I presently am editing from a Mac Book Pro (maxed ram) and using FCP 6.06. I understand that to process 1920x1080 HD video files would require a RAID external drive system for increased processing speed.
What RAID system would yo suggest (given the connectors on the Mac Book Pro, ie. S800, Express Card Slot).
What are the specs for the MacBook Pro?
What type of files are you editing - ProRes, XDCam, DVCPRO-HD, Uncompressed?
Do you want the RAID for speed, protection, both?
While using a RAID will generally yield faster processing results, it really comes down to the fact that your data can (sometimes) be accessed faster.
With a laptop configuration, you're fastest wired connection is probably going to be eSATA or USB 3.0, both would require an ExpressCard - which not all MacBook Pro's have. After that you're looking at Firewire 800.
In terms of speed, a lot depends on the RAID configuration itself - RAID 0, 1, 5, JBOD, etc. - they all play a huge role.
The Mac Book Pro is a 2.93 GHz Intel Core Duo
w/4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3 Memory
The OS is 10.5.8 and it does have a SxS Express slot.
The video files are from a Sony EX3 (1080p).
The amount of raw data will be roughly 10 hours of
shooting @ 1920 x 1080 to be edited down to various
2 minute segments.
I'll using AfterEffects for various text and layering composites.
I'd like to be able edit with a real-time look at what I'm editing.
So I guess speed is the priority.
What RAID would be best.
For the type of work you're looking to do, and high performance expectations, I would recommend a CalDigit HDPro2. As David pointed out, there is an ExpressCard "adapter" that lets you use these products on a MacBook Pro like yours.
That being said, getting "real-time" performance in After Effects is going to be near impossible with 1920x1080 footage. AE just doesn't work that way. You'll be able to cache a good deal and work in 1/4 resolution, but for multi-layer compositing or any intensive graphics work, you're going to have to render.
However, these RAIDs are quite an investment and aren't exactly "portable". If that's not a concern, and the budget for one of those is not out of the realm of possibilities, I'd say you may be better off working on an actual desktop workstation with a more powerful processor and much more RAM...
There's no doubt that even the fastest MBP is incapable of coming close to keeping up with that MacPro. Also, keep in mind that the tower has three empty SATA drive bays, and you can stripe three 2Gb drives in those to create a pretty nice RAID 0 that will have vastly better throughput and perforance than any Firewire 800 solution you've been using.
However you might want to take a peek at my review of the CalDigit HDPro2 below, it will give you an idea of what that behemoth brings to the table.
I use a CalDigit HDPro (original, version "1") daily and within Final Cut Pro can get up to 4 streams of 1920x1080 ProRes 422 video playing back in "real-time". More if you want to play back at 1/2 of the frame rate. My unit is setup as RAID-5. This HDPro easily gets 325+ MB/s write and 430+ MB/s read using the AJA System Test - performance you just can't get with an external hard drive. I'd highly recommend their products - they outperform expectations and are extremely reliable.
As a side note, if you setup an INTERNAL RAID on a MacPro workstation, pay close attention to the internal temperatures of your system before an after. A few people have had to crack the side door open to "vent" when performing long, overnight renders.
If indeed you have an Express card slot on your MBP, that opens a entire world of possibilities to you.
In addition to the CalDigit drives Brian already mentioned, you could in fact run any of the much bigger and better CalDigit 8-drive RAID solutions, such as the HDOne and even the HDPro2, which can easily move between MacPros and MBPs.
Using the same single SAS cable, those RAIDs connect via a PCIe card in the Mac towers or an Express card in the older MBPs that have them and all 17" models which thankfully still come equipped with them.