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GH4 laptop Requirements?
  • Let me start this off with saying that I know a desktop is a better option for this. However, I absolutely must have a laptop to do my editing on the road while it is happening. I have a matter of hours to edit this footage and not days, weeks, or months.

    Also I am a PC guy. I understand that some people use Macs. That just isn’t for me. I want a fast PC laptop that can handle editing the GH4 4K video for less than $2000.

    I definitely need to upgrade my laptop before my GH4 gets here. However, I am not sure what specs will help me and what will just cost me more money and not really give me any benefit.

    Obviously a 4K screen would be ideal to match the footage. However, is that really necessary? With a 15-19 inch screen is that extra resolution going to matter at all? How much are the 4K laptops going to be? Is 1920x1080 going to look about the same as 4K on this size screen? Do any of you have a 4K laptop already?

    What Grpahics processor? I have always been an ATI person before. However, Nvidia makes great video cards as well. What is the minimum ATI and Nvidia card that will work for editing 4k footage? Is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M enough?

    Processor. It is confusing about what processor are fast and what processors are just pretending to be fast. My understanding is that I7 doesn’t always mean what you think it means. So what processor should I be looking for? Is the i7-4700MQ the best processor to get right now?

    Operating system. I really hate Windows 8. I have a laptop with it and I hate it. I really don’t want to get another one with Windows 8. Will Windows 7 hold me back in any way? I have a lot of astrophotography programs that I also run and those won’t work properly under Windows 8.

    Ram. I know the more you have the better. However, will you see a difference between 16 Gigs and 32 Gigs? There is usually a significant price difference between those. Is 16GB PC3-12800 DDR3L SDRAM enough?

    Hard Drive. I am using USB 3.0 external drives right now. I need a lot more than 250 or even 500 GB so solid state is not really an option for me. Is solid state that much faster than USB 3.0?

    Here is one laptop I am looking at. It is an Alienware 17.3" Laptop - 16GB Memory with the components I listed above. Are there better options out there for less than $1850?

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/17-3-laptop-16gb-memory-750gb-hard-drive/5211137.p?id=1219115309847&skuId=5211137&st=categoryid$abcat0502000&cp=1&lp=1#tab=overview

  • 65 Replies sorted by
  • Answer is quite simple.

    • Good IPS screen, better 1080p as 4K now are overpriced as hell
    • NVidia mobile card, look at CUDA cores and dedicated RAM, the more then better
    • 4 core i7 mobile CPU, 4th generation can be better, especially for easy tasks, longer battery time
    • Memory as you wish, I do not see reason for 32GB
    • For your task exist notes with big 3.5" HDD inside (up to 5TB) and SSD for system, search around
    • Windows 8 is normal modern OS, it is better check that prevents your software from working

    Most 4K investments now are of no big value, as H.265 decoders, HDMI 2.0 and screens are not widely available for any normal prices.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    I really want 4k not to display it at 4K. I want it for the ability to do software stabilization and zooming. I shoot only hand held live action so my videos are always shaky to some extent. Even the IS on the 35-100mm is not always enough.

    My hope is that the 4K resolution will allow me to easily stabilize the video in post. I just want to make sure that I have the computer to handle it.

    Thanks for the recommendations. I will look for that.

  • for what its worth, I used to be a pc guy using clevo's but got tired of lugging the heavy bastard around with its brick power supply. Switched to a MBP in Jan and pretty happy with it so far. quieter, lighter, smaller, longer battery life. will see how it goes with the gh4 4k stuff. I think it will do just fine.

  • There's some laptops with 3200x1800 resolution, as far as I know there's no 4k display yet on notebooks.

    Talking about the graphics processor, I think I can give you some reference. My Lenovo Laptop had a GeForce GTX 660M, I dropped some GH4 footage that I can find on the Internet into Premiere CC, with no effects filter added, it play back smoothly @ Full resolution, but after I added some filter on it, I need to set the playback resolution to 1/2 to get smooth playback. By the way, AMD graphics processors are now supported in Premiere CC, using OpenCL.

    The Processor, i7 is probably the best you can get, but take a note at that the Q at the end of the model is very important which indicates Quad-core, some ultrabook in the market uses i7 but without a Q, that they are dual-core with hyper-threading.

    I don't think you need a SSD for GH4 footage, as it's only 100Mbps, 12.5MB/s, normal harddrive should have around 70-80MB/s read/write speed, even higher for 3.5" disk.

    That Alienware is pretty heavy as I can see, too heavy for me. haha

    Better spec could be found on the new Razer Balde, but it's over your budget, still you can take a look at it. http://www.razerzone.com/store/razer-blade

  • AMD graphics processors are now supported in Premiere CC, using OpenCL.

    Problem with AMD is that support is not so good and OpenCL is slower.

    Also good 500GB SSDs can be bough separately and used to speed up things.

    Best thing is to check all available models and get some refurbished or one on sale.

    For video work it is best to get bulky ones with big cooling fans, due to simple fact of usually better cooling. Some slim notebooks with 4 core CPUs go to throttling after few minutes of really heavy load on both CPU and GPU (as cooling is combined usually).

  • Anyone see any reason why this laptop would not work for editing GH4 4K video?

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/gt70-dominator-893-17-3-laptop-16gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive-128gb-solid-state-drive/5142065.p?id=1219111593522&skuId=5142065&st=categoryid$abcat0502000&cp=1&lp=20

    $1899

    This MSI GT70 Dominator-893 9S7-1763A2-893 laptop features a 1TB hard drive to accommodate your music, movies, games and more, as well as a 128GB solid state drive for expanded storage options. The 17.3" display delivers high-definition images.

    Product Features 4th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-4800MQ processor

    Features a 6MB cache and 2.7GHz processor speed with Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz. Intel® Core™ i7 processor

    Delivers efficient multiway processing for ultimate smart performance. Intel® Turbo Boost Technology delivers extra performance when you need it and increased energy efficiency when you don't. 16GB DDR3L memory For multitasking power, expandable to 32GB. Blu-ray Disc-enabled DVD-RW/CD-RW drive

    Features full read and write support for next-generation Blu-ray Disc (BD-ROM, BD-R, BD-RE). 17.3" high-definition widescreen display

    With a nonreflective surface and 1920 x 1080 resolution showcases movies and games in brilliant clarity, even in bright lighting. 1TB Serial ATA hard drive (7200 rpm)

    Offers spacious storage and fast read/write times. The 128GB mSATA solid state drive accommodates your laptop's operating system and provides additional storage space. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M graphics

    Feature 6GB dedicated video memory for lush images with lifelike detail. HDMI output enables simple connection to an HDTV or other high-definition display. Built-in high-definition webcam

    Supports Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity and SDXC formats. 3 USB 3.0 and 2 USB 2.0 ports

    For fast digital video, audio and data transfer. Built-in Killer N1202 2x2 high-speed wireless LAN (802.11a/b/g/n)

    Connect to the Internet without wires. Bluetooth 4.0 interface

    For quick and easy wired Web connection. Weighs 8.6 lbs. and measures just 2.2" thin

    For portable power. Backlit keyboard facilitates typing in low-lighting conditions. Microsoft Windows 8.1 64-bit operating system preinstalled

    I have more than 5 TeraBytes of external hard drives for footage storage. I just need the faster internal drives for editing.

  • Always read review about screen, it must be IPS with proper sRGB coverage, most laptops screens sucks, badly. Most gamers notebooks, even high end ones, have TN displays as they are faster :-)

    Otherwise if I where you I'll get good refurbished laptop.

  • @mpgxsvcd I just cut a feature on an MSI GT780DX laptop (Premiere Pro). No errors at all. We didn't have a lot of color correction to do, which is good, because as @Vitaliy_Kiselev suggested, the screen wasn't the greatest(we had the "non-glare type" screen). So if you're picky about precise image accuracy while editing/grading, an external monitor would be needed. To get around this, we occasionally exported test images to BluRay, YouTube, Vimeo to make sure we knew where we were. It worked for us and all in all, I like the quality, build, performance, and reliability we got from our MSI laptop.

    If you go with MSI hunt around for pricing. They do specials from time to time. I got mine from JR.com with $150 discount vs other online sellers.

    Also used a G-Drive 2 TB as external drive. The laptop and drive both held up well in travel as I probably transported (via car in laptop case) both to and from editor 20-30 times during this and other projects.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    I hear what you are saying about the IPS screen. However, I wouldn’t do color grading on the road. If I am editing on the road then I just need to piece everything together, do software stabilization, zooming, and some other affects.

    I typically change the in-camera color settings to match what my final product needs to look like if I am editing it at the venue. Hopefully, the new features in the GH4 will be better than the GH3 for this. If I want to color correct it I will bring it home and do it on a good external monitor.

    I would love to get a good refurbished deal. However, I want to use the no interest financing option with Best Buy so there are not as many refurbished options.

    Lots of great info here. Keep it coming. I am sure I am not the only one who needs to upgrade their laptop for the GH4, or am I?

  • Best Buy prob has 15-30 day return policy. You can buy and test with 4K footage, then return if you don't like the performance. Good luck.

  • I hear what you are saying about the IPS screen. However, I wouldn’t do color grading on the road.

    In this case it is simple, get any note with 8GB-16GB memory, sizable HDD and, 2GB NVidia card (ala >=740M). No need for high end one (as it is really Resolve and may be some heavy PP filters that can require one). Must be pretty cheap, much much cheaper than your reference.

    However, I want to use the no interest financing option with Best Buy so there are not as many refurbished options.

    I suggest to look around, I think most big sellers have some credit options. ebay/paypal also have something. Also whole idea if you want such thing is to save money, so why you are overspending them in the first place?

  • I've mentioned in other thread about laptops: I've bought a Asus N550JV-DB71 (4-Core Haswell i7 4700HQ, 8Gb RAM, 1 TB HDD, NVidia GT750M 2Gb, LED IPS display 1920x1080). This one have a touchscreen, there is a similar model a little bit cheaper that have normal screen. Sturdy, not very heavy, 5:30h of battery under light load.

    Have not tested it with 4k footage, will download some videos to try it. With 1080p material it runs smoothly. Screen calibrated with an Spider4Pro - very good screen, albeit not wide gamut.

    One serious caveat: the 1TB hdd is 5400 rpm and slow as hell. I've bought an HDD Caddy and will swap the DVD burner (never use it) for an SSD to system/programs, the HDD will only be used for storage.

    This one is around US$ 940,00 in usa.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    That is great information. I thought this machine would be the minimum I would need and not above the maximum. I tried editing the sample 4k footage from the GH4 on my current Gen 2 I5 machine and it simply froze up and failed. I don't want to get a new machine and have that happen again.

    There are many more lower end machines that have the specs you just listed. I will look at those now.

    Does anyone know what the minimum video card, ram, and processor would be for editing the 4K @ 30 FPS footage from the GH4? Is what VK said accurate?

  • Does this laptop look like it will handle the 4K video? This is the least expensive one that I could find that had a 7200 rpm hard drive and a good video card with a good i7-4800MQ processor. This computer looked like a good deal compared to the other ones. Anyone else have an MSI machine?

    $1399

    MSI GT70 Dominator-895 9S7-1763A2-895 laptop, which features a 17.3" high-definition display and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M dedicated graphics for arresting images. The 1TB hard drive offers plenty of space for storing data.

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/gt70-dominator-895-17-3-laptop-8gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive/5142092.p?id=1219111591490&skuId=5142092&st=categoryid$abcat0502000&cp=2&lp=2

    4th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-4800MQ processor

    Features a 6MB cache and 2.7GHz processor speed with Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz. Intel® Core™ i7 processor

    Delivers efficient multiway processing for ultimate smart performance. Intel® Turbo Boost Technology delivers extra performance when you need it and increased energy efficiency when you don't. 8GB DDR3L memory

    For multitasking power, expandable to 32GB. Multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW drive

    Create custom DVDs and CDs. 17.3" high-definition widescreen display

    With a nonreflective surface and 1920 x 1080 resolution showcases movies and games in brilliant clarity, even in bright lighting. 1TB Serial ATA hard drive (7200 rpm)

    Offers spacious storage and fast read/write times. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M graphics

    Feature 3GB dedicated video memory for lush images with lifelike detail. HDMI output enables simple connection to an HDTV or other high-definition display. Built-in high-definition webcam

    Supports Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity and SDXC formats. 3 USB 3.0 and 2 USB 2.0 ports

    For fast digital video, audio and data transfer. Built-in Killer N1202 2x2 high-speed wireless LAN (802.11a/b/g/n)

    Connect to the Internet without wires. Bluetooth 4.0 interface

    For quick and easy wired Web connection. Weighs 8.6 lbs. and measures just 2.2" thin

    For portable power. Backlit keyboard facilitates typing in low-lighting conditions. Microsoft Windows 8.1 64-bit operating system preinstalled

  • By idea it must be ok. Just check the screen in person first.

    HDD seems nice. Usually in such notes it is very easy to change HDDs / memory, so they must not limit you really as most of them are cheaper on market than inside game notes (as this type has highest margin usually).

    Mini DisplayPort 1.2 is also present, by idea you could attach 60Hz 4K monitor to it.

  • I went ahead and bought the MSI GT70 Dominator-895 computer last night. I couldn't find anything that was significantly cheaper with the same specs. It should be plenty of machine for when the GH4 gets here. It is a beast though(Huge Laptop).

    I have a backpack that I will carry it in. I might try to find something that can carry both the laptop, lenses, and the GH4 though. Any suggestions?

  • I have a Lowepro Fastpack 250, like it a lot. But it is for a 15'' laptop, the 350 is for 17'' laptops.

  • Funny, I was just looking at the Lowepro Fastpack 350. I believe I am going to get the regular one and not the video one.

  • I have Lowepro 400 AW and the laptop space is very tight.

  • Now I see it's different desing, my post might not be relevant to the fastpack series.

  • Btw. not bad and quite cheap laptop with 3200-by-1800 screen, 4 core CPU, etc

    Can be configured and can come professionally calibrated (at small premium).

    http://web.eurocom.com/ec/ec_model_config1(1,249,0)x

  • I know you say you're a PC guy, but what about top spec MBP with Bootcamp and Windows 8.1. Much better residuals and a smoking ergonomic machine too. Appreciate it's above budget, but the resale value in 3 years will be likely 3x than your PC counterpart. Just a thought.

  • @itimjim

    How about calc showing same specced MBP prices?

  • Furthest on the right http://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/specs-retina/ $2599

    Retina display: 15.4-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2880-by-1800 resolution at 220 pixels per inch with support for millions of colors

    Native resolution: 2880 by 1800 pixels (Retina); scaled resolutions: 1920 by 1200, 1680 by 1050, 1280 by 800, and 1024 by 640 pixels

    2.3GHz 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache

    16GB of 1600MHz DDR3L onboard memory

    512GB flash storage

    Dual GPU Intel Iris Pro Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory and automatic graphics switching

    Thunderbolt digital video output Native Mini DisplayPort output DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter (sold separately) VGA output using Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter (sold separately) Dual-link DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (sold separately) HDMI video output Support for 1080p resolution at up to 60Hz Support for 3840-by-2160 resolution at 30Hz Support for 4096-by-2160 resolution at 24Hz

    720p FaceTime HD camera

    SDXC card slot Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter (sold separately) Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (sold separately)

    Wi‑Fi 802.11ac Wi‑Fi wireless networking;3 IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible

    Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology

    Up to 8 hours wireless web Up to 8 hours iTunes movie playback Up to 30 days standby time Built-in 95-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery 85W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter with cable management system; MagSafe 2 power port

  • And I reckon, MBP depreciates about 25% YoY, where as high end PC around 35%. It does depend on the geography though. So $2,500 MBP end of year 4 is likely to fetch around $800, but the $1,900 PC around $350.

    I'm fairly agnostic when it comes to platform choice...just in case anyone things I'm rose tinting this. I use PC, Mac and Hack :)