5 Replies Latest reply on Sep 1, 2011 8:08 AM by Bill Gehrke

    MacBook Pro VS. Desktop Workstation: Positives & Negatives

    flyingfish4 Level 1

      I am creating comedy shorts (1 to 5  minutes)  to upload to YouTube and other websites.  I'm shooting in HDV  on a Canon HV20.  I am thinking about buying a new 15 inch or 17 inch  MacBook Pro with an i7 processor.  I read that it's best not to  partition hard drives because it slows things down.  And I've read it's  good to use at least 3 different physical disks on an editing machine,  one for  OS/programs, one for media, and one for  pagefile/scratch/renders.  And to add RAID for even more speed and  performance.


      My situation is, although I'd love to get a  powerful desktop workstation, I am having to be away from home quite a  bit taking my parents to medical appointments and spending time in  waiting rooms and also at their home.  I'm thinking a laptop would allow  me to edit and do other work while not at home.

      I am thinking about buying the MacBook Pro instead of a desktop workstation.


      My questions are:


      1. Should I not put a partition on the laptop drive for the operating system and programs so that I don't lose performance?

      2.  I'm thinking I can just keep the current projects on the laptop drive  and when finished, I can offload them to another drive and just capture  my next projects on the laptop drive.

      3. If I have external  firewire (and hopefully at some point, Thunderbolt) drives for backup  and archiving, do you think this would work ok?

      4. I know Apple is  selling Pegasus Raid Boxes for $1000 and up, but then I'd have to lug  the box around with me.  Or am I not seeing that correctly?

      5. I  would upgrade the RAM to 8GB and get the 7200 RPM drive, which is  limited to 500GB.  That would only give me maybe 300-400GB to work with.

      6. As for a laptop, does anyone have a better alternative than a MacBook Pro?

      7.  Since the new Macs aren't using any Mercury Playback Engine-approved  graphic cards, do new Mac owners not get any benefit from the MPE?

      8. Does anyone see a better way for me to work away from home than what I've described?


      Thanks alot for all the help on the forums.

        • 1. Re: MacBook Pro VS. Desktop Workstation: Positives & Negatives
          Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          I would strongly suggest a PC laptop

          1. You can get two or more disk drives
          2. You can get the nVidia CUDA GPU for MPE
          3. Item for item it will cost you less.


          If you look at a 15" MacBook Pro they range from $1800 to $2200 and for this you get only 4 GB of RAM (maximum 8 GB) and a 5400 rpm single disk drive.


          ASUS has a neat G74SX that has a 17"screen and one configuration (Best Buy) has 8 GB of RAM and capability of easy user upgrade to 16 GB that includes the nVidia GTX 560M and two 500 GB 7200 rpm disk drives for only $1100!  The downside is it has a little bit slower processor 2.0 GHz versus the MBP's 2.2 GHZ on the $2200 model but is the same speed as the $1800 unit  This G74SX is very modular and different store fronts have different configurations.  TigerDirect has the same base unit but for $1500 you get 12 GB installed memory the same GTX 560M GPU plus a full HD  17" (1920 x 1080) screen but only one installed disk drive, with room for a second and the.same 2.0 GHz processor. Newegg also offers a unit at $1750 with some additional features. These systems can be upgraded but you will have to do it or take it to a laptop specialist


          If you want a fully configured system from a premier video editing system house ADK is your best choice.  You can also get a good video editing laptop based on units like the ASUS G74SX from custom configuration houses like XoticPC and AVADirect if you know what to specify,

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: MacBook Pro VS. Desktop Workstation: Positives & Negatives
            flyingfish4 Level 1

            Man, thanks a lot, Bill.  I looked at Best Buy and sure enough, it's $1099.  It doesn't have a firewire port and no expansion slot, though.  I use a Canon HV20 HDV camcorder and it interfaces via Firewire.  But maybe some other models or stores you mentioned might have that, I'll check.  Also, the nVidia GTX 560M isn't included on Adobe's list of Mercury Playback Engine cards - here's the site: http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/tech-specs.html


            I like being able to shoot live into the computer via firewire.  I can control record and stop on the camera via my keyboard, and then review the clip on the computer without ever having to touch the camera.  Do you know if the newer file-based cams would allow me to shoot live into the computer as well?


            Do you ever use a laptop to edit?  If so, which one do you use?  I really apreciate letting me know this stuff is available.

            • 3. Re: MacBook Pro VS. Desktop Workstation: Positives & Negatives
              Frédéric Segard Level 2

              I assume you want mobility, and not be hindered lugging around HDDs?


              1. Never partition a hard drive.


              2. It's a good idea to offload completed projects to an external drive anyway.


              3. Having a firewire800 HDD is a good idea. Depends on the laptop HDD config, and depends on the mobility you want to have. Thunderbolt will be kick *** for sure, with mini RAID.


              4. Again, if you have mobility in mind, lugging around a RAID box is probably not the most elegant solution. Since you run with HDV, having speedy dual HDD internal drive setup should give you what you need.


              5. More RAM the better. 500GB is more then enough for the type of projects you described. And if you offload old projects regularly, then you'll never run out of space. On a dual HDD capable laptop, getting a SSD for boot/app/pagefile and (probably cache) might be good idea, and the rest on the 500GB 7200 drive.


              6. Since you're adamant about having a laptop, there are many PC laptops that are far more powerful and less expensive then a Mac. You can even put 2, and some time 3 hard drives in a single laptop.... but that may drive the price up a bit. But I recon, you can configure a nifty and speedy laptop for a nice price...with money to spare compared to a Mac. Look it up, there have been many discussion threads on the subject already. As an example, Asus makes a nice laptop (in it's Republic of Gamers series) with a GTX GPU and dual hard drive setup.


              7. You will not get any MPE advantage with any Apple products (except for an expensive MacPro, and then, for the price, your not getting the king of speed either). I'm switching from Mac to PC for many reasons, MPE is a big one. Besides, a big selling point of PremierePro is MPE. I personally feel there is no point in getting a Mac for CS5.5.


              8. Resumed above, I should think.

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              • 4. Re: MacBook Pro VS. Desktop Workstation: Positives & Negatives
                flyingfish4 Level 1

                Thanks Frederic.   It's really good to know about all these high-end laptops.  I had no idea they existed.  For the same money as a MacBook Pro, I can get some real advantages.  More learning upcoming.

                • 5. Re: MacBook Pro VS. Desktop Workstation: Positives & Negatives
                  Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP



                  You do not need an Adobe "approved" nVidia card to get the advantages of MPE.  It only requires a CUDA card with 1 GB of video RAM.  Since that GTX 560M has 3 GB of video RAM it will work fine.  All you have to do is modify an Adobe txt file to make it work.


                  Your need for Firewire is a problem with this unit.  The custom notebooks at ADK do have Firewire.


                  My recent investments have been desktop units.  If you would like to see what is being used for editing Premiere Pro look at our Premiere Pro BenchMark (PPBM5) website and under "Computer Type" sort the 400+ results on "Laptops".  Be aware that the best performing laptop on that list is the Kobalt G170 which is an overseas model.  The reason that it is not at the top of that list is the difference in versions of Adobe Premiere Pro.  Adobe changed the memory caching in CS5.5 and the score for the MPEG2-DVD is now 2 to 3 times higher with CS5.5 than it was with 5.0.3.  This does not mean that CS5.5 is slower in normal use it just is slower with our specific benchmark structure which of course we could not anticipate when we originally developed it for CS5.0.x.  The Kobalt machine is architecturally very similar to the ADK 8600 i7


                  To be able to shoot live to the computer, one way is to have a camera with SDI output but that would require a desktop computer with an SDI interface board and fast RAID to handle the raw uncompressed data rate, there is no control of the camera..