Whats more important Graphics card or RAM?

I was going to head down to my local Apple Store today to get a new Mac but it is closed because of Coronavirus. I will get one online but I have a question re processing graphics files.

My Macbook Pro has 2.7 Intel Core I5, 8GB Ram Intel Iris Graphics card 1536 MB and when I go to render a Premier Pro file it takes up to 130 hours. I need an upgrade but unsure if I should get a /8GB/2TB Fusion iMac with an 8GB Graphics card or get the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch i7/16GB/512GB SSD and focus on the extra RAM. Or the Macbook with the i9/16GB/512GB SSD MacBook Pro and 4GB graphics card and focus on RAM and a graphics card but lose a bit on the CPU?

What should I get? Happy for either a laptop or a desktop.


The short answer is probably “both” but the full answer probably depends to some degree on what you want the 130 hour figure to come down to and what kind of money you can or want to spend.

I don’t know specifically what Premier Pro needs in terms of resources but more CPU cores tend to matter more than a higher clock speed to a large degree. More RAM is always good, but this is less of issue if you have a very fast SSD, such as any internal that Apple has offered recently. I don’t think any spinning rust is going to be worth your trouble, Fusion or otherwise.

More than that though, a high performance graphics card would be worth sacrificing other things for. Probably in your case, the size of the internal SSD. I happily live with 256GB SSDs on the machines I use, but some need more.

If you’re happy to have an iMac then you should get slightly better value as it costs extra to squeeze things into small packages. I would think about something like this:

27" iMac with:

  • 3.6GHz 8-core ninth-generation Intel Core i9 processor with Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz
  • 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • Radeon Pro Vega 48 with 8GB of HBM2 memory
  • 512GB of SSD storage
  • $5,389

I would also wait a couple of weeks as there are rumours of new iMacs around the corner. Possibly MacMinis too, though I doubt they would have the grunt you would like.

If you’re able to find out what Premier Pro needs most, and that info should not be hard to come by, then that will help determine your priorities also.


Thanks Soulman,

I think one of our big challenges is SSD space as we are currently using an external hard drive to hold those files so that will be slowing it down a lot.

Fair enough. You may need something larger then. iMacs go to 2TB and that would be very fast given that SSDs get quicker as they increase in size. Up to a point anyway and at great cost. There are also some mighty fast externals available now and newer Macs come with Thunderbolt 3, so that might be worth looking at too. The Samsung T5 drives have a good reputation, though I have never had a great run with Samsung gear and they are nightmarish to deal with if you have trouble with their stuff.

And a belated welcome to AppleTalk too! I think you will find it a welcoming and helpful community. A little quiet these days, but that seems to be the way of forums now.

SSD, SSD and more SSD.

It’s a shame they don’t offer a two drive model with SSD + spinning disk for larger storage, even if it’s only BTO because that would be attractive (at least to me), hell for the cost of a 1 or 2TB HDD onboard time machine could be a feature!

I’d say look at an iMac Pro, but they really step up the cost, although are very nice machines by all accounts. Otherwise the machine soulman specced looks very nice.

Your question on space… what external storage are you currently using? If it’s a spinning disk, upgrading to USBC based SSD storage is pretty damn fast, not internal SSD speeds which are insane these days, but very very fast. We are running my Wife’s iMac exclusively from a USBC connected Samsung T5 since the fusion drive is shit in comparison.

I’d love to be able to split the fusion drive and boot off the 32GB SSD since I could probably squeeze the OS and main apps into that space, but this isn’t something I’ve ever been able to manage and now it’s setup and running as is I haven’t looked back into it.

Thanks guys, I got the new 16inch Macbook Pro I9 with 1TB SSD on board, that should do the trick.

That Mac will certainly do the job over your old school i5.
Enjoy. :grinning::+1: