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Old February 1st, 2012, 06:17 PM   #1
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iMac, Macbook Pro, or both?

Hello!

My old Macbook Pro has died so I need to invest in a new Mac set up. I've got about 2000 to spend, and can't decide whether to get just a top of the range Macbook Pro, or a 27'' iMac + a basic 13'' Macbook Pro (my thinking being that I like the idea of having the big screen, but if I got an iMac as my main machine I'd miss having a laptop for on the go editing etc. Also having two machines would help with upload times..).

If anyone could offer an advice that would be appreciated. I work with DSLR and HDV (though hopefully replacing my Z1 for an EX1 soon), all coverted to Pro Res, on FCP. I've read through some posts about this but there seem to be conflicting views on how capable the iMacs are with video editing... Opinions, please!


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Old February 1st, 2012, 09:00 PM   #2
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Re: iMac, Macbook Pro, or both?

I think I can help. I have a 2010 iMac, and a 13" MBP. My business partner edits on a 2011 15" MBP.

Thoughts on each:

iMac: Wow. What a great machine. I got the top of the line i7 and it really screams. Also, the screen real estate makes me A LOT more efficient. Couldn't imagine going back to just a laptop. As far as connectivity goes, Thunderbolt is really making a difference the last few months. There are now Thunderbolt to eSATA adapters from Sonnet, a few storage solutions, and monitoring solutions available from Matrox, etc.

13" MBP: Got this one last spring with the i5 processor. It's a nice laptop, but I only really find it useful for simple editing sessions or times when I have to be on the road. I do use it frequently, but just don't expect it to be a comparable edit machine. Thunderbolt connectivity is a plus.

15"/17" MBP: Side by side, very close to the performance of the iMac, but portable of course! Expensive, but does the job if you absolutely need to be mobile. All the same ports and features of the iMac, including Thunderbolt. Didn't make sense for me because a laptop isn't any good when you have all your storage devices wired into an editing suite, but some people like the flexibility.

I'd say iMac, and a cheaper, maybe even used laptop. An iMac certainly doesn't do everything in the video world, but at the very low price, your short-term productivity gain more than makes up for money spent.
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Old February 1st, 2012, 09:07 PM   #3
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Re: iMac, Macbook Pro, or both?

I have both a 27" quad i7 iMac and a 2008 Macbook Pro Intel Duo 2.6.

The i7 iMac has no problem with Pro Res, even with only 4 gb of RAM. The 27" screen is well worth it. 1080p takes up maybe half the screen, so you have a lot of room to work with in FCP.

I strongly suggest getting the iMac instead of a loaded Macbook Pro.
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Old February 2nd, 2012, 05:46 AM   #4
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Re: iMac, Macbook Pro, or both?

Thanks very much for the advice.

Sounds like the idea of getting both might be the way forward. Do you think the i7 processor is essential?

I'm quite tempted by this one -

Refurbished iMac 21.5-inch 2.5GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 - Apple Store (UK)

Mainly as it is quite cheap! But it's only an i5 and 21.5'' screen.*

I think I've decided to go for a refurbished one to save a bit of money, but there's no i7 iMac on there at the moment. Do you think its worth waiting to see if one comes up?
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Old February 2nd, 2012, 07:46 AM   #5
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Re: iMac, Macbook Pro, or both?

I think it's always worth to wait it out to see if you can get a better deal. But since your Macbook Pro has kicked the bucket and you've got some jobs to edit soon, then just get what's out there now. The fastest machine that your budget can allow.
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Old February 2nd, 2012, 10:00 AM   #6
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Re: iMac, Macbook Pro, or both?

I'd go with i7.
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Old February 2nd, 2012, 01:03 PM   #7
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Re: iMac, Macbook Pro, or both?

Go for the iMac, use it for a season and save towards a real PC.
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Old February 2nd, 2012, 03:16 PM   #8
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Re: iMac, Macbook Pro, or both?

Get the i7. Worth the speed bump if its your primary machine.
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 01:25 AM   #9
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Re: iMac, Macbook Pro, or both?

Only you will know how much you really need a mobile edit station. While I have a nice 17" MBP which I love I never use it for editing as I prefer my Mac Pro with multiple monitors & I don't need to edit on the road or in the field. You do pay quite a premium for a portable machine.

For video editing you would be mad to buy an iMac with anything other than the 27" screen. In general with NLEs & in particular if you are still editing with FCP7 then disk I/O is more important to you for performance than CPU power so while the i7 would be nice you probably won't notice any appreciable difference with an i5.

If you can only afford one machine & if your budget can stretch a little then you might consider a well specified MBP plus a 27" Thunderbolt monitor.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 10:58 AM   #10
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Re: iMac, Macbook Pro, or both?

Just to update, I decided to go for a refurbished 27'' i7 iMac in the end, which so far seems to be pretty good. Compression and rendering times are definitely a fair bit quicker than on my old macbook pro, and the large screen is amazing.

I've decided to put off buying the macbook pro until I can afford it a bit more comfortably. I don't really do a huge amount of on the go editing so its not really essential.

Thanks again for all the suggestions and advice

:)
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Old March 6th, 2012, 01:52 PM   #11
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Re: iMac, Macbook Pro, or both?

At a pinch the iMac is somewhat portable as you can lug it about a lot more easily than a Mac Pro:-)
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Old May 1st, 2012, 11:58 PM   #12
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Re: iMac, Macbook Pro, or both?

I'm at the same crossroads at the moment as my 2008 MBP is starting to struggle with my latest 40 minute Xdcam project. It's getting very hot and i'm even running a usb fan to blow some air on the back of it to keep the heat down.

I use a matrox mxo mini through the express card slot (and of course for SxS ingestion). I also use an esata express card to run my external bluray burner. All external drives via FW800.

So given that setup am I better off with a 17 inch MBP so I can keep running thise bits? Or better with a 27 inch imac and then a sonnet expresscard to thunderbolt adapter. The sonnet would future proof a bit but I lose the ability to monitor over hdmi via the matrox. Is there some way to connect a monitor to the imac - TV monitor via hdmi i mean.
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 08:43 PM   #13
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Re: iMac, Macbook Pro, or both?

I WOULD WAIT BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING!!

next month apples going to hopefully announce a new line of computers so i would wait.


Personally I already have a nice computer desktop set up so im going for a Mbp
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 11:18 PM   #14
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Re: iMac, Macbook Pro, or both?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Damian Heffernan View Post
I'm at the same crossroads at the moment as my 2008 MBP is starting to struggle with my latest 40 minute Xdcam project. It's getting very hot and i'm even running a usb fan to blow some air on the back of it to keep the heat down.

I use a matrox mxo mini through the express card slot (and of course for SxS ingestion). I also use an esata express card to run my external bluray burner. All external drives via FW800.

So given that setup am I better off with a 17 inch MBP so I can keep running thise bits? Or better with a 27 inch imac and then a sonnet expresscard to thunderbolt adapter. The sonnet would future proof a bit but I lose the ability to monitor over hdmi via the matrox. Is there some way to connect a monitor to the imac - TV monitor via hdmi i mean.
Hey Damian! If you buy the 27' imac then it comes with 2 thunderbolt ports. If you have to use one for the esata adapter, you can use the other to monitor via hdmi adapter.
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Old October 2nd, 2012, 08:04 PM   #15
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Re: iMac, Macbook Pro, or both?

Thanks for the reply. I have just put a hold on a 27 inch i5 iMac and now realise we're possibly within weeks of the announcement of new iMac models. Typical. Here's my thinking:
IMac definately over MBP. I don't need a portable solution. I still have the old MBP if I ever need to transfer from SxS on the job.
The 27 inch screen is going to be great for editing. I will sell my matrox which will help fund the thunderbolt bits I'm going to need and as the iMac has firewire I can keep using my firewire drives.
I'm unsure whether to wait a couple of weeks but if there's a substantial change to the iMacs then they'll effectively be first generation machines and so may have problems. The current series is possibly the best they'll ever be so should be reliable and will certainly be a big jump from my old core 2 duo.
Maybe the price of the current series will drop with the announcement of the new ones. If there's an announcement as it's speculation at the moment.
Decisions, decisions....

Last edited by Damian Heffernan; October 2nd, 2012 at 08:04 PM. Reason: typos
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