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2018 Macbook Pro

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Tom Sefton
2018 Macbook Pro
on Jan 7, 2019 at 4:08:11 pm

Over christmas I had my 2012 MacBook Pro finally die. The battery life was going to nothing and I tried a DIY solution to replace the battery. I followed a youtube tutorial, wore static gloves, cursed a lot and squinted at some small screws that were left all over my desk and office floor. It worked ok; I could power the MacBook on and do some work...Until it didn't work anymore and the monitor no longer displayed an image and the USB ports died and the headphone jack didn't work and the HDMI port didn't work either.

So either I have to be thankful for a 7 year shelf life on a MacBook Pro or admit that I am pretty much ape-handed when it comes to upgrading a computer. Small mercies.

So I bit the bullet and bought a new top of the line 2018 15" MacBook Pro. It cost a lot (£3.2k), but not as much as I'll probably have to spend on a new Mac Pro in 4-6 months time, and after spending a few days downloading software and getting it ready I thought I'd throw it in at the deep end and see how it performs. Its the i9 6 core processor with 32GB RAM and the Vega 20 GPU. All the footage for the test is on a G-tech Studio XL Thunderbolt 2 Raid. I created a new library, imported some multicam footage and created a project. The footage is 6K Red Raw at 50fps, with a separately recorded audio stream. I Manually synced inside a 1080p multicam sequence at 50p to save some time waiting for audio waveforms to create (a usual trick with 2013 Mac Pros) and hit the spacebar.

Not only can it edit the footage in realtime with no dropped frames or stuttering, the export from r3d to ProRes is not a huge amount in time off an 8 core D700 2013 Mac Pro. The MacBook Pro also took a fraction of the amount of time to create audio waveforms for the clips that a 2013 Mac Pro would do - weird but super impressive.

I thought I'd give it a go with Premiere. The results are nowhere near. The resolution drops to 1/16th (which admittedly might be the same as the drop in better performance inside FCPX) and the playback stutters. Cutting and moving footage, creating a multicam sequence, adjusting audio levels all leads to spinning wheels. It doesn't appear to be creating a waveform or rendering so not sure why the performance drop is so big. Exporting a clip to ProRes from the r3d source footage took over a minute longer.

Highly impressive. If the 2018 Mac Pro is coming soon, and it has a performance leap as big as this, editing raw footage with FCPX could soon be far less painful.

Co-owner at Pollen Studio

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Rich Rubasch
Re: 2018 Macbook Pro
on Jan 8, 2019 at 6:19:51 pm

I agree....Adobe needs to figure out how to leverage the OS and hardware on Macs to at least come close to rivaling the performance with FCPX. The subscription model that includes a performance hit over FCPX is making me wonder about our upgrade path as well.

We don't edit 6K red footage but the time is coming for larger files and more intensive processing needs....will Adobe keep up with the performance curve and justify the ongoing subscription price....or will the higher performance with a single price for perpetuity software win?


Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage

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