Reading some of the threads here, I can see you folks are cutting edge. But all I need my workstation to do is simple cuts, dissolves, and fades. I'm shooting 1920 x 1090p to files at 100 Mbits/sec. For transfer speeds, Firewire 800 or USB 3.0 connection is fine as well.
So I'm thinking buying some used gear. Would either a MacPro notebook or a mac mini work? What kind of specs should i be looking for?
I am currently editing on an early 2008 MacPro, not even filled up with RAM, and I can edit HD ProRes or AVCHD footage without a hitch. FCPX and OSX are the latest version. I can preview real time with minimal or no rendering via a Blackmagic card. Waiting for a new MacPro to be available, I have wondered so many times if it could be good to go for a new top notch iMac, but then I think that I won't have to change my workflow in the next two years, so I'll maybe stick to my current 5 years old machine for some more time.
Sorry, I've read MacPro , but maybe you meant Macbook Pro. In that case, I have a 2011 2Ghz i7 with 4GB RAM for first cuts and footage arrangement on the field when I'm shooting a doc somewhere, and it works fine, even playing the media files from a FW800 external drive. So it should be fine for the kind of editing you describe.
Always be aware of how needs grow quicker than one expects.
Also not sure if you have any budget constraints. You could get a 2011 15" MBP with Quad i7 which would also have a decent GPU and Thunderbolt which would be OK. Heck you can use FCPX on a Core2Duo but I wouldn't recommend it. You really have to set more parameters to get more accurate advice.
MacMini isn't going to have the GPU resources you may need. At the very least GPU is used on export. You could survive on a Dual i5 MacMini but if you find it painful... the money you saved on purchase will be waisted in time.
Guys, thanks for the advice. You asked if there's a budget constraint, and the answer's yes, which is why I'm looking towards used/refurbished gear. I'm new to FCPX and will learn the program on this machine. I'll probably upgrade hardware sometime in the future, I just need to get up and running for now.
Would portability be an important feature? I can't make any real edit on a laptop screen, so I'd go for an iMac with a second display connected. Given that, however, portability not really being an issue, I'd rather go for an old but still working MacPro, so that I can profit of a larger number of ports and pci-e options.
This reminds me of the Irish joke about the man asking directions to Dublin from a farmhand. "To be sure, I wouldn't start from here..."
It might be a good idea to look at a range of editing systems, all of which are pretty similar if you're starting from scratch, and find one with which the hardware choices are both easier and cheaper.
There - I didn't say Premiere Pro or Edius on a PC at all. Ooops