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GPU + Quad Core Question


Zach Ashcraft

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Hello Everyone. Simple computer question - I'm not the most tech-savvy guy around (which is why I hang out here :) )

 

Taking a look at the new macbook pros, the main thing that seems to separate the 13-inch and 15-inch models is the fact that the 15 have a quad-core i7 processor, whereas the 13 only has a dual core i7 processor. 

 

Additionally, the 13 has "Intel Iris Graphics" whereas the 15 has "Intel Iris Pro Graphics" 

 

Cant someone please explain the practical benefits of either of these while editing video AND stills? 75% of my work is weddings, both photos and video. I work completely in FCPX and lightroom 5. I'm not really sure the benefit of either the processor or graphics card, other than they're likely faster in some way. But is there some specific place that these components will help with performance? 

 

 

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Also, what about the Intel HD Graphics 5000 cards on the Macbook air? 

 

Keep in mind I'm not shooting 4K, nor do I really plan to in the next 5 years. I own a C100 and 5D mark 3, and my wedding and real estate clients are very happy with what I'm shooting. 1080p for me

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Of course faster is always better. Just a matter of how much. I think the integrated GPU difference is not as much as the difference between the dual and quad core difference. Just make sure your programs are multi-threaded (I don't use a Mac, so have no idea how FCPX performs).

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Erm, just a heads up:  While I know people do edit on Macbook Airs, I'd seriously consider a Macbook Pro with an nVidia GPU if you spend plenty of time in FCPX.  For one-offs with simple editing, etc, the MBA will be okay, but why make life difficult?   :)

Thanks for the input. The lightweight and size of the Macbook air is so desirable for me, but I suppose the 13 inch MB Pro is not too much bigger or heavier! I did do a bit of cutting on my 2012 macbook air today just as a test. Organizing and cutting clips was fine. When it came to grading and rendering anything, it was slow as a snail

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If you want comparisons between models, this is as good a site as any:

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/macbook-pro-retina-display-faq/

13" of screen real estate is hardly adequate for video editing. The 15" is much faster than the 13" and is well worth the extra cost. The entry level 15" does not have discrete graphics card, so I would pass on it.
Also, 16GB is the minimum you should have for photo/video editing. RAM, GPU and a storage solution are key. if you are upgrading from Air, and price is no object, why half-way measures that will disappoint you in no time. Also, how can any of us know with 100% certainty what we will be doing five years down the road? Look at the benchmarks. Compare your current Air. Higher Geekbench scores, faster performance. If your Air scores 5,000 and the rMBP is 14,000, it should be several times faster.

I also suggest looking at Larry Jordan's site. Then if you don't invest in extra RAM and GPU, you will have nobody but yourself to blame.

I also own a 15" rMBP 2013 and 2013 27" configured iMac.

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Or, better still, HOLD ONTO your MacBook Air and purchase the LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2 1TB drive. Your read/write speeds should be double on the 2012 Air, and on your iMac, assuming you have the Fusion Drive, write speeds should more than double, which should speed up your render times considerably. You'll save a ton of cash and have a portable work of art at home or on the road. Unfortunately, neither your Air nor your iMac have Thunderbolt 2, or you would see read/write speeds of over 1,300 MB/s with the LaCie.

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I edit photos and videos on an 11" machine when on the road. It's all about being what you're comfortable with, and my eyes can perfectly take the load from my shoulders in this regard.

 

You didn't mention the 15" with the nVidia option, so I did forget about that - whereas the difference between the integrated Intels aren't much, the nVidia is a different animal. Does your iMac have a switchable integrated graphics solution? If so you can switch to the integrated one and see how your favourite editing programs perform.

 

EDIT: Didn't notice you had an Air. Hmm. If you find that slow, then maybe you don't have much of a choice. 15" it is for you!

 

Personally, I'd just go with the 13" rMBP. Can't stand 15" laptops, though I'm willing to concede that this might be a cultural thing as well.

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The air I have was a gift. Its a 13 inch, i5 with only 4GB of ram, hence why I was wondering about one of the top of the line newer models. 

 

To me, buying the LaCie would defeat the purpose of a mobile rig as I'd need to plug it into a wall :) I did just purchase a pair of those slick western digital passport raid drives. Excited for those. 

 

Leeys, I've got a mid 2011 iMac that is still running strung. 3.4 GHz i7, 16GB ram, and the AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1024 MB graphics card. I really don't know how that compares to todays models but its still working just fine for me. I agree in that I can't stand large laptops, the point of this would be portability, and getting some cutting down while on the road. I only ever use film convert along with basic cutting and text. 

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Finally, you are already talking about replacing a 2012 laptop: are you going to keep buying inadequate gear, then replacing it every year? Buy the very best you can afford.

Jeez take a chill pill man. I don't need the best computer in existence. I need a computer good enough to edit some C100 and 5D clips while on the road. As stated I've got a pretty powerful iMac at home. I'd rather not break my back or my bank on a laptop if I don't have to. 

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If you're not rendering on the laptop, then I think the 13" is perfectly fine. I mean, there's no point in buying the 15" if you're going to loathe carrying it, however powerful it might be.

 

The main advantage for me would be the screen on the 13" rMBP. It's so much better than the screens on the Airs. The denser resolution helps in photo editing too. The new CPUs aren't much faster however. A 2012 is an Ivy Bridge model, right? The current models use the Haswell CPUs, which offer little performance gain, but increased battery life (20-30% increase). The main increase in speed will be from the improved integrated GPU, which helps when editing.

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@Zach Sorry if I came off too strong, but you earn your livelihood with your camera, I'm just a hobbyist, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that many professionals are using computers and storage that are way insufficient. You've got a nice machine in the iMac, and the Air was a gift - my bad! Some may dismiss the the idea of buying the LaCie outright because it needs AC, but when I'm doing editing on the road, it usually means finding a comfortable coffee shop or something: and even in this part of the world, there are usually plenty of AC outlets where I can plug in my laptop. In fact, I almost never use the battery in my laptop at all. The LaCie weighs a little over a pound and will easily double your read/write speeds -which is what you're looking for; and it is future-proof, since, if you ever purchase a new MacBook Pro or iMac with Thunderbolt 2, it will attain speeds of over 1,300 MB/s, which is more than you'll ever need, even if you shoot uncompressed 4K. I should also say where I'm coming from: my first MacBook Pro was a 2011 with a hard drive and 4GB RAM. I ended up having to upgrade both the memory and the drive in order to edit 1080 60p from my first camcorder. Now, I have a 2013 MacBook Pro with 8GB RAM and no discrete graphics card (neither of which can be upgraded), and I'm already regretting it. 

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