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Old July 25th, 2009, 08:44 AM   #1
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mbp stuttering

I have a new MacBookPro 17 with the 2.66ghz processor and 8g Ram. Using Premiere CS4. I get stuttering on playback of my XDCAM EX HD clips. The more the action in the clip, the more the stuttering. Happens both in the preview window and on an external monitor.

What, if any, options do I have to eliminate this?

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Old July 25th, 2009, 10:54 AM   #2
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If you're only using the single internal HDD for all your work, that's why. You need to have your assets and render/project files on an external disk and the application suite on the internal.

However even a FireWire external is going to have a hard time keeping up with HD file playback, the best method for using an external drive - even a RAID on the 17" MBP is the ExpressCard slot via Sonnet's "Pro" express-card adapter:

Sonnet - Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34: SATA Controller for MacBook Pro and PC Notebooks

And yes, it's not just a marketing ploy, the "Pro" card adapter is significantly faster than it's less expensive competition and is the only way to get fast IO to any external HDD on a MBP.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 11:39 AM   #3
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Robert
Thanks for the reply.

Sorry I posted incomplete info.

I am putting assets on an external 7200 rpm HD using the firewire 800 port.
I am using a second external HD for scratch disc and that is using a USB port.

I was thinking of getting an expresscard adapter to firewire 800. Which drive would benefit most from using the expresscard adapter, the assets or the scratch disc?
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Old July 25th, 2009, 02:22 PM   #4
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Firewire - and especially USB - does not have a large enough bandwidth to handle multiple streams of HD playback, you'd be fortunate to get one stream of XDCAM HQ playback.

You need an external eSATA RAID (several manufacturers supply them) and the Sonnet card to connect it to the MBP.

Even just a 2-drive RAID-0 array and the Sonnet card will give you what you need, and it's very cost effective. Use the FW and USB drives for making project/OS backups and archiving finished jobs.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 03:04 PM   #5
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I don't understand your use of the term 'multiple streams' here.


I don't want to go with a raid at this time. What can I do to optimize what I have? I'm guessing the easiest thing would be to run the media drive into the expresscard slot?

This isn't an issue with the graphics card?

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Old July 25th, 2009, 07:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Kukla View Post
I don't understand your use of the term 'multiple streams' here.

I don't want to go with a raid at this time. What can I do to optimize what I have? I'm guessing the easiest thing would be to run the media drive into the expresscard slot?

This isn't an issue with the graphics card?
Sounds more like available bandwidth for hard drive I/O -- would have to concur with Robert. The cheapest way out here that still preserves the option of a future setup with a RAID array without having to dispose of your existing drives as a form of investment protection, would be to consider doing two things together:

1) The Sonnet Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34 -- about $200
2) Getting an external hard drive enclosure with an eSATA port and moving your USB-based external hard drive to it -- about $60. It's just a matter of opening up the USB external drive enclosure case, unscrew or detach the HD, opening up the eSATA enclosure, install the drive in it, close up things. Usually takes just a few minutes.

Minimal outlay but maximum performance this way. Certainly possible you're maxing out the USB bus bandwidth even with a single 7200 RPM hard drive. USB 2.0: 480 Mbps vs. eSATA's 1500 / 3000 Mbps. Much more headroom and will comfortably support one or more hard drives while using a protocol (SATA) that is optimized for disk I/O data transfer. Sonnet makes really, really good Mac hardware though this card is also supported under Windows as well.

If this doesn't help, then your next step would probably be to move to even a two drive RAID-0 setup (via eSATA) for scratch disks. Regarding multiple streams: the more drives there are in various RAID configurations, the more data bandwidth they can collectively pump out with a minimum of waiting; in other words, performance.

For someone who may stumble on this thread with a similar setup and need, just be aware the newest 15" (but not 17") MBPs dropped the ExpressCard/34 slot, which would scotch this whole idea.

Last edited by Dan Foster; July 25th, 2009 at 07:22 PM. Reason: Add a cautionary note regarding the newer MBPs
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