Old 06-14-2018, 10:57 AM   #1
push72
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Default new laptop advice needed.

Hi there,
I am seeking some help, advice and suggestions for a new laptop. I have not done any recording for many years (1/2 inch tape was the last media I used!). So I am embarking on a new project with some analogue and digital synths layering tracks to make epic soundscapes. unfortunately my 10 year old laptop doesn't do the job. So after a few weeks of research I have decided that the best value for money is to have one custom built.I realise a desktop would probably be better but I need portability.
Anyhoo. I have listed some specs below and would be really grateful if there is anyone who could have look and see if I am in the right ballpark.
Many Thanks.
Intel i5 quadcore 8300H processor.
16GB 2400mhz DDR4 RAM (2x8gb)
Geforce 2GB MX150 DDR5 graphics card.
M.2 SSD 500GB Samsung 970 Evo PCle NVMe(3400 mb/s R/ 2300 mb/s W)
I am intending to save all my projects to external drives.

Last edited by push72; 06-14-2018 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 06-14-2018, 12:27 PM   #2
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For specs like that you don't need a custom build, which will always be more expensive. For an audio production laptop, you should avoid gfx chips made for gaming. They use more power, run hotter, increase the cost and drain the battery faster. The i5 processor has adequate built in gfx power for normal tasks.

I've got a similarly specced HP Elitebook 2760p and can def recommend it. They can be had for less than $200 and feature a stronger build quality than your typical HP, as well as a pressure sensitive touch screen (very convenient for DAW control). You can max the RAM out to 16, I believe, but 8 is still doing fine for me.
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Old 06-14-2018, 01:02 PM   #3
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The pro machines Apple used to make are 6 - 9 years old now but the high spec models are nicer than any of the disposable models they sell today or any of the cheap Windows machines out there. You could get a high spec quad core i7 machine that supports 16GB ram and two internal SATA devices for around $600 - $800. (Or even much less with a lucky snipe on Ebay.) Take care of these machines and they'll run for at least 20 years. Works for me. Worth considering if you were planning on spending 2x or 3x that on a lower spec machine or one of Apple's current disposable models (they no longer offer any 'pro' models at the level they used to make).
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Old 06-15-2018, 05:30 AM   #4
push72
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Thanks for taking the time to post. much apreciated.
Didnt really want to go down the pre owned /refurb. route as I am not that savvy.
Great tip on the gfx card though. The problem I am having is that with the processor and Ram I believe I will need every manufacturer seems to include as standard ( I guess assuming its for gaming).
I have found some pretty reasonable ones without gfx but the processors, although i5 and i7, seem to have a very low base level clock speed although able to turbo up to a decent 3.5 - 4 ghz. these also seem to have the ultra low wattage and from what I have heard they can cause dropouts during recording. shame because that would decrease the need for noisy fans for cooling.
the quest continues.....
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Old 06-15-2018, 11:41 AM   #5
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I don't know where you read that about "low wattage" processors causing audio dropouts, but let me just go ahead and say that's BS. A couple other thing you should be looking at though are the drive speed and usb ports. If you will be using external drives, ensure they are at least 72000rpm and usb 3.0 (laptop also needs to have some usb 3.0 ports). 500gb SSD is probably enough to work on a fair number of projects and then archive them to externals when you're done (SSD is fastest).

Audio dropouts can occur due to bottle-necking in a number of places, so you only need to avoid using too many cpu-heavy plugins at once and do some basic resource management/optimization. Here's an older guide on optimizing a system for audio, but pretty much all of it is still valid. https://support.presonus.com/hc/en-u...ista-Windows-7

It's also very normal to start with a low audio buffer size and increase it as the project grows. This way you are recording the core parts at the lowest latency and then increasing it for less timing-critical tasks like mixing.
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Old 06-16-2018, 05:17 AM   #6
push72
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Thanks so much for your help really useful advice. An Hp probook is looking the most likely candidate now.
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by push72 View Post
Intel i5 quadcore 8300H processor.
16GB 2400mhz DDR4 RAM (2x8gb)
Geforce 2GB MX150 DDR5 graphics card.
M.2 SSD 500GB Samsung 970 Evo PCle NVMe(3400 mb/s R/ 2300 mb/s W)
I am intending to save all my projects to external drives.
Hi.
The following site list mainly Austrian, German and Polish retailers, but there you can filter all the specs and find the laptop you need, or at least to get information on brand and model. Try:
https://geizhals.eu/?cat=nb&xf=11293...t#gh_filterbox

At least i'd suggest a convertible as a new machine, because with a good touchscreen, preferrably touch and stylus, you can do many things more easily. And the resolution should be higher than full HD, to fit all the VST, tracks and mixers on the screen. That's my experience.
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Old 06-16-2018, 11:21 AM   #8
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Just wanted to mention this too if you haven't thought about it yet... don't forget you'll need a decent audio interface if you want to achieve low-latency recording and indeed connect your recording equipment at all. Even if you are doing strictly electronic music, a proper audio device will provide an ASIO driver, without which you will surely experience some latency (delay between playing/altering sound and hearing the change) Focusrite is a good place to start for affordable, compact interfaces. Good luck with your decisions!
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