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Thanks @composite1. I don’t see any problems with using a gaming laptop for editing on Premiere Pro CS5.5, other than the potential to wear-out your laptop quicker and if your operating system drive is cluttered. If you are editing on a laptop with a single hard drive then you will want to be using an external hard drive or RAID solution anyways and you can always just take your external storage solution over to your desktop to complete the project.
Now let’s be careful with the term “workstation class video card”. Adobe and NVIDIA certified four gaming class desktop graphics cards, in addition to several Quadro cards. Most reviewers only review the Quadro cards and justify that the NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards are often “manufactured” by third parties. I think the term “manufactured” is used loosely too as NVIDIA makes the GPU and the third party assembles but I’m not too concerned about a gaming video card not having the same durability. Gamers push their video cards and systems to the limits for sustained periods of time and as long as you stick with a reputable third-party manufacturer, you should be fine. But if your card does fail, the cost of the original and a replacement will still be less than the cost of buying a Quafro card.
The funny thing about trying to find a “workstation” class laptop with a Quadro card is that it is very difficult. There are very few available off the shelf and if you wanted one you would have to custom order it, wait longer, and pay double or more than you would with a gaming class system.
And then there is the discussion on performance. Adobe and NVIDIA would have you think that Quadro cards outperform GeForce cards, but the opposite is true.
Have a look as the results from the PPBM5 and you will see that of the top 100 systems, only six have Quadro cards and the top performing system with a Quadro card only made it to position #32.
In my Vancouver Video Production Company, I mainly use desktop computers with gaming class graphics cards (from the certified list) for editing but I do run Premiere Pro on a laptop for when I am on the road. As I mentioned previously, it only has an NVIDIA GeForce GTS 360M card, which is not on the list, but I unlocked it and it improves both quality and render time.
Here are some test results to show how important GPU is for encoding time:
1920×1080 60i AVCHD footage – 32 seconds (no effects)*
Export to 720 30P H.264 1 pass VBR
CPU only with max render quality: 2m47s
CPU only with no max render quality: 1m04s*
GPU with max render quality: 0m43s
*note1: Adding effects would only exaggerate the time gap between GPU and CPU times.
*note2: I don’t recommend CPU with no max render quality but provided it for illustration purposes. GPU acceleration automatically enables a higher quality encode and GPU with Max Render Quality ensures that video with effects that are not GPU accelerated still are rendered at Max Render Quality. In this case there is not time difference between the two GPU options as there are no effects.