A New DAW Laptop For ~1000$ or more. Recommendations?A New Music Producing DAW Laptop For ~1000$ or

Joined
Jan 20, 2011
Messages
5
Hello everyone,

I'm into buying my 1st DAW Laptop. Would love some help.


I would like to pay around $~1100 and my max is a lil' under $1500

Uses:
1) Performing live with Ableton Live. Using many VSTs as well live instruments.
2) Recording/producing at home.

I was thinking:
1) Intel Quad Core processor
2) 15" screen
3) 8GB, preferably 16GB RAM
4) At least 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD 7200 RPM (But also open to different combinations like 1tb ssd, or 512ssd + smthng....)
5) at least 3 usb ports, preferably more
6) Full HD resoultion at least
7) Some dedicated graphics card.
8) Important: Needs to be a reliable system that I can count on for live performence
9) Of course the lighter it is the better, and the longer battery life it has the better. but the rest of the points are more important.

Some Questions:
1) How can I tell if a laptop can have two hdds/ssds ? some laptops are great, but I'd like to add an additional hdd or ssd to them. then they would be ideal.
2) is there a big differnce beweetn 6th/7th/8th gen cpus ? is a i5 8th gen > then i7 7th gen?
3) which vendors/brands are recommended and from which I should stay away ?

My Equipment:
1) Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 Audio Interface
2) Some mics
3) A midi controller
4) Some cables ;)

Any tips, thoughts and also specific recommendations are very welcome!
thanks
 

sinisterDei

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
1,488
I don't know much about professional audio, so I will refrain from specific information. I can answer a couple general questions though.

8) Reliable system
There is no such thing, especially not in a mobile device with a spinning disk drive. The only 'reliable' system is having a proactive plan in place for when your system doesn't work. This might mean literally keeping a spare laptop around.

1) How can I tell if a laptop can have two hdds/ssds
In general, if the laptop doesn't *come* with two drives in it, I would just assume it cannot have another added. There is no foolproof method to prove otherwise, but often you can look up Youtube videos for particular model laptops that show how to replace memory/HDDs and those will get you a disassembled view of your potential laptop that you can use to eyeball it.

2) Difference between CPU generations
Not a lot, especially if you're only comparing 6th gen onward and you're only considering 4C CPUs. Better power efficiency for later generations generally speaking.
 

yowen

Gawd
Joined
May 20, 2011
Messages
657
Reliable system
There is no such thing, especially not in a mobile device with a spinning disk drive.

In relative terms there certainly is. I'm certain higher end laptops will last longer on average. My moms boyfriend buys cheap laptops on sale for his tax-business. He ends up buying one almost every year, they fail all the time. Compared to people I know that buy expensive laptops, that last much much longer.

That being said, I'd certainly have a backup (storage) solution in place, as well as a laptop with a warranty, especially if my livelihood depends on it.
 

Neapolitan6th

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 18, 2016
Messages
1,161
8th gen low power cpus are markedly better since the 15W parts before them only went up to 2 cores, 4 theads.

The new 8th gen parts are 4 cores, 8 threads.

It looks like you'd be looking into something a bit bigger, but at least now you have access to something a bit more portable while mainting quad core performance.
 

sinisterDei

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
1,488
... a laptop with a warranty ...

Agree with most of what you said, except this bit. The idea of warranties has lost almost all of its luster for me.

The warranty itself is fine; it's the idea of a warranty as contributing to the reliability of the system or component I object to. At my company, we had a half million dollar SAN device with a 5 year long, 2-hour response time onsite warranty (that contributed mightily to the $500k price tag of the device). At some point in the device's life, we lost multiple internal drives in rapid succession. At some point, we were 1 drive loss away from losing an entire array. And our 2-hour response time warranty? Well, they were out of stock of our drives. For four fucking days.

Ever since that moment, with my company's livelihood balancing on the knife's edge of a SAN with 5 concurrent drive failures not losing a 6th before replacement parts show up, I've lost faith in the idea of a warranty. I now place my faith 100% in having a spare or a replacement handy. You can bet your ass we voluntarily bought two spare drives that fit in our SAN and they just live in their retail packaging sitting atop the unit, waiting for the day they are needed.

We've taken that thought process to other parts of our equipment. When we bought new VMware servers, instead of buying a couple big expensive ones with warranties from Dell, we bought twice as many of them from a whitebox reseller. The money worked out almost evenly because the whiteboxes were cheaper than the Dells to begin with and we didn't buy the stupendous warranty, and we got twice as many machines, with half of them acting as spare capacity. When we bought switches, we needed two of them so we bought three; the third sits in the rack, preconfigured, but powered off - just in case one of his brothers dies.
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2011
Messages
5
Any other thoughts?

I was also wondering what would be the best laptop drive configuration? hdd + ssd / external hdd + ssd / ssd + ssd etc.
in audio work the software work with
1) recording/writing audio in real time
2) "pulling" samples usually at the start of the work and sometimes while working as well if I need it to

Would anyone recommend a touch screen? thought it might come in handy for live performences.
 

Artex

Weaksauce
Joined
Jul 11, 2005
Messages
118
Depends on how portable you want it to be as well. Bigger the screen + higher the resolution, the easier it is to see all tracks in the app without too much scrolling around. A single large (and fast) SSD is my preference - no spinners whatsoever. I would also choose a hyperthreaded CPU as I believe most of the apps take advantage of these virtual procs.
 

thecold

Gawd
Joined
Nov 12, 2017
Messages
920
Any of the fatter business laptops are going to cover your needs. They have switchable graphics and multiple spots for drives. They also come with 85wh+ batteries. The p51 supports 2 nvme drives and 1 sata drive or 2 sata drives. If it doesn't come with the appropriate drives you may have to buy the tray's to support them. I need the sata drive tray for mine.
 
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