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Holy crap...do NOT get a Gateway anything.
Gaming technologies and build concepts sometimes are useful in video production builds, but not always. Stuff like graphics rendering often doesn't affect video.
HP has a 17" laptop line in the dv7 that is pretty nicely configured. Dual 7200 RPM drives available, as well as on board eSATA built in (for additional storage, or for connecting to an external RAID array).
Vista 64 is preferable, since the OS can utilize more RAM. Even if the suite itself is only 64bit compatible (as opposed to completely 64bit "aware") you still benefit from the OS being able to delegate an entire set of RAM to each application without sharing from a small pool of only 4 GB. I believe you can configure that dv7 laptop with up to 8 GB of RAM (or at least it's capable of up to 8 GB, but maybe you have to purchase your own upgrades separately).
Vista 32 runs PPro and AE very fast on my laptop, faster than XP Pro ever worked for me. Vista is a little bit smarter about handling physical RAM and processor resources (Vista SP1 made the OS very usable, and 3rd party support is a non issue if you are purchasing new components or a new machine, as you seem to be doing...hiccups come with trying to get 5 or 10 year old hardware and software to work on a new OS like Vista). Don't believe too much of the hype until you've given it a shot.
Oh, about 64 bit support...Photoshop CS4 is 64-bit native (Windows Vista 64 only, not Mac OSX). After Effects and Premiere Pro can open multiple instances of the application for rendering and such to take advantage of RAM availability. After Effects and Premiere Pro do approach this slightly differently from one another, but the end result is still that you have a 32 bit application that is trying to act like a 64 bit one, and from what I've seen so far, that makes a difference over 32 bit OS.
New MacBook Pro... I love it ;)
My HP laptop with dual drives, Vista, and 17" screen has been great in the field. I use it with OnLocation all the time, and do rough edits with PPro on it, then finish them on my workstation. But I've put some big projects on it, and had to finish them while out in the field, and it's never let me down.
I would really look into some of the new HP laptops - they look really good.
Any modern laptop with Esata! will work fine.
One recommendation I'll throw out here...if you end up with an HP laptop or a Dell, it's not a bad idea to to a clean install of the OS out of the box, because there can be some useless junk installed in there by the manufacturer. Alternatively, you can just try to toss a bunch manually.
Be careful with some things, though...some device drivers are required and not included on the core OS (eSATA drivers for one). If you go to the HP support site and look up your laptop after the fact, you will see a list of drivers and such where you can download and install one at a time after a clean wipe.
Watch for line-break, if you copy paste.
For a year, mine has been almost perfect. Sager did replace a faulty mulit-drive and paid shipping both ways.
My unit is built like a tank and sees constant use of the full Production Studio and then some. I added 2x IEEE-1394b ExpressCard and can hook up, and edit from my Maxtor 1.5TB externals. One could also go with eSATA ExpressCard if your externals are eSATA.
I went with 3x 200GB 7200 SATA HDDs, but would bet that they offer even larger ones now.
I could not be more pleased.
Thanks for the great suggestions.
Thanks for the great feedback. You guys really helped me. Here is the summary of all the suggestions.
Bill Hunt: Sager Notebook
Christian Jolly: Details about HP dv7, 64 bit and Vista. (Really good tech stuff)
Christian Jolly (2nd suggestion): For Clean wipe suggestion
Fred Tyler: eSata
Eric Addison: HP with dual drives, Vista, and 17" screen
Jim Simon: Mac
Petar Smilajkov: MacBook Pro
>Jim Simon: Mac
You've gone over to the Dark Side... ? Oh, what will we ever do now? I guess I'll now have to spend my time on the Chowhound board, as I can never look here and be comfortable again. [Grin]
Off topic; but I wish Bill gates would not try to make creative commercials promoting PC. It just confirms MS doesnt have a creative bone in its collective body. Its embarrassing.
I want to send a "user video in" that says , Hi, I'm a PC; and I'm embarrassed by MS's commercials.
I like those ads. While I do find the Mac "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" commercials very entertaining, they do promote a less than honest view of the computer scene. The MS ads sort of bring things back home again, offering the very real viewpoint that PC users represent the vast majority of computers, and are very wide range of personalities.
True, but they are done in such a boring, non creative way; it just makes the MAC commercials seem more correct.
I thought they were done in a very upbeat, naturalistic way, making the Mac commercials (as entertaining as they are) come across as the exaggerated "wishful thinking" that they truly are.
Im A PC guy myself. But I dont find the MAC commercials wishful thinking at all. They are sadly, right on the money.
I find them quite a caricature (which is why their entertaining).