A query for editors & animators - new macbook pro or imac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by lehestro, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. lehestro macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2009
    Sorry, this is a bit of a long post, but having tried to find the answers myself, I need help.

    I am a freelance video editor/motion graphics animator. I was recently relieved of my 1st generation macbook pro (tear!) so I need a new work machine. Times being what they are I'm trying my best to spend my money wisely. What I can't decide is - would it be better to get a new, high end Imac for heavy duty work + a baseline macbook for mobile work, or a beefed up macbook pro + monitor?

    Through a weird combination of a hookup at apple and the financing plan, the price would be manageable (and by that I mean still so very high. ah apple...) for either option (though ultimately cheaper for the MBP+monitor).

    I know I need a laptop. I have to have mobility. I would do heavy graphics on my old MBP, but I really put it through the ringer. Lots of dropped frames in FCP playback, long render times in AE, etc. though manageable. But I was thinking maybe the new MBPs would be advanced enough to feel more like a desktop so I was leaning towards the MBP + monitor. Certainly the cost of them has me wanting a pretty major boost (plus it's been 3 years since I bought my old one). But then I started reading about how crumby the 9600m graphics card is (how it hasn't really progressed much over the 8600M of 2007, which is why the benchmarks on apple's website compare the 9600 to the 9400 and not the 8600).

    So I started leaning towards the Imac+macbook. But then I started thinking about how I really need the expansion slot on the MBP to run eSata and FW400 hookups. I also started thinking about if I did need to do mobile editing/animating, will the macbook hold up?

    But then I also had questions about the mini display port - all things "mini" seem to come at a quality price. Are all digital monitor connections equal? Because color accuracy is a major concern of mine

    So I'm asking - are the new MBPs up to snuff for video work? Who is satisfied, and who is not and why? Is there a reason to distrust the mini display port? Is the imac, which uses a lot of mobile (read: inferior) parts anyway, that much different?

    Sorry for the lengthy post. Hopefully a definitive consensus comes for other people who i know are facing this predicament which will justify the length. It's such a balancing act between performance, cost, and necessity. I'd really appreciate your thoughts!
  2. JasonA macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2009
    I do a lot of work in Final Cut Studio. I just upgraded from a dual 1.8 G5 to a 2.4 Ghz unibody MBP and use it with a 24" Dell monitor and couldn't be happier. I get the best of both worlds, as a desktop system with a large screen, plus the portability. I don't think there's any reason to be suspect of minidisplay port for color accuracy. If you need portability and eSATA, definitely go for the MBP.
  3. lehestro thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2009
    Thanks for the advice Jason. Do you happen to work in HD much?
  4. polterdice macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Currently I'm a student in digital design and editing. Hopefully my insight will help.

    First, I think you might be over thinking it.

    Referring to the part I labeled as "1", it's obvious you need(or greatly want) a laptop. Part 2 states you need the slots on a MBP (and I agree, no firewire on the MacBook?).

    To answer the question in part 3, I'd say yes and no. You mentioned HD editing, which could be difficult on a MacBook. But you might get around it by editing with offline files and finishing your master copy with online files on an iMac. In other words, there's many different ways of doing things with different resources, just some ways are quicker.

    Part 4 I have no direct answer since I have yet to verify; I took it as another hoop we had to jump through for multiple displays, not a loss in quality.

    In my opinion, I would choose the MBP+monitor over MB+iMac if you plan to touch HD video. Otherwise I think you'll find that your greatest use of the MB will be as an external hard drive (might as well buy a Mac Pro with an external HD). The wife has a MacBook... for sending emails, creating documents, and watching media it works great, but I wouldn't want to edit on it.

    Good luck!
  5. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    I've edited Standard Def on my first-gen MacBook, and it doesn't break a sweat. Now, I'm not doing anything with lots of video and/or audio tracks, just relatively basic stuff, but the new MacBook with 4GB of RAM should be able to handle most editing tasks... in SD, anyway. I don't have experience with HD to comment. :/

    If you wind up going with an iMac + MacBook, don't discount the white MacBook. It has the same processor and graphics chip as the unibody one, is cheaper, and has Firewire. Still not eSATA, though.

    However, I would probably go MacBook Pro + Monitor. I think you'll be happy with that setup.
  6. JasonA macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2009
    I don't do a lot of work in HD, but from what I've read, all you'd need is an external G-Raid portable raid hooked up over firewire 800 to have a good portable HD editing setup. The specs of the MBP are up to the task.
  7. lehestro thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2009
    You guys are rad. Thanks so much for the advice.

    I researched mini displayports as well in the meantime. It seems they actually provide some benefits to DVI (although nitpicky ones that most end users wouldn't care about). It's an open standard supported by most major computer parts makers. The only thing is that it isn't widely in use yet.

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