My afternoon at boot camp

I’m currently reviewing the 17″ MacBook Pro for an upcoming issue of DV Magazine. The question I’m tying to answer is this: Can a laptop truly replace a desktop machine for a video professional? In the past when DV has reviewed Mac laptops, benchmarks from comparable Windows laptops have been included in the review. Well, thanks to Boot Camp, we can benchmark the MacBook Pro against itself. Kinda Kafkaesque, but it keeps the clutter in the studio to minimum.

I’m not going to upstage my own review in DV. My editors wouldn’t consider that Kafkaesque, just plain unethical. So you’ll have to wait for the details, but this whole dual boot thing got me thinking. The last time I had a dual boot machine was in 1984. A DEC Rainbow in the newsroom I got my start in could boot either MS-DOS or CP/M. (Linux doesn’t count because I never actually did anything with it.) I chose to work with CP/M. “That DOS system’s really a hack. It’ll never go anywhere.” Yeah, I was really good at picking winners in the 80s.

In researching the Boot Camp thing, I came across this from a Paul Boutin article in Slate:

I’m pretty sure that when I hit my local Apple store Saturday, I won’t find a line of Switchers lured in by Boot Camp. For Windows users, a new Mac is a big step up in price. For Apple loyalists, Windows is a big step down in software. Boot Camp lets you buy the most expensive computer and load it with inferior software. Thanks, Apple. Thanks a lot.

I don’t agree. I think Boot Camp is a great feature for the home market. Dad or mom can set the family up with a stylish box that is relatively immune from viruses and malware, while still being able to run all that crap for work on a safely segregated Windows partition. In this age of conspicuous consumption, who wouldn’t want to spend a few bucks more for the computer featured in Sex in the City and Curb Your Entusiasm?

What does this have to do with my review? Nothing. I’m procrastinating.

7 Thoughts on “My afternoon at boot camp

  1. When will the article on the new 17″ MacBook Pro be published in DV magazine?


  2. It’s usually on the news stand (or in the mail) 4 to 6 weeks after I submit it. My deadline is 6/15, so I’m guestimating it will make the issue that goes out in August (September).

  3. I just read your review of the 17″ laptop. I was thinking of getting the 17″ to use Apple’s Motion program, since my existing g4’s won’t handle it. Did you try Motion on the laptop? If so, did it perform well?

  4. Satya Emani on October 2, 2006 at 8:35 pm said:


    I read your Macbook Pro article in hard print and on DV’s website.

    A couple of things I couldn’t understand –

    1. When you compared HP nw9440 with the Macbook Pro 17″, you said 5% improvement in an Adobe AE render and called it significant. How’s 5% significant?

    2. You didn’t consider the 15.4″ Macbook pro at all – one of the main differences being the Firewire 800 port!

    I want to buy a small workstation – 12″ to 15″ in size and get a moderate-to-best graphics card (say Quadro FX 1500m) for my video work (and compositing).

    Sighhh … it is difficult to get a small screen (more portable) with a good graphics card. My ideal laptop is a 14.1″ Tablet PC with either a Quadro FX 1500m or at least a GeForce 7800 Go card.


  5. Answering your queries…

    1. The 5% improvement was with both machines running Windows XP. Running OS X the difference is 50% (or more) due to AE running in Rosetta.

    2. It was a review of the 17″ model exclusively. There are other differences in the machines. Check Apple’s site.

  6. Satya Emani on November 28, 2006 at 1:54 pm said:


    I bought a Macbook Pro 15.4″ Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz system with 3GB RAM during Thanksgiving. Your blog and review helped me make my decision.

    I was wondering how did you input uncompressed 10-bit 601 video to the eSATA RAID array?


  7. I used an AJA Io.

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