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Discussing the editing of all formats with FCS, FCP, FCE

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Old February 16th, 2007, 12:34 PM   #1
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Macbook Pro or Mac Mini??

I am looking to buy either a macbook pro or a mac mini. I want to be able to edit HDV in final cut and do some minor visual effects with it so that I able to take my work home instead of sitting in my boring office all day. I already have 2 monitors for the mac mini and a keyboard so I wont need to buy those. This is a very open ended question but which one would you guys buy and why. Will either be able to edit HDV? Which is better for the price, and is the mobility of the macbook pro work the extra money? I just want to hear your opinion about both and which model of each I should buy. I donít have much money to send so Iím trying to keep it to a minimum.

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Old February 16th, 2007, 02:05 PM   #2
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I think it will come down to, how much stuff will you be doing in Motionn 2??
Motion 2 relies heavily on the Graphics chip, and the Mac Book Pro, has a dedicated one.. Where the Mac Mini, I believe does not and uses shared memory .. Another words it will steal some Ram away from the CPU.. And still not be very efficient..

So for me-Heavy Motions use(or other graphics programs which rely heavily on the graphics chip- Then buy Mac Book Pro( or even one of the Imacs)
Otherwise you should be fine..

Mike M,
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Old February 16th, 2007, 02:20 PM   #3
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If you are after editing of any kind in final cut pro I would not purchase a mac mini at all. I wouldnt dream of installing FCP on a mini, the fact is that it is just too slow for FCP, and the hard drive is too small. It also supports only 1 display. The mini was not designed as a video editing machine at all, in fact it was designed to compete with the value PC's like the $500 dell and HP computers. As that type of computer it just doesnt have the horsepower to do what you will want it to do. It is somewhat like trying to pull a stump out of the front yard thats been there for a long time. You wouldnt dream of tying a rope to a honda civic, you would choose to use a bigger vehicle like a truck, because thats the tool you would need to get the job done.

With your 2 choices you gave i would definitely consider the MacBook Pro. The advantage you get with the MacBook pro is the express card slot and the faster core2 processor. THe express card slot will allow you to hook other devices to your computer like external SATA drives. I would reccommend getting an ESATA card for a macbook that does port replication. This could give you acess to a nice 5 drive RAID array, which when editing HDV is very nice to have. HDV as a codec is also much more processor intensive than standard DV, so I would look for a Core 2 with the best processor apple offers, which at this time I believe is the 2.33Ghz. You will want 2 GB of RAM as well.

If you dont need portability, you may want to consider a MacPro. THis would be the ultimate solution to anything you would want to edit, plus it offers the ability to expand far beyond any of Apple's other offerings. If you are really serious about HD, and are doing this to make money, then get the best tool for the job. I have never heard anyone that does editing for a living complaining about their editing machine being too fast. Dual Dual Core Xeons rock!

Hope this helps
Tim Harry
Bandwagon Media
Odessa, TX
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Old February 16th, 2007, 02:25 PM   #4
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On the surface, I don't think that comparing a Macbook Pro to a Mac Mini is a fair comparison at all. This is coming from someone who considered almost every model of Mac, from a used G4 laptop to a new Intel iMac. In my case, cost was a primary issue, so I finally ended up with a refurb, first-gen iMac 20" purchased online from Apple. I was happy with my choice in the end because it served my needs well at a reasonable price. I was searching for a primary desktop replacement (my first Mac at home) that gave me as much bang for the buck for FCS within my budget.

You need to clarify your needs and priorities in your own mind, then the choice will become clear. You mention 2 priorities: taking your work home from the office, and cost. Do you already have a FCP system at work? If so, you are probably using external hard drives to take projects & media home. If that's the case, any Mac at home that will run the same version of FCP will work. You'll be needing external storage anyway for either the Macbook or Mini.

HDV is really processor and RAM intensive, so you'll want to have the latest Intel Processor and the most RAM you can afford, whichever machine you pick. At least 1GB of RAM, and Motion will still run like a dog until you approach 2GB. Suddenly, both options start to get more expensive! If you're handy with tools, you can upgrade the RAM, the Hard drive, and maybe even the processor (voiding you warranty, of course) in the Mini yourself. The Macbook, not so easy or even possible, other than RAM. Personally, I find the screen in even a 15" laptop to be limiting for editing, so you'll probably be hooking up the external monitor, even with the laptop. If you're just going to be working at a desk at work and at home, both options are equally portable.

The only main advantage I see in the laptop is the ability to go to locations other than work and home - someplace where you don't have a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Unless you're going to be doing a lot of editing at Starbucks, or it's important to travel to various locations, the Mini wins, both on price and flexibility.

Of course the Mini tops out at a 1.83 GHz processor, but that should crank through HDV just fine. Even a maxxed-out 1.83 Superdrive Mini with 2GB RAM and 160GB HD runs around $1250, whereas the stock Macbook Pro starts at $2000. Keep in mind, however, that Final Cut Studio is not formally supported on systems with the Mini's Intel Extreme Graphics 950 GMA video hardware. Motion may refuse to launch completely, but there's plenty of reports of Final Cut Pro running like a champ.

When I made my decision, it was unclear if Final Cut Studio would even install correctly on a Mini. That's what lead me to the 20" iMac. Good luck with your choice - It's a complex decision to make.
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