6 Replies Latest reply: Jan 20, 2012 8:22 AM by Michael Grenadier
rrf105 Level 1 (0 points)

I currently have a Macbook 6,1 and plan to upgrade the hard drive to tide me over until I can afford a Mac Pro. I'm going to remove the optical drive so that I can put a second hard drive in its place but could really do with some help on choosing a set-up. So, for video editing (FCP, Motion and Color) which of these options would be best (feel free to make other suggestions too):


1) RAID 0 two 500GB 7200 rpm mechanical hard drives together.

2) Use two separate 7200 rpm hard drives, one for the operating system and programs and the other for the file store.

3) Same as above but use a 120GB solid state drive for the OS and programs.


I don't know if the speed benefits of RAID 0 would be cancelled out by essentially having the OS on the same disk as the files. Ideally I'd like to have the OS and programs on a solid state drive and then RAID 0 two 500GB 7200 rpm drives together but I only have space for 2 drives!


Finally, I assume the bottleneck will always be the Macbook's lack of a dedicated graphics card. As such, is it even worth upgrading the hard drives (I do have 8GB of RAM installed)?


If you can help out a noob, I'd be really grateful!

  • Michael Grenadier Level 7 (20,340 points)

    The important question is what format you'll be working with.  Before you spend any money, perhaps it makes the most sense to try working with the formats you anticipate working with. 


    I don't think the dedicated graphics card is that big an issue for editing.  Color will be a problem as I imagine will Motion. 

  • rrf105 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Michael. If I stick with using Final Cut then I'll be editing Prores 422 footage (transcoded from H.264 and AVCHD). If I head over to Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5, which I'm becoming increasingly tempted to do, I'd love to be able to edit the native H.264 footage from my Canon DSLRs. Do you think this would be possible despite my lack of dedicated graphics card?


    At the moment my system has 4GB of RAM and a single 7200 rpm 500GB hard drive. For simple editing of Prores 422 it works OK but has to be rendered if I start layering things up too much and things like smoothcam analysis are sloooow. As you mentioned, Motion is currently a bit of a nightmare. Even with a RAM preview, the frame rate is often so low that I don't really know what I've put together until I step back into FCP and render the Motion files!


    I have been told that FCP only really supports 4GB of RAM (something to do with native 64 bit something that I didn't quite get!). To be honest, I've always preferred Adobe's way of doing things so I am very tempted to make the switch over to Premiere. Do you think I'd see an appreciable increase in performance by upgrading to 8GB of RAM, switcing to Premiere CS5.5 and perhaps also upgrading my hard drive(s)?


    It really has got to the point whereby it's effecting my productivity (especially the issues with Motion). I don't want to waste money on upgrades if I really won't see much benefit from them but, if I can get a bit more performance while I save for a Mac Pro, I'd be perfectly willing to spend a couple of hundred pounds to do so.

  • Studio X Level 7 (27,030 points)

    I edit with both FCP and Premiere on a MacBookPro (4gb) and a MacPro (16gb).


    If you do the conversion to ProRes, FCP is more stable and faster than Premiere. The amount of the RAM is not all that relevant for video editing (it is not all that ram intensive).



  • Roy Bradshaw Level 1 (15 points)

    Hello. Open up FCP and go to Help. Make sure you select FCP Help, enter Hard Drives in the search facility, find Working with Scatch discs and Hard Drives, and there you will see that it is recommended to use 1 drive for the program, a second for video, and possibly a third if you split video and audio.

  • Russ H Level 7 (20,300 points)

    In addition, I'd guess that the bottle neck you're encountering is mainly caused by the limitations of your model's CPU, which I believe is a Core Duo 2.26. Whether it's FCP and Motion, or Premier and After Effects, I would think that processor is going to under a lot of strain regardless of a new HDD and RAM–and that the money is better saved toward a new machine than spent on upgrades to the Macbook..


    Good luck.



  • Michael Grenadier Level 7 (20,340 points)

    Generally it's not recommended to split video and audio.  Most quicktime formats interleave audio and video so for most efficient file access, both audio and video should be in one file (and thus on one drive).