So, I have some money coming in and I need a laptop that can edit 4k footage, run Adobe Creative Cloud apps, and help me to finally finish my doctorate (more on that another time). I’d like to be able to do color correction and grading on our footage without having to wait forever. I’d like to be able to do 3D rendering in After Effects without having to wait forever. And, I’m in the dissertation phase of my doctorate so a portable laptop that I can take with me to read, to annotate (perhaps by touch), and to write on would be fantastic.
And I have a budget. I’m looking at maybe a little over $1,000, but less than $1,250 after tax and shipping. What should I get?
I figure that any machine I get to edit 4k video can also handle what I’ll need to do for my doctorate, except that they may not have the portability that could help me stay mobile while also working. I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos. I’ve checked the system requirements for Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2017. I talked to a friend who was a professional video editor. No one really agrees.
First, let’s talk about what I already have. My wife has a 2014 HP Pavillion running an i5 processor with 4GB of RAM. I have a 2012 MacBook Pro with an i5 processor with 4GB of RAM. If I’m patient, I … can … slowly … get … things … done. But I’m not that patient. I tried to see if I could push my iPhone 7 Plus to do it as well. It can handle editing 4k, but there aren’t really any good apps that could replace editing on a laptop. So, here we are. I need to buy something new.
Some YouTubers seem to think that what you need is a lot of RAM, a modern processor, and maybe a dedicated graphics processor. With my budget, I could get a pretty decent desktop computer, but then I couldn’t move around with it. So, there goes the 16GB quad-core i7 machine with 8GB of RAM for graphics.
This is what I’ve come up with, so far. I don’t want to go below 16GB of RAM. I’d like a 7th generation core i7 Intel processor. I’d also like a dedicated GPU. So, there’s this laptop for $1,099:
This 2-in-1 from Lenovo’s Yoga line up has a 4k screen so I could actually see my footage at full resolution. That’d be nice. It’s light and portable so I could take it to work, take it home, or even edit in the car on long road trips. That’s a plus. It has plenty of RAM and it has a modern processor, but it’s a dual-core i7 and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX940MX only has 2 GB of dedicated RAM. That’s nice, but there are other options with higher specs.
My editor friend said that is the lie about 4K–nothing is really built to handle editing 4k. There are computers built for gaming that can handle lots of intense graphics and there are apps built for making those apps, but the machines themselves aren’t really built to make media. So, what do I do?
Well, with a limited budget, there isn’t much I can do. I have also been looking at this laptop for $1,099:
Not being a gamer myself, I hadn’t ever heard of ROG (Republic of Gamers) computers before. They are angry looking laptops, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. I don’t really need rainbow lighting underneath the keys, but that won’t hurt either.
The ROG GL753VD 17.3 had a huge screen. But that’s not bad, especially for editing. It has plenty of RAM, a quad-core i7, and it’s NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 GPU has 4GB of dedicated GDDR5 RAM in it. That would be really nice for After Effects and rendering edited videos.
I’ve been dealing with the limits of a low-spec laptop for so long that just about anything is going to fly by comparison, but I have to admit I’m worried that I’m going to be disappointed. So, what do you think? Can something like this do the job? I’d love to hear what you have to say. Until then, I think I’ll keep looking ….