MacBook Air continues to impress

During NAB 2014 I told you I purchased a base MacBook Air to replace my aging MacBook Pro and went with the absolute base model machine as you can see.  And it only has 256GB Solid State hard drive internal so I put most of my files, including my iPhoto library on an external USB 3 drive.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 9.59.48 PM

The main use of this machine is email and writing (like this).   Even the salesman at the Apple Store told me that if I needed to do any “heavy lifting” such as video editing or Photoshop, this machine would choke.   At NAB 2014 I was impressed I was able to edit something like 20 “WallyCam” videos off the Air and a single USB 3 hard drive.   This thing just continues to impress me as I’m able to continue working on a much, MUCH larger project in the evenings at home.

Because the screen is only 13″ I used it to run a full screen timeline.


I connected a 24″ Dell UltraSharp monitor as the secondary display to hold the Source / Program / Bins and my now favorite “Markers” Window.


IMG_4447All the media lives on, plays off a single 1TB USB3 Seagate Drive I picked up for about $75 at Costco.   This particular project was shot over 5 days.  Each day had up to three cameras shooting.  5 different camera types were used.  Canon, Sony, Panasonic and GoPro all represented in the footage.  It’s all 1080p / 23.98 and it’s around 650GB of total material.

And it just…. works.   Yes, I drop the resolution in the Source / Program displays to 1/2 or 1/4 but I can edit without delays, without lags.   An underpowered laptop and a single USB 3 drive.  NEVER in a million years would I have believed something like this could work.   Would this work as my primary system?  No.  Render times would kill me.   But for rough editing, editing in the field, editing at home…..  absolutely.   Even for finishing simple projects like the “WallyCam” videos were a breeze.

This machine is performing better than my 3 year old iMac with a 4 drive, 8TB FW800 RAID.

I’m running this with Adobe Premiere Pro CC and CC 2014, but I have to imagine both FCPX and Avid would run pretty smoothly on this as well, especially dropping the playback resolution.    I know Smoke 2013 has been demo’d on an Air but I’m not sure the specs on those machines.

Keep in mind that when you purchase an Air, you get what you get.  You can’t ask the store to add more RAM or anything like that.  Everything is soldered together so if you want something different than what’s in the store, you’ll have to order it.  I didn’t need anything more powerful for what I’m doing.  Heck I never planned to edit video with this at all, but it worked so well at NAB, I just decided to keep pushing it.  Can’t imagine what the performance would be like with a fully tricked out Air.


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