Which upgrade for video editing?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by lapino, May 27, 2009.

  1. lapino macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2009
    I have a Unibody MBP (lowestmodel) and doing some video editing (avchd) on it. But the 2gb ram and slow hdd make Final Cut Express a bit sluggish, so I'm thinking about upgrading it. Probably a 500gb 7200rpm drive (got external storage for longer term storage, so size isn't that important) and upgrade to 4gb ram.

    What would you advise? Mind, speed is the factor!
  2. Hls811 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 19, 2004
    New Jersey
    If you've got the external HD already, go for the RAM. Is the external drive in a Firewire enclosure? That'll give you the better sustained rate and you can work off of that to minimize the slowness of your current HD.
  3. winninganthem macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2008
    You're already using an external drive as a scratch disk right?
  4. lapino thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2009
    No but I do have some USB (not firewire) external drives. I think these are 5400rpm too.
  5. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Hmm I'd like to know your definition of sluggish! Im sure its not as bad as my powerbook!

    As said before get some more RAM (although I think FCE can only 'see' 3.2gb)

    And make your sure your external drive is set as the scratch disk.

    You may want to get 7200rpm drives but see how the performance is with these minor changes first!
  6. winninganthem macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2008
    Never keep your video files on your system drive. Hard disk speed is pretty much the bottleneck of most computer systems, so working with large files on your system drive will really slow things down.

    To mitigate this, buy a high capacity drive with bus speed of FW800 and configure it to use as your scratch disk. USB is too slow. Keep your big video files on that external drive and your FCP project file on your internal drive.

    Just by doing this you will notice a huge performance increase.
  7. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816


    Oct 8, 2008
    what about for the old macbook pro?

    So I'm in the same situation as the OP, but my Mac is the latest generation Al Macbook Pro Classic (2.4ghz)..... My questions are:

    1) I have a stock 200GB HD (hitachi travelstar). Should I get a new HD like a 2.5" 7200rpm 500gb HD and install that into my computer and use the hitachi as my scratch disk in an external enclosure or should I keep the hitachi inside and get a larger external HD? recommendations?

    2) for my enclosure for my external HD, I have two firewire port types as well as a usb2.0... which one is the fastest?

  8. SimD macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2008
    For video, you'd want to use an external scratch disk (never use boot drive for video content).

    If you want the best of the best, then put SSD for internal drive (Intel X-25E), get a good eSata express card and raid 0 external drive for scratch + content and up your ram to it's max.

    Now you also want to verify your workflow. There are many sites out there.

    Check out Creativecow, http://macperformanceguide.com/ (for information in general) and head to the Digital Video forums on these forums.


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