11 core i7 or 13 core i5 for video editing?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by cucullin, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. cucullin macrumors newbie

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    Aug 23, 2011
    #1
    Hi all,

    I've tried asking Apple this question, but its like talking to a wall. I just keep getting the same basic answer. I'll be hopefully traveling/emigrating to Australia to live for a year or maybe two. I want to get a macbook air for the lightness of them. However, I like to do video editing as a serious hobby for my Youtube channel. Therefore, I'm trying to decide whether or not to get the Macbook Air 11inch core i7 1.8ghz model OR the Macbook Air 13inch core i5 1.7ghz model for video editing. Both are similarly priced and on budget for me.

    I want to get Final Cut Pro X as an upgrade from Power Director 9 that I have been using for a while on Windows. I would use and have used iMovie 11 but the quality of the export was very noisy in the dark areas of the finished product. That plus all my files are 1080p AVCHD from my camera. I simply want something that can do 1080p video editing for 10 minute projects and obviously they need to be smooth.

    Its definitely one or the other for me. The Macbook Pro as Apple keeps trying to force on me is too heavy and expensive for my needs. €1200 for me is more than enough to be spending on a computer. I currently have the Macbook Air 11inch core i7 and it did do a 10 minute clip in 1080p with plenty of transition effects with iMovie. It ran perfectly without glitches, but again I found the quality and restricts of iMovie to be substandard for me. This did give me confidence that the Air could video edit no problems though. However, I did see a video of a guy with a 13inch MBA core i5 1.7ghz and he only managed 5 minutes of video before it got sluggish. No idea why though and he wont respond to my comments. I have a feeling it could be ram related or maybe his core i5 was very hot and not performing well or maybe he had many programs open. No idea. Tests from independant sources have shown only a 7% difference in the core i7 and i5 on the 13s so its hard to know what to believe.

    Has anyone tried full hd video editing on the 2011 MBA's with final cut pro? How long of a video did you make?

    Just to add, the only reason I want to change to the 13 over the 11 is I think as a main computer (which this will become) the 11inch is slightly too small and the battery life is suppose to be 2 hours more than the 11inch. Its also nice to have more screen space when editing. I've only been getting about 3 hours from my current macbook 11ich corei7 so I wonder if theres much of a real difference.

    Cheers in advance for the helpful comments!!
     
  2. misterneums macrumors 6502

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    Nov 2, 2009
    #2

    Statement: I haven't done any video editing at all, however I do lurk enough on these forums to see most of the forum posts.

    That being said, your'e going to have about a 8-10% performance dip by switching from the 1.8 i7 to the 1.7 i5. I'm sure you already know this. It also seems that you saw the thread in which another forum user was having issues with full 1080p editing. I'm assuming it is because he ran out of memory--it does happen to the best of us. Several times, I have personally ran my memory down to almost nothing, using Lightroom in conjunction with CS5 (granted: it was doing photomerges for pano's, but still.)

    In terms of battery life-- I've gotten a solid 6+ hours when I'm being careful with my battery (Wifi on, no bluetooth, 4 bars screen, backlight off.) I probably could have gotten more, but I was back home.

    I wish I could be of more help, but I haven't gotten into the video editing thing yet!
     
  3. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Sunny Florida
    #3
    Depends on how serious of a hobby, the Air is not really designed to be a video editing powerhouse.

    You will want to go with the fastest processor and the most memory you can afford regardless of which model you choose. So if you stick with the Air, i7 and 4GB of RAM. :D
     
  4. cucullin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 23, 2011
    #4
    No I havent seen the other thread. Just a video from Youtube where a guy was discussing the core i5.


    My videos are relatively basic, but I'm getting more creative. Its basically a load of video clips using different transitions, titles, music, voice overs and sometimes two videos on the same screen kinda of effect. I'm not a pro. I'm just an enthusiast.
     
  5. KPOM macrumors G5

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #5
    If it runs OK on your 1.8GHz i7, I wouldn't expect it to be much different on the 1.7GHz i5. The only differences between the two are that the i5 turbo boosts to 2.4GHz (dual core) and 2.7GHz (single core) vs. the i7's 2.6GHz/2.9GHz, and that the i7 has 4MB level 3 cache vs. 3MB.
     
  6. blunti macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 15, 2011
    #6
    The proper term for that is PiP effect, aka Picture in Picture :)

    Make sure you have enough memory and a fast HDD if you want to do 1080 editing!
     
  7. cucullin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 23, 2011
    #7
    I havent tried 1080p video editing Final Cut Pro X on the core i7 11inch. I've only tried it with iMovie so maybe if I can find the difference at least in terms of ram use between both programs I might get a better idea.

    The back of my camera box suggests a minimum of 2.4ghz Core 2 Duo when editing 1080p AVCHD files. Since the Core i5 1.7ghz turbo boosts to 2.4ghz and the Sandybridge is better than the old Core 2 duos I reckon it should be ok. However, whats great on paper is not always the case in reality.

    I know the Core i7 has SMART cache as well which looks impressive but does this affect the video card? I suppose it might considering they are tied to each other. I dont know much about cache other than its used as really quick RAM. Tests from some websites show the core i7 has up to 11.8% difference on high end processing. However, is this even likely to effect me in terms of smoothness when doing video editing? I'm not so sure. I've also learnt today about thermal processing power and how the processor slows down anyway once hot. One thing I can vouch for on the 11inch is it does get hot but not while video editing so much. However, because final cut pro x renders while editing this may come into play. I believe the 13inch handles the heat displacement better and would therefore keep the processor running at full speed for longer at least.
     
  8. Titanium81 macrumors 6502a

    Titanium81

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    Jun 23, 2011
    #8
    Your looking at the wrong machines IF you want to do serious video editing.

    Get a 13" MacBook Pro, it will have a lot more power!
     
  9. cucullin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 23, 2011
    #9
    You dont work for Apple by any chance? lol ;)

    No I'm not after a power rig as I need something practical for travel use. Once I settle down somewhere I'll get something more appropriate. It just needs to do 10 minute 1080p projects smoothly. Nothing more. They're just travel related videos for my Youtube channel. However, I do want to use Final Cut Pro X.
     
  10. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    Sunny Florida
    #10
    Then the Air will work fine. I would recommend getting the i7. Despite what many say here, it is faster, and for video editing every little bit counts. Good luck! :D
     
  11. Titanium81 macrumors 6502a

    Titanium81

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    Jun 23, 2011
    #11
    No, I'm just giving you the heads up. No matter how nice the MacBook Air looks (I like it also :) ), it just can't compete with the MBP while doing CPU intensive tasks like rendering 1080p video. The difference in time could be 30-40Minutes for the MBA for the same video.


    There is also the Color Gamut issue:

    MacBook Airs show 45% of available colors

    vs.

    MacBook Pros show 75% of available colors


    But yes the small form factor, ssd, and high res screen of the MBA is nice.

    In the end it is your choice, I was just letting you know the Pro's(no pun intended) and Cons.
     
  12. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #12
    It would be helpful if you could provide a little bit more information on the context of this comparison, as the difference could also be 2 hours if you are doing a 24 hour long video...,. :apple:
     
  13. dennya macrumors regular

    dennya

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    Seattle-ish
    #13
    I fully understand why you want to go Air instead of Pro, and you understand the compromises, so no need to warn you there.

    If it was me, I'd go for the 13" purely because of the screen real-estate issue. The smaller screen is going to feel cramped for video editing because your thumbnails will be that much smaller, and you have way fewer vertical pixels for displaying the editing tools and timeline.

    The smaller i7 will render about 7-10% faster, but for 10-minute projects, that's not a huge concern. Doesn't seem worth the screen real-estate and battery life tradeoffs. (Particularly if any of your video editing will be on battery, because you'll see the "7 hours" you get from web browsing cut to well below 3 hours even on the 13" with processor-intenstive stuff like editing/rendering.)
     
  14. IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

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    Feb 21, 2011
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    Michigan
    #14
    I rendered a 4:10 iMovie project on my i5 1080P, it took about 50 minutes. It was over 2 hours to do it on my 2007 C2D iMac.

    If you are serious about video editing I would go QUAD CORE.....
     
  15. Titanium81 macrumors 6502a

    Titanium81

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    #15
    Yeah, what he said ^
     
  16. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #16
    Is it me, or am I missing something here? :confused:
     
  17. Arni99 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 26, 2011
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    Vienna, AUSTRIA
    #17
    Neither FCPX nor iMovie '11 are capable of importing 1080p.
    1080i import OK.
    Hope the next updates will fix this issue.
     
  18. cucullin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 23, 2011
    #18
    :eek: What about 60fps video? I know iMovie cant but surely FCPX can!?

    The Core i5 and i7 are both technically quad cores. The hyper threading gives them two fake cores which act like real cores. I would go for a more powerful mac but I want the Macbook Air for various reasons. I'm just trying to figure out which would be better for video editing.

    BTW someone mentioned battery life. I probably wont be editing while on battery power or at least I'd rather not because I'm sure it would eat into the processor. However, its nice to have for other things I do such as watch movies etc. The main consideration for getting the 13 core i5 for me is the extra screen real estate and I've heard they handle the heat a bit better than the 11inch model.
     
  19. IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

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    Michigan
    #19
    So if your saying the MBA are technically Quad core then the Pro's are 8 core.

    So if you are serious about video editing then go 8 CORE!

    But if you are like me and only do a dozen or so family videos a year, does it really matter if it takes an hour or 2 versus a half hour. :)
     
  20. KPOM macrumors G5

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #20
    Technically, they are dual core. The two fake cores make them appear to the OS that they have 4 cores, but there are only 2 cores processing actual instructions at any time. Hyper-threading yields maybe a 15% advantage per core since it allows each core to handle some processing tasks with one instruction when it otherwise would be idle with another.
     
  21. cucullin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 23, 2011
    #21
    Just did a 1080p movie export from iMovie to see how long it would take. The project was 4:09 long with a few transitions and stuff (similar to yours). It took 17 minutes with the core i7 1.8ghz (using all default settings). However, the MagicanPaster app I use to read the cpu and temperatures showed it was only using 60-70% of the processing power. The temperature showed up as 85 degrees celcius and the fan was running.
     
  22. IngerMan, Aug 23, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011

    IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

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    #22

    My video project was probably a little different then yours. I took 50 jpeg pictures and dragged them into a NEW PROJECT, No Theme. It was only 175MB of pictures but they were JPEG not MOV. This I am sure added to the video rendering. But I did the same thing on C2D and i5

    This is a trick I learned in order to use the trailers in iMovie with only pictures. I do as stated in above. Then Export the project to desktop, then import the project back as a new event. I then can start a theme trailer and use clips from the 50 pictures I just made new event into a movie trailer.

    And yes to finalize the themed iMovie trailer only took a matter of minutes. I do not remember how many but if I had to guess it was about 12 or so.
     
  23. KPOM macrumors G5

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #23
    The Sandy Bridge i5 also has smart cache. The i7 just has an extra 1MB of it. It is shared by the CPU and the GPU. It really is just RAM that operates at the same speed as the CPU, and comes in handy when the processor is fully active, but the extra 1MB won't make or break things.

    Think of a 1.7GHz i5 as being roughly comparable to a 3.5 GHz Core 2 Duo. Even before the Turbo Boost, the i5 can process more per clock cycle than the Core 2 Duo because Intel improved the internal architecture of the processor.
     
  24. cucullin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 23, 2011
    #24
    Very interesting indeed. I have a Core 2 Duo 3.0ghz on my desktop windows pc and its able to edit in full 1080p with Cyberlink PowerDirector 9 64bit edition no problems at all. It does take an age to render things though.
     
  25. cucullin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 23, 2011
    #25
    Anyone with the MBA 13inch 1.7ghz base model have an opinion on this??

    Cheers
     

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