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MacBook Air Thunderbolt editing 4K video shows why the Mac Pro as we know it can die

Describing it as “jamming a V8 into a Miata” in his blog post, Adobe’s Dave Helmy/via John Nack set out to see if he could edit full-res 4K RED video footage in the field using a MacBook Air beefed up courtesy of various Thunderbolt solutions. The concept proves with enough RAM and a powerful processor, Thunderbolt could enable smaller Macs to do the work of a Mac Pro.  Hard Drives, PCI cards and everything besides the processor and RAM can now be connected via Thunderbolt rather that being built into the box.

Apple could modularize for their Pros.  Think about starting with a Mac Mini with a XEON Processor and lots of RAM (OK, the cooling stuff might turn it into a cube).

As for the performance of the 13-inch MacBook Air,…

Windows system settings shows a 1.8 GHz Core i7, and 4GB of RAM, but Dave pushes it to its full potential with a Red Rocket card installed into a Sonnet Thunderbolt-enabled chassis. He also uses an UltraStudio 3D playback peripheral from Blackmagic, which enables high performance capture of HD and 2K video as well as two full res 1080p streams for stereoscopic 3D content.

As you can see in the video above, Dave edits in Premiere Pro running on Windows 7 through Bootcamp. You might be surprised to learn that entire demo, he was also recording using a camera fed to the Blackmagic UltraStudio 3D box into a Promise RAID. Dave explained the setup allowed him to work with Thunderbolt inside the Sonnet Chassis for editing (which is also sending data to the Promise RAID), while also recording live through the Blackmagic box, enabling playback and recording simultaneously.

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Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.