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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Mar 30, 2008
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    iMac or Mac Pro for video editing?
    Im not sure to buy the new imac or a macpro. I dont need the convenience of a laptop but wonder if is anyway different then the imac. The specs arent far off. Please give me your thoughts.

  2. #2


    Member Since
    Apr 01, 2008
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    LOL -
    I just posted a reply to the same kind of question. Let me re-cap...

    For the most part, desktops will tend to be slightly faster than laptops, if anything, because desktops use larger, less energy-conscious drives. Whenever you tip the balance towards energy efficiency, you generally lose performance.

    There really is little difference between the two machines, though. They use the same memory, the same processor, and neither need a high-end video card to do video editing - the integrated Intel video found on the standard Macbook is quite capable of keeping up with the video needs. In fact, my old crusty G3 iBook can keep up with the video signal from my gear, although I wouldn't try to edit with that laptop! (It will get the job done, but not before I start collecting Social Security). High-end video cards are for 3D model designers or people using Bootcamp to play games in Windows.

    The only real difference is the hard drive. You can get larger, faster drives for the iMac, giving it a performance boost, but it's tethered to the wall. If you think you might go mobile, get the macbook. The Macbook has the ability to capture directly from firewire-capable cameras, and editing in the field is nice to be able to do.

    If you're going to hook up a firewire external drive to use for editing, it makes very little difference which machine you get. On a side note, USB 2.0 is theoretically faster than Firewire, but Firewire's actual throughput and computer-less connectibility smokes USB, hands-down. USB, however, works in any machine.

    Like I told the other user, you can't really make a "wrong" decision. Both machines are fully capable of editing video, but each offers its own bonuses. If you go with the Macbook, get the faster 7200rpm drive. It will run hotter and sap time off your battery's life, but it will give you better performance overall.

    If you have money to burn and are serious about video editing, go with a mac pro desktop. It has much higher capacity for RAM and hard drives, and also comes with a true desktop cpu. Yes, the iMac uses the same laptop chip that the Macbooks use - that's how they keep their slim figure!

    Good luck, and congrats on your purchase!

  3. #3

    xstep's Avatar
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    eot8857, you are not correct about high end cards. In OS X they are used for many more tasks than just 3D. Much of the graphics processing takes advantage of these newer cards. I'll leave it up to you to do more research.

    nancy, iMovie is very useable on the systems you mention. I'm assuming you are taking about a Macbook Pro when you mention a laptop. The Macbook graphic engine isn't nearly as powerful.

    If you are considering using Final Cut Studio and its extended tools such as Color and Motion, then they will perform best on the Mac Pro. There are video card upgrades for that too. Check the specs required for FCS.

    If you have decided what software you are going to use, do some research on its requirements.
    CameraTime - Time lapse photography for novice and advanced users.

    When asking questions, post the version of your software. You'll receive better answers.

    Please post your results to the thread as it is good feedback.

  4. #4

    bryphotoguy's Avatar
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    iMac is the desktop version of the MacBook Pro. The Mac Pro will blow the water out of any other Mac when you're doing video editing, which is what they're designed for.
    Get what you can afford.

    January 2008 Member of the Month

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Mar 30, 2008
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    Thank you all for your input. Im torn even more now. I do video editing for a business. Wedding videos. Just trying to learn final cut pro on my imac now and it seems fine. Just need a new one. Thats why I thought maybe get a mac pro book. But its going to cost around $1,000 more than the imac. Dont need the convenience so still not sure if I should by it. I will keep waiting to see when that new Imac desktop hits the market to see if its better. Thanks all

  6. #6

    EDIT-XTREEM's Avatar
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    It really depends, I've been editing single track, DV footage from my Panasonic DVX-100 with Final Cut Studio 2 on my MBP 17" 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM just fine. At the same time, I could use the power of a Mac Pro.

    It all has to do with budget, uses and where you want to go with it. Budget is a clear one, if you've got $2000 to spend, don't spend $6000. As well, if your editing camera phone videos at 320x240, then a Mac Pro with two 30" Displays and 32 GB Ram is not needed. I've used the "Extreme" iMac quite a bit for FCS 2 Stuff and it preforms very well (24", 4GB Ram, 2.8GHz....).

    With "where you want to go", if you plan on just editing odd movies for youTube and nothing major, don't invest $6000 on it, but at the same time, if you think your going to be doing this a ton, and every extra mhz of power will help you, the Mac Pro is your best bet.

    (BTW, this is my 1000th post.. )

    Let me know if you have any questions.
    Mac Pro (Early 2009) 8 Core 2.26 GHz, 6 GB Ram, 640 GB Drive. Dell 2408WFP.

  7. #7


    Member Since
    Apr 16, 2007
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    referbished mac pro
    Quote Originally Posted by EDIT-XTREEM View Post
    It really depends, I've been editing single track, DV footage from my Panasonic DVX-100 with Final Cut Studio 2 on my MBP 17" 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM just fine. At the same time, I could use the power of a Mac Pro.

    It all has to do with budget, uses and where you want to go with it. Budget is a clear one, if you've got $2000 to spend, don't spend $6000. As well, if your editing camera phone videos at 320x240, then a Mac Pro with two 30" Displays and 32 GB Ram is not needed. I've used the "Extreme" iMac quite a bit for FCS 2 Stuff and it preforms very well (24", 4GB Ram, 2.8GHz....).

    With "where you want to go", if you plan on just editing odd movies for youTube and nothing major, don't invest $6000 on it, but at the same time, if you think your going to be doing this a ton, and every extra mhz of power will help you, the Mac Pro is your best bet.

    (BTW, this is my 1000th post.. )

    Let me know if you have any questions.
    Have you thought about a refurbished mac Pro.
    I have been looking around for my own needs and have come across a few refurbished mac pro's that didn't cost that much considering what you are getting. just a thought.

  8. #8

    EDIT-XTREEM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdsii64 View Post
    Have you thought about a refurbished mac Pro.
    I have been looking around for my own needs and have come across a few refurbished mac pro's that didn't cost that much considering what you are getting. just a thought.
    I think first nancyl needs to decide if the power of a mac pro is needed, or if an iMac will suit the needs well enough.
    Mac Pro (Early 2009) 8 Core 2.26 GHz, 6 GB Ram, 640 GB Drive. Dell 2408WFP.

  9. #9


    Member Since
    Mar 30, 2008
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    Thanks again for all the advice. I can afford the Mac Pro just not sure I want to spend the extra $1000 if Its only for the convenience. I wont be using it much out of the home. Like I said earlier, I have my own side business doing wedding videos so I want the best of the best of course. But it sounds like the Imac is probably good enough. I currently have a imac G5 and it works well with Final Cut. I just thought that the Mac Pro might be a bit faster and do a bit more. Perhaps?????

  10. #10

    xstep's Avatar
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    If you do not find your iMac G5 slow now, I suggest keeping it while you are still learning FCP and figuring out your important needs. Also, decide if the new system will pay for it self. You havn't convinced me that you have a need for a new machine.

    By the way, your messages are a bit confusing. You mention Mac Pro but seem to think it refers to a laptop. It does not. The laptop you would be considering is the Macbook Pro. Mac Pro is the very large tower machines.
    CameraTime - Time lapse photography for novice and advanced users.

    When asking questions, post the version of your software. You'll receive better answers.

    Please post your results to the thread as it is good feedback.

  11. #11


    Member Since
    Apr 30, 2009
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    Just wanted to revisit this, now that the 8-cores are out and iMac's have 3.06's. I am new to mac's and am getting into editing. Obviously video is all high def now and I wanted peoples opinions on which machine to get, and I guess really if the 24"iMac will handle large project HD editing. Thanks for the help!

  12. #12


    Member Since
    Mar 21, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by waistdeep View Post
    Just wanted to revisit this, now that the 8-cores are out and iMac's have 3.06's. I am new to mac's and am getting into editing. Obviously video is all high def now and I wanted peoples opinions on which machine to get, and I guess really if the 24"iMac will handle large project HD editing. Thanks for the help!
    I have a 4 core and have played with the imacs. If you are doing any serious editing with complex rendering and want a smooth editing experience the 4-core pro with lots of memory is great. I found the iMac just a little sluggish. I'm sure the 8-core is even better but don't know how noticeable it is.

    Just to be clear if you are just working on home movies you certainly don't need a Mac Pro for that. However for complex rendering you do feel a difference.

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