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Wait for new Macbook Pro?

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Bobby Cullipher
Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 7, 2012 at 3:35:27 pm

I know much of the speculation of the new Macbook Pro is that it will be lighter, faster, brighter... but how will this impact the performance of FCPX? This is my first laptop purchase... and I'm not a tech guy in any shape or form. I just want a system that is productive. Reason being: my MacPro (desktop) with FCP6.6 is aging and I cannot afford to go down that 7k road again. With the horrible reviews of FCPX, I purchased a Dell XPS 17 laptop last week to give me mobility and freedom from FCP. I've churned a project or two in Adobe PP... but unfortunately, it’s not going to work. The performance of this setup is far too slow and the basic functionality of PP seems years behind FCP. So, is the 2012 Macbook Pro worth the wait, or should I just buy one now? And if now, what specs do I need; Memory, RAID, Video Card, Etc? The system requirements on Adobe PP should be deleted/updated... very misleading. I have 8gb mem, 3gb video card, 7200rpm RAID... and it's terribly slow. A user form with pros such as you is proving to be a better resource for unbiased real-world advice.


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Connor Crosby
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 7, 2012 at 4:07:37 pm

No one knows the exact specs except Apple until they are released. There are speculations that it will have a new body form and might not have an optical drive.

I think waiting for the release of the new MacBook Pros is a win-win whether you want them or not. Once they are released, the cost of the current MacBook Pros will go down. So from there you can choose based on specs.


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Andrew Richards
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 7, 2012 at 4:20:26 pm

[Bobby Cullipher] "I've churned a project or two in Adobe PP... but unfortunately, it’s not going to work. The performance of this setup is far too slow and the basic functionality of PP seems years behind FCP."

By all accounts, CS6 is a big leap forward. It officially launched today, and there is a free preview you can try to see for yourself.

[Bobby Cullipher] "So, is the 2012 Macbook Pro worth the wait, or should I just buy one now?"

Intel officially shipped Ivy Bridge a week ago, so new MBPs could drop at any time. Wait.

[Bobby Cullipher] "The system requirements on Adobe PP should be deleted/updated... very misleading. I have 8gb mem, 3gb video card, 7200rpm RAID... and it's terribly slow."

Which video card does your Dell have? And what kind of internal HDD does your Dell have (specifically, what RPM)?

[Bobby Cullipher] "I know much of the speculation of the new Macbook Pro is that it will be lighter, faster, brighter... but how will this impact the performance of FCPX?"

The Ivy Bridge upgrade is incremental from a CPU standpoint, but possibly very significant from a total system standpoint (at least as Macs go). Intel is integrating USB3 in the PCH for Ivy Bridge, and there is also support for PCIe 3.0, though that will have little impact in a laptop aside from the GPU bus and maybe later on a faster Thunderbolt. Apple could choose not to implement USB3 for their Ivy Bridge rev Macs, but that would be crazy (and Apple has been known to be crazy from time to time). The embedded GPU for Ivy Bridge is also much better, though presumably a MacBook Pro would continue to also have a more powerful discrete GPU.

Short version, as FPCX goes, the Ivy Bridge update is going to be an incremental improvement, but it is so close to happening you should wait if at all possible. The update should come in days or weeks, not months.

Best,
Andy


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David Lazaro Saz
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 7, 2012 at 4:43:29 pm

The problem I see with the Dell XPS that you have bought is that its graphics card are not supported by the Mercury Playback Engine.

From what Adobe has published regarding CS5.5 and CS6 supported laptop graphics cards, the only laptops that cut it from the Dell lineup are the Precision M6600 (17") with either an NVIDIA Quadro 4000M or an NVDIA Quadro 5010M or the Precision M4600 (16") with an NVIDIA Quadro 2000M.

Premiere Pro only seems to support "consumer" laptop graphics cards on current generation MacBook Pros.

List of graphics cards supported by the Mercury Playback Engine.

If you want to go the Apple way, I wouldn't wait to the next-gen models because the current generation models are currently certified for Premiere Pro CS6, Avid Media Composer 6, DaVinci Resolve 8 and Final Cut Pro X. That's great from my point of view. I think Smoke 2012 was also shown running on those at this year's NAB.

When the next-gen models are released they will be need to be certified by each of the vendors. So you will be first waiting for the unknown release date, and second to updates from each NLE vendor.

I'd also go with the current generation MacBook Pro because they have Thunderbolt. The USB 3 ports of the current generation Dell Precision laptops seem to be having problems with some peripherals like the BlackMagic UltraStudio Pro according to some forum threads here on the Cow.


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Douglas K. Dempsey
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 7, 2012 at 5:14:10 pm

It sounds like you are getting two different answers here. One says "wait because new MBP will drop soon, and if you don't like it, the current models will drop in price a bit."

The other says new MBP may not arrive until next year, and in any case it may take awhile for PP or Avid to offer updates that optimize their use.

I constantly face this issue, and try to watch the rumor sites and guess timeframes. But for everyone who has been waiting for "iPhone 5", which now looks like it may arrive a YEAR beyond original rumors, waiting can be simply watching your life pass by.

My advice; if you cannot trade up the Dell as per advice on Mercury Engine support, if you want a Mac, then wait until June. If no announcements are imminent, and you MUST begin a job in FCPX, then you gotta pull the trigger.

Doug D


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Chris Harlan
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 7, 2012 at 6:11:42 pm

Hey Bobby!

A couple of quick observations.

First, about Del. The XPS line isn't the equivalent of the Macbook Pro. That would be the Precision line. Also, XPS line doesn't seem to support multiple internal drives, so unless you hot-rodded it somehow, I'm guessing that you do not have an internal RAID. The system itself, should not be giving you poor performance, just not optimal. I'm guessing that simply attaching a USB 3 RAID for source material and scratch disks would make a major change.

As to a new MacBook Pro--I usually wait well into a release cycle to buy one. That way the kinks get worked out by other, more willing folks. This is near the end of this cycle, however, and major changes are rumored. On the other hand, the current Macbook Pros are a powerful generation of computers. These are the questions you need to ask yourself: Do you need to buy one right now? Will you lose work if you don't? If its just an itch, I would definitely wait. The current rumors are that a 15" will be announced or available in early June, and that a 17" will be available later in the year or never. These rumors also claim that there will be a major body redesign to unite the Pro and Air lines. Is any of that true? Who knows? But I would wait unless work calls; in which case, who cares? The current version is a good computer.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 7, 2012 at 6:34:56 pm

At the very least, I'd wait a month as this is happening:

https://developer.apple.com/wwdc/

Jeremy


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Bobby Cullipher
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 7, 2012 at 8:05:34 pm

Thanks everyone. I assumed it would be mixed feelings. It comes down to the immediate demand, I guess. I am upgrading the video card in my MacPro (desktop) to be compatible with FCPX... should be in today. I will decide on the Macbook Pro and FCPX once I have had an op to give FCPX a whirl. Either way, I'm quite disappointed with the performance of PP and my new Dell... this has to change.

The Dells specs:
XPS 17 1920x1080
NVIDIA Geforce GT555M 3GB (cannot believe this is not on Adobes list)
750HD 7200RPM
2 X 1TB External GRaid HD 7200RPM
8GB Mem
BR Burner

In my readings, USB3 is not the way to go for video editing... esata was most recommended. But again, I am in no way a tech guy... this is just what I have read. My current setup is via esata, but I'm only using one drive. I could not get the computer to see both drives at the same time. It's obviously something I am doing wrong... just haven't had time to research it... too busy churning.

Again, its great having a place like this filled with industry pros like yourself... great collaboration. I do appreciate everyone's time!


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 7, 2012 at 8:37:23 pm

[Bobby Cullipher] "NVIDIA Geforce GT555M 3GB (cannot believe this is not on Adobes list)"

Have you tried editing the text file? Might work.

In case you need it, here's a how to:

(note these instructions are for CS5.5. They also apply to CS5 and probably to CS6. You didn't mention what version of Premiere you're using, so I'm assuming 5.5.)

0) shutdown PP

1) right click on notepad in the start menu and select "run as administrator" (If you don't do this you will not have the privileges to save the text file after you edit it.)

2) point to File>Open and navigate to the Premiere Pro application folder. (usually "C:Program FilesAdobePremiere Pro CS5.5")

3) Open cuda_supported_cards.txt which you will find there.

4) on a new line, add "GeForce GT 555M", which is the name of your card.

5) Save the file. (if you didn't run notepad as administrator it will complain that it doesn't have the permissions required to save.

6) start PP again and go to the project setting panal and enable MPE hardware mode.

note: if it's still grayed out, ether you have the name of your GPU wrong, or PP is smart enough to know it won't work. The former is far more likely.


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Bobby Cullipher
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 7, 2012 at 9:40:49 pm

I have not tried editing the text file. I didn't even know there was such a thing! This is the kind of stuff that confuses people like me who have always relied on staff engineers to provide the tools we need to get the job done as fast as possible... I'm like a lost puppy without them. I will try editing the text file, but I'd prefer to just turn it on and have it work :) - my fcp suite and my old avid suite have always been workhorses... maybe this laptop pace is just something to get used to.

As for USB 3 vs esata... I'm lost. I've been reading these guys who post bench tests and they all say esata is the way to go. I have a couple external usb3 SSDs... I need to try one to compare... its just finding the time to test, and not edit once i get home. I'm doing all of this troubleshooting during my downtime between client meetings/shoots/edits at my day job.

Again... you guys are great and you should be compensated for your time. I will def pay it forward if given the opportunity.


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 7, 2012 at 9:54:29 pm

What Adobe did here is actually rather smart. There are just too many different Nvidia cards out there for Adobe to test them all, (when you add in the mobile cards which can have different specs depending on the manufacturer, there's at least 100 different cards, if not more.) So they rigorously test a few and officially support just those. But since most Nvidia cards do work, they provide a very easy way to hack the program and make it work, without having to officially support any of those cards which would be near on impossible.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 8, 2012 at 1:13:02 am

[Bobby Cullipher] "As for USB 3 vs esata... I'm lost. I've been reading these guys who post bench tests and they all say esata is the way to go. I have a couple external usb3 SSDs"

I really wouldn't sweat over it. I'm guessing the XPS is at best SATA2 and not SATA3. If you have SSDs they'll do better for you than the RAID I pointed you at.


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Bobby Cullipher
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 8, 2012 at 8:46:51 pm

Hi John,
I appreciate the assistance. I'm trying your steps now... but I do not see where I can "enable MPE hardware mode" - in Project > Project Setting > General - the only options in "Video Rendering" are:

Mercury Playback Engine GPU Acceleration (this is selected)
Mercury Playback Engine Software Only

Am I missing a step?

Bobby

FCP 6 | 6.0.6
Mac OS X 10.6.5
2X3.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
4GB 800 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM


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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 8, 2012 at 8:51:13 pm

"Mercury Playback Engine GPU Acceleration" Is what you want. That's what I meant by "MPE hardware mode" I just couldn't remember what the menu called it.

Anyway, Point is, you are now using the GPU. Before you edited the text file, "Mercury Playback Engine GPU Acceleration" would have been grayed out and software only would have been your only option.


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Bobby Cullipher
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 8, 2012 at 8:52:45 pm

ah ok.. great. I do appreciate your assistance, and to offer it so quickly! I will give it another try in a few. Much thanks!

Bobby

FCP 6 | 6.0.6
Mac OS X 10.6.5
2X3.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
4GB 800 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM


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Chris Harlan
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 7, 2012 at 9:17:34 pm

[Bobby Cullipher] "In my readings, USB3 is not the way to go for video editing... esata was most recommended. But again, I am in no way a tech guy... this is just what I have read. My current setup is via esata, but I'm only using one drive. I could not get the computer to see both drives at the same time. It's obviously something I am doing wrong... just haven't had time to research it... too busy churning.
"


There's nothing wrong with USB3 for video editing. In fact Blackmagic makes a variety of i/o cards for it. USB3 is faster than eSATA, but eSATA is fine as well. I'm not sure what you mean by "seeing both drives at the same time." Are you trying to create a RAID? Are you using a RAID? Is it set to RAID 0?

Here--check out the stats on this G-RAID.

http://www.g-technology.com/products/g-raid.cfm

This two-platter RAID is the kind of thing you are looking for. It will plug into your eSATA port and be seen as a single drive by your system. You can find similar products from companies like Glyph, LaCie, Western Digital and Mac Universe.


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Bobby Cullipher
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 9, 2012 at 9:22:37 pm

Just a follow up. After trying all suggestions, the performance was still too slow for us. I contacted Dell to arrange a return and the support person (very knowledgeable and understanding guy) said that all of the steps I took could help, but would not give the results I was expecting. Via remote access, he watched what I was experiencing. He said in order to get a laptop to perform as close to my desktop with real-time rendering/playback, I'd have to get:

Dell Precision or another manufacture:
Nvidia Quadro or ATI Firepro
I7 QM or XM 2800
Increase the RAM to 16GB
Small internal SSD for the media needed for the specific project... or a bigger SSD and store all of it... but it's very $$$.

This configuration with Dell is about $2900... if I'm lucky.

Do you Macbook Pro users find that you need the same configuration for smooth editing? At this point, it's all about price... and price is now dictating which editing software we use... not a good day.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 10, 2012 at 12:06:12 am

[Bobby Cullipher] "Do you Macbook Pro users find that you need the same configuration for smooth editing? At this point, it's all about price... and price is now dictating which editing software we use... not a good day.
"


Hey Bobby!

I have the newest 17" Macbook Pro with the faster processor and 8 gigs. When I'm using it, my media usually resides on either an eSATA 2 platter RAID or a 2 TB Little Big Disk, all connected through thunderbolt. No SSDs. My source materials are mainly ProResHQ 1080, 23.98, 25, 60i. I find editing in FCS and Avid VERY smooth, and in many ways comparable or slightly better than my 2008 8 core. Where the 8 core still clearly wins, are big renders. I've played some with Premiere, and it seems okay too, though I've not used it enough to say definitively.


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Bobby Cullipher
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 10, 2012 at 1:09:24 pm

Thank you for sharing!

I will post feedback when/if I get another laptop with better specs. As of now, I can not drop the cash to make this dream of mobility come true... I'll stay home with my MacPro DT.


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Bobby Cullipher
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 11, 2012 at 3:54:02 pm

Anyone using a laptop configured like this? If so, hows the performance?

15.4" MacBook Pro
Quad-core Intel Core i7 2.2GHz
16GB RAM
750GB 7200-rpm SATA HDD
Intel HD Graphics 3000 and AMD Radeon HD 6750M
SuperDrive
Thunderbolt port
Aluminum unibody
Hi-Res Glossy Widescreen Display

My biggest concern is the video card... was told I needed an NVIDIA Quadro 2000 or better.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 11, 2012 at 8:30:31 pm

[Bobby Cullipher] "My biggest concern is the video card... was told I needed an NVIDIA Quadro 2000 or better.
"


You need that for what? The Quadro is just not an option on a Macbook Pro.


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Bobby Cullipher
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 11, 2012 at 8:59:54 pm

Sorry... this question is following the same thread. To be used for video editing with FCP 6.6/7/X, as well as Adobe After FX and Premiere Pro 6.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 11, 2012 at 9:13:47 pm

[Bobby Cullipher] "Sorry... this question is following the same thread. To be used for video editing with FCP 6.6/7/X, as well as Adobe After FX and Premiere Pro 6."

I get that Bobby. But I think you need to spend more time looking around at other threads. And, even in this thread. The short answer is that the computer you spec-ed out is fine for all of the above, but maybe not the best choice in all instances. You need to be more forthcoming about the demands your work puts on a system, before anyone can tell you if your system will live up to the demands. Below is an example I gave you earlier. Before anyone can answer your questions, you need to give us the same kind of information.

Hey Bobby!

I have the newest 17" Macbook Pro with the faster processor and 8 gigs. When I'm using it, my media usually resides on either an eSATA 2 platter RAID or a 2 TB Little Big Disk, all connected through thunderbolt. No SSDs. My source materials are mainly ProResHQ 1080, 23.98, 25, 60i. I find editing in FCS and Avid VERY smooth, and in many ways comparable or slightly better than my 2008 8 core. Where the 8 core still clearly wins, are big renders. I've played some with Premiere, and it seems okay too, though I've not used it enough to say definitively.


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Bobby Cullipher
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 11, 2012 at 9:48:19 pm

Thank you, Chris! I apologize for not giving the specifics.

Our workflow is the standard, which means there is no standard. We typically shoot/edit XDCAM 1080i60 and h.264... but we receive and edit most every format imaginable. We also do some logo/graphic design and animation, composite and green screen.

I appreciate the confirmation that your system works well in your application. I'm mostly concerned with the specs of the system I noted, and hoping to find someone with a similar system that can give an apples to apples comparison. The performance of the graphics card they are suggesting is my biggest concern... it's what they suggest over the nvidia quadro that Dell highly recommends, but not avail on macbooks. I'm very sorry if my questions seem simple.... but, I'm not a tech guy in any way, which is why I'm here. People like me flock to these forums for advise and guidance from those that have experienced/resolved the issues we're facing.

Thanks again!


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Chris Harlan
Re: Wait for new Macbook Pro?
on May 11, 2012 at 10:53:12 pm

Well, here's the deal. The specs you are pointing out have a slightly less powerful CPU and a potentially significantly less powerful GPU then the specs I said are working for me. But, you have double the RAM. Given the variety of programs you want to run, I personally, would not worry as much about the RAM and more about upgrading the video card. Adobe wants 1 GB vRAM for Mercury Playback on the gfx cards. The card you mention is currently sold via Apple with only half of that.

Also, I--along with most editors I know--am not a fan of the glossy screen, but if it doesn't bother you, that's your biz.

XDCAM, on an external RAID, should be just fine. I don't use it much, but it has a fairly low bit rate. As to h.264, I seldom use it as source material. When I do, I generally transcode. The system you've spec-ed is adequate for many uses. Others, not so much. I, personally, would get the better gfx card, faster processor, and anti-glare. Will it be enough at that point? It would for my uses, but for me it is also a second machine.


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