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Old September 19th, 2007, 03:58 PM   #1
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Laptop for Vegas

Hi fellow videographers

I'm soon heading to the US to do a 3 week project, and for the occation i need a laptop to be able to do some on-the-fly editing. The budget is extremely limited, but this is what i have come up with:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834115372
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820144183
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815123013

(Sorry if it is illegal to link to a non-sponsor site, but afaik you cannot buy pcs and stuff from them)

Is this completely useless? I will use it together with a WD external USB2 harddisk, for file storage and stuff.

It will be used to capture video from a vx2100e and a backup canon mv630i, so nothing big and fancy, just good'ol NTSC interlaced.

Thanks for any inputs you might have.

Mark
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Old September 19th, 2007, 04:30 PM   #2
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First item - No. The reviews aren't very complimentary either re the way Vista performs on this model. And it's Vista Home Basic - the lesser of the versions.

Second item - to get maximum performance, you need to put DDR2 RAM in matched pairs. So if you want 1GB, you really should get two 512MB modules. According to the specs, it has 1 x 512MB, so to get 1GB, you just need a 512MB that matches. 1GB is the minimum you should go with. If your budget can cover it, 2GB are much better especially for video editing on Vista.

Third item - No problem. I have a PCMCIA FireWire card for one of my laptops and it's fine.

Consider this laptop:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834115383

It's $100 more but has 1GB RAM, Vista Home Premium (not Basic like the other one) and a faster processor.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 04:44 PM   #3
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Thanks for the fast reply.

Regarding the ram, ill buy 2 gigs of DDR2 to pair up. Doesen't cost too much anyway.

Honestly, im not a fan of Vista at all - so, my plan was to format it, and install windows xp pro sp2 instead. I should have mentioned this earlier.

The fact that it is a somewhat china-quality PCMCIA card shouldn't do much of a difference, no?

I'm pretty hooked on the laptop i chose there - and i dont really have a budget to buy the bigger model you linked to, although its tempting!

Links for the new ram is here: Criucial is good, right?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820146517

Thanks again

Mark
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Old September 19th, 2007, 06:04 PM   #4
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I'm answering these out of order to do the simple ones first(!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Olsen View Post
The fact that it is a somewhat china-quality PCMCIA card shouldn't do much of a difference, no?
No. Most of my PCMCIA cards are made in China or Taiwan. Frankly, high tech electronics made in China are no different than anywhere else - they have to use the same high tech equipment - it's just cheaper to do it.

Quote:
Links for the new ram is here: Criucial is good, right?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820146517
No problem with this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Olsen View Post
Honestly, im not a fan of Vista at all - so, my plan was to format it, and install windows xp pro sp2 instead. I should have mentioned this earlier.
You need to research this very carefully. It may not be as simple as wiping and then using a standard XP Pro installation CD. I've been through this recently with my wife's laptop that her company thoughtfully provided with Vista. Well, it doesn't work with some of the company's systems. So, I thought that's no problem, I'll free up space on the hard drive, create a new partition, install XP and have a dual-boot setup. Well, I got to the XP setup and it complained that there was no hard drive. A bit of Googling revealed that many laptops with SATA hard drives need to have the drivers on the installation CD or a floppy drive (really....). Off to Dell's website - no drivers available. Off to Samsung (the hard drive manuf.) - no drivers. Off to Intel - the mobo manuf. - downloaded the entire set of drivers. Now, no floppy so how to make the drivers available at installation. More Googling and help from Intel's documentation - need to create a new installation CD with the drivers added (plus other things to do). A few hours later, I have created the new CD. Popped it in - the same error - no hard drive. Phoned Dell, they can't provide the XP installation disk (which has all the right drivers, bloatware etc). The laptop should have been ordered with XP in the first, apparently.

So, I would see if Acer provide the option to get XP Pro instead (but it will put the price up I suspect) and, if possible, configure the laptop with 2GB from the factory.

If Acer can't do that or provide an XP installation disk for that laptop, then, assuming the laptop comes with a Vista installation disk that will put the laptop back exactly to its original state as you got it [many don't], wipe the hard drive and try installing XP from a standard XP CD. If it fails, then you can simple reprep the laptop with Acer's Vista CD. DON'T DO THIS IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE ACER VISTA CD! You'll be left with a blank hard drive.

(Almost) finally, if you are able to put XP on there, you will almost certainly need to download drivers from Acer for various bits of hardware. Here's the link for the Acer systems:

http://www.acerpanam.com/flex/acerdr...n/drivers.html

AFAIK, all of this hinges around whether the hard drive is SATA or not. Acer's own specifications for this particular laptop doesn't state one way or the other. If it isn't SATA, there's a high probability of success installing XP.

Sorry to be a scaremongerer...
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Old September 20th, 2007, 01:17 PM   #5
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Thanks for the great reply John!

I have looked a bit into this, and on the page you linked to, there are some drivers available for both Vista and XP - which means that it must be possible to install XP one way or another, the question is just, how?

The only place i have been able to find any info about the harddisk type is on a danish homepage, and, too bad, it is a S-ATA (Or good i guess, much better performance.) Now i am sending an email to Acer's technical support, to hear if it is possible to install XP without any major hassle. I am madly in love with this computer (and so is my wallet), so if i can confirm that it is possible to install Windows XP, i will be really happy.

I will probably install Norton Ghost on the machine when i get it, so, if i do not succeed in installing windows XP i will be able to get it back to its original state. At the price, it is simply too cheap not to give it a go!

Thanks once again for the great reply!
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Old September 20th, 2007, 06:44 PM   #6
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Crucial

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Olsen View Post
Links for the new ram is here: Criucial is good, right?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820146517
I'll be a little biased and say that Crucial rocks. Heck it is made 20 miles from where I am sitting and I know some of the Q/A guys on their assembly lines.

But asside from that, I have never had problems with my Crucial ram and I have purchased it for 3 different computers over the past 7 years.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 06:47 PM   #7
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Carefull

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Originally Posted by John F Miller View Post
wipe the hard drive and try installing XP from a standard XP CD
Some times the "recovery" cds are just branded versions of Norton Ghost that look for the image file on your HD (some times in a hidden partition).

If you "wipe the drive" do it carefully and only for the bootable partition.
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Old September 21st, 2007, 03:47 AM   #8
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Hi Jason.

I am a former overclocker, and i think i remember hearing good things about the crucial ram - so i have no hard feelings buying a couple of gigs of those.

I won't even bother buying a recovery-cd, since i have bought a copy of norton ghost a couple of months ago, which will do the job quite perfectly. No reason to pay $20-30 for a (maybe) useless CD, when i can do it myself and be completely sure that it will work perfectly.

It seems that Acer's technical support is a bit slow at responding, but i will keep you all posted as to what i find out. If i can get this to work you can have a complete, portable, vegas editing station for less than $600....

If anybody has any experience installing XP on these machines i'd really like to know!

Mark

EDIT: Oh no.. i just fell in love with another PC! http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834101086

Several reasons - 1. Bigger harddisk. 2. Faster Processor. 3. BUILT IN IEEE 1394!
Only one minus - it is a recertified model. Does this have a big impact on the product i will get, or is it pretty much the same as a new one ?

EDIT2: And im 99,98% confident that i will be able to install XP on this one! http://support.gateway.com/support/d...param=1014312R (the top driver is a S-ATA driver, which is compatible with both Vista and XP!!)
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Last edited by Mark Olsen; September 21st, 2007 at 04:31 AM.
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Old September 21st, 2007, 08:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Olsen View Post
EDIT2: And im 99,98% confident that i will be able to install XP on this one! http://support.gateway.com/support/d...param=1014312R (the top driver is a S-ATA driver, which is compatible with both Vista and XP!!)
As long as the XP installation can use generic drivers to recognize the hard drive. Otherwise you'll have to slipstream the specific drivers into a new XP installation disk. At least this is a fail-safe option. If the drivers don't get detected from the new installation disk, setup will fail without having done anything.

So, you might as well try a generic install. If it fails, try the slipstreaming option.

BTW, I bought a refurbished Gateway desktop last year and I haven't had any issues with it - I just saved a few $100....
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Old September 21st, 2007, 06:30 PM   #10
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Thanks for all of your help, it is really appreciated. I will buy the gateway when i get to the US. (and install XP on it.. muhahahahah)
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