MBP 17″ upgrades

Posted on 20 January 2013

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My MBP is a 17″ spring 2010 i5 2,53Ghz model. Here are my options for accessories to make it work like my MacPro.

Memory

Here is a nice explanation, you have to look in activity monitor at the “page-outs” and add that amount of memory. In my case this is 6 GB page-in and 4 GB page outs (swap 1 GB). Later on it’s 11 GB PI, 7 GB PO (swap 2 GB). But the strange thing here is that there also is 2 GB available memory, so it’s using the swap even though it’s not necessary. I think I need at least 4GB extra.

Apple formally recommends that you “fill both memory slots and install an identical memory module in each slot” for all of these systems. With this type of memory, 8 GB seems to be the max per slot, so it’s not possible to get more then 16 GB. This guy says I can put a total of 16 GB of DDR3 1066 / PC3-8500 SO DIMM 204pin in my MBP, here is someone that says I can’t. So I can choose between the 2x Crucial 4GB for EUR 33 or the 2x 8 GB Mushkin for EUR 80. I’m hoping that both Mountain Lion and Win7/64 will cope with the 16 GB.

Harddisks

See my seperate post. For $ 300 I should be able to enough storage space like the 4 TB Lacie 2d Quadra (FW800 / USB3 / eSATA).

Blu-ray

The $ 90 Samsung SE-506AB USB2 external blu-ray burner is known to work great with osX. Another option is the $ 150 Fovea Extreme 6x USB2 slot-loading drive that even supports quad-layer 128GB BD-R XL.

Interlaced Video Preview

For mastering of TV commercials, I need a composite in/output with TFF or BFF output choice. This means a DV out over firewire is not good enough. While looking at it, HDMI 1.4 (S3D) in- and output would also be nice.

Unfortunately, the $ 190 blackmagic Intensity Shuttle will not work with an USB3 expresscard because of the only 2.5 Ghz bandwith of the expresscard slot and because usb3 blackmagic products are not (yet) supported on mac.

The best bet is the $ 400 Matrox MX02 mini that work with both thunderbold and exprescard/34. I’m not really sure if it has full S3D support when connected with Expresscard but I think it will be good.

Keyboard and mouse

Working on a a computer like this one has two disadvantages: my left wrist gets really hot (due to the harddisk drive  underneath it) and my neck doesn’t like the screen being so low. The best solution to this is to buy a BT keyboard and mouse and get myself some phonebooks to put the macbook on.

One nice thought is to get a wireless one-hand keyboard or keyboard-gloves so I could work anywhere. Especially when combined with WHDI and head-mounted displays. Don’t know if it’s a great idea for editing (NLE’s dual screen setups and keyboard shortcuts) but it is worth a thought.

Other options:

  • CAD 200: Twiddler2: mouse pointer + 12 key keyboard (in hand).

Display

I’ve got my two nice BenQ 24″ full HD screens. I could use both of them in a video preview screen setup with the above mentioned Matrox MX02 products, or in a two-screen setup with the $ 200 Matrox Dualhead2Go DP edition. This one works with both windows and osX and goes up to 2x full HD with my graphics card (don’t think there will be anything on the laptops’ screen with this setup.

Another really nice option would be to buy the $ 80 Targus USB 3 dual video adapter in combination with an usb3 expresscard. This gives me only one plug for 2 screens plus usb3 storage. Or I could buy a $ 50 IOGEAR USB 2.0 to fullHD HDMI adapter for the working screen (would not be fast enough as preview screen I think). For both options I don’t know if they support osX well.

If my screens ever give up working I might consider buying a Dell S2340T multi-gesture touch-screen or the wireless Samsung C27A750, both work on USB3 (DisplayLink technology) and come with a lot of USB3 connectivity.

Or should I just buy this SpaceBook dual screen laptop?

Docking Station

If I am going to connect multiple devices (FW800, USB, power, displayport, ethernet) It would be nice to have a docking station. I’m not looking forward to plugging and unplugging that many plugs every time. Here are the options:

  • Bookendz is pretty ugly and expensive
  • Unite looks really good but does not have connectors
  • Hengedocks has this great $80 solution.

HengeDocks

The Hengedocks solution is really nice. You can screw in your cables and as long as it got power, (bluetooth) mouse/kb and external monitor connected it will work nicely with the laptop standing in the docking station. There are three disadvantages:

  1. Since you screw in the power-plug, you will have to buy a second power adapter for on the road.
  2. You won’t have access to the expresscard slot. I’m using that to load my footage from SD-cards.
  3. You can’t use the laptops’ full HD screen anymore as a second or third screen.

Stand

The alternative would be to use a laptop/screen stand like the $ 230 Bretford MobilePro Desk Mount Combo:

Bretford MobilePro Desk Mount Combo

Now in this case the biggest disadvantage is that

  • I will need to manually connect at least the displayport plug and most of the times also the power and FW or USB plug. The other thing is that I might not like to work with two differently sized screens.

Another thing to consider is to buy two Screenmate Monitor Arms in combination with a VESA laptop support or DisplayLink adapter. This can make a portable set-up as it fits around a 30 mm pole like my C-stand. Another option might be to buy one of these filmtools 5/8″ Pin mounts for a hollywood grip. Or I could just buy a $ 100 speaker stand with VESA mount like this one.

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Posted in: MacOS/Apple