(DV editing) Laptop must-haves and/or landmines?

Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

My company's buying me a laptop for digital video editing (Vegas 5). So
far I know that I should make sure it has:
- firewire port
- fast CPU
- 7200 rpm hard drive
- DVD burner
- plenty of RAM (512 or 1GB)

Anything else I should make sure to include or exclude?

Thanks in advance,
- Frank
19 answers Last reply
More about editing laptop must haves landmines
  1. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Actually, only FW port, fast CPU, DVD burner and 512MB ram is all you
    really need to worry about. that said, pretty much every laptop made
    today will do this job just fine w/o any problems at all, so it's really
    a features & feel comparison.

    ----

    www.pcmag.com 2003 User Reliability Survey found Toshiba laptops to be
    #1 in reliability and satisfaction. Why buy another brand (like poorly
    ranked HP/Compaq - now one company) that's ranked poorly?

    ----

    That said, PC Mag ranked the eMachines 64 bit Athlon 64 CPU laptop as
    the fastest laptop they've ever tested in their recent March/April
    issue, so if you want speed, that's the first to look at.
  2. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Interesting - I thought hard drive speed was important for the capture
    process, based on our recent experiences with a desktop system. When
    capturing from a miniDV camera using Vegas Video, we had no problem when
    it was being captured to the 7200 rpm drive. But as soon as we tried
    capturing to the 5400 rpm drive, we started getting tons of dropped
    frames - a ridiculous number actually. Wouldn't that occur on a laptop
    5400 rpm drive as well? Or were we blaming the HD speed when it might
    have been something else (like comparing a master drive to a slave drive
    or something like that)?
  3. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Frank" <no@fixed.address.com> wrote in message
    news:%pzkc.47404$k%.774640@news20.bellglobal.com...
    > Interesting - I thought hard drive speed was important for the capture
    > process, based on our recent experiences with a desktop system. When
    > capturing from a miniDV camera using Vegas Video, we had no problem when
    > it was being captured to the 7200 rpm drive. But as soon as we tried
    > capturing to the 5400 rpm drive, we started getting tons of dropped
    > frames - a ridiculous number actually. Wouldn't that occur on a laptop
    > 5400 rpm drive as well? Or were we blaming the HD speed when it might
    > have been something else (like comparing a master drive to a slave drive
    > or something like that)?

    I've never had a dropped frame capturing to 5400 rpm drives (though I don't
    use Vegas). I would suspect the problem was related to, e.g., capturing to
    a drive that was on the same IDE chain as the drive containing Vegas and/or
    the OS, an incorrect DMA setting (if the drive was set to PIO instead of DMA
    or UDMA, you'll drop huge numbers of frames), or something similar.


    >
  4. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Frank" <no@fixed.address.com> wrote in message
    news:FEwkc.39267$k%.726552@news20.bellglobal.com...
    > My company's buying me a laptop for digital video editing (Vegas 5). So
    > far I know that I should make sure it has:
    > - firewire port
    > - fast CPU
    > - 7200 rpm hard drive
    > - DVD burner
    > - plenty of RAM (512 or 1GB)
    >
    > Anything else I should make sure to include or exclude?
    >
    > Thanks in advance,
    > - Frank
    >
    It's desirable that the Firewire and USB ports be on different busses.
    This allows capture to an external drive connected to a USB port while the
    camcorder is connected to the Firewire port.
    The current Intel Centrino chipset has this feature.
    I don't know what the situation with respect to other chipsets.
  5. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    if you can get a laptop with a 2nd drive it would be good for your media
    capture. You can use a large firewire drive to archive but sometimes
    capturing from firewire to a firewire drive over the same port is not
    possible.

    Go for the 1G RAM


    "Frank" <no@fixed.address.com> wrote in message
    news:FEwkc.39267$k%.726552@news20.bellglobal.com...
    > My company's buying me a laptop for digital video editing (Vegas 5). So
    > far I know that I should make sure it has:
    > - firewire port
    > - fast CPU
    > - 7200 rpm hard drive
    > - DVD burner
    > - plenty of RAM (512 or 1GB)
    >
    > Anything else I should make sure to include or exclude?
    >
    > Thanks in advance,
    > - Frank
    >
  6. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    You forget the very large external harddisk and also to type 'FAST CPU' in
    all caps.

    FireWire is a necessity for DV. A fast hard drive helps, particularly if you
    are stuck with Windows, but it isn't nearly as important as a fast CPU (the
    kind that makes you want an asbestos pad to set it on), and fast memory /
    bus (not that there's much options there).

    You need a large disk because your DV is going to take a good 14G per hour
    of footage and you're going to want plenty of room to work. You can pay
    exorbitant amounts of money for a large (80-100G) laptop drive, or spend
    less than half the cash and get an external USB2 or FireWire unit with 2-3
    times the capacity at half the cost.

    The brutal part about encoding video for DVD is the sheer amount of
    number-crunching that goes into rendering and encoding. You'll never find a
    laptop that would compare with an optimal desktop, but you can get a
    reasonable working setup.

    Frank wrote:

    > My company's buying me a laptop for digital video editing (Vegas 5). So
    > far I know that I should make sure it has:
    > - firewire port
    > - fast CPU
    > - 7200 rpm hard drive
    > - DVD burner
    > - plenty of RAM (512 or 1GB)
    >
    > Anything else I should make sure to include or exclude?
    >
    > Thanks in advance,
    > - Frank

    --
    remove .spam from address to reply by e-mail.
  7. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Thanks Nappy & James. Though I mostly will only be making short
    training videos, I do appreciate the need for lots of HD space and was
    aware that I might need another external drive. Must admit that I
    haven't yet researched the logistics of how I'd use it - was thinking it
    would mostly be for archiving whatever I've finished with from my
    internal HD. But can I capture from my miniDV camcorder straight into
    an external hard drive? i.e., are there some external HDs with 2
    firewire ports (one going to to the computer, and one coming from the
    camcorder) that would let me by-pass my internal HD altogether? Is this
    done? Preferred?

    - Frank
  8. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "James McIninch" <james.mcininch@comcast.net.spam> wrote in message
    news:Gzxkc.4376$kh4.263279@attbi_s52...
    > You forget the very large external harddisk and also to type 'FAST CPU' in
    > all caps.
    >
    > FireWire is a necessity for DV.

    True, but only because it's the accepted standard by the camera
    manufacturers for transferring DV to a computer.

    > A fast hard drive helps, particularly if you
    > are stuck with Windows,

    Not at all. DV25 (which is the standard for miniDV) has a data rate of
    approximately 3.8 megabits per second. This is easily within the
    capabilities of even the 4,200 rpm hard drives frequently found on laptops.
    There is no need for a fast hard drive for capture of DV25. There's also
    nothing wrong with Windows as an NLE OS and, indeed, Premiere Pro isn't even
    available for Mac machines. Windows has, for some years now, been a viable
    platform for NLE and, as with other kinds of software, there is a larger
    range of editing programs, effects programs and related software available
    for it than for the Mac.

    > but it isn't nearly as important as a fast CPU (the
    > kind that makes you want an asbestos pad to set it on), and fast memory /
    > bus (not that there's much options there).

    CPU speed is only an issue for rendering. Even a 500 MHz CPU is fast enough
    to capture and edit DV. Where speed really becomes an issue is transcoding,
    as there is a linear relationship between transcode time and CPU speed. My
    old 1.4 GHz Athlon could transcode three times faster than my older 500 MHz
    machine.

    By way of comparison, doing a 2-pass VBR transcode of a 2-hour AVI using
    TMPgenc (which, I'm convinced, offers the best quality short of Ligos), took
    3 days on the 500 MHz machine, 24 hours on the 1.4 GHz machine, and 12 hours
    on my newer 3.0 GHz machine.

    >
    > You need a large disk because your DV is going to take a good 14G per hour
    > of footage and you're going to want plenty of room to work. You can pay
    > exorbitant amounts of money for a large (80-100G) laptop drive, or spend
    > less than half the cash and get an external USB2 or FireWire unit with 2-3
    > times the capacity at half the cost.

    Note that there are problems with trying to capture DV on the same 1394 line
    as an external 1394 hard drive. It's usually a software issue. For
    example, I've had problems with external 1394 drives using Scenealyzer Live
    (my capture program of choice), but not with Pinnacle's DV Capture program.

    >
    > The brutal part about encoding video for DVD is the sheer amount of
    > number-crunching that goes into rendering and encoding. You'll never find
    a
    > laptop that would compare with an optimal desktop, but you can get a
    > reasonable working setup.

    When I started working with NLE, I used a 500MHz Athlon machine. Render
    times were long, but not impossible; now I use a 3.0GHz P4 which, of course,
    works just fine. Just for fun, I tried Premiere Pro on my 1.8GHz Sony Vaio
    laptop with 512 meg of RAM. Even though the machine is under spec, it works
    quite well. Realtime preview of transitions and effects can be jerky, but
    otherwise the program is perfectly usable.

    >
    > Frank wrote:
    >
    > > My company's buying me a laptop for digital video editing (Vegas 5). So
    > > far I know that I should make sure it has:
    > > - firewire port
    > > - fast CPU
    > > - 7200 rpm hard drive
    > > - DVD burner
    > > - plenty of RAM (512 or 1GB)
    > >
    > > Anything else I should make sure to include or exclude?
    > >
    > > Thanks in advance,
    > > - Frank
    >
    > --
    > remove .spam from address to reply by e-mail.
  9. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Frank" <no@fixed.address.com> wrote in message
    news:1Zxkc.44572$k%.749787@news20.bellglobal.com...
    > Thanks Nappy & James. Though I mostly will only be making short
    > training videos, I do appreciate the need for lots of HD space and was
    > aware that I might need another external drive. Must admit that I
    > haven't yet researched the logistics of how I'd use it - was thinking it
    > would mostly be for archiving whatever I've finished with from my
    > internal HD. But can I capture from my miniDV camcorder straight into
    > an external hard drive? i.e., are there some external HDs with 2
    > firewire ports (one going to to the computer, and one coming from the
    > camcorder) that would let me by-pass my internal HD altogether? Is this
    > done? Preferred?

    There are 1394 hard drives with two ports, but that's only so you can
    daisy-chain devices. You'll still need to direct the capture through your
    computer. There are standalone 1394 hard drive storage devices for DV that
    don't require a computer, but they are more expensive.


    >
    > - Frank
    >
  10. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    I may be in error but I believe the problem is in using the same host for
    both connections. Although there may be folks doing it here I have not had
    succes with it on any platform. I haven't studied why either..

    I have had to use 2 FW ports in that case.


    "Frank" <no@fixed.address.com> wrote in message
    news:1Zxkc.44572$k%.749787@news20.bellglobal.com...
    > Thanks Nappy & James. Though I mostly will only be making short
    > training videos, I do appreciate the need for lots of HD space and was
    > aware that I might need another external drive. Must admit that I
    > haven't yet researched the logistics of how I'd use it - was thinking it
    > would mostly be for archiving whatever I've finished with from my
    > internal HD. But can I capture from my miniDV camcorder straight into
    > an external hard drive? i.e., are there some external HDs with 2
    > firewire ports (one going to to the computer, and one coming from the
    > camcorder) that would let me by-pass my internal HD altogether? Is this
    > done? Preferred?
    >
    > - Frank
    >
  11. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Well put PTRAVEL.
    "PTRAVEL" <ptravel88-usenet@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:c6uedm$gksqf$1@ID-101118.news.uni-berlin.de...
    >
    > "James McIninch" <james.mcininch@comcast.net.spam> wrote in message
    > news:Gzxkc.4376$kh4.263279@attbi_s52...
    > > You forget the very large external harddisk and also to type 'FAST CPU'
    in
    > > all caps.
    > >
    > > FireWire is a necessity for DV.
    >
    > True, but only because it's the accepted standard by the camera
    > manufacturers for transferring DV to a computer.
    >
    > > A fast hard drive helps, particularly if you
    > > are stuck with Windows,
    >
    > Not at all. DV25 (which is the standard for miniDV) has a data rate of
    > approximately 3.8 megabits per second. This is easily within the
    > capabilities of even the 4,200 rpm hard drives frequently found on
    laptops.
    > There is no need for a fast hard drive for capture of DV25. There's also
    > nothing wrong with Windows as an NLE OS and, indeed, Premiere Pro isn't
    even
    > available for Mac machines. Windows has, for some years now, been a
    viable
    > platform for NLE and, as with other kinds of software, there is a larger
    > range of editing programs, effects programs and related software available
    > for it than for the Mac.
    >
    > > but it isn't nearly as important as a fast CPU (the
    > > kind that makes you want an asbestos pad to set it on), and fast memory
    /
    > > bus (not that there's much options there).
    >
    > CPU speed is only an issue for rendering. Even a 500 MHz CPU is fast
    enough
    > to capture and edit DV. Where speed really becomes an issue is
    transcoding,
    > as there is a linear relationship between transcode time and CPU speed.
    My
    > old 1.4 GHz Athlon could transcode three times faster than my older 500
    MHz
    > machine.
    >
    > By way of comparison, doing a 2-pass VBR transcode of a 2-hour AVI using
    > TMPgenc (which, I'm convinced, offers the best quality short of Ligos),
    took
    > 3 days on the 500 MHz machine, 24 hours on the 1.4 GHz machine, and 12
    hours
    > on my newer 3.0 GHz machine.
    >
    > >
    > > You need a large disk because your DV is going to take a good 14G per
    hour
    > > of footage and you're going to want plenty of room to work. You can pay
    > > exorbitant amounts of money for a large (80-100G) laptop drive, or spend
    > > less than half the cash and get an external USB2 or FireWire unit with
    2-3
    > > times the capacity at half the cost.
    >
    > Note that there are problems with trying to capture DV on the same 1394
    line
    > as an external 1394 hard drive. It's usually a software issue. For
    > example, I've had problems with external 1394 drives using Scenealyzer
    Live
    > (my capture program of choice), but not with Pinnacle's DV Capture
    program.
    >
    > >
    > > The brutal part about encoding video for DVD is the sheer amount of
    > > number-crunching that goes into rendering and encoding. You'll never
    find
    > a
    > > laptop that would compare with an optimal desktop, but you can get a
    > > reasonable working setup.
    >
    > When I started working with NLE, I used a 500MHz Athlon machine. Render
    > times were long, but not impossible; now I use a 3.0GHz P4 which, of
    course,
    > works just fine. Just for fun, I tried Premiere Pro on my 1.8GHz Sony
    Vaio
    > laptop with 512 meg of RAM. Even though the machine is under spec, it
    works
    > quite well. Realtime preview of transitions and effects can be jerky, but
    > otherwise the program is perfectly usable.
    >
    > >
    > > Frank wrote:
    > >
    > > > My company's buying me a laptop for digital video editing (Vegas 5).
    So
    > > > far I know that I should make sure it has:
    > > > - firewire port
    > > > - fast CPU
    > > > - 7200 rpm hard drive
    > > > - DVD burner
    > > > - plenty of RAM (512 or 1GB)
    > > >
    > > > Anything else I should make sure to include or exclude?
    > > >
    > > > Thanks in advance,
    > > > - Frank
    > >
    > > --
    > > remove .spam from address to reply by e-mail.
    >
    >
  12. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    If you are going to use Two 1394 devices [ dv camera and 1394 HD] then you
    NEED two 1394 ports. also
    if you are buying a Sony be sure the 1394 port will support the periferals
    you are putting on it.[Sony's 1394 is Sony's 1394]

    "Robert Morein" <nospamhere@nospam.com> wrote in message
    news:W9ydnRBIc7xBTg_dRVn2iw@giganews.com...
    >
    > "Frank" <no@fixed.address.com> wrote in message
    > news:FEwkc.39267$k%.726552@news20.bellglobal.com...
    > > My company's buying me a laptop for digital video editing (Vegas 5). So
    > > far I know that I should make sure it has:
    > > - firewire port
    > > - fast CPU
    > > - 7200 rpm hard drive
    > > - DVD burner
    > > - plenty of RAM (512 or 1GB)
    > >
    > > Anything else I should make sure to include or exclude?
    > >
    > > Thanks in advance,
    > > - Frank
    > >
    > It's desirable that the Firewire and USB ports be on different busses.
    > This allows capture to an external drive connected to a USB port while the
    > camcorder is connected to the Firewire port.
    > The current Intel Centrino chipset has this feature.
    > I don't know what the situation with respect to other chipsets.
    >
    >
  13. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    PTRAVEL wrote:
    > "Frank" <no@fixed.address.com> wrote in message
    > news:%pzkc.47404$k%.774640@news20.bellglobal.com...
    >
    >>Interesting - I thought hard drive speed was important for the capture
    >>process, based on our recent experiences with a desktop system. When
    >>capturing from a miniDV camera using Vegas Video, we had no problem when
    >>it was being captured to the 7200 rpm drive. But as soon as we tried
    >>capturing to the 5400 rpm drive, we started getting tons of dropped
    >>frames - a ridiculous number actually. Wouldn't that occur on a laptop
    >>5400 rpm drive as well? Or were we blaming the HD speed when it might
    >>have been something else (like comparing a master drive to a slave drive
    >>or something like that)?
    >
    >
    > I've never had a dropped frame capturing to 5400 rpm drives (though I don't
    > use Vegas). I would suspect the problem was related to, e.g., capturing to
    > a drive that was on the same IDE chain as the drive containing Vegas and/or
    > the OS, an incorrect DMA setting (if the drive was set to PIO instead of DMA
    > or UDMA, you'll drop huge numbers of frames), or something similar.

    Only time I get dropped frames during capture on my 4.200 RPM laptop
    drive is when I accidently ALT-TAB into a program that has been swapped
    to disk.

    Printing back to tape seems to be more demanding though. Works almost
    always, but do fail sometimes.

    /Per
  14. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    On Fri, 30 Apr 2004 15:39:58 -0400, Frank <no@fixed.address.com>
    wrote:

    > But can I capture from my miniDV camcorder straight into
    >an external hard drive? i.e., are there some external HDs with 2
    >firewire ports (one going to to the computer, and one coming from the
    >camcorder) that would let me by-pass my internal HD altogether? Is this
    >done? Preferred?

    I've yet to see an external Firewire hard drive that DIDN'T have two
    ports. But I've seen several laptops with a single Firewire port
    that couldn't cope with capturing from camera and simultaneously
    saving to disk, all daisychained through that one port.

    Having said that, today's laptops come with internal drives large
    enough to capture a lot of video. You can always transfer a batch to
    external drive afterwards.
  15. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    On Mon, 03 May 2004 10:02:17 +0200, Per Andersson
    <perdotcdotandersson@ericsson.com> wrote:

    >
    >Only time I get dropped frames during capture on my 4.200 RPM laptop
    >drive is when I accidently ALT-TAB into a program that has been swapped
    >to disk.

    Does that really happen nowadays? Or do you load every program you
    might possibly need and ENJOY wading through treacle? :-)
  16. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Laurence Payne wrote:
    > On Mon, 03 May 2004 10:02:17 +0200, Per Andersson
    > <perdotcdotandersson@ericsson.com> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Only time I get dropped frames during capture on my 4.200 RPM laptop
    >>drive is when I accidently ALT-TAB into a program that has been swapped
    >>to disk.
    >
    >
    > Does that really happen nowadays? Or do you load every program you
    > might possibly need and ENJOY wading through treacle? :-)

    Since I have 10 virtual desktops and actually USE many desktops at once
    I have no problem filling up the memory. But then I only have 512MB,
    poor me :)

    (and yes, it hides programs on other desktops so I only see the ones on
    the current desktop so ALT-TABBING is no problem with "everything" started)

    /Per
  17. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    On Mon, 03 May 2004 17:12:38 +0200, Per Andersson
    <perdotcdotandersson@ericsson.com> wrote:

    >> Does that really happen nowadays? Or do you load every program you
    >> might possibly need and ENJOY wading through treacle? :-)
    >
    >Since I have 10 virtual desktops and actually USE many desktops at once
    >I have no problem filling up the memory. But then I only have 512MB,
    >poor me :)
    >
    >(and yes, it hides programs on other desktops so I only see the ones on
    >the current desktop so ALT-TABBING is no problem with "everything" started)

    Except that program code might be swapped out to disk :-)

    Why 10 virtual desktops?
  18. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Laurence Payne wrote:
    > On Mon, 03 May 2004 17:12:38 +0200, Per Andersson
    > <perdotcdotandersson@ericsson.com> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>>Does that really happen nowadays? Or do you load every program you
    >>>might possibly need and ENJOY wading through treacle? :-)
    >>
    >>Since I have 10 virtual desktops and actually USE many desktops at once
    >>I have no problem filling up the memory. But then I only have 512MB,
    >>poor me :)
    >>
    >>(and yes, it hides programs on other desktops so I only see the ones on
    >>the current desktop so ALT-TABBING is no problem with "everything" started)
    >
    >
    > Except that program code might be swapped out to disk :-)
    >
    > Why 10 virtual desktops?

    Because it (XDESK) can't handle more than 10. :)

    Since it supports 10 desktops I don't really see any reason to have
    fewer. It makes it easy to manage a lot of windows and also know where
    they are. For example, I always have browser windows open in desktop 2,
    projects I am working on in desktop 3 (and 4, ...), remote desktops
    (VNC) in desktop 9 etc. Then I just press WIN+3 to go to the project
    windows or WIN+9 to go to the remote desktops.

    I don't think I have ever used them all at once, but since I can't see
    any performance issues with having many desktops (except that I might
    forget how many programs I have running), well, they are nice to have.

    /Per
  19. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Laurence Payne" <l@laurenceDELETEpayne.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
    news:14ec90hv1b4hgdt17anhcf1826cij33ool@4ax.com...
    > On Fri, 30 Apr 2004 15:39:58 -0400, Frank <no@fixed.address.com>
    > wrote:
    >
    > > But can I capture from my miniDV camcorder straight into
    > >an external hard drive? i.e., are there some external HDs with 2
    > >firewire ports (one going to to the computer, and one coming from the
    > >camcorder) that would let me by-pass my internal HD altogether? Is this
    > >done? Preferred?
    >
    > I've yet to see an external Firewire hard drive that DIDN'T have two
    > ports. But I've seen several laptops with a single Firewire port
    > that couldn't cope with capturing from camera and simultaneously
    > saving to disk, all daisychained through that one port.
    >
    > Having said that, today's laptops come with internal drives large
    > enough to capture a lot of video. You can always transfer a batch to
    > external drive afterwards.

    But on Centrino laptops, the firewire and USB 2.0 ports are on different
    busses.
    So you should be able to capture directly to an external drive.
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