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buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?

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Rob Katz
buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Feb 2, 2016 at 5:47:04 pm

i'm ready to move to my next edit machine, a 2015 apple 27" i7 retina imac/4.0/4gb graphics card.

barefeats has suggested these imacs are as fast as several versions of mac pro for many edit tasks.

http://barefeats.com/imac5k13.html

http://barefeats.com/imac5k18.html

i'm looking to use as fcpx workstation.

it also must be able to handle the occasional premiere pro project.

i am also hoping it will work well enough for basic color correction using resolve.

i'm not going to build and maintain a hackintosh.

it is just outside my skill level.

i'm not sure the 6-core/d500 trashcan is a "better" machine on a value basis.

i'm posting since many others have been faced with a similar problem.

any and all thoughts are appreciated.

be well.

rob
smalltalk.productions


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Eric Santiago
Re: buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Feb 2, 2016 at 7:01:34 pm

That iMac is a pretty decent config for what you need.
However it all depends on what kind of 4K workflow your looking at.
I for one edit on a few variations of D500/D700 as well as MPB and cMP with ROCKET cards.
Since my workflow is basically RED R3D centric I have a good handle on my I/O for playback.
I do believe if your using a different workflow such as BMD, ARRI and anything other than R3D, you might have to beef up on the hard-drive speeds.
Then you might have to hit a D700 with Thunderbolt RAIDs.
Not sure if the iMac can handle for I/O with multiple RAIDs.
Now since your staying in the FCPX world, your still in good hands with that iMac.
IMHO of course.


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Rob Katz
Re: buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Feb 2, 2016 at 7:12:10 pm

any thoughts on the 3gb fusion drive vs the 512 ssd?

the idea of the 512mb ssd is appealing but since all the fcpx footage will reside on external drives via thunderbolt (and probably in a raid configuration), i'm wondering if i "lose" that much speed while gaining "plenty" of storage.

be well.

rob
smalltalk.productions


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Eric Santiago
Re: buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Feb 2, 2016 at 9:19:39 pm

No experience with Fusion drives.

When you say 3GB, do you mean the internal drive is only 3GB?


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Rob Katz
Re: buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Feb 2, 2016 at 9:24:10 pm

whoops-i meant 3TB!

rob


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Mark Smith
Re: buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Feb 2, 2016 at 10:07:18 pm

I went with the fusion drive on my similarly spec'ed iMac and have no complaints. The iMac in question gets 4k C300 files, go pro 4 K and all sorts of HD thrown at it. AE, PrePro and FCPX all run well but FCPX is the main editorial software. I do have a thunderbolt raid for media storage and would consider that a requirement.


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Ray Sherman
Re: buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Mar 6, 2016 at 9:43:05 pm

[Mark Smith] "I do have a thunderbolt raid for media storage and would consider that a requirement."

Hi, Not looking to change the OP post, but would like to know what thunderbolt raid drive you're using along with how well you like it. I've been looking at the Pegasus2 R8 24TB with a maxed out (late 2015) iMac with 1TB Flash SSD drive. Thanks, Ray


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Mark Smith
Re: buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Mar 7, 2016 at 12:19:06 am

I have a Pegasus r4 raid for my iMac which is 12 t.b. It has been flawless . Also have an owc 4 bay raid drive that uses four 2.5" drives and is set up as a raid 5 . I used this as a travel drive when I was on a ship for a month shooting an expedition . This drive has also been a solid operator which is a testimonial considering how rough the travel was on the ship at times .


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Ray Sherman
Re: buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Mar 8, 2016 at 5:03:03 pm

Thanks for the replies.....

[Mark Smith] "I have a Pegasus r4 raid for my iMac which is 12 t.b. It has been flawless ."

As I stated, I am looking at the Pegasus2 R8 24T simply due to faster read/write time. To my understanding, the more drives you have the better throughput/output. With that being said, are you experiencing any lag issues with your R4? Also what type of media are you using, 720, 1080, 4K? Thanks again, Ray


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Mark Smith
Re: buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Mar 8, 2016 at 5:35:38 pm

Most of the media I currently use is 1080, but I run the gamut from SD archival stuff through 720, 1080 up to 4K and frequently all within one project. I don't have latency issues. I even had some Canon C500 4K material shot at 60 P which is really heavy data wise and that sis not cause a problem, most likely since it was only a few minutes of a particular shot. If I had an extensive amount of canon 60P 4K it might be a completely different story with my set up.


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Simeon Pines
Re: buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Mar 6, 2016 at 11:19:38 pm

I was thinking of hanging on till the iMac is updated with usb-c.


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Joe Marler
Re: buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Mar 7, 2016 at 12:11:03 pm

[Rob Katz] "i'm ready to move to my next edit machine, a 2015 apple 27" i7 retina imac/4.0/4gb graphics card....barefeats has suggested these imacs are as fast as several versions of mac pro for many edit tasks...i'm looking to use as fcpx workstation...it also must be able to handle the occasional premiere pro project....
i am also hoping it will work well enough for basic color correction using resolve."


I have both 2013 and 2015 iMac 27s, both top-spec except the 2013 is 3TB FD and the 2015 is 1TB SSD. I use various Thunderbolt RAID arrays inc'l the 8TB Pegasus R4 and 8TB G-Raid.

I use both FCPX and Premiere CC 2015.2, although most of my work is in FCPX.

A top-spec 2015 iMac 27 is a great editing machine, and due to Quick Sync (which the Mac Pro does not have) is faster on several key areas such as export to H.264. I frequently edit three-camera 4k H264 multicam and it does OK, however you get smoothest performance by using a 1080p project and/or proxy mode.

The Mac Pro does have more CPU cores (some configurations) and can be quieter under sustained rendering but IMO the iMac 27 is not bad acoustically if you have several RAID arrays in the same room.

Premiere struggles on 4k H.264 on the same hardware -- the frame update rate and JKL input lag when fast forwarding on the timeline are vastly slower. This is exacerbated by Premiere having no built-in proxy mode, so transcoding to a lower-compression codec to obtain better performance must be done externally. It's a good product but Adobe really needs to rework their playback engine for the 4k era.

With external Thunderbolt media, there isn't much performance difference between 3TB Fusion Drive vs SSD. That said it's easy to run out of space with 512GB, especially if you're using things like Boot Camp or Parallels. I've done many FD vs SSD tests, and SSD always wins on synthetic benchmarks but in most real world workflows I don't see that much difference. SSD is mentally comforting, knowing it's the fastest possible I/O so any slowdown is elsewhere.

I can't comment on Resolve since I use Color Finale. I use Color Munki Photo screen calibration, and there was an issue with older versions on the new iMac 27 LED screen if upgraded to OSX 10.10 or higher. Contact X-Rite support for a manual workaround.


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Ray Sherman
Re: buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Mar 8, 2016 at 6:58:13 pm

Thanks for the great info. Ray


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Chad Smith
Re: buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Apr 9, 2016 at 5:01:58 pm

Hi Joe. Do you use an external 4K monitor? I am looking to upgrade and wondering if I can send 4K hdmi to one monitor and 1080 HD to my grading monitor at the same time with bmd 4K io box


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Joe Marler
Re: buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Apr 10, 2016 at 2:11:30 pm

[Chad Smith] "Hi Joe. Do you use an external 4K monitor? I am looking to upgrade and wondering if I can send 4K hdmi to one monitor and 1080 HD to my grading monitor at the same time with bmd 4K io box"

I do not. For a while I used my 2013 iMac 27 in Target Display Mode as a 2nd monitor. That was using its native 2560 x 1440 resolution. It was OK and I considered getting an Apple 27" Thunderbolt display but I personally like using a single (large) screen. I understand about using a separate grading monitor and BMD interface but I calibrate my iMac with ColorMunki and just use that. I have not examined the multi-monitor limitations of a 2015 iMac 27 beyond what I already mentioned.

As I just stated in this post, if you can wait until the end of this year we expect there will be a major GPU upgrade in the Mac lineup. If it also includes Thunderbolt 3 or an upgraded screen timing controller it could alter any current multi-monitor limitations: https://forums.creativecow.net/thread/344/42507#42508


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Eric Santiago
Re: buying bto 2015 imac 27" i7 retina for 4k edit-thoughts?
on Apr 11, 2016 at 1:10:51 pm

We have the BMD 4K (first series) and it can only a single HDMI output to 4K.
However you can use the SDI to HD which is probably best for grading.
We also have the Avid DNxIO (BMD mfg) and that too can only output to a single 4K display.


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