So I edit mostly 1080p DSLR footage taken from my canon T3i camera. I purchased a 2011 (the latest model) iMac a little over a year ago, upgraded the RAM to 12GB and it has worked reasonably well. I purchased the base model for $1200 which has a quad core i5 processor, 512mb of video ram, and a measly 500gb hard drive. The past couple of days I have come to the realization that I only use Adobe Programs for graphically intensive work (premiere, after effects, etc). I originally bought my iMac for final cut, but FCPX SUCKS and I switched to Premiere CS6 which works like a dream. Anyways, I'm a senior in high school and do lots of video editing (going to major in video production in college). I'm likely going to differ college for a year and continue my video production business (pretty informal) as well as video production internships at a couple companies (so don't suggest that I get a laptop for portability, not an issue). I just shot an entire wedding with 2 DSLR's and the footage takes up over 20% of my hard drive which is unacceptable. This is very troublesome for me and has been clogging up my computer considerably. I have realized it would make a lot of sense to sell my iMac and purchase a PC that's not only faster, but has much more space. I was ideally looking to sell my iMac for $1000, and from that get a better and faster PC setup for my video editing. $200 would be allocated for a 24" 1080p LED 5ms Asus monitor (from newegg) which would leave $800 remaining for the PC. Ideally it'd be nice to have a little cash left over. Some things that sound appealing to me are: an intel i7 quad core proccessor at least 3.0+ Ghz, 16 GB of ram (maybe 8 to start), 1 GB of video RAM (here is where I'm stuck, my Imac had a Radeon 512mb video card in it, but I've heard premiere runs especially well with nVidia CUDA cards? Don't really know too much about this stuff.) I have no idea what type of card to get, and if I would even see a performance upgrade from my iMac. For storage I'd like at least 2TB of space, should I get two seperate 1 TB drives? One for boot and software and another for video files? Anyways, I assume I can benefit from selling my 2011 i5 iMac to get a faster PC equivalent at a lower price since I mainly edit videos (which is pretty graphically intense) from an HD DSLR camera. I've noticed premiere rendering times on my mac are starting to get pretty slow these days. Ideally it'd be nice to buy a desktop (already assembled) maybe from HP for around $600 (not including the monitor). I'm not completely against building a PC from parts (since I know a friend who can do it for me) I just need help figuring out WHAT exactly it is that I need and would benefit from.
You're going to be hard pressed to build a system with an I7, 16GB, 2x1TB, decent PSU and a good video card capable of doing some rendering for $800.
You certainly want lots of RAM and HD for rendering and as much as the I7 is good for rendering, it's an extra $100 over a I5.
Well im not saying i HAVE to have those specs, I just want an improvement over my iMac, if possible, for that price. If the i7 isnt' a huge difference over the i5 then I wont go for it. Should i go the route of a prebuilt computer? Or will I get a much more significant bang for the buck by building it custom?
I'm not completely against building a PC from parts (since I know a friend who can do it for me) I just need help figuring out WHAT exactly it is that I need and would benefit from.
IMHO the current best value-performance PC for editing video in your scenario would start with a mainboard that has an Intel Z77 chipset. Then populate it with a sandy or ivy i7 processor, 2x1TB 7200rpm SATA boot drives as RAID1, 2TB editing storage minimum (internal or external eSATA), 16GB of DDR3, a BD-writer, and an nVidia GeForce 5xx/6xx (minimum 1GB video memory, for Adobe mercury hardware acceleration to work). I doubt though if after selling your imac u'll get enough to cover these. And also, as getochkn has pointed out, you have to fork over for new Adobe Premiere Pro etc. licenses (not Windows, which you say you already have). You may also need other software ersatz like intermediate codecs (like Cineform), and after using Adobe Media Encoder you feel like second best, such free gems like avisynth, x264, HCenc, and imgburn.
Lets make this clear, software is not an issue at all, Im talking strictly hardware here. I have the adobe master collection license for windows as well as a windows 7 license. How much would I have to spend to make it a realistically worthwhile upgrade from my current iMac?