Advice for MBP hardware setup for Final Cut hobbyist

Posted by aquestionortwo 
Advice for MBP hardware setup for Final Cut hobbyist
March 11, 2013 12:12AM
I'm a bit stuck and looking for advice on a new setup from folks here who probably know the best way to do this in their sleep! smiling smiley

I'm not a power user of Final Cut, more a hobbyist (I use professional tools sometimes, other times much more basic).
I'm looking to get a new MacBook Pro, and was wondering if anyone has an opinion on what might be a good configuration - I don't know where the bottlenecks occur today in my setup, and where to prevent them with a new purchase.

Right now I have a Mac Pro: 2 x 2.8 quad core Xeon, 4GB 800 MHz, NVIDIA 8800GT, 4 x 1TB (7200). 2 drives are each full ~750GB; I clone each drive as backup. I have an older 27 " Apple display (3 USB 2.0, no Thunderbolt).

I'm not super technical, but I was thinking I should do...
The base level MacBook Pro 15" retina with 512GB SSD, no upgrades.
Keep the 4 1TB drives and get a 5-bay enclosure with USB 3.0.
Plug the enclosure directly into the MBP (which I think would then be faster than plugging it into the display), get one more 1TB drive to clone the SSD, and then split my media across 2 other drives, and then clone each of those.

Anyone have thoughts on if I am going down the right path? This all costs so much $$$ I don't want to make a costly mistake I'm going to regret later. Thanks all!!
Re: Advice for MBP hardware setup for Final Cut hobbyist
March 11, 2013 07:47PM
I think that one thing you need to consider is that (legacy) FCP is an End-Of-Line product that will increasingly fall out of common use, so if you're planning a big upgrade, you need to plan for whatever software you intend to use in the future. This could be any of a number of different options, but some will run more optimally on different graphics cards and so on.

Having said that, the newer MacBook Pros are pretty good for most applications.

Also, do you need to have all your media online all the time? Could you perhaps archive some of the older stuff to free up extra space for new material?

Re: Advice for MBP hardware setup for Final Cut hobbyist
March 11, 2013 10:53PM
Here's a basic one...when you say "archive" older items, do you mean literally moving them to discs or something of the like (or do people use more online archive systems, like a dropbox or whatnot).
Basically I just want to try to leverage the expertise of folks here. If the answer is "you're nuts to not move old stuff to XYZ", then I'm totally game to make any changes that people recommend. smiling smiley
I was thinking since I already have so many drives, I think getting one more 1TB would allow me to keep everything hooked up and not have to store anything away...but my setup might be wacko (not sure what the best practices are for backups, I just made up my cloning one since it seemed logical!)
Re: Advice for MBP hardware setup for Final Cut hobbyist
March 12, 2013 08:32AM
Try out the MacBook Pros. My gripe with them is that the largest screen size for the laptop is 15". I'm a lot more comfortable working on at least a 17" monitor. The windows don't feel so cramped. But that's just me and some users are fine with 15".

An alternative solution is to go for an iMac, unless you intend to carry it around a lot and you are fine plugging the laptop into a monitor for working for extended periods of time.
Re: Advice for MBP hardware setup for Final Cut hobbyist
March 12, 2013 07:41PM
It's not at all whack to keep all your media online if you need it. I personally have a lot of jobs that have a finite life, and then I don't need to see them again unless the client wants new versions at a later date, so I move them all to archive drives which I can disconnect from my system. You could use external drives, or disks or tape - there's a whole bunch of options. But if you want it online or need it online then for sure keep it online.

I'm still waiting for the new powermac (in inverted commas) so I'm currently working on an iMac and it's working out fine - good screen space (as Strypes notes) low desk real estate, plenty of speed for most jobs. A good idea to max out the RAM if you're thinking of moving to PP CS5 though.

Re: Advice for MBP hardware setup for Final Cut hobbyist
March 18, 2013 01:47PM
Thanks all.
I'll take the advice on maxing out the RAM (thank you).
I would look at a Mac Pro or iMac, but it will be my only machine so need it to be portable as well. SOunds like the setup to have 5 1TB drives in an external case is my best option if I want to have everything on-line (when plugged in back at home, that is).
Re: Advice for MBP hardware setup for Final Cut hobbyist
March 20, 2013 11:21AM
if its any comfort, im using and older 2.6 core 2 duo, 17" mbpro and it runs fcp6.x with no problem.

here is my advice for whatever you buy:

- max out the ram

- DONT buy the SSD upgrade. you can get better, cheaper SSDs aftermarket from highly reputable places like

- be aware of what interface youre using for work drives. for example: moving from fw800 to eSata had as much of a performance boost as did going from 4gig to 16 gig of ram. usb3 might be ok (not sure how it performs with sustained transfers) if thunderbolt is an option i'd definitely go that way

- i wouldnt get married to one huge dock. it's fine. but unless you really NEED all your media available at all times (cant imagine why someone who classifies themselves as a hobbyist would?) or work on really, REALLY big projects, its just energy, heat, noise and machine waste. i have a collection of 500g-3t drives in standalone enclosures, raid setups or naked docks that i use project by project.
Re: Advice for MBP hardware setup for Final Cut hobbyist
April 15, 2013 12:15AM
Thanks, thats good advice. Much appreciated.
On the dock - I guess I don't need all available at all times, but I was thinking that it seemed easiest to have them all in one enclosure since I might be accessing 2 of the drives regularly, then cloning them over to the other 2 drives.
I guess to save energy I could just consider 5 separate enclosures, and then get a USB3 hub - I actually hadn't thought of that option...been a while since I used a hub.

On heat/noise/waste...
I was wondering, if I am just using one of the drives (say in a 5-drive enclosure), wouldn't only the one drive spin up, so would there be much noise and waste?
Or is it the enclosure itself that generates lots of heat/noise/waste even with only 1 of the 5 drives in use? And if so but I went that route, are there enclosures that are "better" in those respects?

Thanks much!
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