3 Replies Latest reply on Jun 14, 2013 10:59 AM by Van Z

    Upgrade question for laptop to run PPro CS6/CC

    Van Z



      I've spent the last several days reading, researching and generally getting up to speed on what my options are re hardware moving forward, and though I've been a lurker/user of these forums (and others) for years, this is my first time engaging directly now that I feel I know a bit more. I must also say how incredible a resource the regular users like Harm Millard have been to self-taught but enthusiastic newbies like me - thank you!


      I've been a longtime self-taught, relatively light but still barely pro Premiere Pro user for the past ten years. For the past couple of years, I've been barely getting by using CS4 on my once-top-of-the-line Dell Precision M6500 laptop running Win7 Pro 32-bit. The M6500 is by far my favorite PC I've ever owned and is still rocking, even with older specs (listed below), but it is time to grow up, bite the bullet and (hopefully) upgrade this machine so that I can take advantage of CS6/CC and do a bit more heavy lifting (basic color correction, light After Effects, etc).


      I currently shoot on a Sony AX2000 in AVCHD, but am starting to do more work on my Canon t3i and am close to moving up to a Canon 5D mk3, so will be using more HD MOV files in the near future, possibly alongside the old AVCHD footage. Most of my exports are for HD web uploads, but also occasionally export to DVD. I do not anticipate stepping up to Red footage or the like in the near or mid future.


      My current laptop specs are as follows:

      • Win7 32-bit
      • 4GB RAM
      • Intel i7 quad core M620 (2.67GHz)
      • 500GB 7200rpm HDD
      • Nvidia Quadro FX 2800M


      I've already ordered a RAM upgrade to get me to 16GB, have Win7 64-bit ready to install, and just bought 2 x 750GB 7200rpm HDD (Western Digital). Instead of investing in an all new machine (laptop or desktop), and considering the amazing stability and longevity (so far) of the M6500, I'd like to try and see if I can get this machine to a place where I can take advantage of CS6/CC and have it run stably and somewhat fast. I realize it's not the best option, and that getting an all-new tricked out desktop is the preferred option, but for budget reasons, that's not possible right now.


      Here's my plan:

      Upgrade so that system will be:

      • Win7 64bit
      • 16 GB RAM
      • 2 x 750GB 7200rpm HDDs (internal)
      • rest of the system listed above would remain the same as above - namely CPU and graphics card


      The machine can also support a mSATA mini SSD (up to 256GB), but I haven't splurged for that yet. I'm  trying to figure out whether to use the two new HDDs in RAID 0 and have the OS, project files, cache, source footage and export files all on those two RAIDed drives, or whether it would make a truly huge difference to add another internal SSD as the boot/OS/Program Files drive and leave the RAID 0 configuration to handle all video and project files. I've read enough to assume that adding the SSD is the preferred option, but it's pricey, and what I'm trying to determine is whether or not it's really worth the cost vs a straight 2-HDD RAID 0 configuration.


      I've read a lot about the dangers of RAID 0, but am not too concerned about failures since I use an online backup system (Sugarsync) for all my document files (this machine doubles as my main work PC) and I regularly back up all source and exported video files.


      On a separate note, I realize that my graphics card is not listed among the supported cards for CS6/CC - is that going to cause stability and/or significant performance issues, or will it work since I won't be doing 4k/Red files? Is the CUDA hack an option for me? I have the option of upgrading the card to a supported card (Nividia M5000), but it's hugely pricey (close to $2k) and unless it will make the machine an absolute stud for years to come, it's not worth it.


      So in short (yeah right ), here are my questions:

      1. Does my proposed new system have the juice to handle what I want to do?
      2. Which HDD setup is preferred, and by what degree (do I absolutely have to get the SSD to make this work?):
        1. 2 x 750GB 7200rpm HDDs in RAID 0 for the entire machine
        2. 1 x SSD (what size is minimum recommended?) as boot/OS plus 2x750GB HDDs in RAID 0
      3. Will my existing Quadro 2800M graphics card make the other RAM/HDD upgrades a waste of money?
      4. Is my existing CPU powerful enough to warrant these other upgrades?


      Sorry for the long post, and thanks for any help you guys can provide!



        • 1. Re: Upgrade question for laptop to run PPro CS6/CC
          JEShort01 Level 4



          Tough love - I'm going to give you my honest opinion here, but it does make me feel bad since you seem to have already ordered parts before you posted.


          1. In a word no. Your processor is dual core. You really want at least quad core + hyperthreading for the media that you will be pushing around. The Quadro 2800M only has 96 CUDA cores and DDR3 (slow) memory. BTW, task manager shows 4 "cores" when you have a dual-core + hyperthreading.


          2. I'd choose 2. - much nicer - worth the cost


          3. yes


          4. no


          So what to do if you cut bait on your current plan and get a new laptop. Check out recent (< 6 mths old) threads here for lots of discussion at various price points. Gamers laptops and Sager/Clevo models definitely offer the best bang for the buck for laptops to run Premiere, mostly due to the GTX video line trouncing the Quadro line for performance for the price. I loved the Dell M6500 in its time. If you want to replace it with something current day the M6700 is good, but I like what HP is doing for the 17" workstation class even better in 2013. If you can buy a few months, I suspect the new smaller die size 22nm Intel cpus will be really help for laptop performance (desktops have just about all the cpu cooling capacity required, but in laptops cooling through tiny tiny coolers and tiny, tiny, quiet fans is way limited - so, the new lower wattage, cooler 22nm cpus should be much larger boost for laptop users than workstations).


          I suspect that I would really enjoy editing on a well thought out $1500 Asus, even better on a $2200 Sager, and would have similar performance with the support of HP or Dell at closer to a $3000 price point for the media you mention above. ADK sells Sager/Clevo laptops and has much better support for video (and audio) editors than HP or Dell ever dreamed to provide; prices would be a bit more than www Sager dealers but ADK is a no-brainer if you want "real" support and a machine that is tweaked for Adobe.





          • 2. Re: Upgrade question for laptop to run PPro CS6/CC
            UlfLaursen Level 2

            Have you considered at least one internal disc as an SSD; they would use less power and give less heat, but will of course add to the cost.


            I have two SSD's in my Dell Precision, one 240GB and a 120GB. I only use my laptop for editing occasionally on site, so the size of the drives is ok for me - I will tranfer to external storage when I get home.


            I don't know if you will use the laptop as your main editing box, if so, you might just want to get the two 750 GB, or even 1TB, whic you can get in 7200 rpm as well.



            • 3. Re: Upgrade question for laptop to run PPro CS6/CC
              Van Z Level 1

              Thanks, guys - that's what I was afraid of but was hoping wasn't true. I guess because I've been getting by with the current system on CS4 I figured a slight upgrade in specs might allow me to get by with CS6 on the M6500. If I cut bait on editing long-term on this laptop (which sounds like the way forward), there's no reason I need to stay on a laptop for editing - I'd invest in a desktop system to get more BFTB.


              Ulf, I do have the option of using an internal SSD for OS/programs AND the 2x750GB RAID0 configuration - all would be internal. But it sounds like from Jim that the other 2 components really holding me back are my processor and graphics card. I can upgrade the graphics card (for $1800 - almost the cost of an entry-level desktop NLE system), but don't want to sink that much more into an already 3-year old laptop that will struggle to keep up on a good day.


              So unless anyone has any wildly differing opinions, I think I'll keep the 16GB RAM, aim to just add the 2nd 750GB hard drive to my current machine, return the other new 750GB drive, and use CS4 short-term with bigger 2-disk storage until I figure out which direction to go for a new desktop NLE system.


              I poked around ADK a bit and have a whole slew of new questions about that process now....