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5 Killer Mid-2015 Post Production Laptops

5 Killer Mid-2015 Post Production Laptops

IMG_7524If you are looking for post production laptops, for editing, grading or VFX work, you need more than the average office notebook. I’ve compiled a simple comparison of specs for five high end mobile workstations that could be just what you’re looking for.

This is by no means a complete list, there may well be some models I have totally missed, but I decided on a few prerequisites that really narrowed down the choices. Most of these are high-end “gaming” laptops, but for us, that’s the same thing as an average post production workhorse.

Pre-requisites

High Res Display (UHD or close)
Discrete GPU with 2GB RAM Minimum
16GB System RAM

This is not a review of these systems, and I’m not even listing the full specs here, just the highlights. There are plenty of reviews online for further research.

asus_g501jw_ds71_i7_4720hq_16gb_512ssd_windows_8_1_15_6_1133100 ASUS G501

CPU: Intel Core i7 4720HQ
RAM: DDR3L 1600MHz SDRAM up to 16GB
Display: 15.6” 3840 x 2160
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M 2/4GB
Storage: SATA III SSD 128/256 or 1TB 5400RPM + 512GB PCIe
I/O: HDMI x1 + USB3 x3 + Thunderbolt 1 (on selected models)

Purchasing link

 

 

razer-blade-gallery-v3-04Razer Blade

CPU: Intel Core i7 4720HQ
RAM: DDR3L 1600MHz SDRAM up to 16GB
Display: 14″ 3200 x 1800
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M 3GB
Storage: SATA M.2 SSD 128/256/512
I/O: HDMI x1 + USB3 x3

                                     Purchasing link

 

 

msi_gs60_ghost_pro_4k_605_i7_5700hq_16gb_1tb_128ssd_windows_8_1_970m_15_6_1149346 MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 4K-605

CPU: Intel Core i7 5700HQ
RAM: DDR3L 1600MHz SDRAM up to 16GB
Display: 15.6″ 3840 x 2160
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M 6GB
Storage: SATA M.2 SSD 128GB + 1TB 7200RPM
I/O: HDMI x1 + USB3 x3

Purchasing link

 

 

20150518204405_big

Gigabyte P35X v4

CPU: Intel Core i7 5700HQ
RAM: DDR3L 1600MHz SDRAM up to 16GB
Display: 15.6″ 2880 x 1620
GPU: Intel HD Graphics 5600 + Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M 8GB
Storage: SATA III 1TB 7200RPM or up to 2TB 5400RPM + 2x SATA M.2 128/256/512
I/O: HDMI x1 + USB3 x2

Purchasing link

 

apple_mjlq2ll_a_15_4_macbook_pro_notebook_1151713Apple 15” Retina Macbook Pro

CPU: Intel Core i7 4870HQ
RAM: DDR3L 1600MHz SDRAM up to 16GB
Display: 15.4″ 2880 x 1800
GPU: Intel Iris Pro Graphics + AMD Radeon R9 M370X 2GB
Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe
I/O: HDMI x1 + USB3 x2 + Thunderbolt 2 x2

Purchasing link

 

Benchmarks

These CPU benchmarks are compiled from PassMark scores on cpubenchmark.net just to give you an idea.

Intel Core i7 4870HQ @ 2.5GHz – 9,087
Intel Core i7 5700HQ @ 2.7GHz – 8,958
Intel Core i7 4720HQ @ 2.6GHz – 8,213

Let’s look at the GPU 3DMark scores on notebookcheck.net

Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M – 12,632
Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M – 9,809
Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M – 5,249.5
AMD Radeon R9 M370X – 3,637.5

Conclusion

No single system can do it all, so when considering a mobile platform you need to prioritize features depending on the type of work you do.

The first question to ask… do you work with limited media and files that can be stored locally, or on lower bandwidth external drives? Or do you require a high bandwidth connection to media on fast external storage?

If you mostly do 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and compositing you may value an extremely powerful GPU and flexible internal storage over external connectivity. In this case I’d love a GeForce GTX 980M with 8GB RAM, it seems the Gigabyte P35X v4 takes the cake for brute force.

However if you are an editor or colorist, you may have no choice in the matter. There are only two solutions here with Thunderbolt, and only one with Thunderbolt 2.

All things considered, if you want to connect a fast external RAID, video I/O, monitoring, PCIe expansion chassis, fibre channel or even add 10GbE port than the Apple is your only real choice. If you want to daisy chain Thunderbolt devices I wouldn’t even consider Thunderbolt 1, let’s face it; we’re going to see Thunderbolt 3 devices very soon.

As with camera choices, it’s really down to choosing the best tool for your specific needs.

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