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Retina 15" vs. regular 15" for HD video editing?

2901 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Mar 25, 2013 12:43 PM by skier1260 RSS
skier1260 Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 20, 2013 5:08 PM



First off I have been poking around on these forums for a while and I can't seem to find any sort of answer that is closely related to my dilema.


Currently I own


- unibody macbook (5400 rpm drive, 4gb ram, 2 ghz proccessor, Intel core duo proccessor,

NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB)


- 500gb 7200 rpm G-Raid Mini running at RAID 1


- 23" external LED Monitor



I operate FCP 7 on this setup and while it worked for a while just as I was getting into HD video editing it does not nearly satisfy my needs currently. This is somewhat besides the point but I figured I would offer some backround information on my current setup.


I have been debating my 15" macbook pro upgrade, based on budget and what I think I need most I have narrowed my options down to two. I will strictly be upgrading my computer not external harddrives or displays so I want to know which computer will work best with the drive I currently have. Also I know I should switch to fcp x but I am not quite there yet and I know you can run fcp 7 on a retina so I am not worried about that.



Option 1 (baseline 15" with the following specs)


- 2.6GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB GDDR5 memory

- 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB (will upgrade more in the future)

- 750GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm

- MacBook Pro 15-inch Hi-Res Antiglare Widescreen Display



Option 2 (baseline Retina 15" with the following specs)


- 2.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz

- 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM

- 256GB Flash Storage


Origninal when I heard about the retina display video editors sayed to stear away from it because the flash HD didn't work well with an external serial drive operating fcp 7 but it seems people are always hesitant when new technology comes out. I don't know much about how serial drives work opposed to flash drives and I can't seem to get my head around it, so I am curious what people think about these two options and which one works best with a serial external HD for HD video editing.



MacBook Pro with Retina display, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)
  • MartinR Level 6 Level 6 (14,560 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 20, 2013 6:13 PM (in response to skier1260)

    First, new Macs now come with Mt. Lion preinstalled.  FCP7 was discontinued over 18 months ago and is not officially supported on either Lion or Mt. Lion.    Whether the new MBP is a Retina model or not, that's not the issue.  It's whether or not FCP7 will run on Mt. Lion.  I'm not saying you can't run FCP7 on 10.8, just check this out thoroughly before buying.  Some users say they are running it fine, others have had problems.


    Second, while the Retina display is nice, if you are primarily using an external display it doesn't much matter whether the MBP has a Retina display or not.


    Third, check the I/O ports you need, as there are significant differences between the MBP and the rMBP:

    • The MBP has 1 Thunderbolt, 1 native FireWire 800, Gigabit Ethernet, 2 USB3, audio IN and audio OUT
    • The rMBP has 2 Thunderbolt, NO native FireWire or Ethernet, 2 USB3, HDMI out, audio OUT but NO audio IN.  I consider this a significant limitation for video editing and field use.  There is no audio IN plus you need adapters for FW or Ethernet support.  In my experience the Thunderbolt-FW adapter is fine for general storage I/O but leaves things to be desired if you are doing video editing or live capture via FW.


    Fourth, regarding your external HD, which you intend to use for editing, USB (including USB3) is imho not up to supporting the demands of video editing.  While the rated USB3 speed may make it look like it can handle video, there are other aspects of the USB protocol that can cause problems, usually at critical moments, as in dropped frames and other gremlins.  FireWire, on the other hand was practically designed with video editing in mind.  There are significant differences between the USB and FW protocols that impact their relative capabilities.  The nominal burst speed of USB3 is not the spec to rely upon, and anyway the gRAID mini is only USB2.  If you are planning on editing high def video, don't plan on using USB drives.


    Bottom line, if it were me I would choose your Option #1 (the regular MBP).

  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,305 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 25, 2013 8:01 AM (in response to skier1260)

    Option #1,


    SSD's wear out with a lot of writes unlike hard drives and at least in #1 you can change it and increase the RAM, clean the fans and cooling fins of dust.


    Ideally you should get a MacPro, but  Apple hasn't updated this machine in years now so it's looking like they are exiting the professional user market.







    Also Apple discontinued the 17" MacBook Pro, with it's 1920 x 1200 pixel screen was ideal for 1080 content for a nice pixel to pixel match.


    Another thing Apple did was move OS X to a annual OS X upgrade cycle with the release of 10.8 only a year after 10.7, this annual OS X upgrade causes massive headaches for established workflows and investment in software.


    If your going to buy something you should be looking at a Windoes 7 tower, that way your investement in software will remain as so until 2020 at least and not just a year under OS X.


    Apple has BootCamp on Mac's for a reason, it's to send certain users on their way and off the Mac as they focus primarily on the consumer market where they can just upgrade the operating system on them anytime they wish.


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