What will my son need in a laptop for film school?

Episode 892

Mark from Tarzana, CA

First he should find out what the school is using for video editing software. It's probably Final Cut Pro, but there's a chance they could be based on Adobe Premiere. If it is Final Cut Pro, then the 15" Macbook Pro is a great choice.

Leo suggests getting the 2.6 Ghz Core i7 15" Macbook Pro with the 256GB Solid State Drive, higher-res display, and perhaps a 27" external monitor. The retina display Macbook Pro probably wouldn't be enough of a difference from the regular Macbook Pro, especially if he's already spending more money on an external drive and monitor.

I'm looking to get a 2TB hard drive, but so many reviews talk about high failure rates. What's a good drive to get?

Episode 884

Rick from San Clemente, CA

Leo says companies have all had different problems with their drives, and now because of acquisitions there's only a handful of hard drive manufacturers. Leo recommends Western Digital though. They have the Caviar Green and the Caviar Black. If he just needs a backup drive, Leo would get the Caviar Green. It's slower, but uses less energy. If Rick really needs the speed, he should go with the Black.

Do I need to defragment an SSD (Solid State Drive)?

Episode 878

Westin from Canyon Lake, CA

It's not necessary to defragment a solid state drive. Traditionally, on a spinning hard drive, when data is written to the drive it's faster if all of the sectors are in order rather than scattered all over. Spinning drives have something called "seek time", which is the amount of time it takes for the read head on the drive to move to the next sector. If the read head has to move around a lot, that seek time adds up and the drive gets slower.

Can I use Handbrake to do distributed video rendering on my home network?

Episode 876

Gary from Texas

The software will have to support distributed rendering, and Leo doesn't believe that Handbrake will do this. Apple's Compressor (in the Mac app store) that comes with Final Cut Pro can do this, and higher end pro products will allow the use of multiple machines to speed up the process. Rendering, or transcoding, can be sped up by distributing bits of the render to multiple computers across the network which they call a "render farm".