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Old March 17th, 2010, 03:32 PM   #1
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Best sub 500 ($1000) laptop for editing?

Hi guys, looking for some help picking a laptop.

Budget is 500, i found one that I liked the look of (core i3, 4 gig ram, 500gig HD) but it didn;t have a forewire port :(

It wont be my main editing machine, got a desktop for that, so it'l be for SDE (same day edits for weddings) and on location editin, so I'm not looking for miracles, just something decent, with a firewire port :)

From what I've read, I'd be looking for a core i processor (is a core i3 better than a core2 duo/quad?)

I'll be editing HDV and canon 7d footage (transcoded to cineform or other),

15" screen is big enough (don't want to be lugging around a 17")

Prob need at least 320gb Hard drive, at least 3 gig RAM?

Any help or suggestions much appreciated.

James

Last edited by James Strange; March 17th, 2010 at 03:35 PM. Reason: more info
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Old March 17th, 2010, 03:44 PM   #2
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Others may disagree, but I don't think laptops are very good for video editing, and certainly not HD editing. Here's my reasoning:

Ideally, for video editing you need: lots of screen real estate; lots of hard disk capacity; a very fast procesor and depending on the NLE, a fast grphics card. This is tough to achieve with a laptop. You'll be uncomfotable and miserable in a short time. Plus, renders may take forever and overheating is always a concern with laptops.

Get a cheap laptop to handle all your needs except editing. Then, start building an i7-920 based desktop. All together, you'll spend about $1500 but you'll be much happier.
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Old March 17th, 2010, 03:56 PM   #3
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I agree with Paul. This is not only because of the performance and heat issues, but also due to the fact that you need at least a 17" or 19" screen just to get a processor that's even suitable for HDV editing. The laptops with 15" screens tend to have CPUs and graphics components which are barely passable for even SD (480i), let alone 1080i HDV, video editing. Plus, the 15" screens themselves are barely passable for even the display of 720p content since they are physically incapable of reproducing more than 720 lines.
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Old March 17th, 2010, 05:09 PM   #4
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hi guys, thanks for the replies.

I know a desktop is better, my main editing is done on a desktop with a 23" screen.

I'm in the market for a laptop in general, so why not get one that can - at a push - do some editing in short bursts?

Basically, I've got 500 to spend on a laptop, I don't need another desktop, I need a laptop for portabilty.

Thanks for the replies

James
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Old March 17th, 2010, 05:18 PM   #5
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I see. Well then, an external drive can always be plugged in.
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Old March 17th, 2010, 05:18 PM   #6
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The big problem here is the market reality. Those inexpensive laptops can't do HDV editing at all (or more specifically, they would take an astronomically long time to render a very minute amount of such content - several hours of rendering for each minute of video recorded, which means that the battery will completely run flat before you come anywhere close to finishing the job). In other words, you will need available hard-wired AC line power just to do any HD editing at all.
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Old March 17th, 2010, 07:43 PM   #7
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so how would this laptop cope with editing?

The Dell Online Store: Build Your System

say, compared to my core2duo 2.6, 3 gig ram desktop?

This seems like a good deal no?

James
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Old March 17th, 2010, 08:10 PM   #8
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About as well as the desktop you replaced with your latest one. :)
Okay for a laptop, but really not very well. Video editing is the most demanding task for PCs.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 12:38 AM   #9
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Configured properly for HDV, the price is now GBP1879.00, or $2,874.13 USD. Should work fine.

EDIT: No, sorry, my mistake, forgot the long life batt and backlit keyboard, both of which you will need if you are editing on location in proper lighting for editing. Price now GBP1969.01, or $3,011.30 USD.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 08:18 AM   #10
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The only thing close to some mediocre degree of comfortable editing is around $ 5K, but even then it is still way slower than a desktop and still requires a wall outlet. If you want something comparable to a desktop, but still luggable, you are talking $ 9 K plus.

For your budget requirements, forget a laptop for editing. Desktops are way cheaper and then a budget system starts at $ 1,200 without the case, PSU, monitor, keyboard, mouse, DVD/BR burner etc. For your budget it is utterly UNREALISTIC to expect anything from a laptop. You can as well get a bag of coffee beans for less. It won't make a difference for editing.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 09:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Strange View Post
so how would this laptop cope with editing?

The Dell Online Store: Build Your System

say, compared to my core2duo 2.6, 3 gig ram desktop?

This seems like a good deal no?

James
As the other replies have stated, the configurations are barely adequate for even standard-definition video editing. The processors are strong enough, but everything else is weak compared to a full-sized system. At this price class you'd only get a 2.5" 5400 RPM hard drive which has a much slower sequential transfer rate than even a "green" 5400 RPM desktop hard drive. Plus you'd get a graphics chip whose performance is roughly at the same level as a Radeon X800 or X1600/X1650 desktop GPU - hardly what I'd call suitable for HDV editing.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 09:52 AM   #12
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I'm a PC, but I was wondering if Apple's laptops are similar in terms of editing performance.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 10:04 AM   #13
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Without wishing to start any platform war you can edit (well) with a "near top end" 15 inch or 17 inch Apple MBP - but best with an attached external hard drive and indeed this is what I did for the first year of my corporate video business (Mid 2008, 15 inch Matt Screen, Core Duo 2.5Ghz, 200GB 7200rpm HDD, 4GB RAM with FW800 or Express Slot 34 attached G-RAID3, 2 TB 7,200rpm in RAID 0). People like Philip Bloom do editing on gear similar to this all the time on the road.

But if you price all that out it's close to the sum mentioned above (i.e. 1800-2000 quid area) - but then you've got to buy FCS etc etc. so consider this a MINIMUM. Forget the lesser 13 inch MBPs etc., the're just "marketed junk" (IMO) and lack the true graphics capability you'll need. They really cheapen the "pro" brand.

So I think the take home message is that if you want a portable editing solution then this is the sort of figure you need to be considering if you want reasonable performance - sure cutting corners will save some money but will also add to (the already considerable) rendering times you may have to tolerate. SDE implies you can't wait for hours and hours!

I just bought my dad a Sony VIAO FW56 with Win 7 for about 850 quid which was close to (but not really at) the spec you'd need on a Windows laptop and even with that it would end up being well over a Grand for something passingly capable of (HD) video editing with something like Vegas (the only other NLE that I know and use). 500 quid is just not enough I'm afraid.

James, if your clients really want SDE then make sure they pay you well for it as you're going to need some serious hardware!!!
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Old March 18th, 2010, 01:08 PM   #14
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I thought it might be a pipe dream, ah well.

I havent started to offer SDEs, I just thought while I was getting a new laoptop for general laptop stuff, I might as well get one that I could edit on as well. Silly me for thinking I could do it on a budget 500.

The reason the budget is 500 is I sold off 2 older desktop systems that have been sitting in a cupboard for the past year, made about 300, thought I could add 200 and get an editing laptop. Looks like I was niave (naieve?) however you spell it.

Will prob just get a netbook then and stick to editing on the desktops.


so....

Anyone got any reccomendations for netbooks? :) :) :)
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Old March 19th, 2010, 04:27 AM   #15
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I've edited an entire HDV movie on Prem Pro and then exported it to AE for heavy compositing and color correction. I also used a laptop to render a one minute 3D Animation. The 3D animation took 14 days to render and the entire movie took 7 days to render to a 24bit TIFF sequence master from AE.

The laptop I used was an Acer Aspire 8920 - Core 2 Duo 2.4Ghz, 4GB DDR2 RAM, external HDD on firewire.

The entire project was worked on the native HDV stream - no encoding or rendering in the middle.
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