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Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       01-04-2015, 11:13 AM Reply   
I'm in the market for a new PC laptop, but I want to make sure that it's going to work for video editing because I'm hoping to do more of that in 2015. My current computer takes forever to do anything video related, so I want to eliminate that problem and not have to upgrade again for as long as possible. I'd rather pay now to get something good than worry about upgrades later. What should I be looking for?

Some specific questions are whether I need to have a 7200 rpm hard drive and whether I need to look for something specific in regard to the video card.
Old     (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       01-05-2015, 9:57 AM Reply   
I tried a few and finally ended up buying the Mac Pro. It still hurts to think about the price, but I haven't seen anything else like it. Plus, you crack it open, enter the password, and it's 100% ready. Hard to beat.

Talk to Umali and Cervenka.
Old     (99Bison)      Join Date: Sep 2012       01-05-2015, 10:00 AM Reply   
Go solid state drive...
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       01-05-2015, 10:40 AM Reply   
I can't do a Mac. I have to have a PC, so I'd have to buy two and that's not happening.

What's the advantage of solid state? Does that just mean I can throw my laptop around more? It really spends 99% of the time on my desk.
Old     (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       01-05-2015, 1:45 PM Reply   
Solid state is way way faster reading and writing to the hard drive.

What is your budget? If I were you I'd be looking for something in the "gaming laptop" class. Expect to pay north of $1200.

Here's a search of 16gb ram 256gb SSD i7 gaming rigs:
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       01-05-2015, 4:32 PM Reply   
Oh, I thought solid state was just for durability. I notice they have a smaller solid state drive and a larger regular drive. How does that work? Do you just use the solid state drive for your more intensive work, such as video editing?
Old     (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       01-05-2015, 6:00 PM Reply   
Where you have two drives typically you'd put your operating system and programs on the SSD and data on the traditional drive.
Old     (revolutionwake)      Join Date: Sep 2014       01-06-2015, 11:35 PM Reply   
If you're video editing I would include a nice big monitor in your budget. I upgraded a while ago and love it.
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       01-07-2015, 9:09 AM Reply   
I'm already rocking double monitors, so I'm ready on that front. I guess I should post questions like this during the dead of winter. My people are letting me down!
Old     (99Bison)      Join Date: Sep 2012       01-07-2015, 9:46 AM Reply   
SSD as big or two even better if you can make it fly. Everything is just so much faster. And yes a gaming machine if you really can't do a mac.

On option is to have massive external drive for the raw video files, then copy the files or clips of them (once) to the SSD/main drives to actually operate on.

Last edited by 99Bison; 01-07-2015 at 9:50 AM.
Old     (RobbinMazurel)      Join Date: Nov 2014       01-08-2015, 9:32 AM Reply   
Tell me your budget and I'll find you the affordable. Things to look out for:

- SSD for OS, HDDs (preferably formatted in Raid 0) for Data. Never use the same drive to run your program and read/write data from/on. Minimum size of SSD: 120gb.
- Dedicated GPU (Graphic card) with CUDA or OpenGL support in your NLE (such as Premiere, Avid, etc). Decreases the times rendering is needed.
- Can't have enough RAM, although your RAM will get bottlenecked by your CPU in most occasions. You're fine with 8GB, you're golden with 16.
- Dual-core processor (CPU) is faster for single tasks, Quad+ core is better for multitasking. Going to do stuff while you're editing? Go for Quad.
- Make sure you have enough USB3.0 ports for external hard-drives, mouse, keyboard, external audio interface, etc.
- Make sure you have enough video output ports, such as Displayports and HDMI for when you want to use multiple monitors in some occasions.
- Pay attention to your laptops screensize. While 17 inch sounds like terrible portability, you'd wish you did it when you're editing on that fancy small 13 inch MB Air.
- Thin laptops often mean hot laptops. One of the most important things to compare when searching for a mobile workstation is heat generation (or the lack of it).
- OS: Make sure the laptop comes with the OS you want to work with. Go for 8.1 if you're working on Windows as it gets the most support when you work with Adobe CC.

There you go! Have fun editing.

Robbin Mazurel
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       01-08-2015, 10:25 AM Reply   
Nice Robbin, that's what I'm looking for. Budget it realistically $1,500-$2,000, but I'm really ready to spend what I need for something that's going to last me a long time. Does the hard drive need to be 7200 rpm or will I be fine with 5400? It seems like 7200 is not very common. Why don't you want to put your programs and OS on the same drive as your data? I was thinking I'd want to put my raw video on the SSD drive in order to speed up my editing process.

I'm probably looking at a 15" monitor because I use an external monitor when on the desktop and a 17" (which is what I have now) pretty much can't be used on an airplane. Is it possible to use two external monitors? I want my desk to look like I'm a boss!

I was thinking about a Core i7 processor (is that quad core?) because I will be doing other stuff while editing. 16 Megs of RAM would be nice too. I guess I'm stuck with Windows 8.1, so that will be fun to learn.
Old     (boardjnky4)      Join Date: Dec 2011       01-08-2015, 10:30 AM Reply   
i7 doesn't automatically mean quad-core, there are dual-core i7s and quad-core i5s out there...
Old     (RobbinMazurel)      Join Date: Nov 2014       01-09-2015, 2:13 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by wakeworld View Post
Nice Robbin, that's what I'm looking for. Budget it realistically $1,500-$2,000, but I'm really ready to spend what I need for something that's going to last me a long time. Does the hard drive need to be 7200 rpm or will I be fine with 5400? It seems like 7200 is not very common. Why don't you want to put your programs and OS on the same drive as your data? I was thinking I'd want to put my raw video on the SSD drive in order to speed up my editing process.

I'm probably looking at a 15" monitor because I use an external monitor when on the desktop and a 17" (which is what I have now) pretty much can't be used on an airplane. Is it possible to use two external monitors? I want my desk to look like I'm a boss!

I was thinking about a Core i7 processor (is that quad core?) because I will be doing other stuff while editing. 16 Megs of RAM would be nice too. I guess I'm stuck with Windows 8.1, so that will be fun to learn.
That's enough to create a decent mobile workstation. If it will last you a long time depends a lot on your workflow and what kind of video files you will be processing as well, of course. If you want to edit native (straight out of your camera) video, you will have to upgrade the same rate as you're upgrading your camera equipment (or someone elses if you're just doing editing).

In general, the speed of you editing is bottlenecked by the weakest part of your workstation. It wouldn't make sense to run both your OS, programs and footage from the same 5400RPM harddrive when working with a decent quadcore, enough ram and a dedicated high-end GPU.

As for why you don't want to put your programs/OS and data on the same drive: An SSD is famous for it's super-fast read/write speed because there are no moving parts (no spinning disks like you will find in an HDD). However, SSDs are prone to decreasing in performance the more often you place/remove files. After a period of time (years), the quality of an SSD drops, and so does the read/write speeds. An OS is basically a set of files which you put in place, and "use" everytime. Data doesn't get moved around (removed) alot, so the SSD doesn't really decay in quality over time that fast.
Apart from the decreasing health of an SSD when moving files a lot, using both your OS and Footage from the same drive (both SSD/HDD) means you will clog up your workflow. OS/Programs get slower because they have to constantly read/write data from the same disk, and read/writing data gets slower because the OS/Program is ran from the same disk.

Your HDD will be used for reading/writing footage (video/photo/graphics). In a perfect situation, you have exclusive disks for this chained in RAID to reach the same (or greated) read/write speeds an SSD can. As most laptops don't have room for 4 HDD's and an SSD, just splitting your OS/Programs from your read/write disk is fine too. 7200RPM means faster reading/writing, sometimes necessary to have if you don't want your HDD to be the bottleneck in your workflow.

Your laptop can use as many external monitors as it has ports to put monitors in

Depending if you want to go "out of the box" or go custom, there is a huge variance in i7 Processor, ranging from crap to extreme all based on different CPU architecture. At the moment, Haswell/Haswell-E is most used high-end i7 in laptops. Broadwell, the newest architecture, will release soon. Although being a bit overpriced, high end Dell laptops are many times a good benchmark to decide what's good in the prosumer/workstation market.

If you have questions whether a CPU/GPU or whatever is good or not, just paste the specs of your pick here and I'll see if there are alternatives !
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       01-09-2015, 10:50 AM Reply   
I notice Dell has three Core i7's. They call the newest ones 4th and 5th generation. In fact, I swear the 5th generation wasn't on their website last week. Are these the Haswell and Broadwell you're referring to?
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       01-09-2015, 12:14 PM Reply   
I notice that 7200 rpm drives are hard to find without a huge jump in cost. Is it a deal-killer to get a 5200 rpm drive to edit video?
Old     (ak4life)      Join Date: Nov 2003       01-10-2015, 12:09 AM Reply   
David, here's an option for under $2K:

1) A Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series [1]. It's got a core i7 CPU (2 cores, 4 threads -- so Windows will see 4 processors). 16GB of RAM. A nice 15" display with 4K resolution. Internal 256GB SSD. I'd get 3 year warranty + Accidental damage coverage for no fault replacement.

The video card should have no trouble driving multiple monitors, but the laptop has a single HDMI port so you won't be able to connect more than one external display. For multiple displays, get a $150 docking station [2] to connect up to 3 external monitors. You'd like a boss for sure with that setup. :-)

2) One or more external hard disks. 2.5" if you want them small for max portability [3], or 3.5" if you want more capacity and better bang for the buck [4]. I'd go with 7200 rpm for sure (for external disks, price difference is minimal). Be sure the external HDD enclosure supports USB 3.

Old     (phillywakeboarder)      Join Date: Sep 2008       01-10-2015, 12:40 PM Reply   
Make sure you check out the Dell Outlet portion of the Dell website. There are always great deals there on both new and factory refurbished laptops. I've purchased several factory refurbished, and all have worked perfectly (they come with the same warranty as a new model.) Also, check Dell Outlet on twitter ( for coupons. They post a coupon for 20-25% off all laptops periodically.
Old     (ak4life)      Join Date: Nov 2003       01-10-2015, 7:02 PM Reply   
^ Yeah, Dell Outlet is great! Got a number of servers and laptops for my old business from there over the years without issues. There's usually a sticker on the bottom that says "refurbished", but same warranty as new, and actually, I had a screen go out on a work laptop that was bought new at full price (of course display failed just after it went out of warrany), while the two personal laptops are still 100% functional.
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       01-13-2015, 11:41 AM Reply   
What about this:
Old     (ak4life)      Join Date: Nov 2003       01-13-2015, 1:33 PM Reply   
I like the $1,099.00 price tag, but there are some red flags for me.

Main one is that the listing on claims it has an SSD, but the listing on eBay says it only has an HDD. Googling that model (G750JS-NH71), I came across it on Newegg, where's it's listed as a "Newegg Exclusive Model" (whatever that means) for $1,199.00. The eBay listing has the Newegg logo in the item description. I guess they're selling the Newegg model then for $100 less? The Newegg listing doesn't show an SSD either. I don't know what any of that means, but I'd be concerned about dealing with an eBay seller if there's a problem.

If I really liked the laptop, I'd consider spending $100 more and getting it from Newegg. At least you have a real company you'd be dealing with.

The laptop includes a 1 year warranty. That's too short IMO. I'd want 3 years at least.

As for specs, I like that chassis can support two HDDs (apparently). The processor and video card are good. Like that it has VGA, HDMI and mini Display Port outputs (for multiple external monitors without a docking station). Also like the matte LCD.

Don't like that the giant 17" screen only supports 1080p resoluton. The laptop is also a tank with that size screen and weighting 10lbs. I'd pass just on that.

NOTE: the specs I'm looking at are -- not sure that the unit for sale on eBay has those specs.
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       01-13-2015, 2:01 PM Reply   
I bought it 30 minutes ago! I had the same concerns as you about the SSD. Sounds like you did all the same research I did! I saved the 1Sale page and email in case I have to make a stink about the SSD not being included. However, it still seems like a deal without it since the HDD is 7200.

I almost got the Square Trade warranty, but I'll wait and see the details on the one year warranty. Unless it's in-house repair, I'm not a big fan of some of these warranties anyway. I can't afford to send my computer away for a week to get it fixed. The Ebay page is NewEgg's Ebay page, so I should still be able to go through them if there is a problem.

I would have liked to have higher resolution, but that's actually higher than what I'm using right now and my eyesight is starting to go anyway, so I should be good with that.

I didn't even consider the weight since it's on my desk 99% of the time. No idea what my current laptop weighs. I re-thought getting a 15 inch screen for the same reason. Why get a smaller screen so that I can use my computer on the plane when I really don't travel that much.

I'm loving all the ports and USB's, which you can't seem to find on competing models at this price. Pretty stoked on the buy. I'll keep you posted!
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       01-14-2015, 8:09 PM Reply   
I got it. That was quick. This may seem like a dumb question, but how do I tell if a drive is SSD? Here is what I see. Obviously, neither of those drives is 256 GB or 1 TB. Weird.

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Old     (ak4life)      Join Date: Nov 2003       01-14-2015, 8:29 PM Reply   
Based on the unusual sizes, those might be partitions or logical disks, not separate physical disks. You might just have a single 1TB HDD, with 2 partitions -- one for OS, the other for DATA.

To see what disk hardware you're running, check the Device Manager, then google the model number. Here's a video that shows how:

In the above video, the model is "ST500LM012". Googling that, reveals it's a SAMSUNG Spinpoint M8 500GB 5400 RPM HDD.
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       01-14-2015, 9:47 PM Reply   
Yeah, that's what it looks like. That's a 1 TB drive and they both show the same model number, so it must be on drive partitioned. I kind of expected it to be short the SSD. I will complain and see where it goes.
Old     (FunkyBunch)      Join Date: Jun 2011       01-15-2015, 10:17 AM Reply   
I read this kinda late, but I am going to throw this out there anyway. The advice you have in the thread is good advice for the question you asked.

However if you plan to really get into editing video a laptop is the wrong direction. They do not expand or upgrade well for editing especially as 4k is on the horizon. The best way to go is a desktop so you could build the drives exactly how you need them and have the ability to upgrade other components as needed.

I would go with SSD's while 7200rpm drives are better than 5200's they come up way short on performance. Also the larger a magnetic drive gets the slower it will be. A SSD is just the opposite. If you pair 2 SSD's into a expansion with redundancy array your performance will continue to go up. The setup below is not to permanently store files on it is setup to be a working drive for the editing software. If you want to store things I would look at slower magnetic drives or even and array of magnetic drives as they will have better fault tolerable. If you want to see specs on drives check out Tom's Hardware.

Why do you want to focus this much on drives? Easy it will be the slowest part of the computer when editing. Example with your i7 you have 4 threads writing to 1 drive that has 1 spindle writing one stream. That is your bottle neck you have 1 drive writing in sequence everything to disk. The SSD's are going to allow you to use all your threads and write concurrently to the drive as your encoding or editing. Having multiple SSD's striped will allow you to write to multiple disks at the same time as the data will be spread across 2 or more SSD's. I am not going to try to explain disk buffer cache and write flushes just realize I am keeping this high level to a point. Below are my fav drives.

Samsung 840 SSD for your OS to run on 250 gig would do nicely and a 120 is possible.
Samsung 840 SSD x3 250 gig for you Editing Drive. Raid 5 or use Storage Spaces in Windows 8.1

You can easily pick up 16 gigs of RAM or more to run on a good MB. Weather you go Intel or AMD

Picking the best processor is more difficult. I am guessing you going to want to edit shorts etc.. In that case the i7's are great you get 4 logical processors. Intel's are more expensive and have more heat output. Great processors but knowing the limits is good information.

There are instances where I would look for more cores even at a slower clock speed if you were really going to be doing some longer edits and more intensive encoding.
I have built boxes with Intel's and AMD's and outside of gaming there really is not much difference if you really watch what your doing. You can sometimes run slower clock speeds and more threads and be better off. It all depends on the work load.

The drive setup above will make sure you not running into an IO issue. You would always run into a CPU issue or raid controller problem first.
The clock speed is key for how quickly some application calculations run and how fast data writes to the drives. The memory keeps things from being flushed to disk in temporary files etc.. and needing to be read back to make the application work.

I know this is not a complete post but hope it gives some back ground
Old     (ak4life)      Join Date: Nov 2003       01-15-2015, 12:11 PM Reply   
Yeah, the OP was specfically asking for a laptop, but based on the later comment that it will be on the "desk 99% of the time", I agree that a desktop would have been more appropriate than a laptop. Particularly since this laptop is not very portable, and still falls far short of what an equivalently priced desktop could do.

I also agree with Mark about disk I/O being the bottleneck. At this point (short of getting rid of the laptop and starting over), the best thing to do would be to improve the I/O situation. One option could be to replace the HDD with an SSD, or add an SSD (if the chassis indeed has space for a second disk drive). Then use the SSD as the main OS drive, and the HDD only for backups. This will require you to do some surgery on the laptop to replace/add/move disks around, and reinstall the OS on the SSD.

If the main SSD won't have enough space for all your needs, you'll have to go with external disks. For the interface, you'll likely be limited that whatever the laptop came with, Thunderbolt or USB3. To stay within your budget, you could get a small external RAID enclosure and use RAID5 (or better RAID10) to combine multiple disks for greater capacity and performance. For max capacity/performance, you could use RAID0, but because a single disk failure would loose the whole array, only use RAID0 for temporary scratch space.

Besides planning for (the eventually guaranteed) disk failure, also be aware that you're trusting your data to an inexpensive controller, so be sure to have a good backup scheme. For a backup drive could use a single large capacity HDD. 4TB ones are most cost effective (in terms of $/TB) at the moment. The 4TB HGST Deskstar (H3IKNAS40003272SN) is $164.99 right now at Newegg.


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