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Re: Minimum System Requirements to Edit 4K on a Mac?

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David Roth Weiss
Re: Minimum System Requirements to Edit 4K on a Mac?
on Oct 15, 2013 at 3:41:14 am

Hi Cindy,

First, welcome to the Cow. Now, on to answering your question.

There are many, many flavors of 4K files, and more to come. RED camera for example can be setup to shoot uncompressed RAW 4K, 3X compression, 5X compression, 8X compression, and 10X compression. So, right off the bat, you haven't really got, or given, enough information for anyone to really give an educated answer.

However, since I personally sell more workstations for 4K workflows than just about any person on the planet, let me cut to the chase and simply state that, in all honesty, with a budget of only 3K, you are underfunded, and there is unfortunately no way you will be able to edit native 4K files at any of the higher quality, lower compression rates.

With an iMac, or even with the new Mac Pros that are soon to be released, to handle 4K workflows effectively, you would have to add-on a Thunderbolt expansion chassis ($3850 minimum) with a RED Rocket card ($5000) or RED Rocket X card ($6750), at least one or two powerful graphics cards such a the GTX 680 Mac Edition ($550 each), and a beefy Thunderbolt RAID like a Promise Pegasus 6-drive model ($2100 minimum).

The only alternative on a Mac would be to transcode to a lighter codec, such as Pro Res, edit that offline, and take your final project to a professional facility for an online and color grading.

Windows Workstations purpose-built for 4K workflows, such as those we manufacture and sell at ProMAX, like our ONE Plus Hero, have the fastest dual Xeons available, loads of PCIe slots for multiple graphics cards and accelerator cards like the RED Rockets, and even include an onboard 8-drive SAS connected RAID array. These workstations average between $12 and $30K depending of how they're equipped.

I hope this information is helpful, and will at least encourage you to either, 1) save up for a workstation that will do the job; or 2) save your money and go with an effective offline/online workflow, partnering with a professional facility that can handle the heavy lifting for you and help you to achieve your goals.

If you or anyone else needs help with Windows or Mac workstations, storage, or shared storage, feel free to contact me at the email address below.

David Roth Weiss
ProMax Systems

Sales | Integration | Support

David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.

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