Final Cut Studio - iMac V Macbook Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Willis, May 4, 2008.

  1. Willis macrumors 68020


    Apr 23, 2006
    Beds, UK
    Right heres the deal.

    I plan on going to Uni to do Media Production and if I do any editing out of Uni time, access to facilities may be limited (not sure yet, will find out shortly) however, dreaming of editing on my Macbook is pretty much a no go as I use FCS2 and I do use Motion and Colour.. hopefully more than I do now in the coming months.

    Anyway, when I go, I cant take the MacPro for reasons not worth going into (which is what I edit on now) so I would like to have a machine that is capable of doing what I require. Here's what I had in mind. Using todays specs.

    Keeping Macbook, buying 3Ghz iMac, 4Gb (3rd), 750GB. I already have a 320GB external and will probably add to that anyway if required.

    Selling Macbook, Buying 17" MBP, upgrade to 2.6Ghz, 4Gb (3rd), stock HDD, Hi-Res Matte.

    Now, current retail pricing (excluding ram upgrades and Edu discount) stacks up like this

    iMac £1449.01
    Macbook Pro £2018.99

    That is a considerable amount of a money £519.98 to choose between.

    Of course, I could throw that all up buy saying I will buy refurbs, or a refurb MacPro! (similar spec as to what I have now) and just get a screen along with my Macbook.

    However... out of the two, which would suit me better. I still need portability, which, if I go the iMac route, I get to keep my Macbook. However with the Macbook Pro, I can regain extra money spent by selling my Macbook.

    I know the iMac would run better, but when you look at the situation I present, which wins?

    :( I'm so confused.
  2. xrayzed macrumors member


    May 22, 2005
    This, unfortunately, is one of those "it depends" kind of questions. I went through a similar process two-three years ago. I feel your pain.

    I ended up deciding portability was important for non-editing related reasons, and went with the 14" iBook. I haven't used Motion or Color so I can't comment on those, but I run FCS2 on it, and fortunately it works fine.

    Now the catch is most of my editing is simple cuts, fades, etc. Once I start adding filters or trying to add tricky effects it starts to chew up the cycles. If you're studying Media Production I'd guess that you'll be doing some of the more demanding stuff more frequently than I do, and to a much higher standard.

    Of course the current Macbook has significantly more grunt than my iBook does. Plus, if you aren't under an urgent deadline there's nothing to say you can't put your effects in place and process them while you take a break for a bite to eat or a cuppa.

    Also note that getting colours right is trickier - the stuff I do isn't broadcast-quality, and colour correcting on a portable LCD is less than optimal. I believe the 20" isn't perfect either (the 24" is the way to go if you are working in HD, although if money is an issue...), but it's certainly better. If you have access to a broadcast-quality monitor you can hook that up to your Macbook, of course.

    Another other question with portable editing is file sizes. Most of the time I'm editing I'm using the iBook as a desktop, hooked up to an external drive, because the iBook HD isn't big enough for my files.

    Now for me, overall I'm glad I went the way I did. (Not that that's stopping me from upgrading to the latest 24" iMac in September (my wife's promised it to me as a birthday present), which will then become my edit machine; while I'll keep my iBook for writing purposes. But I digress).

    The tradeoffs certainly suited my needs. I would think that the improved power of the Macbook would probably be sufficient, especially if you have access to a quality monitor for finessing the final work.

    Hope this helps.
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Hard drive performance on the 3.5" iMac drive is going to be significantly better than on the 2.5" MacBook Pro drive even if they are both 7200 RPM
  4. Willis thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 23, 2006
    Beds, UK
    Thank you for your response. On the course, it includes drama and documentary production, TV and short films, advertising and radio broadcast as the main topics. So, not knowing really what I may be doing for a project, I'm looking to have the most practical of machines which doesn't take 2 days to render. The only reason I opted out of using my Macbook to edit is because Motion and Colour don't support integrated graphics, which is a shame really.

    Now, any machine I buy, I intend to have for around 5-6 years if not more. (3 years for my degree, 4 if I do a masters) So it should earn its keep. May keep even longer, you just don't know what maybe around the corner.

    Naturally, if the iMac's recieve quad's by the end of 2009, then I think I know what I'd be getting. The only down side is that glossy screen. So, to compensate, I looked at the Macbook Pro with the Hi-Res screen as it gives me the same amount of pixels as a 23" HD ACD, which is what I have now. See, there was logic in this madness!

    I would be using an external anyway for all my source files, I do that now anyway. Only exception is that I have a scratch disc on the MacPro where I wouldn't necessarily have with these other two options. Also noted before, money isn't much of a big issue, I'm in a position where if I require it, 9/10 I should be able to get it provided it isn't OTT. Thats why I've tried to keep getting a MacPro out. I feel it will be overkill, even if its the same generation as the one we have already. (Quad 2.66ghz)

    Now, I've thought about this. I much prefer to have more battery life if I'm portable, so I didnt opt for a 7200 drive. However, I'm interested in knowing the battery life of a MBP with a 7200 and one with a 5400 drive. If its a matter of 10-15 mins, I will swing that, more than 20, then... kind of a no go. 20 mins can be crucial writing time!

    If I knew I wouldnt be using Motion or Colour, I would just get FCE along with my Macbook! Grr!

    Thanks again :)
  5. Willis thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 23, 2006
    Beds, UK
    Sorry to drag up an old(ish) thread... but this has been going through my mind again. I know updates are around the corner and it got me thinking.

    Anyone else with some advice or suggestions?

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