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Khumii
04-17-2008, 02:08 PM
Hi folks,

My 17 yr old son wants to by a laptop that he can use to make his own videos and do school work. He wants to spend about $700. We get mixed messages about which computer is best - Power books or PCs. I only have experience with PCs. He is not trying to make broadcast video, but is very talented and could make some good stuff in the near future. He also creates his own music and wants to be able to edit it on his computer. Any Thoughts?

Jim_C
04-17-2008, 02:15 PM
You can get a really nice new loaded PC laptop for 7 bills, but you can't get anything new (laptop-wise) from Apple for that.

That would be enough for me to make up my mind.

Jim_C
04-17-2008, 02:22 PM
This is what I would get in the 7 bill range

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834115467

why?

core 2 duo proc (better than dual-core)
dedicated 8400 graphics card (does not share memory with your system ram)
2 gigs ram (better than 1)
15" screen (better than 14 and a nice portable size but still some decent room)
firewire (a must for video)

If he is doing any video work, keeping the video card dedicated is a must, imo.

Khumii
04-17-2008, 02:23 PM
my son has been looking on ebay and sees them going for much less. I just don't know?

Khumii
04-17-2008, 02:24 PM
This is what I would get in the 7 bill range

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834115467

why?

core 2 duo proc (better than dual-core)
dedicated 8400 graphics card (does not share memory with your system ram)
2 gigs ram (better than 1)
15" screen (better than 14 and a nice portable size but still some decent room)
firewire (a must for video)

If he is doing any video work, keeping the video card dedicated is a must, imo.

what do you mean by "dedicated"?

Steamthrower
04-17-2008, 02:29 PM
Personally I am a diehard Mac fan. For creative stuff, I love them. But my advice is biased...but there is definitely two sides of the equation.

DiscreetFX
04-17-2008, 02:35 PM
Don't forget when you buy a Mac you have the option of Installing Windows and then have a dual system that runs Windows apps & Mac OS X apps.

Jim_C
04-17-2008, 02:41 PM
fwiw, I say buy new. Purchasing used laptops on eBay can be a gamble in my experience. I've had as much bad luck as good.

GPairing a teenage son and a used laptop is asking for problems..imo.
Buy new, get a warranty, be worry free for awhile.

A dedicated video card means there is a separate physical video card with it's own ram in the laptop that handles the video processing, relieving the duty from your system ram and processor.

This allows for much nicer graphic display and speed. Very important for smooth video playback, screen refresh rate and gaming.

just mah thoughts.....

Jim_C
04-17-2008, 02:43 PM
Don't forget when you buy a Mac you have the option of Installing Windows and then have a dual system that runs Windows apps & Mac OS X apps.

Most likely not with a $700 used Mac laptop tho.

I don't think used IntelMac lappys are that cheap yet...

I don't think.. but I guess I really don't know.

Jim_C
04-17-2008, 02:50 PM
--->

Just checked, Yea.. there are some used Intel MacBooks... but they are lesser machine spec wise then what can be had for that much in a PC.

I would get a loaded MacBook Pro over anything PC anyday, but for bang for buck $700-800 machine, well there is nothing new in a Mac and anything used is used and lower spec than what can be had on the PC side.

If the son is seriously going to be doing A/V work he is gonna want as much spec for the $$ as possible in that price range.

Khumii
04-17-2008, 04:17 PM
Well, this is a starter gig for him. He knows that he can't afford a fullblown final cut pro set up, so we try to get him started and move up as time progresses. Thanks for the info

dwburman
04-17-2008, 04:56 PM
one thing to consider is that the macs come with better media software built-in than a typical windows machine. Of course, being a student, he can probably get deep discounts on software for learning on.

You tend to get more bang for your buck when it comes to a Windows-based laptop. Then again, there are a lot of poorly made, underpowered ones out there in the lower price range.

and just so you're aware of the terminology... when Apple switched to Intel CPUs (and therefore can run Windows) they dropped the "Powerbook" and "ibook" names and switched to the clunkier "Macbook Pro" and "Macbook" names.

I have a G4 ibook I may be willing to sell if I can talk my wife into letting me have her old Toshiba notebook. :)

Puguglybonehead
04-17-2008, 05:19 PM
Well, if your son wants to run FinalCutPro, then a MacBook would have to be your only choice (PC's can't run it). Get at least a first gen intel-MacBook. Anything pre-intel from Apple (like the PowerBook or iBook) would be pretty much obsolete already. A new MacBook is only around $1200 (up here, anyways). A MacBookPro would be a better choice, but that would cost you a pretty penny.

Puguglybonehead
04-17-2008, 05:23 PM
Apple also sells refurbished (as in very recent) MacBooks at their online store.

Puguglybonehead
04-17-2008, 05:31 PM
Apple Store (http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/wa/RSLID?find=refurbished%20MacBook)

jeffreywpearson
04-17-2008, 08:38 PM
If he is a student, he should be able to get the white MacBook for @ $899......

Of course, if it did not have to be a laptop, he could always opt for the MacMini.....

And if he is just starting, he should be able to get iLife/iWork for dirt cheap as well which would take care of both his school work needs and his movie making needs......

My PERSONAL opinion is if he has already decided to spend the $700, he should either wait a bit or stretch to get the additional $200 to pick up the MacBook.

Jim_C
04-18-2008, 06:01 AM
If he wants the fastest and most well spec'ed machine he can get for $700 bucks then the only choice is a PC laptop. Period. Otherwise, even if he got a new $1000 MacBook, he's squinting on a tiny 13" screen, dealing with inferior integrated graphics, going with less RAM and getting smaller hard drives.

But I guess he will look cooler in the halls, and ultimately that is what this laptop purchase is about for a teenager.

avkills
04-18-2008, 07:25 AM
I hate to pour more oil on the fire, but here is the no bs deal when it comes to getting a system for editing.

First decide which editing software he wants to use; you will be doing him a disfavor buying cheap and then upgrading later to something completely different which then involves a steep learning curve.

If he wants to edit with Final Cut Pro, then you only have one choice and you will have to bite the bullet; but for a starter system I would look at Final Cut Express and a Macbook.

If he wants to edit using Premier Pro, then you can get the cheap PC as a starter and then upgrade to whatever platform he likes, although you will probably have to buy another license from Adobe if you switch platforms. Avid is cross platform as well, but I think you only need one license like Lightwave.

As far as music production goes; from what I've seen with people that I work with, Windows and PCs are pretty much a crapshoot when it comes to this; you almost need a dedicated system with nothing else installed. Not to mention latency is a real issue on Windows. (Now I know professionals use Windows for music, so I know it is possible; I've just seen someone switch from Windows to Mac and he said the Mac just works, but his Windows system gave him nothing but headaches)

It really boils down to the software. Figure out that first, then look at systems. Look at potential schools and see what they require and use; if he is serious about it, then you need to research and pick the system that will work in the long haul.

-mark

Steamthrower
04-18-2008, 07:42 AM
But I guess he will look cooler in the halls, and ultimately that is what this laptop purchase is about for a teenager.

I didn't get this impression from the original poster's statement.


Now I know professionals use Windows for music, so I know it is possible; I've just seen someone switch from Windows to Mac and he said the Mac just works, but his Windows system gave him nothing but headaches

The fact is with music production, like avkills says, Macs just work. I know several recording artists who are Macs all the way through for audio production. I use Soundtrack Pro (which comes with Final Cut Studio) for the limited amount of work I do...but it's sufficient for literally anything you throw at it (Logic is better however).

For music I would never consider anything else than a Mac. So many driver and latency issues and sound settings on Windows that it drives you insane.

Of course, for standard graphics both will work. Photoshop runs on both, but only Pixelmator (http://www.pixelmator.com/) runs on Mac! Easy $59 Photoshop replacement.

In my opinion, your son should squeeze out an extra $200 or $300 and go for a MacBook. Make sure to get a newish Intel (buying an older Mac guarantees that nothing new will run on it in a year or two). Also, don't configure it with a lot of RAM when you buy it: it prices it up too much. Buy some Kingston or something at Best Buy and upgrade it later, it's much cheaper.

Hope this helps!

beverins
04-18-2008, 08:15 AM
You cannot run any of Apple's "PRO" apps on a Macbook. So says Apple themselves. Has to be a Macbook Pro, or MacPro desktop. This is due to the PRO apps needing the dedicated video card which the Macbook does not have.

beverins
04-18-2008, 08:19 AM
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303782

I will remand my earlier statement - Final Cut Pro will RUN on a Macbook. But it will not RUN WELL. You might as well not waste your time running FCP on a Macbook....

Steamthrower
04-18-2008, 08:20 AM
I know that Final Cut Pro runs on a MacBook, as well as Soundtrack Pro. They'll run slow, but they'll run.

Looking on my Final Cut Studio 2 box, apparently the only app included that doesn't run on a MacBook is Color, the grading app.

Speedmonk42
04-18-2008, 08:56 AM
This is isn't even a contest.

2gb ram, dedicated memory and core 2 for 700 bux.

That plus Vegas will kick the crud out of any thing you would get from Apple for that price.

Not even an argument.

Steamthrower
04-18-2008, 09:35 AM
As you can see, Khumii, this issue is rather divided. :D

Jim_C
04-18-2008, 10:37 AM
I didn't get this impression from the original poster's statement.


Na.. I didn't really either.. but c'mon.. a teenager in High School...
Cool is what it's all about. :)

Jim_C
04-18-2008, 10:41 AM
I hate to pour more oil on the fire, but here is the no bs deal when it comes to getting a system for editing.

Has there been BS so far?



As far as music production goes; from what I've seen with people that I work with, Windows and PCs are pretty much a crapshoot when it comes to this; you almost need a dedicated system with nothing else installed. Not to mention latency is a real issue on Windows. (Now I know professionals use Windows for music, so I know it is possible; I've just seen someone switch from Windows to Mac and he said the Mac just works, but his Windows system gave him nothing but headaches)


Now that IS BS. If a system is solid and fast enough for video editing, it can do music editing in it's sleep (mode)

cresshead
04-18-2008, 11:26 AM
for music/audio production ANY mac out of the box is better than 95% of ANY pc's you could buy nevermind the cost/spec..that also goes for a mac mini btw [i have a mac mini g4]...garageband is really quite powerful then there's logic express andf the logic pro

i run garageband and imovie plus final cut express on a imac g4 and whilst it's not a smooth as silk wityh only 512 ram...it works and has produced some great music tracks
and i used to edit commercial videos with final cut express and produce dvd 'just fine'


for 3d> i'd go for a pc [lightwave, max, maya, xsi, cinema4d, houdini...waay more options and plugins]
for compositing>a pc [after fx, combustion, fusion etc]
general computing>pc...waay more apps

for video editing...Hmmm abit more difficult...
PC>speed edit is okay, vegas i hear is okay, premiere does what it's always done...avid...old school editing but 'works'.
MAC> imovie [don't discount it by any means] final cut express, final cut studio

avkills
04-18-2008, 11:59 AM
If a system is solid and fast enough for video editing, it can do music editing in it's sleep (mode)

Have you ever done music production and/or have a MIDI setup with keyboards and the like on your computer. If the answer is no, then your opinions do not count much.

Music editing has a lot more latency issues than video editing. People who write music really like it when they play back something already recorded and the new part they are now playing actually syncs up correctly. Video has way different issues that music when it comes to computing.

-mark

avkills
04-18-2008, 12:02 PM
This is isn't even a contest.

2gb ram, dedicated memory and core 2 for 700 bux.

That plus Vegas will kick the crud out of any thing you would get from Apple for that price.

Not even an argument.

Not to hurt your feelings, but nobody in the professional editing world is going to use a *cheap* $700 computer for editing. Vegas from what I have briefly seen and read about is certainly a solid application, that isn't the main issue at hand.

The issue at hand is that a young kid wants to get into editing; perhaps with the intention of doing it professionally, which is why I pointed out that he needs to do some research and find out what applications are being used in the part of the industry he is interested in.

Choose the application first; the hardware is easy after that.

-mark

cresshead
04-18-2008, 12:21 PM
i started out making music with a hardware sequencers [roland] in the 80's then moved onto alesis seq and then a yamaha music computer [msx]...as well as yamaha drum machines and a yamaha sy77...from there to an atari stfm running hollis research trackman 32 [which was ACE:thumbsup:] then for a brief time onto pc with cakewalk...i tried cubase on pc but as described elsewhere..timing issues with a typical pc's internal clock can make for hard work getting things sync'd up right.

the mac mini is a out of the box solution...it ALWAYS plays in time...no drifting.
music?...= apple mac.:D

Steamthrower
04-18-2008, 12:35 PM
Where's RollerJesus? He works in audio recording.

I know a couple recording/engineer guys...who use Mac.

RollerJesus
04-18-2008, 12:39 PM
I've setup and worked with a couple recording/midi solutions over the past 10 years and there are valid points on both sides (Mac and PC).

I don't think your son is going to be using his entry level laptop to do some massive multi-track recording, so the debate of whether a pc or mac can handle the audio recording is somewhat unimportant. A macbook or a $700 pc laptop can handle 4 tracks of audio no problem as long as you choose your hardware interface carefully.

I started recording with ProTools on a PC system, then I used a PC with Logic version 4. When Logic went Mac, so did I because I had so much experience with the software and was unwilling to shell out the money for Protools.

However, when that happened, support for VST plugins was dropped for Audio Units, Apple's native format. AU provides tight integration and rock solid timing but I lost the ability to utilize the vast library of community developed plug-ins which for someone like your son, is very cool and very, well... free.

No (that I know of) laptop is going to come equipped with the proper hardware to adequately record audio, so a more important choice in this matter is that of finding an audio interface that will work best with the hardware available.

However, for the hobbyist, Logic Express or GarageBand is hard to beat and for Mac only.

Best of luck!

dwburman
04-18-2008, 02:40 PM
MAC> imovie [don't discount it by any means] final cut express, final cut studio

You forgot AVID & Premiere Pro :)

DiscreetFX
04-18-2008, 02:48 PM
It's easy to forget about Premiere.

:D

cresshead
04-18-2008, 06:00 PM
avid is stuck in the 70's...we've moved on since then a little bit and is designed around linear editing with tape decks...not quite where people are at in 2008...
it's also waaay too expensive for a school kid to purchase something that probably costs more than their parent's home does..

premiere pro is okay...but you never know if they'll stick with apple versions or abandon their users again when the competition from apple takes another step forward.

dwburman
04-18-2008, 10:21 PM
Well, Avid has several products at differing price points including a couple of software only solutions cost less than a decent used car! A few years ago they had a free version, but from what I heard it was too limited. I remember seeing a postcard advert from them touting there new, affordable $80,000+ USD editing system and had a bit of a chuckle. I do think they have a stronger integrated titler than FCP does. I've been around Avid systems but haven't actually used them. I'm most familiar with FCP and used to use Media 100 systems.

Hey, that's another one. Media 100 has software only versions available for the Mac now... perhaps one of the easiest editor to learn... unless you needed to key something or layer video tracks. I think that's simpler now, but required some awkward work-arounds back in the 90's.

My understanding with Premiere is that Premiere Pro was a complete re-write and they didn't want to mess with coding for the Mac (quite possibly due to FCP dominance). Now that Macs are Intel-based, the porting process is probably easier so Adobe ported it. It doesn't work on PPC Macs.

I just didn't want the other two editing apps I know of for the Mac to get left out :)

There are several more editing apps for the PC, but I don't really care enough to really research editing apps at the moment. :)

cresshead
04-19-2008, 05:22 AM
also there's a few freebies avaiable depending on where your needs are in learning as video editing app..even blender has a 'seqencer' which is a video editor as well as a nodal compositor and that's a 3d app!, also virtual dub i hear is a free video editor that's worth a look.

cheapies > adobe premiere elements

there's a couple of things to add that if your wanting to leanr a video editing app 'just for you' and your own projects you can choose anything that suits your needs, if however you want to learn a video app which in time you want to then find employment with ie they use video app *a* in colleges and so in the industry then you could do well in looking at the top few editing apps and their associated training manuals/dvds.

such choices would be
final cut studio
final cut express [if your on a limited budget it's based on final cut]
some sort of avid [they may have a student edition]

Jim_C
04-19-2008, 07:52 AM
Not to hurt your feelings, but nobody in the professional editing world is going to use a *cheap* $700 computer for editing.

Huh... that's funny. I work in the professional editing field (do YOU(?)) and we do it all the time. We have 5 el-cheapo but high spec machines (even less spec then the one I posted) that field editors use weekly. No we are not spitting out 1920x1080 HD stuff but a nice 8 bill system can chop and cut SD files all day long and HDV with a little patience.

And guess what. Who cares what professionals do, this thread should be about what the original poster asked, and if you read his post (which I don't think many here have) he is asking EXACTLY just that. What $700 system can my teenager use to cut audio and video.

Funny how so many in this thread don't pay attention to the original request, which was to get a bag for buck $700 starter rig for a teenager to do basic Video and Music editing. Suddenly guys have him installing Pro-Tools and doing 15 track sequencing and suggesting software that wouldn't even install on a used Macbook.

I'll say it again, just to be an *****, BUT if a guy wants the most powerful laptop he can get for $700 it's gonna be a PC. Double period. Now everyone can turn this into an app war if they want, but all the great apps in the world made for the Apple platform are not going to make a used several year old Mac laptop bought on eBay for 7 bills perform any faster, nor are most of them going to even RUN on a used $700 Mac laptop.

I understand and agree that the apps included with a new Mac blow away anything on Vista or XP and I understand and agree that high end MacBooks are a treasure compared to high end PC laptops, but at the $700-$800 dollar end of the spectrum there is nothing new available from Mac and I've already expressed my stinky opinion about buying used laptops off eBay, especially for a teenager to carry and bang around town.

Jim_C
04-19-2008, 07:57 AM
Have you ever done music production and/or have a MIDI setup with keyboards and the like on your computer. If the answer is no, then your opinions do not count much.

Well the answer is yes.(How bout YOU?) With a thousand dollar piece of crap PC. No I wasn't doing 20 tracks of a symphony, but a properly set up budget PC laptop can do basic 2-4 multitrack recording just fine.

Jim_C
04-19-2008, 08:16 AM
This is isn't even a contest.

2gb ram, dedicated memory and core 2 for 700 bux.

That plus Vegas will kick the crud out of any thing you would get from Apple for that price.

Not even an argument.

:agree: (or SpeedEdit)

although obviously many here disagree.

:D :devil: :hey: :argue::stop::beerchug:

avkills
04-19-2008, 08:20 AM
Huh... that's funny. I work in the professional editing field (do YOU(?)) and we do it all the time. We have 5 el-cheapo but high spec machines (even less spec then the one I posted) that field editors use weekly. No we are not spitting out 1920x1080 HD stuff but a nice 8 bill system can chop and cut SD files all day long and HDV with a little patience.


Yes I do editing; in fact more so than 3D work, and basically everything we cut is done on Final Cut Pro; so my main rig is a G5 (hopefully will be a MacPro soon) and I have a MacBookPro for field work. My main video interface is a AJA IoLA, which supports DV25, DV50, UC8bit and UC10bit SD.

I'd be interested what software you are using; it seems to me that your field editors would be going insane by not having high-end laptops for field editing; but that is just me. (Although I understand that Wintel hardware is less expensive than Apple hardware) I suppose as long as you have a Core2 CPU and firewire port, DV25 just isn't going to stress the system all that much.

As far as MIDI goes; I generally do not have time for it anymore; but my original rig was run an a Amiga 2000, and then switched over to a PowerMac.

I think my original plan is the way to go; decide the software he wants to learn and then go get appropriate hardware.

Sorry if I was being an ***, I wasn't intending to do so.

-mark

Jim_C
04-19-2008, 09:07 AM
Oh yea... Well MY robot avatar can beat up YOUR robot avatar!!!

:)


Sorry if I was being an ***, I wasn't intending to do so.

Well thanks for that, but na, didn't seem like it to me, and I apologize if I seemed the same. I always write tongue in cheek, but it seldom reads that way.

I agree with all you say really. Think software first, Mac hardware out of the box can be better at things than PC hardare can etc....

It's just throwing the $7 bill variable into the equation really mucks things up and , imo, starts tipping the scales towards PCs (for better or worse)


Oh and software wise, two of our laptops have Speed Edit on them, two have Vegas and one has Premiere. As you say, we let the editor's decide what they wanted. And actually they all work just fine for SD cuts/dissovle light compositing/graphic work pulling thru firewire off 7200rpm drives.

avkills
04-19-2008, 05:03 PM
Oh yea... Well MY robot avatar can beat up YOUR robot avatar!!!

:)


Well thanks for that, but na, didn't seem like it to me, and I apologize if I seemed the same. I always write tongue in cheek, but it seldom reads that way.

I agree with all you say really. Think software first, Mac hardware out of the box can be better at things than PC hardare can etc....

It's just throwing the $7 bill variable into the equation really mucks things up and , imo, starts tipping the scales towards PCs (for better or worse)


Oh and software wise, two of our laptops have Speed Edit on them, two have Vegas and one has Premiere. As you say, we let the editor's decide what they wanted. And actually they all work just fine for SD cuts/dissovle light compositing/graphic work pulling thru firewire off 7200rpm drives.

:agree: :beerchug:

(except the part about your robot... :p )

-mark

Khumii
06-29-2008, 12:50 PM
As you can see, Khumii, this issue is rather divided. :D

Very interesting, though. I tend to agree with Jim. I know if money (and responsiblilty) weren't an issue, there are better ways to go.

BigHache
06-29-2008, 10:15 PM
The basics of video editing will be the same on whatever software you're using. You can learn "editing" on anything. After that, it's just learning a new program interface when changing apps.

Is the $700 tag for machine only, or for machine and software? There are several cheap software solutions on the PC. On the Mac, iMovie will probably get you by just fine and is included with the system.

DiscreetFX
06-30-2008, 12:42 AM
Don't forget everyone when you buy Windows, Movie Maker is included for free. Happy video editing.

:tongue:

DiscreetFX
06-30-2008, 12:43 AM
Double post removed.