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Re: iMac Pro Configuration Advice Needed

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Joe Marler
Re: iMac Pro Configuration Advice Needed
on Sep 19, 2019 at 8:05:24 pm

I have a 10-core Vega64 iMac Pro and a top-spec 4-core 2017 iMac. The iMac Pro is much quieter but supposedly the 2019 8-core iMac is quieter than the 2017.

For collaborative work when we're passing around lots of portable drives (some USB-C and some USB-A), I like all the iMac Pro ports and the built-in 10-gig ethernet to connect to a NAS.

From a performance standpoint I don't think either 8-core or 10-core iMac Pro is vastly faster than the 8-core iMac. They are all fairly fast but all will struggle on certain codecs such as some 4k H264 variants. Panasonic's 8-bit 4k 4:2:0 H264 isn't that bad, Sony's 4k XAVC-S is worse, likewise DJI and GoPro 4k H264 is difficult. Panasonic's 10-bit 4k 4:2:2 H264 is more difficult. In general if you are doing multicam or need really fluid response on 4k H264, you may need proxies -- with any of these machines.

The base model iMac Pro is a pretty good deal if you can get it on sale. Micro Center would previously sometimes sell them for $3999, and you can get them on the Apple Refurbished store for about $4250.

You can avoid all the transcoding by acquiring in ProRes to something like an Atomos Ninja V. The file sizes are bigger but much smoother to edit.

I think 32GB RAM is generally OK for something like FCPX and Motion. If you are running multiple large apps in parallel, you might need more. You can inspect "memory pressure" in Activity Monitor on your workload to see if it's memory constrained.

Re 1TB or 2TB SSD, normally 1TB is enough but 2TB is pretty nice especially on a laptop. Another factor that eats space is the increasingly common tendency for cloud-based providers like DropBox, etc. to sync large folders down to your hard drive. You can intervene and turn that off but it's better to have some "elbow room" so you aren't on a hair trigger to react.

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