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Thread: Laptop for editing video

  1. #1


    Member Since
    Feb 20, 2018
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    Laptop for editing video
    Hello,
    I have spent the better part of a week trying to research laptops (preferably Mac, since thatís what Iím used to). And itís proving to be a bigger challenge than expected.

    I guess my biggest issue is buying a machine that will take care of me for a while. I will hopefully be buying a new cinema camera at some point and Iím trying to ďfuture proofĒ...if thatís the right term.

    Iím only a hobbyist so I donít do this for a living. I have a 2013ish 13Ē MacBook right now. I edit with Hitfilm Pro and I have Davinci Resolve downloaded (although I only use it to transcode my footage to ProRes). No really terrible experiences so far...a little slow at times maybe. But I would like a really GOOD computer that I can pretty much use exclusively for editing video and music. Something I can turn on, start throwing footage, and edit with confidence without worrying about lag and crash issues.

    In regards to ďfuture prooofingĒ, I was wondering if the 15Ē MacBook Pro would be good for editing something like 4K footage or raw. I have a cheap DSLR now but in the event that I upgrade and I have the ability to film in raw or something, I donít want to find myself up a creek because I spent $2500.00 on a computer that doesnít have the chops to edit, process, render footage with and lot of data.

    Full disclosure: I am NOT a big computer guy, and this film thing is something I have only recently been getting into. So reading/interpreting specs is pretty exhausting.

    After posting on other forums I have learned that RAM, CPU, and GPU are the key factors to take into consideration.

    I had posted some specs of a refurb Mac on a cinematography forum and one dude was like ďIíd avoid Radeon...Ē but thatís pretty much the only graphics Iíve seen on theses MacBooks. The heaviest GPU Iíve seen (for the money Iím willing to spend) is the Radeon 560 with 4gb...I think. Also, 16gb of RAM isnít enough apparently?


    This is very long. Sorry about that.

    I just need a lot of help here. I guess Iím mostly looking for validation because I really want to pull the trigger on a new MacBook. But there are so many opinions out there.

  2. #2

    ferrarr's Avatar
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    Well, the 13" is only a dual core, the 15" is a quad core, big difference, quite worth it in my opinion.

    The RAM, will let you work on more things simultaneously. Web pages, documents, iTunes, calendar, video files
    The CPU will process the data, aka dual core, quad core, etc , and processor speed 2.2, 2.8, or 3.2, etc.
    The GPU is for the display, video, maybe audio too.

    If you do get a MBP, get a dock, to use with a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and speakers.
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  3. #3


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferrarr View Post
    Well, the 13" is only a dual core, the 15" is a quad core, big difference, quite worth it in my opinion.

    The RAM, will let you work on more things simultaneously. Web pages, documents, iTunes, calendar, video files
    The CPU will process the data, aka dual core, quad core, etc , and processor speed 2.2, 2.8, or 3.2, etc.
    The GPU is for the display, video, maybe audio too.

    If you do get a MBP, get a dock, to use with a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and speakers.
    Thanks for breaking this down for me.

    So, Iím your opinion, would these be adequate specs for editing RAW video files? Or even 4K?

    16GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory
    512GB PCIe-based onboard SSD
    Radeon Pro 560 with 4GB of GDDR5 memory

    Like I said, I had posters on another forum kind of scoff at the RAM and GPU speed.

    I had mentioned wanting to use Davinci Resolve (mostly because I may use it more than my current NLE if/when I get the new Black Magic pocket cinema camera). And the responses were something along the lines of ďif youíre going to edit and grade in resolve you have to have a maxed out GPUĒ. Iím no computer genius but the look pretty good to me. I didnít really see any that were maxed out more than this (in my price range). Oh, and one guy said to avoid the Radeon Pro graphics...I wouldnít know what to compare it to. Thatís all Iíve seen on Macbooks in this range.

    Again, weíre just talking video editing exclusively...and maybe listening to iTunes. No gaming or streaming or excessive web browsing. I can use my current Mac for that.

    The above specifications were from a refurbished MacBook that I was checking out on the Apple site.

  4. #4

    ferrarr's Avatar
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    I think they are recommending a desktop PC, not a portable, although, I have seen some portable winOS PCs that take take more RAM than 16GB.

    What processor? It will do what you want, but it will be limited by the processor speed.
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  5. #5


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferrarr View Post
    I think they are recommending a desktop PC, not a portable, although, I have seen some portable winOS PCs that take take more RAM than 16GB.

    What processor? It will do what you want, but it will be limited by the processor speed.
    Hereís the processor

    2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz, with 8MB shared L3 cache

    ...whatever this means. Seriously, Iím a complete moron with this stuff. Not sure what shared L3 cache is, but apparently thereís 8mb of it.

  6. #6

    lclev's Avatar
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    Originally the Macbook Pro was built to edit video. With the advent of 4K video and special effects app developers have moved to utilizing the GPU for rendering on the fly. Apple seems to have moved to the Mac Pro and iMac Pro for the pro video people. Recent Macbook Pro models do not impress me as being adequate for heavy editing.

    I currently use a 2010 Mac Pro with a Nvidia GTX 1080 6Gb GPU and 64GB of memory. It handles 4K video easily. I also have a 13" 2017 Macbook Pro and I might attempt a short 720HD iMovie project on it. The bottle neck is the dual core processor and the GPU.

    Most video editing apps are utilizing the GPU for processing power. If you are set on a laptop and must have a Macbook Pro I suggest an i7 quad. You are stuck with 16GB of memory and the Radeon GPU.

    Unfortunately 4K video makes heavy demands on a system.

    Lisa
    Recommend using Onyx to clean your Mac.
    If you have been helped, please add to their reputation by clicking on the icon in the lower left hand corner of the post.

  7. #7


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by lclev View Post
    Originally the Macbook Pro was built to edit video. With the advent of 4K video and special effects app developers have moved to utilizing the GPU for rendering on the fly. Apple seems to have moved to the Mac Pro and iMac Pro for the pro video people. Recent Macbook Pro models do not impress me as being adequate for heavy editing.

    I currently use a 2010 Mac Pro with a Nvidia GTX 1080 6Gb GPU and 64GB of memory. It handles 4K video easily. I also have a 13" 2017 Macbook Pro and I might attempt a short 720HD iMovie project on it. The bottle neck is the dual core processor and the GPU.

    Most video editing apps are utilizing the GPU for processing power. If you are set on a laptop and must have a Macbook Pro I suggest an i7 quad. You are stuck with 16GB of memory and the Radeon GPU.

    Unfortunately 4K video makes heavy demands on a system.

    Lisa
    I understand.

    I really do need something I can move around with. Not sure if there are any other options other than the laptop. Guess Iím stuck, like you said, with ďokayĒ speed. Which sucks.

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