Gizmodo has posted an article called "Why It's Gotten Straight Stupid to Buy a Mac Pro." While the title pretty much sums up where this author comes down in the current  iMac vs. Mac Pro debate, it does specifically mention the Mac Pro as providing "serious horsepower for tasks like editing media." With the newest iMac update you get a very powerful machine. It includes a brand new processor, a large monitor and an affordable price all in one. There's no debating that a Mac Pro can be expensive. The 8-core Mac Pro starts at $3,299, while the Quad-core iMac tops out at $1,999. Start adding in Mac Pro options and you can cross $5,000. So why would any video editor buy anything other than a 27-inch iMac today?{C} With the iMac you are lacking the ability to add one of the single most important pieces of hardware for the video editing suite: the In/Out video card. To call it a "capture card" today isn't really proper anymore since with so many tapeless formats many editors never "capture" a frame of video. But you do have to monitor that video that you are editing. Without any expansion slots an iMac doesn't have the ability to add the Final Cut Studio industry standard AJA Kona or a Blackmagic cards. Neither can you add an Avid Mojo DX. You might be able to add an original Matrox MXO at some point but as of this writing the new iMacs aren't on Matrox's supported hardware list. The newer Matrox MXO2 requires a PCIe adapter card for connection. You could connect an AJA IO HD as it connects with a single Firewire 800 connection but since the iMac's only have a since Firewire 800 port you are left with only USB drives for your media. You can't do high-end editing with USB drives. Plus the IO HD is expensive and given Apple's recent moves to shy away from Firewire I wouldn't trust the IO HD as being a good investment for the future.

That right there knocks the iMac out of  contention for any serious video editing suite. Unfortunately, the lack of a proper display card for monitoring is something that a lot of editors don't seem to be concerned about today. With the availability and affordability of tapeless cameras like the Panasonic HMC-150 or the Canon 5Ds and 7Ds, you have more media being shot and edited than ever before. And with the equally affordable Final Cut Studio, there's a lot more directors, producers and less experienced editors cutting today than ever before. What we are seeing are many of these editors working in edit suites (though those suites might be their bedrooms) without a proper display card for external monitoring. The only place they are viewing and reviewing their programs is on their computer display using Final Cut Pro's desktop preview as their monitoring option. You can't have a properly setup edit suite without some type of client monitoring option on an external video display. And that's not even getting into the discussion of all of the editors who are working in Apple Color without a properly calibrated grading monitor and using only the computer display. An external video display requires a video I/O card and those cards require a PCIe slot. You can't get that in an iMac. And you can't even begin to build a proper edit suite without a good external display.

There are other things you can't do with an iMac in a video editing environment as well. You can't add cheap drives internally and RAID them into a fast RAID array for multi-stream high definition editing. You can't add a very affordable eSATA card to get faster than Firewire speeds. You can't add a fibre channel card and connect an iMac to the fastest fiber channel storage options available today. You can't pack more and more RAM into your iMac as 64-bit moves into the mainstream. You can't upgrade the graphics card as Mac OS Snow Leopard technology like Open CL begins to offload more and more work to the graphics processor. And you'll really enjoy all of those Mac Pro processor cores as Snow Leopard's Grand Central Dispatch begins to work with new software.

And I'll be honest… I would be worried about how long an iMac would stand up in a real production environment where you have a Mac Pro working around the clock, editing during the first two shifts of the day and rendering or transcoding footage overnight and on weekends. The Pro machines are designed to work long and hard hours. And the fact that you can remove the tower from the edit suite itself means the heat and noise of the computer can be removed from the room if so desired. Oh, and there's that second optical drive bay that Mac Pro's have so you can add that Blu-ray drive if need be.

Can you use the new iMacs as an affordable rough editing suite or a b-edit station? Absolutely. Can you use a new iMac as the primary edit machine for a producer or director who wants to rough in their RED edit after getting a Firewire drive full of transcoded ProRes files? Of course. Can you use the new iMac to finish the gritty behind-the-scenes promo piece that will never see broadcast television? It may be the best all around solution for that. Can the ad agency use the new iMac to slap together demo reels or montages of ripped DVD footage for a client presentation? They are probably using an iMac for that anyway. Is a new iMac acceptable for a lot of offline editing situations for jobs that will be onlined, finished, color graded and output elsewhere? Possibly.

But what you won't be doing is walking into a professional post-production house and seeing their primary editing suites being outfit with a bunch of iMacs. I'm guessing from reading that Gizmodo article that the author Mark Wilson hasn't done a lot of professional video post-production. That new 27-inch iMac is an intriguing machine at an unusually affordable price for Apple. I'll buy one for my house but my edit suite will still get a Mac Pro.