Mac Pro or MacBook Pro for graphics/film work?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by 2contagious, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. 2contagious macrumors 6502a

    2contagious

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hi,

    I am indecisive about which Mac to finally go for (my last MacBook Pro died in January and I had to use other Macs until now to get my work done). I don't do any gaming on my Macs, only graphics and film work. Software I use are: Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator, etc.

    The way I see it, an iMac is not an option (I don't like working on glossy screens), so I guess I have two options:

    Option 1: MacBook Pro 17", 2.66 GHz Core i7
    8 GB RAM, 500 GB @ 7200RPM HDD, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M 512 MB, Anti-Glare screen
    Around 2100 £ (GBP) with student discount

    Option 2: Mac Pro, 2x 2.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon Westmere (8 cores)
    8 GB RAM, 1 GB HDD, ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB, two 18x SuperDrives
    Around 2500 £ (GBP) with student discount


    Which option would you go for?

    see you,
    2c
     
  2. d88co88 macrumors 6502

    d88co88

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    MN
    #2
    Well, what do you want? If you want portability, go with the MacBook Pro. If you don't care, go for the Mac Pro because it will render film faster and you can leave it on. Not that you can't leave a MacBook Pro on, but a Mac Pro is more convenient for that.
     
  3. 2contagious thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2contagious

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    I know the software I am using should run perfectly fine on a MacBook Pro, but what if I connect a 30" display to it? Will After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop etc. still run smoothly or is it better to go for a Mac Pro if I will be using the mac with a screen of that size and resolution?
     
  4. advres Guest

    advres

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    Location:
    Boston
    #4
    If you are mostly doing FCP I would get a single proc Mac Pro. The extra money saved can go to more ram and a good monitor. Editing is NOT processor intensive. Transcoding is, but you will spend most of the time editing and much less time encoding/trancoding and rendering. And I'm not going to even mention photoshop because it is moot compared to FCP and AE.

    What you will need it you want to continue with this down the road professionally is a good capture card, a good sata RAID and a good color correct monitor which will cost more than your machine anyway. Really, just go with a single fast proc Mac Pro and start saving your pennies because the cash never ends. Like I have said before, my edit equipment cost enough that I could buy a new car with what I have spent the last few years.
     
  5. mBox macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2002
    #5
    Using the NightFlight test for After Effects has convinced me that a MacBook Pro will never keep up with a Mac Pro.
    Its like 11min compared to 2 min in rendering speed.
    however for workflow its not that bad if your running the same display size e.g. 30inch Cinema.
    But when you add openGL, the MacPro cards are usually robust.
    So it comes back to the above statement. Portability or.....
     
  6. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #6
    Like others have said, unless you are needing portability go with the macbook pro, if not, go with the mac pro tower.

    Now the macbook pro in my sig will chew through the following programs that I use daily:

    Maya
    Logic
    Zbrush
    Unity 3d
    Aperture
    Corel painter
    Photoshop
    Handbrake

    That being said I am feeling the pinch as far as hard drive space. I have around 26 TB of stuff and i can't hook any more drives to my computer and its a pain to swap drives back and forth all the time.. I bought one of the 6 core towers. I always preferred desktops but due to my last job being in a not so nice place, being tied to a desktop was not a good idea hence why i bought the macbook pro.
     
  7. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #7
    Can't give you a definitive answer without knowing what resolution you are working at. However, if you are working on 2K film, that definitely answers the question. You pretty much have to go Mac Pro unless you don't mind waiting and dealing with other issues. The Mac Pro will last at least 3 times longer than the laptop.
     
  8. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #8
    Look at the Voyager Q drives on Macsales. It allows you to use bare drives that you can easily pop in and out. It has multiple interfaces too. I'm running mine off eSata and it's faster than firewire 800.

    Here's a link
     
  9. 2contagious thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2contagious

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    To answer some of the questions: I will be editing 1080P video at 24P (from 5D Mark II) encoded to ProRes 422 before editing. Encoding time isn't that important to me, the workflow is. I don't want to buy a MacBook Pro and find that the software I use (Photoshop, Lightroom, Final Cut Pro, After Effects, etc.) is laggy when displayed (full screen) on a 30" screen (?)
     
  10. advres Guest

    advres

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    Location:
    Boston
    #10
    Well working with 5d footage you SHOULD worry about the trasncoding as that is a major step in the process and is time consuming. Get the single proc Mac Pro, load it with RAM like I suggested and be done with it.
     
  11. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #11
    Yeah, I agree. Mac Pro is the way to go unless you are doing most or all of your editing off line or in the field. There is just no getting around that you need fast multi processors, a decent GPU, fast drives (or RAID), Lots of RAM, and room for expansion. With the Macbook Pro you are running into the RAM barrier before you even get started. You will outgrow the Macbook Pro soon as you take it out of the box.

    If you can't justify the cost of a new Mac Pro, then consider a refurbished older model. You'll get more bang for you buck compared to what Apple is offering now. That is unless you can afford the 6 core 3.33 GHZ! That's the one I want.
     
  12. 2contagious thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2contagious

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    I could maybe afford the 6 core if I cut down on specs. I would have to get it with 3GB Ram initially:

    - 3.33GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon “Westmere”
    - ATI Radeon HD 5870
    - 2 SuperDrives drives
    - 1x 1TB hard drive

    but with 3GB ram.. what I am wondering is (since Apple doesn't offer any 2x 4GB RAM sticks with that setup) .. is it even possible to 'mix RAM' afterwards? My plan would be to buy this

    http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/mpartspecs.aspx?mtbpoid=AEED9527A5CA7304

    then get rid of one of the three 1GB sticks in the Mac Pro and add the two 4GB sticks.. so it would be 1GB+1GB+4GB+4GB=10GB RAM

    Is that possible? (or getting rid of all three 1GB sticks and replacing them with the two 4GB sticks (leaving 2 RAM slots free).
     
  13. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #13
    Don't get the extra drives from Apple either. You can buy them from newegg or macsales for much less. Same as the ram. Get the minimum config and upgrade on your own. I'm pretty sure you can mix the ram as long as it's all the same speed. However, if you can eventually afford to have matching ram in all of the slots, that would be best (4X4). But, like if you have 1 gb in one slot and 2 in another, I don't see a problem.

    What I would do if I was trying to pinch pennies, I'd get everything with stock configuration (except GPU), and then over time upgrade ram and drives. You could even hold off on SSD until you can justify the expense. 7200 or 10K drives are still great drives and they are pretty cheap nowadays compared to SSD. Especially the ones sold from Apple. You'll save several hundred bucks going this route.
     

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