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Forums Apple Final Cut Pro Legacy Recommendation for a new Mac Editing System 2012

  • Recommendation for a new Mac Editing System 2012

  • Howie Young

    July 9, 2012 at 11:53 pm


    I haven’t used FCP and a Mac for some time and I’m in need of advice. I’m going to be editing short films, web videos and documentaries which will be shot with a Canon T3i and uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook. Some videos will be produced using green screen. I would eventually like to edit a feature with this system.

    With the iMacs and Mac Towers currently on the market, could someone please suggest some configuration options for a new MAC edit system which uses FCP X for a reasonable budget? I prefer a desktop instead of a Mac Book Pro.

    In addition to the computer, what other components or accessories would you recommend for this system – audio mixer, external hard drives, second computer monitor, a TV monitor, etc.?

    I appreciate any feedback.


  • Steve Eisen

    July 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    The iMac looks like a good fit for your workflow.
    Search Thunderbolt accessories for other components. Matrox, AJA & Blackmagic i/o devices. G-Tech Hard drive solutions

    Steve Eisen
    Eisen Video Productions
    Vice President
    Chicago Creative Pro Users Group

  • Howie Young

    July 10, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for responding to my post. I’ll do a search for the other accessories as per your suggestion.

    Which iMac do you recommend?


  • Jean-Christophe Boulay

    July 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    The actual hardware variations in the current iMac range are not very significant as far as deliverable horsepower is concerned. All the different CPUs are of the same i5 S-badged series which share the same topology, core count, voltage and caches. The only difference is a small ramp in clock speed which has had a smaller effect in the last few CPU generations than it did in the past. The 27-inch models can be upgraded to a hyperthreading-enabled i7 which FCPx should be able to exploit but how much of a difference that will really make, I have no idea.

    The graphics power in them is not too dissimilar either. With GPUs ranging from 6750M to 6970M, you get a small ramp up in power along the range but nothing that will really affect an editing system in a meaningful way, especially if your software doesn’t exploit GPU power for floating-point calculations. The difference would be felt mainly by gamers and even then it’s not so big. And Apple isn’t even playing in the current 7000 series at all so you’ll be off peak power anyways.

    All iMacs come with the same default memory configuration and all but the cheapest share the same HDD as well, so not much differentiation there either. You’ll probably want to upgrade RAM, but doing that through Apple when purchasing will cost more than getting your memory from another reseller. Installation is a snap. If money’s no big thing, the SSD option is nice but will not affect the editing experience that much. You’ll mostly go “oooh” the first few times you boot up.

    Since the internals are not so different, the exterior plays a big part. If you can go for a 27-inch, do. They are beautiful machines. The smaller one will mostly work just as well but that big screen is sweet. If critical audio mixing is important, I recommend an exterior audio interface as the built in one is rather noisy, in my experience.

    Personally, without knowing exactly your needs or means, I’d say the cheaper of the 27inch models with some RAM added is a nice sweet spot.


    JC Boulay
    Technical Director
    Audio Z
    Montreal, Canada

  • Howie Young

    July 12, 2012 at 3:01 am

    Hi Jean-Christophe,

    Thanks for responding to my post.

  • Isaac Brillant

    July 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Hi JC,

    I read this great post of yours and have a few questions, since the previous poster was asking about FCP X…

    Would your same comments apply if I plan to use FCP 7 and not plan to ever upgrade to FCP X?

    Specifically, would I not see much of a difference between i5 and i7, and between the HD 6970M 1GB GDDR5 graphics card and the HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5 card?

    (Either way I’ll probably get 8GB of RAM, and am planning to get the 27″.)


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