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Trouble with editing on MacBook Pro... upgrade advice?

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Nathan Golon
Trouble with editing on MacBook Pro... upgrade advice?
on Apr 7, 2010 at 12:48:28 am

I'm editing 1920 x 1080 ProRes 422 footage on my MacBook Pro with a 7200rpm G-Tech RAID external drive (Firewire 800). I am increasingly having trouble in FCP 6... it's freezing, shutting down, and at times telling me that my processor can't handle some video effects, particularly those in Magic Bullet. My MBP is a few years old and has a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2 GB of memory. I know it's time to get something more powerful to handle my workflow, but I'm not sure just how powerful, and I don't want to overdo it and overspend.

I'm trying to decide whether I can continue working on a MacBook Pro, or if I need to buy a Mac Pro. If I do buy a MBP (I will wait until the next update), I would most likely get the 2.66 or 3.06Ghz processor and 8 GB of memory... would that be powerful enough to handle anything I could throw at it in terms of HD video editing in FCP? If possible, I'd prefer to go with a MBP because of it's portability, but I can't afford to deal with the delays I've been experiencing lately, so would be willing to consider a Mac Pro with more processing power and more memory.

Any advice?



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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Trouble with editing on MacBook Pro... upgrade advice?
on Apr 7, 2010 at 1:15:43 am

If you don't have to be portable, buy a Mac Pro. Fastest you can afford. ProRes is very efficient, and if RED workflows aren't in your future, you don't do a ton of compressions and big time renders, I'd not pay for the top of the line. It pays when you're doing tons of rendering and compressing.

Look in the middle or bottom of an 8 core for ProRes work. The towers are overdue for a major upgrade and if history repeats itself... pretty soon I'd think. 12 cores anyone?

It's all about expandability down the line. Laptops are expensive speed wise, but they ARE portable. and not as expandable.

As for your present situation, I'd perform a clean install on a fw drive or on your startup disk... it's time if you're unstable maybe.


Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski.

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Robb Harriss
Re: Trouble with editing on MacBook Pro... upgrade advice?
on Apr 7, 2010 at 3:15:17 am

I've got a couple of MacPros, and I still do a lot, with ProRes, on a two and half year old MacBook Pro and it works just fine. Put two more gigs of ram in yours, upgrade to Snow Leopard and FCS3 (are you running 2) and you'll be a lot happier than you are now. Still a MacPro will be nice.

Non-linear: all the time and nothing but.

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Craig Alan
Re: Trouble with editing on MacBook Pro... upgrade advice?
on Apr 7, 2010 at 3:31:02 am

For starters, try maxing out the ram in your mbp. crucial has a scanner that will give you the specs of your ram. or owc explains it pretty well too. or 18004memory. You can at least double it to 4 gigs for under $120.

You can try a sata array with one of these: faster than firewire and does not use the same port if you're using firewire cam or deck.

If your system was faster once, I'd look at how full your media drive is. Maybe back up what you need and wipe it clean. Try diskwarrior on system drive or even a fresh install of all.

No question a Mac pro will be faster and stay current longer. New models are expected for both mbp and mac pros. i'd stall with some upgrades till then.

OSX 10.5.7; MAC Book PRO (EARLY 2008); Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30, Sony vx2000/PD170, Canon xl2; Pana, Sony, and Canon consumer cams; FCP certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.

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Nathan Golon
Re: Trouble with editing on MacBook Pro... upgrade advice?
on Apr 7, 2010 at 2:08:56 pm

Thanks everyone. While a Mac Pro would be nice, it sounds like a MBP should be more than adequate for my workflow, so I'm going to try the upgrades you all suggested, and then once Apple updates the MBP, buy that and sell the one I'm using now. Thanks again.

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