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New laptop required...help in choosing very appreciated


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Hello humans.

Did have an i7 (old chip tho) - I think 2.5ghz with a hybrid ssd, windows 10 and 4GB ram. Ran Ableton 11 suite and external gear basically. I'm not a heavy Max user or anything like that. Used Ableton more as an experimental platform and sequencer really to record into and mix etc. I primarily play guitar or and go from there. Found it pretty good overall. Motherboard died and can't be replaced. Gutted. Luckily can recover data off drives but other than that I need a new laptop. Too old to be sorted really. 

At this stage I'd be interested to see what I'd get comparable spec wise for maybe max £500. Ultimately I just want something reliable with a powerful chip so I don't have to think about CPU load and a decent enough local storage. I don't game or anything like that and I'm quite broke really so I suppose I'd just like advice as to where to look now and what's a good solution.  I've not bought a laptop in years so I'm really behind re. technology now and what brands to seriously consider. 

Cheers and sending good vibes to you all.

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I’m not too well versed in pc world but one thing to consider, although you might well have already done this, going tower instead of laptop will generally get you a lot more bang for your buck.

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Some Lenovo and HP Probooks are pretty solid in that pricerange I hear. I'm sure there's others too, the nerds over at /g/ or Reddit probably know best.

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Yeah I considered asking on Reddit but couldn't find a clear purchase advice one. What's /g/ sorry? Thanks for help everyone. Yeah I have been considering desktop towers too. Do you really get that much more bang for buck then? To be fair, I've got a decent phone and don't really play live so considering laptop more for convenience travel too etc.. Just the obvious first thought innit. Wouldn't go Mac really even though heard good things about their latest tech. Just can't support the price hike.

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Sorry to message on my own thread.

Is an AMD Ryzen 3 3200g quad core total overkill or worth boosting quote for even newer generation?

Been quoted 533£ for a desktop with that as chip versus 579£ for an i3 laptop!

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20 hours ago, Polytrix said:

Yeah I considered asking on Reddit but couldn't find a clear purchase advice one. What's /g/ sorry? Thanks for help everyone. Yeah I have been considering desktop towers too. Do you really get that much more bang for buck then? To be fair, I've got a decent phone and don't really play live so considering laptop more for convenience travel too etc.. Just the obvious first thought innit. Wouldn't go Mac really even though heard good things about their latest tech. Just can't support the price hike.

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/g/ is on 4chan. It's pretty helpful when it comes to tech, but yeah, 4chan.

25 minutes ago, Polytrix said:

Sorry to message on my own thread.

Is an AMD Ryzen 3 3200g quad core total overkill or worth boosting quote for even newer generation?

Been quoted 533£ for a desktop with that as chip versus 579£ for an i3 laptop!

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I'd always recommend a desktop first, they just perform much better, especially over time. Even with the same specs so to speak.

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Yeah I'm pretty sure I'll go desktop now.

How important is a Ram boost to 32gb over a base offer of 16 re music production versus upping chipset from like a Ryzen amd 3 to a 5/7?

Put my rise in budget potentially into increased chipset, ram or larger SSD?

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Just now, Polytrix said:

Yeah I'm pretty sure I'll go desktop now.

How important is a Ram boost to 32gb over a base offer of 16 re music production versus upping chipset from like a Ryzen amd 3 to a 5/7?

Put my rise in budget potentially into increased chipset, ram or larger SSD?

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You can always upgrade RAM later right? I'd go for the stronger CPU

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Yeah I'm prioritising chip and SSD capacity to see how much I can squeeze for 600£. Trying to sort of future proof it to some extent too you know.

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On 8/10/2021 at 3:24 PM, cern said:

Save up just a little and get the Mac M1.. Runs so good with Ableton. Intel is history! 

I'm seriously considering this option. It'd be a shame to ditch all my old free plugins on the pc though! Ableton Live 11 is a joke on my pc - very few plugins run on it and it buffers very quickly! 

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What I'm finding interesting is that PC Specialist actually has a lack of Ryzen 5 chips in stock. Even been heating about a lack of PC gear in circulation but this is first time I acrually experiencing it from a major distributor.

Anyone had any other success with building towers via a UK company?

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Don't go on Reddit or 4chan, get an used Mac laptop in good condition. Or save a little and get a new M1.

Don't get a tower or some high spec custom made machine: gamers and all kinds of other wastes upon society have driven up the prices for those.

In the end most modern computers are more fine for music production - there is absolutely no need to dig into CPU-motherboard-RAM specs and try to understand what the hell is going on. You just need a minimum of 16GB RAM, and a CPU with many cores.

For a laptop, physical build quality is also super important - the leaders in this respect are Apple, Dell, Lenovo.

If your budget is 500 pounds, then my gut feeling says that your options are:

  • new cheapo laptop - probably budget components, bad build quality, will break in another 2-3 years, forcing you to buy again
  • new cheapo tower PC - you can get an OK PC for this, but still might get incompatible/shitty components and having it custom made costs extra
  • used laptop - you can probably get a pretty good used business class laptop for this price. For home use this will be fine unless it is physically falling apart.
    • it's worth looking into Apple refurbished listings https://www.apple.com/shop/refurbished/mac basically you get a used Mac that is serviced by Apple and they offer 1 year warranty. Full disclosure, my current machine is refurbished, and even though I have dropped a lot into repairs it's still working fine and I have had it since end of 2017.
  • used-new mini PC - Apple Mac Mini and Intel NUC fall in this category.
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^this

go refurbished..some warranty rulez. i've been using thinkpads T or W/P -series since forever, never had an issue. build-quality declined over the years but still a solid workhorse. depending on your needs display-wise i.e. resolution, you can get pretty excellent deals.

Edited by iococoi
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On 8/10/2021 at 3:24 PM, cern said:

Save up just a little and get the Mac M1.. Runs so good with Ableton. Intel is history! 

M1s are definitely great value for money for single core performance, though for multicore supported apps (of which Ableton is one) the multicore speeds of the higher-end (eg the x900k) Intel chips released in the last couple of years still outperform the M1s by quite a margin (though obviously at a higher price point!) 

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Yeah thanks everyone. I still think the price of an AMD multicore tower say around £600 outstrips something like the refurbished M1 tho. I've never had an apple laptop/PC either. I can certainly see the appeal of course but following my expoence with this laptop breaking etc I think I just want to go with something solid and more reliable you know in terms of upgrades and repair.

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Yeah I don't know man if the whole apple is more reliable argument stands anymore.
I think both windows and apple both have histories of OS stuff fucking up and equally even if apple is more reliable in some way from the outset (I do get the reasons for that) but it just seems like if it fucks up mechanically that's going to be more expense and more effort. I suppose it's a big trade off or something isn't it. Enjoying all these views tho so thank you. I've only ever had Windows DAW systems you see so I can't really coment I'm just looking at the bang for buck.

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On 8/20/2021 at 10:42 AM, iococoi said:

i've been using thinkpads T or W/P -series since forever, never had an issue.

same here.  but might be too much money for Polytix 's budget. or as one said, look for second hand.

heard friends happy with the mac M1 also.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yeah thanks everyone. I think an M1 is like 900- 1000£ + at the higher configuration tho so I suppose the question is why do that if you can get a high end AMD/Intel tower for that price. Suppose it depends on the comparative performance of that chip in the long-run.

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1 hour ago, Polytrix said:

Yeah thanks everyone. I think an M1 is like 900- 1000£ + at the higher configuration tho so I suppose the question is why do that if you can get a high end AMD/Intel tower for that price. Suppose it depends on the comparative performance of that chip in the long-run.

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There's some videos on the performance of it and it's immense!!!

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1 hour ago, Polytrix said:

Yeah thanks everyone. I think an M1 is like 900- 1000£ + at the higher configuration tho so I suppose the question is why do that if you can get a high end AMD/Intel tower for that price. Suppose it depends on the comparative performance of that chip in the long-run.

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You get software and hardware that are designed to work well together, so this already solves a lot of compatibility problems. You also get the MacOS operating system which makes (in my opinion) a lot of audio related things work a lot better.

And once again I suggest getting an Apple certified refurb machine, and not paying the full price for a new one.

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