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Old October 12th, 2009, 09:51 AM   #1
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Laptop vs. Desktop

I'm about to edit an HDV project, my first in hi-def. If you were me, would you buy a high-end laptop (for the convenience and simplicity) OR would you buy/build a screaming high-end desktop like the DYI the videoguys describe?
I like keeping things simple and uncomplicated. But then again, I don't want to be slowed down by technical issues. I'd most likely be editing in Vegas.
I'm also open to Mac as well as PC solutions. At this point I'm paralyzed by indecision!
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Old October 12th, 2009, 09:59 AM   #2
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I can't even begin to imagine editing on a laptop EVERY day - as a value added thing for clients while watching rough cuts, sure but every day... not my style. I like two BIG monitors, a "real" keyboard and mouse and all the other things that come from a desktop. But I'm "old" at 38 so I've been working on desktops my entire career.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 10:08 AM   #3
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I appreciate your input...I'm even older. At 56 I grew to love/hate the old-style LINEAR editing on 3/4" VTRs and have found the transition to NLEs long and arduous. So I've also been looking at shuttle controllers (eg. Bella and Contour and JLCooper) to make it seem more like the old days.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 02:07 PM   #4
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I don't think it's that complicated of a decision, really.
These would be my arguments:
there is no question what so ever, that a desktop workstation, with two big screens, would provide a better editing platform.
If what's worrying you is the headache of building your DYI machine, you can either dig around these forums, there is endless information about this, or be prepared to pay a little more and get a prebuilt machine. Maybe in this case a Mac Pro would be a good solution, you can always install windows if you want to use vegas.

You choose a laptop for editing for reasons of portabilty, not for any other reason, IMO.
If you're always travelling, if you don't have room to place a desktop, if you need to capture on location, ect.
Ideally, one would have both desktop and laptop.

If you do decide to buy just a laptop after all, I highly recommend at least getting a nice large monitor, and connecting it to the laptop as a second screen when you are editing at home.
Editing on one 15/17" screen truely is a compromise :(

good luck :)
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Old October 12th, 2009, 02:36 PM   #5
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Lynne,

The short answer is NEVER.

The reasons are that a top-of-the-line laptop is no longer portable, only luggable, is three times as expensive as a desktop that is twice or more times as powerful and offers quadruple the convenience.

The only thing a laptop is good for is on-the-road capturing or off-loading, not for editing. I have a decent laptop (around $ 2K) that is left in the dust by my desktop, that offers around 8 times the performance of a rather pricey notebook. Admitted, my desktop is around $ 4K, but at 8 times the speed, 30+ times the storage, with dual 24" monitors it is no comparison to a single 16.4" HD monitor.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 06:48 PM   #6
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Lynne: I mean in this with the utmost sincerity - GOOD FOR YOU! I hope I still have the willingness to learn new things in 18 years.

I DID have a brief exposure to 3/4" shooting and editing with my mentor when I first started. He wanted to show me his brand new investment , a Sony VX1000 and a LANC based A/B roll linear edit suite. I said I had all the time in the world to play with the "new" stuff, could I please take out his M3 with PortaPac and do a bit of editing with it. My back STILL aches...
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Old October 12th, 2009, 07:30 PM   #7
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So now you know why I'm dealing with 2 herniated discs, along with cervical stenosis issues. All which I attribute to lugging around a 30 pound RCA TK-76 3-tube camera and a 30 pound JVC-6600 VCR attached by a 5 pound umbilical cord and sometimes adding a 10 pound Sun-gun with a 15 pound lead acid battery belt.

I appreciate the replies...I've done a 180 and am pretty much trashing the idea of getting a nice compact laptop for neat and clean editing...unless someone has seen the light....
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Old October 15th, 2009, 05:48 PM   #8
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As I noted in another discussion yesterday, I've been doing most of my editing on laptops for some time now and only use a desktop system for the most demanding production tasks. With the new mobile i7 processor from Intel released last month, laptop performance has taken another leap forward and should be more than adequate for basic HDV editing, depending on how complicated your projects are.

That said, if you have to choose only one computer and want maximum performance get a desktop setup - but you can buy an i7 desktop for $999 at Dell and then think about getting a laptop too if you have money left over.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 12:12 AM   #9
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Speaking of desktops, is there a way to configure a screaming fast i7 Dell that's comparable to the DIY plans the videoguys have on their web site for the fastest desktop presently conceivable? Their set-up cost about $2100 for all the hardware.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 03:06 PM   #10
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From what I've read about these DIY plans from these video guys they use some form of raid array and expensive graphics cards which these days is overkill, most editing programs I tried gained nothing from graphics cards, the only exception I found was Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12 (not a program I would recommend) really all you need is a fast processor and plenty of storage, I beleive in keeping it simple.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 08:06 AM   #11
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Me too

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
As I noted in another discussion yesterday, I've been doing most of my editing on laptops for some time now and only use a desktop system for the most demanding production tasks. With the new mobile i7 processor from Intel released last month, laptop performance has taken another leap forward and should be more than adequate for basic HDV editing, depending on how complicated your projects are.

That said, if you have to choose only one computer and want maximum performance get a desktop setup - but you can buy an i7 desktop for $999 at Dell and then think about getting a laptop too if you have money left over.
Kevin, I do the same as you do. I am at home editing with my 3 year old notebook (2.0ghz c2d with 3gb ram, now with 500gb HD). I have the older Q8200 quad OC'd to 3.2ghz and use that in rendering or use that simultaneously with the notebook.

Desktops will always be better in editing. And you can expand or change it to be faster, use the GPU for rendering, etc. Less flexibility with notebooks. You can add a monitor to it and maybe some external drives, but it's not going to be "as good." However, as what Kevin has said, with these new i7 notebook coming out with fast gpu's, it will be close. Or at least, the difference in speed as far as rendering goes will not be far. It's no longer night and day. If portability is an issue or you travel a lot or do SDEs, or like me edit and print on the go (like next week I have a paid job on the go), then these new i7s are very good considerations.

In my case, as I go on my 4th year with my Dell 1505, by next year, when things have settled down, and I have the funds, I will probably get myself an i7 notebook. Even that lower end Dell/Alienware i7 at U$1,500 looks good. That's the price I paid for my Dell 3 years ago!

In my case, portability and the ability to work elsewhere is very important. I can't lug my desktop to do an SDE, or edit work while I am in the province, or in a location. That would be too cumbersome. Notebooks are good at that. The good news is that the i7s are really fast, even for notebooks.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 08:30 AM   #12
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Are there only a handful of laptop manufacturers who have begun building using mobile i7 chips? Is this something Apple is contemplating too or are there reasons why this won't become a universal trend?
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Old October 18th, 2009, 10:40 PM   #13
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These days, you can totally get a laptop at a fairly decent price that can totally manage editing whatever you've got.
I don't do a ton of editing, and certainly haven't (yet) been editing the kinds of things you (or others) have, but... I can say that while having a huge monitor, maybe even an extra monitor, a mouse, etc., may be a little easier... I really don't think it's necessary. My 17" macbook display is plenty. I've edited music videos and done some re-cuts of videos (to teach myself editing) and everything's worked out great on my laptop. If you're editing professionally, working for someone else, I imagine you'd learn a lot of habits that wouldn't really work on a laptop, but if you're doing this for yourself I can't see any reason not to. That way you can take your laptop with you wherever you go (vacation? road trip? whatever) and still edit.

That said... it seems a little ridiculous to get such a huge piece of hardware for this one specific purpose. I think what it really comes down to is what ELSE are you going to be using the computer for? Are you really just going to be editing on it? If you've got the money to throw on a computer just to edit, why not get a decent-enough laptop and get a desktop as well? (Not too much price difference, desktops are getting crazy cheap these days). If you're a student, you're really going to appreciate getting a laptop. If you've already got a laptop, why bother buying another one? Go for the desktop. etc., etc., etc....
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Old October 19th, 2009, 03:08 AM   #14
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You said you like to keep things simple so I would say stay with PC it gives you the option to upgrade to AVCHD at no extra cost if you have a fast computer, I had problems doing a 2 camera shoot with a friend who wanted the footage of my HF10 but unfortunately his Mac wouldn't look at my camera, so it turned out a complete waste of time, I have read that to work with AVCHD Mac computers have to do a re-encode of the MTS files something that doesn't happen with a PC which handle the raw files, you just transfer the MTS files and starting editing straight away, not that I think the results from a Mac are inferior, it just seems more complicated. my main editing computer is an Intel core 2 duo 3GHz 2Gb RAM Windows XP and the only problem I have is the rendering times are about 8x real time, but since I started computer editing 12 yrs ago when 20x real time was accepted this seems fast.
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Old November 21st, 2009, 03:50 PM   #15
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I've successfully been editing HDV projects in Premiere Pro 2.0 on a Tower PC with Pentium Dual Core @ 3.2 GHz for, I believe, 3+ years now.
For portability reasons I'm considering a laptop based editing solution.

Will an Intel i7 based laptop like the HP Pavilion DV7 or DV8, clocking @ 1.6 GHz, give a smooth workflow with PP2 (or an upgrade to CS4)? The clock speed seems "low" but maybe the number-crunching is top-gear anyway in the i7 if PP2 can utilize the architecture?

Also, will PP2 run on 64 bit Windows 7?
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