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Should I buy this laptop for music production? Take it easy on me!
Old 27th March 2011
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Should I buy this laptop for music production? Take it easy on me!

What's up people?!

I've been looking from site to site trying to find information on a laptop that's best suited for music production. All that I've found is a bunch of info that's not necessarily applicable to my situation. I've done some research on this site as well and decided to sign up to hopefully get some good advice.

Here's the system i'm looking at:

Sony Vaio EA
Windows 7
Intel Core i5-480m processor
320GB hard drive (7200rpm)
4GB DDR3-SDRAM-1066
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD w/Intel Wireless Technology

Is the graphics card really that important?

Please help me out!
Thanks in advance!
Old 27th March 2011
  #2
Gear Addict
 
frawnchy's Avatar
 

You've not mentioned where you are or where you're thinking of buying from, or the price this is at... Even so, that laptop should be fine with fairly simple low-level work, though Sony's build quality isn't the best and may have ground loop issues.
For the prices I've seen online for that laptop, you could get a Thinkpad Edge 14 and if you could stretch an extra $200 bucks, you could get one with the 620m processor (great for audio). Or buy a refurb of the same model on eBay and keep those $200 bucks.
Having no graphics card is a good thing, audio-wise, as it would be likely that a badly written driver would cause DPC latency spikes, requiring you to disable the card when working on audio anyway.

And if anyone starts talking ****e about the build quality of the Edge series, apropos of nothing: he/she wanted a Vaio EA. Get bent.
Old 27th March 2011
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frawnchy View Post
You've not mentioned where you are or where you're thinking of buying from, or the price this is at... Even so, that laptop should be fine with fairly simple low-level work, though Sony's build quality isn't the best and may have ground loop issues.
For the prices I've seen online for that laptop, you could get a Thinkpad Edge 14 and if you could stretch an extra $200 bucks, you could get one with the 620m processor (great for audio). Or buy a refurb of the same model on eBay and keep those $200 bucks.
Having no graphics card is a good thing, audio-wise, as it would be likely that a badly written driver would cause DPC latency spikes, requiring you to disable the card when working on audio anyway.

And if anyone starts talking ****e about the build quality of the Edge series, apropos of nothing: he/she wanted a Vaio EA. Get bent.
Oh my b...didn't know that was required.

I was looking to get it from sony's website for around $850. I'm gonna be running Reason and FL Studio.
Old 27th March 2011
  #4
Gear Addict
 
frawnchy's Avatar
 

Well, almost any laptop made nowadays'll run Reason and FL fine, it's the VSTs you'll end up running within FL that're gonna gobble up CPU, so you should really plan ahead instead of spending a ton of cash on something that might struggle to run any more than a couple of instances of Omnisphere/Guitar Rig 4/Aether (for examples) without needing to bounce tracks down.

Some comparisons for you. Hope this helps:
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Sony Vaio VPCEA490X CTO

Intel® Core™ i5-480M processor (2.66GHz) with Turbo Boost up to 2.93GHz
Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Gunmetal Black
500GB Hard Drive (7200rpm)
4GB (2GBx2) DDR3-SDRAM-1066
14" VAIO Display with LED backlight (1366 x 768)
Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator HD with Intel® Wireless Display technology
CD/DVD Player / Burner
High capacity battery
$879.99
-------------------------------------------------------------------
VS same spec Lenovo
-------------------------------------------------------------------
ThinkPad EDGE 14 (and 15, extra 1.6" of screen for same price!) - 1Year Express
Processor: Intel Core i5-480M Processor (2.66GHz, 3MB L3, 1066MHz FSB)
Operating system: Genuine Windows 7 Professional 64
Operating system language:Genuine Windows 7 Professional 64 US English
Display type: 14.0" HD (1366x768) Vibrant View, Midnight Black Smooth
System graphics: Integrated Mobile Intel 5 Series GFX Chipsets
Total memory: 4 GB PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM 1067MHz SODIMM Memory (2 DIMM)
Keyboard: Keyboard US English
Pointing device: UltraNav without fingerprint reader
Camera: Low Light Sensitive 2.0MP Camera
Hard drive: 500 GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm
Optical device: DVD Recordable 8x Max Dual Layer
Battery: 9 cell 2.8Ah Li-Ion Battery
Power cord: Country Pack North America with Line cord & 65W AC adapter
Bluetooth: Bluetooth w/ antenna
Integrated WiFi: ThinkPad bgn Wireless
-------------------------------------------------------
Price $1,379.00
Savings $610.00
----------------
Total $769.00
Ships within 11 business days**
Plus FREE shipping
-------------------------------------------------------------------
or
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 15 i7-620M 4GB 500GB 7200rpm W7P | eBay

Model: Lenovo Thinkpad Edge 15 0301DBU
CPU: Intel i7-620M 2.66 Ghz | 4 MB L3 Cache | Turbo Boost up to 3.33GHz (x 2 threads)
Graphics Card: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD
RAM: 4 GB DDR3 1066 Mhz (upgradable to 8 gigs for $100)
Hard Drive: 500 GB 7200 RPM HDD
Display: 15.6" 1366 x 768 Widescreen LED
Optical Drive: Super-Multi DVD-RW CD-RW Drive
Webcam: Integrated Webcam
Microphone: Integrated Microphone
Wireless: Wireless B/G/N Network Card
Bluetooth: N/A
Operating System:Windows 7 Professional x64
Color: Matte Black
Weight: 5.5 lbs

$817.62 including shipping.
($917.62 if you max out the ram)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
I dunno if you can afford the extra $70 on top of the $850 you were going to spend, but that last model, the reconfigured refurb, will easily last you an extra year or two. I bought a refurb just over a month ago, and the benefit of speed and not having to worry about bouncing battery/kontakt/omnisphere tracks down still amazes me (I upgraded from a 7 year-old Pentium 4 single -core mobile chip @ 2.66ghz, so I'm easily amazed. A laptop that boots in under 3 minutes??? AMAZING!!!).
Old 27th March 2011
  #5
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I wanna start of by thanking you for helping me out with this stuff!

I just realized I made a typo...i'm looking at the EB series from Sony not the EA. As far as the plugins on the system, I plan on running Nexus and EWQL symphonic orchestra every once in awhile.

That ThinkPad EDGE seems pretty good as well. Thanks for listing those stats but what would be major differences between the ThinkPad EDGE and the Sony Vaio EB?
Old 27th March 2011
  #6
Gear Addict
 
frawnchy's Avatar
 

You're welcome, I had all the questions you're asking now for the past year while i saved up, so hopefully I'm saving you some time. Lenovo's Thinkpad's reputation precedes them, they're generally thought of as second best to MBP (too expensive for us mere mortals) [edit:not including the boutique manufacturers like ADK, which, while amazing by all accounts, are also, unfortunately, quite expensive], and the only times over the whole year I've seen a Thinkpad being compared badly to another laptop is when it's being compared to either said MBP or another Thinkpad.

The EB is to the Edge 15 what the EA is to the Edge 14. It's just a larger screened version of the EA. They're virtually identical spec-wise (apart from the refurb I pointed out, that CPU is much better for intensive audio sessions), so the MAJOR difference is that the Thinkpads are better-built (eg: spill-resistance, anti-shock technology (which is why Lenovo usually charge premium prices), while Sony has a very recognisable name (which is why they charge their premium).
Plus no Thinkpad encounters the dreaded ground-loop problem, while it's a toss-up with the Sony laptops. It may or may not happen (and it's a pain in the hole to fix. We may be gearslutz, but ground loop isolators and hum eliminators are NOT ideal, or wonderful, in anyway).

The most important thing for you is a 7200rpm HD for your sample libraries, RAM to load said libraries, and a fast CPU.

Actually, just remembered that Lenovo have just updated to Sandy Bridge, and those blow old i7's out of the water.

This: Lenovo - Customize your ThinkPad Edge E420s laptop

...would be a fantastic workstation, more than capable for what you want it for. Just make sure if you're ordering it to click the 1 DIMM choice if you're getting 4 gigs of RAM: this'd let you upgrade really easily to 8 gigs when/if you need it.

Last edited by frawnchy; 27th March 2011 at 11:51 PM.. Reason: forgettingness of others.
Old 9th November 2011
  #7
Here for the gear
One warning though, Lenovos are not compatible with UAD stuff. I've tried the laptop 2 version and it was a disaster on my W500. Basically the motherboard/chipset is of an incompatible made. Forgive my slight computer ignorance; I'm just an end user...
Old 10th November 2011
  #8
Lives for gear
Those processors are first-generation i5/7. For a few extra bucks, I'd definitely go for a Sandy Bridge laptop.
Old 10th November 2011
  #9
Gear Addict
 
frawnchy's Avatar
 

Should I buy this laptop for music production? Take it easy on me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaPi61
Those processors are first-generation i5/7. For a few extra bucks, I'd definitely go for a Sandy Bridge laptop.
If he's held out this long (since March), he doesn't deserve the title *****slut'.
Old 10th November 2011
  #10
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by frawnchy View Post
If he's held out this long (since March), he doesn't deserve the title *****slut'.
Ah, the posting day thing, gets me every time... heh
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