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Old September 26th, 2009, 08:43 AM   #1
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Final Cut and Mac Mini, iMac, Macbook, Mac Pro?

I am looking to purchase a Mac for video editing with Final Cut Studio, and I am wondering what experience people have with running the suite on different Macs. I don't have Final Cut yet either, and am looking for an affordable at-home editing option.

Will Final Cut work on the Mac Mini?

Do people have experience using Final Cut with only 2GB of RAM or do you need 4GB?

What is the best option for editing on the cheap, and what will I really sacrifice by choosing a cheaper Mac?

Opinions on Mac Mini vs iMac vs Macbooks vs Mac Pro would be greatly appreciated. Obviously everyone knows that a Mac Pro would be the best option, but I'm looking for a more affordable solution and specifics on the limitations of using other Macs.

Thanks for the help!
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Old September 26th, 2009, 09:31 PM   #2
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Mac mini impressions

While I use different stuff now last year while working somewhere I excercised discretionary spending and only bought a Mac Mini for an edit suite.

Given that I had been happily editing on a G4 dual 867 with 1.75GB ram for over 12 months (HDV projects) - I knew the Mini could do it.

It's been working well. It's a Core Duo with 2GB Ram, standard graphics card, standard hard drive with all video captured to a Lacie external firewire drive, 24 inch dell monitor, final cut studio (1).

It handles most tasks fine, editing on the timeline is simple. The only real difference from a higher end machine is rendering and export imes through compressor. It takes quite a while to render (it's not used for sophisticated productions) but cross dissolves and the like don't require rendering so that's fine. Exports to compressor do take quite a while though so the long one's are a "leave overnight" affair.

My G4 dual 867 with 1.75GB Ram edits fine with FC Studio as well (it's a second edit suite now).
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Old September 26th, 2009, 11:20 PM   #3
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I'm running CS4 and Final Cut Studio 3 on a MacBook Pro 17" (4GB RAM, everything else standard). It's pretty fast for a laptop without a lot of RAM.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 01:22 AM   #4
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Look at Hackintosh.

OSx86 takes some know-how but I have a Mac Pro at 1/3 the cost that was built with pc parts. It stable and edits like a dream w/ Quad 3.3ghz, 8 gb RAM and 3 TB of RAID0 internal storage (Highpoint RAID). Contrary to popular belief everything "just works" once you get the drivers installed and I download my updates from Apple.

I was going for something higher end but you can build something cheaper that will make the Mini's specs look like childsplay.

Alternatively, with the mini you are giving up the option of upgrading anything. It is a completely locked system without a PCIe or upgradable videocard. You essentially married to a system that can never be better than the day you've bought it (assume you maxed the ram).

Just my opinion.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 07:41 AM   #5
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Chris has his own interpretation of Apple's software license... see this thread: http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/non-line...3-another.html

On the Macbook, you will need to resort to some tricks to get FCS to install, and some of the components may not work. Not sure if any of this has changed on the newest models. See: http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/non-line...7-macbook.html

I use FCS on a 24" iMac dual 3ghz with 4GB and 15" MacBook Pro dual 2.4ghz with 4GB. It runs fine on both of these machines. I have been especially happy with the iMac, which also has a Matrox MXO connected to an external 23" Cinema Display. I'm sure it will work with less memory, but at today's prices there isn't much reason to skimp.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 05:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff View Post
On the Macbook, you will need to resort to some tricks to get FCS to install, and some of the components may not work. Not sure if any of this has changed on the newest models.
Actually Boyd, this advice is in violation of Apple's SLA, since you'd have to edit the plist / delete the requirement check in the contents folder. So you should check to make sure your advice is in line with your conscience and Apple. ;) (Sorry, had to quote you from the other thread).

This will be my last post mentioning the viability of hackintosh since "advice like that shouldn't be dispensed on dvinfo."

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Old September 28th, 2009, 10:26 AM   #7
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The 1.66 Duo Intel MacMini I have with 1gb of RAM works fine for simple projects. I suggest an external drive for the video files, it runs much better with no dropped frames.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 10:34 AM   #8
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It looks like the iMac would probably be my best choice. The Mac Mini seems a little too limited and the Macbook Pros and Mac Pros are too expensive.

I'm considering these:

20-inch iMac, 2.66GHz, 4GB DDR3 Ram, shared NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics

24-inch iMac, 2.93GHz, 4GB DDR3 Ram, dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 256MB memory

First of all, I don't care about the screen resolution/size difference so I don't need to hear about the monitor differences.

My questions are:

1. The processors have the same cache and frontside bus, so is it really worth it to go for the 2.93 over the 2.66?

2. I have used Final Cut Studio on a Macbook Pro with the dedicated graphics both on and off, and I honestly couldn't tell much of a difference in rendering times (for example, SmoothCam and other effects). So is it worth it to go for the extra graphics power? What will it really buy me?
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Old September 28th, 2009, 10:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Betz View Post
Do people have experience using Final Cut with only 2GB of RAM or do you need 4GB?
Running FCP6.0.6 on a white iMac2.16GHz Intel w. 2GB. I'd recommend more than 2GB of RAM (I can only mount another 1GB so I stayed with 2 1GB sticks)

Realtime performance is adequate. Rendering is reasonable. Would a MacPro Tower with 8 cores work better? Of course. Remember that if you have monitors sitting around, part of an iMac is redundant. If you're buying from scratch on a budget, there's nothing wrong with an iMac (although working with HDV natively is SLOW - I capture in ProRes and I'm happy enough - DV is fast).
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Old September 28th, 2009, 10:37 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Betz View Post
So is it worth it to go for the extra graphics power? What will it really buy me?
My UNDERSTANDING is that GFX cards buy you realtime power more than rendering speed.

ADDENDUM: And make sure your GFX card meets minimums for Motion if you plan on using it. As well, I only have 128MB video ram and SOME video filters won't render at all due to not enough VRAM. Usually 3rd party stuff.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 11:22 AM   #11
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Wait a few weeks before purchasing an iMac. I expect new models before/around the Win 7 release date. Same with Macbook Pro.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Betz View Post
It looks like the iMac would probably be my best choice. The Mac Mini seems a little too limited and the Macbook Pros and Mac Pros are too expensive.

I'm considering these:

20-inch iMac, 2.66GHz, 4GB DDR3 Ram, shared NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics

24-inch iMac, 2.93GHz, 4GB DDR3 Ram, dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 256MB memory

First of all, I don't care about the screen resolution/size difference so I don't need to hear about the monitor differences.

My questions are:

1. The processors have the same cache and frontside bus, so is it really worth it to go for the 2.93 over the 2.66?

2. I have used Final Cut Studio on a Macbook Pro with the dedicated graphics both on and off, and I honestly couldn't tell much of a difference in rendering times (for example, SmoothCam and other effects). So is it worth it to go for the extra graphics power? What will it really buy me?
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Old September 29th, 2009, 04:55 PM   #12
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Absolutely wait a few weeks, as the rumor mill is running hot and heavy about new iMacs.

I bought a 1st-gen Intel white iMac refurbished from the Apple store, and I've been very satisfied. After 3+ years, the hard drive went south, but that can happen on any machine. I would have been out of Applecare, anyway, and I replaced it with a terabyte drive just because I could. Other than that, it's run like a champ.

When the new iMacs are released, the Apple store refurb prices for the previous-gen iMacs may get very, very attractive. Just make sure you get a model with a 512MB video card. Both Motion and Color work much better with more video RAM.

Currently, the Apple store offers a Refurbished iMac 24-inch 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 24-inch display, 2GB memory, 500GB hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS with 512MB memory for $1599. That's less than you were considering for the new 2.93 /w/ 256MB video.

I'd wait to see if the new iMac's features are compelling enough to justify the cost difference.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 10:20 PM   #13
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Thanks for the advice. I will definitely wait to see what happens.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 05:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Betz View Post
First of all, I don't care about the screen resolution/size difference so I don't need to hear about the monitor differences.
I am amazed that you are indifferent to screen resolution (size is not so important). The 20" iMac only has a resolution of 1680x1050 versus the 1920x1200 of the 24" model. You get nearly 30% more screen with the larger model & when using FCP the more screen space that you have the better which is why so many editors use multiple screens.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 05:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Betz View Post
It looks like the iMac would probably be my best choice. The Mac Mini seems a little too limited and the Macbook Pros and Mac Pros are too expensive.

I'm considering these:

20-inch iMac, 2.66GHz, 4GB DDR3 Ram, shared NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics

24-inch iMac, 2.93GHz, 4GB DDR3 Ram, dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 256MB memory

First of all, I don't care about the screen resolution/size difference so I don't need to hear about the monitor differences.

My questions are:

1. The processors have the same cache and frontside bus, so is it really worth it to go for the 2.93 over the 2.66?

2. I have used Final Cut Studio on a Macbook Pro with the dedicated graphics both on and off, and I honestly couldn't tell much of a difference in rendering times (for example, SmoothCam and other effects). So is it worth it to go for the extra graphics power? What will it really buy me?
I use a 2.16GHz iMac (early 2007) with 3GB RAM and it's fine. If you have the cash, it's always nice to have the extra power, but it's not essential.
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