Downgrading to laptop - can I still work on graphics & video for under $475?

miketvsubs

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This is going to be my 1st laptop, & I don't really know how to shop for them. I don't care about the newest software or hardware. I really only have 3 considerations: it has to be a laptop, it has to be under $475, & I have to be able to produce video & vector graphics in 1920x1080.

I'm going to be living on the road for a couple months, & I need something that will let me continue working on my art until I can set up my desktop again. In order of my most frequently-used software to least frequent (or, most important to least important): Flash, Gimp, Construct2, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blender, Premier. I don't intend to produce any 3D models/3D animation on this laptop (of course it would be great if I could), but I'd still like to be able to do some basic video editing if needed, even if it means just using some generic lightweight editor & no After Effects.

I understand I'll be scraping the bottom of the barrel on performance. Is it possible to find what I'm looking for? If it is possible, what kind of minimum specs should I be looking for? If not, what sacrifices should I consider making? Thanks
 

Barty1884

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Moderator
Looking new, a Kaby lake i5 (7200U), 8GB RAM but only a 5400rpm HDD:
http://www.microcenter.com/product/470380/Inspiron_15_5000_Series_156_Laptop_Computer_-_Fog_Gray

Refurbished i7-2760QM, 8GB, 250GB HDD and an NVS 4200M
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834295775

If you were prepared to upgrade it a little, this would give you something cheap & decent performance - but you'd probably get something comparable 'new out of the box' by dropping to an i5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834265200
1st Gen i7, a lower resolution, a 160GB HDD and 4GB RAM.
An SSD & a RAM upgrade could be done, keeping the total cost under about $300 I would guess.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834295279
2nd Gen i7

This refurb Skylake i5 might be an option:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834266191
 

Barty1884

Honorable
Moderator
It's possible - but at the budget it'll be less than ideal (although I'm sure you expect that).

As far as 'minimum' spec..... an i3 as an absolute minimum (no Pentiums etc, despite the # of cores), Skylake if at all possible (for the improved integrated graphics). An i5 is probably within budget, with an i7 being the 'ideal'.
8GB RAM minimum, and dedicated graphics if at all possible. Likely a stretch at $475, but I'll take a look and see...

As an FYI, refurbished might be a good route to go down. Perhaps last gen tech, but the refurb aspect should allow you to get something pretty respectable for your budget.

 

Barty1884

Honorable
Moderator
Looking new, a Kaby lake i5 (7200U), 8GB RAM but only a 5400rpm HDD:
http://www.microcenter.com/product/470380/Inspiron_15_5000_Series_156_Laptop_Computer_-_Fog_Gray

Refurbished i7-2760QM, 8GB, 250GB HDD and an NVS 4200M
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834295775

If you were prepared to upgrade it a little, this would give you something cheap & decent performance - but you'd probably get something comparable 'new out of the box' by dropping to an i5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834265200
1st Gen i7, a lower resolution, a 160GB HDD and 4GB RAM.
An SSD & a RAM upgrade could be done, keeping the total cost under about $300 I would guess.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834295279
2nd Gen i7

This refurb Skylake i5 might be an option:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834266191
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
I have no experience with vector graphics and I can tell you that if you want to encode video at 1080p then the conversion process will be pretty slow, but possible. I would say less than 10 FPS when encoding with H.264, but I would need to test that to be sure it is a ballpark estimate. But that also depends on the encoding parameters. I encode videos (like Blu-Ray movies) on my desktop, but I do not edit videos.

With such a low price you are basically limited to a laptop with dual Core i5-6200u CPU 6th generation Skylake CPU with an Intel HD 520 graphics core. Below is an example with a 1080p screen for $450. That is really the best you can hope for unless you look at used laptops. No point in getting a laptop with a 1366x768 resolution screen if you are going to be editing 1080p videos.


https://www.amazon.com/HP-Pavilion-15-6-Inch-i5-6200U-Processor/dp/B016ZOF9N2/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1477499730&sr=8-6&keywords=core+i5-6200u
 

miketvsubs

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Jun 30, 2011
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Thanks, I didn't realize upgrading a laptop's memory was even an option
 
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