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Need Advice for buying iMac 27"

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Ned Miller
Need Advice for buying iMac 27"
on Mar 6, 2013 at 5:21:40 am

Hello,

My six year old tower is giving me an error in FCP6 that what I am asking it to do the graphics card won't handle. So, I'd like to upgrade to X, Premier or at least FCP7 for a job I must cut shortly. I added up what I thought I needed on the Apple Store website:

3.2GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
1TB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX 1GB GDDR5

And it's up to $3000! I'd like your opinion as to what I really need. I am mainly a DP who sometimes lands producing jobs in which case I have to edit them or bring someone in to edit. It's 100% corporate videos. Sometimes I give a hard drive to an off site graphics person. I am not needing very slick high end graphics yet I don't want to be slowed down rendering and exporting as I am presently. I looked into getting my present system beefed up by a certified technician and when it's all added up that's around $1000 and no real guarantee it will perform very well.

Please send me what specs I should ask for now that you know what level of video I will be editing.

Many thanks,

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Bret Williams
Re: Need Advice for buying iMac 27"
on Mar 6, 2013 at 5:48:20 am

What you list is the stick 27" iMac and costs $1999.

What you do need for better performance.

RAM- and lots of it. You can get away with 16, but put 32 in. Do not buy from Apple. Get it from OWC for about $200 or maybe less or from Amazon.

The i7 upgrade. Yes it's worth it. The differences between the i5 and i7 are extreme when using hyper threaded apps. Twice as many cores are presented.

The 680 graphics card. Testing has shown it is much faster than the 675.

Fusion- I see it as a luxury. Your media will be stored externally. I don't know about others, but I can't even fill up a 250gig drive with apps, so even a 1tb drive is overkill for me. The fusion is going to speed up app loading and reboots for sure, but with a lot of ram, and media external, I don't see it being too useful.

So, the above Apple upgrades are only $350, bringing the total to $2349. And if you bump your RAM up to 16 or 32 from OWC or Amazon, expect another $150-200. Roughly bringing your total to $2500 for a Maxed out iMac. So not sure where you're getting $3k.

Don't forget to buy it from anyone bet Apple to save sales tax. MacMall, Amazon, B and H Photo are my favorite haunts.

I don't buy Apple care. Don't see the point. Some people do. Ill save that cash and invest it.


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Need Advice for buying iMac 27"
on Mar 6, 2013 at 7:16:11 am

For what it's worth, my work is 90% corporate. I have the basic 27" iMac and don't really have any issues. If you can justify the expense, grab the 1gb graphics card and the i7 CPU but if, like me, you just don't need the extra horsepower, the base model is fine.

But you *must* budget for RAM no matter what. I have 24gb and I find even going back to machines with 16gb they feel sluggish.

The low-end 27" isn't quite as future-proof but I budget to buy a new one every two years anyway. I see the iMacs as disposable like laptops so $1k a year is what I feel is a pretty good figure to write off on a throwaway computer.

Another thought - is there any reason not to just buy a new graphics card for the Mac Pro? My 2006 Mac Pro with a newer graphics card and 8gb RAM runs most things just fine.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Sandeep Sajeev
Re: Need Advice for buying iMac 27"
on Mar 6, 2013 at 7:44:56 am

Disagree on AppleCare not being worth it. I've had my DVD drive fail and my FireWire ports stop working. Both were replaced under AppleCare. The cost of getting it done without AppleCare (my warranty had expired) was a way higher than paying for AppleCare.


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Mark Dobson
Re: Need Advice for buying iMac 27"
on Mar 6, 2013 at 10:03:00 am

[Sandeep Sajeev] "Disagree on AppleCare not being worth it. I've had my DVD drive fail and my FireWire ports stop working. Both were replaced under AppleCare. The cost of getting it done without AppleCare (my warranty had expired) was a way higher than paying for AppleCare."

Well thats one problem you won't have with the new iMac. Neither of them exist on the new model.

I've just got a new 27" iMac and I followed the advice on this forum and from guys like Larry Jordon. Get the best processor the 3.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7,
the minimum RAM ( and buy from OWC or Crucial ). I would really recommend the 1TB Fusion Drive it is very fast and it's great to have some spare storage capacity.

The sealed nature of these units means that your local Mac repairer will have more difficulty working on it so I would follow Sandeeps advice and get Applecare.

However buying the computer is only step one of the process. Thunderbolt cables, Esata Hubs, Thunderbolt drives, USB3 peripherals all add up to a tidy sum. But then this is an investment into the future of high speed storage.


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Bret Williams
Re: Need Advice for buying iMac 27"
on Mar 6, 2013 at 2:52:16 pm

Ok, look. Here's the thing with AppleCare. You can wait almost a year to buy it. Unless that has changed. You have until the first warranty expires. So why buy it now? I see it just like any other extended warranty. Why give Apple the money? Unless you need the 1 on 1 training that comes with it, or the phone support or the yearly checkup they give - all pretty much free stuff you can figure out yourself if you're in our biz - then take that money and put it in the bank. If you make it your mantra to never buy an extended warranty you'll always come out ahead. That's why they offer them. THEY always come out ahead.

If my Mac is going to break out of warranty that's a risk I'm willing to take. I have a credit card for emergencies and I'll have a new one on my doorstep the next morning.

And what's this about an iMac being disposable? My gosh it's the best looking 27" screen out there. When the computer gets old, just use it as a monitor. You can do that. When mine gets old I'll just slide it over and use it as a second screen. Get rid of my old 20" acer.


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David Eaks
Re: Need Advice for buying iMac 27"
on Mar 6, 2013 at 12:02:47 pm

I agree with Jeffs thought of just upgrading the graphics card. I'm thinking about the new Mac Pro, it is comming soon and the rumor mill is picking up the pace appropriately. You may be able to get by with an inexpensive upgrade for now. Holding off on a significant investment in hopes that, whatever the new "Mac Pro" replacement is, will be awesome.

On the other hand, a maxed out current iMac (bought following the advice here) will probability hold enough of its value to justify a relativley quick buy/sell, not to mention enjoying some new hardware right now. The difference in overall price out-of-pocket between these two options could be very small. It's just up to your current budget and whether you're even considering the new Mac Pro.

Is your current Mac Pro the 1,1 model? I'm running a Radeon 5770 in my 3,1 with FCPX just fine (FCP7 was fine too), I found a thread that confirms it works in the 1,1 as well, here-

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/344/7187#7187

Not sure if its the "best" card for you, but its an option. I'm quite happy with FCPX and recommend you check it out. Unless you need the few specific things added from FCP 6 to 7 I really don't think it's worth the price at this point.

What exactly is the problem that your having right now that requires an upgrade? What format video do you edit and whats a typical workflow? Just to make sure we're on the right track here. Maxed out, brand new hardware may or may not be major overkill and expense.


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Need Advice for buying iMac 27"
on Mar 6, 2013 at 8:18:46 pm

I have a Mac Pro 1,1 with the Radeon 5770 and FCPX and even Davinci Resolve runs quite well.

I would have bought the slightly better than base model 27" iMac but it was pre-christmas when the new iMacs were hard to get, my Mac Pro was refusing to start up, I was drowning in unfinished work, and the just-opened-that-day Apple store down the road had three of the base model 27" iMacs in stock.

The real bottleneck I have is hard drive speed. With 24gb of RAM I have yet to think the computer itself is slow but I do spend time waiting for beach balls to go away while FCPX is doing its database thing. I've been too busy to work through my options for a cost effective external RAID but its a must-have.

Ultimately though, the iMac I have is fine for me for the work I do which is short form corporate stuff with the occasional multicam conference so I'd suggest the answer to the original poster's question is that any of the 27" iMacs is fine for his use. Just get the best one your budget allows.

And of course, not have having invested much so far, I won't have to think too hard when/if a new Mac Pro is released.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Ned Miller
Re: Need Advice for buying iMac 27"
on Mar 6, 2013 at 9:44:03 pm

OP here:

Thanks guys! Good advice. Many thanks.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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