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Old March 13th, 2008, 09:06 PM   #1
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And yet another "What to run CS3 on" question

I'm an R&D Engineer and started a couple years ago doing video work for the company I work for and am in need of a laptop to work on as a mobile work station. I travel a lot and need to keep up with things rather than come home to a huge project while I have other work backing up while I am gone.

I've researched many lap tops, Alienware looked great till you start searching for reviews. Looked at Macbook pro but I guess I am rebelling against Mac for no apparent reason (like pc's, call me weird). Dell...well they own Alienware and have seen some similar reviews and not sure the config is what I'm looking for, so here is what I am down to.

HP HDX
Vista Home Premium (32-Bit) Yes I know some have had issues with Vista for some crazy reason I'm willing to give it a go.

Core 2 Duo T9300 2.5GHz

3GB Memory

512 Nvidia GeForce 8800m Video card

2 internal 120GB Sata Drives @ 7200 rpm (Called HP and they said the two drives are not striped in a raid configuration)

Will also run a eSata external in Raid 0 Gig unknown at this time.

I pretty much use PP CS3 and PhotoShop CS3 for most of my work But I am a AE junkie, a cold beer and a nice long session with After Effects CS3 is what I call a hot Satarday night nowadays. I am working with a GL2 at the moment but will be moving to HD sometime this year. What I would like to do here is be able to function, without massive head aches and get my work done and enjoy my downtime stuck in hotel rooms working in AE.

Its okay if render time is longer than on my custom desktop, gotta get out and eat sometimes. So the big question is in your experience is it possible to run CS3 Production Premium Suite on this system and have a ball with it or is there a better machine for a mobile work station out there?

Right now the imaginary buget is at 3,000 but I'd go a bit more for piece of mind if needed and I'm not concerned with size or weight, its not for working on an airplane or at Starbucks.

Thanks in advance for your opinion and don't be uncomfortable about being brutal, good or bad I want to hear it.

Woody
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Old March 13th, 2008, 09:49 PM   #2
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Hi Woody!
I think you and me were in the same boat about two weeks ago! I've been looking around for a laptop for about a month now to use the CS3 suite on. I, like yourself, am an AE junkie but do a lot of stuff in Premiere as well. I originally planned on ordering a Sony laptop just because they were sleek and fast, however I decided to make my first jump to a mac computer. I can tell you that I have honestly never been so happy with a computer. The operating system takes a couple days to get used to, but after you do everything is gravy. I'm editing HDV no problem in Premiere Pro CS3, importing clips in After Effects, making dvds and loving it. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm really thinking about transforming my edit bay into a mac based system just based on the results I have had from this laptop. I'm not sure if you have completely dismissed Macs yet, so if you haven't -- give the Macbook Pro a look. Go onto the apple website and max out the processor and get the fastest hard drive. Get the lowest amount of ram, because you can order 4 gigs of ram from newegg for about $110 that works great.

I just wanted to share with you my experience with this whole laptop search. The 15 inch Macbook Pro has been great for me, and it came in at around 2800 after purchasing the additional Ram. Its fast, and SUPER sleek. Just wanted to share my opinion! Good luck on your search friend!
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Old March 13th, 2008, 10:09 PM   #3
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Hi Jordan, Thanks for the reply.

How are you runing your scratch disk set up? Are you just running everything on one drive? That's one thing I've been trying to look around is configuring to reduce bottle necking. I haven't written off the Mac altogether since function is the main concern.

Woody
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Old March 14th, 2008, 08:50 AM   #4
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Well that's one of the problems I have encountered. Because the biggest 7200 hard drive for the macbook 15 inch is 200gigs, I can usually only edit one or two projects on in at a time. I usually create a folder on the desktop that has EVERYTHING for the project in it. When I finish the project, I backup the entire folder to another hard drive, and delete it from the system.

I've looked into purchasing one of the wireless hard drives (Time Capsules) from Apple, but am unsure about the performance. For backups, I have an external hard drive enclosure that I put 200gig internal drives in. I put the folders on the internal drives and store them in a safe place.
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Old March 14th, 2008, 09:27 AM   #5
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I would not use the wireless disks, performance is not going to be as good as even FireWire disks, Sata with RAID is the best solution for external disks for editing.
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Old March 14th, 2008, 09:35 AM   #6
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Woody... I think your basic setup is solid. I have a similar config with a year-old Core 2... 2GHz I think. Performance is OK, but lags significantly behind my 3GHz Athlon 64X desktop.

I'm working almost exclusively in HD which takes substantially more resources than SD, as you're probably aware. The laptop's speed is barely adequate but if you get a newer, faster one, it should be better.

I held my nose and went with a Sony Vaio laptop. I tend to stay away from Sony (laptops and desktops) because they tend to last 12-18 months and then pack up for good. This is my experience with three previous laptops and three desktops. YMMV With this one, so far so good.

I'm not sure I'd go with a RAID 0 given what you want to do. First, a two drive RAID 0 doubles your chance of data loss from a drive failure. RAID 5 is a safer choice or you can stay with JBOD. Second, AE tends to not be as disk intensive as video editing. It's more CPU-bound for compositing and effects so a faster processor and max memory might buy you more than faster storage.

I looked at the HP HDX on the Web site and I'd recommend upgrading to the 2.8GHz processor with 3GB of RAM.
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Old March 14th, 2008, 12:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp Woelfel View Post
I'm not sure I'd go with a RAID 0 given what you want to do. First, a two drive RAID 0 doubles your chance of data loss from a drive failure.
A solution for RAID is the FirmTek 5PM enclosure (http://www.firmtek.com) It controls 5 drives with one cable so you can have the two top disks in RAID0 and the two middle drives mirroring the first set. You still have one spare bay for backups. This will give you performance and total reliability.
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Old March 14th, 2008, 07:24 PM   #8
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...you can have the two top disks in RAID0 and the two middle drives mirroring the first set.
Yep. That's the old RAID 10. Given the price of drives these days, it's the easiest way to go.
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Old March 14th, 2008, 10:22 PM   #9
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Thanks for the advice. I believe I'm going to go with the HP HDX and thanks for the link on the external, that looks like a better way to go.

I heard from a friend that is runing the whole CS3 Master Suite on a HP dv9700t with Vista (32-Bit) and it is working extremely well for him, he's running HD from his Panasonic HVX200 and not having any issues. Just thought I'd throw that out if anyone else is looking for a laptop but I think I'm going to go with the HDX.
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