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Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

For anything relating to music-making on Windows computers, with lots of FAQs. Moderated by Martin Walker.

Re: Texas Instruments Firewire miniport 12" widescreen laptop HP NC2400

Postby Neo-Classical Guitar Man » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:34 am

table for two wrote:Image


One of my fave windows laptops (size of a netbook).
Goodness knows at one time i went through approximately twenty business laptops to find a suitable.

1. Make and model HP NC2400

3. Amount of RAM Max 2GB memory on its single memory slot, although its gm945 chipset takes 4GB, i never tried 4GB


If you installed 4GB in your laptop it would only be able to use 3GB of it, due to the chipset involved. I have some IBM Thinkpads and my sister an Acer Aspire with the same family of chipset and it meant I had to shuffle around the RAM sticks between the laptops, so each one had 3GB. This has nothing to do with MS Windows it is merely a Intel hardware restriction.

I bought a few IBM Thinkpads on the recommendation of some people on here, and the laptops / notebook have blown my mind. On paper other brands with the exact same specifications look the equal of mine, and yet the performance difference is staggering beyond belief! This is with each one set up exactly the same in every way too. So I cannot look at anything other than a IBM Lenovo Thinkpad for the long term future.
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ThinkPad X60

Postby robin746 » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:30 am

Neo-Classical Guitar Man wrote:I bought a few IBM Thinkpads on the recommendation of some people on here, and the laptops / notebook have blown my mind. On paper other brands with the exact same specifications look the equal of mine, and yet the performance difference is staggering beyond belief! This is with each one set up exactly the same in every way too. So I cannot look at anything other than a IBM Lenovo Thinkpad for the long term future.


IBM/Lenovo used to make such great laptops, until they too learned to compromise. You need to really go back in the model history to find something excellent. Two years ago I followed advice gained here and elsewhere, and purchased a ThinkPad X60 from a firm that refurbishes them out of business leases. It seemed like a pretty "old" model to get, but let me tell you it works fine for everything I do, so long as I don't throw too much at the processor.

The best things about it? Has Firewire, CardBus II, and SD slot, so I can connect to everything without additional adapters. The 12" 1024x768 screen can get cramped, but any higher resolution is impossible to read on stage IMO. I like the fact I am not wasting real estate on wide screen. Plus it is matte and reads very well.

The wireless on/off switch is nice to have, to save juice and to ensure that interruptions are impossible. Oh yeah, battery life is not great but sufficient for a live set off mains. The cute little ThinkLight is no match for an illuminated keyboard but is a lot more subtle. A great thing to have when fumbling in the dark!

I am amazed that the built-in sound is actually good enough for gigs. Though I generally need at least four channels (monitor and mains), I have run mini jack out when necessary.

My model is only 2GB (maximum is 3GB). Chip is Intel Core 2 Duo T5550 @ 1.83GHz. I swapped out the original 60GB HD for a full-sized unit but otherwise run it as stock. The Windows install came with all sorts of app crap so I started from scratch.

You can pick one up for £150 and a dock with DVD drive and retro ports is almost free. My wife loved the computer -- just the right size and price! So she bought one too. Even though her use is different this model suits us both.

I use Reaktor and Samplitude with NI USB or RME FireWire interfaces. I have plugged a couple other USB I/O boxes into this when on the road and all have worked without hiccup.

The computer runs hot but is nice and quiet, which is more important to me. Actually, my model is absolutely silent but my wife's unit generates a small whine when the fan kicks into high gear.

I would really like to know if any advance has been made on this computer in the past five years. Somehow I doubt it. The only thing I wish for is a larger screen, but then again I don't want a heavier laptop. Compromises must be made.
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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby alexis » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:02 am

Hi - I just tested my "real world" laptop (Dell Latitude D630 running XP) with the DPC Latency checker. Sliding the wirless button on the case to off ... everything is green, not even any yellow, this has been going on for about 5 minutes now. Running on battery power.

Does this mean I don't need to make any tweaks before I record audio? I'll wait longer before the fan kicks in (I have to say, the fan is not running now, and it is completely silent ... also, fingers crossed, now that I think about it I don't *ever* recall hearing a fan run, just getting a burnt lap, so maybe it's off already).

Ah ... it just went into sleep (hibernation) mode ... with lots of red associated with that ... I see I do have tweaks to do!



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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby Sound Solutions » Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:28 am

I like Samsung ATV smart Pc.
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Re: ThinkPad X60

Postby JeffB » Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:48 pm

I still like Lenovo for live use.

Over the years I've used a T43 1.86Ghz, a T43 2.0Ghz, a T60 Core 2 Duo 2.0Ghz, a W500 2.53Ghz Core 2 Duo.

I'm now using a W530 i7 3720QM with 16Gb ram, Samsung 840 Evo 120Gb SSD and Samsung 840 Pro 256Gb SSD.

I run Cantabile Performer with Halion Sonic 2, Korg Legacy Collection Digital, Omnisphere, OPX-ProII, RealLPC and Amplitube 3.

Controlled by a Roland A-37 and Korg Kronos 61 with Roland Sonic Cell as the audio interface.

No complaints whatsoever.
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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby texasguitar » Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:54 pm

I am now using a Toshiba P50 laptop quad core I7 with 16GB ram and a 1TB HD. I have the presonus USB and M-audio usb boxes. I use sonar X1 with several soft synth libraries. Still setting this computer up as of right now.
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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby alexis » Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:28 pm

Here's what I don't get. Even if the laptop that works *perfectly* for the posters above were going to work *perfectly* for my circumstances (never guaranteed of course), it is pretty much impossible to go to a store and buy *exactly* the same system.

But I guess I've kind of picked up from reading that one tiny component being different can throw a real spaniard in the works, and might make the system completely inadequate for audio. So besides being happy for all the folks that have a good laptop system, how do I use the above posts ... practically speaking how does one safely buy a laptop good for audio?

Does it all come down to choosing processor, ram, one or two other things, but then checking it out in the store w/ my usb running that program to make sure everything is in the green? (Or buying pre-built, of course ...)?

Thanks -
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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby DGL. » Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:09 pm

1. 2013 Fujitsu Lifebook AH512
2. 201 Q3 2328M Intel SB i3 2.2Ghz
3. 8GB DDR3 (upgraded came with 1 4gb stick 16GB max 1333mhz)
4. 500gb WD Black (also upgraded, damaged the original 320gb Seagate, DVD Rewriter (SATA)
5. Behringer UMA25s 256 samples
6. USB 2.0 Express card slot to upgrade to whatever
7. Reaper and VSTHost

Not done too much audio on it (just reaper hosting various free softsynths connected to a behringer UMA25s and an alesis vortex).

With updates to windows 8 (now on 8.1, 8.0 was originally useless) it appears to work perfectly has advantage of both VGA and HDMI and Expresscard (full size).

Great quality (for the price), good keyboard, made in Germany and bulletproof power jack (just like all fujitsu's, I've ripped it out by accident a few times (it right angled so even worse) and no drama)

Also cheap at around £300 and easily upgradeable.
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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby ef37a » Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:35 am

I can see the initial attraction of a laptop for mobile work but given the drawbacks and pitfalls I think if I had a need for a mobile system in even a basic "semi-pro" area I would either get/build a rack unit or "beef up" a tower system?

SSDs of adequate capacity are now reasonably priced and will resist shocks that might fork a spinner.Soundcard could be RME PCIe with ADAT expansion (or one of the Ethernet systems). You can pick up an excellect 21" monitor from BHFoundation shops for 30quid! A wireless keyboard and mouse will set you back about another score. Tenner for a strap handle for the top.

All that said I saw mention at least once of HP laptops? I have a modest, sub £400 HP i3 W7/64 lappy* and that is almost silent, runs faultlessly with an NI KA6 and has played back 17 tracks of Cubase LE6, a mix of live and MIDI instruments quite happily.

Re drive speeds: I think Martin W has shown some time ago that 5,400rpm drives are not the bottleneck some perceive them to be?

*4G ram. I don't know if that can be increased? If anyone knows, do please tell.

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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby DGL. » Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:54 am

ef37a wrote:
*4G ram. I don't know if that can be increased? If anyone knows, do please tell.

Dave.

Should be, 64bit systems support huge amounts of ram but it is up to the motherboard as to what it can support, generally on laptops this will either be 8gb or 16gb, if the laptop has just 1 4gb stick at the moment then it would be easy to add another 4gb to put it up to 8gb.
This will usually be accomplished by removing a panel (marked memory/ram) or removing one large panel (as it is on fujitsu's ). In some rare cases there maybe a stick under the keyboard but I have only seen one laptop like this.

For a machine with an i3 it will be DDR3 at either 1333 or 1600 MHz.
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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby ef37a » Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:06 am

Thanks DGL,
I shall see how things stand after the next lekky bill!

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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby ef37a » Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:25 am

DGL. wrote:
ef37a wrote:
*4G ram. I don't know if that can be increased? If anyone knows, do please tell.

Dave.

Should be, 64bit systems support huge amounts of ram but it is up to the motherboard as to what it can support, generally on laptops this will either be 8gb or 16gb, if the laptop has just 1 4gb stick at the moment then it would be easy to add another 4gb to put it up to 8gb.
This will usually be accomplished by removing a panel (marked memory/ram) or removing one large panel (as it is on fujitsu's ). In some rare cases there maybe a stick under the keyboard but I have only seen one laptop like this.

For a machine with an i3 it will be DDR3 at either 1333 or 1600 MHz.

Thanks DGL. I am a bit confused however. Speccy reports the memory as one stick of 4G (two slots) single channel DDR3 533mHz.
Crucial make great play that memory SHOULD be changed in matched pairs but then, " They would say that......"???! Since one 4G stick is not as expensive as I thought, about £30 I might just take the laptop to the guys on the main road from me and get a quote!

Dave.
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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby DGL. » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:08 am

ef37a wrote:
DGL. wrote:
ef37a wrote:
*4G ram. I don't know if that can be increased? If anyone knows, do please tell.

Dave.

Should be, 64bit systems support huge amounts of ram but it is up to the motherboard as to what it can support, generally on laptops this will either be 8gb or 16gb, if the laptop has just 1 4gb stick at the moment then it would be easy to add another 4gb to put it up to 8gb.
This will usually be accomplished by removing a panel (marked memory/ram) or removing one large panel (as it is on fujitsu's ). In some rare cases there maybe a stick under the keyboard but I have only seen one laptop like this.

For a machine with an i3 it will be DDR3 at either 1333 or 1600 MHz.

Thanks DGL. I am a bit confused however. Speccy reports the memory as one stick of 4G (two slots) single channel DDR3 533mHz.
Crucial make great play that memory SHOULD be changed in matched pairs but then, " They would say that......"???! Since one 4G stick is not as expensive as I thought, about £30 I might just take the laptop to the guys on the main road from me and get a quote!

Dave.

With memory so long as it's at least the same speed as the stuff that is already in there then you will be fine (a 1333 and a 1600 in this core i3). also matching is not too important just get a decent brand and you will be fine. when I brought this current fujitsu (thank you tax rebate), I had upgraded the ram even before first switch on!
Just make sure you ground yourself before going in and you'll be fine.

Also DDR is DOUBLE DATA RATE (this is in relation to old non-ddr SDRAM, that's why your 1066mhz ram is showing as 533.
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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby ef37a » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:21 am

Thanks again DGL. Bit of a minefield innit?!

I think I shall still see what the guys down the road want for the job. They are very handy for odd bits and pieces (bought a Dell XP tower for a tenner from a charity shop and they found me 2G of old memory for a tenner as well). Also had S/H monitors off them for £20 so I like to put business their way when I can.

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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby wuubb » Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:48 am

im planning on buying one of these pretty soon: Origin EON15-S Pro http://www.originpc.com/workstation/laptops/

they actually have a lot of customization options, especially when it comes to storage. my build is as follows
i7-4930mx (3-3.9 ghz)
32gb ddr3 1600mhz RAM
nvidia gtx 770m
2mSATA drives (480gb each)
2 samsung 840 evo 500gb SSD
(you can even use the optical drive as a HDD/SSD and theoretically have 5 drives with this laptop)
3x USB 3 (one powered)
1 x eSATA port (USB 3.0 combo)
1 x Display port 1.2
1 x HDMI output port (with HDCP)
1 x Headphone jack
1 x Microphone jack
1 x S/PDIF output jack
1 x Line-in jack
1 x RJ-45 LAN port
1 x DC-in jack
1 x Mini IEEE 1394b port
and you can put any version of windows 7/8 on it as well.
a large #of accessories are available too. (like an external optical drive and stuff)

im really picky about getting the best of the best and i was impressed with the # as well as quality of options for these laptops. they also have 13 and 17in as well. easily the best custom-laptop maker ive found and think that any of them would be tackle anything

well, thats my 2 cents, hope it helps
:D :D
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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:22 pm

Hi wuubb!

First of all, welcome to the SOS FOrums! 8-)

I really hope this system works for you, but don't forget, it ain't over until you've tried it out with the DPC Latency checker to see if audio is going to emerge glitch-free or not ;)


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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby Goddard » Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:24 pm

Hey wuubb, as it appears you're located down under, have you looked at these DAW laptop offerings from Vin/TAFKAT?
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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:38 pm

Goddard wrote:Hey wuubb, as it appears you're located down under, have you looked at these DAW laptop offerings from Vin/TAFKAT?

If they are from Vin/TAFKAT you are in very safe hands - he is a true expert of his craft 8-)


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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby wuubb » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:27 pm

Martin Walker wrote:
Goddard wrote:Hey wuubb, as it appears you're located down under, have you looked at these DAW laptop offerings from Vin/TAFKAT?

If they are from Vin/TAFKAT you are in very safe hands - he is a true expert of his craft 8-)


Martin

thanks mate! i havent actually heard of them (i still do a lot of stuff from US for variety) but i'll be sure to check it out as even most "custom" mobile workstations from places like Dell and HP stil arent all that good IMO.
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Re: Survey of Recommended PC Laptop Models

Postby mellowsouls » Sat May 24, 2014 10:13 am

Hello friends (at least thats how I feel, spending so much time reading these pages).

I'm in the UK, use a tascam us1800, use Cubase with max 30 channels (audio/vst mix), have about £400 and need a new laptop.

I would love some ideas from you lovely people so I don't end up with a dud (again)!

Thanks in advance, Pete.
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