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Is it worth upgrading to a new macbook pro for FCP?

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Tim Allsop
Is it worth upgrading to a new macbook pro for FCP?
on Sep 25, 2011 at 9:10:24 am


Hope this is the right section to post in (and indeed that you guys can offer me some advice).

I currently have a mac pro - early 2008 (Two 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors, 4 gig ram, NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT, 320GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s; 7200 rpm; 8MB cache), which I have used FCP on for cutting the odd non-tx pilot or things for the web. It struggles slightly with anything hd and renders can sure take a while but it's basically okay. Although it's running slightly more erratically generally than it used to (even Photoshop is taking a while on occasion).

However next year i'll have at least one project a month to cut on it (nothing fancy just hour long instructional dvd's) and i'm not entirely sure my mac is up to the task - so i've been debating an upgrade. However I also need to buy a new laptop as my old Macbook Pro (also 2008) is on its last legs.

So I've been wondering about getting a new Mac Pro 17' SSD with 8gig ram. And using that as my sole mac.

My question is - do you think it's a worthwhile upgrade? (and / or a sensible idea) Will I notice a major difference? It's not to be a full time edit station - I'll use it to edit about 3/4 days a month. However i'm looking for something that will make that edit an easy, fast ride. Is this going to do that for me?

Any thoughts would be hugely appreciated.



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Andrew Rendell
Re: Is it worth upgrading to a new macbook pro for FCP?
on Sep 25, 2011 at 2:40:12 pm

The i7 is quite a big step forward compared to the Quad core Xeon, so I'd expect to see an improvement there, plus a new MBP gives you access to Thunderbolt, so if you're going to update your laptop anyway, I'd be tempted to go that way.

As for having a MBP as my only Mac... not quite so sure... but then I use a MBP for editing mainly because I take it places, so I am routinely accepting a small risk of loss/damage/breach of privacy.

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Thomas Morter-Laing
Re: Is it worth upgrading to a new macbook pro for FCP?
on Sep 26, 2011 at 8:20:20 am

I think you may oddly find that actually its not that much of a step up-
On papers its a better spec machine, but only just. YOu have to remember that they're mobile parts in the Macbook pro as well. For example, we have a 2009 Mac Pro in the office which still outperforms out 2010 2.93Ghz i7 imac with 16GB RAM. We can't work out why, but it just does.

Having said that I can understand the allure of thunderbolt, when they start shipping more peripherals for it!
The one thing I WOULD say at the moment is avoid SS. As it stands its a pretty big gimmick. YES it will turn on faster, and YES it will open apps faster, but thats about it. And to get an equivalent size you're paying £880!!!! You're better off looking for a third party 750GB 7200RPM drive and installing that in my opinion. For the price, SSD is not that fantastic. I had a custom installed iMac which had a 60GB SSD boot drive (and a bigger drive for the scratch) but it made no difference to anything which actually requires processing.

Incidentally, even if you have been sucked into the craze of solid state at the moment, you can get it cheaper than from Apple- and installing a hard drive into a macbook pro is both simple and doesn't void the warranty, as far as I'm aware. :)

Tom Morter-Laing
Freelance Editor,
Certified Apple Product Proffessional, 2010

Sony Z5, with Rode NTG2.
iMac 27" intel i7 2.93GHz, 12GB RAM, ATI HD5750 [1GB GDDR5], 2TB Int. SATA with 2TB External HDD; (FW800), with Elgato Turbo H264HD.

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