I would like your input Macbook air or 27" iMAC?

ThisIsMe

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 10, 2012
157
0
Amsterdam
I have a 27" iMAC that I'm planing to exchange for a Macbook air. Reason being is because I would really like to have something portable to work with and maybe later on buy a 27" thunderbolt display.

Do you guys think the Macbook air will hold up good for video editing I mainly use screenflow and sometimes FinalCut pro. I will be working with HD footage from my Dslr. I would like to hear your thoughts on this matter.
 

njean777

macrumors 6502
Oct 17, 2009
312
0
Hmm with running final cut I would say get a Pro not an air. Airs are great for really light editing, but I doubt it would be great for large files all the time. I could be wrong as I have never edited movies, but I would think that would take a significant amount of CPU power.

For photography it is great imo. I use aperture and have never had problems, but I dont think it would be great for movie editing.
 

KohPhiPhi

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2011
763
194
I took the same step you did (iMac 27 to MBA 13) and I dont regret it. However, if video editing is a priority for you, I would go for a MBP instead of MBA, unless the next MBA update allows 8gb RAM.
 

Kyllle

macrumors 6502
Apr 25, 2011
290
0
If your job includes a lot of video editing, I would keep the iMac, or at least a MacBook pro (maybe thunderbolt display later), because the MacBook air isn't designed for really heavy tasks. It would probably still work, but would slow you down a bit, which could be a problem or may not be.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,167
1,212
NYC
Get a 15" MacBook Pro for portable video work.

The 13" MacBook Pro isn't much faster than a MacBook Air, and the MacBook Air is quite weak for video work. That is, unless you feel like waiting 5x as long for the work to finish.

Let's put it this way—with same encoding:
1) 2009 Mac Pro 8c 2.66GHz takes 20 minutes;
2) 2011 15" MacBook Pro 4c 2.3GHz takes about an hour;
3) 2011 MacBook Air 2c 1.6GHz takes about 5 hours.

I think the problem is slow CPU and lack of sufficient RAM, with the MacBook Air; and the RAM cannot be upgraded.

Even though my Mac Pro is only slightly faster in terms of CPU power compared to my MacBook Pro, it has more RAM, more cores, and more thermal leeway to run at a faster clock.

The MacBook Pro has double the cores of the MacBook Air; four times the RAM, and again more thermal leeway to run turbo at a faster clock.

All 3 machines use SSDs, so that is not really a bottleneck.
 
Last edited:

MacDarcy

macrumors 65816
Jul 21, 2011
1,011
819
Do you plan to edit video on the road alot? If so...yes. But If you do most of your editing at home, and just want portability to show your work around, definitely keep the iMac... and perhaps think about getting an ipad when on the road. Or get the airbook in addition to your imac down the road if you want more power on the road.

If you do decide to sell your iMAC, i'd do it soon, as Apple is about to update the iMac line shortly. You'll get more $$ for it if you sell it now.

No matter what you decide, i am sure you will be happy since ya can't go wrong with Apple. There are so many combos you can do, and none of them would be wrong:

* iMac as workstation at home and ipad, macbook air or macbook for on the road (depending on power needs while mobile).

* Thunderbolt display and macbook air or macbook pro set up.

Its all good.
 

blesscheese

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2010
694
174
Central CA
I have a 27" iMAC that I'm planing to exchange for a Macbook air. Reason being is because I would really like to have something portable to work with and maybe later on buy a 27" thunderbolt display.

Do you guys think the Macbook air will hold up good for video editing I mainly use screenflow and sometimes FinalCut pro. I will be working with HD footage from my Dslr. I would like to hear your thoughts on this matter.
If you are going to do editing on the road, and only periodically set up at a desktop, I think the MBA would be fine/adequate.

If you are going to consistently do heavy duty video editing, I think the relative lack of RAM in the MBA will be a bottleneck, and slow you down. You would likely be much better off getting a 13" or 15" Pro (whichever you can stick more RAM in) and use that. If you mainly do still photo editing, I think the MBA would be more than adequate.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,277
1,922
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I suppose it all depends on your frame of reference. I have a 15" 2008 MBP with 2.4ghz core 2 duo, 4GB RAM and 160GB 5400 RPM disk. my 13" i5 4GB/256GB MBA runs circles around it for everything I've tried. I am still using Final Cut Pro 6 and only did one quick test. I exported a 140MB XDCAM full HD clip to an 852x480 h.264 clip. It took my old MBP 72 seconds while the MBA did it in 42 sec.

I don't do a lot of video anymore, but am sure the MBA will be more than adequate for my needs. I used an older 24" iMac core 2 duo 3.3ghz with 4GB RAM very extensively for video editing. My MBA also whips that. But I have no doubt that one of the newer iMacs would be faster than my MBA. If I ever get back into extensive video work, I would get another machine to supplement the MBA.

If you can keep enough free space on the SSD for your current video project, you will see a big benefit there. I have over 150GB free on mine, and would consider getting the OWC 480GB SSD if I was doing more video work.
 

jmoore5196

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2009
753
261
Midwest US
I thought I'd weigh in since I have one of each. I own an aging late 2009 2.8GHz QC i7 iMac, a mid-2011 2.0GHz QC i7 MBP and a 2011 i5 11" MBA, which I use for light travel when lugging a full-fledged laptop isn't practical. For what it's worth, I've owned one of every iteration of the MBA since its release.

I'd echo what others have said: The MBA is a wonderful machine, but not well suited to heavy video editing. If that's your main task, buy a MPB instead.

The TBD is an excellent add-on to either the MBA or MBP. When my iMac is ready to shuffle off to another home in about a year, I plan to buy a TBD to replace it, and continue to use my MBP for double duty.
 

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