Best Laptop for Video Editing and Audio Performance (Premiere/Ableton Live) under $2000

robberbaron

Commendable
Apr 5, 2016
4
0
1,510
0
Hi everyone! I searched around and didn't find a recent thread specifically addressing this type of build so please forgive and paste a link if this is a duplicate post. I am an IT person who is very comfortable with Windows but has always owned Macs. Now I find myself in need of a new machine for medium-to-heavy duty video editing and audio recording/performance and all the programs I'm using are Windows compatible, plus I cannot afford the specs I want from Apple's lineup, so I'm about to buy my first serious Windows laptop. I'm overwhelmed by the number of choices out there and would appreciate guidance from those with experience. I am leaning toward an OEM machine or one of the business class machines because looks are irrelevant to me (this is a desktop replacement that will float between a music-setup area and an editing desk) but I do care about the quality of peripherals and reliability (ie will it wake from sleep fast and clean, is the trackpad good -- these little issues have always kept me from PCs in the past, not Windows) Anyway here's the guide questions answered:

1. What is your budget?

Ideally 1200-1600 but absolutely less than $2000. The equivalent Mac specs price at about $2700 and I'm not expecting a miracle here but obviously less expensive is better.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

15" seems like the sweet spot but I would consider 13-17 depending on other factors. If it's 17 I'd want >1080p resolution.

3. What screen resolution do you want?

1080p. Open to more if it won't cause problems but I don't want less. Open to touchscreen but it's not necessary and I'm not willing to pay more for it.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

Desktop replacement. My old Macbook Air is still serviceable for typing and web browsing, as are my Android phone and tablet. This is for video, photo, and audio creation.

5. How much battery life do you need?

2 hours with the integrated graphics on. This machine will mostly float between two wall outlets. If I can run a 20 minute audio set on battery power (including powering a small USB audio card and USB midi controller) that'd be cool but not strictly necessary.

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?

Not necessary.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)

Video editing with Premiere: I'd like to be able to do multicam and multiple stream-per-screen editing of 1080p video in Premiere, so CUDA/nVidia chip and as much VRAM as I can get are the priorities. Speed and number of cores is basically irrelevant. At least 3 GB of VRAM, would prefer 4 or 6.

Motion graphics in After Effects: Light use of this software compared to what it can do, but many cores/threads on the CPU for rendering makes sense.

Audio recording/performance in Ableton Live: 4 cores (hyperthreading is irrelevant in Ableton) is important. 8GBs ram is probably enough but of course more can't hurt. Fast SSD for streaming samples also makes sense.

Photoshop: The above programs are more demanding but I'd like to have good enough color to finish small scale stuff for web. For serious photo or video color I'll use a properly calibrated external monitor --- which it'd be nice to be able to drive with this machine.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

256 GB of SSD, preferably either PCIe or M2.
>500 GB of spinning platter library space would be a nice-to-have but not strictly necessary.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

Nope.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

As long as possible! Reliability is a big factor, upgradeability less so.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?

DVD rom would be nice to have but not necessary. If I had to choose between DVD and extra HD I'd pick extra HD.

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.

Can't afford an Apple, anyone else is fair game. I'm down to buy an MSi or the like if the input devices and reliability are good enough.

13. What country do you live in?

US (California)

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

Just want to reiterate necessary specs:
Quad core Intel processor, i5 or i7
8 GB ram (with ability to upgrade in future to at least 16)
>3GB VRam nVidia chip
>/=256gb SSD
15" / 1080p screen that doesn't suck for color (doesn't need to be perfect, just not terrible)
Reliable (I don't mind chasing down a driver or two but once that's done I want minimal crashing with Adobe CC, Ableton)
Trackpad must be pretty good
Ability to drive 2k monitor (through dual-link HDMI or displayport or Thunderbolt)

Nice to have but not necessary:
Thunderbolt port
Extra HD / DVD
ABility to drive 4k thru HDMI/DP/Thunderbolt

Thanks very much for your time and expertise everyone!
 

Purpletalon55

Respectable
Apr 2, 2016
463
0
2,210
81
Lenovo p50 or p70 would be your best choices here are links,

http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/p-series/p50/

http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/p-series/p70/
 

robberbaron

Commendable
Apr 5, 2016
4
0
1,510
0


Hi Purpletalon55, thanks for the response. Those Lenovos do look really nice.

Unfortunately it seems impossible to get either of them configured with more than 2gb of Vram under my absolute cutoff of $2k. I'm wondering if there's a particular reason you recommend Quadro over Geforce chips, my understanding was that even a pretty mediocre GPU would be enough horsepower for video, but that I need about 1gb of Vram per 1k video stream (I often have split-screen projects with up to 4 hd streams playing back on 1 hd canvas).

Is there something i don't know regarding reliability etc. with using Geforce chips and Premiere?

Or put another way are there any geforce-based machines you'd recommend?

Thanks again!

UPDATE: It seems there is one config of the p50 that comes in just under at 1900 and meets all requirements. This is looking like my best bet at the moment, but I'm still interested in the answer to the above follow up question. Thanks!
 

Purpletalon55

Respectable
Apr 2, 2016
463
0
2,210
81


Quadro chips are designed for professionals who do graphics intensive tasks as well as a lot of video editing. They are stronger in these tasks due to having more raw horsepower and cuda cores. Gaming or Geforce grade cards operate at a far lower clock with usually lower memory bandwith and dont have as many cuda cores so they will perform worse in tasks such as crunching numbers, rendering and editing. The amount of vram is only important at high resolutions like 4k and above 2gb is perfectly fine for 1080p. And should be fine with 4k as long as you dont do anything too crazy. Quadro chips are also more compatible with video editing software.

Also nice to have a fellow Californian on the forums :)
 

robberbaron

Commendable
Apr 5, 2016
4
0
1,510
0
Thanks for the input and the Cali love! :)

What you're saying is somewhat counter to what I've read elsewhere -- which could definitely be wrong and/or out of date so feel free to correct me, in fact please do -- that Quadros are slower clocked and have fewer CUDA cores, at least per $, than the geforce series -- but since I'm not doing much in the way of 3D I doubt that matters either way. Memory bandwidth and total VRAM seem to be the salient issues. The main benefits of Quadros seems to be possibly more stable drivers and the fact that Adobe certifies them (If I were trying to run Avid I'd be stuck on Quadro but Premiere seems to be more forgiving, at least in official specs).

I am trying to do one "crazy" thing, at least, which is that I often have 4 HD streams playing back simultaneously on a single timeline (ie. 1 stream per Video track with V1-V4 enabled, cropped so they are each taking up only part of the HD canvas). My experience tells me this is more like running a single 4k stream than like running a single HD stream, in terms of taxing the system, even though the output is 1k.

The main thing I want to know is, can I do that and apply color effects to all 4 streams with a 2GB Quadro and get smooth scrubbing and playback? If you or anyone reading has any experience in actually running Premiere and doing that kind of split-screen on a system like the ones we're discussing I'd love to know what your experience was. Or if anyone would be willing to do a quick test on their own system, I'd be seriously obliged.

Thanks again for answering!!
 

Purpletalon55

Respectable
Apr 2, 2016
463
0
2,210
81


You should be fine, as i said quadros are designed for heavier work than geforce chips, they can tolerate longer runs at higher temperatures. Geforce chips are meant for everyday basic tasks and gaming and wont hold up to a lot of heavy use as well as a quadro chip will. Quadros, have special cache, and layouts and features that arent on geforce chips that allow them to crunch numbers better

They essentially have better floating point performance than geforce chips meaning they are better at handling large amounts of data and large amounts of video.

Also quadro chips are tested and they only use the best ones so you dont end up with any binned or lower performing cards like you can get in the geforce series, the 960 for example is really just 970's that didnt make the cut etc, nvidia is known for re using cards that didnt meet the specs for what they were intended to be as lower end cards.
 

Purpletalon55

Respectable
Apr 2, 2016
463
0
2,210
81


Maybe you could do a review of the pc once you test it with your softwares, as i dont use them but would like to know how things end up.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
AssumingUnicorn Laptop General Discussion 0
L Laptop General Discussion 2
mikeavi Laptop General Discussion 0
altertrail Laptop General Discussion 0
D Laptop General Discussion 1
B Laptop General Discussion 1
N Laptop General Discussion 1
D Laptop General Discussion 1
D Laptop General Discussion 1
M Laptop General Discussion 1
T Laptop General Discussion 3
Sandraos Laptop General Discussion 3
I Laptop General Discussion 1
P Laptop General Discussion 1
C Laptop General Discussion 3
S Laptop General Discussion 4
S Laptop General Discussion 2
M Laptop General Discussion 5
M Laptop General Discussion 2
K Laptop General Discussion 3

ASK THE COMMUNITY