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Laptop recommendations, fall 2009

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 3:15 pm
by Hugo76
Yeah, so I'm getting ready to pick up a laptop mainly for making music on.
I'd like a model that's as quiet as possible, and not that pricey.
Preferably with Windows XP installed. A decent built in sound card and ok speakers are welcomed.

Any suggestions?

btw: have sound card manufaturers left the pcmcia standard? Cuz I'd prefer a card I can just plug into the computer itself instead of an external usb box.

Re: Laptop recommendations, fall 2009

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:56 am
by Stab Frenzy
Can't recommend a Windows machine cause I don't stay up to date with them sorry, but I'd be asking somewhere like the Live forum rather than here on Luddite Synth Explorer. ;)

Re: PCMCIA, it's pretty much over as a standard, been replaced by Expresscard in the same way that PCI has been replaced by PCI-e. I think RME are still selling their Cardbus PCMCIA interface, but it's something that you connect to an external box anyway.

Re: Laptop recommendations, fall 2009

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:44 am
by Ashe37
Problem with this is a laptop with 'ok speakers' is going to be a media laptop and running Vista, and likely not come with the XP downgrade option. Pretty much no laptops have decent built-in sound, the onboard sound is a audio CODEC slapped on top of whatever onboard chipset that was used for the laptop. the only exception is overpriced 'DAW laptops', which would have good onboard sound but cost you more than a good laptop + Prosonus Firestudio would.

Look for the Intel processors in the P8600/8700/8800/9500/9600/9700 as they have a 25w TDP (Thermal dispersion), ten watts lower than the normal Core2 Duo Mobile.

Max the system out, get a laptop that can handle four gigs.

Get one with discrete graphics, instead of graphics that use shared memory.

Get a laptop with a SSD (solid state disk) instead of a hard disk.

Get a laptop with a firewire port, and buy a decent firewire I/O unit. Firewire I/O units use less CPU than USB ones, its inherent to USB.

These measures are going to give you the best performance while keeping your laptop as quiet as possible.

Re: Laptop recommendations, fall 2009

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:56 pm
by Hugo76
Cool, thanks for the advice, guys! :D

Re: Laptop recommendations, fall 2009

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:27 pm
by Altitude
http://adkproaudio.com/laptop2.cfm

I would go all out and get the I7 one. Its big, heavy, and dont expect much from the battery but it has more muscle than just about anything on the market and it is designed (and tested) for DAW use for the price of a MBP. If thats out of your budget, the ADK laptops are all made for DAW use. The official moble I7s are out next month..

Re: Laptop recommendations, fall 2009

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:06 pm
by Hugo76
@ Altitude:
Wow, those babies sure look nice. But they're a bit out of my price range. Thanks for the tip anyway!

Re: Laptop recommendations, fall 2009

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:21 pm
by schmidtc
Windows 7 beta testing seems to have a pretty good response, and I suspect it will make XP obsolete. I'd either wait for that, or go with a used macbook. I'm a mac convert and they've been very good to me. People get crazy opinionated when it comes to laptops, so take a deep breath before sifting through the advise and options. If you're lugging it out and on the web often, maybe it's best to have a modest price "beater"

Re: Laptop recommendations, fall 2009

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:33 pm
by snsr
If you're looking to go with a PC, the best option (imo) is a Thinkpad T or W series. My T60p served as my only DAW for years before I recently built a desktop workstation to take it's place. High quality, great keyboards, reliable, easily serviceable if need be (though mine never required any.) Good configurations start at ~$749. I used an Expresscard Firewire card to hook up my audio I/Os, but the new models have Firewire built in. I can't comment on the quality of Lenovo's non-Thinkpad branded models, as I've not used one.

I'd even go with a used T series over a cheap new laptop.

Stay away from Compaq-branded HPs like the plague. Especially ones with AMD processors - BGA-mounted components tend to come loose eventually. And repeatedly.

Re: Laptop recommendations, fall 2009

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:06 am
by tekkentool
unless you're buying a netbook it's not coming with XP. expect vista or 7.

Re: Laptop recommendations, fall 2009

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:25 am
by Ashe37
If you buy direct from the vendor instead of buying from a big box store, you can still get a XP downgrade in many cases.

Oh yeah, do NOT get XP Media Center Edition.

Re: Laptop recommendations, fall 2009

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:35 pm
by Hugo76
Thanks again for all input.
A friend has offered me a Dell XPS M1730 at half the price. Anyone tried one of these?:
http://www1.euro.dell.com/uk/en/home/La ... dhs1&s=dhs

Processor:
Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor T8300 (2.40 GHz, 800 MHz FSB, 3 MB L2 cache)

Video card:
Dual 256MB NVIDIA® GeForce® Go 8700M GT graphics with NVIDIA SLI Technology

Hard drive:
320GB (2x160gb) Free Fall Sensor (7200RPM) Hard Drive

Thoughts?

Re: Laptop recommendations, fall 2009

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:32 pm
by Altitude
Hugo76 wrote:Thanks again for all input.
A friend has offered me a Dell XPS M1730 at half the price. Anyone tried one of these?:
http://www1.euro.dell.com/uk/en/home/La ... dhs1&s=dhs

Processor:
Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor T8300 (2.40 GHz, 800 MHz FSB, 3 MB L2 cache)

Video card:
Dual 256MB NVIDIA® GeForce® Go 8700M GT graphics with NVIDIA SLI Technology

Hard drive:
320GB (2x160gb) Free Fall Sensor (7200RPM) Hard Drive

Thoughts?
I/O Ports

4 USB 2.0
Dual-link DVI-I (support for 30-inch displays)
HDMI via DVI adapter
VGA via DVI dongle
Firewire (IEEE 1394a)
RJ45 Ethernet port (10/100/1000)
S-video with component, composite, S/PDIF support through dongle
8-in-1 card reader
ExpressCard 54 mm slot

Looks good on paper and has lots of IO... Cant comment beyond that

Re: Laptop recommendations, fall 2009

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:24 pm
by Hugo76
Yeah, I think it looks very good. According to one review, it also produced minimal noise.
Now it turns out I have the possibility to configure it as I wish (more or less) - so I'm thinking I could do without the dual video card, and maybe go for one hard drive instead of two.

Re: Laptop recommendations, fall 2009

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:42 pm
by Altitude
I doubt the video outs are options. two drives would be really nice in a laptop though

Re: Laptop recommendations, fall 2009

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:56 pm
by Ashe37
Dual graphics is probably an option. you won't need it.

See if the second hard drive doesn't occupy the battery bay or the DVD drive bay.