Base 13" v Base 15" for video editing

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by palinurus, May 31, 2011.

  1. palinurus macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2011
    Hi - I'm a first time MacBook Pro buyer trying to decide between the base 13" and the base 15" (the reason the high-end 13" has been discounted is that if the base 13" can't handle my needs, I think the jump has to be to the base 15" but perhaps I'm wrong!). I've read hundreds of threads on this topic which have answered most of my questions but I still have a one remaining and I wondered if anyone could let me know their thoughts.

    My MBP will be my main computer (I have an iPad as well) and I will use it as follows: file storage (photos, music, video etc.), photo editing in Photoshop (very, very light use) and, the main concern, video editing in iMovie and potentially Final Cut Pro in the future. Movie editing is not my line of work, it is just a hobby at the moment, although I would like to take it further. I have previously created hour-long videos of holidays, events etc. and have a couple of projects I'd like to undertake that would be of a similar length. On my previous laptop, the projects became unwatchable in the program I was using due to the footage being HD and the length of the project - they were very choppy and out-of-synch with the sound. My question is, will the base 13" MBP be able to handle projects of around 60 mins in length using HD footage smoothly and without the problems I experienced on my old laptop.

    I know that the base 15" will be much more suited to this type of use. However, a lot of the threads in this forum talk about the average user needing nowhere near the amount of processing power this range offers - if the base 13" can handle my needs fine, it would save me £500 (half the cost of the 13" MBP!) which perhaps could be better spent on a higher-spec laptop 2-3 years down the line when my video-editing needs may be greater.

    Many thanks in advance for any guidance you can provide.
  2. Mac-key macrumors 6502a

    Apr 1, 2010
    I do quite a bit of video editing using the full Final Cut Suite, and I do this with an 09 13 inch MBP (see signature). My work is professional, meaning I do all the video production work for our non-profit. Budget issues are the reason I still use this machine, BUT it handles the workload just fine. Could it be faster? you bet, but it does the job.

    So with that said, a 2011 base 13 would more than handle imovie or a little dabbling in Final Cut.

    Also, all my footage is shoot in 1080 with a Canon Rebel t2i
  3. palinurus thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2011
    Thanks very much for your help Mac-key - I just wanted to ensure it could handle projects of at least an hour in length without any lagging during playback. Sounds like the 2011 base 13" would be more than enough for me, perfect!
  4. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I use a 2+ year old aluminum 13" MacBook to edit 2-3 hours per week of video during the school year (my lectures). This is using iMovie. It works just fine, since the final export I do "in the background" while doing other things. The export runs about 1/2 real time but probably would be much faster on a new machine.

    As far as I've been able to determine, iMovie internally processes video at 1/2 1080p resolution (960x540) which keeps its speed up (since it renders for preview on the fly) but also means the output quality isn't up to snuff. I'll probably be looking at FCPX this summer.
  5. mrwonkers macrumors 6502


    Oct 31, 2004
    If you want to edit "full hd" go for the 15", the 13" will poop itself with its integrated graphics - sure it well get the job done, but it will be annoyingly sloooow.....
  6. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    I've done large 1080p projects on a 13" and it worked fine but the final renders took forever. Literally, forever.

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