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-   -   Laptop recomendations (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/non-linear-editing-pc/45955-laptop-recomendations.html)

Steven Davis June 9th, 2005 06:45 AM

Laptop recomendations
Ok, I'll go ahead and say 'apple.' Aside from the apple, does anyone have any experiential recomendations for a laptop, and from who?

Thanks in advance.

Steven Davis

Rob Lohman June 12th, 2005 06:10 AM

How can anyone answer your question? You have provided nothing except
you'd like to have a laptop recommendation and a possible flaim-bait for Apple
(which was clear to begin with since you are posting this in a PC forum).

How about:

1. what do you want to use this laptop for. I'm assuming video editing?

2. what NLE (editing) program are you using or going to use?

3. do you have any external equipment you need to hook up (like external USB or firewire drives), camera?

4. what is your budget?

Without at least these basic questions we can offer a laptop as low as $500
(with some MIR for example) or as high as $5000. Pick any random one.

Eric Lagerlof June 12th, 2005 07:23 PM

Having spotted the thread, I'll follow with my own details. I'm looking for a good bang-for the-buck PC laptop at around $750- $1,000 that is fairly light and can edit DV w/Premiere Pro. A good all-rounder. It's a necessary but weird price range, even on e-bay, because their seem to be some odd price/performance trade-offs.

And, though I assume many laptops these days can meet those requirements, I must admit that the multiplicity of Intel and AMD processors (P4, M series, Centrino series; Athlons, Durons etc. has me a little confused.)

I'm pretty confident with desktop systems and their requirements but as I search for laptops I feel less secure. For instance, how much of a performance hit is it if you get a laptop with an "integrated" video card and "shared" memory? If a laptop doesn't have a 1394 port are there any problems using a PCMIA/1394 card? Do the mobile processors handle video as well as the regular ones? Hard Drive speeds seem to dip to low some times. Anyway, recommendations on laptops, or "gotchas" to look out for when bargain hunting would be helpful. Thanks.

Rob Lohman June 13th, 2005 03:44 AM

There are some general "guidelines" for DV and laptops (in my opinion):

1. the screen is important (personally I like the DELL screens, the larger the better)

2. processor is not really important unless you do a lot of rendering (effects) and want it done as soon as possible (perhaps it would be better to get a dual-core normal pc system in that case?)

3. do get a laptop with a firewire port, much handier if it already has it

4. I would also get a fairly large harddisk, most laptops should not really have a problem capturing to it for short periods of time. Longer periods may introduce dropped frames, for that reason see point 5

5. Get an external USB2 (if you want WITH firewire as well, but not JUST a firewire port) harddisk. Much faster and advantage that you can keep your programs / operating system & data seperate

6. video card is a non-issue unless you want to game on the machine

7. get a DVD burner in it. Great for archiving stuff and even it doesn't already come with the laptop it shouldn't be too much for an upgrade

8. you may want to invest in at least 512 MB of memory so everything runs smoothly

As said I am a fan of DELL myself and every couple of weeks I see some great
deals on www.slickdeals.net to get some nice DELL laptops for under
$1K. Ofcourse these might not have everything you need, I don't know.

Intel processors seem to dominate the laptop market and their Pentium M
(mobile) processors, although slower than the desktop cousins, can pretty
much match there performance (not on all fronts though). They produce
less heat (so less fan noise) and are better at power consumption (giving
you longer editing times without mains power).

George Ellis June 13th, 2005 05:55 AM


Originally Posted by Rob Lohman
There are some general "guidelines" for DV and laptops (in my opinion):

1. the screen is important (personally I like the DELL screens, the larger the better)

3. do get a laptop with a firewire port, much handier if it already has it

4. I would also get a fairly large harddisk, most laptops should not really have a problem capturing to it for short periods of time. Longer periods may introduce dropped frames, for that reason see point 5

6. video card is a non-issue unless you want to game on the machine

Just adding to Rob's and a caveat.
1 - Many of the widescreens are available now at $1k. I think the resolution is 1280x860 as max though. If you want more than that, add $$$.

3 - yes. Consideration I just remembered. These are 4 pin ports. If you plan to support bus-powered devices, you will need a PC Card firewire with power (6 pin). I plan on using drives from a Firestore FS-1 with the laptop.

4 - Most laptops at $1k, use 4200 rpm drives. HDD speed is one of the slowest things about laptops. IF you can afford it and have a choice, get a 5400 or 7800 rpm HDD.

6 - If you plan on using a Pinnacle editor, get a machine with an ATI controller and dedicated video memory. Pinnacle uses the GPU for some of its processing.

I like Dell too. The only problem is that the laptop that we will use is my wife's. HP/Compaq has the unique feature of a button to turn off the touchpad that Dell or anyone else does not. Although the drive is slow (4200) and it is a bit heavy (she uses a rolling case, so less of a concern), we are looking at the HP 8008 or HP/Compaq 4010 series. Fry's has it for $998 AR ($30 Mail in).

David Kennett June 13th, 2005 01:43 PM

Video module IS important! My first serious DV editor was Toshiba PIII, 900 MHz. It has Invidia video module, and supports DirectDraw window on LCD screen and external monitor at the same time. You can view video in small window on internal panel, while at the same time view full screen video on external monitor. Or, if you wish, extend the desktop across both screens. A friends Sony VAIO could display video only on one monitor at a time. I'm sure they are not all that way, but his Sony is certainly somewhat crippled as an editor.

Eric Lagerlof June 13th, 2005 01:53 PM

Thanks for the tips. I always thought DV couldn't be captured below 5400 rpm on a HDD. Guess you can squeek by on less. And thanks for the heads up on the 4 vs 6 pin 1394 issue. Hadn't thought about that. (I'm suprised at the number of laptops that don't have 1394...weird. Guess USB 2.0 is the "thing" in the normal users world.) I'm not desperately needy yet...I might be able to wait until the Intel dual cores drive the current prices down a little. And I will have to fit a desktop that can handle HDV into the overall budget (about $3,000) as well. (I don't expect the laptop to.) Dave, just saw your post. In my price range I'll have to see what display card options are available.

John Hartney June 13th, 2005 02:03 PM

I'm using a Dell 9300 and I would recommend you get the go6800 card with it. It has 256 megs of ram and DVI out, which works well with the editor I use, Vegas... I use a Dell 2005fpw with it and have dual monitors running from a laptop, the native 17" and the 21" on the dvi port, both 16:9 monitors...

Eric Lagerlof June 13th, 2005 02:35 PM

John, a little above my price, ($300 at least), but it might be worth it. The CNET review mentioned something about people having trouble with WXGA resolution. Any comments?

Aanarav Sareen June 13th, 2005 04:22 PM

I have gone through a nubmer of high end Dell laptops (9100, XPS...) and finally decided to settle on the 9300. Even though, the processor is Pentium M, it is a tad bit faster than my XPS's P4 3.4ghz w/HT.

On my 9100 I chose the WXGA resolution, however upgraded the screen to WUXGA on my XPS and 9300. It does take a little time to get used to the 1920*1200 resolution, but after that it is just amazing!

Rob Lohman June 14th, 2005 03:29 AM

I can capture just fine on my 4200 rpm drive. What matters is the amount
of data it can write to the disc every second. However, I would still advice
to get an external drive to work and capture on.

David: that is interesting. I've always had (DELL) laptops that always had
that feature. So I guess I was under the impression this was always working.

I usually hook up another screen to my laptop (VGA or DVI) to create a
second screen (which my current inspiron 9100 supports) in Windows
(ie dual monitor setup). I then attach a DV camera to my laptop (firewire)
and a TV (svhs). I can then setup Vegas to output the preview to my TV
and have things like scopes and other bits on my second monitor while the
main laptop screen has the timeline.

My widescreen is running at 1680 x 1050

Steven Davis June 14th, 2005 09:32 AM

Well, I was price shopping and everytime you add a larger hard drive (internally) they go nuts with the price. I would like to have a laptop I can live capture with, do some editing, and web design, which is my other gig. I really like the idea of getting a fast laptop and using an external hard drive. If that is successful for people that's probably the way I would go.

I had considered building a desktop with a multi-channel sound card, which I think I could almost do for the same price. But I'm leaning towards the laptop with external drive now. There are tons of laptop reviews out there, just not many independant reviews by real users in videography.

Thanks for all the comments on this thread.

Steven Davis

David Kennett June 15th, 2005 05:52 PM


My Toshiba laptop I talked about earlier has only a 20 gig HD. Out of the 4 pin firewire connector I looped to a 120Gig 7200 rpm HD, then to a DVD burner, then to camcorder. It all works great. The internal HD is very marginal for DV capture - so I use the external!

In case you're wondering, it was HDV editing theat prompted me to add a 3GHz P4 desktop.

Patrick King June 15th, 2005 06:02 PM

Check out the laptops that can host dual hard-drives (a key feature in any NLE system).


The article on Name Brand Laptops is a fun read too.

John Hartney June 15th, 2005 06:14 PM

No problem with WXGA on the 17" 9300.. it also has six usb2 ports and firewire, svideo, dvi, and vga out. It is very easy to upgrade, also. Buy it with the minimum of ram and get 2gigs from newegg for $218 at newegg.. you can also easily put in a larger drive and add external usb2 drives or sata drives..

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