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Old August 13th, 2006, 11:27 AM   #1
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Laptop suggestions

I do quite a few dance recitals and seminars. I have access to a power source and I'm stationary, making it an ideal situation. I could also use it for interviews with DVrack. I've heard so many bad things about quickstream/firestore would direct capture to a laptop be more dependable? I'm thinking about getting something for $300-400 off of ebay with 40gb hd, p4 cpu, 512 ram . Any suggestions or postive/negative experiences capturing directly to a laptop?

Last edited by Pete Cofrancesco; August 13th, 2006 at 06:45 PM.
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Old August 18th, 2006, 06:26 AM   #2
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For $300-$400 you should be able to get a laptop that will do a very good job with video capture. You will probably need to purchase a firewire card, and I'd look at buying a newer hard drive. The laptop manufacturers are not known for putting the fastest drives in the computers. You'd probably end up with a 4200 rpm drive with 2mb cache, especially in an older laptop. While this is fast enough for video cature, it doesn't have a big margin of safety. I personally have a 5400 rpm, 60GB drive with 16MB cache and it appears to handle standard def capture very easily, only blinking the hard drive light every 5 seconds or so. A new hard drive will cost you about $75-$100, but you can lower your sites a little on ebay.

Laptops more than 3-4 years old will have batteries that are pretty well shot, so keep that in mind. In your case, since power is available it won't be a problem. The nice thing is even an old battery will still serve as a redundant power supply in case somebody trips over your power cord.

If you plan on dedicating the laptop to video, I'd suggest that you setup a separate partition on the hard drive just for the video. This will keep the large video files from getting mixed in with the operating system. This is important as the OS files have a bad tendency to get fragmented. Fragmentation causes the hard drive to slow down significantly, and can lead to dropped frames if the problem is bad enough. I originally used a setup without a separate video partition and every time I reached about 19GB free, the drive would start churning and I could loose frames (but this was before my 60GB HD upgrade as well).

Lastly I'll reiterate what everyone else here says: "If the footage is important, or you need to keep it long term, run tape alongside DTD". I'm guilty of not doing this, but the type of filming I do ruined the heads in my camera (HS football - film 20 seconds, pause 30 seconds, repeat for 2 hours). In my case, DTD is by far the best way to go.

Hope this helps

Dave
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 11:28 PM   #3
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yeah after trying to get a 'deal' on ebay I'm thinking a new bottom line dell would be a better solutioin. for just like an extra $100-200, you get new, warranty, latest technology.
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Old September 4th, 2006, 08:06 PM   #4
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Any DTT devices that use SATA 2.5" hardrives?

Any DTT devices that use SATA 2.5" hardrives?

It seems like most of the ones I've read about use old ATA drives.

I'd like to protect myself from buying old technology. I'm sure SATA hard drives will reach 200gb capacities in the next year and the older ATA harddrives capaicty/performance will be abandonded. I'd hate to buy an ATA IDE unit only to find out a year latter the capaicty can't be increased and my hopes of shooting HDV will be lost.

Ideally I'd like to just pop out the hard drive and put it in my computers case for direct editing without hooking up firewire cables.

Peace, Rolland
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Old September 4th, 2006, 09:52 PM   #5
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There are now external hard drive enclosures that use 2.5" SATA drives. However, the ones I've seen do not have firewire interfaces, but they do offer e-SATA interfaces. External SATA (e-SATA) is the same speed as internal SATA so there would be no performance penalty like there is with firewire and USB. DTD setups that take external USB drives could, in theory anyway, use the newer SATA drive enclosures.
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