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You Can Edit 4K Video on a MacBook Air (With a Red Rocket)

However, a demo published by Dave Helmly, in charge of tech sales of Adobe's pro audio and video products, shows that it is possible.

Helmly used a flagship Macbook Air with an Intel 1.8 GHz i7-2677M processor, which retails for $1700. The 4K video quickly overwhelmed the dual-core processor and its four threads. However, the video, apparently recorded with a Red One camera, ran in real-time via a Thunderbolt-connected Red Rocket accelerator and transcoder card. The Red Rocket card is key to getting 4K video to be played at 30 fps on a PC and can be purchased for $4,750.

It's important to note that Helmly went with the Apple hardware, but on the OS side it's running Windows 7 in boot camp. Helmly explained to Gizmodo on his choice:

No real reason I chose to show it running under Windows 7 other than I've been surprised that we haven't seen any demos of Windows running TB before now. It actually works pretty good in it's current beta state. That said the Mac OS kicks @ss running the same config. Please keep in mind that half the battle is getting alpha/beta Windows 7 64bit drivers for each TB device. All TB devices need drivers at some level. All necessary Mac OS driver are already shipping.The Mac + TB is really last years news and we all want more TB peripherals to start shipping and to start showing Intel and PC makers that there is lots of interest on both sides and it will benefit all TB users. I have no preference on OS and use both everyday.

4K video is still an emerging standard and out of reach for mainstream customers. The Red One camera, which supports recording formats up to 4.5K at 4480x1920 pixels, is currently sold for $25,000. YouTube began supporting 4K videos in mid-2010. An example can be seen below (but you'll have to blow it up to original size if you want to see it in all its glory).

  • jacobdrj
    Excellent tool. Were I to pursue video editing, the Red Rocket seems like the way to go...
    Reply
  • JasonAkkerman
    Can't read the article. All I see in my head is Cartman and that poor dog.
    Reply
  • sinfulpotato
    Why?? Who can fully display a 4480x1920 video in all its glory anyways??? Multi-monitor set ups be damned with your black bars.
    Reply
  • JasonAkkerman
    greghomeMacBook Air, Win 7 Ultimate? What's the point of getting a Mac then ?.....Because of the available Thunderbolt connection?
    Reply
  • back_by_demand
    JasonAkkermanBecause of the available Thunderbolt connection?So the hard work was done by an external device, the hardware is basically an Intel based ultrabook, regardless of the manufacturer the only thing that makes it Mac is the OS, and that was replaced with Windows 7

    Well done, nice job
    Reply
  • mcd023
    Wonder how many 7970s you need to game at that res. haha. Maybe an octo-core to go with it (and based on toms sub $200 gaming CPU, I'm not referring to the fx line!)
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    Or you could buy a $4000 computer and really be able to do editing... But it's a neat (although expensive) way to do on-site dailys and quick edits.
    Reply
  • madooo12
    mcd023Wonder how many 7970s you need to game at that res. haha. Maybe an octo-core to go with it (and based on toms sub $200 gaming CPU, I'm not referring to the fx line!)one, I remember the 6970 was quite OK with 3x1080P, I think the 7970 will be the same with 4x1080P
    The 7990 would be excellent as the 6990 was excellent with the 3x1080P so the 7990 should be excellent with 4x1080P

    read the benchmarks

    Since you can't even play 4K video on any PC, most of us would not automatically come up with an idea to edit 12-megapixel resolution video on a Macbook Air.
    actually the 7970 can play it (don't know about editing)
    Reply
  • 1700$ Air + 4750$ Red rocket box/card. Now its not porterbel any more. For the 6450$ i can buy a PC that can run it. So what the point. I fail to see it.
    Reply
  • JasonAkkerman
    back_by_demandSo the hard work was done by an external device, the hardware is basically an Intel based ultrabook, regardless of the manufacturer the only thing that makes it Mac is the OS, and that was replaced with Windows 7Well done, nice jobTo my knowledge there is no option for a Thunderbolt connection on a PC. That was my point.
    Reply