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Martin WalkerModerator
Watcher Of The Skies


Joined: 28/02/01
Posts: 17489
Loc: Cornwall, UK
Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models
      #414373 - 31/01/07 10:48 AM
Hi Everyone!

So many people post here asking for recommendations of PC laptop models that will work well with audio hardware/software that a sticky thread seems like a very good idea.

However, please remember that a personal recommendation, however honest and heartfelt, doesn't guarantee that someone else will have the same positive experience, or that a different audio interface may have problems, so take care out there.

Please use this thread as far as possible to post details of a model that you have that you would like to recommend to others, and why, rather than posting loads of queries. It will help greatly if you include:

1. Make and model.

2. Processor type & speed.

3. Amount of RAM.

4. Drive(s) capacity.

5. Make and model of audio interface

6. Interface connection type (USB 1.1, USB 2.0, Firewire, PCMCIA, PCI Express)

7. Main software used.

Let the recommendations commence!


Martin

--------------------
YewTreeMagic


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Martin WalkerModerator
Watcher Of The Skies


Joined: 28/02/01
Posts: 17489
Loc: Cornwall, UK
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #415533 - 02/02/07 02:48 PM
There don't seem to be many people prepared to recommend their laptop models do there

Surely someone's pleased with what they bought?


Martin

--------------------
YewTreeMagic


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auxpin



Joined: 02/02/07
Posts: 1
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #415795 - 03/02/07 12:08 AM
great idea... had my Asus laptop for 18 months, runs like a dream and is my main machine now

1. Make and model.
ASUS A4K

2. Processor type & speed.
AMD Athlon 3400+ (runs at aprox. 2.16Ghz)

3. Amount of RAM.
1GB

4. Drive(s) capacity.
80GB Hitachi Travelstar 7200rpm internal drive
320GB Seagate 7200rpm USB external drive
160GB Seagate 7200rpm USB external drive


5. Make and model of audio interface
MOTU 828 Mark II
EgoSys WaMi box


6. Interface connection type (USB 1.1, USB 2.0, Firewire, PCMCIA, PCI Express)
Firewire
PCMCIA


7. Main software used.
Nuendo
Guitar Rig
Logic Platinum
AudioMulch
Wavelab


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Martin WalkerModerator
Watcher Of The Skies


Joined: 28/02/01
Posts: 17489
Loc: Cornwall, UK
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: auxpin]
      #417346 - 06/02/07 08:40 PM
Thanks auxpin for being the first to post, and welcome to the SOS Forums!


Martin

--------------------
YewTreeMagic


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mattatec
new member


Joined: 03/03/03
Posts: 13
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #418030 - 07/02/07 10:53 PM
This has done many many live sets in all weathers/temperatures in environments such as beaches, deserts and sweaty clubs. it has never let me down.

1. Make and model.
IBM T42
2. Processor type & speed.
Pentium M 1.7
3. Amount of RAM.
1 gig
4. Drive(s) capacity.
60 gig
5. Make and model of audio interface
Echo Indigo I/O and DJ
6. Interface connection type (USB 1.1, USB 2.0, Firewire, PCMCIA, PCI Express)
PCMCIA
7. Main software used.
Ableton 5 and SX3


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Colin Finnie
member


Joined: 17/04/03
Posts: 66
Loc: Herefordshire, UK
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #424049 - 21/02/07 01:16 AM
I'm using a Compaq Presario V5155EA laptop, with a Core Duo 1.6GHZ dual processor, 1024MB RAM, 100GB 5400rpm hard drive.
This is working via firewire through the integral port (TI chipset) with a pair of MOTU 828Mk2 interfaces in a custom rack box. I'm running Nuendo.

This has handled flawlessly everything from a single voice-over (overkill perhaps, but it was what came to hand ) to a 12-track rock band live gig recording. I'm still looking for the opportunity to try it with all 20 inputs running (16 line-in plus the 4 mic pre's built-in to the 828s).


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adrian_k



Joined: 30/01/03
Posts: 1743
Loc: Gloucestershire
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #424798 - 22/02/07 01:47 PM
Hi all,

I'm extremely happy so far with my Millenium Music CX55, bought late last year. I think it is based on an Asus motherboard/chassis. The spec is:

1. CPU: Intel Core Duo T7200 @ 2GHz

2. RAM: 2GB 533 memory (could have had 667 but was too cheapskate)

3. DISK: 80GB 7200 SATA internal, 250GB Iomega 7200 USB2 external.

4. AUDIO INTERFACE: RME Fireface 800, via a SIIG Firewire 400 Expresscard. (Laptop does have onboard FW but it's 4 pin and like all 4 pin, a bit flimsy)

I'm using Sonar 5.2 with the above and (fingers crossed) have had absolutely no problems. Just been mixing a 35 track project off of the external drive with convolution reverbs, compressors etc etc no problem at all. Disk usage was showing about 75%, CPU about 35%. I could probably reduce disk usage by dumping all of the unused audio takes.

It's pretty quiet and you'd have no problem recording in the same room.

Not as good as my PaQ though

cheers
Adrian

--------------------
getting better all the time..


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waxwobbler
member


Joined: 28/01/02
Posts: 226
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #439106 - 26/03/07 07:27 PM
I recently bought a Toshiba Satellite pro A120

£750 inc vat from laptop direct with £100 cash back IF YOU REGISTER IN 7 DAYS.

http://uk.computers.toshiba-europe.com/cgi-bin/ToshibaCSG/jsp/productPage. do?service=UK&PRODUCT_ID=121987&toshibaShop=false

2Ghz C2 duo
Windows XP® Professional with “free” (£18) vista upgrade voucher.
- 100 GB Hard Disk Drive
- 1,024 MB DDR2 RAM (533 MHz)
- 15.4" WXGA TFT display
- DVD Super Multi (Double Layer) drive

1 year on sight warranty upon registration return to base if not.

I was drawn to this due to the price/power ratio, plus it is supposed to be very sturdy. Tosh will give a full refund & fix if any parts fail during the guarantee period. Speaking to numerous IT pro’s Tosh have a very good name.

It has a limited amount of I/O but s fine with me, no fire wire, I will use USB so no problem.

Someone on here said they suffered audio glitches under processor load at the time of the fan kicking in. This turns out to be a different model when using Firewire. I have extensively tested with Emu 0202 & M audio fast track pro. I am primarily concerned with soft synths & the Emu gave fantastic result even with a very heavy load in Reason.

The power of the laptop is really seen when using Reason, my instrument count is double that of my old P4 3 Ghz. Logic 5.5 strangely does not benefit as much & there is probably only a 25% increase in performance. Even though task manager shows 2 cpu’s being used.

Few things I have noticed.

Fan noise is not at all bad but does kick in a fair bit under load. Its definitely way louder than my P4 (silent PC) Antec case Zalman cooler etc.

Screen is really nice compared with the glossy type, matt may be a bit duller but there are very little reflections.

The keyboard feels good & the whole laptop seems to have a very strong & sturdy construction. Its is a little chunkier than other sexy Size 0 laptops.

Tosh supply all the individual drivers in a folder on the laptop along with the recovery CD so should you want to do a fresh install things should be straight forward.

Minor Gripes
3 pinned power supply leads to ground problems /digital noise in some situations. This is solved with a £15 Behringer hum eliminator or a USB soundcard. The problem is described in MW’s sticky as are details of the fix. It actually only hums in 1 of the 2 studio set ups I have used it in so there may be other ground problems in that situation

All the USB ports are round the back which is a bit of a pain but no biggie.

The wireless range seems to be slightly worse than other laptops, maybe 1 bar down. No biggie unless you are right at the edge of the wireless network.

Overall I am very happy with it & wouldn’t want to change it, good bang for the buck with the promise of refund if fails. Has enough power to use lots of soft synths & audio tracks & really is a portable studio for me.

--------------------
http://soundcloud.com/colossaldj


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MartMc
member


Joined: 09/01/04
Posts: 64
Loc: Merseyside
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #439485 - 27/03/07 02:08 PM
Hi guys,

I hope I'm not out of place here, but I have been offered a Lenovo 3000 N100 Core Duo T2300E and was wondering if anyone had any experience with them? The spec looks good enough and it also has an extra 1Gb of memory (1.5Gb in total)but I'm a little concerned about compatability etc. I don't have an interface as yet, but will be looking to pair up my ADA8000 with any ADAT interface.

Again, if i'm too off topic feel free to delete.

Thanks in advance,

Mart.


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table for two
active member


Joined: 24/03/02
Posts: 5900
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models *DELETED* new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #440615 - 29/03/07 12:29 PM
Post deleted by Martin Walker at tft's request

Edited by Martin Walker (14/05/07 11:09 AM)


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Guss



Joined: 17/03/07
Posts: 33
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: table for two]
      #442794 - 03/04/07 11:14 PM
HP Pavilion !!!!!!!!!!!
They are brilliant laptops but they have the worst customer service in the world. they are pretty similar to the Compaq Presarios (since Compaq and HP have merged)

I have had three Pavilions
First with Pentium 4 3.2 800MHZ buspeed - monster you could run millions of plugins and it wouldnt even notice ! (got nicked)
AMD 2ghz bit - great.
at the mo INTEL 4 centrino 1.73 (bit slow compared to the first one but does the job !)
512 - 1000 RAM on all
40 - 100 gb hard drives

They all do a great job and have nice speakers for a laptop which although arent "reference quality" ,hehe, can be useful for jotting down ideas.

I have also had Toshibas, sun microsystems and various unbranded nightmares.
If you ever have hastle with the customer services get the trading standards onto them and they will sort you out .

I run :

Max MSP
Cubase/Nuendo
Fruity Loops
Reason
Waves
Protools
GRM Tools
Wavelab
Audition
etc etc


Interfaces :

M-audio Firewire 410 ( I have an online petition to get them to write some proper drivers !°)

Digidesign Mbox USB2

U2A USB2








Edited by Guss (03/04/07 11:54 PM)


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Tus Tep



Joined: 19/02/07
Posts: 7
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Guss]
      #443332 - 04/04/07 11:02 PM
Hi! Sorry for interrupting with a question but I think this might help the conversation on the issue. And as I'm considering buying a notebook and HP's seems to be one of the best options I wanted to ask a couple of things about them which I don't have it so clear:

1. Which is the best line, Pavillion or Compaq? I'm not really focusing on budget nor on nice looks (I know the Pavillions ares so nice!) but I read somewhere that "business" notebook are generally better built. Though it seems that specifications for high end notebooks seem to be better on the Pavillions, is this alright? Can you enlighten me about this issue?

2. I'm looking for a really high end notebook, though not going for a 17 inch. I'd like to stay within the 15 inch range. What would be the best option on HP, the Pavillion 6000t? (Core 2 Duo) or some other Compaq?

3. What can you say about the silentness of these HP models. This is something I really care for as I plan to record on the room and also perform electroacoustic music in very subtle environmentes in which disturbing fan noise could be a problem

THANKS!!


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Guss



Joined: 17/03/07
Posts: 33
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Tus Tep]
      #443378 - 05/04/07 01:37 AM
Quote Tus Tep:

Hi! Sorry for interrupting with a question but I think this might help the conversation on the issue. And as I'm considering buying a notebook and HP's seems to be one of the best options I wanted to ask a couple of things about them which I don't have it so clear:

1. Which is the best line, Pavillion or Compaq? I'm not really focusing on budget nor on nice looks (I know the Pavillions ares so nice!) but I read somewhere that "business" notebook are generally better built. Though it seems that specifications for high end notebooks seem to be better on the Pavillions, is this alright? Can you enlighten me about this issue?

2. I'm looking for a really high end notebook, though not going for a 17 inch. I'd like to stay within the 15 inch range. What would be the best option on HP, the Pavillion 6000t? (Core 2 Duo) or some other Compaq?

3. What can you say about the silentness of these HP models. This is something I really care for as I plan to record on the room and also perform electroacoustic music in very subtle environmentes in which disturbing fan noise could be a problem

THANKS!!




they are as quiet as any laptop. I do not recommend a business laptop - no way get a multi media one - after all thats closer to what you want it for. There are Compaq Presarios that are multimedia though i dont know what they are like - probably pretty good too.
The HP Pavilion dv6000 looks goooodd. However you want a laptop that works not just looks nice so.... The best thing to do is go to read the reviews here (look at the user reviews not the editor review, the users will let you know what the score is after months of use, the editor looks it over for a couple of hours) :

http://reviews.cnet.com/4566-3121_7-0.html?tag=dffl2_3&filter=1000036_ 2792031_

DV6000T :

http://reviews.cnet.com/HP_Pavilion_dv6000t_Core_2_Duo/4505-3121_7-3203670 2.html?tag=prod.txt.2

I heard they had some heating problems, its always like this with laptops, they get the bugs out on the newer models. Maybe consider a MACbook to run windows on if need be, but although there is a legit version of Windows for Mac there is no support.
I make electroacoustic music too BTW . If you want to look past the looks and blablabla then look at stuff like the FSB speed, cache size and hardrive speed . Get a 2 core duo.


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Tus Tep



Joined: 19/02/07
Posts: 7
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #444302 - 07/04/07 02:26 AM
Hi!
Thanks for all the info
I still don't get why is it better to get a Pavillion DV6000t rather than an HP COmpaq NC 8430 or NW8440 if these are supposed to be more reliable and better constructed machines (if one is looking for something to be professionaly used)
Any more info would be very useful.


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StudioEner
new member


Joined: 08/05/04
Posts: 2
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #448614 - 17/04/07 09:20 PM
Lenovo T60
Intel Core2Duo T5600 1.83Ghz
2 GB ram
100 GB Hitachi Travelstar HD
RME Fireface 800
Mainly Cubase SX3
Does not have integrated Firewire, but have worked like a dream for 5 months now using a PCMCIA firewire-card (VIA chip).
There is also an ExpressCard slot and 3 USB2-ports.
The 14' screen makes it pretty portable, the machine is relatively quiet.After trying out different laptops for almost 6 months I finally settled for this machine and it has not let me down!


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hegiian



Joined: 17/11/06
Posts: 137
Loc: Telford, UK
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: auxpin]
      #450024 - 20/04/07 05:53 PM
1. Make and model.
redsub 15.4" pro audio laptop

2. Processor type & speed.
pentium M (2ghz)

3. Amount of RAM.
1GB

4. Drive(s) capacity.
100 gig internal drive partitioned 15/85 - program/audio

5. Make and model of audio interface
focusrite saffire pro x2 + octopre le

6. Interface connection type (USB 1.1, USB 2.0, Firewire, PCMCIA, PCI Express)
Firewire


7. Main software used.
Nuendo
Wavelab


This set up has been absolutely brilliant over the past year, and I would have no problem recommending redsub to ANYONE. I have used it to record 20 track live shows, to mix and remix, and occasionaly even to do some "away from home" mastering. Okay, my laptop may seem slow now ON PAPER, but it has been that well set up by the guys at redsubmarine, it seems just as fast as my duocore desktop model. The level of help, expertise, and pure build quality is of such a high standard that I will now only use redsub for all my audio purchases.

--------------------
Baby we were born to run


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markinbfa



Joined: 22/05/07
Posts: 3
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #463868 - 22/05/07 08:22 AM
1. Make and model.
TOSHIBA Satellite 30M

2. Processor type & speed.
Intel Pentium M Processor 1.7GHz

3. Amount of RAM.
1G

4. Drive(s) capacity.
Internal 60G
External One: 120G
External Two: 320G

5. Make and model of audio interface
M-Audio 410

6. Interface connection type (USB 1.1, USB 2.0, Firewire, PCMCIA, PCI Express)

Firewire

7. Main software used.
Nuendo 3
Cubase SX3

--------------------
a guitarist and photographer
http://blog.sina.com.cn/xucen

Edited by markinbfa (22/05/07 08:23 AM)


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PlaguesBand
member


Joined: 27/01/04
Posts: 137
Loc: Nottingham UK
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #469600 - 05/06/07 06:39 PM
Call me crazy but I bought a Dell !!!!AAAAARGGGHHH!!!! Actually it's awesome and blows my desktop (XP3200+ Barton based) out of the water. Spec is:

1. Make and model
Dell Inspiron 6400

2. Processor type & speed.
Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 dual 2.0GHz, 667MHz FSB,FSB4MB L2 Cache

3. Amount of RAM.
1024MB 667MHz DDR2

4. Drive(s) capacity.
120GB SATA

5. Make and model of audio interface
M-Audio Fasttrack Pro

6. Interface connection type (USB 1.1, USB 2.0, Firewire, PCMCIA, PCI Express)
USB 2.0

7. Main software used.
Mainly Sonar 6PE and Reaktor 5

This system works really well, I have pushed it plenty with some huge custom built Reaktor synths and sequencers but it seems to handle pretty much anything I throw at it. Bought a cooling plinth (Akasa) for £29.99 which keeps it nice and stable/cool.

The M-Audio interface has been great too. I use an Audiophile 24/96 PCI on my desktop and this USB has measured up pretty well. Sound is really nice and warm, great controls and nice simple layout. Only things I would improve are:

1.the routing options are slightly less flexible on the software panel interface than than the 24/96
2. Got a few pops monitoring through Sonar on the lowest soundcard latency setting but whacked it up to next slowest and the pops went away. Latency is still great, getting reported latency of 2.9 ms in Sonar which is fine, even for playing my guitar through amplitube with software monitoring.

All in all, this was a great buy - the laptop and soundcard came in at under £900.


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Wilco



Joined: 06/06/07
Posts: 12
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #474546 - 19/06/07 02:18 PM
I'm using an HP NX8220 laptop, which has good specs and a nice 15.4" screen (1640x1050). It isn't too noisy (unless it runs Vista that is).

The disadvantage I find with laptops is that they are very rapidly superceded with newer models, which mostly are not better, if only more powerful. And therefore probably much noiser also, which I personally don't like.

1. Make and model.
HP NX8220

2. Processor type & speed.
Intel Pentium M 1,86 Mhz

3. Amount of RAM.
1024 Mb

4. Drive(s) capacity.
60Gb 5400rpm, split in 3 partitions, all NTFS:
- Windows Vista
- Windows XP
- Data
Made it dualboot as my music software doesn't always agree with Vista (yet).

5. Make and model of audio interface
MOTU 828mkII

6. Interface connection type (USB 1.1, USB 2.0, Firewire, PCMCIA, PCI Express)
3x USB 2.0
1x Firewire 400
1x PCMCIA
1x 1Gb ethernet
1x 56kbps modem

7. Main software used.
- Brainspawn Forte for live use
- Cubase SX3


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Wilco



Joined: 06/06/07
Posts: 12
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #474786 - 20/06/07 07:31 AM
As I stated before, the laptop market is a rapidly changing one and a certain type of laptop may be superceded by another one in 3-6 months. Or (this also happens quit a lot) the internal components are changed without notice. For instance because they are cheaper to get or have slightly better specs.

As I am not only a musician but also an IT professional I see this happening an awful lot.

I therefore think that it might be better to put a list together of good components rather than complete laptops. Certain motherboards or graphic interfaces or FW/USB devices are not very good, others are very good. Some chipsets may not be working so well. Of course you could try to keep an up-to-date list of good working laptops, but that list is bound to change on a regular basis.

This, however, should be a part of the SOS website itself and not just the forum. The forum could be used to get input from everyone. The results can than be published as part of the SOS website and as such provide a very good starting point for people searching for a laptop. They can then compare the specs and that, at least, should save them from buying not-so-compatible laptops.

Ofcourse this scenario could also apply to PC's and PC components involed. These also change rapidly. Also, the 'ongoing guide to putting together a decent laptop/PC' could be published in the magazine as part of the PC Notes. A spinoff could be a list of second-hand laptops/pc's which may be a bit older but nonetheless have good quality.

Also I think that the way a forum works is not that good for this kind of thing. It is just not very handy to have to read al posts and compare specs/components everyone talks about, certainly not as the list grows and grows.

Just an idea....


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John Willett
Sound-Link ProAudio


Joined: 07/03/00
Posts: 12391
Loc: Oxfordshire UK
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Wilco]
      #475969 - 21/06/07 10:11 PM
1. Make and model.
Samsung X50

2. Processor type & speed.
Intel Pentium Centrino 2GB

3. Amount of RAM.
1GB (note to self: must upgrade this to 2GB)

4. Drive(s) capacity.
80Gb - Windows XP-Pro SP2

5. Make and model of audio interface
RME Fireface 400

6. Interface connection type (USB 2.0, Firewire, PCMCIA.)

7. Main software used.
Sequoia 9.1.1

--------------------
John - Sound-Link ProAudio
President - Federation Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons


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Scope



Joined: 03/07/06
Posts: 2231
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: John Willett]
      #486033 - 14/07/07 09:38 AM
Any Sony Vaio - Brilliant.
( with a proper video chip, not the crappy Intel one included in the cheaper models ! )

Or, - dare I say it -

APPLE -

Yep, an Intel Mac ! - runs XP faster than it runs Mac OS- seriously !!!!!
Good kit, not cheap, well made, runs XP / Vista ( not that I could recommend Vista right now ) and you get OS-X if you want to try it.

Now there's a thought...........


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Cowboy Unit 5
new member


Joined: 12/03/02
Posts: 2
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #486418 - 15/07/07 02:11 AM
1. Make and model.
Dell Latitude D820

2. Processor type & speed.
Core Duo 2Ghz

3. Amount of RAM.
2Gig

4. Drive(s) capacity.
80 Gig 7200rpm

5. Make and model of audio interface
Echo IndigoIO

6. Interface connection type (USB 1.1, USB 2.0, Firewire, PCMCIA, PCI Express)
PCMCIA

7. Main software used.
Ableton Live
Windows XP service pack 2, kept up to date with "Windows Update"
An olde copy of Cool Edit Pro is my audio editor
I have Ubuntu Studio running (as dual boot) but haven't used it for real work since I like Live so much.

This laptop has been real stable and snappy fast. I take it with me everywhere. I record at home at night and can do mixing and editing at the cafe with headphones the next day. The widescreen is nice.


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XLII
new member


Joined: 03/02/04
Posts: 12
Loc: Tokyo, Japan / London, UK
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #490673 - 24/07/07 11:54 AM
Definitely DELL. I got 2.

first 1 from Jan 2005:
1. DELL Inspiron 1150

2. Pentium 4 2.8Ghz

3. 1GB RAM

4. 60GB 5400RPM Internal; 160GB 7200 external

5 & 6. USB: M-audio Quattro (for live shows); Firewire: M-audio 410 (for studio)

7. Cubase SX3 with NI Komplete, Reason & plug-ins for studio; Ableton Live for gigs.

I've used this PC for 2 years for live shows, it's been to more than a dozen countries, at least 200 nights out in clubs, splashed with beer, dropped, covered in sand at beach parties, covered in snow at snowboarding events and still runs smooth as the first day I got it. i'm typing on it now.:)


Second PC:
1. DELL Latitude D830

2. Intel Centrino Duo 2.4Ghz

3. 2GB RAM

4. 120GB 5400 RPM Internal; 120GB 7200 Portable external

5 & 6. E-mu 1616m (for Portable) on PCMCIA; Digidesign Digirack 002 (studio) on Firewire

7. Cubase SX3, Reason, NI stuff (I love MASSIVE!!!), Pro Tools LE 7 (for mixing only), OutSym Synth Maker, Ableton Live (for live shows)

--------------------
XLII - All we lack is shiny packaging and price tags...


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table for two
active member


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Posts: 5900
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #491317 - 25/07/07 02:41 PM
In trying to find a low cost "ideal" laptop for music,
I have been through various laptops over the last months, including
single core Pentium M's (on the Centrinos), Celeron M, AMD Athlon Mobile, Turion,
Core Duo and Core 2 Duo on the Napa platform (945 chipset), AMD Turion X2.


As part for my "research" I was looking for a laptop that had


1. Specs
Texas Instruments Firewire chip.
Minimum 3x USB2.0.
Express card slot with no issues (for future proofing), and a normal pc card slot.
SATA hard disk.
Gigabit LAN.


2. Design
Bright screen.
Brilliant touchpad (sweaty finger & wet finger poof) ! and or excellent trackpoint.
Quiet mouse buttons ie. non clickety ... important when recording audio.
Quiet enough decent keyboard with low click noise on space bar ...
necessary for low noise play & stop operation.
Full size return, space & backspace keys.
Other keys in their normal position, eg. delete & shift keys not in the wrong place.
All USB & Firewire ports, other important ports & slots on the side, not on the back.
Non obtrusive LED's, useful quick access buttons.
All ports labelled clearly and easy to read when just looking down on the keyboard.
BIOS allows some onboard devices to be turned on & off.


3. Construction & build quality
Magnesium alloy frame, steel hinges.
Thin & lightweight.
Easy to get to parts and easy to remove and replace them.
Easy enough to disassemble and reassemble the laptop.


4. In operation
Quiet even when fans come on. Can record 3 ft away and pick up nothing.
Idle around 27-33c.
Palm rest remains cool on both sides even after prolonged use.
Turning off onboard audio in Device Manager is just fine to then use external audiocards.


The laptop that had all these were the
HP Compaq NC6320 (Core 2 Duo) and the
HP Compaq NX6325 (Turion X2) business notebooks.

No Acer, Asus, Dell, HP Pavillion, IBM, Fujitsu, Sony, Toshiba had all these considerations.


Thus IMO, once could save upto £500 by going for one of these two HP Compaq NC6320 (Core 2 Duo) and the HP Compaq NX6325 (Turion X2)
instead of a "dedicated" music laptop.

Incidently both took Vista just fine and drivers are available on HP's site.



How would I improve the NC 6230 & NX6325 :
by having a 6pin Firewire port, e-sata port (both rare on windows laptops), widescreen, as soft a keyboard as on the Fujitsu pi1536,
possibly a trackpoint in addition to the touchpad, 2 prong power supply.


If wanting to go Santa Rosa platform PM965 chipset (budget permiting)
this page lists the releavnt model numbers :
HP Compaq 8510p, 8510w, 8710p, 8710w, 6510b, 6710b, 6910p.


I know now that if I was to buy a laptop,
I would save myself a lot of time, hassle and money and go straight to the
HP Compaq business notebooks.
Though I would also google the specific model number to ensure there are no fan issues.



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bencurrington



Joined: 31/01/07
Posts: 24
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Scope]
      #492176 - 26/07/07 11:59 PM
I work as a configuration engineer for an IT reseller and see a pretty good cross-section of what is on the market week by week (yes, I'm one of the people who makes money from removing Vista from new PCs!). I don't claim to be master of everything PC, but I thought I'd share my opinions...

Quote Scope:

Any Sony Vaio - Brilliant.
( with a proper video chip, not the crappy Intel one included in the cheaper models ! )





Couldn't help picking up on this. I hate designer PCs! Sony Vaio - I fart in their general direction! They're flimsy, overpriced computers which will often run rather nicely but warranty is virtually non existant as if anything goes wrong they usually want you to pay for something to get it fixed.

I had to send a Vaio laptop back recently because they didn't quite manage to install the operating system. I've also had plenty of occasions where I couldn't find a driver to use with the operating system they supplied because they hadn't got round to putting it on their website yet. We have had loads of other problems with Sony, we actually avoid selling them!

By far the best in terms of value vs. performance has got to be Dell. They have a laptop for every different use and I thoroughly recommend them, in fact I've been a big fan of their laptops for a number of years now. You'll only ever need to call them for support if the hardware is broken as their website is very well maintained (if a little slow sometimes). Last time I had one go wrong we had an engineer out the next day to replace the broken part - but equally you can opt to have a return to base warranty when you buy and knock 100 quid or so off the price. The XPS series looks good for recording use.

HP generally give great customer service via their website, and they're pretty good at sorting hardware issues (except when they subcontract to Phoenix IT... ). If you've got some cash to play with their mobile workstations are amazing.

IBM/Lenovo in my mind are peculiar. They take brand new technology and put it into a case that looks like it came from the mid eighties! Aesthetics aside, they do some good sturdy laptops that are well specced for recording and are maybe a little more durable than HP/Dell. Their support in my experience is a little unpredictable but on balance the only thing that would really put me off buying one would be the butt ugly design!

Toshiba are disappointing me at the moment. I'm finding their offerings to be a bit flimsy, and their keyboards and touchpads are horrid! Having said that, I'd choose one over a Vaio any day. The A100/A120 I might consider.

So there we have it.. my opinion all rolled up into a... sort of rolly-up-thing...

Ben


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markcarline



Joined: 16/07/07
Posts: 34
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #492381 - 27/07/07 12:15 PM
I have just picked up a 2nd hand Toshiba laptop which I am going to have a go at running Sonic 6 on, not sure if it'll be up to the job but i'm going to have a go anyway:

Toshiba Satellite M70-395 - Pentium M 1.7 GHz 80GB HDD

I'll only be using it for very basic stereo home recordings


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markcarline



Joined: 16/07/07
Posts: 34
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: markcarline]
      #494673 - 01/08/07 10:23 AM
Quote markcarline:

I have just picked up a 2nd hand Toshiba laptop which I am going to have a go at running Sonic 6 on, not sure if it'll be up to the job but i'm going to have a go anyway:

Toshiba Satellite M70-395 - Pentium M 1.7 GHz 80GB HDD

I'll only be using it for very basic stereo home recordings




By the way if anyones interested I received this laptop, rebuilt it with all the latest drivers and installed Sonar 6 and sure enough (if you get the right sound driver type) I can playback some of the very complex demos that come with Sonar 6 with no problems (uses around 40-50% CPU).

I wouldnt like to use it as my main machine but certainly proof enough that you don't need a top flight spec machine, full spec here:

http://uk.computers.toshiba-europe.com/cgi-bin/ToshibaCSG/jsp/productPage. do?service=UK&PRODUCT_ID=119344

Edited by markcarline (01/08/07 10:25 AM)


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himalaya



Joined: 25/01/05
Posts: 354
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: table for two]
      #495830 - 03/08/07 09:21 AM
Table For Two,
Thanks of the very detailed post. It might be enough to persuade me from getting one of those pro music laptops.
One question:
Is the shared video memory used in all those HP laptops going to give any problems ?
I like the fact that shared memory will help to keep the heat down and prolong battery life ( is it ?), but what about general DAW operation, considering I'll be using it for projects full of VST instruments and plugins. The VSTi will be rendered to audio/wav ( probably not as much as in my current P4 machine).

Thanks for help

--------------------
www.electric-himalaya.com
VST and hardware synth sound design


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table for two
active member


Joined: 24/03/02
Posts: 5900
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: himalaya]
      #496105 - 03/08/07 03:57 PM
Hi Himalaya

Thanks.

Onboard graphics take memory from the system memory and generally is fairly pointless for 3D work.
If the laptop has say 2GB of memory then the onboard graphics isn't much of a resource hit on a laptop
as its typically only drawing 64MB.
Onboard also as you mention, conserves battery power as well as reducing heat.
Just as an example, the independent Nvidia Quadro gpu on a Dell D620 Dual core I had reached approx 64c on idle !
Even when I ensured the laptop was elevated and all vents unblocked.
Whereas the the D820 with onboard graphics on idle was a cool 35c.


If running muliple VST's and then rendering into audio/wav, then shared graphics is not an issue,
unless one is running lots of samples streaming from RAM.
Rather a fast Intel (not AMD) dual core cpu with sufficient L2 cache would be more useful.
For the mentioned NC6320 that would imply a T72/74/7600 cpu with 4MB L2 cache.

If going for a Santa Rosa then a T7300, T7500, T7700 (800MHz FSB) on eg. the HP Compaq 6510b or 8510w (both take max 4GB memory).


Hope this helps a little.


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himalaya



Joined: 25/01/05
Posts: 354
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: table for two]
      #496122 - 03/08/07 05:01 PM
Yes, Thank you.
I'm almost certain now that I'll be buying one of those HPs this month. They still use CardBuss II, so a cheap Indigo card would be a great soundcard solution.

Quote table for two:


unless one is running lots of samples streaming from RAM.GB memory).




That's what I'm worried about. I do use big sample libraries
(RA, Gold, Garritan, Wusik+Manytone) and some projects have a short compressed video file as well.
In the past I'd normally play the sample, freeze the result, and move on to the next part. Is 4GB of RAM the way to go ?

My current shortlist:
HP 6710B
HP NX7400

O.T.
What is the effect of using the 667Mhz RAM on a Santa Rosa system that runs at FSB 800Mhz ? It seems that none of the new Santa Rosa laptops have mached RAM speed ?

Edited by himalaya (03/08/07 05:15 PM)


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table for two
active member


Joined: 24/03/02
Posts: 5900
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: himalaya]
      #496366 - 04/08/07 11:19 AM
Heya Himalaya

Welcome.

With memory intensive VST's,
one would be better off with the max 4GB RAM in the laptop and 800MHz FSB rather than 667MHz in the Santa Rosa's
but thats due to the limitation of the mobile PM965 chipset on the Santa Rosa.
Also running say XP64 if your audio hardware has working stable drivers and your software ran on it too.

One useful thing with the PM965 chipset is that its ICH8M southbridge chip supports SATAII 3GB/sec hds
(Fujitsu have some coming out soon I think, Western Digital have some Scorpio's of this spec ) :
rater useful if streaming loads of samples from hd.
Also supports Intel Matrix storage useful for RAID should anyone wish to go that route.

Graphics wise the onbard Intel GMA X3100 on the 6710B is a big stepup from the GMA950 on the NX7400, though it doesnt support DirectX10,
probably take up 128 system RAM though this can be increased.

Of the two HP Compaq laptops you listed, I'd personally be inclined to go for the Santa Rosa 6710B £744.74, instead of the NX7400 £789.12.
Though I have not tried any of their Santa Rosa range (and have not Googled them to see if there are any issues).
Then Adding a 2GB stick on the 6710B and see how you get on.

One assumes all your hw, sw runs fine on Vista , else it is easy enough to dual boot with XP.







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seudoscientist



Joined: 15/12/05
Posts: 7
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #499401 - 10/08/07 01:46 PM
Martin, and anyone else,


I really, really, really need to find a laptop with rock solid performance. I've previously had two different Vaios that have both been very good, but noisy as hell. These days I'm using a Samsung Q35 red, and it's generally good, much quieter than the Vaios (with it far enuf from mics, yet in the same room, the noise floor can be genuinely negligible, until the fan really has some work to do!) but every now and then the whole thing freezes and you get that "drill" like effect, a short sample 30-50 ms range on loop, it stays frozen for maybe 10 seconds or something, and then comes back to life. It's not because I'm stressing the processor or hard drive either. Sometimes it just happens when I'm just writing a document and listening to some mp3s.
Upshot, there's no way I can think about using the Samsung for live, and I'm always a bit tentative when I'm recording audio. It's a complete pain because I do dj, and I do love Ableton live, and I've had a few tracks out this year, and I'm planning gigs, but I dont have a laptop I can rely on to go out with

So I guess this is an unrecommendation, and a hope that someone knows something. Martin, whats the most solid product or products you've tested or worked with?

P's


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ModernDayBlue
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Joined: 02/09/03
Posts: 13
Loc: London/Uk
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #502114 - 14/08/07 10:01 PM
I don't know what you guys are doing with your laptops
but I went and got myself a cheap laptop from Dixons.
An Advent.
A Celeron M based machine with 1Ghz of ram and 160Gb internal hardrive.
All of the rest of the usual shizzle like wifi blah de blah de blah.
It came with only Vista installed.
Now it has both Vista and WinXP installed with all of my stable music software running on it with 2 external usb harddrives running in tandem.
The only thing that lets it down is the M-Audio Firewire Audiophile card as even though it has 4 inputs and 6 outputs
the analog inputs and outputs are all unbalanced which is a pain but the latency is 3ms rock solid.
And in some programs that latency goes down to 1.5ms.
What else can you ask for.
With a suitable D.I box I can play my stuff straight into a mixer for a live setup and with the SPDIF out run my stuff into any studio setup without loss of quality unless of course I bounce down the the tracks internally which is pretty much the same thing.
All I can say is whatever you guys are up to do not be seduced by speed.
A good stable set-up free from the internet beats everything.
Peace and light


Oh and main software used.
Cubase SX3
Logic 5.5(yes I know but I have enough software synths to make a difference).DO you really need Garage Band??
Reason 3
And I use real instruments like guitars, bass guitar and drums(when I get the chance) and real life vocalists including myself.

The audio interface(mentioned previously)is a M-Audio Firewire Audiophile(I was in a rush so I bought that one instead of the FastTrack Pro which was at thge time out of stock)

And the processor is a Celeron M running at 1.73.
It has a Yonah processor on a Calistoga chipset which after some research I have found out that you can manually upgrade to a full dual-core CPU.

--------------------
www.myspace.com/moderndayblue
www.myspace.com/catastrophe_theory


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himalaya



Joined: 25/01/05
Posts: 354
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: ModernDayBlue]
      #502170 - 15/08/07 12:32 AM
Good for you, with your Celeron processor.
Try running a few instances of Tassman, Z3ta+, String Studio, RA , Gold, some fx plugins, maybe Voxengo Soniformer, and see where your Celeron takes you. Maybe add a video file to this mix...hmmm no thanks.

Some of the laptops mentioned above should do all this without using the freeze feature in my DAW, which is what I'm trying to get away from. I don't think Celeron will allow for that.

Quote:

I don't know what you guys are doing with your laptops
but I went and got myself a cheap laptop from Dixons.
An Advent.
A Celeron M based machine with 1Ghz of ram and 160Gb internal hardrive.




--------------------
www.electric-himalaya.com
VST and hardware synth sound design


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ModernDayBlue
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Joined: 02/09/03
Posts: 13
Loc: London/Uk
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #502729 - 15/08/07 11:12 PM
Like many others in the past
and many others in the future
being seduced by the specs
is a fair and admirable thing.
Running 30EXS a couple decent reverbs,
maybe 5 to 6 VST instruments and Reason is sufficient for me on my lowly Celeron M without having to render(That is one track by the way different songs require different things).
Throw in live instruments and life is beautiful.
We could get into a macho throwing fight about who has what
and what has who.
But I thought the reason why Martin Walker started of the original post was to find out what people actually used.
Not a d!!k size contest(forgive my use of an expletive).
The reason why I posted my spec up is because you don't have to always seek the ultimate set-up.
Get a laptop or computer and set it up well or have someone set it up well.
Leave the configuration alone, back it up and then get on with doing what needs to be done.
I.e like creating music or video or both at the same time.
Peace

--------------------
www.myspace.com/moderndayblue
www.myspace.com/catastrophe_theory


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himalaya



Joined: 25/01/05
Posts: 354
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: ModernDayBlue]
      #502762 - 16/08/07 06:27 AM
Oh my.....
If you hadn't written this :
"I don't know what you guys are doing with your laptops..."
Then I wouldn't have replied, with what was suppose to be a lighhearted reply, see the winky.

You implied that a Celeron is all one needs, but that may not be the case for some of us. Nothing to do with the size of your or mine's manhood.


"the reason why I posted my spec up is because you don't have to always seek the ultimate set-up".

I agree 100%.

There is a more serious side to choosing a slower processr in a laptop however; you are stuck with it. Unlike a desktop, you can't update it. So, for my use, when choosing a laptop I have to aim at the best specification I can afford. One reason - I use very CPU intensive VSTis, as mentioned in my previous post, Second reason - there's more and more VSTI being released that need even more CPU ( Massive, Poly Ana, etc) so morre power will be needed to run them. Again, nothing to do with comparing anatomy parts. ???

Sorry to hijack the thread.
Happy music making.

--------------------
www.electric-himalaya.com
VST and hardware synth sound design


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ModernDayBlue
new member


Joined: 02/09/03
Posts: 13
Loc: London/Uk
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: himalaya]
      #503118 - 16/08/07 02:47 PM
Opps missed the winky and it was a bit of a silly intro for a posting after re-reading my previous posting;-)

Apologies folks.

Peace and light Himalaya

--------------------
www.myspace.com/moderndayblue
www.myspace.com/catastrophe_theory


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musikmuse



Joined: 16/08/07
Posts: 3
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #503836 - 17/08/07 06:07 PM
Stay away from the Advent 1708 (2.8 Hz, 500 ram), it roars.


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Martin WalkerModerator
Watcher Of The Skies


Joined: 28/02/01
Posts: 17489
Loc: Cornwall, UK
Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models new [Re: musikmuse]
      #505042 - 20/08/07 08:26 AM
Quote musikmuse:

Stay away from the Advent 1708 (2.8 Hz, 500 ram), it roars.




Is that the truth musikmuse, or are you lion?


Martin

--------------------
YewTreeMagic


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