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Macbook Pro specs for editing?

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Zach Blaesi
Macbook Pro specs for editing?
on Jun 27, 2011 at 1:12:51 am

I personally prefer to use desktops, but since I'm transferring to NYU this summer, I don't want to lug my desktop right away, and I also want a laptop for taking notes and the increased freedom and mobility. I'm planning to get a 15" Macbook Pro so I get a balance between size and power, but I'm not sure how crazy I should go when making the purchase. There are options for 2.0, 2.2, or 2.3 GHz; 4GB or 8GB RAM; 750GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm, 500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm, 128GB Solid State Drive, 256GB Solid State Drive, or 512GB Solid State Drive; glossy or antiglare screen; and so on.

I'm trying to stay as close to (or under) $2000 as possible (I should get a $200 student discount), and I'm not sure what specs to select.

I plan to use the laptop as my primary editing unit for FCP.

What would you guys recommend?


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Macbook Pro specs for editing?
on Jun 27, 2011 at 6:06:49 am

I'd recommend the 17" screen version in order to have the ExpressCard/34 slot and use an eSata adapter to connect to an external drive for media storage. Thunderbolt may make eSata irrelevant, but there's not much available yet for it (there are some hard drives, but they're expensive atm). Also, I find that the 17" screen is big enough to edit on and would want a second screen to go with a smaller one. [I have a second screen at home, but I take my MBP to one of my client's offices at times and can work there without using the second screen on the 17" model.]

Don't worry too much about the internal hard drive spec as you're not going to use that for media. Processor speed and memory are basically as much as you can afford (remember, you can add more memory later but you can't change the processor).


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Zach Blaesi
Re: Macbook Pro specs for editing?
on Jun 27, 2011 at 6:23:45 am

So if I get the 15", I have no affordable external HDD options? For some (naive) reason, I figured I could connect an external HDD through USB or something.

I have a couple concerns with the 17".

First, the size. I'm also (or should I say primarily) using this as an all-around student computer (e.g., for portability and taking notes). I'm afraid the 17" might be a bit too clunky for that.

Second, the price. With the base stats, the 17" starts at $2,299.00, which means I'd be limited to 4GB RAM and the default 2.2GHz processor. Maybe this isn't a big deal, but assuming I went with the base stats, I'd still be $100 over the price I was trying to stay at.

Can you explain how Thunderbolt might make it irrelevant?

Finally, I thought internal HDD mattered because don't the speeds affect how programs operate? Assuming I went with the 15", what HDD would I want?

Thanks for your response.


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Sascha Engel
Re: Macbook Pro specs for editing?
on Jun 27, 2011 at 1:05:29 pm

First of all, the speed of your external HD is much more important than the internal.
I would get myself some good external HD with at least FW800 - WD Studio 2TB Mirror Raid - good option.
Yes, 17inch is bigger, but than it's important what you wanna do with it: You mainly do office work & student stuff - get the 15inch or even 13inch. You wanna do serious film work with it and still be mobile: 17inch. Why are you stuck with 4GB RAM - go to OWC and boost it up for small dollars.
External USB connected HD? Not a good idea - for film work - forget about it.
yes, it might be more than you calculated, but if you wanna make an omlette, you gotta break the egg!

Sascha


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Zach Blaesi
Re: Macbook Pro specs for editing?
on Jun 27, 2011 at 9:01:10 pm

I think I'm going to go with the 17". I'll get the 2.2GHz processor (how's that sound? - I don't think I can afford the upgrade), 4GB of RAM (I can add more later), and the antiglare screen.

Given what you guys said about the internal processor, should I ignore the extra speed and go for the 750GB HDD for the added space? I'm actually required to buy an external HDD for my college, so I'll be using that when I edit.

Also, do any of you guys know anything about these Apple printer "deals" that you can select when configuring the laptop? Are they really "deals" or can I get a better buy elsewhere? I need a printer as well, so I'll buy it all at once if it's actually a deal.

Thanks.


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Sascha Engel
Re: Macbook Pro specs for editing?
on Jun 27, 2011 at 9:09:54 pm

I think you will not regret your choice.
As for the 750HD 5400rpm - I have in my MBP also a 5400 disc and it's just fine.
The extra internal capacity can become handy, if you are a lot on the road and if you have big banks - presets, foley libraries or so, which you wanna store in the machine.
Also the 5400rpm is getting less fast hot, than the 7200rpm.
It's give and take. I personally would be fine with 500GB and go for the faster one.
And the RAM is really cheap - check OWC (other World Computing) - you get damn good RAM there - a lot cheaper than with Apple.

GOOD LUCK with your new machine!!!!

Sascha


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adam taylor
Re: Macbook Pro specs for editing?
on Jun 27, 2011 at 1:08:35 pm

for a start - never use USB drives for editing video. They might have fast speeds, but data is sent in packets, whereas firewire (and i am not sure about esata) the data is a continuous stream. Packets can cause bottle necks and stuttering video.

17" v 15" - not really a huge size difference. Don't forget those 2" are diagonal dimensions across the screen, so in reality the width depth is less than 2" (you're a student - use Pythagorus theory to work it out!)

Connectivity via an express34 card slot is a whole lot more than just hard drives. With the express34 port you can add adapters for video i/o units. I have a Matrox MX02le which can plug straight in for digitizing and playing back on external monitors or for outputting to tape. I have adapters that let me use firewire 400 in addition to the fw800 thats built in to my laptop. Also , an eSata adapter for using really fast drives, etc,etc

The extra speed on your internal drive is less of an issue, as your software will load into ram when you start an application rather than running directly from the disc.

As for price, well unfortunately, if you want a professional tool, you need to pay for the extras that make it professional, and for a video editor those features are really only found on the 17" model.

Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

http://www.sculptedbliss.co.uk
My YouTube Animations Page


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adam taylor
Re: Macbook Pro specs for editing?
on Jun 27, 2011 at 11:40:30 am

i was about to reply, but Andrew beat me and made all the points i wanted to. 17" give you so many more connectivity options.

Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

http://www.sculptedbliss.co.uk
My YouTube Animations Page


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Sascha Engel
Re: Macbook Pro specs for editing?
on Jun 27, 2011 at 11:45:02 am

Same here: Get a 17inch - much better for editing and specially for CC. A 17inch, NOT glossy!!!! display, HD.
Video memory should be good, and go for the new 4core, push up some RAM, but don't buy it from Apple,but from OWC (on the net) - very cheap, amazing Apple stuff and very reliable.
If you can go for 7200rpm hard drive, SD Drive just if you really use it under extreme circumstances - editing in a safari cheap in africa. kidding. it's a great disc, but you might wanna invest those extra bugs in something else.

Sascha


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Zach Blaesi
Re: Macbook Pro specs for editing?
on Jun 29, 2011 at 3:26:07 am

Thanks for all the help guys.

After much thought, I've decided to go with the 15". If the need arises, I'll just buy an external monitor. I think the increased portability of the 15" is definitely worth it, and by the time I find myself needing powerful external HDD options, Thunderbolt will hopefully catch up.


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