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Want to buy PC - Laptop or Tower?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by madsmeskalin, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. madsmeskalin

    madsmeskalin Torkonfoslak

    I´m thinking about selling my Macbook Pro, and buying a PC. Long story, short version: I dont like Apple.

    How many of you VJ´s use Tower vs Laptops? And how big is the price vs performance on these machines? Durability of a tower compared to a laptop? I usually supply 3 - 6 projectors on a triplehead or serial connect the projectors, so I dont think the extra weight will make that much difference. A friend of mine told me recently that the difference between laptops and stationary computers are not that big nowadays in terms of performance. I dont know, since I never used a stationary computer for serious work.

    If I were to buy a tower, I would probably make a case for it, where the keyboard and screen could be seen as an integrated part.
  2. alfaleader

    alfaleader Member

    A desktop is much faster then a laptop (for the same price). A 500€ desktop beats mostly the performance of a 1000€ laptop.

    When you use a desktop, you can don't need a triplehead. Use one of the ATI cards that use eyefinity.

    Durability is better with a desktop, it has more space and better cooling (possible to use dust filters).

    If you want to build in a keyboard/screen, I suggest you use a rack case so you can build things in a rack.
  3. madsmeskalin

    madsmeskalin Torkonfoslak

    Thanks alot for a very concise and helpful answer!

    - I did hear that desktops are susceptible to damage during transport, that internal components can easily dislodge. is that true?

    - Can you recommend one of the best infinity graphics cards? Money is not really a concern, as I will save alot of money by selling my macbook pro.

    - Is it possible to upgrade/replace the CPU in a tower, or is it hardwired/soldiered to the chassis?

    - Can you recommend me a cheap and lightweight rack? Its not meant as much for protection, as it is meant to unify the screen, keyboard and all that.
  4. madsmeskalin

    madsmeskalin Torkonfoslak

    Oh, does it really matter what combination of components you have? Do one type of CPU work better with certain graphics cards, or isnt that an issue?
  5. alfaleader

    alfaleader Member

    It's true that a desktop can be damaged during transport if you don't have a good case. But if you buy a good rack mount case, this won't be a problem. (you can also do modifications to secure the GPU better)

    Best eyefinity gpu is now a 7970 (600€), but a 7950 or lower version (6870, 6970, 6950 will be enough for vjing). You can also place 2 graphics cards in crossfire, so you will have double the amount of outputs. It's also possible to use 1 expensive gpu, and one very cheap. The cheap one will just be for more outputs.

    It's possible to replace your cpu/gpu/RAM/hard drive, that's also one of the advantages for desktops.

    I don't know much about rack cases, some other vjs have more experience in them (I know sleepytom has a rack case, and some others). I have a normal case.

    It's important to find a good balance between your components so you don't have a bottleneck. It's stupid to use a 600€ gpu with a cpu from only 100€.

    I would suggest something like this:
    CPU: intel i5-2500 Quadcore 3.3 Ghz (190€)
    motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P67-DS3-B3 (90€)
    RAM: Corsair 8gb 1333mhz (45€)
    GPU: ASUS EAH6950 DCII (260€), with 2x DVI-I and 4x Displayport
    (Extra GPU: HD5450 for extra HDMI, DVI-I and DP (40€))
    Hard disk: Cheap SSD for booting, and a cheap hard drive (with the floodings the prices of hard disks are now very high, better to buy a cheap one now and wait a few months till the prices drop)
    Cooling: an extra CPU cooler that fits in your case, and extra fans when your case has place for extra fans.
    Case + Power supply: depends on rack case

    Good luck!
  6. vjair

    vjair Making Shapes

    personaly, i prefer a laptop as it fits in a bag more easily - mine does fine with multiple hd layers on multiple outputs in Avenue. i havnt used a tower for vjing for many years now.
  7. haris

    haris lightmotion

    if you move a lot around and don't own a car, then the desktop solution despite being cheaper and more powerful than a laptop will be not so practical
  8. SilentEclipse

    SilentEclipse PH 5.9

    Thats interesting to know, I have MBP with 4g RAM and its struggling with 2 layers of H264 1080p footage in Grandvj.
  9. stickygreen

    stickygreen this is my custom title

  10. alfaleader

    alfaleader Member

    H264 will be the problem, try photojpeg.
  11. SilentEclipse

    SilentEclipse PH 5.9

    ok thanks will give it a try...just i read somewhere that grandvj was optimised for h264..
  12. madsmeskalin

    madsmeskalin Torkonfoslak

    I was thinking about one thing:

    I see they sell some micro cases who weights as little as 4kg. It has two 5.25 sockets, and 4 3.5 sockets. I can see the cooling might be an issue. What do you guys think? Otherwise, it would be perfect, and semi-portable.

    Also, regarding ssd´s: in my laptop I have two ssd´s, one for boot and one for clips. Is that necessary? I mean, if I were to remove one of them, would it be better to remove the scratch disk, or the system disk?
  13. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    What is the point of this?

    You already have a top spec laptop that will run resolume perfectly well. If you don't like OSX then put windows on your mac laptop and run resolume under windows. (though it works just as well, possibly even better in OSX)

    Don't sell your macbook pro, you will simply lose money, it is not possible to buy a windows laptop of the same quality as a macbook pro for any amount of money.

    If you want to build a cheap tower PC to run alongside your mac then that is a different matter and an idea which I would support.

    Mac laptops and PC desktops is a good choice. But selling a top spec apple laptop to fund buying a lower quality PC is madness.
  14. madsmeskalin

    madsmeskalin Torkonfoslak

    You are completely right, voice of reason as always. I think I will build myself a PC while keeping my laptop, as I have a good insurance which refunds the laptop should an accident happen to it. And accidents happens all the time at my gigs.

    My local store have some build-your-self-packages. The most expensive one has these components:

    Cooler Master Silencio 550
    Asus P8P67 Deluxe P67 ATX
    Intel Core i7 2600K
    2 stk Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 TI OC 1024MB PCI-Express
    2 stk Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600 MHz 4 GB
    Intel 320 Series 120GB SSD
    Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM SATA/600 64MB
    Samsung DVD±RW 22x Double
    Corsair TX 750 Watt M
    Arctic Cooling CPU-fan

    I think I will skip the ssd drive as I have a couple ones myself, buy a more lightweight case and change graphic cards. I would rather stick with a real good one with several outputs. Can anybody recommend me a high-end card for this setup? Any thoughts on this setup?

    Also: if you have just one ssd, would you rather place your OS on it or your content?
  15. madsmeskalin

    madsmeskalin Torkonfoslak

  16. vjair

    vjair Making Shapes

    you might find it quicker and easier to just set fire to the money in your yard ;)

    that second computer is £1200 - it looks seriously overpriced to me. i wouldnt want to pay more than half the price for that machine.
  17. madsmeskalin

    madsmeskalin Torkonfoslak

    Can you recommend me a store which the components cheaper? They can ship to the UK, as I have friends over there who can bring it with them when they come to visit. In Norway, almost everything is much more expensive than the rest of EU.

    But what about the computer itself? What graphic card should I change to?
  18. devonmiles

    devonmiles Midi: the language of God

  19. vjair

    vjair Making Shapes

    just had a brief check of some of the customisable systems here http://www.eclipsecomputers.com/systemlist.aspx?cat=1&mcat=39

    i just modified one of the standard builds ( 2nd down on the right ) to have an intel i7 @ 3.4ghz / 8gb ram / 1tb sata drive / ati 6770 for £655.97

    its got usb 3 / z68 based so it works with things like the blacmagic intensity shuttle external capture devices worrk with it, 2 x pcie16, supports up to 32gb ram and so on
  20. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    if you spent 10% of the time you spend thinking about this stuff actually making content you might have a half decent show by now.

    Really you don't need anything else, get on with some content, then you'll progress. Every moment you spend thinking about new hardware is a wasted moment that could of given birth to new pixels.
  21. stickygreen

    stickygreen this is my custom title

    I'm not sure Z68 works with BM capture cards...

    I know X58 does, but I think z68 is a cheaper alternative...?

    I may be wrong on this though.
  22. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    It's more specific than that!

    X58 with NEC usb3 chipset is the only certified solution for BMD USB3 products.
  23. alfaleader

    alfaleader Member

    X58 is a lot older then Z68. Z68 is more consumer friendly (no fancy overclocking options...)
    X79 is the new "extreme line" of intel. But it's expensive.

    Now cost/performance Z68 with a I7-2500K is a very good choice.

    I don't think it matters a lot what chipset your USB3.0 uses. It might be that one chip is a bit faster then the other, but you have to follow the USB3.0 specification.
    If it's a problem you can always buy a USB 3.0 PCI-Express card :)
  24. madsmeskalin

    madsmeskalin Torkonfoslak

    "if you spent 10% of the time you spend thinking about this stuff actually making content you might have a half decent show by now.

    Really you don't need anything else, get on with some content, then you'll progress. Every moment you spend thinking about new hardware is a wasted moment that could of given birth to new pixels."


    You are completely right, Tom! I was thinking about it yesterday, and realized how many hours I spent on this vs creating content. In the end, its all about what you actually project.
  25. alfaleader

    alfaleader Member

    True, we should talk more about creativity and less about technique!

    I think vjing is about this:
    -10% hardware
    -20% technique
    -70% content/creativity
  26. vjair

    vjair Making Shapes

    doh.... yeah you are right about the x58 / z58 thing, thats an error on my part - the bm site does NOT have the z68 on its list of specified chipsets.

    that'll teach me (probably not ) to actualy look instead of relying on my ageing brain to remember stuff correctly :vidiot:

    100% agree on content though - a show without good content is just a technical exercise but good content without great technicality can still look great and be engaging.

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