Which Macbook Pro to take abroad while filming, recording music and editing video?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by alexjholland, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. alexjholland macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #1
    Hey, I have a mid-2010 iMac i7 with 12GB RAM and a recently added 1TB SSD boot drive, with a 3TB internal spinner.

    I'm moving to Australia between October 2016 and January 2017 for at least a year and planning to be away for a few years, travelling, while working and doing a lot of sport and adventure. I need a Macbook which will be my only computer, albeit potentially plugged into a monitor and keyboard/mouse sometimes when in apartments.

    I work in international sales in the day and am a session musician in the evening; working with musicians remotely to make music for cinema and sports soundtracks. I use Ableton Live and am likely to start using Logic too, with a Firewire or USB soundcard (need to get a new, smaller interface!).

    Also, I enjoy shooting GoPro videos and am planning to surf and kitesurf a lot while away.

    At present, I keep my GoPro footage on the 3TB spinner and pull it onto the SSD temporarily when making a project, before finishing.

    Nonetheless, my 1TB SSD is around 70% full, due to music production software and samples, plus a wide range of software like Adobe Creative Suite.

    Thunderbolt will obviously give me a good solution for a drive to keep my GoPro footage on externally (another £200 to factor in).

    I don't game and if I do, it's more likely to be an immersive point and click game than a graphically-demanding FPS.

    Two options so far (below). Looks like 1TB SSD jacks the price up to around £2k no matter what.

    Question is, should I pay £440 to get the 15" screen, a quad core i7 processor and the AMD graphics card on top? 13" would probably be preferable, but I can tolerate 15" if the hardware is worth it.

    (My girlfriend, who is coming out with me, is about to buy the 13" in any event.)

    Cheers

    Summary @ £1,959.00
    13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
    • 2.9GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz
    • 16GB 1866MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM
    • 1TB PCIe-based Flash Storage
    • Intel Iris Graphics 6100
    • Force Touch trackpad
    • Backlit Keyboard (British) & User's Guide (English)
    Summary @ £2,399.00
    15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
    • 2.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz
    • 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    • 1TB PCIe-based Flash Storage
    • Intel Iris Pro Graphics + AMD Radeon R9 M370X with 2GB GDDR5 memory
    • Force Touch trackpad
    • Backlit Keyboard (British) & User's Guide (English)
    • Accessory Kit
     
  2. PKBeam macrumors regular

    PKBeam

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2015
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    #2
    if you're moving in october you can at least afford to wait until WWDC in June, when new models will likely be released. even if you dislike the new models, you can get the older ones for a cheaper price.
     
  3. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #3
    Yes, you're right. I will. Still, please humour and educate me in the meantime!

    Thanks
     
  4. keviig macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2012
    #4
    If you were to get the current models, i'd suggest either dropping down to the base line 2.7 GHz i5 instead of the 2.9 (Virtually no difference in performance, at least not when considering the price premium) or going with the 15" if you can tolerate the size and weight. The 15" display will be nice too considering it'll be your only computer.
     
  5. PKBeam, Apr 12, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016

    PKBeam macrumors regular

    PKBeam

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2015
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    #5
    if you look closely, OP wants a 1 TB drive, which comes with the 2.7 GHz CPU.
    granted, the cost of 2.7 > 2.9 is a fraction of doubling the 512 TB drive.

    unfortunately, I'm not a professional music maker, but I'd say that the 15" is better. not very convinced on the dGPU choice. especially when the Iris Pro 580 is very close to - if not beats - the M370X.
     
  6. keviig macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2012
    #6
    Sorry, my mistake! Didn't think of that. Regardless, the quad core will make a whole lot more difference when doing CPU intensive tasks like video editing.

    The current 15" has an Iris Pro 5200 GPU, which if you exclude gaming should be more than enough for most tasks. The upcoming 15" with the Iris Pro 580 should make the gap to dGPU's even smaller, if they don't get their hands on Polaris 14nm AMD gpu's.
     
  7. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #7
    Hey, which is the Iris Pro 580? and which Macbook is it in?

    I guessed the AMD card with 2TB memory would smoke anything inbuilt; am I wrong?

    Cheers
     
  8. throAU, Apr 12, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016

    throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #8
    I'm happy with my 2.9 Ghz 13" for most of the stuff you mention, it's significantly more portable than the 15" but does lose out on the quad core CPU, if you want something a little stronger, i'd go for a baseline integrated GPU 15" machine and load up with SSD/RAM as appropriate (your options may be limited by the baseline spec though :-\).

    Not sold on discrete mobile GPUs, i'd save the money and get a BiZon box and run a desktop GPU in a thunderbolt box for when you're at the desk, when on battery a discrete GPU just kills battery life and generates heat for mediocre GPU performance anyway. You can get by with mediocre GPU on battery without it, just running integrated.

    And when at the desk, plug into something actually good; Mobile GPUs are crippled to fitting within 40-50 watts of power, desktop GPUs can consume hundreds of watts, for much better performance.
     
  9. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #9
    Hey! Yeah, I don't WANT quad-core, or a discrete graphics card, or a 15" laptop; my concern is that I need the first 2 of those in order to edit GoPro videos and make some music.

    If in fact I can edit and render GoPro videos quite happily on a 13" Macbook Pro with an inbuilt Iris graphics card, that's smaller, lighter, has a longer battery life and costs £400 less, then I'd be quite happy with that!

    Seems that anything BUT the quad core 15" would be a downgrade from my mid-2010 i7 iMac; but hey, if it does the job?..

    FYI Bizon box doesn't look great for me, as I want to be able to fit my life into two suitcases!
     
  10. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #10

    Let me assure you, my 13" machine CAN edit go pro videos just fine, in fact I use it for that on a regular basis.

    The 13" 2015 machines CPU is no slouch though. Whilst its not quite as fast as my 2011 15" machine on CPU heavy tasks, in general day to day use the 13" just kills it.

    And in CPU heavy stuff it is a good enough trade-off (in terms of size and portability) that I haven't bothered fixing the dead RAM in my 15" for a few months now.

    I also haven't bothered with processing video on the quad core desktop i have in my study either.

    The 13" (WITHOUT biZon box) is more than capable of your needs, if you don't want the hassle of lugging a 15".
     
  11. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #11
    Great. I'll likely wait until WWDC in June, to get the new model or a better deal on the old one, but sounds like I could be getting an unnecessarily powerful, heavy and hot machine in the form of the 15" quad core?

    It's a shame the 1TB SSD bumps the price up so significantly!
     
  12. PKBeam macrumors regular

    PKBeam

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    Jul 24, 2015
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    #12
    580 is the one in the upcoming 2016 15" rMBP. its raw processing power outright beats the M370X. actual performance should be similar (it's around a 940M or 945M)

    if you simply want to just edit video (something like iMovie) - you could do that with a MacBook Air, so the 13" rMBP will be fine for that. if you're serious about it, 15" offers much more CPU power.
     
  13. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #13
    Presumably the graphics in the upcoming MBP are speculative?

    I'm using Final Cut Pro X, which is perfect for me. I read online that the Air is terrible for editing video; handing on render tasks and being pretty much unuseable?

    I am doing stuff like taking 10-20 hours of footage from a snowboard trip in 720p/60FPS and editing it into a five minute film with music, in FCPX. I don't want a slouch. But I'm not doing 4K stuff.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 12, 2016 ---
    'The Retina MBP rendered the title in 34 seconds, which is about what we expected in comparison with the other office machines.

    'The MacBookAir didn't do so well, In fact it nearly didn't do anything as it took over 2 hours to render the title generator!'

    http://www.fcp.co/hardware-and-soft...-of-the-range-macbook-air-run-final-cut-pro-x
     
  14. PKBeam macrumors regular

    PKBeam

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    Jul 24, 2015
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    #14
    in that case you definitely want the Pro. 13" should be able to handle it but 15" will give you better performance.
     
  15. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #15
    It's only that with 13", a 1TB SSD (with the compulsory bump in processor) takes it from just above £1k, to £2k.

    I'm then only £400 from the top 15" model.. If I get get 13" with a 1TB SSD for under £1.5k, then I wouldn't think about it. But I HAVE to spend £2k already, does it make sense to go to £2.4k?
     
  16. PKBeam macrumors regular

    PKBeam

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    Jul 24, 2015
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    #16
    400 pounds is quite a chunk of money... but if you want a 15" then you should definitely get a 15".
     
  17. gngan macrumors 68000

    gngan

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    MacWorld
    #17
    Why not get the 13'' 512 gb and get an external SSD with thunderbolt, USB 3 SSD or HDD? This should bring down the cost.
     
  18. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

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    Sep 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Kansas City
    #18
    And that, in a nutshell, is how Apple works! ;)

    Based on your current model and the experience you are used to, I'd go for the 15" MBP. Although since your girlfriend is about to buy the 13", why not give hers a whirl to see what you think of it?
     
  19. CE3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2014
    #19
    Making music & editing GoPro videos on Final Cut Pro won't be a problem with the 13", but it's good you're leaning towards waiting a couple months for the new models to be announced.
     
  20. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #20
    Hey, actually, I would prefer 13" in terms of size, as I'll pickup a large monitor if we settle in Aus for a while.

    15" is only for the quadcore and external graphics, IF it's felt I require them!
    --- Post Merged, Apr 13, 2016 ---
    Good call. We're both looking to make money with Vlogging, so I'll start with helping her do hers on her MBP 13!
    --- Post Merged, Apr 13, 2016 ---
    Hey, I'll be getting an external thunderbolt drive for GoPro video files already (which are currently kept on a 3TB second drive). However, I don't want to have to attach an external drive for the majority of my use. I need to breakdown my drive data in more detail and see if there is signficant stuff I only use occassionally.. Have a feeling it's mainly software and music though.
     
  21. Dean Yu macrumors regular

    Dean Yu

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2016
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    #21
    FCPX on MacBook Air is just fine. My baseline mid-2013 MBA can even work on 4K without noticeable hassle rendering and exporting. The only issue is thermal throttling after hours of long rendering session. 720/60 FPS? My mid-2007 C2D aluminum iMac can do this well too...
    --- Post Merged, Apr 13, 2016 ---
    If only external solution for a bigger SSD is available?:)
    Of course there are semi-external option like Tardisk, etc.
    If you don't need very speedy (video editing or application) but small form factor (for media library?), there are modified micro-SD card adapter for the MacBooks out there.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 13, 2016 ---
    Also, not only the upcoming iris pro 580 is awesome, the integrated iris 540/550 for lower wattage CPU model (next 13" air?) is comparable to the iris pro 5200 in the current MBP 15 baseline, much better than the one in current MBP 13. In terms of dGPU, new Polaris GPU from AMD and Pascal from Nvidia will give a significant boost up to 2x toward graphic department of new MBP.
    It will be a major graphic overhaul this year, but I don't think you will quite need it...
     
  22. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #22
    Makes me wonder what I have a quadcore i7 with 12GB RAM doing in my bedroom then eh?

    Definitely waiting for June, but sounds like a 13" Macbook Pro announced there should be more than enough for my requirements?

    Transcend Jetdrive Lite looks like a slightly less fancy (plastic instead of aluminium) version of the Tardisk.

    Clearly, I need to take a real look at my data and work out what I need.. but an internal 1TB still sounds like the one. It's annoying they're available for £200-£250.. compared to Apple's cost, that's almost worth buying and sticking into the base model on day 1? I'd still have an Apple warranty, but not on the hard drive?
     
  23. CmdrLaForge macrumors 68040

    CmdrLaForge

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    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    around the world
    #23
    Do you plan to edit 4K videos? Are you moving around a lot ?In general try to travel as light as possible. I would even consider the Air or MacBook. If you plan on editing 4K I wonder if that is enjoyable doing on a dual core machine but you could try it out first.
     
  24. jlc1978 macrumors 68000

    jlc1978

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    #24
    If your current setup is fast enough I would hazard a guess that any 2015 model will be equally fast so the 13" should be more than enough. You could compare benchmarks to validate that if you want.
     

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