Should I downgrade to a laptop or keep the 8-core?
March 2, 2009 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Can I edit in HD on the latest Macbook Pro without losing my mind?

Strapped for cash, I decided to put my 8-core macpro up for sale. The idea was to use part of the money to buy a middle-of-the-road macbook pro and save the rest. I still need a computer and value the added mobility, but don't really need all that processing power.

So right when I find a buyer for my macpro system at a really good price, somebody offers me an editing gig.

Here's my question: do I have wildly optimistic expectations of what can be done on a laptop? Can I edit HD without going absolutely nuts? I am a relatively impatient person, and I have to say, part of me is embarassed at the thought of having a producer come over and find me working off a laptop.

If I decide to use all the proceeds from selling the macpro and get the top-of-the-line macbook pro, am I going to have an editing system that I can be reasonably happy with? Or should I back away from my decision to sell my 8core?

I work on Final Cut Studio 2.
posted by phaedon to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
part of me is embarassed at the thought of having a producer come over and find me working off a laptop.

Hook up the spiffy 24" display and run clamshell closed nobody will know.

fwiw for my work this 2.8Ghz MBP is about equivalent to my 2.66Ghz quadcore MP w/ 3870 but barefeets has this test that shows how faster a Mac Pro is than a 2.8Ghz MBP in Adobe apps.

So if I were you I'd delay selling the beast until you finish your editing job.

I would think that you could take your project to an Apple store and ask them to try out a MBP to see the diff, btw.
posted by troy at 6:10 PM on March 2, 2009

Most modern video encoders (H.264 in particularly) encounter their bottleneck at processing power rather than disk speed or memory use. Putting aside that CPU clock speed, FSB bandwidth, memory capacity and speed, and disk speed are usually greater in a desktop from one generation than in a laptop from the same generation, well-coded encoders benefit greatly from multithreading: 8 cores will likely cut your encoding time by at least an order of magnitude versus 2 cores.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:12 PM on March 2, 2009

Perhaps not so helpful, but after I got the most recent Macbook Pro I noticed a huge performance boost in encoding H.264 files.
posted by avex at 7:40 PM on March 2, 2009

I edit AVCHD on a 2.4ghz Duo MBP with 4gb of RAM. It's not LIGHTENING fast, but it's not too bad either.
posted by nitsuj at 8:33 PM on March 2, 2009

What kind of HD? AVCHD? HDV? P2 Yah. Renders will take longer, downconversion and compression will take longer.

My only thought/concern is this: desktops last longer (in useability) than laptops. Laptops, you're paying a premium for minuturization. Desktops your paying a premium for flexibility.

As far as the producer bit: how are you connected to a broadcast monitor? Firewire path is just fine. But the hardware card method (AJA i/O or I/O HD and the Matrox MMO) leave you limited if you wanted a blackmagic or kona card.

Don't understimate that stuff - greenscreen's shot on prosumer HD camera aquired on set via HDMI & blackmagics card will provide keys that blow away anything done with the prosumer formats.
posted by filmgeek at 3:15 AM on March 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

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