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Henry Truitt Harshaw

MacBook Specs for Editing

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I'm getting a MacBook Pro (desktop is better for editing obv but isn't practical) and I'm wondering what kind of specs I should get. I understand basic hardware stuff but I'm far from an expert

 

From a video editing perspective (DaVinci, AVID, and/or Premier):

 

For GPU, is the upgrade from Radeon Pro 560X to Pro Vega 20 worth $350?

 

Is 2.6GHz to 2.9GHz worth $350?

 

Is 16GB enough RAM or do I need 32 ($400 extra)

 

Thanks in advance. Love to hear from more proficient editors.

 

-HTH

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Hi Henry,

 

My MBP retina is from mid 2015 and has 2,8 Ghz, i7 with 16 GB 1600 Mhz DDR3 and an Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB and AMD Radeon R9 M370X 2048 MB graphic cards (for switching).

 

I can edit most of the things I need to (including RAW files from RED, ARRI, Blackmagic, etc. without problems, up to 5K without problems and very comfortably.

 

However, it all depends on the files. Editing GH5 footage straight from the camera is much more difficult, because of the codec being used.

 

It really depends on what you want/have to do with it. What will you edit?

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I would be wary getting one of the current MBP for editing (I have a 2015 and a 2017). The 2017 one is frustrating that you pretty much need a dongle to plug anything in.

 

The 2015 has an SD slot, HDMI, thunderbolt and standard USB.

 

WIth the new mac (2017) - i need an adapter for even a pen drive/USB stick. Gets annoying fast and when your editing you going to be presented with different external hard disks and camera card media all the time. The dongles get expensive. I can't plug my printer,Tv, SD cards or any ext harddisks i own without an adapter.

 

I'm probably going to get a PC next time. If apple continue down this stupid connectivity path

 

I vastly prefer the MBP 2015 for editing, the keyboard is nicer as well. I got 2017 through work and didn't get a choice. But if it was my own money I'd either be looking for a well specc'd 2015 second hand or abandon apple

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I read somewhere recently that post production generally is moving over to PC. I don't know how true that is.

It seems like apple are working to put off the Pro user. FCP isn't really the force it was - so no reason to get an apple. Creative Suite, Avid and Resolve all run on the PC. So no reason to own a mac anymore

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I am frustrated by the widely-made assumption that an Apple laptop is the right solution for everything.

 

Apple do not offer the best available hardware and they massively overcharge for what they do offer. At risk of self-promotion, see this article where I make it very clear just what a horrifically bad deal Apple laptops are. I also offer some much better alternatives.

 

A machine from almost anyone else will be a vastly better bet.

 

P

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The one piece of wisdom I can share is that video RAM is becoming more important for some editing and compositing programs so make sure the video card has enough. The minimum used to be 2GB but lately i've seen suggestions that you need at least 4GB of video ram.

Start by checking the recommended specs from whichever software you plan to use—they will get you to the right ballpark at least. This is only my experience but I followed Blackmagic's recommendations when I bought a computer to run Resolve and it really narrowed down the number of decisions I had to make.

As for Mac vs. PC, I've always just used whatever my clients use. They're the ones who pay me. Hopefully others will have more logical reasons for picking one over the other, but that's my reasoning.

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video RAM is becoming more important for some editing and compositing programs so make sure the video card has enough

 

Very true, at least in some quite common circumstances.

 

For the sake of full understanding, the typical example is something like the denoiser in Resolve, which works between frames and therefore needs to store, potentially, a lot of frames in video RAM. The same will go for very large multilayer composites, but I would suspect that under most circumstances you will run out of disk speed to read all the streams before you run out of video RAM.

 

Naturally this scales with the square of the resolution; an 8K frame is four times the data of a 4K frame, so RAM demands can skyrocket quite quickly. The difficulty is that the only nvidia boards with lots and lots of RAM are the Quadro series, which are extremely expensive and otherwise offer nothing that helps film and TV applications. There's no reason to spend Quadro money unless you are running applications which specifically demand them. One upside is that the non-Quadro Nvidia 10x0 series has 8GB options at a reasonable price, which is quite a lot.

 

P

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I am frustrated by the widely-made assumption that an Apple laptop is the right solution for everything.

 

Apple do not offer the best available hardware and they massively overcharge for what they do offer. At risk of self-promotion, see this article where I make it very clear just what a horrifically bad deal Apple laptops are. I also offer some much better alternatives.

 

A machine from almost anyone else will be a vastly better bet.

 

P

The mac pc debate often ends with someone saying that if they have a problem with their Apple computer, they know where to go.

 

The fact that Apple has actual brick and mortar stores with friendly staff who usually know the products pretty well might be the biggest selling point.

 

The most ardent PC users have to admit that sales and service on a PC is pretty awful. Plus the only Mac equivalent P.C.'s have to be custom designed and ordered in most cases and can't be bought off the shelf. You'll also have trouble finding anyone local to work on the machine if you do have a hardware problem.

 

Then of course if there's trouble with your Windows O.S. yeah, try getting Windows staff on the phone. See how that turns out.

 

With a problematic PC, the only hope is to search youtube for DIY solutions from hackers and geeks for problem solving. Personally, I like when I have to do that as it's a fun challenge to solve. Most people however would prefer to have a local team of experts solve it.

Edited by Michael LaVoie

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Plus the only Mac equivalent P.C.'s have to be custom designed and ordered in most cases and can't be bought off the shelf. You'll also have trouble finding anyone local to work on the machine if you do have a hardware problem.

 

Then of course if there's trouble with your Windows O.S. yeah, try getting Windows staff on the phone. See how that turns out.

 

With a problematic PC, the only hope is to search youtube for DIY solutions from hackers and geeks for problem solving. Personally, I like when I have to do that as it's a fun challenge to solve. Most people however would prefer to have a local team of experts solve it.

 

That's true, to a degree, if you build your own. It's certainly not true if you buy from Dell, Lenovo or HP.

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The fact that Apple has actual brick and mortar stores with friendly staff who usually know the products pretty well might be the biggest selling point.

Thats always been the lowest selling point for me. Going into those weird culty shops - where the staff are just too enthusiastic. Whats all that stuff about clapping and cheering customers?

Your buying a phone, not saving the world.

 

Grumpy PC shop or this:

 

 

I like the way OS-X works and have been a mac user since my G5 tower. But more recently apple have been eroding the reasons to like their products and I'm considering the jump back to PC.

 

However its good to research all options. Computer tribalism isn't needed these days, but I don't think apple is the "default" option it was even 3 years ago.

 

Although, back in the day I was an Atari ST hating Amiga 500 zealot.

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That's true, to a degree, if you build your own. It's certainly not true if you buy from Dell, Lenovo or HP.

 

I've had pretty good support from Dell and replacing the power supply was done in the local computer repair shop. It also helps if you don't mind opening the PCs case and replacing the hard drives etc,yourself.

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