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The Laptop Question?
Old 28th June 2005
  #1
Gear Head
 
Two Left Hands's Avatar
 

Unhappy The Laptop Question?

I am sure this question has been asked many times, but with computers ever changing I needed some advice.

I currently work part time at a studio where I have all the luxury of a Neve, Studer, ect. I also do free/cheap work for my friends who can't afford to do everything at the studio.

I end up have to lug my Powermac G4, monitor, 002, ect eveywhere since we usually dont record at my place. I am looking into getting Laptop for eaiser transportation and versatility.

I am looking for recommendations an a strong laptop. I prefer Mac but I am open to all suggestions. I am also wondering your opinions on laptop recording with PT.
Old 28th June 2005
  #2
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Henchman's Avatar
Well, if you want to keep the price down, PC laptops are more affordable, and work great.
Old 28th June 2005
  #3
If you go the laptop route -- I would strongly recommend a 7200 rpm drive.

There's only one out there in the 2.5" size though. It's the Hitachi Travel Star 60 GB [you'll want to check the model #]. There are a number of models from several brands that can be configured with them. I have one in my Dell Pentium M (Centrino) machine and it's quiet and fast. You can do a replacement yourself in some circumstances. Do NOT get a machine with a 4200 rpm drive for serious audio or video work unless you're planning to haul an outboard drive around with you. (And even then, c'mon!)

If you get a PC, you'll have to go through the headache of a platform switch. Depending on your circumstances, it could be a breeze or a big pain in the A. There are a lot of good deals and a number of directions you can go, depending on your needs. I like my machine more each day -- and it's almost a year and a half old and was refurbished when I bought it heh -- but I'm honestly afraid it's setting such a high bar I'll be disappointed when the time finally comes to get a new laptop.

OTOH, I plan to have built a new desktop by then -- almost certainly around some kind of Pentium M, I'm thinking now, since it's one of the coolest running chips around -- and after 19 years of 24/7 computers, when I got this laptop and finally turned off my old desktop it was like, wow, what's that noise? Silence? Dang! So, I'm trying to set things up so that my next laptop can be fairly modest. (Then again, aside from the fast drive, I was thinking this one was kind of modest... I never really thought I'd be able to do so much with it, particularly with audio. All gravy.)

If you stick with Mac, you'll want to stick to Firewire outboard drives if at all possible, because of poor USB2 performance on Macs. (You can check out various Mac models and HD and CPU performance here, among other places. Take special note in the drive performance section of issues with the FW, PCI, and drive controllers.

Last edited by theblue1; 28th June 2005 at 10:21 PM.. Reason: obsessive compulsive disorder
Old 29th June 2005
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1
If you go the laptop route -- I would strongly recommend a 7200 rpm drive.
I'd go with an external USB or FireWire drive to store the audio. This will give an overall better performance. The internal 7200rpm drives will lower your battery life significantly which could be problem if you also use your laptop for things other than recording.

Regarding the MACPC debate:
its not true that MACs are much more expensive than PCs. If you compare systems with the same specs, they are almost identical in price (give or take $200 or so). I have an Alienware Sentia with external USBFirewire drive which is great for audio.

Good luck!
Old 29th June 2005
  #5
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Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giganova
Regarding the MACPC debate:
its not true that MACs are much more expensive than PCs. If you compare systems with the same specs, they are almost identical in price (give or take $200 or so). I have an Alienware Sentia with external USBFirewire drive which is great for audio.

Good luck!
I have a $1k 2ghz 64bit amd laptop with a 7200RPM drive.

there is no Apple laptop equivalant at this point.
Old 29th June 2005
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman
I have a $1k 2ghz 64bit amd laptop with a 7200RPM drive.

there is no Apple laptop equivalant at this point.
Well, when I compared the "top of the line" Sony, HP and Alienware with the MAC, the MAC came $200 cheaper (in the $2.5-3k range).
Old 29th June 2005
  #7
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Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giganova
Well, when I compared the "top of the line" Sony, HP and Alienware with the MAC, the MAC came $200 cheaper (in the $2.5-3k range).

Yes, but you would be stupid to spend the money on an Alienware or similar, when you can get the exact same machine without the pretty case for $1k.

The emachines/Gateway AMD64 laptops are kickass.
Yes, you can get more expensive laptops with dual harddrives etc.,
Which Mac Laptop can give you the same performance as a G5 laptop?

I just checked the Apple store, and a 15" powerbook 1.67 GHZ laptop is $2,449.00. And that's with a 5400RPM drive.

That's a difference of $1k. A PC laptop that has better specs can be had for $1k less.

You can spend more on a PC laptop, but you'll get 2 internal hardrives, and faster processors.
Old 29th June 2005
  #8
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman
Yes, but you would be stupid to spend the money on an Alienware or similar, when you can get the exact same machine without the pretty case for $1k.
C'mon -- for $1k you could never in a million years get a notebook (like my Alienware) with 2GB RAM, Win XP professional, a battery which lastes 6hrs, an ultrabright widescreen display, 2 GHz Celeron processor, 100 GB hd, dual-layer 24x CD-ROM/DVD RW, a magnesium chassis, etc etc etc -- while only being 1.75 inches thick and weighing a mere 3.8 lbs! Show me such a system for 1 grand!

I don't wanna start arguing here, but in the end you get what you pay for.
Old 29th June 2005
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giganova
I'd go with an external USB or FireWire drive to store the audio. This will give an overall better performance. The internal 7200rpm drives will lower your battery life significantly which could be problem if you also use your laptop for things other than recording.
...
That makes sense, but I usually get 3 to 3-1/2 hours on my 1-1/2 year old battery (the 'standard' that came with my machine, not any kind of extended). When it was new I would get even more. (I haven't been paying that much attention, but I haven't noticed any big drop in battery life since I went from 512 MB of ram to 1.25 GB, though I assume that should be the case. It also should be noted that most of my field use is not disk intensive. I'm not watching DVD's or doing multi-track field recording.)

PS... I use my USB2 drive for my BFD libraries and while I have also used it for my work folders with my DAW, I've been in the habit of working directly on my laptop (even though I would also normally advocate a separate work drive from the app/system drive).
Old 29th June 2005
  #10
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Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giganova
C'mon -- for $1k you could never in a million years get a notebook (like my Alienware) with 2GB RAM, Win XP professional, a battery which lastes 6hrs, an ultrabright widescreen display, 2 GHz Celeron processor, 100 GB hd, dual-layer 24x CD-ROM/DVD RW, a magnesium chassis, etc etc etc -- while only being 1.75 inches thick and weighing a mere 3.8 lbs! Show me such a system for 1 grand!

I don't wanna start arguing here, but in the end you get what you pay for.
I really don't care how thin my laptop is. What I care about is that I can go anywhere and do my work.
And no, the battery doesn't last 6 hours, because I run it fullspeed all the time.
But for $1k I have a 7200rpm drive, a 64bit AMD 2ghz processor 1.2 gigs of ram, and it can perform on par or better than a desktop G5, according to the Nuendo test.

now, you show me the Mac laptop that can outperform a Mac desktop G5.

I got more than what i paid for.

But if looks are more importanmt that perfromance then go ahead. Id idn't buy a laptop to win a beauty award.
Old 29th June 2005
  #11
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Jose Mrochek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman

But if looks are more importanmt that perfromance then go ahead. Id idn't buy a laptop to win a beauty award.

Of which the powerbook wins no problem : )
Old 29th June 2005
  #12
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Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose Mrochek
Of which the powerbook wins no problem : )
Absolutely.
Old 29th June 2005
  #13
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tommyd's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman
I really don't care how thin my laptop is. What I care about is that I can go anywhere and do my work.
And no, the battery doesn't last 6 hours, because I run it fullspeed all the time.
But for $1k I have a 7200rpm drive, a 64bit AMD 2ghz processor 1.2 gigs of ram, and it can perform on par or better than a desktop G5, according to the Nuendo test.

now, you show me the Mac laptop that can outperform a Mac desktop G5.

I got more than what i paid for.

But if looks are more importanmt that perfromance then go ahead. Id idn't buy a laptop to win a beauty award.
I'm pretty certain that you've posted it before, but what model emachine laptop are you using? Thanks
TommyD
Old 29th June 2005
  #14
Gear Nut
 

> But if looks are more importanmt that perfromance then go ahead.
> Id idn't buy a laptop to win a beauty award.

Its not about looks, its about portability (super lightweight, small chassis) plus durability (magnesium chassis -- extremely stable). My wife has a Dell which she hates coz nobody can schlep 7.5 lbs plus power supply! *LOL*

> now, you show me the Mac laptop that can outperform a Mac desktop G5.

Agreed: there's no mac powerbook that could match the G5. But you're not seriously saying that your notebook can outperform a G5, are you?

Anyway, its not important. I am not gonna argue with you.

Last edited by Giganova; 29th June 2005 at 04:54 AM.. Reason: spelling
Old 29th June 2005
  #15
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Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyd
I'm pretty certain that you've posted it before, but what model emachine laptop are you using? Thanks
TommyD
m6805 runnign at 2ghz.
Old 29th June 2005
  #16
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Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giganova
Agreed: there's no mac powerbook that could match the G5. But you're not seriously saying that your notebook can outperform a G5, are you?

Anyway, its not important. I am not gonna argue with you.
It was the owner of the Mac who said that my laptop outperformed his G5.
Old 29th June 2005
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman
It was the owner of the Mac who said that my laptop outperformed his G5.
I'm sure he made a joke
Old 29th June 2005
  #18
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Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giganova
I'm sure he made a joke
I'm afraid not.

Old 29th June 2005
  #19
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stag's Avatar
 

http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_cont...urion64&page=2
http://www.adkproaudio.com/systems/v...fm?recordid=89

First link comparison charts bettwen Turion and Centrinos.
Notice they are much alike except for the Centrino L2 cache and DDR2 memory.
Expect for the centrino Sonoma 2.0a performance akin to most dual setups.
On the second link probably the best laptop money can buy.

About looks, i´d say powerbooks are great if you are a chick or someone with less low profile, someone with a deviant sense of taste.
I like my 1.2Kg all black VAIO VGN-S3XP with chrome lettering, albeit discrete.
flashy colours and i don´t mix well, thank god.
Old 29th June 2005
  #20
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tommyd's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman
m6805 runnign at 2ghz.
Thanks. For the price I think I'll check it out.
TommyD
Old 29th June 2005
  #21
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just to bring a little sanity into this.

the fastest laptop for audio at this point is a Sonoma.
(533 FSB Centrino)

kills the AMD laptops. never mind the very weak G4 laptops.

and i am a huge AMD fan.

Scott
ADK
Old 29th June 2005
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
kennyd03's Avatar
 

I have a Powerbook 1.5 Ghz with 1 Gig of RAM and use Digital Performer. I've taken it to a variety of studios to record on and it's worked great everytime. My audio interface is a MOTU 896.

I also own a PC and I'm familiar with most of the Mac v. PC angles, but Mac is my main machine and has been for 10 years. Having recently seen my PC crash and a DOS prompt come up upon booting, I personally wouldn't feel confident having a PC.

>

That sight was the beginning of a very bad day...

My perspective...

-KD03
Old 29th June 2005
  #23
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyd03
I have a Powerbook 1.5 Ghz with 1 Gig of RAM and use Digital Performer. I've taken it to a variety of studios to record on and it's worked great everytime. My audio interface is a MOTU 896.

I also own a PC and I'm familiar with most of the Mac v. PC angles, but Mac is my main machine and has been for 10 years. Having recently seen my PC crash and a DOS prompt come up upon booting, I personally wouldn't feel confident having a PC.

>

That sight was the beginning of a very bad day...

My perspective...

-KD03
I don't know what operating system you were running, but my Win XP machines never crashed within a period of 4 years or so. Win XP is a very stable OS.
Old 29th June 2005
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
kennyd03's Avatar
 

Yup, Win XP. I finally was able to talk to someone at Dell (in India probably) and I had to type in these crazy command strings that they dictated to me.

-KD03
Old 29th June 2005
  #25
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stag's Avatar
 

A DOS prompt on XP??? man you have done something unbelivable, are you sure you are running XP??? it crashes, what´s the big deal, 99% of the times it crashes is my fault.
Well, someone using a computer be it a MAC or PC knows that not having backups of every thing is quite irresponsible. don´t you think???
Old 30th June 2005
  #26
Any OS X or XP computer that crashes on any kind of ongoing basis has something very wrong with it.

One of the problems, as some folks see it, is that these OS's are 'too' robust.

Things can get really, really screwed up and they still sort of run.


One of my clients (I'm their web database guy, not a hardware guy, thank goodness) recently had a hardware failure on a funky old PC at the center of their business. When it came time to move their data to a new box, they realized their accounting software was encrypted and they would need to boot the old system, once again. They popped the drive in question in place of the HD on the new box.

The systems guy figured it would be no sweat -- until he discovered there were 4 active installs of XP on the same partition, completely, he said, intertwined and interconnected. (If you're thinking what I was thinking, he also thought XP wouldn't let you install multiple copies in the same partition. Knowing the guy who set it up, I suspect it was a cracked copy of XP, in addition [don't get me wrong, a nice guy but, you know, kind of anti-establishment heh ]... but until the HD controller on the mobo failed, they never even knew.)


All that said, a truism like if an OS X or XP machine crashes all the time something is seriously wrong is ultimately of unsurprisingly little comfort, when you're on the outside of operability, looking in.
Old 30th June 2005
  #27
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Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcschild
just to bring a little sanity into this.

the fastest laptop for audio at this point is a Sonoma.
(533 FSB Centrino)

kills the AMD laptops. never mind the very weak G4 laptops.

and i am a huge AMD fan.

Scott
ADK
Any news on Dualcore laptops coming down the pipe for next year?
Old 1st July 2005
  #28
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stag's Avatar
 

You are joking rigth.
A PM2 when you push it´s audio buffers to the extreme, 48 samples Eg., it does what a Dual CPU of any brand does, only when you start to rise the values it becames a little more like a common desktop but not less be it a fancy MAC or AMD.
if at 512 samples, 12ms latency you open 20 plugs, the same as a desktop when you lower to 128 a PM2 still opens the same 20, and the other CPU now opens 10.
When you lower to 48 samples 2ms., the PM2 opens 12 and now the desktop struggle to open 4.

I don´t care how this is done, that´s how it works. It cames for a price doe, the same as a dual G5, but it´s worth every cent., now on the MAC part i doubt even Jobs could say the same with a straigth face.

Have a nice day.
Old 1st July 2005
  #29
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Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by stag
You are joking rigth.
A PM2 when you push it´s audio buffers to the extreme, 48 samples Eg., it does what a Dual CPU of any brand does, only when you start to rise the values it becames a little more like a common desktop but not less be it a fancy MAC or AMD.
What's a PM2?
Old 1st July 2005
  #30
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stag's Avatar
 

The newer Pentium Mobile, AKA Centrino Sonoma.
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