Thread: Help Me Upgrade from a 2014 iMac to... ??? (within the Mac family)

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  1. #1 Help Me Upgrade from a 2014 iMac to... ??? (within the Mac family) 
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    Hey all - first off, I want to kindly request that if you want to tell me to jump over to PC or build a Hackintosh, then just don't post on here. I've had a MacOS workflow for 16 years now, and I'm not really keen on jumping ship.

    Rather, I'm trying to figure out what will be the best move forward that will keep me running smoothly over the next 5+ years.

    Currently, I'm on a:

    iMac Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014
    Processor 4 GHz Intel Core i7
    Memory 32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    Graphics AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4 GB
    Editing Software Final Cut Pro X

    Yes, if your heart ached after seeing those specs, believe me when I say it was working just fine for 1080p and 4K exports for clients back in the day...

    Honestly, the system had been working great, but recently I've been bottlenecked with reconnecting my proxies to the original 6K files, re-rendering things out, and exporting. Noise-reduction, color grading/corrections, and even the fun things like "optical flow" and "retiming" seem to chug things along on this iMac now.

    I've considered an iMac Pro or the new Mac Pro, but I'm absolutely not technically-oriented and can't wrap my head around 3/4 of the things people talk about when it comes to spec'ing them out and why X cards and slots give benefits over Y.

    My budget is limited right now to $8K - I can probably scrounge for more as the Mac Pro release gets closer, but for now, I wanted to limit myself to that and see what can happen.

    The benefit I can see from the Mac Pro is eventually adding more bits and pieces and upgrading it down the line, but I've also read from many people getting the "base model" will be a huge waste of money.

    Alternatively, I was looking into an iMac Pro and getting an eGPU, or simply just trying to use an eGPU on this older 2014 iMac until something better comes along.

    Any guidance would be really appreciated :)
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  2. #2  
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    All mac here, similar to you.

    I mainly offline edit, or do smaller scale projects on my own private computers. The big stuff is then onlined on the post houses in whatever online editor they use, from flame, smoke, and grade in Da Vinci.

    Saying that, a smooth workflow is what we always need. I hate proxies with a vengeance!

    I would say with your budget the iMac pro is a good bang for the buck. aim for the top specs you can afford.

    There are many rumors circulating of a september new Macbookpro 16”. There might be an upgrade on the imac pro then. September was also the date the shipping (and pricing) of the new Macpro would be done and introduced. The wise thing would be to sit thight until end of September to see these options first.

    Personally am looking into the rumoured 16” and an egpu “afterburner” option. I like to edit all over the place, on the beach, on location sometimes, and I dont mind a bit of a chuckle vs
    absolute performance.

    I have an iMac 2015 that I rarely use, a Macbook Pro 15” end of 2016 with an egpu box with a
    rocket x that I often use, and a Macpro trashcan (max specs) that is used in only the bigger projects. Most of the work ends up on the Macbook pro. So looking forward to a new laptop replacement that would really improve my current workflow.
    Sérgio Perez

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  3. #3  
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    https://barefeats.com/

    Or hackintosh.
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  4. #4  
    I'm probably not the only one who will sell their iMac Pro when the Mac Pro finally comes out. It cost more than $8K new, but I know it will sell for less than $8K when it sells. You will have lots of choices in a few months.
    Michael Tiemann, Chapel Hill NC

    "Dream so big you can share!"
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  5. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sergio Perez View Post
    All mac here, similar to you.

    I mainly offline edit, or do smaller scale projects on my own private computers. The big stuff is then onlined on the post houses in whatever online editor they use, from flame, smoke, and grade in Da Vinci.

    Saying that, a smooth workflow is what we always need. I hate proxies with a vengeance!

    I would say with your budget the iMac pro is a good bang for the buck. aim for the top specs you can afford.

    There are many rumors circulating of a september new Macbookpro 16”. There might be an upgrade on the imac pro then. September was also the date the shipping (and pricing) of the new Macpro would be done and introduced. The wise thing would be to sit thight until end of September to see these options first.

    Personally am looking into the rumoured 16” and an egpu “afterburner” option. I like to edit all over the place, on the beach, on location sometimes, and I dont mind a bit of a chuckle vs
    absolute performance.

    I have an iMac 2015 that I rarely use, a Macbook Pro 15” end of 2016 with an egpu box with a
    rocket x that I often use, and a Macpro trashcan (max specs) that is used in only the bigger projects. Most of the work ends up on the Macbook pro. So looking forward to a new laptop replacement that would really improve my current workflow.

    All good suggestions! I'm eagerly awaiting the 16" MBP - hopefully, without touchbar. I've still been using my 2013 15" MBPr, but it just can't do anything remotely fast even with proxies now without rendering forever and having the fans spin on high! That, or a new 13" MBP without touch bar would be great since they haven't upgraded them since 2017...




    Quote Originally Posted by Misha Engel View Post
    https://barefeats.com/

    Or hackintosh.
    Thank you - barefeats looks helpful for sure!


    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Tiemann View Post
    I'm probably not the only one who will sell their iMac Pro when the Mac Pro finally comes out. It cost more than $8K new, but I know it will sell for less than $8K when it sells. You will have lots of choices in a few months.
    That sounds good as well - I just need to be patient and see how things develop in September!
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  6. #6  
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    iMac Pro or wait until the Mac Pro comes out and scoop up a used one. And by then, maybe there will be more options such as a beefy Mac Mini (+ eGPU), price adjustments to the Mac Pro, etc. I’d say right now is a volatile time for Mac hardware for the next few months.
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  7. #7  
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    I have the exact same setup for my personal work, and determined that the Mac Pro is not going to last me 5+ years without heavy financial investment, so I jumped to PC because I needed to do work right away that the iMac just couldn't keep up with.

    I am technically savvy though, and if I had an editor on my crew who didn't want to deal with anything, the Mac Pro would be where I'd try to land them. Or a preconfigured PC and they just work in their NLE / Graphics software of choice, but it's not a daily driver for them and just a tool at that point.

    I'd hold on to the iMac for another year, and get a used iMac Pro as maxed out as your budget allows when people jump ship to the Mac Pro. Ideally you hold out for the first round of the refurb Mac Pros from Apple or used if they become available. At least the Mac Pro can take upgrades with time, so I'd pocket the $2k budget you have leftover and hold out as long as you can and buy a RAM / used GPU upgrade 2.5-3 years from now.Then it will last in relevance for 5 years.
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member Simon Dunne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrendanLeahy View Post
    Honestly, the system had been working great, but recently I've been bottlenecked with reconnecting my proxies to the original 6K files, re-rendering things out, and exporting. Noise-reduction, color grading/corrections, and even the fun things like "optical flow" and "retiming" seem to chug things along on this iMac now.
    Have you considered that workflow might be the issue here? I would have another look at premiere, and try native editing with a 1/16th debayer, rather than a proxy workflow. You'd be surprised how much time and power you'll save. Then use the eGPU to make the exports scream :)
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Jarek Zabczynski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Dunne View Post
    Have you considered that workflow might be the issue here? I would have another look at premiere, and try native editing with a 1/16th debayer, rather than a proxy workflow. You'd be surprised how much time and power you'll save. Then use the eGPU to make the exports scream :)
    I'm still on my 2012 MacPro, waiting for the new one. In Premiere, I can edit 8k at 1/8 and even 1/4 just fine. It's a bit slow to render if I apply effects in Premiere, but I usually do my color in Resolve. With a 980ti, it still flies along pretty smoothly grading in 2k and exporting in 4k.
    Shoot for the Impossible...Then do it.

    Jarek Zabczynski
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  10. #10  
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    I just saw Apple is now selling refurbished 2019 iMacs with the i9 processors.

    From comparison videos between the 2019 iMac and the 2017 iMac Pro, it seems they're very close on a number of things, so I'm now considering buying a base model and upgrading the RAM to 64 or 128gb - can anyone see a downside to doing this?
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