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Old June 19th, 2008, 03:37 AM   #1
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Questions regarding laptop for HDV editing and work with AE

Hi.
I'm shopping for a laptop for editing HDV.
I use Vegas 8 and AE CS3.
I'd say I'm rather new to HDV. I've been editing DV on my trusty desktop for the past 6 years or so, with a few upgrades from time to time. But I am now facing my first HDV project and prefer to be mobile with a laptop.

I've been reading up on the hardware demands of working with HDV but still have some questions.

1. I don't do any gaming. How important is dedicated video memory for editing with Vegas and some layering with AE? and how important is the graphics card?
2. I've read on various places on the web that it is recommended to have Windows on one drive, programs on a 2nd drive and then store the HDV footage on two hard drives in a raid configuration. How exactly do I go about doing that on a laptop? and also I've read one place that a raid 0 is recommended, yet another place suggested raid 5. I don't know too much about these things and can't really know which of these would work best for me.
3. I've heard: a) avoid vista and stick with windows xp; b) that windows xp sees only 3gb of memory, so best to get 3 gigs of memory with the option of adding more in the future. Would you agree with this?
4. HDV and DV take up about the same amount of storage space. Right?

Also, if anyone has any suggestions for a specific model you are familiar with and can recommend, I'll be happy to get a link. My budget for the laptop alone (not including extra hard drives if necissary) is $1300. Although, if you feel that there is an ideal machine that I could get by adding just another $150 or so, I'd like to know too.

essentials:
- at least 15" screen
- port for adding 2nd screen
- port for connecting monitor
- firewire port

Thanks!

Thanks!
Adi Head is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 19th, 2008, 03:21 PM   #2
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Location: Fareham, UK
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Forget the do's and don'ts you may have read - it doesn't have to be that complicated.
Any 2Ghz dual core laptop can edit HDV.

I have a Sony VAIO AR51M, which has 2 160GB hard drives, 2GHz dual core processor and 2Gb memory, a 17 inch HD screen with HDMI and S-VGA external outputs and an internal BluRay burner. It cost me around 850 in the UK 2 months ago.

I use it to capture and edit HDV and author DVD and BluRay disks using Adobe CS3 and the machine is easily capable of doing this - and can even handle a 2 camera multicam edit.

I've formatted the system drive to give the OS its own partition and created a second partition for data and scratch files, while the second hard drive holds video data.

If I need extra disk space for large projects I plug in an external USB drive for capture and editing - forget RAID, eSATA and firewire - fine if you can afford it and need top performance, but the simple/cheap option works for me.

BTW I'm running Vista - didn't have any choice with this model but its very stable and performs well.

HDV needs no more disk space than DV - around 13 GB per hour.
Vista can see at least 4Gb of memory (i think) which you will probably need for AE.

As for graphics - most cards with dedicated memory can handle HD resolutions. In any case, the graphics cards only handles the video output while the processor and memory does the video rendering when editing or compositing, so top-end graphics may be a waste of money.

Happy shopping !
Tony Neal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 19th, 2008, 05:18 PM   #3
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hi tony.
one other question... is graphics card and video memory actually the same thing? looking at specs of laptops on newegg.com - both are mentioned seperately. like this:

graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce 9500M GS
video memory: 512MB

also... correct me if i'm wrong:
vga port - is for hooking up another screen?
dvi port - is for hooking up a monitor?
hdmi port - if the laptop has one, there is no need for a dvi port, right?


thanks
Adi Head is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 20th, 2008, 02:55 AM   #4
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Hi Adi ...

Avoid cheaper graphics cards with 'integrated' or shared memory because they share the main memory and can conflict with memory-hungry applications like AE. Cards like the NVIDIA with at least 256MB of dedicated onboard memory are fine for HD.

The VGA port is for analogue monitors and may not support HD resolutions, so you should be using the digital DVI or HDMI outputs for an external monitor. PC monitors tend to have DVI ports while HDTVs have HDMI sockets but the two ports are very similar and you can buy adapters to go from one type to another. I prefer HDMI so that I can play HD from my laptop straight into a large-screen HDTV.

Tony
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