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Recommended Mac for FCP

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Juan Lee
Recommended Mac for FCP
on Jul 2, 2013 at 8:15:25 am

Hi!

I'm completely new to the scene of Mac and have been looking at several Macs from my local retailers that I plan to purchase. Much of what I'll be doing or using on the Mac will be FCPX, Compressor, DVD Studio Pro, and the occasional Adobe software like Premiere Pro and After Effects.

I'm guessing MBA is out of the question since working on the computer involves things like video editing and rendering, in which case, I'm left with either

1) iMac 2.9GHz Model
2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
8GB (two 4GB) memory
1TB hard drive
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M with 512MB

or

2)MBP 13inch 2.9GHz
2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i7
Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
8GB 1600MHz memory
750GB 5400rpm hard drive
Intel HD Graphics 4000
Built-in battery (7 hours)

These are the base models so my questions are:

i) Which of the option is better? I'm assuming the iMac?

ii) Will these base specs suffice to do my work using those software mentioned? If not, what should I upgrade on?

Much thanks in advance for the kind advice!


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Bret Williams
Re: Recommended Mac for FCP
on Jul 2, 2013 at 2:08:29 pm

If those are your 2 options, then the iMac. FCP X utilizes the graphics cards. But you mention adobe. You need to check what graphics cards are supported by Adobe. AE and Premiere utilize specific cards for CUDA and OpenCL while FCP X utilizes cards for OpenCL. FCP X will run better on the 660m vs. Intel Graphics which don't really have any benefit to Adobe or Apple. However, the i7 will run circles around the i5, especially for the Adobe rendering if the graphics card isn't supported by Adobe. So you've got a mixed bag.

The best bet for Adobe and Apple is the best i7 mac if you can afford.


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Bret Williams
Re: Recommended Mac for FCP
on Jul 2, 2013 at 2:46:12 pm

I should have said i7 "i"mac. The top of the line can be sorta stripped down too. You don't need Apple RAM. You could max it out to 32 with RAM from OWC or Amazon for less than $200. Apple charges that for just one additional 8mb. The standard drive is fine. You'll be putting your media on an external drive. And I've yet to see anything special about the Fusion stuff. Maybe restarts are faster. And I wouldn't get the superdrive. Get a similar model for roughly the same price from Samsung that also does BluRay.


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Mark Dobson
Re: Recommended Mac for FCP
on Jul 2, 2013 at 4:11:18 pm

[Juan Lee] "I'm completely new to the scene of Mac and have been looking at several Macs from my local retailers that I plan to purchase"

Why don't you just wait a couple of months and, if your budget will stretch, buy the new MacPro. You will then have the very best possible machine for running the software you list. The next version of FCPX is going to be optimised to work with the new machine.

If you really need to buy right now I'd really recommend the 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7, 27" iMac with as much memory you can afford. It works beautifully and you will have avoided all the painful teething problems most of us have encountered over the last 2 years.


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Tim Jones
Re: Recommended Mac for FCP
on Jul 2, 2013 at 6:31:57 pm

I agree with Mark. I use a full-blown Mac Book Pro Retina and added a pair of 24" HP IPS LED monitors. But, if I were outfitting a new desk, I'd buy the 27" i7 iMac with 8GB (change the memory to 32GB from OWC or Amazon (as Bret mentions) with the default internal drive (would just be for apps) and upgrade to the GTX 680 graphics (2GB trumps 1GB every day of the week). I'd then add a Thunderbolt chassis from Sonnet with a SAS RAID array (only use ATTO for the HBA). My configuration came in at $2,349on the Apple store site.

Adding the GTX 680 graphics and the external SAS array will be the major performance pluses for Adobe or FCP X/Motion.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!


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Paul Neumann
Re: Recommended Mac for FCP
on Jul 3, 2013 at 2:06:15 am

Remember the ram on the 21.5" imac is not user serviceable. You have to max it out when you order it. Shame too. I dig the way you can change it out on the 27".

I have a new (spring 2013) macbook pro retina with 16gig 2.7 and a 512 ssd and I have to say I am totally underwhelmed by how it works with FCPX. Totally thrilled with how it runs CC though. And I use a thunderbolt raid and 27" tb monitor a thunderbolt/ssd portable. FCPX is now crashy and buggy on this new box.

I came from a spring 2011 macbook pro with 16gig 2.2 and a 7200rpm disk and it handled FCPX just fine.


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Juan Lee
Re: Recommended Mac for FCP
on Jul 3, 2013 at 1:41:50 pm

Hi guys!

Thanks for the reply!

Just realized I've miscalculated and 27" may be out of my budget and might settle for 21.5" (and in fact, I don't think I need that big a screen too!)

Then again, I also understand there are limitations to the 21.5" like how the graphics card is not upgradable. The specs I'm looking at for the 21.5" is:

3.1GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
1TB Fusion Drive
NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 512MB


My questions though:

- Will 8GB ram suffice for video editing and rendering? Or is it advisable to upgrade to at least 16GB?

- With regards to Fusion drive, is it necessary?

- Is the base model's graphic card GT650M enough for video editing/rendering?

Thanks for the advice!

Cheers!


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Paul Neumann
Re: Recommended Mac for FCP
on Jul 4, 2013 at 1:17:17 am

Yeah, you want 16gig of ram. You'll be alright with that box. The only low spot is not having at least a gig of ram on the gpu, but you'll be fine. Just not as fast on some things.


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Bret Williams
Re: Recommended Mac for FCP
on Jul 4, 2013 at 3:11:59 am

Look at a 2011 i7 27". They're barely different spec wise from the current lineup. Not great for adobe though. Oddly the low end one you describe might have an approved adobe card, but I think it's supposed to be a gig.

The 2011 has other pluses. FW800 and a built in DVD burner. No USB 3 though. USB 3 is a powerhouse. I can edit HD off cheap little 1 TB 5200rpm drives from Costco, or use a $15 adapter cable to hook up my esata Graid. I also have a mirrored newer tech guardian Maximus usb3 mirrored raid hooked up just for backup and even as a mirrored usb3 raid it gets 170mb/sec.


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Craig Alan
Re: Recommended Mac for FCP
on Jul 4, 2013 at 6:46:58 pm

Try not to settle. Not being able to swap out ram will come back to bite you. The specs are just better on the larger screen and a NLE interface can get crowded.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV30/40, Sony Z7U, VX2000, PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Nigel Beaumont
Re: Recommended Mac for FCP
on Jul 11, 2013 at 5:40:18 am

No matter what machine you have, there will always come a time you wish you had more RAM, more processor speed, a better graphics card etc etc. So I recommend you save until you really need to buy and then get the best you can. The bigger screen is worth going for too, when you spend long hours editing it will become significant.
That said, my personal laptop is an 11inch 1.6GHZ 4GB macbook air. From time to time I edit on FCPX or create in motion - it's not my weapon of choice, but it's capable and effective when I can't use a better machine.

Nigel Beaumont

Mac Pro Quad 3.0Ghz 14GB FCS 3 OSX 10.6.8/MBA 1.6Ghz 4GB FCPX OS 10.8.2



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