I'm probably going to get flamed for this...
...but have you considered a non-Macintosh laptop for video editing? It's not that I'm opposed to Macs (though many here will say otherwise) it's just that I find the MacBook Pro to be a bit underpowered as far as mobile video editing goes.
MacBook Pro's aren't cheap notebooks, so it seems as if you're considering spending that much money, I'd have to advocate Alienware. They deliver Windows-based computers that are bloat free and well-configured from the start. About the only thing you need to add is a security suite. Alienware's lineup of workstation-class notebooks include the 17" Aurora m9700, the 19" Aurora mALX and, in the not-so-distant-future, the 17" Aurora m9750. All of these notebooks feature the option of dual hard drive RAID 0 configurations, ranging from anywhere between 160 GB to 500 GB. They all offer the option of up to two Nvidia Geforce Go 7950 GTX graphics cards, one of which vastly outperforms the MacBook Pro's Mobility Radeon X1600 in workstation-class OpenGL graphics. If I were to take a bet, I'd say one of those cards probably beats the X1600 in workstation-class DirectX as well. The trouble with all of these notebooks (save for the as-yet-unreleased m9750) is that they utilize somewhat pokey single-core AMD Turion 64 processors. All of them do feature full keyboards with numeric keypads, integrated microphones/webcams.Alienware Aurora m9700Alienware Aurora m9700
Another, perhaps less-preferable option, would be the 17" Superman Returns Special Edition notebook, which features the option of two hard drives, an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, a numeric keypad on the keyboard, and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1800. ATI's graphics cards tend to do better than their Nvidia equivalents
as far as DirectX performance (though Nvidia cards tend to do better in OpenGL). ATI's driver support seems to be better than Nvidia's in Windows Vista, as well.Alienware Area-51 Superman Returns Edition Notebook
If you're uncomfortable spending that much, HP offers a line of 17" notebooks (the Pavilions dv9500t
, and dv9000z
) offering dual core processors from both Intel and AMD, dual hard drives (up to 240 GB) and Geforce Go 7600 graphics cards. Depending on which model you select, you'll have the option of an AMD Turion 64 X2, an Intel Core Duo, or an Intel Core 2 Duo. All of these laptops have the option of an integrated microphone AND webcam -- and it's got a numeric keypad built-in to the keyboard. In fact, the only real trouble with these HP notebooks is their tendency to ship with a frustrating level of bloatware, a lot of which is completely unnecessary when installed with Vista.HP dv9500tHP dv9000t and dv9000z
Sager, a small but incredible notebook making company, offers a notebook (the NP9260 series) with a desktop Core 2 Duo (which is considerably faster than the notebook Core 2 Duo), dual Nvidia Geforce Go 7950 GTX graphics cards, dual hard drives in a dual-configuration, RAID 0 configuration, or a RAID 1 configuration, an integrated webcam and microphone, a numpad on the keyboard and a 1920x1200 resolution screen. This is, without a doubt, the fastest notebook money can buy today. Obviously, a fully-specced version of this configuration can be pricey... which may lead you to the NP5760 series, which offers pretty much the same thing but with only one graphics card, so it's a good deal cheaper.Sager NP9260Sager NP5760
Just a thought. While I really love a lot of the features of the MacBook Pro (illuminated keyboards are wonderful, and I'm glad Apple's trying to solve the tripping-over-notebook-AC-cord problem), I find that the MacBook Pro falls far short of some PC notebooks as far as capability in mobile video editing, which surprises given Apple's "dominance" in video editing.
As I'm sure many of us here know, the filmmaking hobby takes up a LOT of hard drive space. Sadly, in the interests of keeping the MacBook Pro thin and sexy, Apple has included only one hard drive, putting it on par with most run-of-the-mill PC notebooks in video editing aptitude. External hard drives don't particularly cut it, because they're external interfaces (usually USB or Firewire) aren't fast enough. The only way to really get around that limitation is to have multiple internal hard drives, in a RAID configuration if possible. That allows you to not only capture and export DV in the fastest manner possible, it will allow you to capture and export HDV in the fastest manner possible.
Additionally, the graphics horsepower in the MacBook Pro is somewhat lacking. If you ever play games, or if you ever want to do any bit of 3D animation, the underclocked Mobility Radeon X1600 in the MacBook Pro is woefully unprepared for the task. As mentioned above, ATI cards tend to do better rendering DirectX code where Nvidia cards do better in OpenGL. Why Apple chose the ATI cards, given that they don't even HAVE DirectX in their operating system is somewhat beyond me... but they did. Nevertheless, the standard Mobility Radeon X1600 isn't a particularly fast card to begin with. The under-clocked one in the MacBook Pro is going to be slower.
Finally, and I'll admit this one is a bit of a personal preference... the MacBook Pro's peak screen resolution is 1680x1050 on the 17" version. Most 17" PC notebooks offer resolutions of 1920x1200 which, apart from being able to natively display 1080P HD video, has plenty of legroom for an NLE timeline. Plus it's really nice looking.
That's just me. I think the MacBook Pro is a great notebook, it's just... surprisingly ill-equipped as far as a content-creating workstation goes (at least, relative to the alternatives).