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which laptop to get? Audio Interfaces
Old 4th July 2015
Here for the gear

which laptop to get?

Hey everybody! It would be great if I get your advice!

I am thinking of buying a new laptop to be used with Ableton Live and a Focusrite 2i4 (USB)
for live performances since I am planning to be on the road for the next year.
I will use audio channels, vst synths and other plugins, live looping and all of that should of course work without lag/crackling, etc but the Laptop will not only be used as performance laptop, but also have to carry production files etc (and my live folder plus sample fold is already at around 150gb...)

At the moment I am using an Acer Aspire 5750G, i5, 15.6”, 8GB with a 640GB HDD which I bought a few years ago. Recently, I have more and more run into problems with my sets, the CPU is maxed out, I get crackles, etc (My harddisk is 90% filled, so that is obviously too much). The Laptop is a bit too heavy to be carried around and of course the HDD disk is not as fast as an SSD.

I read a lot of the posts on the forum already and many people seem to recommend the Lenovo X240 among others. I don't want to spend more than €1000, preferably less, simply because I will be travelling and in case something gets stolen, well, you know..

Now, my question, do you think the Lenovo x240 with i7 8GB and 240SSD harddisk will be a serious enough upgrade from my current Acer or would it make more sense to accept the weight of my current laptop and upgrade it as much as I can and maybe buy a better external soundcard?

As I wrote before, ideally I need a laptop that is strong, durable, light, with SSD plus second or external larger hard drive. I will have to connect an external soundcard, a USB looppedal and 4 more USB devices (either via wifi, or USB hub)

I appreciate any advice for the hardware or tips on a good software setup (ableton files on ssd, plus external hdd harddisk, etc)

Thank you in advance for any help!
Old 5th July 2015
since you've got 0 replies....

I don't know the exact model of your Acer, but it's probably Sandy Bridge era laptop I guess. And to be honest, laptops in the past year or two are not so blazingly faster than those from 5 years ago. They just got thinner, longer-battery life, etc etc etc.

I have Thinkpad W520 with i7 2820QM processor (laptop from the same era), and my brand new Thinkpad T450S is probably a shy 'slower' than W520. Sure T450S is a ultrabook and W520 is a workstation laptop, but that's about the reality.

Now your problem might be several places. The first thing is 90% filled HDD, which is absolutely BAD. Why it's so filled? You don't have external drive for data backup? If that's the reason, you need to back up your data immediately, and release the free area.

And >90% filled HD could be the single reason for your pops/cracks. The first thing I would do is to explore the possibility to replace the optical drive bay (if there is) with a SATA drive caddy. Look for model compatibility, and if there is, there should be $20-$30 ones on Ebay. Then install brand new 500GB-1TB 7200rpm 2.5inch hard drive in the optical bay.

Then next thing you could do is to replace the main drive with 250GB SSD, and install OS fresh. And if you're not familiar with install fresh OS to laptop, and then do the 'factory reset', which should be explained in your manual. Of course, do this after backing up all your data. Your apps/plugins should be installed after the fresh install. Then you can clone the main drive to 250GB SSD if you have a desktop and software like Acronis Image.

At this point, your main HD or SSD should be filled less than 100GB in most cases, and your sample/data drive is the one in the drive caddy.When you do the fresh OS install (or factory reset) and assign the drive in the optical bay for plugin sample library and projects, you may feel like you are dealing with a new machine....

Several other things to consider: 8GB RAM could be upgraded, but it is all dependent on how this model is made of. Most 'laptop for college' things don't allow you to upgrade, but some of them are upgradable. Refer to service manual.

Lastly, and probably most important, is your audio interface. Scarlett is a budge interface and serves for most purposes at home, but if you are going serious with the laptop on the road, consider the new Babyface Pro. It will be a definitely a good investment down the road, because of its lower latency, good preamps (clean), powerful DSP mixer (TotalMix FX), and expandability via ADAT.

If I'm in your shoes, I would 'refurbish' the laptop, and use the money for better interface anyway. But it is also up to your ability, how much you're versed with the internals of the model. You may be able to find out a friend who knows better.

Good luck!
Old 6th July 2015
Here for the gear

hey! thank you so much for your reply - very helpful!
i will definitely get working on your advice!
im still considering buying a smaller one though, simply because i will be traveling relatively rough with bicycle, boat, bus, etc and the acer is really quite heavy, plus battery life is short...
if you were to choose a smaller laptop, which one would you go for? thanks again
Old 6th July 2015
Here for the gear


I heard that a new generation of processors or/and some kind of new technology in PC`s will shortly (by the end of the year) came on the market , so I am wondering if anyone knows anything more about it and whether it will mean so much progress-improvements that it is better to wait and buy PC / laptop with this "new technology"?
Furthermore, I would be really grateful if anyone can advise on the purchase of a laptop (I do not know much about them), so what laptops currently on the market are best suited for audio production (MacBookPro is not an option) with best ratio between quality and price (<- lower price is more appreciated, sure:P)

The basic premise is:
- 16GB of RAM (or at least the option to add some RAM later)
- i7 processor

And if possible I would like to have a lot of USB connectors, a 17" screen, 225 GB SSD HD, etc., but this is not binding...

Thanks all in advance!
Old 7th July 2015
Originally Posted by 321lupo View Post
if you were to choose a smaller laptop, which one would you go for? thanks again
I chose Thinkpad T450S. I was swinging between X250 or T450S, but this has to be also 'image editing machine' for me, so bigger screen of T450S was more preferable. But both of them are great, in terms of solid construction and long battery life.

The machine has one internal battery, and another 'hot swappable' battery bay. Single-thickness battery in the hot swap bay alone is good enough for 5-6 hours of full intensity work, but dual-thickness battery on the bay extends to 10-12 hours at full CPU intensity. I have actually two dual-thickness battery and one single-thickness battery and can work for imaging work on the road almost full day without charging.

Another candidates are Thinkpad X1 carbon or Dell XPS 13 or 15. They are 'slick' and cool, but battery life isn't so great once you start using with full power. Maybe around 4-5 hours (my son has X1 carbon, and he says 5 hours max).

I know other choices like Toshiba Tecra, or ASUS laptops are also good choice, but I don't have direct experience with current models.

By the way, audio benchmark of the newer laptops are here:
New laptop performance
Old 7th July 2015
Originally Posted by mixfaders View Post
I heard that a new generation of processors or/and some kind of new technology in PC`s will shortly (by the end of the year) came on the market , so I am wondering if anyone knows anything more about it and whether it will mean so much progress-improvements that it is better to wait and buy PC / laptop with this "new technology"?
You are probably talking about Skylake mobile CPU, but only thing we know is 'second half of 2015'. It could be September, it could be December, or July (not likely, but technically July is the second half of 2015).

As to your question regarding laptop, your requirement is quite different from the OP's one, so I suggest to start a new thread.
Old 7th July 2015
Here for the gear

Thanks Masaaki, I did start new thread about new CPU generation

All the best.
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