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Hi kakapo, this is kakapo.  I'm a simulated trans dimensional emissary from an ancient hyper-intelligent alien race that existed many aeons ago.  Since then the universe has gone through many cycles o

I've actually seen reports to the contrary, and considering that quite a lot of artists here will be relying on x86 based plugins and tools, this is a…poor recommendation. Especially considering that

for anyone looking for a laptop for cheap where you can have space for gaming and making videos with software and shit, don't let your mom who doesn't know anything about computers buy you a Chromeboo

for anyone looking for a laptop for cheap where you can have space for gaming and making videos with software and shit, don't let your mom who doesn't know anything about computers buy you a Chromebook without you supervising what she's doing. learned that the hard way

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Got these two beasts in mind:

https://www.scan.co.uk/3xs/configurator/4k-video-editing-laptop-with-thunderbolt

https://store.hp.com/UKStore/Merch/Product.aspx?id=6TV08EA&opt=ABU&sel=NTB

The Scan one has a GeForce RTX 2080 GPU with an Intel Core i9 9900K

The HP one has a Quadro RTX 4000 GPU with an Intel Core i9 9880H

Been looking at performance stats for both GPU and CPU for the last few days and I'm waaaaaaay out of my depth. Some say one GPU is better, some say the other CPU is better ..... Help ! The HP one looks a lot more sturdy and well equipped port wise but, maybe there's too little difference to worry, I dunno, I'm confused.

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It's nuts what they can fit in a laptop now. Beware though, to keep costs down they always skimp out on either GPU or CPU so that 4k video editing laptop (top link) is most likely gonna have a lot of RAM and a good GPU but a average CPU.

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Damnit, with every hour I discover another beast that's cheaper but better specced - https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/notebooks/defianceVII-17/

(Can max it out to faster speed 32gb, RTX 2080 Super Max Q (?!), i7-10875H, and 4tb of SSD for less than either of the above aforementioned lappys)

(ps avoiding all the horrible RGB nightmare lit 'gaming laptops' where entirely possible. They give me a migraine just looking at the cases)

 

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If I was to get a non-Mac laptop I would go for a business class Dell XPS or Lenovo Thinkpad. Key point is sticking to business class if you want something that packs a punch and will last beyond 2-3 years.

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I got a secondhand Asus "gaming laptop" and it's inoffensive and works OK, basically just a Macbook Pro knockoff design, and the only thing that really differentiates it from a non-gaming laptop is it has an NVidia GPU.

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14 hours ago, thawkins said:

If I was to get a non-Mac laptop I would go for a business class Dell XPS or Lenovo Thinkpad. Key point is sticking to business class if you want something that packs a punch and will last beyond 2-3 years.

This. Cheaper laptops are cheaper for a reason.

Also, Dell has great service.

 

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I would totally go for a Dell XPS though it looks like the 17'' version isn't out till the summer and seems to have gone fully MacBook Pro with its lack of ports. I got very close to a Lenovo too (and even closer still to the above HP), but over the last few days found out that the Quadro cards that come with their mobile workstation range are super expensive due to their stability and generally slower (well except in very specific rendering simulations) than the GeForce cards. I asked the HP team as to whether they could swap out the Quadro for a GeForce as their ZBook range was perfect otherwise, but alas they're unable to.

Aside from the RGB keyboard nightmare (I'm assuming you can turn this off with a utility ?!) this looks like the closest I'm going to get spec wise to what I want (when it finally comes out): https://www.scan.co.uk/products/173-3xs-carbon-extreme-rtx-4k-ips-60hz-8gb-rtx-2080-super-i9-10900k-32gb-ddr4-1tb-ssdplus2tb-hdd-win (Gonna have to get it on finance/monthly payment though, definitely don't have that kinda money to toss about in one go!)

(32gb RAM, RTX 2080 Super, latest gen i9, lots of internal storage and lots of ports - plus it's the same base model as their top 'pro-audio' range but with a better screen and graphics card)

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2 minutes ago, mcbpete said:

I would totally go for a Dell XPS though it looks like the 17'' version isn't out till the summer and seems to have gone fully MacBook Pro with its lack of ports. I got very close to a Lenovo too (and even closer still to the above HP), but over the last few days found out that the Quadro cards that come with their mobile workstation range are super expensive due to their stability and generally slower (well except in very specific rendering simulations) than the GeForce cards. I asked the HP team as to whether they could swap out the Quadro for a GeForce as their ZBook range was perfect otherwise but alas they're unable to

Aside from the RGB keyboard nightmare (I'm assuming you can turn this off with a utility ?!) this looks like the closest I'm going to get spec wise to what I want: https://www.scan.co.uk/products/173-3xs-carbon-extreme-rtx-4k-ips-60hz-8gb-rtx-2080-super-i9-10900k-32gb-ddr4-1tb-ssdplus2tb-hdd-win (Gonna have to get it on finance/monthly payment though, definitely don't have that kinda money to toss about in one go!)

(32gb RAM, RTX 2080 Super, latest gen i9, lots of internal storage and lots of ports - plus it's the same base model as their top 'pro-audio' range but with a better screen and graphics card)

For that kind of money I would just get an MBP, to be honest. It'll last much longer (presumably) and if something is wrong with it, there's enough of them out there that problems are easy to diagnose.

If it's raw performance you want, don't get a laptop.

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25 minutes ago, mcbpete said:

I would totally go for a Dell XPS though it looks like the 17'' version isn't out till the summer and seems to have gone fully MacBook Pro with its lack of ports. I got very close to a Lenovo too (and even closer still to the above HP), but over the last few days found out that the Quadro cards that come with their mobile workstation range are super expensive due to their stability and generally slower (well except in very specific rendering simulations) than the GeForce cards. I asked the HP team as to whether they could swap out the Quadro for a GeForce as their ZBook range was perfect otherwise, but alas they're unable to.

Aside from the RGB keyboard nightmare (I'm assuming you can turn this off with a utility ?!) this looks like the closest I'm going to get spec wise to what I want (when it finally comes out): https://www.scan.co.uk/products/173-3xs-carbon-extreme-rtx-4k-ips-60hz-8gb-rtx-2080-super-i9-10900k-32gb-ddr4-1tb-ssdplus2tb-hdd-win (Gonna have to get it on finance/monthly payment though, definitely don't have that kinda money to toss about in one go!)

(32gb RAM, RTX 2080 Super, latest gen i9, lots of internal storage and lots of ports - plus it's the same base model as their top 'pro-audio' range but with a better screen and graphics card)

What are you actually buying that laptop for? 17" is an insane screen size for a laptop. Even the big MBPs go up to 16" now.

As for the GPU - remember this is a laptop, which means whatever technology is inside is restricted by size and power consumption (~100W PSU for laptop vs 500W+ PSU for desktop computers), so whatever you get is a tradeoff.

On the other hand, whatever you are going to get now will be head and shoulders above what your old laptop is. I would not think so much about having the current top of the line GPU/CPU/anything, because this status comes with a premium price and will be obsolete in 6 months. That's why I suggest looking at tried and true business models like the XPS and ThinkPad - these are the machines computer professionals buy by the truckload because they are reliable and no frills. Looking at what I see in the industry is that laptops like that last 3-4 years full time use 8h per day and are actually usable for everyday stuff for longer.

Talking about ports: now that we have the USB-C standard, I can run all of my stuff from 2 ports - 1 for power and 1 for a USB dongle which has the audio interface, Push, HDMI and one slot for a random USB device. I am not a fan of dongles, but I understand where it comes from - the new standard is insanely fast in terms of data throughput and power too, so you should be able to just get 1 dongle that gives you the ports you need and that's it. I think unfortunately the world has moved on for laptops with lots of different specialized ports. There are just so many different uses for different people, what's the point?

Personally I would touch nothing that has "gamer" on it with a ten foot pole. Anything specced for gaming is specced for gaming, not audio production + you probably end up paying a premium for the ugly design and those useless piece of shit LEDs. You will curse yourself trying to mix or listen to some quiet stuff when the GPU fans blow up because nobody cared to optimize for silence. Software updates that stop 2 years later because now there's a new "gamer" model, etc.

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2 hours ago, rhmilo said:

This. Cheaper laptops are cheaper for a reason.

Also, Dell has great service.

 

Can't speak for the laptops but IME on the consumer side Dell desktops are absolute trash and on the business side (Optiplex, Poweredge, etc.) Dell desktops are really nice for the money.  I've bee using second hand Dell business workstations and servers for years, they're common, cheap, reliable, and easy to source parts for if you need them.

 

As far as the "gamer" laptops it's not something I would have chosen (I got it used because a friend from work was looking to sell it and my old laptop barely worked anymore so it was a good deal all around) but it's completely fine - again, it's the same as the non-gaming model but with a different GPU and more RAM factory installed. Coolest, quietest laptop I've ever owned, no goofy lights, visually just about identical to Big Money Salvia Erik's laptop (although it's not the same model):

 

So yeah, don't seek one out BUT don't dismiss them either, because the flip side of

Quote

Software updates that stop 2 years later because now there's a new "gamer" model, etc.

is people who buy them are more likely to replace with the latest model after a year or two and sell off the old one, so if you go used you might find more on the "gaming" side than the "business" side. 

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34 minutes ago, custom knob said:

Take a look at some of the new amd based laptops too - apparently they have much better dpc latency than intel equivalents - and cheaper too

Ooh aye, heard good stuff about the new AMD range .... Will definitely investigate !

@thawkins RE: Screensize - I've had 17'' lappys since the early 00s and so have just been used to the form factor of a full size keyboard with a numpad, and screen size for my ageing eyes! Not too concerned about it not being the latest tech after just a few months, have been quite used to that with my existing setup - The last part to receive any updates (my 3d card) was 18 months ago but hell 6 years worth of support for a middling card is pretty good - maybe I should rather stick to the ZBook w/Quadro (or the Thinkpad) range for stability as they're built more as reliable 'mobile workstations' rather than specifically laptops (plus no hideous RGB lighting!) 

@rhmilo Given Macs a darn good go (use them in the office for editing daily over the last few years, and currently have a work loan MacBook pro since lockdown in March) but the closed architecture just isn't for me. Have so many wacky archaic bits of music software that have either never been made for Macs (the main one being my beloved Jeskola Buzz) or will never receive updates for the new 64-bit only world of the current OSX, that it really wouldn't be worth the transition. And absolutely in the ideal world I'd just get a desktop, but unfortunately I travel a lot to see family and my flat is kinda likkle so it's either laptop of nuffink!

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15 minutes ago, mcbpete said:

Have so many wacky archaic bits of music software that have either never been made for Macs (the main one being my beloved Jeskola Buzz) or will never receive updates for the new 64-bit only world of the current OSX, that it really wouldn't be worth the transition. And absolutely in the ideal world I'd just get a desktop, but unfortunately I travel a lot to see family and my flat is kinda likkle so it's either laptop of nuffink!

Ah, ok, that's fair.

Well, in that case I'd get a business Lenovo or Dell. Less performance but better build ( @TubularCorporation : Dell business laptops are completely different from their consumer line - much sturdier). And, like @thawkins says above, you don't get a laptop for the performance anyway, 

The solution for the aging eyes problem is to get glasses, btw. ?

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1 hour ago, mcbpete said:

Ooh aye, heard good stuff about the new AMD range .... Will definitely investigate !

@thawkins RE: Screensize - I've had 17'' lappys since the early 00s and so have just been used to the form factor of a full size keyboard with a numpad, and screen size for my ageing eyes! Not too concerned about it not being the latest tech after just a few months, have been quite used to that with my existing setup - The last part to receive any updates (my 3d card) was 18 months ago but hell 6 years worth of support for a middling card is pretty good - maybe I should rather stick to the ZBook w/Quadro (or the Thinkpad) range for stability as they're built more as reliable 'mobile workstations' rather than specifically laptops (plus no hideous RGB lighting!) 

@rhmilo Given Macs a darn good go (use them in the office for editing daily over the last few years, and currently have a work loan MacBook pro since lockdown in March) but the closed architecture just isn't for me. Have so many wacky archaic bits of music software that have either never been made for Macs (the main one being my beloved Jeskola Buzz) or will never receive updates for the new 64-bit only world of the current OSX, that it really wouldn't be worth the transition. And absolutely in the ideal world I'd just get a desktop, but unfortunately I travel a lot to see family and my flat is kinda likkle so it's either laptop of nuffink!

You can also install windows on your mac as dual boot using bootcamp, it's officially supported and you get a solid laptop with good build quality.

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i’ve got a Thinkpad P1, despite a small QC concern which they took care of quickly, it’s been pretty quality. good feel, had it over a year now, maybe two. 

had considered a Razer as well, heard mostly good about them, not sure which model might be worth considering tho. 17” models available in P1 and Razer has some 17” models. 

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1 hour ago, rhmilo said:

Ah, ok, that's fair.

Well, in that case I'd get a business Lenovo or Dell. Less performance but better build ( @TubularCorporation : Dell business laptops are completely different from their consumer line - much sturdier). And, like @thawkins says above, you don't get a laptop for the performance anyway, 

The solution for the aging eyes problem is to get glasses, btw. ?

I had a feeling that would be true about Dell laptops based on their desktops.  Dell business desktops and servers are really solid.

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On 6/8/2020 at 7:59 PM, thawkins said:

If I was to get a non-Mac laptop I would go for a business class Dell XPS or Lenovo Thinkpad. Key point is sticking to business class if you want something that packs a punch and will last beyond 2-3 years.

I have a Dell XPS 15 (personal) and Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon (work) in front of me right now. I don't know if there's any difference between the home and business versions of the XPS but if so it's the former. I'm reluctant to recommend Dell because they have shitty quality control and shitty customer service, but if you're looking for the best possible specs in a decent form factor there isn't much competition. Even the new Razer Blade 15 only offers 16GB RAM whereas my two-year-old Dell has 32. The XPS has shitty sound and you'll need an external DAC if you're using it for music but I guess that's true of most laptops.

The Thinkpad is fine, if kind of functional and boring, but has a couple of quirks that really piss me off: firstly the Ctrl key is where the Fn key should be and vice-versa. It makes pressing Shift-Ctrl fiddly and worse, it messes up my muscle memory for when I use any other keyboard. I hate it so much. Also the trackpad (or maybe it's the drivers) is very annoying, there's often a noticeable delay after I start swiping my finger before the pointer actually moves. I know people swear by the nipple (it has one but I don't use it) and I wonder how much that's just because those people are comparing it to a terrible Lenovo trackpad rather than something decent.

 

On 6/9/2020 at 10:59 AM, rhmilo said:

Also, Dell has great service.

 

No. My XPS has coil whine. It's clear from a cursory web search that this is a common problem and has been for years, but when I contacted them about it they acted as if they had no idea what coil whine was and asked me to send them an audio recording, which I did. They claimed they couldn't hear anything on the recording, and asked me to send them a fucking video, as if that would have helped, and in reply I sent them a bunch of links to other people's videos on YouTube of the exact same problem. So finally they sent someone round, who opened up my laptop...

Spoiler

... AND REPLACED THE FUCKING FAN. After that I gave up trying to get it fixed and decided to just live with the coil whine, and also the sporadic buzzing sound that the fan started making after it was replaced. By way of comparison I once bought a monitor from HP which had coil whine; I told them about it and they just sent someone round with a replacement monitor, no questions asked.

 

On 6/9/2020 at 3:07 PM, auxien said:

had considered a Razer as well, heard mostly good about them, not sure which model might be worth considering tho. 17” models available in P1 and Razer has some 17” models. 

Before the XPS 15 I had a Razer Blade 14 and loved it. It only lasted 3 years before the battery died but I probably could have replaced the battery easily enough, I just felt like splurging on a new laptop instead. Plan to go back to Razer next time.

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59 minutes ago, Rotwang said:

I have a Dell XPS 15 (personal) and Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon (work) in front of me right now. I don't know if there's any difference between the home and business versions of the XPS but if so it's the former. I'm reluctant to recommend Dell because they have shitty quality control and shitty customer service, but if you're looking for the best possible specs in a decent form factor there isn't much competition. Even the new Razer Blade 15 only offers 16GB RAM whereas my two-year-old Dell has 32. The XPS has shitty sound and you'll need an external DAC if you're using it for music but I guess that's true of most laptops.

The Thinkpad is fine, if kind of functional and boring, but has a couple of quirks that really piss me off: firstly the Ctrl key is where the Fn key should be and vice-versa. It makes pressing Shift-Ctrl fiddly and worse, it messes up my muscle memory for when I use any other keyboard. I hate it so much. Also the trackpad (or maybe it's the drivers) is very annoying, there's often a noticeable delay after I start swiping my finger before the pointer actually moves. I know people swear by the nipple (it has one but I don't use it) and I wonder how much that's just because those people are comparing it to a terrible Lenovo trackpad rather than something decent.

 

No. My XPS has coil whine. It's clear from a cursory web search that this is a common problem and has been for years, but when I contacted them about it they acted as if they had no idea what coil whine was and asked me to send them an audio recording, which I did. They claimed they couldn't hear anything on the recording, and asked me to send them a fucking video, as if that would have helped, and in reply I sent them a bunch of links to other people's videos on YouTube of the exact same problem. So finally they sent someone round, who opened up my laptop...

  Hide contents

... AND REPLACED THE FUCKING FAN. After that I gave up trying to get it fixed and decided to just live with the coil whine, and also the sporadic buzzing sound that the fan started making after it was replaced. By way of comparison I once bought a monitor from HP which had coil whine; I told them about it and they just sent someone round with a replacement monitor, no questions asked.

 

Before the XPS 15 I had a Razer Blade 14 and loved it. It only lasted 3 years before the battery died but I probably could have replaced the battery easily enough, I just felt like splurging on a new laptop instead. Plan to go back to Razer next time.

For the Ctrl-Fn issue you should be able to switch those buttons in the BIOS. I know I did this years ago when I had a Thinkpad as a work laptop too. Hope this helps. 🙂

My personal laptop has a japanese keyboard, work laptop has regular AZERTY and external keyboard has QWERTY, and I work in US layout and communicate in EE layout, so I basically just mash some keys and delete the wrong symbols. In the end it seems my brain handles the mapping more or less OK.

As for coil whine and anything else that's messed up, that should be a cause for sending the thing back for a replacement or refund. Especially if it happens during warranty period.

Looking at Dell's website it seems if you choose business, the prices for XPS series go up 100 bucks or more, so there is definitely something going on.

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12 minutes ago, thawkins said:

For the Ctrl-Fn issue you should be able to switch those buttons in the BIOS. I know I did this years ago when I had a Thinkpad as a work laptop too. Hope this helps. 🙂

Thanks, but the laptop is managed by the company to the point where it won't even let me change my desktop background, so I doubt they'd be too happy with me messing about with the BIOS.

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21 minutes ago, Rotwang said:

Thanks, but the laptop is managed by the company to the point where it won't even let me change my desktop background, so I doubt they'd be too happy with me messing about with the BIOS.

If you speak to the company IT support and explain to them that it makes it irksome to type, I'm sure they will sort it. ThinkPads have the ability to be remoted into, even to access the BIOS.

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I only ever had Macbooks Pro and never had any issues with them. I still have one that’s from 2010, still looks and works as new (after installing a solid state drive yrs ago), still works 4-5 hrs on battery.
i would never buy a non-Apple laptop!
But,  on the other hand, I would never buy an Apple desktop bc they’re just too fkn expensive... maybe if i was loaded! Then, why not! Id even buy that ultra-speced screen with the $1000 screen stand. 🙂


imo, for music production, the best match is a Macbook Pro with a monstrous PC desktop comp! The last MBP is only couple of yrs old and going strong, it works beautifully and (what’s very important to me) feels and looks beautifully! The last PC that I’ve bought was with the i7 8700k processor, 16gb or ram and 3 tb of memory. Still haven’t been able to maxed it out! 

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