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FCPX 10.3 - what computer to purchase?

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David Fortin
FCPX 10.3 - what computer to purchase?
on Dec 13, 2017 at 10:34:26 pm
Last Edited By David Fortin on Dec 14, 2017 at 12:19:46 am

I've searched this forum and the net in general and haven't located any information on this. Maybe I'm not using the correct keywords. I've found people asking questions about their iMac and getting used iMacs, but not the overall question of which computer is best for FCPX.

I have a MAC PRO (Early 2008) 2 x 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon, OS 10.11.6
FCPX 10.2.3

I want to upgrade to FCPX 10.3.4 and use some of the new plugins being offered by 3rd party companies.
Some of these applications need software that won't run on my old system.

What MAC should I purchase?

Right now I am getting by with After Effects CS5.5, and can continue to use that on my current MAC Pro.
With that in mind, what are my options for purchasing a MAC?

I am a small, independent production house that creates marketing, training and fundraising videos. Clients do not sit in on edits. Speed of editing is not high on the list (although it would be nice). I had what I thought was a robust system, but that was way back in 2008. Looking to purchase a MAC that will last me for a good many years going forward (hoping to scale back production over the next 3 to 10 years, as I get older {58 now}).

What would be good specs for a basic system to edit FCPX 10.3.4? And what would be a robust system?

Thanks for any guidance or direction you can give me.


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Noah Kadner
Re: FCPX 10.3 - what computer to purchase?
on Dec 14, 2017 at 1:08:59 am

Depends precisely on budget. If you have $5K- order an iMac Pro tomorrow...

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP Exchange - FCPX Workshops
XinTwo - FCPX Training


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David Fortin
Re: FCPX 10.3 - what computer to purchase?
on Dec 14, 2017 at 1:47:05 pm

Thanks Noah
I will take a look at it.


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Craig Seeman
Re: FCPX 10.3 - what computer to purchase?
on Dec 14, 2017 at 1:20:38 am
Last Edited By Craig Seeman on Dec 14, 2017 at 1:21:47 am

[David Fortin] "which computer is best for FCPX."

Best might be the upcoming iMac Pro which starts at $4999 but that seems contra to your needs it would seem given your 2008 survived this long as your main computer.
The more detail you describe your needs the better recommendations you'll.

What are your sources (cameras) and deliverables and how might that change over the next few years?

GPU might be less critical for your work but they can impact the render speed of some plugins.

You could get by with a base model 15" MacBookPro Retina with Quad i7. $2400
https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/macbook-pro?product=MPTR2LL/A&step=confi...

iMac could be the lowest level 27" BTO Quad i7 with 16 GB RAM $2200
https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/imac?product=MNEA2LL/A&step=config#

But if you want near best sans iMac Pro, a well equipped iMac $3100
https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/imac?product=MNED2LL/A&step=config#
but you can push it to $5300

Sometimes wide spread changes in camera technology and delivery will push hardware upgrades and with Apple that basically means a new computer. So a life cycle might be 3 to 5 years depending...

Otherwise you can wait for the next Mac Pro which promises to be modular and, I suspect, expensive.



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Noah Kadner
Re: FCPX 10.3 - what computer to purchase?
on Dec 14, 2017 at 2:34:11 am

That said I cannot think of any real-life editorial scenarios in which having a fast as possible GPU wouldn't be preferable.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP Exchange - FCPX Workshops
XinTwo - FCPX Training


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David Fortin
Re: FCPX 10.3 - what computer to purchase?
on Dec 14, 2017 at 1:58:38 pm

Craig,

Thanks for the post.
I hadn't thought about camera changes. I purchased a Sony EX-1 when it first came out, and I'm still using it.
However, I can see me needing something that can shoot 4K.

#1 deliverable - online and digital files
#2 deliverable - DVDs (mostly for non-profit clients and fundraising)

The new iMac maybe a little steep in price, since I'll probably also need to get some type of media storage, beause I am currently using 3 HDs in my Mac Pro as an internal RAID.

I'll check out the links you provided and see if something makes sense for me to purchase now.
I've had a few close calls with my Mac Pro, replacing components to keep it going. There's been a few signs of upcoming problems, so I'm thinking I need to do something sooner, rather than later.

I appreciate the time you took to respond and for providing a few links.
It will definitely put me in the right direction.

Thanks again.


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Craig Seeman
Re: FCPX 10.3 - what computer to purchase?
on Dec 14, 2017 at 3:22:57 pm

[David Fortin] " I purchased a Sony EX-1 when it first came out, and I'm still using it.
However, I can see me needing something that can shoot 4K."


Me as well. I sold the EX1 and bought the X70 which does 422 10bit HD but 420 8bit 4K. Has the same S&Q as the EX1. The V90 coming out now would be good. I use Blackmagic Pocket with SpeedBooster for Interviews and controlled (none ENG/VNR) shoots. ProRes is very easy to handle (but really want a 4k equivalent now).

There's is where the first key issue would be. I find that my Late 2013 6 Core Mac Pro struggles with the 4K XAVC-L (although noting preliminarily better performance with today's FCPX 10.4.

BTW I also had the 2008 8 core Mac Pro. Had to upgrade the GPU for FCPX compatibility. I felt it was already sluggish by 2013, especially for encoding, and bought the new Mac Pro. Big downside was/is slower H.264 encoding compared to i7 (such as my late 2013 15" MBPr).


[David Fortin] "#1 deliverable - online and digital files
#2 deliverable - DVDs (mostly for non-profit clients and fundraising)"


I dont' do DVDs much anymore since it's easy to deliver HD and even 4K files. But these is where H.264 encoding speed is important. I've done non profit and all day educational. After the shoot I may have to deliver 10-15 (one for each presenter). This may mean a batch optimized for YouTube, another for Vimeo, possibly a third for direct delivery. I'll also do a VNR type package and maybe a longer highlights reel. These need to be turned around quickly (deliver within one day if possible). Getting a quad i7 is important for this. Clients may not be over my shoulder but they do need fast.

My guess is a 2017 27" iMac with BTO Quad i7 would be good enough for you. The biggest downside coming from a tower is that there's only two TB3 ports. At the very least you may need a JBOD (no internal disks) and/or RAID5 (for editing) and/or possibly a single SSD. This depends on your storage as well as editing demands. The iMac Pro might be overkill for you especially if you don't need that kind of speed.

If you are thinking 5 years out though that can edge you towards the Pro though. I'm thinking of what it'll take to handle HEVC 4K camera native, exporting to the same, having to add grades and other FX. This is why I think of camera source as well. If you don't move up then this isn't a worry though.



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