Old 05-26-2019, 01:10 AM   #1
fred garvin
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Default Laptop opinions

I'm trying to put together a subcompact studio based around a laptop, ILoud, USB audio interface, Reaper of course, and various software including lots of IK products such as Soundtank 3. I need to replace my 10 year old-ish midline Dell Inspiron, which has worked amazingly well except for Soundtank 3, which chokes it.

I usually have track counts of maybe 12-20, maybe 3-6 plugs per track, plus mixdown fx. Amazingly usable, stable, and trouble-free on my old laptop, until I started trying to use ST3.

Any input on minimum laptop specs? Cost wise I'm looking for the sweet spot in the $500 - 900 range.

How about something like this?
https://www.amazon.com/HP-Flagship-N...27-spons&psc=1
HP 2019 Premium 17.3 Inch Flagship Notebook Laptop (Intel Core i5-7200U/i5-8250U/i7-7500U/i7-8550U 2.7GHz up to 3.5GHz, 8GB/12GB/16GB RAM, 128GB to 1TB SSD, 1TB/2TB HHD, Webcam, WiFi, DVD, Windows 10)

Though I'll probably try to avoid HP as I've heard bad things. Or hey, any good opinions about HP for Reaper? I'm inclined to Dell as my last 2 worked great but HP really seems to be putting out some deals.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-26-2019, 07:08 PM   #2
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I love my HP laptop ... and at this price point, hard to go wrong given the specs.

Should be plenty for your projects.

With a significantly higher budget I'd recommend PC Audiolabs who can custom build your PC laptop, but that's probably out of your price range.
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Old 05-26-2019, 08:21 PM   #3
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I replaced my similar aged Dell Inspiron with a high spec i7 MSI gaming laptop a few years ago and it's been constant headaches.

The main issues are high DPC latency causing poor real-time audio performance, and CPU throttling which seems to be more common than not at the moment.

Basically, right when performance is most needed is when it becomes least available, and it's not a matter of the CPU not reaching it's advertised turbo speeds, but dropping far below the base clock.

I can't wait to get a new desktop for consistent performance again.

Definitely make sure to research the specific model, particularly things like throttling/DPC issues.

You also might want to look for AMD graphics rather than NVIDIA as the bloated drivers aren't a benefit for audio.

My next laptop will definitely be AMD all-around (same with my soon to be built desktop).

Fancy wireless cards (i.e. Killer) can also cause DPC issues.



https://www.extremetech.com/computin...cpu-throttling
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Old 05-26-2019, 10:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter5992 View Post
I love my HP laptop ... and at this price point, hard to go wrong given the specs.
Yah, right? So how do you use your HP? Do you run an interface? I'd imagine as you do scoring you have comparatively huge projects but maybe don't do much recording? I've heard (and seen) that HP has crazy bloatware. Was that an issue for you?

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Originally Posted by PitchSlap View Post
I replaced my similar aged Dell Inspiron with a high spec i7 MSI gaming laptop a few years ago and it's been constant headaches.
That's exactly what I'm afraid of. Great info there, thanks. I've always associated Intel with trouble free audio computers, now you're thinking AMD is better? Do they not do the throttling thing?

Thanks gents!

Thoughts, anyone, on min specs? Is 8 GB RAM enough? I'm assuming a midline i5 will be enough, or no? SSD: nice to have or essential? If essential, how big?

Thanks again!
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Old 05-27-2019, 01:14 AM   #5
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If you can, get a desktop (preferably build one) instead of a laptop. Powersaving features of laptops can cause lots of issues for daw use.
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Old 05-27-2019, 01:58 AM   #6
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If you can, get a desktop (preferably build one) instead of a laptop. Powersaving features of laptops can cause lots of issues for daw use.
Oh sure, I have a studio box. I really love the laptop based work anywhere thing though and with the iLoud I like the idea of having a more or less complete studio all in my laptop bag.

This power management thing has become a huge PITA, huh? In the past I've found with the large format desktop replacement/entertainment type laptops I buy that it hasn't been an issue, as they're essentially designed to be used plugged in, but is that no longer the case? Also, can't you turn all that stuff off in the BIOS/OS?
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Old 05-27-2019, 02:58 AM   #7
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I use an old i5 3210M @2.5 with 8gb of ram, coupled with the original RME Babyface for portable work. Amaazing how well it perforns considering how old the cpu is. The one area I had a ton of issues when starting out to do this was with the Audio MIDI interface.
RME is definitely the way to go in terms of the excellent ASIO drivers and real workhorse reliability.
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Old 05-27-2019, 03:08 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by fred garvin View Post

That's exactly what I'm afraid of. Great info there, thanks. I've always associated Intel with trouble free audio computers, now you're thinking AMD is better? Do they not do the throttling thing?
My last AMD system was back in the the original Athlon days and would definitely agree Intel was the way to go, but it seems tables have turned again.

For example AMD's new chips shown today beat Intel on IPC, overall performance, power consumption and are MUCH cheaper ($499 chip beating a $1100 Intel chip).

A big reason AMD should be less likely to throttle is because it's 7nm vs Intel which is still on 14nm, less power and heat to worry about.

The laptop chips are still on 12nm (I'd be looking to upgrade when they are 7nm), but still might be worth considering now, especially if value is a concern.

The best of both worlds might be getting a mid-range AMD Zen 2 desktop as your studio computer which will be far better/cheaper than a good laptop, and use the saving to buy a lower end laptop.

It could very well be possible that AMD still isn't optimal for audio, but all things considered I'm nearly positive that's the way I'll go.
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Old 05-27-2019, 07:11 AM   #9
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^^^AMD Is coming out with third gen chips in July and they are supposed to be awesome and may just be the ideal processor for DAW use. As it stands Intel still has the upper hand in core speed and latency but that might soon change.
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:06 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ivansc View Post
I use an old i5 3210M @2.5 with 8gb of ram, coupled with the original RME Babyface for portable work. Amaazing how well it perforns considering how old the cpu is. The one area I had a ton of issues when starting out to do this was with the Audio MIDI interface.
RME is definitely the way to go in terms of the excellent ASIO drivers and real workhorse reliability.
Cool, thanks. What kinds of VST/i loads do you use? I need to figure out where my current system ranks for performance, I've been assuming pretty much any processor available today would be 2-3x as fast as I've got and plenty good enough but we know what happens when I assume things...

Interface-wise I already got a Behringer, which has been great, actually, good sounding, never think about it reliable, real usable ~7 ms latency. A serious candidate for best $80 I ever spent. But yah, I'm sure RME would be nice.
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Old 05-27-2019, 09:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by fred garvin View Post
This power management thing has become a huge PITA, huh? In the past I've found with the large format desktop replacement/entertainment type laptops I buy that it hasn't been an issue, as they're essentially designed to be used plugged in, but is that no longer the case? Also, can't you turn all that stuff off in the BIOS/OS?
It can be. Some laptop manufacturers don't make settings available in the bios/uefi for disabling what needs to be disabled for daw use.
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:38 PM   #12
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For fun I just ran some Cinebench r20 tests.

-My i7-5700HQ laptop scored 499. Cinebench r15 score was 300 vs. 711 listed online so it's pretty much screwed. (note the thermal issues are much worse than they should be)

-My first gen i7-950 desktop with a chip released in 2009 scored 916!

-The AMD 3700X (8-core) shown yesterday scored 4806, and there's also 12 and 16-core ships! (O.O)

So basically thermal problems have made my laptop far slower and less reliable than the old system it was meant to replace, and the new AMD chips are going to crush Intel unless you're spending insane amounts for server chips.

Looking forward to seeing DAW-Bench results and some tests from Scanproaudio which will better reflect performance for music.
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Old 05-27-2019, 07:43 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by PitchSlap View Post
For fun I just ran some Cinebench r20 tests.

-My i7-5700HQ laptop scored 499. Cinebench r15 score was 300 vs. 711 listed online so it's pretty much screwed. (note the thermal issues are much worse than they should be)

-My first gen i7-950 desktop with a chip released in 2009 scored 916!

-The AMD 3700X (8-core) shown yesterday scored 4806, and there's also 12 and 16-core ships! (O.O)

So basically thermal problems have made my laptop far slower and less reliable than the old system it was meant to replace, and the new AMD chips are going to crush Intel unless you're spending insane amounts for server chips.

Looking forward to seeing DAW-Bench results and some tests from Scanproaudio which will better reflect performance for music.
Yah, I was just looking at benchmark sites. Turns out my 2012 i5-3210 still runs with some of todays midline offerings lol, like the popular 7200 would be like a 15% single thread improvement, which doesn't give me confidence. I can see I'm going to have to be careful.

Is core count important in Reaper? For instance I only have two cores now. If I had 4 does that give twice as much performance? Not necessarily, right? Some of these processors have lots of cores and show high benchmarks, but have low base speeds which makes me nervous in light of the throttling issues you speak of. Your 5700 should still have a high base rate at 2.7 Ghz and so I'd think still decent performance, do you think it's going below that? While your 950 with its base 3 Ghz should be slower according to the site but is faster in practice. Which all makes me think it's still all about the Ghz.

I gotta say, I'm rather disappointed. Isn't computer power supposed to double every year or something? What's this 15% in 7 years crap???
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Old 05-28-2019, 01:42 PM   #14
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I gotta say, I'm rather disappointed. Isn't computer power supposed to double every year or something? What's this 15% in 7 years crap???
Moore's Law has definitely slowed down, plus a lack of competition which lead Intel to stop really innovating and just dribbling out marginal improvements, but AMD has roared back in recent years.

When it comes to multi-core, AFIAK Reaper handles it much better than many other DAWs so more cores/threads definitely help, but it may only really be optimized for 4c/8t CPUs since anything higher hasn't been mainstream until now.

The thing with audio is that it's real-time, so the slowest link breaks the chain. If one core maxes out your audio stream will have glitches.

Intel has always had the single core lead until now. The new 7nm AMD chips showed a 15% IPC (instructions per clock) improvement, meaning ~15% faster at the same Ghz.

AMD's 12-core chip beat a similarly clocked 18-core Intel chip that costs over twice as much, so AMD looks to be the best for single-core now too.

Another factor is while AMD is getting faster, Intel CPUs have been getting slower due to patches for security bags that don't affect AMD. The whole hyper-threading implementation is flawed so there will likely be more issues needing patched. The only way to be totally secure is to disable HT entirely and halving the thread count.
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Old 05-28-2019, 02:21 PM   #15
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Just ran the cinebench R20 on my desktop (18 months old now i7-8700k).
Liquid cooler, cheap passive graphics as it's not for games! 32Gb ram, 500gb SSD and 2* 2 Tb WD blacks for storage.

It ranked 5th as 3334 and runs very well. I can keep the 12 cores all running nicely. Fans only kick on for big renders. A fine machine.

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Old 05-29-2019, 01:52 PM   #16
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Just ran the cinebench R20 on my desktop (18 months old now i7-8700k).
Liquid cooler, cheap passive graphics as it's not for games! 32Gb ram, 500gb SSD and 2* 2 Tb WD blacks for storage.

It ranked 5th as 3334 and runs very well. I can keep the 12 cores all running nicely. Fans only kick on for big renders. A fine machine.

dB
The i7-8700k is actually 6-core, 12-thread (with HT). I was looking at building an 8700k machine last fall, then figured I should wait for the 9900k, but that was meh, then heard about Zen 2, so it's been a long wait.

i7-8700k is currently $365 on Amazon (with no cooler), so considering the Zen 2 3900x will have TWICE the cores and include a cooler for $135 more that's a pretty compelling value.

P.S. Since this thread is about laptops, Intel is finally releasing 10nm mobile chips in June which should offer the best performance, and also cause current prices to drop so a short wait is likely a good idea.
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Old 05-29-2019, 02:18 PM   #17
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Sorry, 6 core or 12 threads with HT … but suffice to say, it does run very well indeed. Not seen any issues so far. … and yes, this is desktop, not laptop, so not really OT.

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Old 05-29-2019, 07:00 PM   #18
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I did a lot of shopping around for a similar solution as you just over a year ago. So I'm sure there are better solutions available now. My target price is typically in around the $1K price range.

Whenever I shop for a new PC I end up doing a lot of price target vs performance vs specs comparisons as well as read a lot of user reviews. I actually create an Excel spreadsheet document and spend close to a month doing my research. Afterall, this is something I plan to live with for at least the next 5 years. In the past Asus Laptops tended to always come up on top in regards to price vs. performance value and user reviews. This time around the Dell offerings came up on top over the Asus offerings where I found a steal of a deal on a Dell Inspiron 7570. It was on sale from Sam's Club for $700 where Dell's website price was $1100 at that time.

Also at that time it was the only laptop I found in that price range which included a Gen8 Intel i7 processor, and Pen writeable touch screen and a M.2 NVMe SSD slot. You'll definitely want to make sure you get a laptop with a M.2 NVMe SSD slot. I think most have them now, but best to make sure.

With the extra cost savings below my $1K target budget range, I immediately upgraded it with a Samsung M.2 NVMe 960 EVO SSD and an additional 16GB of RAM which then put me around my target budget and came out to $1100. I've since upgraded the SATA III internal drive which came with it to an SSD and maxed out the memory to 32GB. Which is another thing to look for in regards to laptops, the "Max RAM" supported.

I use benchmark.com to test out my PC to see how it's performing.

The week part I knew about this Laptop going into it was the GPU, which I haven't ever found as being extremely important for DAW use. As long as it has a well supported GPU driver, it will likely be ok. The similar ASUS laptops I was looking at had the higher performance GPU but cost $400 more without a touch screen.

Here's how it was performing out of the box.
https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/6722024

I now have it connected to a USB-C docking hub to connect all my DAW peripherals such as sound card (Behringer UMC1820), Dual monitors (3 total), USB Hub for USB HDD backups, External SSD and a Behringer X-Touch One control surface. It's working flawlessly currently where I have a similar workflow as you describe and here's how benchmark.com shows it is performing currently.

https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/16876259

So overall I'm very pleased with this laptop, especially for the price I paid for it. My advise would be to definitely look at the Asus options and Dell in your target budget price and read as many user reviews as possible. I also looked at HP offerings and overall, they weren't very flattering.

The thing is that most of the laptops out there are built around the Processor since they use a SoC (System On a Chip) architecture. The processor will dictate the number of USB ports, SD card slots as well as the speed of those ports. What typically sets the prices apart when comparing similar laptops with the same CPU is the type of screen, and onboard GPU over and above the standard Intel GPU which is built into the CPU of the Intel CPUs, as well as any additional cooling....common on the gaming option laptops.

Definitely look for laptops with M.2 NVMe slots since their speed for SSDs blows every other SSD interface option away and also try to find one with a USB 3.1 "Gen 2" USB-C connector which support PD charging. My Dell support USB 3.1 "Gen 1" which is the same as USB 3.0 and half the speed of USB 3.1 "Gen 2".

The i7-8700k CPU would be nice to have in a laptop, but I would say you likely won't find one in your current price range target but won't hurt to check. Definitely wasn't in my similar budget range when I was shopping just over 1 year ago. Look for a lower cost Gen 8 or Gen9 i7 Intel CPU or similar AMD offering instead. Go on benchmark.com and you can select different CPU's and see how well they stack up to each other on performance benchmark rankings. It's a good tool to get some price vs. performance to gain insight.
https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compar.../3937vsm320742

Quote:
Originally Posted by fred garvin View Post
I'm trying to put together a subcompact studio based around a laptop, ILoud, USB audio interface, Reaper of course, and various software including lots of IK products such as Soundtank 3. I need to replace my 10 year old-ish midline Dell Inspiron, which has worked amazingly well except for Soundtank 3, which chokes it.

I usually have track counts of maybe 12-20, maybe 3-6 plugs per track, plus mixdown fx. Amazingly usable, stable, and trouble-free on my old laptop, until I started trying to use ST3.

Any input on minimum laptop specs? Cost wise I'm looking for the sweet spot in the $500 - 900 range.

How about something like this?
https://www.amazon.com/HP-Flagship-N...27-spons&psc=1
HP 2019 Premium 17.3 Inch Flagship Notebook Laptop (Intel Core i5-7200U/i5-8250U/i7-7500U/i7-8550U 2.7GHz up to 3.5GHz, 8GB/12GB/16GB RAM, 128GB to 1TB SSD, 1TB/2TB HHD, Webcam, WiFi, DVD, Windows 10)

Though I'll probably try to avoid HP as I've heard bad things. Or hey, any good opinions about HP for Reaper? I'm inclined to Dell as my last 2 worked great but HP really seems to be putting out some deals.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 05-29-2019, 08:03 PM   #19
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And just in case I haven't run on enough....

Here is some further insight on the SSD interface connection performances I described above.

All of these SSDs are essentially M.2 NVMe SSDs in regards to their internal guts.

What's different between them are their actual interface connection to my laptop where you can really see the speed differences.

Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD directly connected to the M.2 NVMe internal slot.


SanDisk Ultra connected to the internal SATA 3 slot. The interesting thing about this SanDisk SSD is that if you do a little research, you learn it is actually a SanDisk 600X M.2 NVMe SSD inside of a SATA 3 conversion case. The SATA 3 interface is the weakest link in the chain as can be seen when you compare it to the Samsung SSD which is directly connected to the M.2 NVMe slot instead of the SATA 3 slot. 6X slower.


SanDisk Extreme External SSD. Again the interesting thing about this SSD which is one of the faster external ones available is that it also inside a SanDisk external enclosure case and actually has a SanDisk 600X M.2 NVMe SSD but now it is connected to a USB 3.1 Gen 1 port instead of the SATA 3 connection like the SanDisk Ultra. If I had a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port connection, then I would expect double these speeds from this SSD. So again, the connection port is the bottle neck holding back faster SSD performance.


Intel 660p M.2 NVMe SSD mounted in an external enclosure and connected to my USB 3.1 Gen 1 port. It is getting similar speed test results as the external SanDisk and is no doubt a M.2 NVMe SSD but the bottle neck again is the USB port it is connected to. I'ld again expect double the speeds if my laptop had a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port.


So summary? M.2 NVMe internal slot is definitely something I would highly recommend ensuring getting in your laptop, and if you can find one with multiple M.2 NVMe slots that would be even better. Then on top of that, you won't be able to reach M.2 NVMe connection performance but a "GEN 2" USB 3.1 connection will definitely be a SSD speed boost for external SSDs over one with a "Gen 1" USB 3.1 or USB 3.0 port.

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Old 05-30-2019, 01:27 AM   #20
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Wow, them's some great posts guys, thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PitchSlap View Post
AMD
I'm definitely open to the idea of an AMD machine... are you aware of any examples of laptops that might meet my parameters (DAW capable, 17 inch screen, under a $K)? I've looked at some and for what seems to be on offer for the same $ as say a 7200 the benchmarks are scary low, like less than my ol' 3210. If there's any great values on midline AMD out there I've not been able to find them. What processor would you suggest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PitchSlap View Post
P.S. Since this thread is about laptops, Intel is finally releasing 10nm mobile chips in June which should offer the best performance, and also cause current prices to drop so a short wait is likely a good idea.
Thanks, good to know. (But I donwanna wait! Waaah! Waaah! )

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I did a lot of shopping around for a similar solution as you just over a year ago...
Wow, great post, thanks! Yah, your deal sniping and laptop configurationing skills are clearly strong. I was hoping that the midline performance bar would've raised a bit higher in 7 years and I could just order anything off Amazon and it would be a clear upgrade but that doesn't seem to be the case. So obviously you're happy with your Dell and your 8550. Just ran good right out the box? No heat problems or weird throttling issues or Reaper issues? What kinds of projects and plugs and whatnot do you run? It sure would be nice to be able to run all my nice expensive software.

Hmmmmm... I can get a Dell with an 8550 that seems pretty similar to yours for $800. Waiting is good advice... sniping for the best deal is good advice... but man I could just be done with a nice new laptop this weekend...
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Old 05-30-2019, 07:27 PM   #21
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Just ran good right out the box? No heat problems or weird throttling issues or Reaper issues? What kinds of projects and plugs and whatnot do you run? It sure would be nice to be able to run all my nice expensive software.

Hmmmmm... I can get a Dell with an 8550 that seems pretty similar to yours for $800. Waiting is good advice... sniping for the best deal is good advice... but man I could just be done with a nice new laptop this weekend...
I'm currently haven't done any Reaper projects with this laptop. I've been working on some Youtube video projects which consists of 4 tracks of 1080p@60 Hz video tracks and then 4-12 tracks of audio. I shoot video with 1-4 cams for multi angle views, cut and splice them together, transitions, some titling. Then add voice, music and Sound FXs. VO and video post type of stuff. I'm doing that in Vegas Pro 16. I'm using Waves and Valhalla plugins, basic EQ, compressor, and Reverb type of plugs for mixing purposes. Everything has been running great but I'm not working on any massive projects and really haven't tried pushing the system to its limits to see what it can do.

When I was shopping for the best value to performance CPU's in my budget range it boiled down to the Intel i7-7700HQ vs the i7-8550. I could have gone either way, they both seem to have similar performance. No problems for the 8550 so far and there seems to be a lot of value priced laptops now coming out over this past year with that CPU that weren't so widely available when I bought mine.

See here 7700HQ vs 8550U:
https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compar...11019vsm320742

I put a slight preference towards the 8550 due to it being a Gen 8 CPU and would be better for my laptop battery life if I was doing any remote recording since it uses Intel's latest technology of ramping up the CPU speed as it was needed. As well as it should run cooler than the 7700HQ. Plus, I take the laptop off of my docking station from its DAW use and then use it for other tasks,entertainment around the house.

I don't have a strong preference towards AMD or Intel, I've owned both over the years but tend to now lean more towards Intel since they're more widely supported in regards to software and OS. I've read many good things about the AMD Ryzen CPUs.

I've definitely done some tweaks and fine tuning. I changed power plans, hardware drivers, totally wiped it clean and installed Win10 Pro as well as added the OS SSD which had the biggest impact towards performance upgrade from out of the box. Dell now ships the Inspiron 7570 with an SSD option which wasn't available when I bought mine. Overall, I feel the Dell Inspiron 7000 series have a nice build quality and slim design to them for this price range of laptop. It reminds me of a MacBook Pro but at a much nicer price point.
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Old 05-31-2019, 12:52 AM   #22
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@Rednroll: OIC Well my little audio-only Reaper projects have to be way less load than that. I should probably just pull the trigger on this 8550 Dell. It's a pretty well-spec'ed machine with 16 GB and 2 TB, and it seems it will take a SSD as they offer that in other configs. My sense is I might do a little better if I shop more but probably not a lot. How was the SSD install, pretty straightforward?

Thanks a bunch man, you've been very helpful!
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Old 05-31-2019, 01:43 AM   #23
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Booyah. Found that 8550 Dell $50 cheaper in a better I think config for me, + Win10Pro, - discrete gfx card. Not bad, yah? Hmmm, actually the desc says I still get the gfx card too. I think they f'ed that up but we'll see. As long as I get the 10Pro.

Well thanks, y'all were a lot of help!
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Old 05-31-2019, 03:17 AM   #24
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Booyah. Found that 8550 Dell $50 cheaper in a better I think config for me, + Win10Pro, - discrete gfx card. Not bad, yah? Hmmm, actually the desc says I still get the gfx card too. I think they f'ed that up but we'll see. As long as I get the 10Pro.

Well thanks, y'all were a lot of help!
Good Deal! I hope it all works out for you. I was going to share my excel matrix with you but I don't expect everyone to be as anal as myself and go through that type of shopping comparison. I basically have like 15 laptops compared and spent over a month putting it together

Here's what the short list looked like, but my summary take away was after I had done all this, the Dells seemed to be the best value vs performance at that time, plus Dell has pretty good support if you run into any problems.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1wK...AaC5X6HdQYJAxz

Looking back, I now see I had added the Samsung SSD as well as purchased (2)16GB Dimms of RAM and it all came in at $1125. Adding the internal SSD was pretty straight forward.

Last edited by Rednroll; 05-31-2019 at 04:52 AM.
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Old 05-31-2019, 10:26 AM   #25
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I like my 2011 Macbook Pro.

You can pick these up anywhere from $600 - $1400 used in A+ condition. Apple doesn't make pro model machines like this anymore. They have a new model with similar specs for around $3200 but it's missing the magsafe charging port (you have to use the USB port to charge it!), screen shield, and all the ports. (USB-C only.) SSD literally soldered to the logic board and all that business making it disposable.

Or you could go for a HP or something for around $800 that's half the spec of the 2011 Mac. And then good luck installing OSX on it! You'll either be using Linux or whatever Windows is calling an OS these days.
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Old 05-31-2019, 11:52 AM   #26
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I like my 2011 Macbook Pro.

You can pick these up anywhere from $600 - $1400 used in A+ condition. Apple doesn't make pro model machines like this anymore. They have a new model with similar specs for around $3200 but it's missing the magsafe charging port (you have to use the USB port to charge it!), screen shield, and all the ports. (USB-C only.) SSD literally soldered to the logic board and all that business making it disposable.

Or you could go for a HP or something for around $800 that's half the spec of the 2011 Mac. And then good luck installing OSX on it! You'll either be using Linux or whatever Windows is calling an OS these days.
Well good for you. I'd snap back but the frustration in your post is palpable, practically a self-pwn.

OK, maybe just a little... you wanna talk specs?? How's 4 GB, USB 2, 750 GB storage, and "AirPort Extreme" treatin' ya these days? (Gives me the lols how they have to come up with their own names for industry protocols. Does that connect with other computers in the real world or just other old school Macs? Well, never mind, I mean who else would you even want to connect with?) Sorry, your specs are actually less than half mine except the CPUs still hangin' in at 2/3.

Maybe you should buy a few for spares, it can be 2011 forever... You know I'd catch a grenade for you, sweet sweet Macbook Pro, throw myself on a blade for you, oh mighty ghost of Steve Jobs...
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Old 05-31-2019, 12:29 PM   #27
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Well, you did snap back and you DO sound frustrated there Fred!

You don't really think I'm using less than 16GB ram and less than a 1TB SSD in that thing now do you?

The new options right now are slack. And that goes triple for Apple. It turns out being a scavenger right now has returns and the last of the Jobs era Macs seem to remain relevant. Certainly more elegant than the current disposable crop!

And when you can literally buy 5 of them for the price of a new one... yep, doing that!
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Old 05-31-2019, 01:42 PM   #28
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Or you could go for a HP or something for around $800 that's half the spec of the 2011 Mac. And then good luck installing OSX on it! You'll either be using Linux or whatever Windows is calling an OS these days.
I was really wondering how long it was going to be until someone came along and instigated the Mac vs Windows argument.

I have nothing against Macs, but I never really understood the need if you're making a suggestion for a Mac the need to bash the other options at the same time. I would have to think, that type of approach wouldn't entice the person you're making the suggestion, to motivate them to look further into that suggestion. So what was your real goal with this post?
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Old 05-31-2019, 07:13 PM   #29
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I was really wondering how long it was going to be until someone came along and instigated the Mac vs Windows argument.

I have nothing against Macs, but I never really understood the need if you're making a suggestion for a Mac the need to bash the other options at the same time. I would have to think, that type of approach wouldn't entice the person you're making the suggestion, to motivate them to look further into that suggestion. So what was your real goal with this post?
I think there are plenty of Mac vs Windows threads. The OS choices are what they are. This point is Jobs-era vs post Jobs-era Macs. My goal was to point out used options as a way of getting a still relevant Jobs-era Mac.

Blasphemy eh?
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Old 05-31-2019, 11:19 PM   #30
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@serr: I'm cool, man. Like I said, good for you. I'm sure your Mac's a beaut, I spent 5 minutes looking at 2011 Mac specs. I didn't know you guys were allowed to upgrade your machines. But of course your warranty expired a loooong time ago.

To take your suggestion seriously, thanks but I have far too much invested in Windows software to start all over with Mac.

I dunno, you come into my nice polite basically over with thread, since a few posts back I say that I just bought a new laptop, and kinda take a Mac dump in it, I thought you wanted to scrap. Y'know, just for fun. Grrrr! I'm totally fine with my choices and yours too. Have a good one!
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Old 05-31-2019, 11:30 PM   #31
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@serr: Ooooh, since Mac is no longer proprietary hardware, right, can I buy one of those admittedly beautiful billet aluminum 2011 Macs and install Windows on it? Now that's an idea!
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Old 05-31-2019, 11:45 PM   #32
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Cool, thanks. What kinds of VST/i loads do you use? I need to figure out where my current system ranks for performance, I've been assuming pretty much any processor available today would be 2-3x as fast as I've got and plenty good enough but we know what happens when I assume things...

Interface-wise I already got a Behringer, which has been great, actually, good sounding, never think about it reliable, real usable ~7 ms latency. A serious candidate for best $80 I ever spent. But yah, I'm sure RME would be nice.
Core VSTis are Kontakt Superior Drummer3 the old N.I. B4II and EZKeys. I also transfer projects from the studio i7 machine & in all but a very few they work fine. I do admit that the babyface has a LOT to do with reliability and capacity of the system though. Bets £300 I ever spent.

Mind you I do now have two SSD drives, having replaced the internal DVD drive, which means I can have all the Toontrack samples on that separate disk. Makes a huge difference to performance.
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Old 05-31-2019, 11:47 PM   #33
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I like my 2011 Macbook Pro.

You can pick these up anywhere from $600 - $1400 used in A+ condition. Apple doesn't make pro model machines like this anymore. They have a new model with similar specs for around $3200 but it's missing the magsafe charging port (you have to use the USB port to charge it!), screen shield, and all the ports. (USB-C only.) SSD literally soldered to the logic board and all that business making it disposable.

Or you could go for a HP or something for around $800 that's half the spec of the 2011 Mac. And then good luck installing OSX on it! You'll either be using Linux or whatever Windows is calling an OS these days.
FWIW I have a 2011 Mac MINI server with the i7, 2 drives & 8gb of ram. And I still use my 2 Windows machines. Just not comfortable with Reaper on Mac compared to on windows 10.

Incidentally, my Mac will probably be up for sale very soon if anyone in the UK is interested.
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Old 06-01-2019, 12:47 AM   #34
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Core VSTis are Kontakt Superior Drummer3 the old N.I. B4II and EZKeys. I also transfer projects from the studio i7 machine & in all but a very few they work fine. I do admit that the babyface has a LOT to do with reliability and capacity of the system though. Bets £300 I ever spent.

Mind you I do now have two SSD drives, having replaced the internal DVD drive, which means I can have all the Toontrack samples on that separate disk. Makes a huge difference to performance.
Nice. Way to keep the ol' girl alive and kickin'. I can see I need to commit to SSD. Probably should have thought of that before, maybe could've got another year out of my ol' girl lol. But whatever, now is a very good time for me to upgrade so I did.

So ideally I'll just have an empty drive bay and a SSD can plug right in, yah? Or is there more to it? Any thoughts on size, anyone? Damn, they're cheap now! No reason to go under 500 GB, any reason to go over? OIC, red, the NVM is a whole different format. Well hopefully I'll have the same options as you.
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:37 AM   #35
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@serr: I'm cool, man. Like I said, good for you. I'm sure your Mac's a beaut, I spent 5 minutes looking at 2011 Mac specs. I didn't know you guys were allowed to upgrade your machines. But of course your warranty expired a loooong time ago.

To take your suggestion seriously, thanks but I have far too much invested in Windows software to start all over with Mac.

I dunno, you come into my nice polite basically over with thread, since a few posts back I say that I just bought a new laptop, and kinda take a Mac dump in it, I thought you wanted to scrap. Y'know, just for fun. Grrrr! I'm totally fine with my choices and yours too. Have a good one!
The "warranty" is I can buy 10 of these for the price of the closest spec new machine from Apple.

I see people settling for half the machine they'd prefer often enough because of their budget. If you're a little comfortable with computer basics (OS install, cloning, general troubleshooting), the batch of high end machines from the last 8 years aren't much different than current tech. And there are higher spec models from then compared to the budget machines today. Worth considering I think.

Sorry for the late post then! Saw the laptop thread. Thought I'd make some comments from the peanut gallery here.

Upgrade-ability/mod-ability/repair-ability was one of the selling points of Jobs-era Macs and losing that is one of the big regressions of the post-Jobs era.

And you could in fact install Windows.
You could also install any version of OSX from 10.6 to 10.14.
Probably endless options with Linux.


Graphics needs is the question.
Only doing hi falootin audio work and just need whatever graphics?
That MBP is a steal!
Need more serious graphics for video work? OK, get a tower. (Avoid ALL laptops!)
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:00 AM   #36
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Yah, right? So how do you use your HP? Do you run an interface? I'd imagine as you do scoring you have comparatively huge projects but maybe don't do much recording? I've heard (and seen) that HP has crazy bloatware. Was that an issue for you?

My HP laptop is for emails / web browing / office related work (I used it when I work from home, logging into the office network). I'm not really using it for anything music related other than (a) recording radio shows and then editing them using Reaper and (b) occasionally, Sibelius.

My DAW laptop was custom built by PC Audiolabs 10 years ago, current specs: 3 SSD drives with 5 TB total space, Windows 7 professional 64 bit, i7 Intel processor, 24 GB of RAM. It's getting very old now, the CMOS battery is dead, the laptop battery is dead (no replacement available), fans are noisy, the memory isn't exactly impressive for large film templates but it's still going strong. If I'd have to replace I'd be looking at approx $10k for a 2019 state of the art powerhouse laptop, and I'd probably go to PC Audiolabs again.
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