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Old September 5th, 2007, 08:57 AM   #1
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Challenge: Notebook for HD editing > $3000

My head is spinning...
Here is my problem: I need to get a notebook to edit my stuff on the road. Right now I'm shooting with a Canon HV20 but I'm planning to upgrade to a A1 soonish so the system definately needs to be able to handle HD movies up to ten minutes. Since I'm working on deadline it can't take ages to render and a smooth preview would be desireable too...
Right now I'm using Vegas on my desktop and I like it but I know my way around the FCP basics too. So neither PC nor Mac nor running Vegas on a Mac is out of the question.
I think I'm pretty much set to a 15'' screen just because a 17'' is such a pain to drag around. So far I've checked Dell, Alienware and Mac for options but it's hard to stay within my budget (no more than $3000) without knowing where to slim down. 2.33 processor or 2.16? 2 GB Ram or 4? What graphics card? What about a second harddrive? Will firewire be fast enough to use the second HD during editing? Or even USB 2.0?
So please: Un-spin my head and help. What would you get if you were in my shoes and why?
Thanks a bunch.
Matthias
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Old September 9th, 2007, 10:36 AM   #2
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I think a fw800 drive will be a big help, especially for capturing hd video.
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Old September 9th, 2007, 04:01 PM   #3
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Buy MacBook Pro 15". Make dual boot for XP. Enjoy.

http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=3747
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Old September 9th, 2007, 05:28 PM   #4
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I have a Dell Latitude D820 which came in at $2500 with 2.16 GHz processor, 2 GB memory, 160 GB hard drive and a 15" widescreen monitor. It works marginally well for native HDV editing in Edius using either the internal hard drive or external USB2 drives; if you convert footage to the "HQ" format performance improves significantly but storage requirement jumps to ~40GB per hour of source material.

Based on my experience I'd say get the fastest processor you can afford and a large internal hard drive, stick to 2 GB RAM and try to find something with a DVI or HDMI output rather than VGA. The MacBook Pro is a fair choice since then you can run any editing software for either Mac OS or Windows, or get a tricked-out PC notebook with dual internal hard drives or a Blu-ray burner. My two cents...
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Old September 9th, 2007, 05:53 PM   #5
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The MacBookPro is definately one option, I priced it out at about $3000. I could get an IBM ThinkPad T61 for $500 less and one GB more RAM though. But then I would not have the chance to switch to FCP, if I ever wanted to. Decisions, decisions...
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Old September 9th, 2007, 07:50 PM   #6
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More RAM (beyond 2 GB) wouldn't help as much as a faster processor, bigger hard drives and other high-end features.
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Old September 10th, 2007, 10:53 AM   #7
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Also, it's worth noting that upgrading RAM on a MacBookPro is astoundingly simple. Apple has a tendency to overcharge by quite a bit for their RAM, so take time to look at 3rd party venders (many even sell apple certified RAM). When I say simple, I mean it. You simple remove a plate on the computer, and slide the RAM in - Apple's design team is pretty incredible.

I have never bought an Apple product with anything more than stock RAM, and I have bought a lot of Apple products. I always upgrade myself.
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Old September 10th, 2007, 10:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias Krause View Post
The MacBookPro is definately one option, I priced it out at about $3000. I could get an IBM ThinkPad T61 for $500 less and one GB more RAM though. But then I would not have the chance to switch to FCP, if I ever wanted to. Decisions, decisions...
15" MacBookPro with LED backlight instead of CFL;) Less power consumption and better colour.
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Old September 11th, 2007, 01:18 PM   #9
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Go for a Macbook Pro 2.16

I agree that PC is cheaper (my same reasoning when I got my PC laptop last year). However, like you said - no viable way to do FCP on a PC. With Mac you have the options of Parallels and BootCamp for all your Windows software.

I've been running FC Studio on a Macbook 15.4" for almost a month now. It has 2GB RAM and is a Core Duo 2GHz processor.

My 1 and only complaint is the hard drive. So (in my opinion), trim the RAM to 2GB on your purchase, save some cash by going with the 2.16GHz proc, but if you can afford at all - upgrade that hard drive. Mine is reading as 93.16GB capacity, so I'd imagine it's billed as the "100GB" drive.

I have installed iLife '06, Final Cut Studio and Adobe Creative Studio: Web. I have 1 video project (about 25GB of video files) and I have only about 600MB of disk left. SO. What i'm saying is that the drive is just too small. If they have a 160GB option, go for it. Replacing the drive later will cost a lot or void your warranty (depending on if you let them do it or not).
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Old September 11th, 2007, 01:51 PM   #10
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I have exactly same laptop as Lisa. The hard drive is too small but I don't even use it for editing. I have external harddrive(at the moment 500 Gb) and I have plugged it to fw400 port and it works just great, even on HD. My laptop doesn't have fw800, new macbook pros have it so it would be even better.

So I would buy Macbook Pro with 2 gigabytes of memory( and external fw hard drive). Like Ryan said: if you want more memory buy it from somewhere else than apple store.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 10:09 AM   #11
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I have a dell inspiron 6400 with a 2 ghz dual core, 160 gig hd and 2 gig of ram and it handles hd really well especially for a laptop. one thing to understand is that it will not be as responsive as a desktop but for it being a laptop i could not have been happier.

on a side note, there is a way to run osx on a non-mac pc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSx86
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Old September 15th, 2007, 07:01 AM   #12
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Today has received a gift from my wife - Acer Aspire 5920G-602G :)

Intel Core 2 Duo 2200 МГц (T7500 Santa Rosa)
800MHz 4Mb L2 Cache
2048 Mb DDR2-667MHz
160 Gb (5400 rpm), SATA
15,4" TFT WXGA 1280x800 (Glare)
nVidia GeForce Go 8600 GT, 512+768MB

I'm happy;)
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Old September 21st, 2007, 07:24 PM   #13
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If you're looking for something that won't break the bank, I'd recommend Sager Notebooks. www.sagernotebooks.com or a reseller- www.pctorque.com

I bought the now discontinued 5760 model, but its a real champ. It's a 17-inch model, so its a pain to lug around, but I do a bit of 3D work which balances things out. The sweet part of it is that most of the components inside are upgradeable, and I was able to get a mobile Quadro card. It was just a few bucks over $2500 US, so while it's definitely a chunk of change, its not grossly exorbitant.
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Old September 23rd, 2007, 02:29 AM   #14
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I'd recommend going out and getting 500GB Raid 0 external HD for another $200 for your production files. go hog wild and get another one for backing up your production files. The 5400 rpm speed sounds a bit slow for editing applications. The Raid 0 (such as a LaCie, etc) should come with a 7200 rpm drive. Mucho faster. Now you would be set.
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