Upgrading for video editing - RAM, SSD or both?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by samuelf92, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. samuelf92 macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2012
    Hi guys
    I want to buy either more RAM or an SSD harddisk. With my 15" MBP, I edit video with FCP and music with Logic. Nothing else. I'm just fed up with waiting for the FCP projects to render.
    i7 2.0 GHz
    4 GB RAM
    500 GB harddisk
    Radeon HD 6490M
    Bonus info: According to the SSD Buying Guide on this forum, I should have SATA 6Gb/s (since it's an early 2011 generation.)

    What's annoying about getting an SSD is that I have much less space (than the 500 GB). Both my music and video projects fill up a lot, and it'll be a pain backing up constantly.

    I don't think I need both RAM and SSD, since I'm nearly satisfied as it is. What do you think? Is it necessary I get both, or could one of the two be sufficient? For your consideration, I'm from Europe, so can't import (customs - too expensive). This scan came up with some solutions. Do they seem sensible?
    Thanks for your help guys
  2. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    When your rendering a video, check the activity monitor for "Page outs" If this increases then it's likely bottlenecking rendering speeds due to having to read from the HDD and place data into the RAM. This gives an idea of whether you need more RAM.

    SSDs also allow the data to be accessed and written a lot faster, so they are going to have a big impact on video rendering too.
  3. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    More RAM will help, a dedicated HDD for storing video too, as it is not recommended to use the same HDD for the OS and as scratch disk.

    You will also have to render less if you import the footage correctly and don't use the codec the footage came with.

    I doubt, that having an SSD for storing the video footage will make rendering faster, even with a quad core, as an i7 will not render as fast as an internal HDD can be read from and written to.
  4. samuelf92 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2012
    That's typically what it would look like when rendering. It was actually increasing at one time. The red square indicates page outs. As you can see, there's not much free ram.

    So basically, you guys think I should get both?

    simsaladimbamba, you also mentioned a dedicated HDD for storing video. Gee, I didn't even know there was room for 2... So what, I buy an SSD and keep the old 500 GB in the MBP?
    What do you mean by importing correctly and not using the codec from the footage?
  5. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    There is only room for two if you remove the optical drive and put the ssd there instead or the hdd.

    Your activity monitor clearly shows that with that usage you don't need anymore RAM 1GB is free and swap in the low MB is as good as none.

    I got 8GB RAM and 8.4 GB swap and 10.5 GB page outs. Though something is probably going wrong with my VM since that swap has a 0% hit rate and that swap seems to be dead stuff just occupying space.

    An SSD may help with a bit more responsiveness during the moving around of scenes and skipping through them. The encoding and all the slow stuff will be no faster. And you need to have the working data on the ssd for it to help anything at all.
    SSD help with App launches but really how much time of a working day does that take up. Once launched you can just leave it running.
  6. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    I have that, a 120 GB SSD for OS and applications, and a 500 GB HDD for a clone of the SSD and data (like properly transcoded video footage for Avid Media Composer).
    MacBook, MacBook Pro: Replacing the Hard Disk Drive, transferring data to the new HDD

    the guide includes:
    • 0. Identify your MacBook or MacBook Pro
    • 1. Getting a new HDD
    • 2. Guides to replace the internal HDD with a newer one
    • 3. Transferring data from the old HDD to the new HDD
    • 4. Using the optical disk drive (ODD) slot for placing an SSD or HDD inside the MB/P (OPTIBAY)

    During import into FCP X you get the option of optimizing your footage, which probably comes from an AVCHD camcorder or DSLR, both using a highly compressive MPEG-4 codec, which is not made for editing purposes.
    The transcode will take some time, but you don't need to render for most effects. The transcoded footage will also take more storage space, up to approx. 20 MB/s for 1080p HD footage.

  7. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2005
    Render times won't really be effected by SSD or 8GB of ram as it is almost entirely processor intensive. You should really just upgrade to 8GB. Your screen shot doesn't say much because you probably just restarted your computer since there is only 334mb of page ins. If you are using FCP X, I highly recommend upgrading to 8GB.

    What you can do sometimes is try not to re-render the same clip. For example, don't start putting effects on a video clip until you have the clip cut. Usually it will require a render again after any minor adjustment. There are small changes in your workflow that can sometimes cut down on your render times. It's not always possible, but worth a shot.

    I just bought an 128GB Samsung 830 SSD drive and installed it in my 13" MBP. I should have my hard drive caddy today so I can put my 750GB hd in the optical bay. As of right now, I did a fresh install of Lion, installed Adobe CS5, FCP X and several plugins, Motion, Compressor, MS Office and a few other programs and have 101GB free. I've still need to download the content for FCPX and Motion (2.5GB). The other reason I did this was because it allows me to run all of my FCP video files off of the hard drive connected via SATA instead of USB2 or firewire.

    I don't expect my render times to change much because of this setup, but I do expect FCPX to run smoother.
  8. AntJon82 macrumors member


    Feb 3, 2009
    this wat u need

    16 gig of memory from amazon.com for $116

    Attached Files:

  9. samuelf92 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2012
    So I replace the optical drive with ssd, and put the 500 GB in the other slot? Suits me, even though it's going to complicate things when burning/installing office.

    What will then make the encoding faster? And what you're saying is, that an SSD will only help for App launches and responsiveness?

    In my case, would the 500 GB HDD be the original one, the one that I've got now?
    Thanks for the transcoding tip btw. And nice guide.

    Diamond3 --> Thanks for the tips. I see how that setup won't complicate things. Annoys me that I didn't know there was room for 2 hdd's in my MBP.

    Anyway. It seems like it's the CPU that's mainly affecting my rendering, right? So maybe I should just get 8 GB RAM, and when I feel it's worth spending money on (or when I've convinced my self that I really need one) I'll buy an SSD.

    AntJon82 --> Can't get 16 GB on my mbp, max capacity is 8 GB...
  10. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    It is up to you.
    You need an Optibay adapter though, look at my guide in post #5.

    Only a faster CPU will make transcoding faster. And yes, an SSD will make your Mac respond a bit faster. I have one in my 2007 iMac and it feels like any current Mac except with CPU intensive stuff, like transcoding*.
    Where did you get your footage from, in what format is it and what codec does it use and how do you import it?

    You can use any 2.5" S-ATA HDD with a maximum height of 12.5 mm height in the HDD bay or 9.5 mm height in the Optibay.

    RAM will help more for now than an SSD.

    Are you sure? If so, then you have that one 2011 MBP with that limitation it seems.

    * I used that 2007 iMac with a 2 GHz C2D CPU to transcode 180 minutes / 40 GB of 1080p footage from a Canon EOS 5D Mk II to an editing codec using 5DtoRGB** and it took 6 hours or so. It was done overnight. If you have more footage on a daily basis, then you might consider getting a transcoding computer.

  11. samuelf92 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2012
    Fair enough, but damn, I was surprised by the price when I googled it

    The biggest project I'm doing atm (40 minutes long, lots of effects and such) is wmv files I exported to mov files through the HD 720p Video Sharing template through Compressor (as far as I recall, might have done it through Quicktime?). They are MPEG-4 AVC codec. When I import the mov files, I simply just import them into the event library.

    Well I'm not going to buy an SSD and simply throw the other HDD away, then I'm definitely going to buy both the ssd and the optibay


    What! That would be unlucky... I don't know, according to this link it seems like it though, right?

    So anyway, as you may have noticed, I'm not yet the master of FCPX, don't know if I ever will be, and therefore a transcoding computer might not be needed. But the 5DtoRGB sounds nice, I'll take that in mind.
  12. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Don't use the H.264 codec to transcode to, use the ProRes 422 codec.

    Well I'm not going to buy an SSD and simply throw the other HDD away, then I'm definitely going to buy both the ssd and the optibay


    Look here for more information. Apple does not state the real RAM limit, which is 32 GB, but only 16 GB can be used right now due to only

    It is a good software, when you get Canon DSLR footage, not for .wmv files or the .mov files you made out of them.

    Video Compression
    Why It Matters & How To Make The Most Of It

  13. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Take a look at all the other 16GB threads in this subforum.
  14. samuelf92 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2012
    For that specific project, I suppose it's too late to retranscode, but after looking at the guide, I see now how important the footage is. Maybe that's the main cause to the slow rendering (and noisy computer!)

    Aaah, I see, it actually has room for 16 GB. Now I just need to find out what would be sufficient. 8 or 16...
    According to the scan, prices are so much cheaper for 4x2 than 8x2
  15. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2005
    Check out the last few posts here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=680228

    You can get an adapter that works for $15-20. It doesn't come with any screwdrivers to install, but you can pick some up at probably a Lowes, Home Depot or maybe Walmart.
  16. samuelf92 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2012
    Thanks, but I'm afraid the 3 manufacturers are all US - with customs on top, it'll be just as expensive
  17. samuelf92 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2012
    Think I'm going to order these.
    Any objections before I do so?

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