2009 MBP, add RAM or buy newer MBP?

hitek79

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 11, 2011
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I have an early 2009 MBP 2.5ghz i5 with 4g of RAM. It gets overloaded when I'm using FCPX. Would adding RAM and a FW800 drive improve things dramatically, or should I pass this laptop down to my wife and get something with a i7 chip and Thunderbolt?

If buying newer, there's a 2011 i7 2.4 refurb. Think this would get me by? I would probably still add RAM to that it looks like, as 4g is all it comes with.
 
Nov 28, 2010
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You have a 2010 MBP if it has an i5 CPU. 2009 MBPs have C2D CPUs.

As for FCP X, what kind of footage (resolution, codec, format) do you use, do you let FCP X optimize it in the background (being transcoded to a ProRes codec?

As for RAM, 8 GB is the maximum.

As for an external HDD, it is always recommended to do so when editing video, FW800 would be the best choice.

I could edit 1080p footage on a 2009 MBP quite fine, once it was properly transcoded.

Video Compression
Why It Matters & How To Make The Most Of It

 

hitek79

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 11, 2011
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You're right, it is 2010. I bought it that year, as a refurb, and assumed it was a previous years model.

Footage is all over the place.

Canon 5D2/7D, so 1080p H.264

GoPro and Drift HD 1080p. No idea what codec those little guys even use.

Panasonic Lumix 720p AVCHD lite.

Sometimes I'm just making small clips of the baby to send to grandparents, all the way up to bigger productions for hour long training videos. Usually the bigger projects I'm doing on my MacPro, but sometimes I just want to sit on the couch with the family and knock out some smaller sections on my laptop without it killing the computer.

I always optimize, and sometimes even proxy, but I really haven't found that the proxy footage is any better as far as bogging everything down.
 

hitek79

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 11, 2011
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Yeah, that's kind of the thing. I know if I spent enough money, I could make the current computer better, but I don't want to throw away a bunch of money that's only going to be a mid level fix.
 

habubauza

macrumors regular
Aug 1, 2008
106
0
I had a 2009 MBP and I edited regularly on FCPX with no problems whatsoever. It had a C2D processor (2.8) and was upgraded with 8 GB of RAM. The only thing that was slow, was rendering effects, which it did with no problem, just slow. My girlfriends 2012 i5 Macbook Air ran rings around it though! But it was definitely usable.

I just upgraded to a late 2011 MBP with a 2.5 GHz i7 Quad and I'm upgrading the RAM to 16GB. I wanted the rMBP, but configuring it to my liking put it out of my price range.
 

Orlandoech

macrumors 68040
Jun 2, 2011
3,339
865
Salt Lake City, UT
Yeah, that's kind of the thing. I know if I spent enough money, I could make the current computer better, but I don't want to throw away a bunch of money that's only going to be a mid level fix.
Samsung 830 SSD or Corsair Force GT SSD and 8GB RAM will do wonders and put you at around $260.

Or upgrade to a new 2012 or refurb 2011 but it will still have a slow HDD, but faster CPU.
 

lambertjohn

macrumors 65816
Jun 17, 2012
1,113
1,086
Make yourself happy and esp. make your wife happy! Buy a new Mac.
And who's going to foot the bill for his new $1700 to $2700 Macbook. spend $45 for 8 GB of RAM and $100 for a Crucial 128GB SSD hard drive, and you're golden. Throw in an external 500GB hard drive for $70 and you're even more golden. Use the money you saved by NOT buying that new Macbook Pro and take a cruise around the world. You can thank me later.
 

EwanMcTeagle

macrumors 6502
Mar 26, 2012
260
43
Lodz, Poland
And who's going to foot the bill for his new $1700 to $2700 Macbook. spend $45 for 8 GB of RAM and $100 for a Crucial 128GB SSD hard drive, and you're golden. Throw in an external 500GB hard drive for $70 and you're even more golden. Use the money you saved by NOT buying that new Macbook Pro and take a cruise around the world. You can thank me later.
Agreed. SSD and additional RAM make wonders. No need buying a new machine - unless you really want to:)
 

Irock619

macrumors 68000
Sep 16, 2011
1,771
270
San Francisco, CA
I upgraded my 2011 with an SSD and 8gb ram and all I can say is wow! Major improvements all around. My 2011 is only 2.0 ghz and it is plenty fast.