Help: best laptop for music production

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by Sebski, Nov 30, 2020.

  1. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Maybe what I should have said is that there's a pretty big difference between really wanting Windows, and really not wanting a Mac.
     
  2. InHiding

    InHiding SS.org Regular

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    If you need real time audio processing I'd recommend to stay away from Windows laptops. Windows is not a real time operating system and Win laptops are notoriously bad in terms of system latency. That said I have a Win laptop but I spend two+ weeks modifying Windows 10 LTSC with NTLite to get the latencies down. Some say MSI and Lenovo laptops are best in terms of latency but expect to buy NTLite and do some painstaking undercover work. Win 10 is a joke!
     
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  3. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Correct me if I'm wrong - but neither is OSX. They probably use very different scheduling, but neither of them fits the definition of a "real time operating system". They are both general-purpose / desktop operating systems.

    Audio latency is going to come down mostly to other factors than that. What's determining latency in any modern PC is going to be the hardware itself and the drivers. Windows is not "too slow for audio".

    Don't get me wrong, there are good reasons to like Macs, some of which have been mentioned already, and apparently the performance of M1 is good. The choice at this point comes down to preference - and software/driver support, quality and availability.
     
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  4. InHiding

    InHiding SS.org Regular

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    I think OSX is not real time like you say, but as far as I understand it just manages interrupts much better. I am not a total expert here either. As far as I understand a desktop PC is ok for real time audio but my laptop experience is bad (and we're talking about fast modern laptops) unless Windows is seriously debloated. Windows 10 has a crazy amount of services and so called "extra services" running. They are not good for latency...
     
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  5. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    The M1 is outperforming Top end Intel chips at almost everything except where the other computer has an external GPU, which obviously it should win GFX horsepower there.

    I just can’t get past that price/performance jump we’re seeing right now. As I understand it, really Intel blew it on chip progress making it look even worse.

    On top of that every single Apple-available tool will be updated for those chips ASAP because they want that Apple money.

    As established, that’s Assuming OP only kinda wants windows, versus actually really wanting windows.
     
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  6. Ataraxia2320

    Ataraxia2320 SS.org Regular

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    It's not like windows machines cant do the audio work needed, it's just that the new mac chips are stupid powerful. They are overkill for audio really, much more suited to video (not that I don't love overkill).
     
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  7. Ataraxia2320

    Ataraxia2320 SS.org Regular

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    What kind of interface do you have that you have latency problems on windows? Or is your laptop just ancient?

    My dell xps 9550 and rme babyface pro are getting rock solid low latency and few breakups even at low buffer sizes with loads of power hungry plugs.

    I've been using it as my only audio workstation the last 3- 4 years and I feel no need to upgrade. I edit instruments and tune vocals to make an income atm.
     
  8. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    If that was directed at me -> I don't have latency problems on Windows, and that was my point. I use Windows PCs pretty much exclusively and even my 3 year old laptop (which wasn't top of the line when I got it) breezes through audio applications. My desktop that I built this year doesn't even sneeze at audio.

    To me, there's two reasons to go with one of the new Macs:
    - You like Macs (and yeah, I'm willing to admit that sometimes Macs work well for things like audio)
    - You need or want to be on that bleeding edge of performance, and recognize that some growing pains might come with be an early adopter of a new platform.

    They're both legit reasons. Personally, I don't fit either of those categories. It amuses me a bit that a few youtube videos come out lauding the performance of new Macs and suddenly we talk like Windows PCs are ancient history. Also, apparently this is now the new Mac vs PC thread, cause every good forum need a few of those :lol:
     
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  9. Ataraxia2320

    Ataraxia2320 SS.org Regular

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    Sorry that was directed at Inhiding who claimed he had to optimise his windows laptop to get decent results.
     
  10. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    Bro. Bro. Brooooooo.

    It’s not Mac vs. PC.

    It’s Apple’s M1 chip vs. the BEST intel chips out there with more ram on the system.

    They video I linked used a photography app where he states “This has not been updated by the devs to be optimized for the M1 chipset”.

    And it was still much much faster.

    I am indifferent to iOS and am used to windows after 20+ years.

    It’s just that the chipset is stupid good for audio. They load significantly more tracks with heavy effect and it doesn’t sweat, whereas the intel chip could not run it.

    And remember the comparison I linked was TWO apple systems. One with the M1, and one with the intel chipset.

    I’m just saying that the base MacBook is like $1k and was outperforming a system that cost >$3k and I would personally be miffed if I passed on that kind of price/performance differential.

    For once Apple is offering value vs. competitors. And that’s yuuuuuge. Imo.
     
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  11. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Any PC made in the last 3 years is "stupid good" for audio though.
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I'm not denying that the new Apple machines are a good value if you can live with using an Apple machine.
     
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  12. Sebski

    Sebski SS.org Regular

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    Appreciate all the responses and discussion. It's still a tough call and I'm struggling to find a MacBook that's the equivalent to this Dell XPS for a similar price: https://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/compu...e-i7-laptop-1-tb-ssd-silver-10208062-pdt.html

    It looks like any MacBook with a screen over 13" costs 2k minimum.

    I've watched the review videos and comparisons and it's hard to say the MacBook is worth the jump to macOS. I do dread the shift in UX but I was willing to do it if it genuinely was cheaper for the same value.

    Essentially, think I need a 15" screen minimum, 16GB ram, at least 512GB storage. Am I missing something from Apple?
     
  13. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

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    At the moment, Apple don't offer a 15" macbook with the M1 chip because it was released only a month ago. The 15"/16" MacBooks are all still using Intel, so most of what we've talked about in this thread about Apple being cheaper and better, doesn't apply to those models. There will almost definitely be a 15 or 16 inch M1 Macbook released in 2021, but not right now. If screen size is a deal breaker for you, go with the Dell.
     
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  14. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    The other thing to consider is that you don't have to go high-budget to get a very useful machine. If you're into Dell machines, I've heard good things about XPS, but don't discount the other lines. I ended up with an Inspiron and it still works great. I actually kind of prefer the keyboard on it to what XPS had at the time. If you can get exactly what you need out of a line that starts at $500 instead of $2k, then that might be worth looking into.
     
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  15. brector

    brector SS.org Regular

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    Dell's are good, but go with XPS if you can. I work in IT and the Inspiron's have had issues, battery swelling being one of them. Just my $.02
     
  16. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    I'm also thinking about a new computer. My desktop is pretty old and has become very slow to start and my current laptop I don't know if it's quite good enough to handle music production.

    But sounds like there's some compatibility issues with the new M1 thing and software? What about that? I mean if you got the performance in theory but still get screwed over by compatibility issues then it's no use anyway, or?

    Generally it seems like laptops are very expensive if you want good specs. I bought mine 4 years ago now and things barely seem to have improved. I don't really feel like spending a bunch of money if I can't get something that's a noticeable improvement...
     
  17. Ataraxia2320

    Ataraxia2320 SS.org Regular

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    If it makes a difference my XPS also had this. Dell send out a guy the next day, gave me a new battery, new mousepad and new keyboard. I got it second hand so it was a major score for me.

    Dell's customer service is amazing, at least in parts of europe.

    I used to have a pc specialist laptop and that thing, although super powerful was a nightmare. Support was the worst I've ever experienced.
     
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  18. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    Yeah the “higher end “ chip for the larger laptops and the desktops won’t be out until next year, if time is off the essence then the “value” of the M1 only applies to the MBP13 and the Mac mini right now.

    Yep my i5, 8gig ram 15inch laptop was an off the shelf Asus for like $599 new. It’s def not a flagship. For music I’d want 16gigs and an i7 but price starts jumping there.
     
  19. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    If you're talking about what I think you are - it's because the M1 chips are a different architecture than previous machines (ARM vs x86). This means that (unless you're doing something to emulate x86) all the software you're using needs to be built to run on ARM.

    This means no Windows/Bootcamp. This means potentially a lot of apps that ran just fine on Apple machines before won't be available until they're ported over. I think Photoshop was the big example of something that people wanted right away and there is (was?) a big rush to get it running. It might mean new drivers? Jumping between architectures isn't something I'm an expert in, but my assumption is that a lot of software will be unavailable or unreliable until devs have time to catch up.
     
  20. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    I have no idea what I'm talking about.

    Right so, sounds like that could be a big issue, no? So say that I get an M1 computer, and it's really fast, but I can't use my daw or plugins? That's no good then...
     

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