February 22, 2016 at 7:19AM


New editing laptop: better GPU vs more GPU Ram? & SSD + HDD question


I'm just about to purchase a new laptop to edit 4K footage.

I've found a couple of nice machines but wondering what is more important - a newer/better GPU or a GPU with more onboard Ram? I am deciding between a machine with the GeForce GTX 970M 6GB and another machine with the GTX 980M but only 4GB version. They both have the i7-6700HQ CPU but the latter machine will have 32GB Ram rather than 16GB.

1. http://www.amazon.co.uk/MSI-GS60-6QE-Ghost-053-HID1/dp/B016NE2PFY/ref=sr...

2. https://www.scan.co.uk/3xs/configurator/4k-video-editing-laptop

If I configure the latter machine am I right in thinking that a PCIe SSD plus a 5400rpm HDD will not make a huge difference compared to a 7200rpm HDD? (Which doesn't seem to be available). I heard they were probably not going to be continued for much longer due to 5400rpm densities increasing.

Any opinions appreciated! Thanks


For editing I would advice using a desktop, much faster and more options to expand.

February 22, 2016 at 8:33AM, Edited February 22, 8:32AM

Cary Knoop

Thanks Cary, i know but not possible unfortunately, need to move around. There will be a desktop in the office

Peter Parkorr

February 22, 2016 at 11:01AM

For laptop editing you want...

1- Strong CPU ( new generation i7 )

2- Strong GPU ( upper tier AMD or nVidia )

3- 1080p display with the ability to connect an external monitor

4- ONLY SSD drives internally ( no IDEs at all )

5- Thunderbolt 2 external drive connector
( very common with Macs, not so common with PCs )

Thunderbolt 2 gives you the ability to connect large external drives that transfer data at very high speed with no impact on your CPU. You can even get mini-RAIDs that are small enough to easily carry around with you.

February 22, 2016 at 8:48AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Thanks Guy.

Definite strong GPU and CPU, 4K monitor and external connections.

Why wouldn't a HDD for storage and a decent sized SSD for system and working files be sufficient?

Thunderbolt - definitely want this but really hard to find on PCs at the minute. :/

Peter Parkorr

February 22, 2016 at 11:04AM

>>>Definite strong GPU and CPU, 4K monitor and external connections.

Most editing systems will work with the current higher end gaming GPUs, which you can find in current gaming laptops. By "strong" I mean any of the upper tier GPU cards with 4GB RAM and are compatible with your editing system.

Here's Adobe's GPU list for Premiere CC

For CPU, you want the latest generation i7 laptop CPU. I think this is currently the i7-6700HQ processor.

Personally I think there's no point with a 4K laptop display because the screen is too small for the resolution, where a 30+ inch external 4K display makes a lot more sense.

>>>Why wouldn't a HDD for storage and a decent sized SSD for system and working files be sufficient?

Internal HDDs will slow down your OS and it's apps because it just can't read or write fast enough to keep up with the rest of the system, so you want everything internally running on SSD drives with external Thunderbolt RAID drives for all the media you are working on. The RAID can be set-up with data-protection so nothing is lost if one drive dies while you're working, you have unlimited storage compared to internal space that always gets filled up quickly, and you can instantly hand over large projects for other people to work on when you get too busy. I would even buy a slower CPU/GPU system if it meant getting Thunderbolt 2 external storage. ( by comparison USB 3 is much slower than Thunderbolt and it will slow down your CPU because it's using the same bus to transfer data )

February 22, 2016 at 3:03PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Footage over 30 MB/sec I think should be on SSD. I've never had problems running less than that but as soon as you get that A7s 300MB/sec you're a gonner

Clark McCauley

February 23, 2016 at 6:36AM

I echo the advice about not getting a laptop, they also have a short lifespan, if you need to carry it round, you can get a mini enclosure, mini mobo, they often have handles built in the computer top and a small monitor, that you can carry around and you can put in more ram, good video for video for your NLE and likely will be cheaper than your new laptop, but superior in every way.

February 24, 2016 at 12:44AM


If you get a chance look into the MSI GT72 Dominator Pro. I just bought one from a friend I7 2.8ghz 4th gen 32gb ram GTX980M 8gb graphics 1tb 7200 hardrive with 500gb ssd. Man this machine runs rings around 4k editing with ease. I simply can't believe how fast it runs Adobe Premiere CC and Davinci Resolve! Great Investment I believe the Ghost 60 has simlar specs.

February 24, 2016 at 12:56AM

Donnie King

I have a 15" MBP Retina which works fine with 4K Prores when you're on the fly and not doing too much heavy stuff. For bigger more demanding projects I'd recommend using a desktop.

February 24, 2016 at 3:15AM, Edited February 24, 3:15AM

Oscar Byström
Filmmaker and photographer

I edit on a laptop, I know a lot of other people who do too and it works pretty well especially if you have a second monitor for a better display. Granted, I've never known any of these people to edit 4k on a laptop. To get to the root of your question regarding GPU's, it's tricky. I'm not too keen on what GPU's can handle since I've been out of computer hardware loop for awhile, but I would probably get the GTX 980:
a) you'd be surprised by how numbers lie; a lot of time its how the hardware USES what it has over HOW MUCH it has. Now obviously these cards are very similar 970 vs 980, but if I had to guess, they made the 980 with 4GB for a reason and
b) it has 32GB of RAM which is overkill but overkill in RAM never hurt anybody. In my experience it was the RAM of a laptop that severely hurt the editing process, not so much the graphics card (although of course this is extremely important too)

February 25, 2016 at 9:26AM, Edited February 25, 9:26AM


CPU, RAM for rendering. GPU for playing your video with effects in real time (essential if you want to grade in programs like DaVinci). RAM in GPU is less important than GPU's speed. Of course the more RAM the better, but you can have faster GPU, even though it has less RAM. However in most cases GPUs with more RAM are faster.

February 25, 2016 at 4:33PM

Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist

Your Comment