View Full Version : Budget compositing and editing laptop?

07 July 2005, 05:57 PM
I'm getting a laptop soon, and it is much needed. My own computer(which I don't edit/composite on thank god) is an 800mhz p3 w/ integrated video and 128 megs ram :(

I guess I got into the video editing and compositing just a little bit ago when we got a high end dell model which is still very 'meh' but it does the job.

Basically what I am saying is I am due for a new computer. For my needs it would make sense to get a powerful desktop, but my parents are divorced so I am constantly moving between houses, and I also have a lake house that has no computer. With all the moving it is hard to get things done. I could be work on somthing at home, then go somewhere and come back not even remembering what I was doing. I'd rather just have my stuff with me wherever I go so I can get more done.

Now I am not by any means an experienced compositor. I am pretty good with editing and photoshop, but thats about as far as my skill goes right now. I think most laptops can handle that pretty easily. Running combustion is different though. It even bogs down my new desktop at times. Now I don't need it to blaze through combustion, I just need it to be workable.

So can anyone give me any advice on a laptop to go with or a model to check out?

My dad has offered to buy this for me since he knows I need it and said I could get any laptop I wanted.
Of course i'm not going to go pick a 3000 boxx or alienware, that would just be wrong. I want to go for around 1000-1600 tops since thats what we've been looking at.

Here are two I was looking at.

They are very different. The first one of course has much more power and is slightly more expensive. The second one really doesnt look great at all for compositing but it is cheap and available at costco. Being available at costco is pretty nice because costco's policy is that if you dont like it or have any problem at all, you may return it.
I read some good things about the integrated video it had, and a centrino 1.7 is pretty quick. I'd probably upgrade the ram to at least 1gb right away. I saw the screen and it was beautiful. 2x as crisp and bright as any other laptop i've seen.

lemme know what you think

07 July 2005, 03:40 AM
Well, you need a relatively light laptop with reasonable Open GL performance in combustion. So the main problem is a card that would work well in combustion. Forget about "professional" cards because of the price. I don't know how ATI laptop cards handle combustion but I assume it would be much better than no card at all (as in "integrated video"). A decent Nvidia card would result in a very bulky and expensive laptop.

I would look at IBM (actually they were bought by Lenovo) T42 or 43 as an all-around midrange notebook. I suppose $1600 is enough for an entry level model (with a video card, not the Intel integrated stuff). They did have an Nvidia option at some point but I can't locate the link right now.

07 July 2005, 05:14 AM
Just remember that combustion caches to RAM for playback, so more RAM = good. c* will never play back real-time, so the openGL is really only useful for particle FX as far as I can tell. Of course, if you can get a portable nVidia chip, go for it, but for smooth/faster playback it is all about processor and RAM.

07 July 2005, 05:43 AM
I agree about the ram - you may consider buying a laptop with minimum available ram and then upgrading from a reputable ram manufacturer to save money.

I don't use combustion but from what I remember from my tech support days they have 3d comps with lights, video textures and so on. Where does your current computer seem to be slow in combustion?

07 July 2005, 06:52 AM
My current computer crawls with particles. It's got a radeon X300 which I am betting isn't too great. Pretty much everything else is plenty fast. Sounds like this is what Double Supercool was talking about.

Does anyone know how the X300 stacks up against the integrated video in the laptop I linked, and the ATI card in the other one? Or if I can get the spec sheets of all 3 GPUs what would I need to look for to gauge performance?

If either one would perform comparable or better than my X300 that should be sufficient enough so I guess I just need to figure that out.

That HP model is looking pretty good to me. I would assume the beefy Athlon 64 would perform quite a bit better than the centrino. 1gb ram pre-loaded is nice, and a big screen a plus. My eyesight is good and I would be running them at the same resolution anyway.

So basically if the ATI card should perform well in c*, I might just go for that one.

07 July 2005, 04:01 PM
Ok I read up on that card and found that it is not actually a card, it is also integrated. I read one person's post on a forum who said he had it in his laptop. He said it was trash, poor performance and frequently overheating during gameplay.

On another forum I found someone who did a real world comparison of the intel900 graphics and the radeon and found the 900 to come out on top.

08 August 2005, 01:12 AM
I've been looking around and I can't really seem to find anything that fits the budget and has decent dedicated graphics.

My next step is to go find a store that has the averatec model on desplay, load up a combustion demo, and give it a bit of testing.

How do you guys think a centrino would perform? I read that clock speed on a centrino +500 = equivalent P4.
Would this hold true for performance in combustion or would it be even less? Im not even sure how much processor speed matters for c*.

08 August 2005, 12:08 PM
There isn't an app written that eats ram like's an absolute monster, and leaks like a sieve, so I'd load your notebook with as much ram as you can afford. The Dell M70's got a screen that displays 1920x1200...a nice res for on the road...

CGTalk Moderation
08 August 2005, 12:08 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.