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Re: Recommendation for a new Mac Editing System 2012

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Jean-Christophe Boulay
Re: Recommendation for a new Mac Editing System 2012
on Jul 11, 2012 at 5:40:03 pm

The actual hardware variations in the current iMac range are not very significant as far as deliverable horsepower is concerned. All the different CPUs are of the same i5 S-badged series which share the same topology, core count, voltage and caches. The only difference is a small ramp in clock speed which has had a smaller effect in the last few CPU generations than it did in the past. The 27-inch models can be upgraded to a hyperthreading-enabled i7 which FCPx should be able to exploit but how much of a difference that will really make, I have no idea.

The graphics power in them is not too dissimilar either. With GPUs ranging from 6750M to 6970M, you get a small ramp up in power along the range but nothing that will really affect an editing system in a meaningful way, especially if your software doesn't exploit GPU power for floating-point calculations. The difference would be felt mainly by gamers and even then it's not so big. And Apple isn't even playing in the current 7000 series at all so you'll be off peak power anyways.

All iMacs come with the same default memory configuration and all but the cheapest share the same HDD as well, so not much differentiation there either. You'll probably want to upgrade RAM, but doing that through Apple when purchasing will cost more than getting your memory from another reseller. Installation is a snap. If money's no big thing, the SSD option is nice but will not affect the editing experience that much. You'll mostly go "oooh" the first few times you boot up.

Since the internals are not so different, the exterior plays a big part. If you can go for a 27-inch, do. They are beautiful machines. The smaller one will mostly work just as well but that big screen is sweet. If critical audio mixing is important, I recommend an exterior audio interface as the built in one is rather noisy, in my experience.

Personally, without knowing exactly your needs or means, I'd say the cheaper of the 27inch models with some RAM added is a nice sweet spot.


JC Boulay
Technical Director
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada

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