Quiet excellent laptop 2012 ?
Old 5th April 2012
  #1
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Quiet excellent laptop 2012 ?

My aging MacBook Pro is rather dying and I am thinking of a new laptop (also to be used for remote recordings - occasional choirs etc.). Should be at least 15' display and suitable for general use as well (office, movie watching etc.) My main concern is however NOISE - I hate noisy laptop with loud fans ... I have almost decided for Sony Vaio F23S1E/B but in few reviews the loud fan noise was mentioned as the weakest point.

Do you have a good experience with some recent laptop that (apart from great performance and display) is rather silent ?
Old 5th April 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
hi ivo - nice to see you are still around here. hopefully savita is still making beautiful recordings - i am still listening to the CDs I received from you.

i currently use a pair of Lenovo Thinkpad T410 i7, running Reaper for location work. the thinkpad units are, IMO, the best built laptops made today, and my machines are totally silent - i have never heard the fan in either unit. all the hardware components in the upper level thinkpads is top quality, and Win 7 has proven to be an extremely stable platform when configured specifically for audio. i tried a macbook pro for a short while, and though the hardware in the those units is also top-notch, i found the OS quite problemmatic and trouble-shooting was very difficult in many cases - time wasted that i could not afford. the technical support for audio gear is far more comprehensive for windows platform than for OSX these days, it seems. drivers are more stable, and there are tons more options for peripherals, plugins, etc.

take care, and good luck with your decision.
Old 5th April 2012
  #3
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Thumbs up

Personally I would go for a new MacBook Pro and go with the SSD if you want it silent.

I have used PCs ever since I got my first computer and upgraded to the MacBook Pro last year - I would not want to go back to a PC now.
Old 5th April 2012
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Yes, I was indeed also thinking of Lenovo ThinkPad T510 today (the same but with 15''display). Specifications are great, my only concern was rather "dinosaur" style design Otherwise it seems like an excellent choice . If you say it is rather quiet, I will start thinking of it quite seriously ... To be sincere, I became quite fed up with OSX and all its gimmicks ... so Windows 7 (that I have also in the studio) seems to be a good choice (not speaking of Samplitude, Sony Vegas or MS Office - the things I use the most - and MS Office in OSX is not really well taken care of). So OSX itself has not much sense for me

Regarding MacBook Pro - I almost ordered 17'inch latest mode few month ago and just before paying I read lot of reviews and complaints about excessive and disturbing fan noise of this model ... (SDD disc will not reduce it) - so I cancelled it in the last moment
Old 5th April 2012
  #5
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Don S's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Personally I would go for a new MacBook Pro and go with the SSD if you want it silent.
Yes, excellent!
Ivo, are planning on using mac or windows OS? I love my MBP, but if you're planning on using W7/bootcamp, leave time to get the bugs worked out!
Old 5th April 2012
  #6
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Yes, bootcamp seems like a source of some troubles ... I put it on my son's MBP and his OSX collapsed twice since then ... And since I installed bootcamp on my MBP long time ago, I feel OSX performance worsened a lot ...
Old 5th April 2012
  #7
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Lenovo and W7 is the way to go. I use Pyramix on this combo and it is faultless. No fan or any other noise ever. Also Lenovo's do not overheat like a few other big brands do. Dinosaur maybe on the outside, but the inside is well designed. I have some friends that manage large company laptop inventories (400-500 laptops given rough treatment), they say Lenovo all the way.
Old 5th April 2012
  #8
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Yes, I am very much inclined to it. There is a variety available here with 500 GB HDD + 80GB SSD. Seems like a good speedy option ? i5 processor and HD 1600x 900 display. Another variety is i7 processor + full HD display 1920x1080 but no SSD. Maybe better to incline to the first option ?
Old 6th April 2012
  #9
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The T520 still doesn't provide USB3, however the W520 does. Which one is quieter, does anybody know?

Ulrich
Old 6th April 2012
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
My aging MacBook Pro is rather dying and I am thinking of a new laptop (also to be used for remote recordings - occasional choirs etc.). Should be at least 15' display and suitable for general use as well (office, movie watching etc.) My main concern is however NOISE - I hate noisy laptop with loud fans ... I have almost decided for Sony Vaio F23S1E/B but in few reviews the loud fan noise was mentioned as the weakest point.

Do you have a good experience with some recent laptop that (apart from great performance and display) is rather silent ?
I upgraded my old(2007) MacBook Pro with a SSD and it's dead quiet.That's my remote laptop. I also have a I7 Quad-Core MacBook Pro with a SSD in it but that doesn't leave studio
Old 6th April 2012
  #11
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Don S's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmx16 View Post
I upgraded my old(2007) MacBook Pro with a SSD and it's dead quiet.That's my remote laptop. I also have a I7 Quad-Core MacBook Pro with a SSD in it but that doesn't leave studio
I'm thinking about the SSD upgrade. Are you using Bootcamp or OSX?
Old 6th April 2012
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don S View Post
I'm thinking about the SSD upgrade. Are you using Bootcamp or OSX?
Go for it I'm running OSX 10.6.3 On the new MB Pro's it's a breeze to install The older MB Pros were a little more involved ( lots of screws )
Old 7th April 2012
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulrich View Post
The T520 still doesn't provide USB3, however the W520 does. Which one is quieter, does anybody know?

Ulrich
The T420s and X220 both have USB3 ports, if it was me I would get an i7 powered T420s for music work.
http://www.lenovo.com/psref/pdf/tabook.pdf
Old 7th April 2012
  #14
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I am quite inclined to Lenovo T520 (I would quite prefer 15,6' display, that is also reported to be of higher quality than T420 display). I am just thinking whether to take it in HD resolution 1600x900 or full HD 1920x1080. I was thinking to replace the HDD by Intel 520 SSD 240GB disc and to put the original HDD to the optical drive. But I was told it is not possible to install Lenovo drivers and system to other than original drive (that is preinstalled and the installation section cannot be even formatted). Strange. Presently there is no T520 variety with a SSD drive offered here ..
Old 7th April 2012
  #15
I had a Thinkpad T42 for five and half years. Still have it, but I upgraded to a T510 last year. Thoughts on the T510.
  • The wide screen is great.
  • Windows 7 is nice.
  • The trackpad is not as nice as the T42.
  • Do not buy the regular hard drive. It is much noisier than the T42. Go with the Solid State Drive.
  • Like the T42, the headphone amp is better than pretty much any other computer I've used.
  • Lenovo wireless manager sucks, per usual, and is difficult to troubleshoot.
  • I've had a few little bugs with the hardware. Pauses/stalls with the trackpad (still happening) and frozen LCD brightness settings.

Windows is great, but with regards to the hardware, I did not expect to have a noisy hard-drive and basic bugs in 2011.

I do not use computers to record.
Old 7th April 2012
  #16
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I would go with an hp dv7 (what i'm using currently) or one the envys... The 17" models have dual hard drive and SSD options
Old 7th April 2012
  #17
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Plush's Avatar
I dig the discussion here as I'm not super informed about all the newer laptops that are available.

I bought a F series Sony VAIO last year and it is very quiet as well. I luv the big screen and usb 2 and usb 3, blu-ray disc palyback and major large screen. The one I got is a i7 processer--super fast with SADiE 6.

That Lenovo looks hot. I trust the man David Spearritt to be my computer advisor.
Old 8th April 2012
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I recently went searching for the laptop that had all the IO's that I wanted along with an INtel quad core processor.
I ended up with the I5 based Hewlett-Packard 8560p (LJ546UT#ABA).
It has the following IO:
USB 2.0
USB 3.0 SS
eSATA
Firewire
Expresscard

There are a couple of others out there with similar IO, but they all cost $2k or more. We got this for $900. There is an HP, Asus and Lenovo I7 that are very nice, but have Nvidia graphics which is a non starter forus. Additionally, the HP elite book I7 has an issue with the Expresscard slot. When you have a card that has is wider outside the computer (Like an RME Madiface.....) it blocks the USB 3.0 ports......

All the best,
-mark
Old 8th April 2012
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Quote:
but have Nvidia graphics which is a non starter forus.
Curious, why?

I have a Lenovo W520 with Nvidia Quadro FX 1000. It is kind of a hassle to use, but it doesn't cause any problems with my software.

I like the Lenovo if for no other reason it is a workhorse with 4 memory slots. I just stuck an (extra) 16 gigs of corsair ram in there for about $100. The best keyboards in the industry also. Very quiet and relatively cool unless you crank it up to full graphics power.
Old 8th April 2012
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
Curious, why?
The Nvidia drivers do not play nice with Pyramix. While, I've been able to get it to work on some systems, it's not worth the effort and the AMD drivers are rock solid.
All the best,
-mark
Old 8th April 2012
  #21
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I also use Lenove W520, and there is a power management software that controls fan speed.

If I use "recording-optimized full power" setup, I can hear fan noise, but still quieter than most of other laptops I've used (VAIO, HP Elitebook, Toshiba Qosmio). When the power setup is somewhat "balanced", I don't hear fan noise at all.

Second generation i7 2820QM processor is great, and the docking station allows me to connect three LED monitors.
Old 8th April 2012
  #22
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This is an unrecommendation.

Even though I don't think you would get something as underpowered as the MacBook Air, let me say that don't ever get the MacBook Air if you want quiet. Its fan is unbearably noisy when you try to run anything that uses a tad more CPU.
Old 8th April 2012
  #23
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I am almost firmly resolved for Lenovo Thinkpad T520. My main concern is firewire - since all my studio/recording will be based on connecting to Weiss AF1 AFI1 So it should work perfectly without any glitches. Some firewire chips are reported to be problematic for audio and usually T.I. chipsets are recommended

Seems that T520 does not have Texas Instrument firewire chip, but Ricoh. Does someone have an experience with newer Thinkpad and connection to audio devices via firewire ?
Old 8th April 2012
  #24
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Hmmm,
For my money, I wouldn't buy a laptop today that doesn't have USB3.0. It is so much faster than all the other available interfaces (Except Expresscard) that I can't imagine gong back.
As always, YMMV.
All the best,
-mark
Old 8th April 2012
  #25
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpdonahue View Post
Hmmm,
For my money, I wouldn't buy a laptop today that doesn't have USB3.0. It is so much faster than all the other available interfaces (Except Expresscard) that I can't imagine gong back.
As always, YMMV.
All the best,
-mark
Thunderbolt is four times faster than USB3.
Old 8th April 2012
  #26
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I am not aware of any device using USB3.0 and don t own any. I am concerned only about Firewire, since my whole recording and studio mobile rig is dependent on that - most probably will be for the next few years ...
Old 8th April 2012
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
I am not aware of any device using USB3.0 and don t own any. I am concerned only about Firewire, since my whole recording and studio mobile rig is dependent on that - most probably will be for the next few years ...
I use RME UFX with my Thinkpad W520 (Ricoh chip) without problems. Saffire 24 DSP and Profire 2626 had some glitches with Ricoh chip, but SIIG expresscard (TI chip) solved the problem.

With that said, if FW is the most critical thing for your recording, it's better to stay with Macbook Pro or iMac with firewire port. I would say firewire connection for PC laptop is a crapshoot.
Old 8th April 2012
  #28
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I mean most critical within occasional recording 2-3 tracks of audio at a time ... nothing more ...
Old 8th April 2012
  #29
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Problems with firewire are not related to the number of channels. It's about how the device driver is written by the manufacture for the chosen OS platform. If it doesn't work, you'll hear pops/clicks/drops no matter what, or even the device is not recognized at all.
Old 8th April 2012
  #30
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I suppose that manufacturers of the Weiss calibre provide excellent drivers ...
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