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lol mahmood 12-26-2009 09:08 PM

Can the new 13" MacBook Pro handle FCE?

Had my black MacBook for about a year and love it, but finding the limitations of iMovie (I'm using 06, didn't like 08) and a shared graphics card a bit annoying.

I'm thinking about selling the black MB to pay help pay for an MBP and FCE, but not sure whether the new 13" model would be ok. Can you advise? I don't qualify for any student discounts.

Can't afford a new 15" MBP and don't want to go for desktop as I do a lot of my music and editing while travelling.



eskimo810 12-26-2009 09:24 PM

whats your budget? I got a 15 in unibody MBP, 2.4ghz, 4gb DDR3, 320 GB HD, and the discrete 9600mgt for $1300 US. It was just refurbished to a good-as-new condition.

lol mahmood 12-26-2009 09:27 PM

I can probably just about cover the cost of a new 13" MBP from the sale of my black MB and some other bits and pieces. If the 13" shared graphics aren't powerful enough I'll be looking at refurb, ex-display or second-hand 15" MBP options. The 13" portability is attractive, but it needs to be capable of doing the job too.

lol mahmood 12-26-2009 11:09 PM

In fact, I'm also following one of these on Ebay.

BenB 12-27-2009 10:33 AM

13" MBP will run Final Cut Studio, with some limitations.

First, 13" is really small for editing video. I know folks using 15" screens, but it's not as gentle on an editor as a 17" screen. But, you get what you can afford, and work with it. Doesn't stop you from doing anything, just limits you, and many folks do just fine. It's about your talent, creativity, and ingenuity than it is about hardware/software.

The built-in graphics card will have trouble with Motion and Color. FCP, STP, Compressor, DVDSP will all be just fine. It's Motion and Color that run off the graphics card more than the CPU.

Only one Firewire port. You'll need to have an external FW800, 7200rpm drive as your media ("Scratch") drive to run Final Cut Pro for video editing. You can't do this off the system drive without having problems. So that's covered with the external drive.

BUT, if you need to capture from tape, you'll need to connect via Firewire again. Problem is, if you chain a FW hard drive, and a FW video camera together on one FW port, you may have capture glitches (dropped frames, gaps in time code, etc). A hug won't help. Older MBP's had a PCMCIA or ExpressCard slot you could get a card that added a second FW connection on a separate data bus, to solve the problem. Yet Apple for some bizarre reason only put one FW port on all but the top end MBP's. I'm not sure why they did that.

I'd like to know the specs on your current MB, as it may be just as capable as a 13" MBP for FCS 3.

ZorroAMG 12-27-2009 11:28 AM

My '06 core duo 2.0 MBP runs FCE....any new machine will just perfectly.

lol mahmood 12-27-2009 06:33 PM

This is my current MacBook: Refurbished MacBook 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - Black - Apple Store (U.K.)

Do you reckon FCE will run ok?

Nethfel 12-28-2009 08:36 AM

to BenB: you are referring to FCS, the poster was asking about FCE.

to lol mahmood: some FX Plug will not be compatible with that Black MacBook (which comes with an intel GMA chipset for graphics), other than that it will work. I don't know of a list anywhere that specifies what will not be compatible. I had called Apple about it once when I was looking for a laptop, and they couldn't give me a complete answer either. (see the specifications for FCE here: Apple - Final Cut Express - Technical Specifications on the right hand side in the dark gray area it talks about GPU requirements)

Any Mac with a 9400m or better will work with FCE. It'd be easier to get as much machine as you can afford to give yourself growth room tho (in case you ever do want to move to FCS). Obviously, a machine with FireWire is what you want (which excludes the current base MacBook in which they removed firewire completely), preferably FW800 (which excludes the older (early 2009, late 2008 unibody) MacBooks which had FW400 - older ones also had FW400, but aside from early 2009 and late 2008 unibody, none had the 9400m) and limits you to the MacBook Pro line.

lol mahmood 12-28-2009 03:22 PM

Nethfel, thanks for that. Another dumb question, I'm afraid: do you reckon this would work ok with FCE?

Apple MacBook Pro - MBP 15/2.4/2X1GB/160-5400/256VRAM-GBR

2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo – 4MB shared L2 cache

nVidia GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB of GDDR3 SDRAM


ExpressCard/34 slot, Firewire 400/800, USB 2.0

lol mahmood 12-28-2009 03:55 PM

I think I've managed to answer my own question. It will.

Nethfel 12-28-2009 06:17 PM

Oh yeah, that laptop will work well with FCE.

Plus, w/ 15" screen, you'll have more screen realestate and it will be easier to see everything.

I do edit on my MacBook unibody, and with a 13" screen, it can get painful sometimes to look at since the screen has so much cramped in on it. (it's unbearable using the app Color that comes with FCS) I prefer to use an external screen when I use my laptop for editing since it only has the 13" screen. I think you'll be happier with that 15" MBP.

BenB 12-31-2009 12:59 PM

Yes, I meant Final Cut Express, not Studio.

The only problems will be RAM and CPU speed, and having a second hard drive for your media.

lol mahmood 12-31-2009 01:20 PM


I haven't installed my FCE on my 'new' 15.4" MBP* yet, so please excuse my extreme ignorance. Does FCE include Color and Motion? I don 't see them listed in the spec. Are they perhaps FCS or FCP only apps?

* I got the MBP today, but there's a problem with the DVI port; the bloke I bought it from apparently lent it to someone who popped their own HDD in while they were using it, and when they replaced the original HDD they mistakenly put one of the external body screws in one of the DVI port retaining holes! So, I may send it back.

Nethfel 12-31-2009 01:29 PM

No, Color and Motion are part of the Final Cut Studio package which is why I had made that comment to BenB about you wanting to use FCE.

BenB 12-31-2009 01:43 PM

FCE is a limited version of Final Cut, a limited version of LiveType, and I think Compressor, too. No Motion or Color. But you do have FX-Plug effects in Final Cut that come from Motion and depend on your graphics card.

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