Hello, I need some advice on choosing a system that is within my budget and
possibly good for long-term.
I’m new to MAC world and FCP. Been using Windows and Sony Vegas and been shooting short films on DV camera.
I want to shoot documentaries and shorts (eventually feature length) at
1920x1080 @ 24 fps using DSLR or prosumer cameras.
Budget is $2500 including MBP, RAM, HD upgrades, Final Cut Pro X.
1.Refurbished 2011 Model
Refurbished from local MAC dealer (I live in Canada and prices are higher here but local shops gives me option to get refund within 1 month no questions asked)
MAC Book Pro (2011)
Core i7 2.66GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB Hard Drive, Radeon HD 6750M
Core i7 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 750GB Hard Drive, Radeon HD 6770M
For either one, I will upgrade to 16GB RAM, 1TB internal HD @7200rpm
Do I need more GPU? (since GPU seems to be crucial for rendering)
Will I see much difference between Core i7 2.66 vs. 2.4GHz vs. 2.2GHz?
I read that getting a small internal drive is fine just to install the OS and apps.
And use an external HD @ 7200rpm to store the media clips.
So for this, I’ll get external USB 3 HD 1TB @ 7200rpm
Q. Will 256GB flash storage be enough for the OS, Adobe CS6, MS Office and other smaller utilities? It seems so according to this estimate?
OS X v 10.9.2: 5.3GB
Adobe CS6: 10GB
MS Office and others : less than 5GB?
(Sorry, I'm answering in the order I chose, not the order you asked )
Go with the latest models.
Iris Pro graphics is still an integrated solution, not discrete, but much better integrated graphics than on earlier models. So your hunch is correct as to why 2nd GPU not mentioned. The Iris Pro graphics may be equal to or even slightly better than the discrete GPU in the 2011 models you're considering. You can check briefest.com if you really want to find the speed test data. Also, you can take a look at this thread here on fop.co to compare performance of different models:
The 256 GB System drive, fine.
The plan for the external media drive, USB 3, 7200 RPM, may be fine. However it will be limited in throughput, so if you for example get into multi-cam edits, performance will suffer. The good news is there's room to grow. Later on you can upgrade your existing rMBP with external Thunderbolt RAID.
In general more system RAM benefits large and complex timelines; lots of clips, sound effects, video effects, layers, etc.
A complex timeline with low memory means more spinning rainbow beachballs. A better GPU means faster exports, clip/Project rendering times, and better multiple monitor workflows.
I know I said this already, but go with the latest rMBP.