Configuring 2019 iMac for Photo and Video Editing


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Jersey Shore
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My 2011 21.5-inch iMac with i7 chip, 8GB of RAM and 1TB HDD is beginning to slow down but still works. However, it can no longer be updated to the latest Mac OS. Given its age, it's probably time to replace it.

But my budget is not unlimited and cannot handle a completely maxed out 2019 iMac, which I'd love for future proofing as well as performance. Still, I might be able to swing something under $3K. I'd like a 27-inch 5K display so I'm considering one with the i5 9600K six-core chip and a 1TB SDD. I can add my own extra RAM.

My question is, will the best of the i5 chips be enough for, say, Capture One for stills and an as-yet-undetermined program for video? Does Capture One even use multiple cores? As far as videos are concerned, I'll be shooting 4K going forward but they won't be very long - maybe 10-to-15 minutes. I'd likely try using the Apple's own iMovie app at first and maybe Final Cut Pro if that's too limiting.

If i5 is too dicey I could opt for a 21.5-inch 4K iMac with an i7 chip for about the same price. The i9 with Vega GPU in the 27-inch version is just too much money. Well over $3K.

Suggestions are welcome.
Capture One's minimum requirements is 2 cores and 8gb ram. So, it's using at least 2. Probably more if they're available. As for i5 vs i7, I'm not sure for future proofing. My plan for future proofing has always been to buy the best specs I can squeeze in for my budget. Although the i5 may be enough for future versions of Capture One. But it may not be for video. That is usually far more taxing on a system.


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My iMac is the same model and it has been working without any problems since I bought it in November 2009 (listen all you Windows defenders and Mac-bashers ;)) without slowing down a bit. I have everything mirrored on an external bootable 1 TB HD, so I can go on working directly from there with everything at hand immediately if problems should arise.
My solution if the HD has to be replaced: a new 2 TB HD with two partitions. One for my old system and all the software I'm used to and I love working with) plus data, the second with the new system and all the software that does not support my steady running OS 10.6.2 (Snow Leopard) any more. At the moment I have all the software that does no longer run on my Mac on a 17'' Asus Laptop with Windows 7, a 256 MB SSD card plus 1 TB HD. This setup keeps me happily going in both worlds, but my preference definitely is (and will remain) the iMac with its brilliant screen.

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