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Old July 10th, 2005, 04:26 PM   #1
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Centrino 1.8GHz processor more powerful than P4 3GHz - How?

I was watching a tech show recently that stated that a mobile Centrino 1.8GHz processor is actually more efficient and powerful than a Pentium 4 3GHz processor. It was said that a mobile Centrino handles power consumption better and runs cooler. Does this mean that it processes faster, especially for complex tasks like video import, editing and graphics rendering? If so, how?
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Old July 10th, 2005, 08:00 PM   #2
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Handling power better and running cooler doesn't make the difference. From what I understand it's the much larger on board processor memory cache that gives the Pentium M chip an advantage ("Centrino" refers to a whole processor/chipset/wireless package which a laptop must have to use the name).
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Old July 10th, 2005, 08:43 PM   #3
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http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/2005...ntium4-10.html

They took the Pentium M and threw it on a P4 board... nuff said.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 12:13 AM   #4
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I got rid of my 3.06 GHz P4 workstation to get a Dell Inspiron 8600 with a 2 GHz Pentium M (60 GB, 7200rpm hard drive; 8x DVDRW DL burner; 128 MB ATI Mobility Radeon Pro; 1920 x 1200 15.4" display, 2 GB of RAM) last year and haven't regretted it yet. Editing on a laptop is pretty snappy, render times in PremierePro is about the same as the 3 GHz workstation. The only thing I don't like about the laptop is carrying an external hard drive with me (adds to the weight of my case)... for some reason Windows XP isn't so keen on firewire hard drives and errors out periodically.

I've edited HDV footage, rendered After Effects and Cinema4d stuff on the laptop and it's all good for the most part; however, alot of the stuff I use is multithreaded and the Pentium M is a unicore processor, so some AE filters when working with HD res can really tax the system. Overall, it was a good investment for me.

Some words of caution about editing on a laptop... always have it plugged-in and customize your power management to always be on (nothing worse than doing a long render and the computer goes to sleep, pausing the render, or causing it to crash). The system and memory busses on laptops are slower, so working with uncompressed video sucks big time. This is where that nice 2MB cache comes in. Get a 17" screen... 1920 x 1200 on a 15.4" screen is too small. Get an external mouse (trackpads are horrible for fine controls).

Productivity is enhanced on a laptop during production. On a short HDV film I just shot, I'd hand the tape off to my editor and she'd dump it and start doing rough edits while I continued shooting. Towards the end of the day of shooting, if I need to get additional shots, we'd know exactly what to get. Laptops are a god-send.

I can't wait to get a dual-core Centrino system! :)
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Old July 11th, 2005, 11:23 AM   #5
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Take a look closer at that article - the Pentium-M chips are overclocked in an adapted Pentium-4 chipset board.

Laptops have their place, yes. I would never suggest exchanging it for your editing workstation, though.

You are limited to firewire storage (you are not going to do very much with internal laptop hard drives). Firewire storage is not going to cut it in so many situations.

No support for third-party hardware, be it for real-time rendering/effects, or for output to a monitor, etc. (Besides Avid's Mojo, but it that case you have taken your firewire bus, which brings me to my next point...)

No segmented PCI buses, which means that ONE access to a firewire port has to be shared by storage, ingest, and access to third-party devices, and what if you needed to do those things at the same time? Not gonna happen.

Regardless of the efficiency of the Pentium-M processors, or any laptop processors, the raw performance of the processors and platforms cannot come close to that of desktops. I mean, we're talking about dual-core chips now, and even before those came out, there still was a huge gap.

Laptops are for on-the-go, on-site editing. I would even limit that to on-the-plane-for-convenience editing, because we have suitcase-type enclosures for full-sized PC's that can be quickly deployed on-site that would take the place for on-shoot editing.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 03:55 PM   #6
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Some Mobile chips are the same pin out as the desktop motherboards so if you were REALLY inclined, you could have one of Pentium Ms in your desktop rig. The 3 biggest speed factors come from hard disk speed (access time and read/write access), memory speed, and BUS speed, the chip itself is a close 4th. I spent a grip on my latop (also a 1.8GHz Centrino) but it still does not out perform my desktop OVERALL. Plus the largest monitor I could get was the 17" Wide screen, compare that to my x2 21" CRT monitors. Most laptops don't have the 8MB cache 7200RPM drives either, an important factor. In fact most are 4500RPM 2MB cache, yeek!

It's like the 6cyl vs. 8cyl car scenario, both get you there, one just faster than the other.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 08:05 PM   #7
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For rendering performance in Vegas, my own tests show that its CPU speed that makes the biggest difference, followed by memory bandwidth (related to front side bus frequency).

In all the rendertest.veg results, they show that performance is more or less linearly proportional to CPU clock speed (all other factors held constant).
It's typically the CPU that's the performance bottleneck.

Memory bandwidth makes a few % difference.
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...id=18841<br />

Hard drive speed makes no difference, unless it's a quick render that's similar to copying a file.
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...id=18784<br />

Front side bus speed doesn't seem to make any difference in performance, although it's a little hard to test. This is based off reading people's experiences with overclocking.

Anyways, if you want a fast editing machine, look at getting a fast CPU. On the other hand, performance isn't always everything. The portability of a laptop may make you more productive.

2- rendertest.veg results for Vegas:

Quote:
*40s/76s - AMD X2 4400+ (Toledo core, 2X2.2ghz, 2X1MB cache, no dual channel memory, Vegas 6.0b)
SOURCE: TheRhino@ http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/for...239&Replies=61

*75s - P4 3.6ghz overclocked from 3.0 Pentium. A new 5xx-series 3.6ghz should be as fast or slightly slower.
SOURCE: Stormcrow@ http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/for...239&Replies=57

78s- AMD64 3700+ (san diego core??? [2.2ghz, 1MB cache], vegas 6, dual channel RAM)
SOURCE: Charley Gallgher@ http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...8&page=2&pp=15

*78s- P4 3.2 overclocked to 3.8ghz (Northwood core???, 800FSB [it's overclocked, so the FSB is actually higher])
SOURCE: jamcas@ http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/for...ssageID=256422

79s- AMD64 3400+ (unknown core, Vegas 6)
SOURCE: Charley Gallagher@ http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...8&page=2&pp=15

89s- 3.0E Pentium Prescott (865 chipset, dual channel RAM, Vegas 5)
SOURCE: Glenn Chan@ http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/for...239&Replies=57

90s - 2.8ghz Pentium (Prescott)
SOURCE: TalawaMan@ http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/for...ssageID=262716

90s - Opteron 246 2.0ghz X 2 (dual channel memory, old 2004 core, *VEGAS 5*)
SOURCE: rohde@ http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/for...ssageID=256422
*Please keep in mind Vegas6 has optimizations for dual processors. As well, rendertest.veg make skew results in favor of single processor systems.

93s - AMD64 3200+ (2004, so probably old core)
SOURCE: PH125@ http://mediasoftware.sonypictures.co...ssageID=256422
99s is Sid Phillip's report in the same thread.

95s - AMD64 3000+ (2.00ghz, 512kb cache, single channel, socket 754, 2004 core)
SOURCE: ibliss@ http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/for...ssageID=256422

114s - Pentium-M 1.7ghz laptop
SOURCE: The_Jeff@ http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/for...ssageID=262716


Athlon XP: There are results if you look around. They aren't as fast as Pentiums or AMD64.

Platforms that support dual channel can run a few percent slower when running memory single channel. See Glenn Chan's (that's me) benchmarks at
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=18841
Systems with 2 pairs of identical RAM may also perform slightly faster.

Northwood-core Pentiums are about 6% slower than Prescott-cores (the 5xx series). Northwoods are typically faster at everything else, and consume less electricity.

Overclocked systems are not necessarily stable. As well, they may perform slightly better or worse than a stock system running at the same clock speed. Overclocking on Intel/Pentium platform implies an increase in FSB speed, and an increase or decrease in RAM speed (depends on the RAM they use).

Vegas 6 results may differ from V5 results. see http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/for...239&Replies=57
Johnmeyer writes:
My results on the old render test, using a 2.8 GHz P4, no hyperthreading:

Vegas 6.0b 1:46
Vegas 5.0d 1:43


---

These results are for the original rendertest.veg, not the new one. You can download it from:
http://www.vasst.com/resource.aspx?i...c-a7f431ebd02d
3- There have been vendors making some really powerful laptops. One example would be Sager laptops, which get rebranded as Alienware and Go-L computers.
*2* X 60GB 7200rpm hard drives
desktop processors... as in, the same Pentium used in desktops; the FSB and RAM might be slightly slower, but for video editing it shouldn't really matter

Right now I don't think there are dual core laptops available. That would be an advantage for desktop systems.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 09:26 PM   #8
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I have tested CPU speed, memory speed, and drive speed on dozens of configurations and CPU is not always #1. Owning a computer company (OEM) in the past has allowed me to build and "test" many computers and architectures.

Example: When the P4 first came out there was only SDRAM (66MHz - 133MHz) or RAMBUS (800MHz!), DDR (200-266MHz at the time) came shortly after. RAMBUS was rare and very expensive. That's why the P4 sucked when it first came out, memory bottleneck if you had SDRAM. The huge BUS speed of the P4 was waiting on the lesser speed of the outdated memory. In affect the P4 was wasting cycles waiting on the RAM to respond. If you were to build two identical machines with only one difference, the memory speed, which do you think would produce the finished and rendered DV file the quickest?

Personal test: P4 2.2GHz with SDRAM (133) vs. the same exact chip with RDRAM (rambus). File finished 9% faster. This was in Premiere 5.x. With the RDRAM data is being delivered many times faster to and fro the chip. (It was on a different motherboard for those techies thinking..)

Yes, you absolutely want the fastest chip with the largest cache your budget will allow, BUT don't skimp in the other areas, you will regret it. A 7200RPM 8MB cache hard disk will almost always be out performed by a 10,000RPM 8MB cache drive, that is just part of physics and Moore's law. If your drives reads/writes data at 120MBps and Billy's reads/writes data at 80MBps guess who may end up creating a 4GB DV file faster. Smaller files are negligible, who here works only with tiny file sizes? If that was the case I’d access all my DV files on flash drives.

I literally spent a year upgrading and testing my PC specifically for Premiere. I actually built myself 5 PCs in one year just to get Premiere to render a couple frames faster each time, fanatic! I am no longer like that thank god. I always remember my college hardware professors’ words, “It’s only as fast as its slowest root component.” The root being CPU, HD, Memory, and BUS. He also worked at Intel, lol…

Now does CPU make the biggest difference? Heck yeah it can. But these days the difference in render times between a 3.4GHz and a 3.6GHz is not enough to warrant the price difference if you are on a tighter budget. Add more RAM, faster RAM (dual channel). Add faster drives, more space, RAID. Or do what I am doing at the moment, waiting for the dual cores to come down in price and for them to work the initial bugs out of them! Ever seen a NLE on multiple CPUs? WOW what a difference.


Faster FSB = Faster communication between the RAM, CPU and Chipset, thus less time to wait to actually start writing to the disk.
Faster Drive = Quicker read access times to large files, quicker response times on writes. Quicker indexing of existing DV files.
Faster RAM = Faster read/write times from CPU instructions, faster communication between CPU and RAM thus less time to wait to actually start writing to the disk.
Faster CPU = Faster actual processing of data coming FROM the hard disk and RAM.

I never recommend overclocking an NLE machine as data integrity is lowest on the priorities of an overclocked component. It also does not represent the true performance of the actual components specifications. An overclocked P4 3.0 will not perform the as well as its literal clocked counterpart. Learned that the hard way.

My dream NLE machine - Dual-Dual cores 64Bit, 4GB dual channel DDR 1066MHz, 10,000 RPM 8MB Cache RAIDed drives, 16X Dual layer DVD+/-R and a 42" plasma monitor.

My two pennies.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 11:03 PM   #9
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Marco:


Getting down to what's practical:
Performance depends on what programs you run.
Example: For file servers, hard drive speed is important while CPU is not.
For video editing, hard drive speed is not worth paying for (in my analysis). For DV work, stick with 7200rpm drives. You'll be more productive getting lots of storage, instead of going with 10k rpm drives.
see http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...id=18784<br /> <--I've tested things with what I have. Hard drive speed makes no practical difference on render times.

For SD/uncompressed work and above, you do need faster drives. Still, the most economical is likely a 7200rpm RAID array (and not a 10k rpm drive array).


Technology is always changing, but you should pay attention to what you are going to buy now.
In the RAMBUS days, the Pentium platform was a little starved for memory bandwidth. That isn't the case now. see http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=18841
Only a few % difference with increasing memory bandwidth. Increasing memory bandwidth can be really cheap though. It's very cheap to:
A- Install your RAM in the right slots to enable dual channel.
B- Buy PAIRS of IDENTICAL model+capacity RAM.

Sometimes a CPU is slightly faster but a lot more expensive (as you mention). You have to find a balance between the benefits and costs of the extra speed.
For video editing, I think it's worth getting the 3.6ghz over the 3.4ghz if you edit full-time. This is because you're spending hundreds if not thousands of hours rendering over the lifespan of the CPU (when you're using it as your main workstation).

There are some non-performance components that affect productivity.
Stability (which is the argument against overclocking)
Portability (hey does that mean this thread is back on topic?)
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Old July 12th, 2005, 11:21 PM   #10
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"A 7200RPM 8MB cache hard disk will almost always be out performed by a 10,000RPM 8MB cache drive, that is just part of physics and Moore's law."

That would be a fair statement if the two drives were identical in every other respect, but such is rarely the case. Look at the performance results at www.storagereview.com and you'll see that today's fastest 7200 RPM hard drives outperform many 10K and even 15K RPM drives for single-user content creation tasks (per SR's High-End DriveMark test.) Among other explanations for this is variations in drive density, which has a similar effect to rotational speed on overall performance. So a really dense 7200 RPM drive with a large cache and other performance enhancements can outperform a higher-RPM drive without those advantages, no problem. Plus the 7200 RPM drive will typically run cooler and quieter and cost a lot less per gigabyte.

It's still true that the fastest hard drives made have high rotational speeds, but that doesn't mean all hard drives with high RPMs are faster than all hard drives with lower RPMs.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 05:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Borden
You are limited to firewire storage (you are not going to do very much with internal laptop hard drives). Firewire storage is not going to cut it in so many situations.
Can you elaborate on that? I'm using an external Maxtor drive that I can hook
up through both firewire and USB2 (is what I am using with no problems what
so ever).

There are also more professional laptops out there with a dual internal drive.
Laptop harddisks have begun to breach size as well so that should not be
a problem either. A dual harddisk laptop should really have no problem capturing
or editing at all (which kinda is the same as editing with an external drive).

Why is firewire storage (I prefere USB2 myself) not going to cut it in so many
situation? What situation? And how would you solve that on the desktop?
SATA? SAN/NAS solutions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Borden
No support for third-party hardware, be it for real-time rendering/effects, or for output to a monitor, etc. (Besides Avid's Mojo, but it that case you have taken your firewire bus, which brings me to my next point...)
Probably true for the real-time rendering cards (which most people, including
myself, aren't using on desktops either) but you can definitely do a monitor
out. I do on my laptop. Simply use the DV camera, a DV deck or an analog
to DV convertor device like the Canopus ADVC series.

I know plenty of people here on DVInfo, including myself, that edit (exclusively)
on laptops and have good things to say about that. Now that is of course not
to say that it is good for everybody. It depends on things like budget, where
you need to edit, what kind of projects (length, resolution, number of shots),
how many people are editing or sharing the footage, speed and personal
preference.

Of course it also matters a lot what kind of laptop you get. I have seen major
speed difference between competing laptop brands for similar spec laptops
(and before anyone asks it was a DELL laptop [it won] and some brands local
to Holland)
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Old July 14th, 2005, 12:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Lohman
Can you elaborate on that? I'm using an external Maxtor drive that I can hook
up through both firewire and USB2 (is what I am using with no problems what
so ever).

There are also more professional laptops out there with a dual internal drive.
Laptop harddisks have begun to breach size as well so that should not be
a problem either. A dual harddisk laptop should really have no problem capturing
or editing at all (which kinda is the same as editing with an external drive).

Why is firewire storage (I prefere USB2 myself) not going to cut it in so many
situation? What situation? And how would you solve that on the desktop?
SATA? SAN/NAS solutions?
My point here was not to belittle users who are using laptops as their primary or only editing station. That said, you cannot use USB storage, or even firewire storage, and in many cases internal laptop storage for many situations. Now, it's hard to illustrate this if you aren't doing the type of work that requires very intensive hardware. It seems like a lot of people here are doing pretty basic projects in DV25 that really might be able to get away with some of this stuff. I'm not really talking to those people, because the fact of the matter is that they are already doing their work however they've found the way to do it. If that involves USB storage, then I am not here to say that you are performing a miracle - it works in some situations, obviously.

Step up a notch : Multiple streams of DV25 - I'm talking like 7 or 8. Step up again to uncompressed SD or HDV. Step up to multiple streams of Uncompressed SD or HDV. (Uncompressed HD I won't even mention, because I doubt anyone here is dealing with it or ever will - it's a different industry) You are not going to be doing this stuff with the hardware that we are talking about. You might push through a single stream of uncompressed SD or HDV to internal laptop storage, but start scrubbing the timeline and doing anything complicated, and you are going to start lagging and getting extremely frustrated.

This sort of leads into the thing about the internal hardware argument. You mentioned getting a preview through a camera or other external device. Well, that's going to be going through your firewire bus, and if you think you are going to be accessing multiple streams of video through the same bus, you are really asking for a lot.

Take for instance your Avid Mojo - that sucker has to be on his own bus. Internally, does your machine share the firewire bus with ANYTHING else? USB ports, storage, whatever? Your done.

Take another point for the internal hardware argument - you are talking about getting previews with the external devices. The ONLY external device that is going to do any processing that will get you FULL-RES, FULL-QUALITY previews is the Mojo (And we already addressed that). If you want anything other than Premiere's "draft" preview, you aren't going to get it without rendering on a laptop. All of those devices are just I/O that you mentioned.

How is this mitigated on a desktop? Yes SATA and the such, but you can get SATA in an external firewire enclosure. The issue is how that storage is connected everything else. So, the solution is more robust chipsets and bus pathways, separate from each other. Segmented PCI buses, so I can have full 64-bit,133Mhz pathways available to multiple devices - be it storage, processing hardware, firewire, etc.

All of this doesn't even address the core architecture in desktops that far exceed laptops - high-speed, dual-core processors (without the laptops getting hot enough to cook an egg on), multiple processors, more/faster memory, chipsets, etc.

So, I will re-iterate my original thought. Laptops have their place, but my thought is that that place is far more limited than you think. There are frequently much better solutions if one takes the time to consider them.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 01:41 PM   #13
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"The ONLY external device that is going to do any processing that will get you FULL-RES, FULL-QUALITY previews is the Mojo (And we already addressed that). If you want anything other than Premiere's "draft" preview, you aren't going to get it without rendering on a laptop. "

Actually, the Canopus Edius software can do full quality, real-time DV output from a DV timeline on a laptop, and then you can run that through a camera or other device if you want to display the output on a monitor.

Laptops are great for on-the-go editing or just moving around your house so you don't have to be tied to a desk all the time. The only reason anyone should need a desktop for SD work at this point is for complex projects like Ed described, or working with HD/HDV footage (and even that is doable on a laptop). When we get dual-core laptops next year this will further expand the range of what's possible for video editing in a portable form factor, without having to lug around a separate monitor, keyboard, power supplies, etc.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 03:23 PM   #14
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But again, what are the limitations on that ability from Edius, being software-based? I'm not sure. You are, however, limiting yourself to a specific piece of software, and I'm sure for the people who DON'T use Edius, that's not very helpful.

Also, even when dual-core chips are available on a laptop, you are still going to be limited by all of the others reasons mentioned, but the desktop platforms will have 2 or 3 levels of technology enhancements by the time that happens.

Another consideration for a laptop involved with advanced post production, for example an Avid Xpress Studio system or an invidual jumping around between the entire Adobe Collection : Screen real estate. I can't imagine trying to keep a creative flow between 4 or 5 different pieces of software at the same time with a little 15" LCD. Those people want good-sized, dual monitors (or even three), plus their NTSC preview. Granted, you can hook up another monitor on some laptops, but then you have two monitors of differing size, height, and angle, and you are sacrificing your portability.

It always comes back to a laptop's use as a portable tool for basic stuff. Roughcutting on a plane or onsite. When it comes to finishing and everything else, it's a bad solution. I mean, what if I need to do 3D work or something? I'm going to render that on a Centrino? Start render - see you in the morning!
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Old July 17th, 2005, 06:35 AM   #15
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I guess it all depends. A friend of mine does a lot of work in Lightwave 3D on a
laptop (quite complex things as well). However, he does have a renderfarm of
some 25 desktop machines at work (not used at nights) and some servers. So
he models and test renders on the laptop (where he wants) and then shoots it
off to the renderfarm for overnight rendering.

This in my mind is a very flexible way of working. He can go to a clients and
show or alter things directly if need to be and the heavy number crunching at
full quality is done somewhere else.

I've editted multiple DV streams with some uncompressed SD streams on my
laptop from an external USB2 drive without much slowdown at all. But yes,
multiple uncompressed streams and HD streams might tax it. Then it may not
be worth to get a laptop.

However I rarely see a lot of people here working in that realm....

Common sense obviously comes into play here. You should look and see if
a given solution matches your needs and expectations. A laptop may or may
not fit on what you need/want. But I would not blindy go either way, make
an informed decision! However, laptops these day and age offer very good
performance and value for money in my very personal opinion.
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