bulding ideal FCPX edit suite

It's been a quiet few days for FCP news this week in the shadow of the US election. This gave us time to dream about our ideal FCPX edit suite if money was no object.

Money really isn't an issue when it comes to speccing out the beefiest FCPX workstation you can get. Prices for editing hardware and software have tumbled so far down, you can now get the whole lot for the price of an HD capture card ten years ago.

Spurred on by discussions with HDWarriors' Philip Johnston about a replacement edit suite for his ageing MacPro, we thought it would be interesting to put together our dream edit suite.

So here we go..

In December the 27inch iMac will be the fastest Mac that will run FCPX. Let's go for a maxed out BTO.

  • 3.4Ghz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
  • The full 32GB of RAM (Although this will probably be cheaper through a supplier like Crucial)
  • 768GB of Flash Storage or
  • 3TB Fusion Drive (We have yet to see if the fusion drive offers speed benefits for video editing)
  • NVidia GeForce GTX 680MX GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 memory

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The only price posted for this imac is $1999, but with all the BTO options, $3,500 is probably nearer the mark! Although Apple have said new MacPro's are on the way, it is unlikely we won't see them until the middle of next year and we are also discounting Hackintoshes from the possible lineup.

Do you need an extra screen to run FCPX? If so a Thunderbolt equipped 27 inch display is another $999.

bulding ideal FCPX edit suite 3On to storage and one thing is clear, it has to be Thunderbolt. Our choice would be the $2,200 Promise Pegasus R6 that offers 12TB at RAID 6.

As these units have a Thunderbolt passthrough, they can be daisy chained. If you didn't want to have any other peripherals connected by Thunderbolt, 6 of these units would offer 72TB!

FCPX doesn't have great shared storage support yet so Ethernet based storage and Thunderbolt to Fibre Channel solutions have been discounted.

Don't forget most Thunderbolt peripherals will also need a cable, so let's say 3 cables at $50 each.


Video I/O devices are slightly different as there are only about four choices of manufacturer available. Connection would have to be again via Thunderbolt and if you needed a pass through device then the AJA IoXT at around $1,500 fits the bill.

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The Blackmagic Design Ultrastudio 3D is not only cheaper at $999, but it offers (as you can tell from the name) 3D capability should that be important to you. It is an end of chain device, but the iMac does have two Thunderbolt ports.

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The the UltraStudio 4K is at $1,295, but for the moment for editing with 1080, one of the other two would be our choice. All three boxes can run other software such as Adobe CS6 without having to install other drivers, which excludes the Matrox MXO2 from our list at the moment.

Should you need external monitoring, the Flanders Scientific range of LCD screens always get good reviews and they keep their prices down by shipping anywhere in the world from Atlanta. The 1920 x 1080 LM-2140W would be a good addition to the suite at $2,495. The higher specification LM-2461W is $4,995.

bulding ideal FCPX edit suite 6As for audio monitoring, in the UK there is one manufacturer that seems to dominate the NLE market and that is Genelec.

The Genelec 8030A active two way monitors are priced at $650 each and have legendary sound and build quality. Smaller and cheaper models are available, but these are the ones we would have sitting on the edges of the edit desk. 

You'll also need to allow say $300 for mains distribution and proper BNC & XLR cabling.

We would also allow $130 for a dedicated FCPX keyboard which we highlighted the benefits of in our recent article.



So a bit of maths gives us a grand total of about $11,750 which is an amazingly low figure considering the suite will fly through 1080 broadcast pictures with ease. It is actually hard to spend a huge ammount of money on editing kit as the component pieces are now so cheap!

We haven't mentioned the furniture to go with the suite such as consoles, chairs, lights or anything you normally find in an edit suite, that would be another article for later. So would be choosing extra software and plugins for the suite. Maybe that's an article for next month.

So what would you have in your ideal FCPX edit suite?


Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


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