January 4, 2016 at 10:20AM


iMac for video editing

I'm looking to buy a used iMac 2012 or later & was wondering what some of your experiences have been. Am I better off getting a slightly older i7 processor i.e 2012 versus 2013 i5? How much memory should the GPU have versus the CPU?

I mainly work in 1080P ProRes on projects 10 mins in length or less, though I might work with some 4K downscaled to 1080p in the near future. Right now I'm using FCPX & Motion 5, but I might move back to Adobe CC for Premiere & light After FX work.

Thanks for any insight you all have. I'm still learning about computer specs & where my money should go when it comes to working with video.


I no longer edit on a Mac ( only because I can build custom PCs, and have not been brave enough to try and build a Hackintosh PC ), but I would try an make sure that your Mac's OS is running from an SSD drive, as it makes a huge difference when booting and loading/switching apps. Pretty much any modern Mac should be able to take a SSD drive, and if you're worried about storage space then use an external drive. ( internal hard drives fill up pretty fast, so external storage is definitely the better way to go )

January 4, 2016 at 1:20PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Thanks, I hadn't thought about the SSD for running the OS & programs. Makes sense now why I see some with 2 hard drives, 1 small SSD & 1 larger standard or fusion drive.

Derek Armitage

January 4, 2016 at 2:09PM

I have iMac 27, late 2013, with 28GB ram, 2GB graphics and 3,5Ghz i5. I have no complains. Premiere works fluently. After Effects works good, but if I have more advanced comps (Element 3D, a lot of layers) waiting for rendering could be a bit anoying. If it comes to DaVinci Resolve 12: editing is really anoying for me (compering to Pr CC) but color correction and grading isn't (when I work with for example viedos from BMPCC or C100 mkII). But You must turn on smart cache, and, when You have bigger project, is good to have half res playback.

January 5, 2016 at 10:36AM


I use the late 2011 i7. I would say: More Money to GPU and SSD. The biggest downside is my 1 GB GPU. The processor and the ram (16 Gb) is occupied for in the maximum of 50% in editing and compositing. (Using FCPX + C100 MK i with Ninja Blade so ProRes Data)

January 6, 2016 at 4:55AM

Lorenz Schuster

I recently edited a movie in 4k (UHD) to be output to HD with heavy After Effects work (http://thewoodwitch.com). We shot in multiple formats and last year's 5k iMac handled it fairly well. There was a bit of thermal throttling, but I made it through it without killing the machine. I will say that the latest updates to Adobe CC have helped. Let's face it... if you're not using Adobe CC, you're doing yourself a disservice. The computer doesn't seem to heat up as much even with footage from the new Sony A7SII I'm now using.

Having said that, I think I am going to move over to an HP Z workstation. I'm afraid that Apple is consumerizing the desktop experience a little too much. HP has upped their game lately. I'm even considering ditching the desktop altogether for one of their new workstation laptops... real promise there. And, of course, their desktop (Z840) are an industry standard.

The trash can (Mac Pro) looks great and is crazy powerful, but when you put it up against the Z stations... not much of a real race.

Sorry to go off on the tangents, but I wouldn't mess with anything less than the 5K iMac. It served me well on a feature that would almost killed my top of the line Mac Book Pro by overheating it when it shouldn't have.

Good luck.

January 11, 2016 at 12:08AM

Courtney Jones

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