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You got $3,000 to spend for a laptop


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What brand/options would you buy. And you need to perform:

 

- general business use

- recording good quality song demos including using midi from keyboard workstation, guitar and vocals

- if you have budget left for live performance software, yep (Ableton Live?)

- extended warranty would be good if available

 

Of course, if you can do this with $2,500, that's nice.

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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Originally posted by LiveMusic:

What brand/options would you buy. And you need to perform:

 

- general business use

- recording good quality song demos including using midi from keyboard workstation, guitar and vocals

- if you have budget left for live performance software, yep (Ableton Live?)

- extended warranty would be good if available

 

Of course, if you can do this with $2,500, that's nice.

Right now the best laptops going for audio-video on the PC side are the fastest Centrinos like the Dell 8600 or the New AMD 64 Emachines unit. These babies SCREAM..P4's don't compare..There have been extensive tests done on the Digi Boards and these laptops are by far ahead of any Intel based units....Check it out...Both can be had for WAY under $2500...The Emachines unit is $1649 with a DVD burner!!! Crazy!!!
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I've always been pc but I don't know that it matters THAT much. I'd rather stay pc but...

 

What about that new audio software Mac just announced. (I know nothing about recording but I figure I can learn as well as the next guy.)

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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Well, Mac vs PC is of course an emotional issue, so if you like Macs, there's one choice: the 17" 1.25GHz Powerbook.Thin. Sleek. Silver. Powerful. You'll look supa cool.

 

On the PC side, I'd recommend the Toshiba P25 series, also with a 17" screen. It's basically a desktop crammed into a notebook, with a 2.8 or 3.0 P4 with hyper-threading. Battery life is brief, at around 90 minutes, due to the fact that this ain't no scaled-down power-saving mobile CPU.

 

Best of all, the 2.8 version is around 1700-1999 depending on where you shop, but make sure to get the one with XP Pro on it, as there are different models. With a $3K budget, that leaves you enough left over for something like, say, an RME multiface.

 

I haven't checked out the E-Machines AMD-based systems, though I have heard that E-Machines quality has improved in the past couple of years.

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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You can buy a great machine for that money.

 

Your biggest performance bottleneck will be your hard drive, so BE SURE TO SPECIFY a 7200 RPM drive. It will set you back another $200 to $300, but it will be totally worth it.

 

These fast drives' power consumption, by the way, is basically on par with the slower 4200 and 5400 RPM drives, so you won't be taking a big battery hit.

 

Good luck! I'm jealous!!!

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I'm kicking ass w/my 1Ghz 12" Powerbook. 768Mb RAM for about $1700. You could go that route, get a couple of external Firewire drives, a Digi 002 rack, Live and some plugs and make your $3000 limit.

 

Michael Oster

F7 Sound and Vision

ReGurgiTron - music like this shouldn\'t hurt. Should it?

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$3000? I wouldn't spend that much. I paid $1889 for my TiBook 15" only to find out I didn't need to buy a Mac (I'm not using any interfacing hardware so compatibility isn't an issue any longer)... I coulda gotten away with $1000-$1300 for a PC laptop.

 

Granted, it's a very nice laptop. But I kinda regret it, and selling it wouldn't be as profitable either.

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Originally posted by LiveMusic:

What brand/options would you buy. And you need to perform:

 

- general business use

- recording good quality song demos including using midi from keyboard workstation, guitar and vocals

- if you have budget left for live performance software, yep (Ableton Live?)

- extended warranty would be good if available

 

Of course, if you can do this with $2,500, that's nice.

For me, you'll have to include good 3D acceleration, a beefy hard drive, and of course I will load Linux in one of the partitions. Mine will run XP, and Win 98se also (mostly for DOS and older Windows games).

 

It would make a pretty killer desktop replacement. :)

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My studio's main recording Mac took a nosedive Wednesday and wouldn't boot up at all. (My own fault...I tried to do an OS upgrade without reading the directions and did something stupid.) I couldn't get it all reset and up in time for two sessions that I had, so I did them both on my itty-bitty 12" G4 iBook. I even told the clients "This may or may not work. This computer isn't optimized for audio."

 

Well, hours later and tons of tracks later, the thing never hiccup'ed or anything. Not once. It took the 828 interface w/o a problem and it tracked, I'd even say, better than my main computer. During the middle of the second session I found myself thinking, "Man, this thing is tight...why even bother with the other computer?"

 

As a matter of fact, that was right in the middle of the famous "accordion sessions" last night as outlined in my other thread.

 

Just a $1000 iBook and it's internal drive. YMMV.

 

Paul

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Live-

 

I would recommend a Mac. As i'm sure you know, they'll do anything a Windows machine will do, and usually with much less hassle. The Mac folks here can suggest the correct peripherals for recording and whatnot.

 

A super-decent Powerbook can be had within the $3K limit for sure. A smaller iBook could be had for less than 1/3 of that and you can pocket the rest (or buy me a Mesa Boogie Rect-o-Verb ;) )

 

Of anything, i'd say go down to an Apple store (if you have one nearby) and at least take a look.

 

You may like them, you may not, but at least you'll know you covered that base. :)

Dr. Seuss: The Original White Rapper

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WWND?

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Originally posted by gmstudio99:

Well, hours later and tons of tracks later, the thing never hiccup'ed or anything. Not once. It took the 828 interface w/o a problem and it tracked, I'd even say, better than my main computer.

Thanks for the info Paul - what about plug-ins performance? I would want to use it primarily for live VST instruments -- were you just using it for tracking live audio?
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Originally posted by Phil B:

Thanks for the info Paul - what about plug-ins performance? I would want to use it primarily for live VST instruments -- were you just using it for tracking live audio?

That particular night it was just for tracking live audio.

 

The reason I bought it, though, was to be able to use Live and Reason in live settings, and for that it's been perfect as well. I intend to use Absynth on it as well, but I haven't placed my upgrade order yet.

 

Actually, the ONLY program that has brought it iBook to its knees so far is GarageBand. Odd, eh?

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Look Live..I'll Wager No one has done as extensive research into this then me in the last month..I'm on every laptop forum known to man and since i use Pro Tools, Logic, Acid, Avid express DV, Sonar, Nuendo, Many VST's, VSTi's etc etc etc I have a solid foundation to base opionions on..the Intel P4 amd Mobile P4 platforms performs the poorest for PC in terms of raw power and performance....For instance, a P4 3Ghz is outpreformed by an AMD xp-2500 system in Pro Tools and logic using the Dave C tests and I can confirm this. Now we are talking for Audio Video here, not Gaming. A good Gaming notebook my not be the best performing Laptop. Intel does have one platform for mobile computing that is superior. It's the Centrino line. In all benchmark testing including Audio Video here: http://duc.digidesign.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=470179&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=7&fpart=1

The centrion's best almost all other notebooks, are lighter, have superior battery life, and basically just kick ass!!! The Dell 8600 with a 128mg Video card, and 60gig 7200rpm ata drive is a top performer and one of my favorites for my applications.

 

Now the regular AMD mobile XP line is very solid and their 2500 notebooks are very respectable in terms for price/performance....

 

AMD has a new 64bit notebook processor that from all reports so far kicks complete ass and is on par or better then the fastest 1.7 centrinos....Emachines has come out with a notebook featuring the AMD64 processor and it's supposed to SCREAM and really for the $$ can't be beat. The version with the DVD Burner is $1649 and the version without is $1549 but has $250 in mail in rebates to go along with it so it's like $1300 bucks@!!! Check it out here: http://www.emachines.com/products/products.html?prod=eMachines_M6807

 

Here are the specs:

Specifications

Display: 15.4" Widescreen TFT LCD WXGA (1280 x 800 max. resolution)

Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition

CPU: Mobile AMD Athlon 64-bit 3000+ Mobile Processor

64-bit Architecture operates at 1.800 GHz

System Bus uses HyperTransport

Technology operating at 1600 MHz

1 MB L2 Cache

Memory: 512 MB DDR SODIMM (PC 2700)

Hard Drive: 60 GB HDD

Optical Drives: DVD +/- RW Drive (Write Max: 2.4x DVD+R, 2.4x DVD+RW, 2x DVD-R, 2x DVD-RW, 16x CD-R and 10x CD-RW disks, Reads 8x Max. DVD-ROM disks, Reads 24x Max. CD-ROM disks); Media Reader (Compact Flash, Micro Drive, MultiMedia Card, Secure Digital (SD), Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro)

Video: ATI® RADEON 9600 Discrete Graphics with built in 64MB Video RAM

Sound: PC2001 Compliant AC '97 Audio

Built-in Stereo Speakers

Modem: 56K* ITU V.92 Fax/Modem

Network: Integrated 802.11g Wireless LAN (up to 54Mbps); 10/100Mbps built-in Ethernet

Pointing Device: Touchpad with Vertical Scroll Zone

Battery: 8-cell Lithium-ion (Li-ion)

Dimensions: 1.6"h x 14.0"w x 10.4"d

Weight: 7.5 lbs. (8.65 total travel weight)

Internet: AOL 3 month membership included, click here for details

Ports/Other: 4 USB 2.0 ports, 1 IEEE 1394, 1 VGA External Connector, 1 S-Video Out, Microphone In, Headphone/Audio Out, 1 PCMCIA Slot (Card Bus type I or type II)

Pre-Installed Software: Microsoft Works 7.0, Microsoft Money 2004, Encarta Online, Adobe® Acrobat® Reader, Microsoft Media Player, Real Player, PowerDVD, Internet Explorer, Roxio Easy CD & DVD Creator (DVD Edition), BigFix®, MSN®, CompuServe®, AOL 9.0 (with 3 months membership included**), Norton AntiVirus 2004 (90 day complimentary subscription)

 

To get the top of the line Dell 8600 with the same features, you would have to spend about $400 bucks more..now you WOULD get the 7200rpm drive as opposed to a 5400 rpm drive in the emachines..The dell centrino also has the option for a 128mg video card, and higher resolution monitors but you will pay alot more for them as well...Another Heavy advantage of the Centrino's over the AMD64 is amost twice the battery life and the AMD64 has a feature called Powernow that adjusts the power for the application when running on battery, to save battery power basically but it's NOT intelligent like a Centrino. It basically goes down to 800mhz when running on batteries...Emachines say they will have this fixed in a Bios update as people are already complaining about it..If you need to do a lot of editing while on battery that would tip the scales to a centrino,even for the extra $$..I mostly need my laptop for use plugged in so it's not as much an issue for me although to be honest heavy Avid or PRo Tools Editing on a plane would be cool to be able to do and at present it doesn't look like I'll be able to do what I want at the Fullest until the powernow feature gets fixed...You get about 2.5-3 hours battery life with the AMD so you can watch a DVD without a problem but then need to charge..Also, an extra battery isn't out yet but will be available shortly. If you travel, you will want another.

 

So, price/performance wise the new AMD64 laptop kicks ass!!!! If ya need more battery time and want higher resolution monitor, a 7200rpb ata HD factory installed ( Many people on the AMD board have installed the new Hitachi 7200 60gig drives in the Emachines AMD64 notebooks and have noted Big performance gains), and the option for a 128meg video card as opposed to the 64 meg ATI 9600 that comes in the Emachines, then go for the centrino...I have priced it out and the one thing I would want on the Emachines is one of the new 7200rpm drives..that is about $200 extra above the $1649 I would have to pay plus the $50 fedex shipping because I live in Alaska...So it's going to cost me about $1900 to get the Emachines unit with the faster HD but then I'll have an extra 60gig HD in a Firewire case to boot for another $50....So $1950 shipped for the Emachines unit with my own 7200rpm drive in it and a 60gig external FW had made out of the the drive that was in the Laptop...The Dell is still almost $50 more.....Anyway, These 2 notebooks are the top performers period and great value for a desktop replacement in a mobile solution.

 

Now as to Apple...I love em I have 2 of but they are Slow SLOW SLOW SLOW SLOW SLOW!!!! I needed power and that's why im' going with a PC system for mobile...If Apple had come out with a G5 laptop I most certainly would have gone for that over all PC's but that doesn't look like it's going to happen for some time...And the fastest G4 powerbooks just ain't got enough juice for me and are rediculously overpriced to boot.....

 

I hope some of this helps and you can benfit from my many many hours of research....Happy hunting!!

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I would recommend a Mac. As i'm sure you know, they'll do anything a Windows machine will do, and usually with much less hassle.
Hahahahahahahahaha. These kind of statements just crack me up.

 

The reality is, that these days the only problems are the learning curve of the software itself. I've set up various people with audio recording computers. and whent hey are novices to DAW recording, invariably the problems arise from dealing wit project fime management, and software familiarity. NEVER have issues cocerning the computers themselves.

 

Except of course that you still get way more bang for your buck with PC's.

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Originally posted by Henchman:

Except of course that you still get way more bang for your buck with PC's.

Just to drive your point home, could you please go back and use my "real world" examples of what I've done with my $1000 iBook, as described in this thread, and outline for me how I'm not getting the most "bang" for my "buck?"

 

I'm very curious as to what fantastic things I'm missing out on.

 

Thanks

 

Paul

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