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New iMacs and MacMini

For our MAC users, questions about the various Video Editing software products.

New iMacs and MacMini

Postby ryan_khoo » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:16 am

According to Apple website, the new refresh Mac Mini comes with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics card which has 128 or 256MB shared with main memory

Q1. How do we know whether we are getting NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics that is integrated 128 or 256 video RAM ?

Q2. Is NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 128 MB of integrated video RAM sufficient to do video editing using FCP without getting hang ? I thought I read some where that says FCP won't work on Intel Integrated graphics card. But this is NVidia card, so will it work ? I hope to use this new Mac Mini to learn FCP and iMovie so the last thing I want is for it to hang on me !!

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Re: New iMacs and MacMini

Postby Chuck Engels » Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:45 pm

I don't think you will have a problem with iMovie, and probably not too much with FCP if you are editing SD video.
If you move to HDV however I would think you would have some issues, and GPU effects or transitions might be out of the question.
Graphics cards with shared memory are not the best choice for video editing, not sure why Apple would have done that.
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Re: New iMacs and MacMini

Postby Steve Grisetti » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:43 pm

Well, iMacs and Mac Minis are geared more toward consumers than pros, like their higher end MacBooks and Pro workstations. Since most consumers are only interested in cruising the internet, interfacing with their iPods and iPhones and occasionally working in iMovie, Apple may have decided not to bother with power configurations.
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Re: New iMacs and MacMini

Postby ryan_khoo » Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:49 am

Thanks Chuck & Steve for your input.

Since I have some concern on the integrated graphics card, I took a look at the old iMac because in my country, the price of a BRAND NEW OLD iMac has been slashed by US$350.

Compare Scenario 1 (with 256 dedicated VRAM) with Scenario 2 (with integrated RAM) with Scenario 3 (dedicated 256 RAM)

Scenario 1:
iMac old version:
- 24-inch widescreen LCD display
- 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
- 4GB of 800 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
- ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO 256MB dedicated card
- 320GB SATA HD 7200rpm

Scenario 2:
iMac NEW version:

- 24-inch widescreen LCD display
- 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
- 4GB of 1067 MHz DDR3 SDRAM
- NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics integrated card
- 640GB SATA HD 7200rpm

Scenario 3:
iMac new version:

- 24-inch widescreen LCD display
- 2.98 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
- 4GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 256MB dedicated memory
- 640GB SATA HD 7200rpm


Not sure which to get... how to balance with the new machine with the price.... as i am not sure how to compare DDR2 RAM against DDR3 RAM.

Scenario 2 cost US$150 more than scenario 1.

Scenario 3 cost US$400 more than Scenario 1.

Which one is better for Final Cut Studio 2 especially if use Motion. Is buying the old system justified since it has dedicated grahpics card

Would appreciate some advise.

Thanks.
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Re: New iMacs and MacMini

Postby Chuck Engels » Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:07 pm

Well Apple has only good things to say about the nVidia integrated card
http://www.apple.com/macbook/graphics.html

If that is true then option #2 is a great choice I think. And it should run Final Cut without a problem, looks like it even supports dual monitors :)
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Re: New iMacs and MacMini

Postby ryan_khoo » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:49 am

Chuck Engels wrote:Well Apple has only good things to say about the nVidia integrated card
http://www.apple.com/macbook/graphics.html

If that is true then option #2 is a great choice I think. And it should run Final Cut without a problem, looks like it even supports dual monitors :)


Thanks Chuck,

Is it correct to say that in your opinion, if what Apple claim is true then, the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics integrated card is better than the ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO 256MB dedicated card ?

Do you know what is the difference between a DDR3 RAM and DDR2 RAM ? Is the speed really make a lot of difference or is it neglible ?

Thanks
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Re: New iMacs and MacMini

Postby Chuck Engels » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:24 am

I don't think a integrated card can ever be as good as a dedicated card, do not know that for a fact however.
The difference in the RAM is the speed, I dont' think you will notice that much difference between the DDR2 and DDR3 RAM with a Quad Core Processor :) It is going to be fast no matter what RAM you put into it.

Obviously the DDR3 RAM is better and the dedicated card is better, but do you need them... I don't think so.
Would it be good to have them... I do think so, yes. Nice to have, but not necessary :)
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Re: New iMacs and MacMini

Postby ryan_khoo » Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:04 am

Chuck Engels wrote:Obviously the DDR3 RAM is better and the dedicated card is better, but do you need them... I don't think so.

Thanks Chuck, just to clarify, when you said: "I don't think so", you referring to DDR3 RAM or dedicated card ?

If the dedicated card and DDR3 RAM are both not required to run FCS, Motion and 3D apps, then I will just get new Mac Mini. I spend less money this way.

If the dedicated is required (but DDR3 not required) to run FCS, Motion and 3D apps, then I will get the OLD iMac.

If both dedicated card & DDR3 are required to run FCS, Motion and 3D apps, then I have to get the new iMac.

Didn't know buying the first Mac can be so stressful !! :lol:

Thanks
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Re: New iMacs and MacMini

Postby Chuck Engels » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:57 am

I don't think you will need either the DDR3 RAM or the dedicated video card.
Might want to check with some other sources though, I am in no way a MAC for Final Cut requirements expert.
My assumptions are based on similar PC requirements for programs like Premiere Pro.
Premiere Pro would run fine on the same machine without the DDR3 RAM or the dedicated video card.
1. Thinkpad W530 Laptop, Core i7-3820QM Processor 8M Cache 3.70 GHz, 16 GB DDR3, NVIDIA Quadro K1000M 2GB Memory.

2. Cybertron PC - Liquid Cooled AMD FX6300, 6 cores, 3.50ghz - 32GB DDR3 - MSI GeForce GTX 960 Gaming 4G, 4GB Video Ram, 1024 Cuda Cores.
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Re: New iMacs and MacMini

Postby Bill Hunt » Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:44 am

Ryan,

One other option would be to forego the stand-alone video card and the DDR3 memory, in favor of an additional HDD. If, as Chuck's article indicates, the integrated card performs well, you will be able to use the additional HDD real estate in real-world editing. I agree with Chuck, that the faster RAM will not likely even be noticed. I do not know of the capabilities of these Mac's to handled more than one HDD, but I/O is usually the biggest bottleneck, when doing NLE work. In the PC world, having the OS, the program, the media, and all forms of scratch disks on one HDD is a problem in the performance ring. I'd look into what one can add to these Mac's.

Good luck,

Hunt
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Re: New iMacs and MacMini

Postby Bob » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:23 pm

Ryan,

Read the Final Cut Studio specifications http://www.apple.com/finalcutstudio/specs/. They clearly state that Final Cut Studio is not compatible with integrated Intel graphics processors. That eliminates scenario 2.

Motion will have greater resource requirements than FCP. There is no question that it will run better on scenario 3 than scenario 1. How much better, I can't say since I'm neither a Mac user or a FCS user. I don't know how well FCS will run on an imac. The video card in scenario 3 would be a higher performing card than the 2600 and will probably help, the faster memory and cpu will help also. You may wish to look on some of the Apple specific forums and see what users are saying about FCS/Motion on the imac.
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Re: New iMacs and MacMini

Postby rfjg » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:29 pm

Bob wrote:Ryan,

Read the Final Cut Studio specifications http://www.apple.com/finalcutstudio/specs/. They clearly state that Final Cut Studio is not compatible with integrated Intel graphics processors. That eliminates scenario 2.


Bob, I think Scenario 2 is okay because its a "- NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics" not INTEL
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Re: New iMacs and MacMini

Postby Chuck Engels » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:32 pm

I have a nVidia Quadro FX350M integrated card in my laptop and it has 512mb of dedicated memory and runs Premiere Pro and After Effects just fine.
1. Thinkpad W530 Laptop, Core i7-3820QM Processor 8M Cache 3.70 GHz, 16 GB DDR3, NVIDIA Quadro K1000M 2GB Memory.

2. Cybertron PC - Liquid Cooled AMD FX6300, 6 cores, 3.50ghz - 32GB DDR3 - MSI GeForce GTX 960 Gaming 4G, 4GB Video Ram, 1024 Cuda Cores.
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Re: New iMacs and MacMini

Postby ryan_khoo » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:44 pm

rfjg wrote:
Bob wrote:Ryan,

Read the Final Cut Studio specifications http://www.apple.com/finalcutstudio/specs/. They clearly state that Final Cut Studio is not compatible with integrated Intel graphics processors. That eliminates scenario 2.


Bob, I think Scenario 2 is okay because its a "- NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics" not INTEL


Actually, it is very unclear, what Bob saw in the FCP website is that Intel Integrated graphics card will NOT work. But that website is not updated for GeForce 9400M integrated graphic card.

I was hoping someone can confirm that GeForce 9400M integrated graphic card will work for Final Card Studio 2, Motion ...etc. If it does then, I do not even have to buy the iMac, I can buy the Mac Mini instead which is much cheaper and it will save me a few hundred dollars.

Thanks guys. Please let me know if you have any leads.

Cheers
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Re: New iMacs and MacMini

Postby ryan_khoo » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:47 pm

ryan_khoo wrote:
rfjg wrote:
Bob wrote:Ryan,

Read the Final Cut Studio specifications http://www.apple.com/finalcutstudio/specs/. They clearly state that Final Cut Studio is not compatible with integrated Intel graphics processors. That eliminates scenario 2.


Bob, I think Scenario 2 is okay because its a "- NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics" not INTEL


Actually, it is very unclear, what Bob saw in the FCP website is that Intel Integrated graphics card will NOT work. But that website is not updated for GeForce 9400M integrated graphic card.

I was hoping someone can confirm that GeForce 9400M integrated graphic card will work for Final Card Studio 2, Motion ...etc. If it does then, I do not even have to buy the iMac, I can buy the Mac Mini instead which is much cheaper and it will save me a few hundred dollars.

What we know now is that if we buy the cheapest Mac Mini and upgrade the RAM to 2 gig or 4 gig, we will have 256mb of shared video memory. Whether this is enough to run Final Cut Studio 2, Motion ... etc smoothly is still unclear

Thanks guys. Please let me know if you have any leads.

Cheers
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