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Need Advice PC Laptop for video editing

revbill's picture
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: 04/08/2011 - 3:06pm

Hello everyone

I'm new to this forum. Need your advice on the best pc laptop to edit semi-pro videos. I am a church pastor and do tons of videography. I have a budget of $2,000 for the hardware. Am using Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 14 and/or Sony Vegas HD(not the pro software) for edits. Suggestions for laptop? Toying with either an ASUS or MSI but need help as to configuration of the hardware. Thanks for all your advice. Can't go Mac hardware because my church is pc orientated and need to use the laptop for MS office stuff too.

Rev. Bill


XTR-91's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 12/06/2008 - 8:57pm

You can find plenty of laptops for 2.8GHz. Just make sure the RAM's at least 2GB. 7200rpm hardrive is required.


pseudosafari's picture
Last seen: 7 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 01/19/2009 - 2:09am

Get a desktop instead unless youhave to have that portability. (Just my two cents--you'll get more bang for your buck.) That being said, I had one (very limited) bad experience with ASUS. MSI, on the other hand, has been good to me. Important features would include the biggest screen you can get, at least 4GB RAM, a quad-core processor and a big hard drive. If you're not committed to a brand, consider this Samsung:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834131116

If you're not familiar with newegg, give them a look-see. You'll be surprised at how cheap some things are.

Good luck!


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

I'm not a knowledgeable PC person, BUT I do know that processor power, plentiful (or maxed out RAM, usually 2-to-4-GIG in laptops) and at least a 7200 RPM hard drive are the important primary elements. Screen size is a comfort factor, not necessarily a "production" requirement. So, given that pretty much ALL laptops come with slower (5600 RPM) internal drives, you're going to need a driver and/or external connection capable of the throughput needed to accommodate a 7200 RPM hard drive, internal or external, AND the processor(s) need to be the maximum you can swing for your budget ... dual if possible, quad better.


hdc77494's picture
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: 04/30/2011 - 4:54am

Revbill, if it has to be a laptop, look for one with USB3 connectors or the new Thunderbolt connector. One thing I've read is that some of the video editors are only using one core on Apple machines, but multicore processing on Intel. USB3 I believe is available now, and you can get the new Sandy Bridge processor on an Intel. Apple has Thunderbolt now, and Intel, but it hasn't shown up on Intel PCs yet.

Thunderbolt has a slight speed advantage over USB3, but the big advantage is that you can daisy chain devices in line, including outboard graphics processors. If you can wait till summer, get an Intel SandyBridge laptop with Thunderbolt. The throughput is high enough to do video work. Another addition for later would be a solid state drive. Not a big one for storage, but to speed up your video processing.

Good luck


composite1's picture
Last seen: 8 months 3 days ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Rev. Bill,

Sounds like you need a workstation instead of a laptop. Laptop editing is great for in the field or on-location quick and dirty edits to cut down on time in a traditional editing bay. Laptops are also good if you are doing presentations of your cuts to clients on the road. But if you're doing regular volume editing, a workstation (desktop) will be your better bet. \

For that same $2k you're planning to spend on a laptop, you can get a really good desktop with two harddrives (one for your software, the other for video editing) a significant amount of RAM (8GB) and a good Quadcore or virtualcore (i3, i5 or i7) CPU in addition to a good video card that will support SD or HD video playback.

You'll also need a good 17" or bigger monitor so keep that in mind as well. For editing with pre-built PC's my recommendations are; HP or Dell with models from $800 to $1200 price range. Now, if you're hard core set on a laptop, there are 'workstation-grade' laptops made by Toshiba, HP and Dell but they're heavier than regular laptops and they cost more ($1200 starting price) but they are more robust than your standard laptop and they have more RAM (4GB min) and higher capacity CPU's (Quad-core minimum) with much higher-end NVIDIA video cards capable of pushing HD video.

Whatever you get, please don't get the 'Home' version of Win7. It's not designed for semi or professional video editing. Spend the money and get Win7 Professional 64-bit (don't waste the money on Ultimate. Bells and whistles you don't need.) Professional is much cleaner running and has the controls you'll need to keep your machine running without a lot of hassle.

Far as connectors go, eSata, firewire (if you can get it), USB3 (if it's available and if you have any gear to support it.) USB 2 will come with whatever you get. Oh and please don't try to edit with USB2 (that is if you don't mind watching the 'glacier races' while your video shuffles along.)

Check those brands out and do a good search on their 'build your own' pages to figure out what will work best for you and your budget.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


XTR-91's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 12/06/2008 - 8:57pm

"7200 RPM... external"

Makesure it's in firewire if its external.


hdc77494's picture
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: 04/30/2011 - 4:54am

The new drives coming out utilizing USB3 or Thunderbolt can transport 10Gbps to a solid state drive, or 500Mbps to a regular hard drive. 7200 Barracudas are a good idea.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Just in case you're not familiar with the "fishy" name mentioned by hdc ... that's a Seagate (are they STILL in business ;-) model hard drive.


UnitedNerds's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 11/12/2010 - 2:19pm

Actually in this case, I would recommend www.alienware.com

This may sound a little odd to professional videomakers, but alienware (now owned by Dell), makes incredibly fast PCs at the price range you are looking for. I just built a laptop with these specs:

PROCESSOR Intel Core? i7 2820QM 2.3GHz (3.4GHz Turbo Mode, 8MB Cache)

OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium, 64bit

MEMORY 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1333MHz (4DIMMS)

VIDEO CARD 1.5GB GDDR5 Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M

HARD DRIVE 640GB Raid 0 (2x 320GB 7,200RPM)

LCD PANEL 17.3-inch WideFHD 1920 x 1080 60Hz WLED

WIRELESS CARD Wireless 802.11 g/n

INTERNAL OPTICAL DRIVE Slot-Load Dual Layer DVD Burner (DVD+-RW, CD-RW)

For barely over $2,000 dollars. Of course you could customize your laptop to your own liking and keep the price below 2 grand, but you get the idea. ?If you aren't going to be editing HD footage frequently, that laptop will be overboard and you should just get one of the cheaper solutions mentioned above


hdc77494's picture
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: 04/30/2011 - 4:54am

I agree with PJ, Alienware makes really fast machines. I'm biased against Apple, but their new laptop has Thunderbolt built in, and is available now.


UnitedNerds's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 11/12/2010 - 2:19pm

Yeah, if you are having any doubts about going down the mac road, you should definitely research it more. In the last few years Macs have become increasingly compatible with PCs. Macs now have Microsoft Office and the videos you make on your Mac will be able to play on PCs and vice versa. With Macs you can get really nice editing software for pretty cheap (iMovie or Final Cut Express). And thunderbolt is also another awesome option, be careful about buying it just FOR thunderbolt. How often would you actually use it since there aren't really any peripherals that can utilize. And always, with macs you will end up paying much more since they are only distributed by Apple and authorized Apple resellers.


composite1's picture
Last seen: 8 months 3 days ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Alienware does make good laptops for editing but the reasons I didn't recommend them are; heavy, pricey and they make it like pulling teeth to get Win Pro versions installed. They are in my opinion more for a professional setup to justify the money. As for Mac's, yeah they 'play well' with PC's now but PC's play well with them too. Not to mention with a copy of 'Macdrive' on your PC laptop you can work on mac-based files and send them back to a mac with no prob long as you're using similar programs. But unless you're planning on using Final Cut Express, it doesn't make much sense to get one if your church is PC based.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


revbill's picture
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: 04/08/2011 - 3:06pm

I really appreciate all your ideas and suggestions. Thanks everyone. I really am bound to a PC laptop. While a work station would be nice, I do my video editing both at church and at home. So I need mobility. I had not considered "alienware" so thanks PJ for that idea. Should I configure my laptop with 2 hard drives like 2 500GB or just one big one? I keep thinking, one HD for the OS and the editing software and the other HD for my video files. Make sense? AND should I be concerned about my OS? I have windows vista ultimate on my current Dell Laptop, Inspiron 9400 at church and a Windows xp proOS at home on a Pentium 4 workstation. Keep your wisdom coming my way. I have a lot to learn. Thanks again everyone.


jjmmargate's picture
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: 04/06/2011 - 12:44pm

RevBill: I have this laptop:

http://www.asus.com/Notebooks/Gaming_Powerhouse/G73SW/

17" screen, i7 processor, 8 gigs ddr3 ram, two 7200RPM hard drives, Blue-Ray DVD writer, ATI video card. I have it connected to (3) 24" Samsung LCD's. It will set you back about $1500 bucks. I'm not an Apple guy, but they make nice stuff, probably a bit more pricey than the PC equivalent.


jjmmargate's picture
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: 04/06/2011 - 12:44pm

RevBill: Here is another link:

http://www.compusa.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=6646260&CatId=4965