Laptop Shopping

I still find my slightly elderly desktop acceptable but I’m away often enough that I’m in the market for a new laptop.
I run Renoise, Cubase sx3, Ableton and Pure data.

I’m looking for something portable, quiet and which is usable without always resorting to an external soundcard. The short list is currently:

Sony vaio cw
Dell Vostro 1320
Lenovo g550

The Sony feels compact, solid and has a spec which seems to justify the extra cash but I’ve heard their customer service is awful and that Vaios can be a bit of a bitch to service.

The Vostro is also nice and small, feels decent to use and isn’t too costly but one user review complained of a very low headphone volume.

The Lenovo is larger but only about as heavy as the Sony. Quite cheap and although I’ve not seen one in person I’ve heard that they are very well put together. The trackpad has come in for some whinges in reviews though.

My old old laptop had awful problems with grounding and hummed so loudly that I once used it as a noise source in a modular set-up. It also had quite a piss poor headphone output, which was an annoyance. Any good or bad experiences of the above machines in those areas and others would be really useful.

If they all turn out to be too risky I might stretch to a Macbook pro for the battery life and decent internal audio.

Why choose? Just get all of them. Problem solved!


Why not a Lenovo thinkpad? What amount of money do you want to spend?

I’d stay away from Sony at all costs, those people I know of who bought the rubbish always ended up regretting it. Just my two cents though.

Dell makes some usable, albeit cheap, hardware. Not too much wrong with that choice there.

On a more technical note, you might want to consider getting a laptop with a SSD harddrive, performance-wise a huge leap and massively useful for audio production. Just get a smaller, cheaper one and use an external mechanical HD for those terabyte-files.

If you’re a student like me, you might want to look into various student-rebates that Lenovo, Dell and Apple offer, sometimes depending on where you live.

I thought SSD was still not reliable enough to make it last the while… or are these devices becoming sturdier by the day?
At least the price/quality rate is still too high imho. Also, defragmenting those thingies…:uh-oh…
Fragmentation is a real topic in the media world.

Money isn’t amazingly tight but I’d rather keep the budget fairly limited if I can as I suffer from a slight modular synth fetish which gobbles up cash.

I could go to £1000 but if these 4-500 quid dell/lenovo/toshiba laptops don’t fall apart straight away, don’t have utterly piss poor soundcards and don’t hum whenever they’re plugged in they might be perfect.
So far I’m struggling to find those things out.

I’m a fan of Dell laptops. That would be my choice of those three models. In any case, don’t choose Celeron chips, they are cheaper but you will regret soon. Core 2 Duo is a must. 7200 rpm disks also recomended, as SSD are not cheap yet.

The 13" Macbook Pro would be my first option before the other three models you posted.

I quite hate Sony. It used to do high quality products in 90s, but nowadays they use own standards which costs quite expensive. Sony laptops are headache in OS upgrade, Sony force users to use own versions of drivers. Nvidia driver is not going to work even you have a Nvidia card in your laptop. And you won’t find a driver for your OS at Sony website… then… you’re going to learn a lot of things.

My current laptop is Fujitsu-Siemens, but I’m not 100% happy with it, but it’s ok. Next one is going to be Samsung I think. Apple Mac is something from another planet with own religion of perfect life which doesn’t fit to the reality.

I agree, definitely steer clear of the Sony. I had one and it caused me nothing but pain. In fact, Sony is what drove me to give Apple a shot.

I’ve been very pleased with my Macbook–it’s never had any hardware problems, I’d call the native sound system quite usable, and the battery life is a plus. I would definitely make the same choice again… for music that is. You also have to consider compatibility if you use much 3rd party stuff of course (at least Renoise, Cubase, Ableton, and PD are cool.)

The only thing I can say is that a macbook is pretty steady but I HATE the fact that I can’t use my beloved vst’s like 4front piano and all of the tweakbench vsts. I can’t work on almost any song I started at home on my pc when I’m at school because of that.

1 year after the last post in this thread and I’ve STILL not pulled the trigger. My C2D desktop is still just about running but after a few ongoing issues it’s currently half out of its case and looks like a pile of terminator afterbirth.

Cocks to my indecision.

Hehe, in the meantime I gave back my macbook to my old school and bought myself a Dell Latitude e6410 for my new education. I love this thing :wub:

if i had the money, i’d get a Dell. they have good specs, and on top of that i used one when i used to work for Ernst & Young, and they do not give their people crappy products. i really liked it, it was sturdy and fast.

however, i did not have the money when i bought my laptop, and am currently working on a Packard Bell. i just went to the shop and told the guy i needed a laptop for video editing (because if you say you need it for music/sounddesign they do not understand you need proper specs) and got the one i have for about EUR 700. i’ve never really been a fan of Packard Bell, but i must say i really like this laptop. however, i just run Renoise on it. no fancy stuff like Cubase or Live, which are much more processor-heavy.

i would not go for a Macbook, but only because i do not like Apple being so ‘closed’, and because i never had anyone come up with a proper explanation of so much added cost for not much better specs. i mean, the equivalent of my laptop for EUR 1000+ when it has a big apple on it? and all that for ‘no more defragmentation’? i refuse to believe i am not paying for very expensive fruit there.