Video editing hardware: what to buy

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Madmic23, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. Madmic23, Sep 2, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011

    Madmic23 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    #1
    Hi everyone, I’m at a bit of crossroads here in my next buying decision, and I’m looking for a little input.

    I have a little person on the way, due in November. To capture all of these soon to be priceless memories, I purchased a Panasonic AVCHD camcorder. The picture quality on this camera is amazing, but editing the video in iMovie hurts my core2duo Macbook. Video playback is choppy, and watching HD video (even from YouTube) for only a minute makes the fans fire up at full blast. I have an iMac G5, but that is no where near capable of editing this footage either.

    I’m looking at upgrading, but I’m not entirely sure of what to get. I was hoping to downsize to one machine, selling both my current machines. Here are my options:

    15” MacBook Pro: i7 with 4GB of RAM. $1849. I can get a refurb for $1649, but that is still a bit more than I want to spend.

    13” MacBook Pro: i5, 4GB of RAM, 320GB HDD $1249. I’m not sure how well this will handle the HD video. Anyone else using one for video editing?

    21.5” iMac: $1199: 2.5GhZ i5, 500GB HDD, 4GB of RAM: I’m pretty sure that this would do the trick, but I like the option of being mobile in my house. However, I do have an iPad that fills that gap.

    UPDATE: Dell XPS 8300: This is where it gets a little scary (I scared myself with this one), but I actually considered purchasing a Dell. They have a sale on right now where I could get an 3.4 GhZ i7 equipped desktop with 12GB of RAM, 1TB HDD and a 24” monitor for $999. Again, it’s a desktop and not mobile, but like I said before, the iPad really helps with the mobility.

    $999 Hackintosh: I’ve been reading up on the tonymac website about building a hackintosh, seems easy enough. I could buy something comparable to the Dell spec wise and install OS X on it and get the best of both worlds.

    With a baby on the way, I’m really trying to make this as affordable as possible. I can trade in my two Mac for about $750 at Powermax.com, but I have to pay about $180 worth of shipping (I live in Canada). I could probably sell them both locally since there are some college kids scrambling to get computers for cheap right now.

    I’m torn because I do love using my Mac, but I can live with Windows. I know PCs are always cheaper for higher specs, but the specs on this Dell seem really, really good.

    Sorry for the long post, but I’m banging my head off the wall trying to figure this out. What do you think is my best route for my HD video creations at an affordable price?
     
  2. treestar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #2
    I just edited a small movie from AVCHD on my 13" i5. It didn't do so well. You should go bigger.
     
  3. danpass macrumors 68020

    danpass

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #3
    I used a 2011 MBP 13 i5 for a little while and it edited 720p from a Nikon P7000 just fine.

    I now have a MBP 13 i7 that I bought as a refurb which is just $70 over the new price of an i5. Came with Lion and the new keyboard layout. Looks brand new. I expect it to render even faster.

    I'm also waiting for the 8gb of RAM kit in the mail :D
     
  4. Madmic23 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 21, 2004
    #4
    I was afraid of that. I'm almost thinking the Dell is probably the best deal, but building a Hackintosh would be more fun. Sure, I might have some headaches with it down the road, but it's all part of the experience.
     
  5. treestar macrumors 6502

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    Feb 28, 2010
    #5
    Don't bother with the Hackintosh. From what I've heard they don't work and it's nothing like having a Mac.
     
  6. jmpnop macrumors 6502a

    jmpnop

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    #6
    If you have an iPad, go with the iMac. It offers great value and reasonable power which definitely will be sufficient for your needs. PCs offer good value but they wear out way too fast and you have to replace it in 2-3 yrs max whereas a Mac can easily be had for over 4 years and offers better resale value. If you still prefer to go with a laptop, extend your budget and get the 2.2GHz 15" MBP. You'll spend the same for PC anyway since you'll be forced to replace it after 1.5-2 yrs.
     
  7. Madmic23 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 21, 2004
    #7
    I can definitley appreciate the longevity and resale value of a Mac. My iMac G5 is 6 years old and still running great. I've seen them being sold for $400, which I think is crazy, but there is a market for them for people who still use PowerPC only software. I know if I were to buy this Dell for $999, I wouldn't be able to get $500 for it by this time next year.

    I think I just need some raw power though to chew through these HD videos. Maybe a used Mac Pro would do the trick, but even those are fairly pricey.

    I've considered just selling the iMac, keeping the MacBook, and either building or buying a cheap, high powered PC for under $900.

    What's the lowest powered Mac someone has easily edited HD 1080P footage with?
     
  8. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #8
    anything with a quad core will work fine, really.

    the problem with Hackintoshes is support – you don't know if the next OS update will break anything. they work just fine other than that.
     
  9. Madmic23 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 21, 2004
    #9
    What about a Mac Mini? It's still almost the cost of the Dell, but at least it's still a Mac. I'd go with the mid range model with the discrete graphics, or the i7 server edition.
    Anyone try video editing with one of them?
     
  10. jmpnop macrumors 6502a

    jmpnop

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    Aug 8, 2010
    #10
    Mac mini is overpriced IMO and has poor graphics, not going to work if you want to do some serious video stuff. If you're willing to spend $1000 on a PC, you can get a very good configuration that'll last for at least 3 years. Thats what I did, I built one for around $1000 with the intention of gaming but now I use it for everything including video editing. Windows 7 is very stable and hasn't given me any problems yet, so I wouldn't restrict options to Mac when the budget is a little tight.
     
  11. jljue macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    Brandon, MS
    #11
    I beg to differ. I installed some Microsoft's updates to Wndows 7 on my brand new Toshiba Tecra laptop at work yesterday, and when I rebooted, REmote Procedure Call (RPC) would not load (actually crashing), causing the built-in NIC to not work and not allowing me to go into control panel or other settings. I ended booting in safe mode and going to a restore point before the windows updates. My Toshiba seems a little sluggish at times, when my C2D late 2008 MBP will outrun it.
     
  12. jmpnop macrumors 6502a

    jmpnop

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    #12
    Similar instances do exist on Mac side, but that does not mean Mac is unstable. On the whole Windows is not as consistent as a Mac, but its still pretty stable and vastly improved from the previous versions and is usable now. At this point, I wouldn't really advise anyone to stay away from it.
     
  13. aygie macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    #13
    I've got a 5 year old Mac Pro (2006 model) and it's still a beast. I edit AVCHD, DVCPRO HD etc and it doesnt miss a beat. I've only just upgraded the RAM from 4GB to 12GB as FCP X now supports it and changed the graphics card again for better FCPX editing.

    It's so easy (and now cheap) to upgrade your internal storage to capacities none of the other Macs can even think of without having external storage and I'm telling you storage requirements never go down when editing video it only ever goes up!

    I can't recommend the Mac Pro enough, best decision I ever made when buying a machine. (I also use an iPad for my mobile needs)
     
  14. Madmic23 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 21, 2004
    #14
    Not a bad idea. I just found a few used Mac Pro's from your era for under $1000 online.

    How do you think this would compare to the above mentioned Dell?
     
  15. jljue macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    Brandon, MS
    #15
    I'm sure that they do, but I don't see it nearly as much with my own MBP as I do with the 200 Windows workstations and 4 Windows servers that I administer on the manufacturing floor out of the 800+ Windows workstations and 50+ servers for the whole plant. I didn't start owning a Mac until 2009, and the several Mac's that I've had since then (good deals on used upgrades) have run smoother than any PC that I've owned since 1992. While I am still cautious about an OS update whether it is a Mac or a PC, I cringe every time that I install a Windows update or patch because I have been bitten way too many time by Microsoft, and they probably have 5-10 times as many updates and patches per month as Apple.
     
  16. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    #16
    pc + avid media composer = you're set.

    we've found the pc version of the AMC to be much more snappy than the Mac version. (even when using a high-end mac vs. avarage pc)
     
  17. Madmic23 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    #17
    The plot thickens...

    I was just doing some research on the tonymacx86 mackintosh website, and it seems this Dell is a perfect candidate to install os x on right out of the box!
    I just have to verify that the stock graphics card works, but this could really seal the deal here knowing that I could buy this super charged Dell and still run os x on it.

    http://www.tonymacx86.com/viewtopic.php?f=168&t=26261
     

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