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Old July 5th, 2011, 09:39 AM   #1
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Toshiba Laptop with GTX560M Graphic Card

I need to be able to do some basic cutting of EX1 footage in the field and this unit from Toshiba looks like a nifty solution:
Newegg.com - TOSHIBA Qosmio X775-3DV78 Notebook Intel Core i7 2630QM(2.00GHz) 17.3" 8GB Memory DDR3 1333 500GB Hybrid 4GB + 750GB HDD 500GB: 7200 RPM 750GB: 5400 RPM Blu-Ray Burner NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M (3D Visi
It comes with the GTX560M graphics card, and on paper it looks wonderful.... 1.5gb of DDR5 discrete RAM.
Has anyone verified if the MPE "Hack" will allow this display card to function with CS5?
An added bonus of the Toshiba is the inclusion of a USB3 port. It will be interesting to see what the real world throughput is with a USB3 drive, or an adaptation to my existing SATA drives with external caddy....but that's another thread.
Comments on the GTX560M are the first hurdle.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 10:06 AM   #2
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Re: Toshiba Laptop with GTX560M Graphic Card

Personally, I think this looks like a better deal, with better specs for less money. Also has 2 HD slots, which is awesome for video editing.

Newegg.com - ASUS G74 Series G74SX-A1 Notebook Intel Core i7 2630QM(2.00GHz) 17.3" 12GB Memory DDR3 1333 1.5TB HDD 7200rpm BD Combo NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M

Best,

Ben
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Old July 5th, 2011, 10:16 AM   #3
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Re: Toshiba Laptop with GTX560M Graphic Card

Ben.... that's a great find. A good suggestion for sure.
I wonder how the Asus claims twice as much dedicated video RAM from the same card? Must be a typo?
The Toshiba has a Blue-Ray writer, which is a great option, but the Asus has some excellent specs.
You have put a fork in the road of my purchase, and that's a good thing... thank you!
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Old July 6th, 2011, 09:20 AM   #4
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Re: Toshiba Laptop with GTX560M Graphic Card

Ben... based on your suggestion, I took the plunge on the Asus and should have it in a day or so.

I'm appreciative of your research, and that you took the time to share your opinion on this thread.

The Toshiba I was considering did have a Blu-Ray burner, but I picked up a nice looking external unit that is going to work just fine.

The next curiosity will be how the USB3 will adapt to all my SATA backup drives. USB3 is the only high speed port on the system, so hopefully it lives up to specs.

I'll file a report when I have things up and running, and thanks again for your input. It has helped me make a better decision.
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Old July 6th, 2011, 10:55 AM   #5
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Re: Toshiba Laptop with GTX560M Graphic Card

Howdy...

I believe the ASUS does have a Blu-Ray burner drive built in, unless I read the specs wrong...

eSata would be nice, but USB3 is no slouch... and it carries power, which eSata doesn't, so you don't have to plug in your HDs to a power source...

Let me know what you think of it when it arrives, specifically how well PPro runs, and the CUDA speed...

Best,

Ben
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Old July 6th, 2011, 11:18 AM   #6
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Re: Toshiba Laptop with GTX560M Graphic Card

Ben... the BD Combo writes DVD and CD, but only reads Blu-Ray.

USB3 seems like a great solution.

Stay tuned......
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Old July 6th, 2011, 01:23 PM   #7
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Re: Toshiba Laptop with GTX560M Graphic Card

I'm subscribing to this thread; I had been about to pull the trigger on a top of the line MacBookPro with FCPX, but decided to wait a while considering the 50% price on CS5.5 (looks like the Asus + Cs5.5 will be cheaper than MBP + FCPX, while the Asus blows the MBP out of the water under the hood).

Let us know how it works out.
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Old July 6th, 2011, 01:54 PM   #8
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Re: Toshiba Laptop with GTX560M Graphic Card

Will do Simon.... the system is scheduled to arrive Friday.

There's a lot of new variables for me to get up to speed with including the USB3 interface (adapting to eSATA for now), the HDMI port (perhaps using a dedicated HD program monitor), and the MPE "hack", among others.

I didn't begin this process with the intent of replacing my workstation, but given its age, the Asus may give it a run for its money and more.

When I have things up and running, I will chronicle my progress and impressions (for whatever they are worth).

Ben gets the praise for sounding the alarm on the Asus.
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Old July 10th, 2011, 01:04 AM   #9
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Re: Toshiba Laptop with GTX560M Graphic Card

I took delivery of the Asus G74SX-A1 on Friday, and as time has allowed, I have been getting it set up for work.

The unit is very nice in appearance and the display is as good or better as my Dell, MacBook Pro, and HP laptops ever were. It ships with Windows7 Home 64 bit. Since I had a retail version of Win7 Pro, I went with a clean install of the more robust version and thus, not having to do any wrestling with bundled software that I wanted removed. I prefer to run a spartan system and clean display.

This unit does not go online except for activations and FTP transfers.

Prior to installation of the fresh OS, I did export the 4 DVD set for factory recovery just in case.

Throughout the installation of Windows and drivers, the optical drive seemed a bit flakey... sometimes discs not mounting, etc. Since I purchased an external Blu-Ray burner, I got that running early in the process and usually used it for software installs, etc.

After the lengthy process of loading things up, it was time to get some peripherals going.

First was a test of the USB3 port with an adapter to eSATA. I use a caddy and internal SATA drives for archiving. The adapter and drives were immediately recognized and file transfers move briskly at 70 to 80mb per second. I would assume this would be a viable conduit for editing, but haven't tested it yet.

One legacy item that never seems to go away for me is my good old Tascam US-122 audio interface. Its driver updates ended with Vista, and if you install with Vista (no service pack) parameters, the unit installs and works, with one caveat... you need to unplug its USB connection prior to shutdown, or the computer will hang.

Next task was the MPE hack. It was a very simple task of finding the usable card text file, adding the GTX 560M, and total success.

I installed Cineform Neo (Cineform is a great intermediate codec that allows TEMPGenc to provide final outputs - soon to upgrade that to Tsunami's new upgrade). Everything installed perfectly.

The configuration of this laptop paints me into a bit of a corner. It comes configured with two 750gb drives. There is no advantage to RAIDing them, because the OS is going to be on one of them. The USB3 channel is probably a viable pipeline and thus, work all source projects from an external drive. It put me in a position of hoping that the USB3 speed claims were at least somewhat close. As I said earlier, the USB3 channel is yet to be test as a pipeline for projects.

So what that left me with an obvious choice of using the other internal drive for my active projects. A long story short, using one of the single internal drives seems to be working perfectly with no skipped frames (albeit with only a single channel of XDCam footage with color correction). Mercury is working perfectly.

My backup plan is to use an external enclosure, do a RAID 0 via the eSATA adapter through the USB3 port.... but I don't think it's going to come to that. My projects are typically 3 layers max at any given time, color correction, a few audio channels... and that's it. So my stuff is not very demanding.

The 8 core processor rendered a Cineform AVI from a 6 minute timeline (fast color corrected, a few titles, mostly cuts, a few dissolves, and a single mastered stereo soundtrack) in about 12 minutes. Coming from a very old and tired workstation, that is like lightening to me.

This unit is now the workstation slayer.

One other important note about the Asus. They have figured out how to keep these things cool. The airflow and ventilation is elegant and effective, drawing air from the front, and exhausting the warm air out via the rear. It's excellent.

Many would probably tire from working on the relatively small screen, but I don't mind. I originally assumed that I would be connecting an external HDMI fed monitor, but I am at peace with the Premiere interface.

The aforementioned inconsistent optical drive seems to have found its groove and is responsive.

As the workflow and drive strategy settles in, I will report further.

Ben... you are the man. Alerting me to the Asus was a tremendous favor. If you are considering one of these, don't hesitate. From my initial workings with it, it has done nothing but impress...... well, that's not true. The promotional laptop back back that was included is on the cheesy side, but it did make excellent packing protection for the shipment phase.
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Old July 11th, 2011, 10:02 AM   #10
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Re: Toshiba Laptop with GTX560M Graphic Card

Great review, thanks!

I am considering this unit too, but have a few questions

1) How big/bulky/heavy is it. I'm coming from a 6lb MacBook Pro. I know that it's 10lbs, so heavier, but how bulky does it 'feel' in your subjective opinion. Would you be happy with it in a backpack?

2) How huge/heavy is the power adapter?

3) Battery life? I get 3hrs of editing with my MBP, and 5-6hrs of surfing/email usage. How does the Asus fair? Does it have removable batteries?

Thanks!

Best,

Ben
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Old July 11th, 2011, 10:27 AM   #11
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Re: Toshiba Laptop with GTX560M Graphic Card

Hey Ben....

The unit is not dainty.... but it does come with a backpack :)

Keep in mind, at one point in my life, I was using the Dell XPS 20 inch beast because I was building a new house and I was sort of a nomad producer. I'm pretty sure that thing tipped the scales at about 2 or 3 pounds more than my mother-in-law..... so 10 pounds to me is a piece of cake. It is amazing how much a 3 or 4 pound increase can make when coming from something like your Mac. You will notice it for sure.

Ditto the power adapter. I would say that it is about twice the size in every dimension, and weight... as the typical adapter for a laptop.

If there is a plus side to the added bulk, it's that this unit feels so solid... it's a beautifully designed and engineered system.

I have not run it much on battery.... it IS removable. I think with kicking the screen brightness down a notch or two, you would see comparable battery life, although it appears you are getting very good battery duration in your current setup.

Coming from a Mac, you will appreciate the quality of the display. I may drop in the HDMI monitor just to see how it fares, but I don't mind compact display real estate.

And the additional good news is that I am able to easily edit my EX1 footage with ease by simply utilizing one of the on board HDDs, using the other for OS and programs.

Although I haven't tested it, I'm confident I could edit from footage stored on a SATA drive via an eSATA caddy, adapted through the USB3 port. I'm set up for that, but so far I have only transferred files (at approx 75mb per second). That flow will certainly evolve into the use of external USB3 drives very soon.

So far so good on the Asus Ben. This unit is a tremendous bang for the buck. Of course it all depends on what you are producing and how complex your projects are, but for my low complexity projects, this is a perfect solution so far. Thanks again for pointing out the Asus to me.
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Old July 11th, 2011, 12:51 PM   #12
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Re: Toshiba Laptop with GTX560M Graphic Card

I recently spec'd out and bought my 2nd Sager laptop, this time the smaller 15 inch screen for better luggability. Since you seemed to be looking for a 17" screen, I spec'd out the Sager model NP8170. These are built to order with lots of quality component options to choose from.

For $1964 you could get: 17.3" Full HD LED screen, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560m w/1.5GB GDDR5, 16GB dual channel DDR3 1600MHz RAM, i7 2630QM 2.00GHz, Primary HDD 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 300, secondary HDD 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 300, 6x BD burner. Ports: HDMI, DVI-I, USB 2.0 (x2), USB 3.0 (x2), eSATA, 1394a firewire. (note: no PCMICA or Express Card slots)

What's nice is you can choose the components, add more RAM, higher power CPU, higher power video card, and many storage options; such as RAID or SSD or a 3rd HDD in place of the optical drive. I like their quality, service, no bloatware, plus full recovery CD set included. They also have a 2-day rush order service for a reasonable fee.

I have three 1TB WD Passport USB 3.0 drives that I'm keeping my projects on. So far I'm having no trouble editing HDV and previewing in Best/Full.

Mark

custom gaming laptops - Welcome to Sager Notebooks
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Old July 11th, 2011, 03:19 PM   #13
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Re: Toshiba Laptop with GTX560M Graphic Card

Nice machine, and valuable info on the USB3 drive performance.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 11:59 AM   #14
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Re: Toshiba Laptop with GTX560M Graphic Card

Forgive me if I repeat anything as I skipped the last few posts.

Congrats Marty on an amazing laptop. The last reliability report I saw showed that ASUS is the most reliable with Sony, Dell and Apple right behind them and Toshiba and Lenovo at the bottom.

I am a Raid addict so I have an idea for you. Intel has its 'Matrix Raid' which allows the use of 2 different raid sets on one set of drives. My idea is to setup Raid 1 for the OS which DOES increase boot up speed and overall system speed. Then you can setup Raid 0 for the data, media cache and page file. The only issue is that you must reinstall Windows 7 after setting up the raid arrays. If you have any questions, I can help as I have done this many times with 2 and 4 drives. In my HP Z800, I have 2 1TB drives setup just like this with Raid 1 for encoded files and Raid 0 for media cache and page file (I have a 12TB Raid 5 array for all media and projects). So, lets say you setup a 100GB Raid 1 array, that will leave you with <1.2TB for the Raid 0 array. In addition, you can partition the 1.2TB array into smaller sizes if you want.

Last edited by Steve Kalle; July 12th, 2011 at 05:07 PM.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 04:46 PM   #15
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Re: Toshiba Laptop with GTX560M Graphic Card

Steve... that's very cool info on the RAID configurations. It takes a little while to get your head around the notion of there being just a pair of drives, but multiple RAID configurations.

What I might do is give that set up a whirl on the workstation that I just moved from, and give things a try.

And Steve.... so long as you are able to admit your RAID addiction, there is always hope. And your story has given me the courage to publicly admit my phobia of embossed fonts.
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