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Old September 17th, 2003, 02:43 AM   #1
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drive on the new 15" Powerbooks

Well, the day I've been waiting for for a really long time has arrived; the updated 15" Powerbook is with us at last (I had Goldilocks syndrome with the three sizes up until now: the 12" was too small, and the 17" was too big, and the 15" was just right, but I wanted the feature set of the newer models...).

Question: I see that the drives available are either a 4200 RPM or 5400 RPM. Aren't either too slow for video? I thought 7200 RPM was the ideal. Obviously they can handle video as they are being marketed as multimedia machines, and I would probably use a Firewire drive for much of the FCP work I'd potentially be doing with the Powerbook, but I'm just wondering, do I need the 5400 RPM drive?
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Old September 17th, 2003, 10:17 AM   #2
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Hi Charles:

I should start out by saying I am by no means an expert when it comes to FCP, but I have heard many who are (i.e. certified trainers) emphasize that Apple has not qualified any firewire hard drives for capturing or playback with FCP. You'll note that there are no firewire hard drives in Apple's list of devices qualified for FCP.

This article, "What kind of hard drive should I buy?", may be helpful in answering your question. 7200 RPM does seem to be the ideal speed, but, as you say, these laptops are being promoted as portable editing stations, and indeed my 12" has served me well thus far.

That said, I'd go with the faster internal if it's within your budget...
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Old September 17th, 2003, 10:47 AM   #3
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Charles,
I second Mark's recommendation to select the faster (5400) system drive. It will add an extra step o' pep to the overall system's performance.

For FCP work, a 5400 rpm Firewire drive will work fine as your capture/render drive on modestly-sized projects. But since 7200 rpm drives have dropped in both cost and size I'd really recommend one for the best results.

I use several models offered by Wiebetech. I'm particularly fond of their bus-powered (ie. no a/c power required) models. Today I'd look hard at their MicroGB800 drive in 7200. I have the predecessor (Firewire 400) which is smaller than a pack of cigarettes. For a larger desktop drive look at their Fire800.
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Old September 18th, 2003, 02:36 PM   #4
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Charles,

I have the older 17" model (bought it late May) and a La Cie FW800 drive. I'm new not only to FCP, but also to Mac's (had a PC and Premiere before) so I can't get too technical for you, but I can tell you what I have experienced thus far.

I've never (knock on wood) had a problem importing/exporting/ editing video with my setup. I import with either my XL1S or GL1 through my PM's FW400 port, capture that to my FW800 drive hooked into the FW800 port (obviously) and everything runs very smooth.

As for your question, a faster spinning drive can only help you, so if the extra cost is not an issue, go with the 5400rpm. Hope this helps.

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Old September 19th, 2003, 02:24 PM   #5
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I'm thinking of switching to a MAC based system, and I've got a couple of questions...

1) If I use an external firewire drive, can I capture and work on a project using a powerbook, then hook the drive into a desktop to render while I work on another project on the notebook?

2) Ken, do the Wiebtech bus powered drives work allright powered off the bus of the powerbook? I'd like to have the option of working on stuff when I don't have a plug (like on a plane).

Thanks in advance.

Joe Kras
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Old September 19th, 2003, 02:58 PM   #6
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Joe,

(1) You betcha. I do it all the time with a 60Gb and a full-sized 120Gb drive.

(2) Ditto the above.

Bus-powered Firewire drives make life worth living for Mac-based video editors. Well, ok, how about just "much better".
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Old September 19th, 2003, 04:09 PM   #7
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Thanks loads, Ken.

I think you just helped me make up my mind.

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