99% of cases. The video card will not make your editing/playback in FCE any faster.

    Get the base 2.8 GHz, just add to 4 GB of RAM.
     
  5. dannyboxer thread starter macrumors regular

    dannyboxer

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  6. sneezymarble macrumors 6502

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    Oct 1, 2008
    #6
    It's likely that a faster video card will yield better video encoding and possibly editing results once Snow Leopard is released. The difference between 2.8GHz and 3.0GHz will probably be negligible in your case. But, honestly, it's difficult to recommend an iMac for video editing. But, if you must go with Apple and you cannot afford any sort of Mac Pro than I guess your options are limited.
     
  7. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    #7
    No, but it doesnt affect Final Cut Express.
     
  8. 234412 Guest

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    Oct 7, 2008
    #8
    Hey I have the 2.8 ghz model, works great is really fast, I don't have final cut express, but I do allot of media based things at the same time and works fine for me.
     
  9. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    #9
    You can buy a refurb mac pro for about the same price as a new iMac. Yeah, the iMac is doable but the pro will serve you better. I started with a iMac but then bought a refurb pro. Big difference. Cut my time more than 1/3. Plus the expandability is awesome. You can expand as you need it. Just keep checking apple's refurb section daily and have your credit card ready. They go fast. You still get the original factory warrenty and can get apple care too. The nice thing about refurbs is they are fixed in the states, not sent back over seas. I started with 2gb ram and a 350gb hard drive 2 years ago. I now have 8gb ram, 2 1TB drives, 1 500gb drive and the original 350gb drive. If you go the iMac way, get a multiple external drive setup. One for the scratch disc, the rest for storage. HD video takes up alot of disk space. I now edit from my Sony SR11.
     
  10. dannyboxer thread starter macrumors regular

    dannyboxer

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    Oct 12, 2008
    #10
    Then I would have to buy a monitor and other stuff and I don't have room for all that. The simplicity of the iMac is the reason I wanted to get a Mac in the first place.
     
  11. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    #11
    If your limited by space, then the imac is the way to go. I would wait until macworld to see if the imacs get upgraded. I think apple will update imovie, fce/fcp to support avchd natively (hope at least), and a new imac and mac pro with intels new i7 processor would really be sweet. The imac with 8gb ram capability would be awesome. Hold off if you can.
     
  12. dannyboxer thread starter macrumors regular

    dannyboxer

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    #12
    I can't really wait, I'm proper excited about it. The iMac update at MacWorld wouldn't be anything major really I wouldn't think.
     
  13. Vanilla macrumors 6502a

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    Atlanta, GA
    #13
    The most critical aspect is to max out the RAM, whatever specced machine you decide upon. A 2.8ghz iMac maxed out on RAM will be awesome, honestly.
    Vanilla
     
  14. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    #14
    Also, don't forget an external hard drive for the scratch disk. At least a dual hard drive configuration, one for scratch and one for backup. Welcome to the mac world. You won't regret it.
     
  15. dannyboxer thread starter macrumors regular

    dannyboxer

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    #15
    Sorry, I'm new to all of this, what is a scratch drive?
     
  16. Phil Lee macrumors 6502

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    Manchester, UK
    #16
    The scratch drive is where FCE writes its temprary files. I got FCE for my 2.4GHz iMac and have no problems with it. It may not be as fast to render as a faster computer but it works fine.
     
  17. dannyboxer thread starter macrumors regular

    dannyboxer

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    #17
    So, do you need a scratch drive to use Final Cut Express? What's the advantages of using a scratch drive?
     
  18. synagence macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2008
    #18
    Don't forget that its Macworld in a few shorts weeks now and its most likely that the iMac will be refreshed with the new nvidia chipset and maybe nicer GFX which new versions of apps will take advantage of.
     
  19. dannyboxer thread starter macrumors regular

    dannyboxer

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    Oct 12, 2008
    #19
    Yeah, but it's not exactly a few short weeks, it's ages. I'm happy with the current iMac, I'm sure I will not regret buying now as the next update will not include anything worth waiting for for me.
     
  20. Kan-O-Z macrumors 6502

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    Aug 3, 2007
    #20
    Have you checked Macmall http://www.macmall.com? You can get the top of the line iMac or the Mac Pro for around $2000. Oh and they come with a free printer and Parallels 4.0.

    I agree, if you need it and want it, get it. I don't think there will be a huge update at Macworld. There's always an update around the corner so with that logic you could wait forever. The good thing about getting today's iMac is that many of the problems have been worked out. The new one which may come at MacWorld will have new problems. Either way, the iMac you're getting today will last you a good 4 years, especially when Apple promises it's next OS(Snow Leopard) will be faster than the current one :)

    Kan-O-Z
     
  21. dannyboxer thread starter macrumors regular

    dannyboxer

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  22. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    #22
    A scratch disk is an external (or another disk inside the computer) to render your video to. If you use 1 disk for OS, video program, etc.., then when you render (process) your completed video, it reads and writes from the same disk. Doable but to speed things up, read from one disk and write to another (scratch) which speeds up the process. here are a few web sites I have found invaluable information for video editing:
    www.camcorderinfo.com
    www.dvinfo.net

    Hope this helps.
     
  23. dannyboxer thread starter macrumors regular

    dannyboxer

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    Oct 12, 2008
    #23
    I've got a SD camcorder by the way. Do I still need a scratch drive thing?
     
  24. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    #24
    For now, after getting your iMac, max out the ram. Do some editing. Time how long it takes based on the size of the file your working on. If your happy with how long it takes to process your video after you edit it, then skip the external scratch disk. Its not a necessary item but it does help speed up the process. I would still recommend getting a external drive for back ups. If you can afford a big one, get it (say at least a 500gb). You can partition the drive and set aside around 50 to 100gb for scratch. One thing nice about the mac is if you back up using superduper of CCC, you can boot off the external if your hard drive crashes. I used to render large files while sleeping. The editing bug bit me so upgraded to a mac pro. What kind of camcorder do you have? If you need any tips, I'll be happy to answer your questions. I enjoy editing allot.
     
  25. macabouttobe macrumors regular

    macabouttobe

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    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #25
    I use FCE, but haven't done any HD editing yet. I'm extremely satisfied with the rendering times on my 2.8 iMac. Its a hobby, so I guess my requirements may be lower than some hard core users. When I was shopping a year ago for a computer, I played with some FCE rendering on a mini, iMac, and Mac Pro at the store.. I'd be lying that the quad core pro is very fast, but it was a matter of economics.

    I have no regrets with the iMac whatsoever. Just don't run out and play on a pro right away - you won't know what you are missing. I plan on using an external drive as a scratch disk on my next project.

    Sorry I don't have real-life HD experience..
     

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