8 Replies Latest reply on Feb 20, 2014 9:43 AM by ghijohansson

    Need advice before I buy laptop for editing


      I have edited mini DV on a 7 years old laptop with PE 3. Now it is time for me to buy a new laptop so I can edit footage from a Canon XA10.


      And buy a new video editing program. PE 12 is one of my top candidates because PE 3 has worked fine for years.


      I plan to record AVCHD, 24 Mbit/s, 8 bit, 4:2:0, true 1920*1080 for maximum quality. In PAL.


      No, I have never edited HD.


      Yes, I have tried to check what various software companies suggest.


      My editing is normally very trivial, even though I make long movies (hundreds of hard cuts in the same film). But when I do something complicated, the result is just a few seconds long.


      How powerful laptop do I need? I have the impression that the following is the minimum for editing both PE and the competitors, but please correct me if I have made some mistake.


      Any Intel core i7 quad core CPU with at least 2.0 GHz
      One single mechanical hard drive, 5400 or 7200 RPM (I mean SSD not necessary)
      4 GByte RAM
      Any graphics card with at least 1 GByte graphics memory


      I have the impression that editing HD means that one hard drive is not enough because the laptop needs to handle so much data. But how many external hard drives do I need? I want to minimize cost.


      And do I have to connect the external hard drives via USB 3, or is USB 2 enough?


      And one more technical question. When I edit, I see the whole project on the laptop's screen. How do I do to see only the film? With mini DV, I connect a television receiver to a camcorder and the camcorder with firewire to the laptop. But I don't know how I am supposed to do when I edit HD. Is there anything I must take into account when I choose what laptop I buy?

        • 1. Re: Need advice before I buy laptop for editing
          John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          SSD for Windows and ALL programs + internal 7200rpm hard drive is best... never a 5400rpm or "green" drive


          Internal 7200rpm hard drive + USB3 or eSata 7200rpm hard drive works... never a 5400rpm or "green" drive


          To have Windows 64bit and Premiere Elements 12 64bit you want AT LEAST 8Gig of ram


          If at all possible, do NOT buy a laptop with dual graphics adapters... those cause LOTS of problems


          This is for Premiere PRO but some ideas http://forums.adobe.com/thread/1369220?tstart=0

          • 2. Re: Need advice before I buy laptop for editing
            the_wine_snob Level 9

            I agree with John T's recommendations for an HD editing laptop.



            • 3. Re: Need advice before I buy laptop for editing
              ghijohansson Level 1

              Thanks for both answers.


              I see a problem. I checked a shopping agent in my country. There hardly appear to be any laptops with both SSD and a 7200 RPM hard drive. Or do I misunderstand?


              And what is dual graphics adapter? Do you mean that it can give output to two monitors at the same time?


              Yes, I understand that there is one alternative. Some competing programs can use proxy editing, which means that less powerful hardware is needed. But at the same time I must admit that I have liked PE.

              • 4. Re: Need advice before I buy laptop for editing
                John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                I gave you a priority list

                1st-SSD and 7200rpm hard drive... or, if you can't find that (you should mention your country) then

                2nd-7200rpm hard drive and external USB3 or eSata with 7200rpm hard drive


                Either way, NEVER a 5400rpm or "green" drive for video editing... especially not HD editing... and NOT a USB2 external


                I wrote dual graphics adapter(s) which is usually a "chip" on the motherboard and then a second, different brand, graphics adapters


                Read these links to find out why dual graphics adapters are a bad idea

                Dual video problems (some for Premiere Pro, but the idea is the same)

                Go to the Windows Control Panel and select Hardware and Sound and then select Device Manager... In Device manager you click the + sign to the left of Display Adapters... and see if 2 are listed



                -Use BIOS http://forums.adobe.com/thread/1019004?tstart=0

                -link to why http://forums.adobe.com/message/4685328

                -http://www.anandtech.com/show/4839/mobile-gpu-faceoff-amd-dynamic-switchable-graphics-vs-n vidia-optimus-technology/2

                • 5. Re: Need advice before I buy laptop for editing
                  ghijohansson Level 1

                  Thanks John T. Smith for your clarification. I live in Sweden.


                  I did find one with both SSD and 7200 RPM har drive, but it is expensive. Possibly the shopping agent have incomplete information.


                  There is a limited number of laptops which have a 7200 RPM hard drive, and at least one USB 3.0 port.


                  And as far as I can see, a completely different alternative would be that I buy a program which uses proxy editing. Or have I misunderstood something?


                  I understand that dual graphics adapters are bad. But how do I do to watch only the movie, not the whole projects? Do I choose full screen preview and connect an external monitor with the resolution 1920*1080? Or what?

                  • 6. Re: Need advice before I buy laptop for editing
                    the_wine_snob Level 9

                    The "dual graphics" situation, that John T. discusses, relates to having two different GPU chips - one, usually an embedded Intel, for low-power consumption situations, and the other, often an nVidia, or AMD/ATI, for video-editing and higher-demand usage.


                    For many (most?) laptops, even with a single GPU (nVidia, or AMD/ATI), there is a connection for a second monitor. This capability is not dependent on that dual-GPU arrangement. That is for something else. All of my laptops have only a single nVidia GPU, but also have a secondary monitor outlet, as well as the laptop's display screen.


                    Good luck,




                    PS - as for the 5400 RPM HDD vs 7200 RPM, the former will have trouble playing back video (not just editing, but playing finished video), where the 7200 RPM units will have the capability for smoother playback.

                    • 7. Re: Need advice before I buy laptop for editing
                      ghijohansson Level 1

                      Thanks for further answer.


                      I understand that I need powerful hardware to edit HD. But can i minimize the requirement by transcoding?


                      In principle, if I transcode from mpg4 to an intra frame compressed codec, then I guess I would need less powerful hardware. Or do I misunderstand?


                      I mean, transcoding without loss of image quality.

                      • 8. Re: Need advice before I buy laptop for editing
                        ghijohansson Level 1

                        I have continued to think about my problem.


                        The main problem is that when laptops are sold, they are not optimized for video editing because few people edit video on laptops. And far from all of those who sell laptops are familiar with video editing, so asking them to optimize a laptop may end in misunderstandment.


                        So I have thought about one possibility. Buy a "cheap" laptop with powerful processor and enough graphics memory. Then tell somebody who repairs laptops to replace part of the hardware with something more suitable for video editing.


                        But before I do that, I must know exactly what to replace.


                        So I have thought about some alternatives to upgrade a laptop as painlessly as possible.



                        I have read a short description of SanDisk ReadyCache. This is 32 GByte SSD with software. Connect it to a computer and files which are used often can be accessed up to 4 times faster than on a hard drive. Sounds relevant for video editing, but I have no idea if it works in practice. I mean, reviews are favourable but I have no idea if the reviewers used it for video editing.



                        Replacing a 5400 RPM hard drive would not cost me that much. My external hard drives are almost full so I need to buy new ones. I mean, I can tell somebody to replace a 5400 RPM hard drive with either SSD or a faster hard drive (7200 RPM). The 5400 RPM hard drive can I then use with firewire 3.0 as an external hard drive.



                        Unless I have misunderstood something, one can make a computer more powerful by using an USB memory as some form of memory. How much would that help in video editing?


                        I think this is what Microsoft calls ReadyBost, but I have never used it so I don't know.


                        By the way, if I use an USB memory in this way, how large should it preferably be? And how fast?



                        Any more suggestions than those above? And what is the preferable solution?


                        And yes, I have thought about the possibility to use a Small Form Factor PC, but since they are rare I have problems finding anyone. If somebody knows about a suitable one, please tell.