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Best Value DAW PC laptop
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sHOWpONY
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#1
30th June 2009
Old 30th June 2009
  #1
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Best Value DAW PC laptop

OK, before you ask, I did a search and didn't find any specific answers.

I'm an audio engineer from New Zealand, on holiday in Europe and wanting to work on demos for my band's new album. I'm returning to NZ in Dec 09 so I have time to kill.

My question:
What's the minimum laptop spec's required to record audio?

Assume that I'll probably use a USB or firewire sound card and run adobe audition. I'll probably record audio direct to the laptop harddrive and would run audition with a common array of vst plugins (verb, compression, delays, eq's).
My recording genre is mainly pop/rock.

I'm asking this Q because I have a limited budget and every time I look at computers, I can always 'just spend another $50 and get better spec's.
I know I'm heading down the dual core/2 Gb ram track, but unsure whether there are particular processors to avoid, or conversely, good processors to go for.

Any thoughts greatly appreciated.
#2
1st July 2009
Old 1st July 2009
  #2
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get a mac

please tell me that you will get a mac

2 years ago i spent 3 wicked weeks trying to get my laptop pc 2 gig dual core to load pro tools

of course that pro tools

get a mac

just freindly advice

j
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#3
1st July 2009
Old 1st July 2009
  #3
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Thanks bluecatjak. I used to be a 'mac man', problem is, I've spent too much money on pc software and it's kinda crazy to change now. I have a really good dual core athlon desktop pooter back home in a full studio and it's run without a hitch for a couple of years.

I need a laptop....any more comments anyone???

Cheers
#4
1st July 2009
Old 1st July 2009
  #4
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Good luck.
#5
1st July 2009
Old 1st July 2009
  #5
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I'm also looking into buying a new laptop, tho I'm looking more maximal than minimal configuration.

Here's a really good cpu comparison chart for Core2 and AMD, though it's a bit technical : Updated CPU Charts 2008: AMD Versus Intel : Introduction - Review Tom's Hardware

As far as a good minimum... i don't have any experience on a modern processors (this thing is *edit* two core intel t2600) and i don't do recording (but i've been looking into it, just not in terms of minimalist rigs). Maybe just take the minimum specs of your most demanding app and use your budget to determine how far over you can afford to go - you can probably get an intel core 2 duo laptops up to 2.26 to 3 ghz 1066bus w/ 6MB l2 and 2 gigs ddr2 in the range of 700 to 1200 usd... i think if you can configure one with two SATA 7200 rpm (min) hdd you'll be pretty well set for recording.

Also if you decide to go with firewire audio interface, though it has a lot better latency than USB2, I keep reading stuff on here about problems with certain pc chipsets so you might want to do a search about that.

A bit of a side note - I don't konw how long it's been since you've used a Mac, but Macbook Pros are all using the core2 duo now as well, and i think they've added the firewire port back into the 15" model... meaning using Boot Camp (i think that's what it's called) you can dual boot to OS X or Windows ... there's a great thread on here about tweaking performance in this situation. (the Macbook Pro's are a decent value too, i think the cheaper 15" has a 2.5 ghz core 2 w/ 4gigs of ram and an extra hundred usd or so for a 7200 rpm hdd upgrade). For windows PCs Gaming Laptops - XOTIC PC - Gaming Notebooks - Custom Laptops - Custom Notebooks is a north american vendor, but might work well as a pricing guide.
#6
1st July 2009
Old 1st July 2009
  #6
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KuriPango is offline
Kia ora bro welcome to europe
What's your bands name?
#7
1st July 2009
Old 1st July 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sHOWpONY View Post
OK, before you ask, I did a search and didn't find any specific answers.

I'm an audio engineer from New Zealand, on holiday in Europe and wanting to work on demos for my band's new album. I'm returning to NZ in Dec 09 so I have time to kill.

My question:
What's the minimum laptop spec's required to record audio?

Assume that I'll probably use a USB or firewire sound card and run adobe audition. I'll probably record audio direct to the laptop harddrive and would run audition with a common array of vst plugins (verb, compression, delays, eq's).
My recording genre is mainly pop/rock.

I'm asking this Q because I have a limited budget and every time I look at computers, I can always 'just spend another $50 and get better spec's.
I know I'm heading down the dual core/2 Gb ram track, but unsure whether there are particular processors to avoid, or conversely, good processors to go for.

Any thoughts greatly appreciated.
I'm using a Lenovo X61 tablet with Reaper 3.0 with no problems. Got it on Ebay for $600

Lenovo Support & downloads - Overview - ThinkPad X61, X61s

Peace
#8
1st July 2009
Old 1st July 2009
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmx16 View Post
I'm using a Lenovo X61 tablet with Reaper 3.0 with no problems. Got it on Ebay for $600

Lenovo Support & downloads - Overview - ThinkPad X61, X61s

Peace

Yeah, if that works well, probably any recent laptop you can get that isn't sub-notebook/netbook or ultralite should be decent (again though, check your plugins minimum requirements (like audition has pretty low minimum specs Adobe - Audition 3 : System Requirements )

@rmx16 Do you know what rpm your HDD are? Because if a dual hdd setup with 5400 works well that could save the guy a couple hundred maybe (though i think the 7200 rpm is worth it, even just in terms of every day use... this laptop, intel t2600 two core 2.16ghz mobile, 2gig ram and a single 5400 rpm, and I can hardly run absynth (standalone) and firefox at the same time without hiccups, barely using any ram and only occasional cpu spikes)
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#9
1st July 2009
Old 1st July 2009
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KuriPango View Post
Kia ora bro welcome to europe
What's your bands name?
Hi Kuripango

My band's name is Siren Junkies - Indie/Pop/Rock from Auckland.

Cheers
sHOWpONY
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#10
1st July 2009
Old 1st July 2009
  #10
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Hey, thanks all for your replies. At the moment I'm looking at a Dell laptop with these spec's:

- Intel® Pentium® Dual-Core Processor T4200 (2.0GHz, 800MHz, 1MB cache)
- 3072MB 800MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM [1x2048 + 1x1024]
- 160GB (5,400rpm) Serial ATA Hard Drive
- Genuine Windows Vista SP1™ Home Premium (64 BIT)

There's also a celeron version at the same price (£349). The above exceeds the brief spec's that adobe state for running audition. Anyone see any prob's with this choice?

Cheers
#11
1st July 2009
Old 1st July 2009
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sHOWpONY View Post
Hey, thanks all for your replies. At the moment I'm looking at a Dell laptop with these spec's:

- Intel® Pentium® Dual-Core Processor T4200 (2.0GHz, 800MHz, 1MB cache)
- 3072MB 800MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM [1x2048 + 1x1024]
- 160GB (5,400rpm) Serial ATA Hard Drive
- Genuine Windows Vista SP1™ Home Premium (64 BIT)

There's also a celeron version at the same price (£349). The above exceeds the brief spec's that adobe state for running audition. Anyone see any prob's with this choice?

Cheers
Also take into consideration how many plug-ins you will be running at the same time as your DAW, as for as clock speed goes... check your software websites and do a forum search to see if anyone has problems using your plugins in 64 bit OS.

It seems like a pretty decent deal... on the US website they have a $35 upgrade to an intel t6400 w/ 3MB l2 cache, I think would be worthwhile for audio software. The only downside is the slow hard drive, but if it gives you problems you can always upgrade it yourself or get a faster external.
#12
21st August 2009
Old 21st August 2009
  #12
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Hi Showpony..
Been mobile myself now for a few years..
PC laptops are still a PITA. I bought a dell and had to return it cause the firewire chipset broke everything....

Anyway here's some PC tips!

Use a usb audio card. It's a touch slower than firewire but the biggest bonus with this is that the usb plug doesn't fall out of the FARKING socket!!!

Mini firewire sux monkeys on PC. If you must have firewire then get a mac and run windows from bootcamp.

If you're using Cubase, reaper or cakewalk then the roland usb cards are good.

It you need tools, you'll have to look at m-audio. Used a fast track pro over here for a while. Worked pretty good. Not earth shatteringly clean or anything but got the job done. Big bonus was that it was USB powered - no wall wart to carry around and had 2 useable (just) pres. This shit is important when you're mobile.

Others will have recommendations I'm sure.

If you go USB, a dell will probably work fine.

Here's a tip though. Whichever laptop you buy, buy it with the smallest HD you can. The day you buy it, go to a real computer shop and get a WD scorpio blue 500GB 7200 rpm and replace the HD that came in the computer. Put the old HD in an external case and use it for backups.

Also, ram is cheap either buy it with 4 gig of ram or upgrade to 4 gig ram the day you get it.

Another thing from experience, Try not to spend tonnes on the Lappy as you should allow for it to break after 2-3 years. You could well get longer life than that...but you might not and you'll need to allow for that. Mobile is brutal on equipment.

Anyway As long as you have a core 2 duo (2 ghz is nice but even a 1.6gig will do the job) and have the HD and ram upgraded it should be a solid companion.

oh, also a handy idea is to dualboot windows and ubuntu. Keep windows for audio only and use ubuntu for typing, email, chat etc. Ubuntu doesn't get viruses (at least not yet anyway), works fine for net and office stuff and will allow you to keep your precious audio partition free from the nasties which are so easy to pick up when you have to use net cafe's friend's usb sticks ra, ra, ra.

Hope this helps!
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#13
21st August 2009
Old 21st August 2009
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer v2 View Post
Hi Showpony..
Been mobile myself now for a few years..
PC laptops are still a PITA. I bought a dell and had to return it cause the firewire chipset broke everything....

Anyway here's some PC tips!

Use a usb audio card. It's a touch slower than firewire but the biggest bonus with this is that the usb plug doesn't fall out of the FARKING socket!!!

Mini firewire sux monkeys on PC. If you must have firewire then get a mac and run windows from bootcamp.

If you're using Cubase, reaper or cakewalk then the roland usb cards are good.

It you need tools, you'll have to look at m-audio. Used a fast track pro over here for a while. Worked pretty good. Not earth shatteringly clean or anything but got the job done. Big bonus was that it was USB powered - no wall wart to carry around and had 2 useable (just) pres. This shit is important when you're mobile.

Others will have recommendations I'm sure.

If you go USB, a dell will probably work fine.

Here's a tip though. Whichever laptop you buy, buy it with the smallest HD you can. The day you buy it, go to a real computer shop and get a WD scorpio blue 500GB 7200 rpm and replace the HD that came in the computer. Put the old HD in an external case and use it for backups.

Also, ram is cheap either buy it with 4 gig of ram or upgrade to 4 gig ram the day you get it.

Another thing from experience, Try not to spend tonnes on the Lappy as you should allow for it to break after 2-3 years. You could well get longer life than that...but you might not and you'll need to allow for that. Mobile is brutal on equipment.

Anyway As long as you have a core 2 duo (2 ghz is nice but even a 1.6gig will do the job) and have the HD and ram upgraded it should be a solid companion.

oh, also a handy idea is to dualboot windows and ubuntu. Keep windows for audio only and use ubuntu for typing, email, chat etc. Ubuntu doesn't get viruses (at least not yet anyway), works fine for net and office stuff and will allow you to keep your precious audio partition free from the nasties which are so easy to pick up when you have to use net cafe's friend's usb sticks ra, ra, ra.

Hope this helps!
Some good suggestions!
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