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TOPIC: Difference in FCPX editing with i5 and i7 CPUs on 2017 iMac

Difference in FCPX editing with i5 and i7 CPUs on 2017 iMac 28 Jul 2017 16:24 #89621

  • filrmonic
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I'm looking to update my mid-2012 MBP with one of the latest iMac models. The only video related tests I've seen so far on the iMacs (e.g ) show the i7 model. There are several hundred pounds difference in the i5 and i7 and I was wondering what the practical differences are with regard to FCPX? I'm guessing even the base model will hugely outperform my MBP (it really struggles with test 4k stuff I've tried!). I'm only concerned with timeline editing - final rendering time is not important, I have no deadlines!

I'm just curious as to what tasks FCPX assigns to CPU or GPU.

Any thoughts welcomed!
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Difference in FCPX editing with i5 and i7 CPUs on 2017 iMac 29 Jul 2017 08:10 #89638

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GPUs on laptops are FAR below what any desktop model will have, due to heat, space, power consumption issues. Yes, basically any current iMac will outperform your 2012 MBP. Any current MBP will outperform your 2012 MBP, but not by much, not enough to upgrade your MPB to another MBP.

Get the highest end, most fully maxed out current iMac you can afford, with en external T'bolt RAID, you'll never look back.
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Difference in FCPX editing with i5 and i7 CPUs on 2017 iMac 03 Aug 2017 12:34 #89700

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filrmonic wrote:
I'm looking to update my mid-2012 MBP with one of the latest iMac models.....difference in the i5 and i7 and I was wondering what the practical differences are with regard to FCPX?....my MBP (it really struggles with test 4k stuff I've tried!). I'm only concerned with timeline editing - final rendering time is not important, I have no deadlines!...I'm just curious as to what tasks FCPX assigns to CPU or GPU....

If you want to smoothly edit 4k H264 camera native material -- without proxy -- that is very difficult for any hardware or software. I recently tested a 12-core Mac Pro D700 vs a top-spec 2015 and 2017 iMac 27 on this workload. Even the 2015 iMac was faster and the 2017 iMac was much faster. However even the 2017 iMac wasn't totally smooth -- you still need proxy for that, and especially for multicam.

That said, you can edit 4k H264 on a MacBook Air if you use proxy. That takes time and disk space to transcode, and the 2017 iMac transcodes to proxy about 2x faster than the equivalent 2015 model, and much faster than any Mac Pro.

Re your specific question about i5 vs i7, I haven't tested this but the i7 clock rate is about 11% faster, and in some circumstances the i7's hyperthreading can improve performance by 30%, so the best case might be an approx. 40% improvement. It is difficult to know how this affects your specific workload, but I would personally get the i7.

Re CPU vs GPU, there is no single answer for this. In general, timeline operations, importing and exporting are CPU-oriented and effects are GPU-oriented. However this varies by effects. E.g, Neat Video is configurable to use all CPU, all GPU or a mix. Other effects may be CPU or GPU oriented, but more commonly GPU.

While the above mostly considers CPU and GPU, tasks can quickly become IO-oriented. This itself breaks down into two different IO patterns -- large sequential IO and small random IO. Normally FCPX does large sequential IO but when building thumbnails and doing SQL database calls for the Event Browser it does lots of small random IOs. So even evaluating IO is more complex than just running the Black Magic benchmark.

However good general advice is (1) Don't edit off a little 5400 rpm bus-powered USB drive, and (2) Realize you must back everything up so plan that in your storage decisions. If possible a Thunderbolt drive array is the best choice, even if only a two-drive RAID-0 array which of course must be backed up.
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Difference in FCPX editing with i5 and i7 CPUs on 2017 iMac 03 Aug 2017 13:30 #89702

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Thanks for that, very useful information! Much to chew on!

I use TB and USB3 RAID discs to hold my libraries which, at the moment, is more than enough for my HD editing. Haven't done multicam for a couple of years but it's useful to know that I'll still need to consider proxy. I intend to specify a SSD system disc. I can see now that the CPU/GPU question is more complex than I thought!

Once again, thanks.
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Difference in FCPX editing with i5 and i7 CPUs on 2017 iMac 04 Aug 2017 05:45 #89708

Hobbyist (!) speaking here, from the bottom of min specs (MacMini2012) … :

Most of my stuff is AVCHD/1080, rarely 4k (h264) … frequently editing Multicam: all the trick is a) distribution of Project, Cache, Media on several, physical different drives, and b) SSDs …

plus, I try to avoid the Angle Viewer on edit = I use unmanned cams, so I do know what's on #2/left and #3/right … :S

ok, definitely no 'pro' Workflow (esp. 'blindfolded editing', no preview, LOL), and yes, stutter does happen - all a weighing of costs vs. convenience …

In short: any actual iMac plus SSDs for media delivery should handle easily simple workloads … dare to say, in daily usage, not in a newsroom/with a paying client in your neck, you don't notice any difference btw 2- vs multicore CPU …
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