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horsleyjd
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Need Cheap Laptop For Video Editing

Apr 15, 2011 12:00 AM

Hopefully this is not an oxymoron.

 

I will be going overseas in the near future, and I will need a laptop that can handle editing 1080p HD video from my Nikon D7000. Is this possible to do without spending more than $800?

 

I looked at Premier CS5's minium requirements, but I don't really know what to make of it.

 

I'm not very tech savy so I'm trying to understand  what the specs on the laptop mean as far as tangible performance. For instance if I bought a laptop with an i5 processor, a GeForce GT 540M  graphics card and 4 gigs of ram would that be enough to run CS5  effectively with my camera footage.

 

If not, what specific things would I need to improve and by how much? What would be the ideal set up, what would be a doable/efficient setup, and what would be one that just barely meets the requirments? What kind of experience would I get from each one?

 

Any information would be much appreciated.

 

 

 

 
Replies
  • Jon-M-Spear
    969 posts
    Jan 27, 2006
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    Apr 15, 2011 12:13 AM   in reply to horsleyjd

    Not sure of the costs in the US, but I bought a Dell Studio 1558 last year for about £700 GBP which has been all around the world with me.  It has an i5 and 500 mb 7200 rpm drive; 4 Gb memory expqndable to 8 Gb; i-link, hdmi and e-sata connections.

     

    Admitedly, my mobile editing is non too involved, usually straight edits and captioning in CS5, but I also use it to take in direct camera feeds via On Location.  For that, I attach an e-sata Raid-0 drive.

     

    I'm not sure about the card, but it won't be MPE ready in CS5.5.

     

     

    http://www.dell.com/us/p/studio-1558/pd

     
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    Apr 15, 2011 5:42 AM   in reply to horsleyjd

    For under $800, yes that would be pretty crippled. You should be able to spend a bit more though and "get by" though.

     

    See what you can find with:

    - 8GB or 16GB of RAM

    - quad-core Sandy Bridge CPU (i.e. i7-2630QM); quad-core with hyperthreading is VERY important for CS5 and the new 32nm Sandy Bridge technology allows for more processing power than the 45 nm technology does considering the somewhat limited cooling capabilities of a laptop (certainly compared w/ a desktop PC)

    - minimum of two hard drives; preferably both internal, but an eSATA connected extrernal can be effective (USB2 or USB3 are not so hot for CS5)

    - GTX 460M is a great laptop video processor; there may be others too

     

    Whether you spend a little of a lot, note that a laptop that will run CS5 to edit 1080P will be large and heavy - a least this class of laptop typically has a killer display screen!

     

    Harm recently did a nice write-up on what hardware you need for CS5 and considering different CODECS, see:

    System requirements for Premiere Pro CS5

     

    While CS5 will work with a lesser PC for standard definition video editing - like in the old days - tightly compressed high definition media is a whole lot more demanding.

     

    Jim

     
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    Apr 15, 2011 8:10 AM   in reply to horsleyjd

    Just getting a GT 540M does not give us enough detail to say if it will work to provide MPE Hardware Acceleration.  I looked at the nVidia site and the amount of video RAM (directly connected to the graphics chip) is up to the manufacturer of the laptop.  Unless it has 1 GB of dedicated video RAM it will not work for MPE even with the user addition to "cuda_supported_cards.txt" file.

     

    Have you looked at our PPBM5 results benchmarks.  There are several notebook computers that have been tested.  Here is one that scored fairly well.  I suspect that it was more expensive than your target.  Click on this thin line to see the results

     

    Laptop-532.jpg

     

    Message was edited by: Bill Gehrke

     
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    Apr 17, 2011 1:23 AM   in reply to horsleyjd

    I would check techbargains.com (or a similar site) regularly for "sandy bridge i7" and see what comes up.  For example, this was posted 2 days ago so it isn't currently active, but if you can stretch just a bit, deals like this are available. 

     

    notebook.PNG

     

    I know this is still far from ideal, but this would probably get you started (with some adjustments).  However, if you have this as a base system, you know the investment isn't wasted, because this system should scale up without much hassle.  Adding an eSata RAID0 drive and potentially a RAM upgrade should put you in pretty good shape I would think.

     

    Keep checking deal sites like techbargains and see what you come up with.

     
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    Apr 17, 2011 1:28 AM   in reply to horsleyjd

    I just bought a Lenovo W701 I7 1.7ghz 12 gig ram 2 x 500gig hdd and a FX2800M. I loaded the hack and it seems to work, i am busy changing HDD (500 gig 7200 Seagate XT momentus for OS). I bought it used but in good condition.

     

    Darren

     
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    Apr 17, 2011 10:07 AM   in reply to horsleyjd

    Beware!!!   Read more on this forum before spending your money...esp. examine the test results on PPBM 5 and look at the results for the few laptops listed there. Also,

     

    Consider these facts :

     

    1. As Harm Millard has said many times....even with the most advanced laptop, performance will only be average compared to a properly equipped desktop...however, I am not doing bad with my Asus G73 gaming laptop, equipped with an NVidia 460m graphics card, ( for a portable solution).Although my results are not yet posted,I got a total score in the 370s, which is average and even higher than many desktops. I am editing AVCHD and MOVs,( from a Canon DSLR). At the time I purchased it last fall, it seemed to be less expensive than the high powered Sagers. Now, with Sandy Bridge CPUs in laptops and new SATA III SSDs running at very fast speeds....performance in laptops may rise dramatically....my unit seems obsolete already, and it's only a few months old!!!!!!  Now, you can get better laptop performance for your dollar than just 4 or 5 months ago....hopefully, newer Sandy bridge results for laptops will start showing up on the PPBM5  site.

     

    2. With a laptop, get one with 2 internal HDD bays and a high speed external port,( for attaching more drives at high speed).Without 2 internal HDDbays, you will be S.O.L.!! Your CPU should be at least i7,running at the highest clock speed you can afford....more cores and more clock speed are critical in having an acceptable perfomance. I am reading where gamers are supposedly getting 20% overclocks on my CPU, ( i7 740qm), but, this does not seem to be a good strategy for a laptop,so, you need the highest clock speed right out of the box.

     

    3. You must have an NVidia video card in the machine which has at least 1 gig of dedicated video memory,( I have the 460m), in order to use the Mercury playback feature which dramatically improves rendering performance while editing in PPRO CS5. A simple "hack" is available for NVidia cards not "officially" supported by Adobe.

     

    4. The more ram the better....get a laptop with 16GB if possible,or, plan to upgrade yourself...more ram improves laptop performance and After Effects, too.

     

    5. Get the larger 17.3"  1920x1280 HD display on your laptop.....the smaller screens are hard to work on and may not even have the necessary minimum resolution to display the program properly. An HDMI video out at minimum is a must for attaching a larger external monitor.

     

    6. Know and read about the exact codecs you will be working with,(that come from your camera), and if they match up with the presets that are included with PPRO CS5. In my case, CS5 has eliminated my having to transcode source files into another codec which PPRO could handle without choking the laptop.

     

    In conclusion, compare the specs on new gaming laptops, ( Asus G73s with Sandy bridge CPUs,or similar), to the Sagers now available to see what may be the best bang for the buck. I'm sure you can do way better than I did only a few months ago. Read as much as you can from Harm Millard ,Bill Gherke, and the other major contributors to this forum to learn what works best....they know a million times more than me and with their PPBM 5 website test, have provided people like us to view actual performance results from various systems and configurations.

     

    As someone who started trying to edit AVCHD and Canon MOVs on a core 2 duo laptop running CS4, I can say that using a cheaper, underpowered, insufficient laptop will only drive you to drink,or, to leap off a bridge!!! I was forced to transcode everything first, to an intermediate codec,( which lowered the video quality), in order to edit it on that laptop.

     

    If you are forced to have a portable solution, like me, you may want to consider the benefits of the new Sandy Bridge technology which has SATA III in a laptop.....you can have high speed SATA III SSDs running in it at amazing speeds,even without RAID!! Plus, the higher clock speeds of the CPU.

     

    So, in a nutshell....you may save money and get a good machine that is a gaming laptop without having to spend high on a top rated Sager, but, anything which is too cheap will not perform well......FUGGETTIBOUTIT!!!!     

                                                                                                                             JFPhoton

                                                                        

     
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    Apr 17, 2011 10:16 AM   in reply to horsleyjd

    ....whooops!!!  I meant 1929x1080 screen size!!!....not "1280"....and AMD video cards,or, integrated graphics will not allow you to have Mercury playback feature, which is critical...

     

                                                                                                        JFPhoton

     
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  • Jon-M-Spear
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    Jan 27, 2006
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    Apr 18, 2011 12:58 AM   in reply to horsleyjd

    The Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) is utliised all the time.  However, the card determines whether the MPE can access its onboard GPU (hardware) or not.  If the card is not compatible (All ATI cards), you will have to access MPE through PP CS5's software feature.  This is not as efficient.

     

    Access through the card's GPU is the future, however, I believe that it is only the release of CS5.5 next month that extends this feature to laptops.

     

    You need to look at this page for the supoported cards...

     

    http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/tech-specs.html

     
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    Apr 18, 2011 5:44 AM   in reply to Jon-M-Spear

    J-MS wrote:

     

     

     

    Access through the card's GPU is the future, however, I believe that it is only the release of CS5.5 next month that extends this feature to laptops.

     

    You need to look at this page for the supoported cards...

     

    http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/tech-specs.html

    If you will look at the PPBM5 results page you will see a good number of laptops with the nVidia CUDA cards (I think I counted 9 "M" versions graphics cards that were successful) that are currently running Hardware Accelerated MPE with current CS 5.0 versions. No need to wait!

     
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    Apr 18, 2011 8:44 AM   in reply to Jon-M-Spear

    > I believe that it is only the release of CS5.5 next month that extends this feature to laptops.

     

    The Premiere Pro CS5 (5.0.3) update added support for a laptop card.

     
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    Apr 18, 2011 10:28 AM   in reply to Todd_Kopriva

    Todd,

     

    Regarding "... added support for a laptop card"

     

    Should say, "... added support for a laptop card in a Windows 7 PC"

     

    Sorry, couldn't resist - I'm only saying this because I thought that I'd read here at this forum that Apple laptops with nVidia cards have to run 5.0.0 because the newer versions including 5.0.3 "broke" something!

     

    Jim

     
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    Apr 18, 2011 12:54 PM   in reply to horsleyjd

    yes, you need an NVidia card in your laptop that has at least 1GB of video memory....ATI will not enable hardware acceleration of the Mercury Playback Engine....

    your time will render 10 times slower without this feature enabled!!!!! See PPBM5  test results....MPE on vs. MPE off!!!

     
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    May 4, 2011 6:20 PM   in reply to horsleyjd

    They're both OK, but you'll need to max out the system RAM at 8GB just to even achieve tolerable performance.

     
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    May 4, 2011 10:43 PM   in reply to horsleyjd

    Sorry, I have to correct Randall. Both are only OK if you like to work in the blind. The screen resolution is below minimum requirements and the consequence is that you will not be able to see the complete GUI and it is inconvenient if you can't see what options you can select. Both are below minimum requirements in disk setup too. Those minimum requirements are really minimum requirements to be able to install the program. To use it requires substantially more.

     
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    May 5, 2011 12:12 AM   in reply to horsleyjd

    In one of the early replies, Jim showed you the link to Adobe Forums: System requirements for CS5

     

    As you can see, much depends on the codec you want to use. CS3 on a Pentium works quite good with DV material, but CS5 is more demanding and there is a tendency to use HD material these days, and that is even more demanding. This applies to all components, CPU, memory, video and disks.

     

    Have a look here as well: Adobe Forums: Generic Guideline for Disk Setup

     
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    May 5, 2011 12:27 AM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    Harm,

     

    I stand corrected. I did not pay attention to several details, especially screen resolution. Adobe requires a minimum vertical resolution of 900 pixels and a minimum horizontal resolution of 1280 pixels. Unfortunately, the two cheap laptops fall short on vertical resolution.

     

    So in other words, Premiere Pro CS5 or CS5.5 will not even install on these two laptops.

     
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    May 5, 2011 12:51 AM   in reply to horsleyjd

    D7000 footage is H.264 footage and thus falls in the category of AVCHD-like codecs. Difficult codecs, making for the highest system requirements.

     

    Two external disks is pretty much impossible, because AFAIK there are no notebooks with two eSATA connections, only one. You want to have 7200 RPM eSATA drives for editing, not USB2 or FW400 because they are too slow. Keep in mind that D7000 footage is highly compressed and requires a lot of temporary space while editing and if your memory is limited, requires the pagefile quite often.

     
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    May 5, 2011 4:47 AM   in reply to horsleyjd

    I have just bought a Sony Vaio VPCF13M8E/B, which has a 1600x900 15" screen and an NVidia graphics card with 1GB memory.  It has a 1.73 GHz i7 processor and 4 GB of RAM.  It has a firewire port and a single eSATA.  I can use 2 extra eSATA drives with an ExpressCard.  there are also 2 USB 3 ports.

     

    The weak point is the hard drive - a 500 GB, 5400 rpm type.  There is no place for a second internal drive.  There are designs on the internet for replacing the optical drive with a second hard drive.  I might try a hybrid Seagate Momentus 7200 rpm drive at some point.

     

    The graphics card provides acceleration with the standard hack, and I can edit reasonably well on this with Premiere CS5, BUT I am doing simple edits with 1440x1080 50i HDV.  I think it would be pretty slow going with 1080p HD from your Nikon.

     

    The Vaio is available for around £800 here in the UK.

     
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    May 6, 2011 7:13 AM   in reply to horsleyjd

    Having a laptop connected to a (most likely stationary) monitor defeats the very purpose of a laptop: The use anywhere where there is no AC (mains) power.

     
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    May 7, 2011 5:52 PM   in reply to horsleyjd

    There probably aren't too many folks who deliberately bought a laptop that was under-specced, only to attach an external monitor of the proper resolution to see if they could install Premiere Pro CS5x.

     

    I wouldn't expect an answer any time soon.  But then again, who knows?

     

    -Jeff

     
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    May 8, 2011 1:20 AM   in reply to horsleyjd

    Have a look at a notebook that may be outside your budget range, 'ernestoaksu' in the PPBM5 Benchmark

     

    You will find it near the bottom of the list around rank 380 of the around 400 systems. It is about 23 times slower than a fast machine.

     

    It is a Sony VPCEB3Z1E notebook, but may not be in the list of available models anymore.The closest I could find was the VPCF13Z1E/B @ € 1.600.

     

    If you want to shave off more money, while still meeting minimum graphics requirements, which means 1600 x 900 effectively or better, and do concessions on memory, CPU, and disk, accept that that notebook will be as slow as molasses in winter, say 50 - 80 times slower than a fast machine. OTOH, if you don't mind that, your stay abroad will look much shorter.

     
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    May 8, 2011 1:30 AM   in reply to horsleyjd

    I made a suggestion for a cheap laptop in post 26, but you appear to have ignored it!

     

    Harm has suggested the same system in the previous post.  For video editing, this is probably about as cheap as it gets!

     
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    May 8, 2011 6:41 AM   in reply to Todd_Kopriva

    > I am NOT looking to build a work station. And the vibe I get from this forum is that you either get the work station or go home.

     

     

    I think that the advice on this forum is better summarized like this:

    "If you want great performance and ease of use, don't expect it from a laptop. If you're willing to accept compromises for the benefit of mobility, then go for it. But don't then complain about those compromises."

     

    The compromises are in all areas: RAM, hard disks, GPUs, monitor size, CPUs, I/O ports...

     

    You can get work done on a laptop. It will just be slower and less convenient---sometimes slower and less convenient by a large enough margin to be really frustrating, especially if you've had the experience of working more quickly and easily on a better machine.

     
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    May 8, 2011 11:12 AM   in reply to Todd_Kopriva

    Todd,

     

    You could not have phrased this better. That's basically the point that I have been trying to deliver to the OP. In the case of the $800 laptops, their screens fall short of the minimum that's required by Adobe for its CS5.x versions of Premiere. 1366x768 is considered below the minimum because Adobe requires a vertical screen or monitor resolution of at least 900 pixels. (For reference, my main rig's current 18.5" 1440x900 monitor barely meets Adobe's minimum with respect to vertical resolution; however, I will be upgrading to a true 1080p monitor as soon as my funds will allow.) Hence, CS5 will not even install on such a cheap laptop without the assistance of an external monitor. By the very same token, CS5 won't even run at all on such a laptop without an external monitor connected.

     

    And I have known for years that laptops are designed for low-power-consumption first, performance second. One would generally need to spend about three to four times as much in order to get a laptop that performs comparably to that of a given desktop or workstation. In other words, that $800 laptop performs no faster, and often slower, than a desktop that costs $300 to $400.

     
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