Please help me pick my next laptop.

Since you guys did a great job helping me out with my last computer build, and I followed a lot of your advice on what was one of my most commented video ever.

  • Not as big as our current laptop (Acer Aspire 5560 15.6″) but not as small as the one before
  • USB3 write to USB3 128GB flash drives.
  • Doesn’t need super battery life
  • I don’t like to edit on trips because that keeps me away from shooting while I’m there, needs to have be able to handle editing one DSLR track with one track of text well.
  • SSD 470GB, perhaps two one in the DVD drive area?
  • Small or no brick PSU power supply
  • Doesn’t need a DVD drive
  • Internal SD slot in case I forget my card reader.
  • Windows 8? Touch screen? Windows 8 is so different, MAC?
  • RAM perhaps 8GB?

I will take all your comments and filter through them, once I get the laptop I will post speed tests from it to share back what you guys helped me with.

52 comments

  • Dave, I use a Macbook Pro 15.4″. It has all the power you need. I have the CS6 suite and Final Cut Pro installed and have never had any issues running any app. Rock solid, beautiful display. It’s entirely aluminum so it is a bit heavier than your average laptop, but it’s more durable too.

    -Jim

  • I would suggest buying a mac book air or pro. I am currently in the looks for an imac which seems to be a great computer for video editing/photo.

  • http://www.sagernotebook.com/

    I used one for my last job. They can be outfitted with 1-3 hard drives. They are a company designing for gaming and video production. Not for Best Buy and chain stores. Each one is custom made for your specs. Prices are very reasonable as well.

  • Just a word of warning, Adobe hasn’t done a great job of supporting the graphics cards in PC laptops. I have the exact same graphics card in my HP PC laptop that is in the 2012 MacBook Pro, and until Adobe Premiere Pro CC it wasn’t supported for GPU editing.

    In general PC desktops are awesome for using Adobe or Sony software for video editing, but laptops are not nearly as well supported. I would spend the extra $$$ and get a MacBook Pro, 15″, Retina, and max it out because you can’t do much of anything to it very easily afterward (i.e. RAM upgrades for PC laptops aren’t too bad but it is not the same for MBP).

  • I got a Sager NP6350 (http://www.xoticpc.com/). Granted, it sounds like it’s a bit too big for you, but the flexibility is fantastic with multiple hard-drive bays and what not. Quad-Core i7, Dual-Hybrid 750GB drives, and 16GB of RAM handles PP CS6 pretty well – once you update your supported cards sheet in Windows. Mine set me back $1450, but mine is basically a desktop replacement machine though.

    Alternately, if you’re willing to shell out the Mac-like price tag, here’s a slick alternative: http://www.razerzone.com/gaming-systems/razer-blade

  • I use a 15inch Retina Macbook Pro 2.6 quad i7 16gb of ram. 256SSD editing off WD USB3 “my passport drives”

    I’d love to see a comparable PC and how it benchmarks next to the Mac in Premiere & Resolve light. It is my only computer, works mobile and at the desk.

  • Dave, I have been using a Toshiba 16″, equipped with an AMD chip and 320G hard Drive. I also have an exterior hard drive of 1.5T from Toshiba and it seems to work well for me. I run Lightroom 4.4, Photoshop Elements 11 and Photomatix 4.2.3

  • Dell XPS 14! Great little laptop with all the features you asked for (including NOT being a MAC!) i5, 8 Gb Ram, 512 SSD, USB 3.0, Terrific audio, small PSU, NVidia 630M /w 1gb Ram. It ROCKS!

  • i feel like it’s tough to have a real good laptop for editing without looking into something that’s a desktop replacement laptop. something like the ASUS Republic of Gamers 14″ model could work, but it doesn’t really fit a majority of the things you’re asking for. sure, smaller screen, USB3.0, 8GB memory, dedicated graphics with a GTX 660M card, no DVD drive, but it’s about 5.5 lbs so it might seem heavy, no touch screen, 5400rpm drive. price has come down on it lately, tho, so upgrading to an SSD and doubling the memory are possible.

    http://bit.ly/11kxvda here’s the current one in stores at a best buy. they might refresh the line with the new haswell chips, but battery life isn’t a real concern for you i believe

  • Dave, I would recommend the 13″ Macbook Pro Retina. It fits all of your requirements, it is nice and fast, the perfect size for you, and the screen is fantastic. And not to worry, the Intel HD 4000 Graphics can more than handle video processing and editing if need be.

  • I’d get a 15″ Macbook Pro Retina Display with 16GB of RAM, i use mine as my main editing computer, running both Premiere Pro (Creative Cloud) and Da Vinci Resolve without any issues. I know you said you wanted something smaller, but since the retina macbooks are pretty slim, the difference with a 14″ PC might not be huge. You can also get a 13″ macbook pro retina, but i think the real state that a 15″ gives you compensates for the extra weight. All the best from Chile Dave!

    P.S: You can still use windows on a Mac if you want.

  • I got the 15″ MacBook Pro Retina, and I haven’t looked back. It is hands down the best laptop on the market. You get all the benefit of a 15″ screen, but the lightness of a smaller computer. Plus, you can always load Windows on a Mac through Boot Camp and it runs it at native speeds.

  • I know you don’t want a Mac, but, i think is one of the best options. A 15.4 Macbook Pro has all the requirements you want: SD slot card; optical drive easily removable, where you can install another drive; GeForce GT650M;USB 3.0. Apple will update the mac line soon (sep~oct), sou you should wait to see what is about to come

  • Hey Dave, Ryan Rakowski here. I’m currently editing and running all my adobe CS6 products on the same laptop that I used when we met in the coffee shop last year in May. I haven’t updated to Windows 8 yet but it will soon happen. I’ve never had a blue screen or a crash in the past 2 years since I’ve had my laptop.

    I’m running on an Asus Notebook G53SW Series laptop with an Intel Core i7-2630QM CPU @2.90GHz and a 1920×1080 HD screen size of 15.6 inches. It comes with 8GB of ram but can be upgraded to 16GB. I currently have 14GB of RAM. There’s an extra hard drive slot for an SSD which I’ve already installed. There’s an Nvidia Geforce GTX 460M video card that came with it with 1.5GB of CUDA. There’s a USB3.0 port, a dvd player but you can purchase a blu-ray player and even install that if you choose to. The battery life isn’t fantastic but that’s because it requires a lot of power. ASUS computers have a lot of beef in them, I’d highly recommend one to you.

  • Look into a Microsoft Surface Pro, you are going to be limited on storage i believe the biggest size now is 256 but it has a micro SD card and you can plug an external HD if needed but it only comes as an i5 and it might be a little small for your needs but i love it for PhotoShop work and it has a wacom digitizer built in. don’t be afraid of windows 8 its basically the same as 7 but with the metro side built in. the only thing to worry about is there is probably a new one coming soon with the Haswell chip set.

  • I agree on the Surface Pro. I use it as my everday computer, and also edit video heavily both in the field and at home. It runs Premiere Pro without any lag. It’s like having the portability of an iPad, but a full computer. You can expand the memory with MicroSD cards, plus you can plug in a second monitor. It’s very fast on everything except final rendering. For those, I just set it and go grab lunch. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Macbook Pro Model MD102ll/a. Is 13.3 inches and fits the description perfectly to what you need. It has Dual core i7 cpu, stock 8gb 1600mhz ram, and 750gb sata drive. It runs the latest version of osx and is a very sturdy piece of kit (there’s a reason it has 5 star reviews everywhere!). It’s made of aluminum and built like a tank. You will be able to do pretty rough edits on this computer, and it will be backed by apple’s sought after customer support. It is designed for professionals that need power on the go. You couldn’t go with a better computer. Been using it for 1 year now, (latest version still) and it screams. I use Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut, and even Logic Pro and it takes on everything nice and easy. I can even run magic bullet and various red giant suites with out issues. You can purchase from bhphotovideo for $1319. You shouldn’t be spending time getting your computer to work, worrying about every technicality when on the go at least. Apple takes that job from you, and allows you to create! For a laptop it’s a workhorse you can depend on. Hope you found this helpful, I’ll be looking forward to hear you final decision. Thanks for all the wonderful tips on the blog man, this information is invaluable!

    Product Link: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/871866-REG/Apple_MD102LL_A_13_MacBook_Pro_Notebook.html

  • One last thing Dave! It does feature USB 3.0 Ports (2) SDHC/XC card reader, thunderbolt port, ethernet port, and firewire 800 port. It has a very small 65w power supply. It has an optical drive but you can replace the drive with a tray and set and SSD inside in addition to the main sata hdd (which can also be replaced with an SSD). And the dual core i7 cpu clocks at 2.9ghz with turbo boost to 3.6ghz. In real world application you can export or transcode a quick 1 minute 1080p HD Clip in 45-50 seconds. That’s all, best of luck with whatever you decide! Take Care,

    Diego

  • Another thought is, you might want to wait until thunderbolt is common on all laptops (supposedly coming soon, later on this year). Some manufacturers are already introducing laptops with thunderbolt. Many laptops although they have USB 3.0 connectors on them, are actually limited by the bus speed to 3/mbps, not 5. The USB 3.0 video capture devices available on the market, like the one from Blackmagic Design do not work because of this limitation on the top bus. In fact there’s only one PC laptop that they recommend that has a USB 3.0 that they recommend. Here is an article on PC World.com about thunderbolt and laptops. It is a fairly old article dated August 9, 2012. However, I haven’t been able to find anything newer.

  • Toshiba Kirabook

    2560 x 1600 screen resolution, touch screen with windows 8.

    8 gigs of ram and a 256GB SSD and a 3rd gen core I7 Quad Core Processor

    I work at the Microsoft Store as one of the technicians. Our warranties are amazing should you purchase one, you’ll be covered against software issues (viruses, os corruption) as well as accidental damage

  • MacBook Air 13″ should fit your needs. We just had service on my sons MacBook Pro from the Apple store. We got excellent and quick service.

  • You Should Try Looking ASUS N Series Laptop, it’s 14″ . The Price for the i7 is $900.

  • I use a lenovo y500 for premiere pro with CUDA acceleration

    there are similar and new models out

    http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/ideapad/y-series/

    They are a bit thick and heavy though, however the sure power and performance for the price is what did it for me, and with my y500 I was able to install 2 solid state drives inside (one mSata, and one regular sata) and use the ultrabay for another 1 tb hard drive, best bang for the buck in my opinion

  • What I’ve been looking at for video editing is the Asus UX51vz Touch. Built in GT650 with 2GB video memory. Only drawback is 12GB memory max .

  • eSATA is great for hard drives, but for outboard video I/O devices for 2k, and 4k the industry is moving towards Thunderbolt 2. It would be nice to hang a $145 Thunderbolt dongle on your laptop and be able to input, stream / monitor HD video. HDMI is probably good enough for now (1080P output.) Though Mac Mini’s can do that now, why can’t PC laptops?

  • Hi Dave,
    I am using sony vaio z for that purpose, and I am very happy with it. Unfortunately, you cannot buy new one, but there is a replacement, it is called sony vaio pro 13. hat one appears to fit your description perfectly, and it is super light. I have optional sheet battery, and that one is useful (brings up the weight a bit). But I use it when I have to copy some terabytes from one usb3 drive to another, and that sucks up battery life.

  • and I forgot, some mandatory features for video:

    USB3

    full hd screen

    at least 5h of battery life on normal use (which translates to 2h of heavy use)

    13″ is enough as it brings good balance between weight and size

    SSD – the more the better

    RAM – 8gb is pretty much the amount you’ll want if you consider light video editing

    other features are nice but not mandatory

    HDMI – nice to have, but only if it supports hdmi 1.4

    DisplayPort – VERY nice to have

    eSATA – nice, but I had it on my previous laptop, and used it 3 times :)))) so, not really needed

    touchscreen – played with one that has it, still no good app support on desktop windows, but it is getting there

    Some additional comments:
    I have win7 on my laptop, and win8 on my desktop. And I like win8 better. Works much better with multiple monitors that I have (I have 5 of them). Getting used to win8 is quick process (it took me less than 1 day) :))) First thing you do is go to desktop mode, and it looks almost exactly like win7. Add some programs that bring back the start button and you almost cannot see the difference. And as I hear, win 8.1 will bring back the start button (yeah) ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’m with the folks who recommend a Macbook Pro laptop, in particular the 13.3 inch with a retina display. The real upside for people like you is that it has the ability to natively run Windows …extremely fast, if run natively using Boot Camp instead of Parallels or VMware Fusion. I’m retired now, but when I worked, I used PCs every day. And every night I came home and thanked God there were Macs in this world. If you’re like most people who switch from PC to Mac, you’ll never go back once you spend a couple of weeks learning OS X. Plus, you’ve got all of us to help you if you have a question. It’s the least we can do after all you’ve done for us.

  • I know you are a PC guy. But you are getting a big following. From the standpoint of relating better to your other fans… maybe you should consider a Mac. I know it would be a pain to have FCP and dual systems…. but think about what you could learn and how you could stretch yourself to be able to relate to more of your followers. Kinda like trying a Nikon camera or Tamron lens. It does not mean you are abandoning PC it just means you are branching out and learning more.

  • i don’t think its a big deal if he wants to stay with a PC its just an OS, he is not having a problem relating to his fans that use mac, Premiere works the same on both, use what you are comfortable with, you have a lot more options and prices with a PC.

  • Wow, thanks everyone for your suggestions and input.

    Probably the #1 suggestion is a Macbook Pro and run windows one it, while that might work fine and I’m nervous about drivers for the video card and other items so I am going to stick with Windows.

    The #2 suggestion I think is the Razer Blade 14โ€ณ which looks amazing but lacks an SD slot which means I have to carry a card reader/cable with me which adds more bulk.

    The Dell XPS 14 Ultrabook and the GigaByte P34G seems to have all the items that I am looking for. But I still have more comments to read through on YouTube.

  • regarding windows on macbook pro, one of my friends has that setup, and here are the problems:

    – battery life is much worse than under macos
    – not enough keys on keyboard
    – he has to run windows fonts on 150% which works, but not always, and some forms look weird
    – sharing files – you need to have external drives formatted to exfat if you want to share them with windows

    other than that, hardware is great, and he likes it

  • Ah the fun begins!

    I have been working exclusively on my HP Mobile workstation since I got it. (EliteBook 8560w) It is very stable and has everything that I could ask for in a video environment.

    USB 3.0
    SD card reader built in!
    eSATA
    FireWire
    DisplayPort (HDMI)
    8 GB of RAM (upgradable)
    Backlit keyboard (Could not live without this! Makes working on location great!)
    Full HD Display
    Dual WiFi. Kills compared to the range on Apple & Acer
    1/2 price of MAC ๐Ÿ™‚ (More $$$ for lenses!)
    2Gb Nividia Quardo card. (Adobe PreP CC loves it!)

    Why I would buy it again:
    The support from HP Business is A+
    They flew a guy to my resort to fix an issue I caused the next day. I didn’t loose any family time trying to fix it. great!

    I use it in a live video production environment and have never had a crash when the other guys (and Mac’s) around me are rebooting.

    If I sound like a sales rep that’s because it’s saved me time, money, and has proved itself over and over.

  • Retina 15″ MacBook Pro, 16gb ram, SSD drive. This setup has worked outdoors and at the office without a hitch!

  • I vote for the 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display.

    I’ve used a fair share of laptops, both PC and Mac, and there’s just nothing on the market that comes close to the MacBooks. The retina MacBooks have an incredible screen (enough resolution for 1080p video AND the rest of your video editing program’s menus and toolbars, plus incredible color accuracy and range), very decent battery life, the best trackpad on the market, built-in SSD, and an overall fit and finish that is unrivaled. Plus, it runs OS X, which may seem unimportant, but give it a few weeks and you’ll probably find yourself using it as your primary computer.

    Apple’s high-end desktops don’t tend to be particularly attractive, especially in terms of value, but their laptops are top-notch. I highly recommend going to an Apple Store to try one out.

    One thing thoughโ€”the last MacBook Air update added PCIe-based SSDs and the Intel Haswell chip. If you’re going to go with the MacBook Pros with Retina display, I’d suggest waiting for a month or two for the updated one (much faster read/write speeds and battery life).

  • Dave,

    I’m late getting to this party, but thought I would chime in, as I’m in the same boat looking for a laptop that will do some minor editing. Not After Effects or CPU intensive plugings – just editing home/vacation footage. I picked up a 14″ Lenovo P400 Touch at Best Buy earlier this week. It has an i7 that benchmarks higher than most I found – no SSD though. Render times are not too bad…but I HATE Windows 8. The overall feel is quite plastic and I’m not sure I can live with the LCD. I have another 9 days to decide…I might just go with a Macbook and run Parallels. Good luck in your search!

    Tom

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