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macbook pro 2.8 vs 3.06

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chris mclaughlinmacbook pro 2.8 vs 3.06
by on Jan 10, 2010 at 11:50:24 pm

Hi...I am having a little confusion with my upcoming purchase of a macbook pro...I am planning on having a 7200 rpm hard drive installed and using firewire 800 out to a 7200 rpm external drive for all my media storage and eventually max out the ram at 8gb...I am using AE CS4 and final cut express pretty heavily and am wanting to know how much of a difference I will see in my rendering times between the 2 different speeds...I have heard alot that its a waste of money being that the 2 processors are on the same chip set and that the 3.06 is the same but just overclocked. People dont see much of a difference...or should I spend the money on the processor and have the standard 5400 rpm drive?
any help on this would be great or any personal experiences on either machine would be greatly appreciated....
thanks
chris


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Brian CharlesRe: macbook pro 2.8 vs 3.06
by on Jan 11, 2010 at 2:07:41 am

Render times (speed) depend on the complexity of the project, effects that are used, processor speed and RAM. There is no single factor that will guarantee fast render times. In general (having no experience on the particular machine you are using) more memory and faster CPU's do speed render. The drive speed is not much of a factor here other than for spitting out or capturing video.

I've got a dual core MacBook and an 8 core Mac Pro. Both can use all cores for rendering though my MacBook is hobbled by the amount of RAM it can access, with only 4GB installed. Each core should have 3GB *and* the computer should have additional RAM to take care of the OS and any other open applications. I know the MacBook can now take 8GB of RAM, that should provide you with more benfit for render times than a fast drive. As for CPU clock speed — 3.06 GHz is only about 10% faster than 2.8 GHz. So a 10 minute render might be 60 seconds faster, if that's significant for you then it may make sense to spring for the faster CPU.



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Walter SoykaRe: macbook pro 2.8 vs 3.06
by on Jan 11, 2010 at 12:28:16 pm

[chris mclaughlin] " should I spend the money on the processor and have the standard 5400 rpm drive?"

Hard drive speed may affect your system more than you expect. Although it won't likely impact renders in your situation, it will affect everything else, especially if you're not getting a ton of RAM: how fast your computer boots, how fast applications open, and how fast virtual memory access is.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Brian CharlesRe: macbook pro 2.8 vs 3.06
by on Jan 11, 2010 at 4:20:51 pm

Walter is correct that drive speed makes application launches snappier and if you intend to capture video from tape via Firewire a faster drive will lessen the likelihood of dropped frames.

I have a 10k rpm in my MacPro and its great, but it doesn't do anything to speed renders.



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Walter SoykaRe: macbook pro 2.8 vs 3.06
by on Jan 11, 2010 at 4:34:26 pm

[Brian Charles] "I have a 10k rpm in my MacPro and its great, but it doesn't do anything to speed renders. "

For most folks, this is true, most of the time.

However, some renders can be disk-bound, especially when using very large frame sizes or image sequences. If your CPUs are not maxed out during a render, and you still have free RAM, then your render is probably disk-bound.

Rendering to a drive other than the one your footage is stored on can also improve performance in some cases.

If your CPU is maxed out, more disk speed won't help.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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