iMovie Speed on MacBook Pro

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been using a MacBook Pro on loan from Apple. My review of it appears in today’s Seattle Times: Mac’s first Intel-driven laptop: A taste of speed.

Using the MacBook Pro normally doesn’t feel all that speedy; things feel a bit more peppy, but nothing mind-blowing. However, I did a few tasks in iMovie to see how much difference it makes to use a Universal application on the Intel machines (versus having an app written for PowerPC run through Rosetta). I compared the following actions using my main 1.25 GHz PowerBook G4, the 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, and my dual-2.3 GHz Power Mac G5 (that’s the dual-processor, not dual-core, model).

    Applying Glass Distortion Filter on a 06:17 clip in iMovie:
    MacBook Pro: 14 seconds
    PowerBook G4: 24 seconds
    Power Mac G5: 16 seconds

    Adding Zoom title of 05:28:
    MacBook Pro: 13 seconds
    PowerBook G4: 25 seconds
    Power Mac G5: 12 seconds

    Render iDVD project as disc image:
    MacBook Pro: 11:56 am to 12:02 pm (6 minutes)
    PowerBook G4: 12:06 to 12:22 (16 minutes)
    Power Mac G5: 11:58 am to 12:04 pm (6 minutes)

I didn’t expect the MacBook Pro to equal the performance of my big-iron G5 (I’m sure the results aren’t as impressive against the latest Power Mac G5 Quad, however). Of course, that’s just using iMovie HD 6 and iDVD 6 – you’re not going to see results like that using non-Universal software such as Adobe Photoshop.

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