First of all, thanks for taking the time to read this post and provide any feedback. I am looking to buy a new desktop editing machine for creative editorial work (purchase any time from now until feb - sooner is better, but not urgent). My projects a re pretty wide ranging (events, docs, indie features, film trailers, video game trailers) and I'll be editing everything from animatics to features. However I only dabble in mo-graph (maybe some titles/lower 3rds) and don't do much heavy colour grading. Mostly in-NLE. Having said that, you never know what the future holds and I'm sure I'll be working with Davinci/Speedgrade more in the future.
I work with a lot of DSLR 4k and HD material (e.g. GH4, C series, Sony etc) as well as plenty of Red R3Ds, Blackmagic etc. I don't necessarily need to be working at full res. I guess what I'm looking for is a system that I can edit native 4K without any drop frames at a resolution that is acceptable at the creative stage of an edit (If I'm working with a director they'll likely be sat 6-10 feet behind me). It would also be great if I can get smooth playback with a few filters on too (speed changes, motion changes, a few RGB curves, film convert, masks - that kind of stuff).
BTW I work with thunderbolt drives. I'll be using TB2 raids on what ever system I move to.
I know that in terms of running Adobe CC, I'll be best off building a X99 PC. However I am a freelance editor and work with a variety of studios and directors and therefore need to be flexible in the solutions I provide. There are enough studios running FCP 7 and X for me to make the decision that I need to be able to run OSX, even if it means it'll cost me more $$.
These are the options I believe I have (all in CAD $$):
1) Maxed out iMac Retina 2014 - $3600 ish w/ 1tb fusion drive and 32GB aftermarket ram
2) Refurb 6 core mac pro with D500s - $3479 + aftermarket ram and decent-ish 2.5k monitor = $4400
I guess a 3rd possible solution is to wait it out and see if a X99 hackintosh becomes an option. If I went the hack route I'd build the PC and take it to a Hackintosh specialist who'll charge $100-140 to install OSX on another boot drive. I should also say that if I do this I would run pretty much everything in windows and just have OSX with final cut 7 and x on another boot drive. However, when I really think about it I don't really think this is an option. It might be better face value, but in the end when you take into account the hours of building/fiddling, lower resale value and less piece of mind it really evens out. Or just becomes plain bad value especially for client projects where one f**k up can really cost you.
QUESTIONS! (sorry it took so long to get to the crux - just wanted to provide all relevant info)
1) Am I correct in thinking that the iMac will give me what I need right out of the box? I'll be buying it close to its launch date and it features newer technology including a 5k display (not that I need that right away). Its also going to be cheap - I can finance it interest free over 2 years so I'm barely going to notice that I've bought it. However it'll be the slower than the MP, not upgradable and basically feature laptop parts.
2) Will the mac pro 6 core w/ D500s be much faster for the work I'm doing than the iMac? Is it going to be worth the extra $800? It seems like a pretty good deal, but its nearly a year old now and I could be buying near the end of a cycle (albeit with a discount). I also worry about the D500s. I'll be able to use all 6GB for rendering/exporting but only 3GB for playback vs 4GB in the iMac. Will this make a lot of difference?
3) How well are the mac pros working with CC2014 now? I read about a lot of issues earlier in the year. Is everything running smoothly on Yosemite now?
Of course I can just wait and see what unfolds over the next 2-3 months (updated mac pros?). But if either of these are going to work for me then it'd be great to get going right away.
Anyway, if anyone has been in a similar positions recently it'd be great to hear your thoughts. And of course any input from exports is greatly appreciated!