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Laptop opinions for video-editing please

Discussion in 'Windows Media' started by poachedeggs, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. poachedeggs

    poachedeggs Flightless Bird

    I'm posting this on behalf of my friend, who is about to buy a
    laptop. She has a DV camera that's from back when they cost a bit,
    and a new Flip HD. She still very satisfactorily uses the DV camera
    with her 2004 Mac, which is a 1 ghz machine, possibly 1.3, with 1 gb
    of RAM. Her pc is older still, a 1 ghz machine with 512 mb of RAM.
    Obviously these are long in the tooth now, and we've been looking at a
    Packard Bell for £549 which has:

    4gb of RAM
    a core 2 duo 2.1 ghz processor
    320 gb hard drive (haven't checked it's the seemingly recommended
    7200rpm but I think so)

    it has a nVidia deidicated graphics chip with 512 mb
    It's 64 bit with 64 bit Windows on it (that may have sounded a bit
    naive, but I am!)

    I've played one of her Flip films, which is barely 45 seconds long, on
    my two year old Toshiba - 1.6 ghz dual core, 2 gb RAM, having tried
    Windows 7 and its native Vista - and though it plays beautifully in
    Windows Media Player, it is slightly jumpy in Windows Movie Maker.
    I've also tried Sony Vegas 9. Windows 7 gave better results - for
    example with Vista I was only getting sound in Windows Movie Maker
    with just a black video area - but it's still not ideal.

    My desktop PC has a faster processor, a 3ghz dual core AMD, a 7200rpm
    hard drive and 1 gb of RAM for the moment, with similar results using
    Vegas. Both my machines do fine with non HD material. I'm assuming
    the Flip doesn't have a setting for lower quality video, or that my
    friend would rather not use that if so.

    Will the Packard Bell eliminate the shortfall in smoothness?

    My friend seems decided on not getting anewer Mac, partly price-wise,
    and this Packard Bell seems quite astounding value feature-wise and is
    easy to find in Currys and PC World.

    I've watched the Performance section of Task Manager, and on this
    Packard Bell using Media player 1.1 gb of RAM was used and very low
    cpu, about 10 or 15 %, against maybe 30% on my Toshiba - all using the
    same Flip HD video.

    Are there other factors? I have read right about this dedicated video
    and that will help? I was surprised to see only 600mb of RAM and 30%
    of cpu used watching this video on my laptop and still to see the
    stuttery look, but maybe that's just my onbaord graphics. It doesn't
    concern me for myself as video is not my thing, but I just did a bit
    of tinkering to help my friend.

    What do you think?

    Thanks for all replies. She may buy tomorrow, so... when you're
    ready...
     
  2. poachedeggs

    poachedeggs Flightless Bird

  3. On Thu, 4 Feb 2010 13:58:08 -0800 (PST), poachedeggs
    <poachedeggs@hotmail.co.uk> wrote:

    >I'm posting this on behalf of my friend, who is about to buy a
    >laptop. She has a DV camera that's from back when they cost a bit,
    >and a new Flip HD. She still very satisfactorily uses the DV camera
    >with her 2004 Mac, which is a 1 ghz machine, possibly 1.3, with 1 gb
    >of RAM. Her pc is older still, a 1 ghz machine with 512 mb of RAM.
    >Obviously these are long in the tooth now, and we've been looking at a
    >Packard Bell for £549 which has:
    >
    >4gb of RAM
    >a core 2 duo 2.1 ghz processor
    >320 gb hard drive (haven't checked it's the seemingly recommended
    >7200rpm but I think so)
    >
    >it has a nVidia deidicated graphics chip with 512 mb
    >It's 64 bit with 64 bit Windows on it (that may have sounded a bit
    >naive, but I am!)



    So according to the Currys page, it's using this NVidia mobile core :
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-G-210M.17638.0.html


    >I've played one of her Flip films, which is barely 45 seconds long, on
    >my two year old Toshiba - 1.6 ghz dual core, 2 gb RAM, having tried
    >Windows 7 and its native Vista - and though it plays beautifully in
    >Windows Media Player, it is slightly jumpy in Windows Movie Maker.



    WMM is almosy always jumpy IME for playback, so I wouldn't consider
    that as much of a yardstick... it's also quite old now (I think 2003
    ?) so more modern video editnig software could be expected to perform
    better on playback and rendering.


    >I've also tried Sony Vegas 9. Windows 7 gave better results - for
    >example with Vista I was only getting sound in Windows Movie Maker
    >with just a black video area - but it's still not ideal.
    >My desktop PC has a faster processor, a 3ghz dual core AMD, a 7200rpm
    >hard drive and 1 gb of RAM for the moment, with similar results using
    >Vegas. Both my machines do fine with non HD material. I'm assuming
    >the Flip doesn't have a setting for lower quality video, or that my
    >friend would rather not use that if so.



    The product page for those indicates between 4-9Mbps video rate in
    H264 format assuming it's these cameras :
    http://www.theflip.com/en-us/Products/specs.aspx


    >Are there other factors? I have read right about this dedicated video
    >and that will help? I was surprised to see only 600mb of RAM and 30%
    >of cpu used watching this video on my laptop and still to see the
    >stuttery look, but maybe that's just my onbaord graphics. It doesn't
    >concern me for myself as video is not my thing, but I just did a bit
    >of tinkering to help my friend.


    RAM usage isn't normally a concern when decoding video. It's the CPU
    spikes, but in modern PCs these can actually be quite low unless
    you're actively running other software (for example playback *and*
    video re-encoding at the same time)

    The GPU in the graphics system now offloads most of that work, and
    modern GPUs not only do most of the video decoding in hardware - H264
    as in the NVidia mobile GPU above - they can *also* assist in encoding
    or re-encoding video at rates at or above real-time, even full
    1080p/25fps can now be achieved on new PCs.

    That depends greatly on the software having *support* for GPU encoding
    - a couple of years ago ATI released Avivo transcoder software for
    their GPUs http://ati.amd.com/technology/avivo/technology.html and
    NVidia have a very similar system for use by software developers.

    So what she'd need to look for on the software side is to ensure the
    video editing software has hardware assistance, which avoids lengthy
    encodes which tie up the CPU (or rather, frees it up for general tasks
    like cheking facebook while she's waiting...)

    HTH
    Cheers - Neil
    ------------------------------------------------
    Digital Media MVP : 2004-2010
    http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/mvpfaqs
     

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