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Old April 21st, 2011, 06:16 AM   #1
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Laptop compared to desktop

I am thinking about getting a laptop for editing on the move as I shoot quite a look overseas. I found this which looks quite good for the price and was wondering how it might perform.

I use mainly Vegas pro 10, with Canon MXF files from the XF300 and 100.

My current desktop spec is:
Core 2 Due @ 2.93GHz
GTX460 1GB graphics
W7 64-bit

I have to say it runs Vegas quite well with MXF files. How would the laptop compare?

Andy S
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Old May 1st, 2011, 12:56 PM   #2
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Re: Laptop compared to desktop

I have just bought one of these from Jigsaw - it is available significantly cheaper from Laptops direct.

I chose it because my cameras are HDV and it has a fire-wire input. The weak point for video editing is the hard drive - the fitted drive is a 500 GB, 5400 rpm drive. It is not possible to fit a second internal drive, but there is an eSATA port, so an external drive can be used. I am using a 250 GB, 7200 rpm WD drive in an Icy-Box. I have partitioned the internal drive so that I can back up the system and the files separately. I shall probably replace the drive with a Seagate Momentus XT at some point.

The screen has reasonable colour, but lacks contrast out-of-the-box. I have improved things by using a Colorvision colorimeter.

I have not tried video editing yet - I shall be using Premiere CS5 - it comes with 64 bit windows 7. I have done some work with Photoshop - 64 bit CS5 - and was surprised at how fast and flexible the system seemed. I had worried during the hours it took me to remove the usual Sony bloatware and replace it with some useful software that the laptop felt very sluggish. I shall try it out with Premiere later this week.
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Old May 11th, 2011, 02:08 PM   #3
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Re: Laptop compared to desktop

Don't overdue the plumbing on this one. I bought an HP dv7 and a Toshiba e-sata external drive last summer and happily cut HDV with abandon. Pluses for the HP; 7200 RPM internal drive, 17" screen, external e-sata port. Battery life is excellent too. My particular model did not have a 1394 port but I have an old Sony with one so I used that to capture. I believe a version of the dv7 has a 1394 port available.

I'm not really a fan of Sony computers as most of them have died before I was done using them. My current Sony laptop has developed now 5 vertical 1 pixel wide lines strewn randomly across the screen. A new one shows up about once a month. I dislike the tactile feedback from the keys and the placement of the trackpad and mouse buttons. I have always disliked the short battery life and the fact that it weighs as much as my car. Other than that, it's just epic.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 01:25 AM   #4
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Re: Laptop compared to desktop

My last Sony developed a pattern of lines just like you describe, but it was ante-diluvian and had been used a lot.

Before buying another Sony, I looked long and hard elsewhere, including at the HP DV7, which is available in the UK with a firewire port. What tipped the balance towards the Sony for me, as a user of Premiere CS5, was its NVidia graphics with 1GB memory, which means that I can use the CUDA acceleration.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 10:54 AM   #5
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Re: Laptop compared to desktop

A laptop can definitely get the job done. My Pentium 4 3.0GHz desktop has been gathering dust since 2008.

I don't know what the performance specs are for the laptop you're considering, but I can't help but notice the HDD speed is only 5400 RPM. With drive prices so low now, there' s no excuse not to have at least a 7200 RPM HDD. It could be an indicator of overall performance for that machine.

I got a Sager laptop in 2008 which I've been very happy with, editing HDV on Sony Vegas 8 Pro. It's got a 17inch screen but weighs a ton. It took a 4 foot fall onto a hard floor while going through the airport recently and hasn't been acting right. I went ahead and ordered another Sager, but with a smaller screen and hopefully lighter weight. It has the i-7 2820QM CPU ("Sandy Bridge"), which gets good reviews. I don't understand why the Video Guys don't recommend the Sandy Bridge chip, but I'm hoping it's for reasons more applicable to desktop versions. My older Sager had 3 hard drives, a 320GB C drive and then the other two 320GB drives in a striped array for my data. HDD performance is increasing at such a fast pace with prices coming down all the time, I decided to just go with one 600GB SSD C drive and then I'm going to connect my 1TB portable drives externally for my project data. The drives are USB 3.0 and this laptop has USB 3.0, firewire and e-sata ports. I hope this is going to work out for me. If not, the optical drive can be ejected and a "caddy" case installed, which can hold additional drives (HDD or SSD).

Some Specs on the new Sager:

15.6" Full HD LED-Backlit Display with Matte Finished Surface (1920 x 1080)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M GPU with 1.5GB GDDR5 Video Memory
i7-2820QM Processor ( 8MB L3 Cache, 2.30GHz)
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Old May 18th, 2011, 07:48 AM   #6
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Re: Laptop compared to desktop

this should give you an idea.. with the new sandy bridge mobile the game has changed. it used to be for video the on ly good laptop was the 13lb beast with 3 drives and a 6 core desktop processor.

Premiere Pro CS5 Version 5.0.3 Testing
4 WD 1Tb Sata 64 Meg Cache 600 Drives in 2 Raid 0 arrays
Video material - AVCHD 1080P 24 Frame Each Cut to 30 minutes of material
Export Codec - H264 HDTV 1080P 24 Preset Default
4 Effects per Layer - Fast Color Corrector, Brightness & Contrast, Video Limiter, Sharpen
Each Layer Scaled to 50% for 4 frame PinP view.

I7 950 at 3.68GHz <--- over clocked
12GB Blackline 1600 CL 8
4 WD 1Tb Sata 64 Meg Cache 600 Drives in 2 Raid 0 arrays
3 Layers - 40:21
4 Layers - 45:37

just 2 internal drives OS used as media drive 2nd drive as export.
I7 2820QM 2.3GHZ
16GB 1333 CL 9
GTX 460M
3 Layer – 54:11
4 Layer – 1:01:53

or about on par with a stock 950 desktop.. pretty impressive

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Old May 22nd, 2011, 04:11 AM   #7
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Re: Laptop compared to desktop

CPU wise an i5 or i7 based laptop will do just fine.

Go for an internal SSD for apps/os/temps + external USB3 drive for storage.

It will be quite hot while rendering, but keep on a table and you should be good

// Lazze
Sony HDR-CX130,Canon 5DMKII,i7 930@4.0, 12gb memory, 3x SSD + 2x1Tb(stripe), Geforce 480, Dual 24", Win 7 x64
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Old May 25th, 2011, 09:05 AM   #8
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Re: Laptop compared to desktop

I have an i7-930 based system that just got trounced by an i7-2720QM laptop. I'm still scratching my head over it. The Lenovo W520 is even lighter than the 17" dual-core pavillion I used to own.

Primitive But Effective: Lenovo W520 for Sony Vegas Pro 10 and Adobe After Effects CS5 - Part 6

Desktop vs Laptop
2 Overlay Tracks with Text and Video
1 Main Video Track with JPEG, WMV, AVI-Cineform 720p 24fps, and MOV-Canon 7D 1080 24fps clips of mixed resolution/frame rate
3 Audio tracks

Resize from 1080p to 720p
Bit Rate Conversion
Color Corrector
Audition Envelopes

Render output used codec Sony AVC/MVC with 1280x720 resolution at rate 4,000,000 Mbps. This codec had options for CPU only and CUDA when available.

Sony Vegas Pro 10d
Sony AVC-CPU only 22:55 vs 21:31
Sony AVC-GPU if available 25:11 vs 23:55

Adobe After Effects CS5
AVI-Lossless 05:33 vs 04:33

I'm also using external e-sata/usb 3.0 drives.
DIY, 35mm, HV20:

Last edited by Mike Dulay; May 25th, 2011 at 09:39 AM.
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