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Old April 30th, 2011, 11:19 AM   #1
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Which Mac - Urgent help needed

I need some urgent advice on a used mac my friends shop will reserve for me but I need to act fast! Please read on.

I am going to get a Mac for on the move video editing. I am in the process of setting up a video production company. I have not really been a mac user so I am a bit undecided which to go for out of the following options. Please note I intend to use the latest version of Final Cut Pro with professional 422 Canon MXF files.

1) Get one of these from my video gear provider http://www.jigsaw24.com/product-deta...ebook-computer Cost 1500

2) My friend works in a Mac refurb place, they do insurance refurbs. He just sent me this message as he knows I am looking for one.
"Had a word with my boss and we have a cracker Macbook pro in stock at the moment.

Its a Macbook pro 17" 2010 model.
Specs:
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8Ghz
8GB DDR3 1066MHz RAM
500GB Hard Drive
Nvidia 9600M GT (with Nvidia 9400M as secondary device)

Cons:
Its second hand (obviously)
Mouse pad left click button is temperamental - but right click and tapping the pad works fine; you could always get an external wireless/USB mouse instead anyway.
It came in the shop to be fixed after it was water damaged, but everything has been replaced or fixed
2 month guarantee, but after that its a risk unless you get it insured with a separate company.


However, RRP = 1,849 (thats with 4GB RAM)
But for this one with 8GB RAM, he's said you can have it for 600.
Cost 600

Obviously the new one is better and has a warranty but the cost difference of 900 is big and is making me undecided. Any advice?

Thanks for any comments.
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Old April 30th, 2011, 01:34 PM   #2
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Re: Which Mac - Urgent help needed

Andy,

The problem with questions like this is that you'll get tons of responses with various answers, most likely not making your decision making any easier.

You mention not "really being a Mac user..." currently; if you're PC-based and that's the bulk of your computing background then I'd highly suggest sticking with a PC platform.

Contrary to popular opinion, currently there's no compelling reason to completely switch from PC to Mac. In fact PC's as of today have far more options for professional video than Mac's by far, especially if you ever need - or want - to have true hardware acceleration. And don't get me started about Blu-Ray playback compatibility on Mac's - it doesn't exist and most likely never will.

If you're PC-based, stick with that platform. You can get more for your money in any configuration and have more options for your video work than you will with a Mac. Currently.
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Old April 30th, 2011, 03:03 PM   #3
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Re: Which Mac - Urgent help needed

Thanks for the reply Robert and I completely see what you are saying.

Sticking with PC is certainly an option. At least that way I wouldn't have to switch NLE's. The main reason for switching is to have commonality with the other possible partner in my fledgling business.

Maybe I would be best seeking the advice of the people who supply my video gear as they are in my town and have a very good reputation in the industry.
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Old April 30th, 2011, 03:25 PM   #4
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Re: Which Mac - Urgent help needed

It's difficult to give advice without any real specifics, but, generically, I'd say that any edit system needs to have a good video monitor, a big fast drive array, and some means to connect to both. That goes for both Mac & PC, desktop or laptop.

I don't recommend using laptops for video editing unless they're specifically for use in the field. I really prefer a good desktop with a pair of nice big computer monitors (2 x 24 inch minimum, 2 x 27 inch is fairly nice) and an AJA Kona card or Black Magic Decklink card connected to a proper video monitor. If I were building a drive array now, I'd put together an 8 drive array with RAID 5 using 2TB or 3TB drives.

If you're starting from scratch, you can expect the above to set you back at least $10k US. Windows or Mac. Plus your editing software.
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Old April 30th, 2011, 03:44 PM   #5
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Re: Which Mac - Urgent help needed

Given the Thunderbolt interface on new MacBookPros and the need for Video In/Out and fast storage for field editing, I think you might be better off with a new model. Since Thunderbolt is on the entire MBP line you can consider getting a 15" MBP (if new 17" is too expansive). In the next few weeks the Matrox MXO2 will have Thunderbolt adaptor. This would give you analog, HDMI, HD-SDI (depending on the model). You may consider waiting until June for the new FCPX which will be $299 unless it's missing key features you need.

One of the issues with Windows laptops is that very few with USB3 can work with the few USB3 Video I/O boxes out there. Of course you could use Express port devices (as you can with MBP 17"). Robert may have ideas on that if you want to stick with Windows.

BTW every Mac can run Windows natively if you need to run Windows specific programs for certain features. I do this.

As to switching NLEs, Avid and Premiere are cross platform. FCP is obviously not but it has a huge market share. Given the ever expanding use of AppleProRes, which can play on both platforms but can only be encoding cheaply on Mac (You can encode ProRes on Windows using Telestream Episode Engine for $4000), I personally think a Mac will give you some advantages (and it can run Windows natively too).

I admit my bias but I have been a senior video engineer at a facility (as well as an editor at several facilities) and I personally find Windows systems to be more "maintenance intensive" than Macs although Windows 7 seems to have cut down on that.

One issue is that with "expanded" flexibility of Windows often comes expanded complexity. Things like Blackmagic cards not running well on Dell computers or needing specific motherboards for example. In the Mac world if a hardware manufacturer makes something Mac compatible it means it'll run with whatever you picked up at the Apple Store or the manufacture/developer/Apple will know what to deliver in their software update.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 11:32 AM   #6
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Re: Which Mac - Urgent help needed

Grab that MBP for 600! It's an incredible bargain. Worst case is that you use it for a bit & later sell it on at a profit & put the money towards a new Sandy Bridge MBP with Thunderbolt.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 12:07 PM   #7
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Re: Which Mac - Urgent help needed

I can't speak for how good of a deal it is but in general I'm against doing video editing on a laptop unless mobility is essential for your use. Mac Pro > iMac > Mac book

You can compare prices with new/refurb direct from Apple. You might find it doesn't cost much more to get a faster or brand new model. If you go with an imac its best to upgrade to the largest hard drive available otherwise its hard to install one later on by yourself.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 12:21 PM   #8
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Re: Which Mac - Urgent help needed

Hi Andy for 600 that is a great deal and if you add a firewire 800 raid 0 drive it will give you a good edit system with FCP, Ok it is not in broadcast level of production but if you load the material at pro res LT it should give you enough video streams for most things.

I use a five year old MBP 2.16 dual core with 2gb of ram as my portable edit system and it works fine with AVC Intra 100 MXF loaded as pro res LT using a g-tech 1tb raid 0 drive or a 500gb quad 7,200 rpm drive.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 12:54 PM   #9
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Re: Which Mac - Urgent help needed

For those who recommended against a laptop Andy said in his original post I am going to get a Mac for on the move video editing

I checked the completed listings on eBay for that model & the lowest price one went for was about 800 & most went for over 1000 so 600 is a bargain.
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 12:11 AM   #10
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Fewer software problems with Mac

My computer experience goes back to the punched card days and running them on IBM 360s and 1040s. The 1040 in our office had 4K of memory and before I left it was upgraded to .... Wahoo! 8K. The computer, two keypunch stations, and the plotter took up a room the size of a large living room. It ran a CalComp 1/2-step plotter which I wrote graphics programs for using COGO and Fortran. Later I had my personal computer which was a Commodore 64 which I wrote Basic 2 programs for and that worked really well. It even had a floppy and a color monitor. Yea!

After that the next step was a PC 286-6 which was turbo-ed to 12, dot matrix printer, and it had a floppy drive, 4K of memory. My last PC, which I still have, is a Pentium Pro but a few years ago I started making a switch to Mac. It was difficult because I was accustomed to the ways of PCs and getting down and dirty with the operating system and for a good reason - I had to. There were so many compatibility problems. Seemed every time I got new software or upgraded it, or got a new printer, I had to go in and correct problems. Did I say PROBLEMS! I hated them!!!

Now I never update the PC. Okay, I got a new printer a couple years ago which messed things up for a while but that's kinda over. I say kinda because when I print an old document I sometimes have to reformat it because of the margins.

Why make a switch? I'm starting to become at-ease with my Macs now. The search functions are easy, software upgrades are a snap, I've made good use of the Apple store Genius Bar free help (don't know how many they have in Europe), and overall it has been a pleasant experience. Maybe not initially but now.

Backing up, we had an Engineering office with some 450 employees and used PCs. The best IT (Information Technology) person was a Mac user. The best Engineering computer Guru was a Mac user. I used to harass them about being Mac users but now I feel sorry. They were really helpful with keeping my PC going. I was always doing things I shouldn't to make it better, or so I thought.

I've been through a iBook, currently on a MacBook where I do my video editing using iMovie, and next month will be moving to a Mac Pro desktop and I'll be looking at upgrading my video editing program.

The beauty of the Mac system is there are fewer problems with things, things tend to work (as opposed to PCs where one is forever troubleshooting, it seems). I get very frustrated when computer things don't work as they should but that's me. The transition might be tough and it took me probably a couple years, but I feel I'm on the right path now.

A desktop is more robust than a laptop. Do backups! A laptop is nice for field use or when traveling but pretend the hard drive will crash any time and be prepared. Did I say do backups?

I like Apple video editing software so a Mac is a natural.

Rumor has it that the new Mac Pro will have something like 18 cores? Final Cut Pro X will be stand-alone and much cheaper because of that. Cost? All my gear has been used and second-hand.
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 11:36 AM   #11
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Re: Which Mac - Urgent help needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
Grab that MBP for 600! It's an incredible bargain. Worst case is that you use it for a bit & later sell it on at a profit & put the money towards a new Sandy Bridge MBP with Thunderbolt.
The thing with it is the damage and the short warranty is a concern. Ther refurb shop my friend works at is a small one that does refurbs for an insurance company apparently. I can't find any reviews on them with them being small.
On the other hand if it broke and I had to get a another one it's still cheaper than the 1500 for a brand new one.

I am so undecided on this.
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Old May 3rd, 2011, 04:41 AM   #12
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Re: Which Mac - Urgent help needed

If you don't take the MBP, I will.

It's a great price and I would be happy with the 2 month guarantee, as I would think if there was going to be a problem, it would happen in this sort of time.. I might be wrong though.

I have two Mac Pros (home and office) which I use for my main video editing, but also have 2 MBPs, one of which I use for basic editing and some motion graphics. The main down-side is the screen size (though I am using 15 inchers and you will have more) for me.

One of the MBPs I bought was second hand and has been working fine, despite my initial concerns (it had no warranty).

It's a hard one to call because I would hate to hear it died right after the two months, but were it not to - it would be a great price for a really decent spec (better than what I am using).
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Old May 3rd, 2011, 06:27 AM   #13
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Re: Which Mac - Urgent help needed

As Mike says I think if anything were to go wrong it should happen in a couple of months, if its consolation I still have a ten year old powerbook G4 that I use for ENG and News work, it runs FCP version 5 and I use the PCMIA slot to load DVCPro SD video direct to a firewire 400 drive for basic location news editing.

The only thing I have had to do is replace the battery and it is still going strong working with the latest P2 HPX371 camera in DVCPro mode.

If I do any HD work I use my macbook pro with a firewire 800 raid 0 drive working with AVC Intra 50 at 720p or AVC Intra 100 1080i 25np loaded as pro res LT.
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Old May 10th, 2011, 10:28 AM   #14
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Re: Which Mac - Urgent help needed

take the macbook pro...
great deal.
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