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Old August 20th, 2004, 05:08 PM   #1
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1.5 GHz Powerbook or Dual chips G5 with no monitor?

My question is this, with a brand new [2004] 1.5 GHz Powerbook compared to a 1.8 dual G5 tower, for a independent filmmaker [short and feature length with 24p mini dv camera] - how critical is the loss in speed if I am using each machine as my sole editing set-up?

What is the real time difference? I know it depends? But like I explained, it's independent shorts and features. Some color correction, a few audio tracks, and credit titles.

I appreciate the advice.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 06:16 PM   #2
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I would get the desktop unless portability is your top priority. Trying to edit a feature on a laptop (even the 17" PB) is not a formula for success.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 08:58 PM   #3
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My usual caveat: I don't do video professionally, so anything I say has to be taken with a box of salt. But I second Jeff on the desktop. I've been using a 15" G4 Ti PB for over a year to edit stuff varying from 2-1/2 minutes to three hours. Biggest stumbling block (besides screen real estate) is disk size. Yup, you can get firewire drives (I have two, but I use them mainly for storage), but it's still more convenient to have that big main disk - and the option to ramp up the amount of memory available - with which to work. Check out the refurb deals at Apple - there are some nice ones.
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Old August 21st, 2004, 08:27 AM   #4
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I edit professionally on a 14" iBook G3 800 with an extended desktop hack. I have a LaCie external FW drive and it works great as my main media drive. daveperry.net/ibook

Portability is a factor for me.

Granted, I would prefer the speed of a G4 or G5, but for DV work, my set up has been great. I also do uncompressed beta sp and that is a totally different story. For that we use a 2gig dp G5 with Medea SCSI RAIDs and AJA IO.
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 10:32 AM   #5
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Regarding memory space, I know that I can get a 250 or 500 g Lacie drive to add to the 80 that is on a PBook. What I am uncertain about is the difference in speed between the 1.5 single chip in a PBook and the G5 tower.

I have witnessed the way a dual 1g chip G4 handles render times. It seemed pretty darn quick.

Space is an issue as well as the fact that a Pbook comes with a monitor and a tower does not. One would assume that I am leaning toward the PBook, but I'm concerned at how drastic the render speeds differ between the two and also if the 512 SD ram would suffice.
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 10:59 AM   #6
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I have had various powerbooks; currently a G4/1ghz aluminum 15" with 768MB RAM (max available when I purchased). I also have a couple desktop G4's, the fastest of which is a single processor 1.25 Ghz with 1.25 GB RAM. The Powerbook is handy for times when you want portability, but I wouldn't want it as my primary machine. Even though the spec of these two computers is close the desktop "feels" significantly faster. I have 3 internal drives in the desktop machine, and 8 firewire drives. It's nice to know that I can take stuff with me using the powerbook, but I would only consider this as an add-on to the desktop system.

Now you could plug a big monitor into the powerbook, use external firewire drives, an external keyboard and mouse and other stuff. But by then you've lost the battle for less desktop space anyway.

I have no experience with the G5's, but I have to believe there would be a huge difference in render times, if for no other reason than the dual processors. I'm sure you will want to load up any Mac with either as much RAM as it holds or as much as you can afford. If space for a tower is a problem then get a bigger desk :-)
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 02:35 PM   #7
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I think your grasping at straws hoping someone will tell you how great it is editing on a PB. But most editors prefer a desktop for everything except portability. The G5's are the future of Apple and they will only improve with the release of the next OS, Tiger (10.4). You can edit on a desktop with 512MB, but a PB really needs to be maxed out in ram. The new Apple software, Motion, is very particular about graphics cards and may not even run on a PB. So, unless portability is an absolute necessity, I would get the G5.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 08:52 AM   #8
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Motion runs on the 15" and 17" PBs but not the 12".
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 08:54 AM   #9
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I'm not hoping anyone will validate anything at all. I merely was hoping to get a straight answer on my only reservation with getting a PBook...which is "how much slower than a G5 is it".

I'm quite positive that everyone prefers the G5, I know I would. But if the PBook 1.5 is very fast and the G5 was disgustingly fast, I wanted to know that prior to laying out a significant amount of money for the G5.

I appreciate everyone's input.

Thanks.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 09:55 AM   #10
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G5's will be "disgustingly fast" when Tiger is released.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 03:36 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dave Perry : Motion runs on the 15" and 17" PBs but not the 12". -->>>

This is not true. Motion does run on the new 12" Powerbooks. I have seen Motion installed on one and used it, and Apple has posted a document "Motion FAQ v2.pdf" for their Pro Trainers in which this model is shown to be supported. Additionally of note, Apple does strongly recommend the BTO 128MB ATI Radeon 9700 with their 1.5GHz 15" and 17" Powerbooks, but this is not available with the 12". Also of note, Motion requires a 4X AGP slot, and an article I received from Apple states the only desktops supporting the ATI 9800 cards are the Mirror Drive Door models. It specifically stated the Quicksilver models were not supported. Curiously, the iMac 20" is qualified, if you can find one. It suffers many of the limitations of a Powerbook, however, without being particularly portable.

As to the question of speed, visit Barefeats <http://www.barefeats.com> and browse through their various speed tests if you really want quantization of the difference. But Jeff is right, unless portability is a strong selling point, a G5 or MDD G4 will serve you better now and especially once FCP 5 is released (whenever that might be, I have NO inside information, because I am not inside Apple).
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Old August 24th, 2004, 12:07 PM   #12
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Unless you absolutely need a laptop, i'd say go with a dual 1.8 G5.
You can get a regular monitor for cheap or free to go along with the G5.
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Old August 24th, 2004, 02:04 PM   #13
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Another thing to think about is the investment over time. You can get a lot more work done with the G5 and it will be a powerful machine for much longer than the PowerBook. Not to say the PowerBook isn't great, but you can't upgrade the video card (for instance) and over time, it will lose value more quickly than a desktop machine. One main reason is because there are going to be more and more G5 64 bit optimizations than G4. So not only will you get more speed now, but over time its performance will keep up much better than a laptop.

If you do a lot of field work and need to review and edit on the go, PowerBooks with external FireWire drives can be great, but you are making some sacrifices both now and in the future.
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Old August 24th, 2004, 06:07 PM   #14
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I note that on the LAFCPUG forum there are a couple people saying they are successfully running Motion on Quicksilver machines with the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro Mac card, despite the fact Apple says this machine is not supported.

Now it occurs to me that "not supported" does not necessarily mean "does not work".

A word of caution to those wanting to upgrade their Quicksilvers to run Motion, however. What "not supported" definitely means is that if Motion 1.0.1 is released and makes it so Motion does not work on your Quicksilver any longer, you have no one to blame but yourself. And that 9800 card you bought will not work in your new G5.
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Old August 25th, 2004, 04:54 PM   #15
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Mark,

You make some interesting points to consider. I was not aware of limitations with regard to updating the PBook. The G5 may prove to be too fast initially [for my modest use], but as other programs are designed to utilize that speed, the pbook may become antiquated.

That carries some weight. The issue of portability isn't prevelent for me, but space is. That is why I am considering the pbook to begin with since it is clear which machine is better suited for video editing and dvd burning.

All good points.

Thanks for the advice.
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