Advice on purchasing new computer for prosumer photo and video editing

in General Discussion

My current setup: Mac mini (Mid 2011), Intel Core i5, 8 GB 1333 DDR3, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB, 500 GB SATA
Dual displays - 24” 1920x1200 (for editing), 19” 1280x1024 (for email/text/MS Office), wireless Logitech mouse and keyboard
Cameras: Canon G7XII, GoPro Hero 7, DJI Spark

Apps I currently use: iMovie, Aperture, Pixelmator, Garageband, iTunes, DJI Assistant, GoPro Studio, Handbrake, Hugin, MS Office

I love my MM (never had a problem), but it's showing its age. I’ve filled the hard drive and am in the process of switching from Aperture/Pixelmator to Lightroom/Photoshop. It’s become very obvious it’s time for a new computer and I’d like to do that in the next week or so. 

My considerations:

Highest priorities: 1) high performance photo and video editing, 1A) to own this computer for 5 years

Budget Goal: $3,000, Absolute Max: $4,000 (if I can guarantee 5 years above average performance)

I shoot photos RAW and currently film in 1080p. In Lightroom, I will make extensive corrections and use Photo Merge. For video, I edit 10-12 projects a year, between 15-45 minutes each, that include stabilization, color grading and titles/effects. The only thing I’m not concerned about are exporting times (whether a final export takes 30 mins or 90 mins makes very little difference to me).

I see myself upgrading from iMovie to FCPX next year (2019).

I see myself moving to 4K in 2020 (and upgrading a monitor to 4K/5K), with prosumer cameras like those listed above (nothing too crazy).

I would love to add a 3rd 15.6” 1920x1080 (portable USB-C) display to stream TV/YouTube/etc, while I’m working between the other 2 displays.

My hope would be to make almost no other additional investments/upgrades for 5 years. 

I can BYODKM - my displays, keyboard and mouse are in great working order

I do not game.

Portability - 90-95% of my use is at my desk, but 5-10 times a year I house-sit or rent a house where I’d like to be able to “travel” with the computer (to be clear, for me, this means plugging it into a wall at the destination - not using it on battery in an airport/coffee shop/hotel/etc). My current MM has been great for this. A MBP would certainly be easier, but I don’t love the thought of paying a premium, especially if it meant less performance, to keep it in clamshell almost all of the time. I would never travel with a full desktop.

After my own research, I think my two best options are:

1. 2018 MBP, 15”, Intel i7 8850H 2.6GHz, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD, with Vega 20 graphics. I would add a SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable USB 3.1 SSD for $400. The total would be $3,950.

2. 2018 Mac mini, Intel i7 8700B 3.2 GHz, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD. I would add Crucial 32GB Kit DDR4-2666 SODIMM for $275 (and install myself), a Razer Core X for $300, SAPPHIRE Radeon RX Vega 64 DirectX 12 21275-03-20G 8GB 2048-Bit HBM2 PCI Express 3.0 CrossFireX Support Video Card for $400 (at Newegg, which seems really low?), CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 Active 6’ Cable for $50, and a SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable USB 3.1 SSD for $400. The total would be $2,925.

My biggest concern is whether or not the external graphics would work for me in the MM. I will be miserable if editing performance is slow.

A note on the eGPU I chose above. It costs the same as a XG Station Pro ($330) with a Radeon Vega 56 ($410 at Newegg/Amazon), so that seemed like a no-brianer. I could save $300ish by getting some combination of a Radeon RX 580 (or the new 590) and a Sonnet Breakaway 350 or the GIGABYTE Gaming Box RX 580 8G (which is nicely portable, but doesn’t have the best reviews), but the jump from an RX 580 to a Vega 64 for $300 feels well worth it over 5 years.

Any thoughts/opinions? Thank you in advance!
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