Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch Review

Mac-Only Tests

Final Cut Pro 7
High-End Video Production Software
Using the latest version of Final Cut Pro, we used a Final Cut Pro project of an approximate 6-minute video (the project we used for this test is from the video that appears here) that has a total of 64 elements, and which includes video clips of several different formats, multiple audio tracks, still images, and titles. The project includes a number of overlapping video and audio elements as well as audio and video transitions. We copied all of the media files to the system's hard drive, reconnected the project to all the media files, and deleted all existing render files before running each test run. The system's hard drive was set as the scratch disk. Once the project was properly set up on the system, we hand-timed how long it took for Final Cut Pro to render the project with a stopwatch. Once the project was fully rendered, we next hand-timed with a stopwatch how long it took the system to perform a multi-pass encode, exporting the video to a 1,280x720, H.264 file, with a 672Kbps bit rate, and 128Kbps stereo AAC-LC audio.

Perhaps the only thing more maddening that watching paint dry is waiting for a video project to render and then encode. The new MacBook Pro’s Sandy Bridge processor made short work of our processor-intensive Final Cut Pro 7 render, finishing the task the quickest of the bunch in just 14 minutes. With the encode, however, the new MacBook Pro was bested by the three-year-old iMac. While the new MacBook Pro made a very impressive showing on this test, it was likely slowed down somewhat by its mobile-based components, such as its 5,400-rpm hard drive--as opposed to the 7,200-rpm hard drive in the iMac. That said, the new MacBook Pro’s strong performance makes it our prime candidate for the next time we need to do video editing when on the road.

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