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James Navarro
on Oct 15, 2009 at 3:08:23 am


I was just wondering if anybody is using the new iMac for video editing with Final Cut Studio 3? I was interested in purchasing a desktop and was looking at the Mac Pros, but they are very expensive for my budget. Is it worth buying an iMac with FCSP 3? And what are some cons with using an iMac compared to a Mac Pro? Thank you in advance for your feedback!

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Zane Barker
Re: IMac
on Oct 15, 2009 at 4:03:22 am

[James Navarro] "what are some cons with using an iMac"

Only one firewire buss. That means that cameras/decks must share that bus with your media drive and that can be problematic.

There are no "technical solutions" to your "artistic problems".
Don't let technology get in the way of your creativity!

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Jeff Mueller
Re: IMac
on Oct 15, 2009 at 6:57:31 am

I may not be the right guy to answer this as I am working with FCP 5.1.4 and a slightly older iMac Core 2 Duo, AND I am having problems (but they're not iMac related). However, as a guy on a budget I feel your pain and want to throw in my two cents, which is that I think it depends on what you're trying to do. No question an iMac can run FCP7, they were editing with FCP and (compressed) HD back in the G4 days. But there will be sacrifices.

My feeling (at the low level of this game) is the computing power of the iMac is fine, but as Zane said, the current models have just one FW800 connector, so everything FireWire will have to be Daisy chained, otherwise it's got to be USB 2.0, no option (as far as I know) of adding an eSata drive. My iMac has two FW400 ports and I am running a Lacie 1TB drive as my scratch disk through FW400 (drive can handle FW800 but computer doesn't support), behind that I have a 320GB Lacie D2 back up disk attached (ironically, but because it's the available port) to the 1TB Lacie via FW800. No problems with this setup that I can detect, speed seems fine importing/rendering. BUT I'm mostly working with SD material because I have problems between HDV and FCP 5.1.4. I connect my camera through the second FW400 port, don't think it's a good idea to daisy chain that. I have thrown the iPod on the back of the HD Daisy Chain and that seems fine. Hard to get a good raid array out of this, which if you ever want to do uncompressed HD you will need. Flexibility is also limited with video capture cards, audio cards, etc.It's just plain a much less flexible platform. But that doesn't mean it can't do what you want. and it's really half the price.

Other iMac deficiencies: my internal DVD/CD burner gave out about the same time as the warranty ended. I bought a high spec LaCie external drive to replace that, but again my connection is limited to FW400 or USB 2.0. On a new iMac you'd have FW800 but only one port so you'd have to go USB or Daisy Chain. Monitor out is limited/non-expandable.

On the other hand, it is easier to move around with out the big tower. And jeez, a 24" iMac starts at $1500 with the display, a reasonable processor, memory hard drive and all those things you'd expect like a keyboard and mouse. On the Mac Pro front the display alone is $900 and then you need another $2500 for the base computer sporting the same hard drive, less ram (3GB vs, 4GB) and the same speed processor, but it's a quad rather than core 2 duo. So, given a Mac Pro package for $3400 or an iMac for nearly $2,000 less, just how much flexibility/expansion capability are you willing to pay for?

On the other hand, my father, who doesn't need it, has a beautiful Mac Pro tower carved of aluminum and feeling like three times the machine any iMac is. I don't know what all it's got inside, but I do know it's a G5 (couple of them I think)and OS X 10.5 Leopard is the last OS update it will ever be able to get. A lightly used $3-4000 machine that is almost obsolete.

Except for the real power users and pros with giggs lined up back to back I think a good iMac, properly specced is the cost effective option, but it won;t expand very well and at this time don't think about working in uncompressed HD with it. My 2 cents.

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anastasis lazos
Re: IMac
on Oct 15, 2009 at 8:18:19 pm

I use an 24"iMAC 3.06Ghz Intel core 2 Duo with 4GBRAM..
I bought it last spring and it has 1xFW400 plus 1xFW800 so i guess i am lucky i got it then cos now the FW400 port has gone..I dont need to connect cameras on it and so far i edit using DV footage on external FW800 drive.

As i described on another post of similar nature i recently edited a 2h multicam show with 4cams with no problems at all. I cant say much about render times, when it renders i make myself lunch or something! (i work from home).

The screen is really nice..Another thing i love is that its silent..Very important for me. Dont forget the remote control..nice touch..
However i am a bit worried of what ll happen when something goes wrong with it..I cant just replace the DVD drive myself can i! And no there is no apple store in my town..

The MAc pro will do things faster and offers space for more HDs and plenty of ports for cameras etc..With just one FWport on new iMacs i would think twice..If u can live with 1 external HD maybe an iMac will be enough. Dont forget u can daisy chain more HDs..

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walter biscardi
Re: IMac
on Oct 15, 2009 at 8:50:10 pm

We're now cutting feature documentaries with ours. We have three Mac Pros and three iMacs in the shop. All connected via Ethernet shared storage system. Going to expand and add more iMacs to the mix because they are working so well with Studio 3.

I don't care about the Firewire busses because we don't edit with Firewire period.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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Biscardi Creative Media

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