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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:06 AM   #1
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Quad iMac vs Mac Pro

I'm trying to save some cash with a new computer purchase, and wanted your opinions on how well the quad 27" iMac compares to the new quad Mac Pro. I can save $500 with the iMac, and gain 1 more gig of ram, a bigger HD, and of course, the gorgeous built in 27" monitor. But, the Mac Pro offers more upgrade flexibility, most importantly to me, the built in bay for 4 sata drives (of which mine are full).

Anyhow, I edit with FCP 6 and avchd from my hmc150. Do you think the iMac quad core would handle that ok? I'm currently using a Mac Pro with 2x 2.8 quad Xeon. I know, I know, but this isn't my computer and I have to return it very soon and get my own.

Would editing from an external fw800 hd be fast enough, or is an internal drive the best option? If internal is the best option, would the boot drive be ok? I've read that you shouldn't edit on the boot drive, but that was quite a while ago.

I'd rather go the Mac Pro route, but funds are really really tight and that $500 savings would be helpful, not to mention the 27" display.

Thanks for any advice!
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 10:51 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Shallenberger View Post
wanted your opinions on how well the quad 27" iMac compares to the new quad Mac Pro.
If you were going to go Pro, I would consider the 8-core rather than the quad-core. Let me ask you, is this a professional income-making asset? Is this for regular professional work? If so I would consider the extra cost of a MacPro purchase an investment. That's what I did a two years ago when I upgraded from the dual-processor G4.

If it's a side business or hobby, then perhaps the iMac is the best way to go in order to save some money.


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Originally Posted by Dan Shallenberger View Post
Would editing from an external fw800 hd be fast enough, or is an internal drive the best option? If internal is the best option, would the boot drive be ok? I've read that you shouldn't edit on the boot drive, but that was quite a while ago.
That's as true today as it was yesterday. Better off to avoid editing off boot drive. AVCHD has a max bitrate of 24 Mbit/s which is just under DV's bitrate of 25 Mbit/s, so FW800 should be fine as long as the disk inside the FW drive has a speed of 7200 RPM. Using USB (even 2.0) will end up causing you to experience dropped frames during playback.

If you don't absolutely need the power and expandability of the MacPro, then the iMac should do you well.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 01:57 PM   #3
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As mentioned in another iMac vs. "X" thread just below...

An easy way to justify the purchase of either is to compare their true capabilities. An iMac is in essence a laptop with a big screen and external keyboard; there's very limited external connectivity options for pro add-ons for anything be it, video, audio or external RAID's. Not to mention only a single internal drive and no options for adding more without turning it into a hack-intosh.

A Mac Pro is a tower will full functionality.

Personally if I were going to buy a machine that's a pimped-out laptop then I'd rather have a *true* laptop and would get the 17" inch MBP - which would also add the ExpressCard slot, something iMac's don't offer. Then I'd have portability along with a professional connection to use things like a small external array or connect other devices such as SxS cards etc.

So the question should be: Do you want a pimped-out laptop or a desktop? Then you can more easily make a choice.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 04:17 PM   #4
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Much is made of 'drive speed' -- I can state with all the authority that years of experience can muster that a 5400 rpm drive connected via Firewire 400 or USB is fast enough 25Mb/s editing. As long as you aren't using a system drive, you are good to go. The first 'big' drive I bought was an 18 GB 5400 rpm with I think an 8MB cache -- it served me well for years, I still have it as an archive drive, and I connect it with a cheap ata to USB adapter -- it will stream DV with no dropped frames. That said, I would buy bigger drives with bigger caches and faster spindle speeds if I was shopping, but in truth it is nearly impossible to buy a drive that can't do the job.

Processor speed, RAM -- of these you can never have too much. But HDD are seldom a weak point in the chain.

Cheers,
GB
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Old November 25th, 2009, 09:45 PM   #5
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Why Itís Still Smart to Buy a Mac Pro

Check out this article by Scott Simmons. It may help.

Studio Daily Blog Why It’s Still Smart to Buy a Mac Pro
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