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Best $600ish laptop for HD vids,music production,gaming?

by slow235comp / November 18, 2012 11:18 AM PST

please pick me out a laptop from these at Costco or BestBuy, Walmart, etc or whatever's the best deal. Not used.

Under $700
I don't really need more than like 20G storage if that's what the huge HDs are for if not to also increase performance.
I don't need a big screen
I don't need bluray
I don't need a wireless monitor, keyboard, etc
I need a long-life battery for music production and to power a USB MIDI controller keyboard or has innexpensive additional batterie(s).
I need to plug in usb mouse, non-usb keyboard (or usb adaptor if must and possible), and non-usb monitor (or usb adaptor if must and possible)

Costco has on sale a Dell Inspiron 15r Laptop for $599.
Intel Core i7 (doesn't say if 3rd gen or anything if that applies)
8GB memory
1Tb HD
wireless display and bluetoth (I don't need though)
15.6" monitor
not sure which gfx it has. It's in a flyer, couldn't find on website.

I don't know which requires a more powerful machine: to play back and edit HD videos saved from my camcorder, music production, or video games.


10% of my videos are full HD, 90% and what I shoot for now is 720p. I guess this will require more computer than the music production and gaming. I'm not expecting great playback. As long as I can watch the videos without it being too glitcy, that's fine. If I can lower video quality, I'm okay with editing a copy of the HD file and watching in SD if must.


The only games I really want to play are Counter Strike Source
Pentium 4 processor (3.0GHz, or better)
DirectX 9 level Graphics Card
Windows 7

Counter Strike Global Offence
WIndows 7
Intel® Core 2 Duo E6600 or AMD Phenom X3 8750 processor or better
1GB XP / 2GB Vista,
Video card must be 256 MB or more and should be a DirectX 9-compatible with support for Pixel Shader 3.0.

I don't want to upgrade gfx or anything just to get those games at their best, I'm just playing them for some time as a sort of farewell to gaming.


I'll be running the latest Fruity Loops and maybe another DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), but I don't think that means I'll need more computer than I do with Fruity Loops, it's mostly about the virtual instrument plug-ins needing more computer specs I guess. DAWs can go so in depth with editing, but I think the HD video or Counter Strike Global will require more computer.
Basically I do work-arounds to not need lots of computer specs for this, like saving parts as audio files and triggering them in a sequencer and piecing things together instead of having many VST virtual instrument plug-ins and stuff going at once. I'm not trying to achieve pristine audio quality or anything like that.

Fruity Loops Requirements:
2Ghz Intel Pentium 4 / AMD Athlon 64 (or later) compatible CPU with full SSE2 support. The faster your CPU and more cores it has the more you will be able to do simultaneously.
32 or 64 Bit versions of Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, XP
1 Gb or more RAM recommended
Soundcard with DirectSound drivers. ASIO/ASIO2 compatible required for audio recording (if must, I'll get an innexpensive audio interface to connect hardware like guitar, keyboard, and electric drum kit to computer)

I don't know yet which VST Virtual instrument plug ins I'll be using. I might get an all-in-one VST in place of a piano and orchestral ROMpler-type keyboard like a Korg Triton. I do want about 2 in-depth synthesizers, and effects.

Thank you

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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by slow235comp

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I'm sure you've read this passage.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 18, 2012 11:27 AM PST

"Our tests demonstrate fairly little difference between a $225 LGA 1155 Core i5-2500K and a $1000 LGA 2011 Core i7-3960X, even when three-way graphics card configurations are involved. It turns out that memory bandwidth and PCIe throughput don't hold back the performance of existing Sandy Bridge-based machines. ",3106-4.html

So for games I'd like to read which GPU this machine has.

About the Inspiron. The office has a few and the displays are bare acceptable. Some folk will not be able to stand them. Look before you leap.

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by slow235comp / November 18, 2012 1:20 PM PST

I'm basically getting the Inspiron 15r unless anyone can prove a specific better deal.
I hope the i7 isn't a sort of scam vs the i5, though sometimes you gotta pay a seemingly over-priced gap to get to the next level with many differernt products.
I don't care much about display, I keep the brightness at 0 and contrast like 5% unless i'm using google earth. For video games, I'm connecting the NEC MultiSync 1770v 17" LCD I'm using now, which was good enough when I played counter strike.

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by slow235comp / November 18, 2012 2:19 PM PST
In reply to: hrmm
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The 15r around here has dozens of configurations.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 18, 2012 2:30 PM PST
In reply to: hrmm

I can't comment much more other than to look at the display before you buy. Also some dis the machine for it being bendy. Ours at the office is fine but I don't care for the display.

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by slow235comp / November 19, 2012 6:26 AM PST

more specs on that inspiron 15r:
intel hd gfx 4000
3rd gen i7-36322m 2.2 ghz
8gb dual chanel ddr3
waves maxaudio3 processing

I'm getting confused with 2nd and 3rd generation i7 and i5, and then all the ghzs are different, some are more for i3s than i7s.
If someone could just name the laptop best suited for what I'm trying to do would be great. I can go around $750. I don't care that much about getting counter strike Global to run it's best if that requires the most price jump. no matter which choice, I'll prolly have to get an audio interface for decent hardware recording (guitar, keyboard, drums etc) which I can hopefully get used for like $40.

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Nice laptop. But that GPU is a GMA.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 19, 2012 6:29 AM PST
In reply to: re

As you know, the GMA eats away at CPU time more than a GPU with its own video RAM. I'd prefer the i5 over the i7 if the i5 got video RAM and GPU.

I'm sure you've read that web link I offered in my earlier reply.

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by slow235comp / November 19, 2012 1:52 PM PST

okay, so i have to chose if i want to get an i5 with a GPU with it's own RAM to run video games better or get one with an i7 that's better for a DAW digital audio workstatio but doesn't have a GPU, which i don't think exists in my price range.

An i5 with a GPU with RAM makes HD home videos play better than an i7 without a GPU? if it has a blue ray player, does that mean it has a better gfx card/GPU or that just depends and would eat away at CPU if not?

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That's why I supplied the link.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 19, 2012 2:10 PM PST
In reply to: thanks

It's so folk don't have to take my word about how our CPU choice can be overkill when it comes to video work such as in the link.

In parting, no gamer I know is happy with a GMA.

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by slow235comp / November 19, 2012 2:33 PM PST

i5 with GPU plays HD home video better than an i7 without GPU?
blueray indicated GPU/better HD playback if not even using the drive?

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by slow235comp / November 19, 2012 2:35 PM PST
In reply to: re

blueray indicates it has a*

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My experience.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 20, 2012 12:45 AM PST
In reply to: re

BluRay began to play well at 1080p (did not have 3D back then!) with a Core2Duo 2GHz with an Intel 4500MHD GMA. Your worries have me writing about the GMA can interrupt the CPU or extend a wait cycle.

This many posts and this basic item, sadly I'm not getting the point across.

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by slow235comp / November 29, 2012 10:09 AM PST
In reply to: My experience.

This solves most everything
games playable with with built-in Intel HD4000/25000 graphics:

HD video play/editing depends on CPU more than GPU.
DAW music production software benchmarks:

"Those are PassMark benchmark scores. PassMark is a benchmarking software which runs the CPU through many stress tests like
read/write operations, math calculations, and graphics processing. People who run PassMark can submit the score they got with
their processor so those charts are showing the average submitted scores for each processor. I wouldn't read into the overclocked processor charts much because they include mild overclocks as well as extreme overclocks, and there's no way to know how overclocked the processor was when it got the given score. If you really want to see specific scores, you can click a processor from the list and it will show the last 5 submitted scores along with information like RAM, measured speed, hard drive, graphics card, etc."

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