As always, any reckoning of the ultimate Mac or Final Cut Pro dream machine is entirely subjective and varies considerably with time. For example, back in the late ’90s, I spent $15,000 on a Power Mac 7600, max memory, an AV card, drives and peripherals just to import, edit and output web video.
Although “broadcast” rig at that time could easily cost 10 times that, I thought my rig was pretty hot.
Fast forward a decade plus and hardware is not only orders of magnitude more capable, it is cheaper, a lot cheaper. FPC.co, an online Final Cut Pro resource, has put together an iteration of the ultimate Mac rig for Final Cut Pro X editing that costs $11,750.
For that money, you will get a coming-in-December (2012) quad-core 27-inch iMac and a relative handful of add-ons (I/O, speakers, etc.) that delivers 1080 broadcast quality video. Yes, you could certainly spend more money but, for the great majority of use cases, this is enough.
Totally ultimate Mac
So, is a really good iMac good enough or is a custom Mac Pro (B&H) and its PCIx slots and drive bays still a basic requirement? Whichever way you go, what does your ultimate Mac for FCP video editing look like and how much would it cost?