Laptop video editing

Streamworks Audio wrote on 9/20/2013, 4:13 PM
Hi folks,

I was wondering what your thoughts are on using a Laptop with Vegas vs. using a desktop.

I have a pretty decent desktop, not the top of the line but decent (i7 Sandybridge 3.5ghz, 16GB RAM, Nvidia 550ti, 256 SSD) - it works great. My work space is very small, and I have thought many times about going with a laptop to help with keeping the clutter of a desktop down. So I am looking to hear what people think about working on a high spec laptop... the goods the bads etc etc.



Kimberly wrote on 9/20/2013, 5:10 PM
Hey Chris:

I haven't had a desktop since 2001. All of my editing is done on a laptop.

My first editing laptop was a Dell Inspiron 1420. A little low spec, but it got the job done for Vegas Movie Studio 9 and Vegas Pro 10 and 11.

My current laptop is a Dell XPS. Much higher spec. Cost me a bit less than the Dell Precision Workstation model. It does great with VP 12.

Disclaimer: My projects are structured around delivery on DVD (and now Blu-ray). Each segment runs 2-4 minutes, and I stick about 12 segments together in DVD-A to author the disk. If you are doing a huge project, then a laptop may not have the horsepower you need. My XPS works fine for nested projects, Scattershot projects, and other processor hungry tasks if I'm patient with it.

Good luck.

ddm wrote on 9/20/2013, 6:10 PM
I find editing on a laptop will always be a compromise over a desktop. If you're limited by space or budget and you have no choice, then obviously, a laptop will do. The more powerful laptop, the better. I use my laptop quite often for editing a project while I'm away from my desktop but I find it quite frustrating dealing with the lack of screen real estate, even on a 1920x1080 screen on my Dell XPS i7 laptop.
musicvid10 wrote on 9/20/2013, 7:11 PM
Rule #1 for editing on a laptop:
-- Get a screen that you really, really love.

Rule #2 for editing on a laptop:
-- When in doubt, refer to rule #1.
johnmeyer wrote on 9/20/2013, 8:29 PM
I just purchased a fully tricked-out laptop with every option I could think of. It is amazingly fast, and wonderful in every way.

But ... there is no way I would ever use it as my main editing machine. No way.


1. Limited screen real estate.
2. No ability to plug in cheap SATA drives.
3. Fast as it is, my desktop is much faster.
4. Small keyboard.

And more: dozens of ports: eSATA; 10 USB ports; multiple Firewire; a card reader that accepts any memory card ever made; multiple DVD burners; eight cooling fans (so I can stress the CPU to the max without having problems); ability to add any expansion card I need; cheap replacement components which are dirt-simple to install.

Yes, you can add an external screen (I plug mine into my 55" TV).

Yes, you can add external drives via USB 3.0 (although each has to have an enclosure).

Yes, you can add an external keyboard.

So, you can overcome three of the four objections I outlined above.

But my desktop will always be faster; a lot faster.

ushere wrote on 9/20/2013, 8:33 PM
+1 johnmeyer
Kimberly wrote on 9/20/2013, 8:38 PM
In my case I do all of my editing on a boat and my available workspace is 1) about the size or the laptop footprint, or 2) my lap, depending on the time of day. I couldn't do it on a desktop but that is because my situation is mobile.

A robust desktop would be dazzling, no doubt about that!

PS. I do have a screen that I really, really love : )
Ron Windeyer wrote on 9/20/2013, 8:50 PM
I have always edited on a laptop. Currently have a HP Probook 2 Gh i7 8 Gb RAM. Works well with all versions of Vegas; now V12.

I edit home & family videos from my Panasonic TM900 - so 1920 x 1080 50P AVCHD. I render to mp4 files of similar specs to play on the PS3.

The longest project I have done is 75minutes. No problems.

Issues that I can identify:
1 Loading times. I recently did a project for a friend - SD video, travel - about 500 individual clips. Source material stored on external USB HDD. When Vegas crashed (and it does.....) reloading the project regularly took15 minutes.
2. Rendering times. If I want to render to a real high quality, high bitrate MP4 at 50 fps via the MainConcept template, rendering time will be about 10 times the project length. Not a real worry for me - no deadlines here; I just go away and do something else...

Best of luck
OldJack wrote on 9/20/2013, 10:09 PM
I regularly record 4 camera 90 minute rock band videos, for DVD/BluRay, and edit with Vegas 11 on an old HP laptop. Here are my System details:

Windows Version:7 64-bit
RAM:6gb SODIMM 1067MHz
Processor:Intel I7CPU Q720 @1.6ghz
Video Card:Nvidia GeForce GT 230M with CUDA
Sound Card:
Video Capture:UBS2, FIREWIRE
Camera:HDR-CX560V, HDR-Z1U(MiniDV),HDR-HC7(MiniDV)
Add. Comments:HP Laptop dv8

Not pretty but gets the 4 multi-cam job done without any problem.
johnmeyer wrote on 9/20/2013, 10:29 PM
Can't believe I forgot these additional reasons for using a desktop (my memory was jogged by the last few posts):

1. [I]Much[/I] faster disk drives.

2. [I]Much[/I] larger disk drives.

3. Multiple drives attached via fast internal connections (although USB 3.0 makes this a little less of a big deal.

4. Multiple disk drives, using different internal busses, which makes multi-cam editing and certain types of disk-intensive rendering much faster.
Laurence wrote on 9/20/2013, 11:20 PM
I've been using small bus powered USB3 hard drives for well over a year with no drive related problems. Video is always either in the native camera format or XDcam .MXF or .MP4 formats. No speed or performance problems with this approach thus far.
xberk wrote on 9/20/2013, 11:23 PM
>>My work space is very small, and I have thought many times about going with a laptop to help with keeping the clutter of a desktop down.

You do need more space for a desktop --especially for large monitors or multiple monitors .. if space is really the issue, what choice do you have? .. I believe you can get very powerful desktops in smaller cases these days .. but there's no way to squeeze twin 24" monitors into 17 inches like a laptop .... I use both laptop and desktop. Laptop for travel. But if space were not the issue .. desktop wins -- no contest -- for all the reasons above.

Paul B .. PCI Express Video Card: EVGA VCX 10G-P5-3885-KL GeForce RTX 3080 XC3 ULTRA ,,  Intel Core i9-11900K Desktop Processor ,,  MSI Z590-A PRO Desktop Motherboard LGA-1200 ,, 64GB (2X32GB) XPG GAMMIX D45 DDR4 3200MHz 288-Pin SDRAM PC4-25600 Memory .. Seasonic Power Supply SSR-1000FX Focus Plus 1000W ,, Arctic Liquid Freezer II – 360MM .. Fractal Design case ,, Samsung Solid State Drive MZ-V8P1T0B/AM 980 PRO 1TB PCI Express 4 NVMe M.2 ,, Wundiws 10 .. Vegas Pro 19 Edit

Maverick wrote on 9/21/2013, 5:13 AM
Being a keen but amateur editor I mainly use my desktop but when I'm away I do use the Laptop (see my specs). It's not very powerful but I am still able to edit and render 1080p footage from my camera. Obviously a lot slower but doable.
John222 wrote on 9/21/2013, 8:52 AM
And cheaper. Laptop performance cost a lot more than desktop performance.
Streamworks Audio wrote on 9/21/2013, 7:59 PM
Hi folks,

Thanks for all the feedback!

All good points to keep in consideration. I use a small den for my 'office' where my workstation is. It is not super small per say, but I also have a desk in it where my development machine is that I use to do all the coding for our website, and having both machines setup takes up a lot of space.

After a lot of thought I decided that I will stick with the desktop for now as it is still a powerful machine, get a decent laptop to doing the development on, and when it comes time to do another major upgrade to the media workstation I will consider a powerful laptop and see how that performs.

Marco. wrote on 9/22/2013, 3:57 AM
I also edit with Vegas Pro on laptops for years now and didn't feel the need for a desktop pc. I've got an older powerful Dell Precision and a new tiny Acer Travelmate netbook and both work fine for hd editing.
I like the flexibility of these small devices. For the times I need extra gear (better display, pro soundcard, etc) I go and connect.
amendegw wrote on 9/22/2013, 4:11 AM
My laptop is also my primary editing computer. My biggest gripe is the that the single display results in lack of screen space to un-dock and move Vegas windows across multiple displays.

deusx wrote on 9/22/2013, 4:28 AM
I've been using Clevo laptops since 2007. No need for desktops any more.

Laptops are much, much faster too. Just try and see how fast you can move through JFK airport carrying a desktop and a 30" monitor on your back.
[r]Evolution wrote on 9/27/2013, 9:06 AM
I would LOVE to have a powerful laptop that's comparable to a desktop... w/ a 30" monitor!

Laptop screens are just too small for me, but you can create new workspaces that would be specific to tasks to more effectively use less screen real estate. I have/use a 17" HP i3 and what I like about a laptop is the convenience of being able to ClamShell it closed and carry it with me. (Those that have to run through airports could opt for the smaller models that better suite their lifestyle.)

(I'm typing this on a 22" widescreen & a 24" widescreen... either of which would make me happy as a laptop)