Final Cut Pro X shootout: iMac Pro vs. fully-loaded MacBook Pro

“Want to buy a new Mac to edit with Final Cut Pro X? Can’t decide between an iMac Pro or a beefy MacBook Pro?” Peter Wiggins writes for “Here are a few thoughts that might help. The conclusion might surprise you.”

“We will start with the Mac Book Pro, a 15 inch 2018 model, 2.9 GHz Intel Core i9. 32GB of RAM, Radeon Pro Vega 20 with 4GB of HBM2 memory and 4TB of SSD,” Wiggins writes. “The iMac Pro is a 27inch 3.2 GHz 8 Core, with 64GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD and the Radeon Pro Vega 64 GPU with 16GB of memory.”

“A three minute 1080i timeline with resized UHD ProRes 4444 originals, with moves and a slight shade applied took two minutes 29 seconds to export from the iMac Pro to the desktop SSD,” Wiggins writes. “On the MacBook Pro, all the source material was kept on the desktop to try and negate the speed advantage of the iMac’s 10GigE connection. The same project took 3 minutes and five seconds to export to the desktop (SSD again) Not too shabby at all.”

“If you travel a lot, especially by air, then the Mac Book Pro and peripherals is the way to go. It is a fast machine, capable of turning around news reports or blogs & YouTube uploads before editors on PC laptop behemoths get the Adobe spashscreen up,” Wiggins writes. “But, I always returned to the iMac Pro when editing for any long periods of time… I have to admit to being nervous carrying around a £4,000 plus MacBook Pro that could get broken or easily stolen. With the iMac Pro back at base at towers, do I really need all that portable computing power? No! So that’s why I’m looking at buying a 13 inch MacBook Pro…”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: So, Wiggins’ conclusion is much the same as our setups: iMacs on our desks (not iMac Pros, just regular iMacs; we’re only typing and doing light graphics work) and the lightest, smallest Macs we can possibly get for the road: 12-inch MacBooks. With Continuity, whether we’re at our desks or on the road, it doesn’t matter, it just works seamlessly (X-class iPhones, various iPads, and Apple Watches, of course, round out our Apple tech arsenal).


    1. Obviously not ALL pros. Not even MOST pros, especially considering that Apple sells and will continue to sell FAR more laptops to pros than desktops of any kind.

  1. The article does meander a bit. The takeaway really is that there are choices. You don’t need just the desktop iron to run FCP. He didn’t even get into the option of running an eGPU on the MBP to speed things up.

  2. The 2 computers in the test both thermally throttle the CPUs and/or GPUs. That’s the price you pay for locking yourself into iMoviePro.

    Get a real job in professional video post production and you’ll need Avid, Prem Pro or Resolve experience long before FCPX. Since Apple’s bodged release of FCPX the professional post production market has moved away from Apple and are not interested in FCPX save a few hardcore fanboys like Wiggins.

    BTW,the new Mac Pro will be the most expensive way of buying a mid-end PC.

  3. My various MacBook Pro 13-inchers have shuttled between big displays based at home and in the office.
    The three-up combo has worked well for nearly a decade.
    Does put a premium on backup though, and I do wish that Apple would bring out a new Cinema Display to replace the pig-ugly LG I was forced to buy.

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