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Forums Apple Final Cut Pro X Need Advice on iMac & MacBook Pro Updates.

  • Need Advice on iMac & MacBook Pro Updates.

  • Glenn Payne

    September 2, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    Hey everyone,
    It’s been a while since I made a new purchase so I really want to make sure I don’t screw it up. I’d very much appreciate any advice from you guys. I currently have a late 2013 iMac with fcpx 10.5.4. Using Catalina 10.15.7 with 3.5 ghz i7. 32 GB DD3, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4 GB, 27 inch iMac. From researching, my understanding is that I can’t update to the newest fcpx 10.6.3 because my iMac is too old to update to the required OS.

    So…. I’m looking around at slightly used iMAcs as well as used MacBook pros. I’ll do all my primary editing on the iMac but my current MacBook pro is around 15 years old and can’t be used for much of anything (even browsing), so I’m in the market for a laptop as well. I’d like to be able to use the laptop in a pinch for random editing, but I don’t think it’ll happen very often.

    All that to say, what spec requirements do you guys suggest for the current landscape of fcpx and moving forward. I definitely want a 27″ iMac versus a smaller one, which might mean I need to get a slightly older one, but I also don’t want to swap out iMacs only to have my “new” iMac age out super quickly as well.

    A few questions:
    *Is purchasing a used 2015-2017 model a bad idea at this point since it’s not that much newer?
    *Can I get away with an i5 processor or should i7 be mandatory.

    *For my last purchase I made sure to get a graphics card that had at least 4 GB dedicated to it. Is that still wise?
    *Same for having 32 GB of memory.

    Sorry that my knowledge is so out of date at this point. Please feel free to give me any spec tips that you recommend and thank you for your time and expertise!

  • Paul Szilard

    September 3, 2022 at 1:52 am

    Whereabouts do you live? What kind of budget are you thinking about? How do you see your use case in the next 3 years? i.e. planning to go to 4k or 8k video editing, Is speed verses cost a factor and which do you prefer? Do you want to move to an Apple Silicon platform?

    FYI: I moved from an i7 27″ iMac with1 TB SSD and 32GB ram to an M1 16″ MacBook Pro with 2TB SSD and 32GB ram, coupled to an LG 27″ 5k display. Storage unchanged, provided by a Thunderbolt 3 connected Promise Pegasus with 6x4TB drives, plus Synology NAS for backup/archives.

  • Glenn Payne

    September 3, 2022 at 3:04 am

    I live in the southeast US. Since I’m looking at possibly buying both I’d like to keep the total around $2500 or under if possible with used options. I’ve been editing 4k for years with proxy files and that’s worked great. I don’t have a personal need to film/edit higher than 4k but it could come up eventually. I’m open to various apple options.

    Did you like the change?

  • Paul Szilard

    September 3, 2022 at 3:31 am

    Hi Glenn, – yes I am very pleased with my choice, except I wish I had got 64GB ram, but cost is just too high. Just beware that some programs might not work on the Apple Silicon and Monterey.

    The budget of $2.5k might be a bit tight IMHO. I would recommend a similar path as what I had done, namely don’t waste money on 2 Macs (iMac + MBP), but get a 27″ LG Ultrafine screen and then use the remainder of the budget to get the best 16″ M1-Pro that you can afford. I would not waste good money on yesterday’s (Intel) technology. Of course you may have a very different approach, but that’s my recommendation. Let us know what you decide in the end.

  • Glenn Payne

    September 3, 2022 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks so much, Paul! I appreciate your time and opinion. I’ll double check on the programs I use. I mainly stick to fcpx, motion, compressor, color finale and photoshop. You mentioned a good plan. I’ll think on that as well.

  • Joe Marler

    September 6, 2022 at 3:34 pm

    Paul’s recommendation is good. I spend most of my time on a desktop machine and normally don’t need a laptop, but the M1 Mac laptops transform that experience.

    I definitely would not get an Intel Mac at this point. I have top-spec 2015 and 2017 iMac 27, formerly had a 2013 iMac 27 and 12-core D700 “Trash Can” Mac Pro, a 10-core iMac Pro, and now have a M1 Max MPB 16 and M1 Ultra Mac Studio. Most any Apple Silicon machine (even a Mac Mini) is better than a 2017 iMac 27, and in some cases faster than a 2013 12-core Mac Pro or iMac Pro.

    What “casual” editors often overlook is casual use usually equates to consumer codecs which are difficult to edit smoothly. I can’t count how many times I’ve head “I’m not a professional editor, why is it slow, it’s only GoPro/DJI material”. Those are among the most difficult to edit smoothly. The hardware accelerators in Apple Silicon machines make a big difference.

    Try to get 16GB RAM and at least a 16-core GPU. Get as much SSD as you can afford.

  • Greg Ball

    September 6, 2022 at 8:36 pm

    I would take a look here: https://eshop.macsales.com/cart/suggest/?added=UACN1FS3XX110XI

    You can get an iMac 2020 5K anf then buy your own ram to get to at least 32gb

  • Paul Szilard

    September 6, 2022 at 9:58 pm

    You can only upgrade ram on Intel based Macs, due to the fact that the Apple silicon architecture’s key design is that all ram is on the same chip as the cpu’s and gpu’s, in a unified memory design.

    Back to the original question – when I had an iMac Pro plus a MBP, I was forever trying to keep them in sync, with installing updates, plugins and syncing data. An absolute hell! With just having a powerful M1-Max MBP, I no longer have those issues! Hallelujah. If I am going to be away from home, just unplug it and when at home, plug in the external monitor and network. Also this way I have a 2 monitor setup at home – laptop plus external. It is working very well for me.

  • Doug Metz

    September 7, 2022 at 2:29 pm

    This is the direction I’m going as well.

    Currently running an M1 Mini as my main edit station (it’s been a really great upgrade over the 2013 trashcan), but I recently got a 16″ MBP Max and am planning to move everything over to that. The syncing is getting annoying, and the laptop has far more grunt than the Mini.

  • Glenn Payne

    September 7, 2022 at 2:47 pm

    Paul, Oh wow. That’s great to know. So whatever RAM I purchase with originally is what I’m stuck with, it sounds like. Thanks for the advice!

    Thanks for the info as well, Doug, Greg, and Joe! It sounds like most everyone thinks getting an M1 MacBook pro 16″ with plenty of Ram (with the option of monitor for desktop flow, is the way to go. I’ll try to look towards that solution. You guys are great!

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