ADVICE PLEASE - Laptop for light video editing and gaming | PCSPECIALIST

ADVICE PLEASE - Laptop for light video editing and gaming

Hi, I'm looking for some advice on a suitable laptop for the above purpose after spending several months trawling the web and trying different configurations on PCS site and i have, in my mind, found what I think should suit my purpose.
Some background, I recently bought an action camera (DJI Osmo Action which can film in 4K at 60FPS) although I generally film at 1080p 24FPS and my existing laptop can cope with that but it doesn't handle 4K. I thought the one I've spec'd below should be more suitable. I also download music videos and mp3's which work well on my present 10yr old laptop so the one below should be far better for that use. I would also like the ability to game on it.
Basically I'm looking for guidance or re-assurance that what I've selected should be fit for purpose before I make my final decision but I've exhausted my internet search so please could anyone out there suggest a better set up or confirm what I've selected as being adequate so I can make a purchase and get laptops out of my head.

Spec I've selected to be around my £1500 budget is as follows;

Chassis & Display - Vortex Series: 15.6" Matte Full HD 144Hz LED Widescreen (1920x1080) + G-Sync
Processor (CPU) - Intel® Core™ i7 Six Core Processor 9750H (2.6GHz, 4.5GHz Turbo)
Memory (RAM) - 32GB Corsair 2666MHz SODIMM DDR4 (2 x 16GB)
Graphics Card - NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 2060 - 6.0GB GDDR6 Video RAM - DirectX® 12.1
1st Storage Drive - NOT REQUIRED
1st M.2 SSD Drive - 500GB SAMSUNG 970 EVO PLUS M.2, PCIe NVMe (up to 3500MB/R, 3200MB/W)
2nd M.2 SSD Drive - 500GB SAMSUNG 970 EVO PLUS M.2, PCIe NVMe (up to 3500MB/R, 3200MB/W)
Battery - Vortex IX Series 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
Thermal Paste - COOLER MASTER MASTERGEL MAKER THERMAL COMPOUND
 
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Hi and thanks so much for taking time to respond. I'm glad/relieved that you consider the spec to be generally good for what I want and your question about the memory is a good one but please be patient with my rather long answer, after which, I hope you can set me on the right path.
I have been looking at this Vortex laptop and an Optimus one, the Optimus being a bit cheaper overall which I think is down to the 60Hz screen. My main reason for selecting those 2 laptop options was because they both have a good selection of inputs to the rear and, considering my laptop sits within sight on a shelf, I though it would be cleaner.
Now, the Optimus, being cheaper, gives me far more flexibility with storage ( I think I could get 1TB SSD and 1TB samsung 2.5" ssd) forgive me if the terminology is wrong but the Optimus with the same spec (other than the screen) gave me greater storage for the money but, from memory it only has the 2 bays. The problem is that I am somehow drawn to the Vortex partly because it has every connection I need at the rear and it looks chunkier with slightly thicker chassis which I thought would help with cooling (I see a lot of youtube reviews where PCS laptops run very hot...finger burning hot).
So, with the Vortex with 3 storage bays I thought that 2 x 500 ssd were cheaper than 1TB ssd but kept me around the £1518 price but the price shot way up if I added the 1TB 2.5" SSD.
I do realise I'm tying up both Nvme ssd slots which only leaves me the 2.5" bay for possible upgrade but I thought that having 2 storage areas worked more efficiently. I did consider one smaller nvme ssd and a larger 2.5" barracuda drive or similar leaving me with a free slot but I don't know how much storage I realistically need.
At the moment my 10yr old laptop has 500gb memory on 2 drives and ive 380gb free because I use a samsung 2Tb external drive (1.4GB free) which I think is an HDD drive. Perhaps with already having the external 2TB drive I don't require as much storage but I thought the ssds would be far quicker.
Sorry for the ramble but, to a layperson, this is all very confusing and watching youtube makes matters worse because everyone has a different opinion...many say 16GB ram is enough for anything you need to do but then others say you need 32gb for comfort and then they say its better on 2 cards (2x8GB or 2x16GB) so I went for 32GB only because if id gone 2x8GB id need to ditch those cards if I upgraded.
I'm happy to stick with 32Gb ram because its not that expensive and save s me having to upgrade later if need be but the storage is an issue id like advice on please.
I'm also lost with are the graphics cards dilema...cheaper GTX1660Ti or RTX 2060 then folk say if you've no interest in ray tracing you don't need it but others say you can render and game smoother and faster with the RTX card....hope you understand my frustration and I apologise again for the confusion and probable wrong terminology I've used but my head is honestly so close to exploding lol
Any advise gratefully appreciated.
 
Sorry Oussebon, I checked the Optimus quote I had and for around £40 less than the Vortex I can get this spec but, as i said, its a 60Hz screen and the Vortex is 144Hz...just wanted to also note that there are 2 M.2 drives in the Optimus also so it appears that the screen is the main difference and the fact that it doesnt have a usb at the rear

Chassis & Display - Optimus Series: 15.6" Matte Full HD 60Hz 72% NTSC LED Widescreen (1920x1080)
Processor (CPU) - Intel® Core™ i7 Six Core Processor 9750H (2.6GHz, 4.5GHz Turbo)
Memory (RAM) - 32GB Corsair 2400MHz SODIMM DDR4 (2 x 16GB)
Graphics Card - NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 2060 - 6.0GB GDDR6 Video RAM - DirectX® 12.1
1st Storage Drive - 1TB Samsung 860 QVO 2.5" SSD, SATA 6Gb/s (upto 550MB/sR | 520MB/sW)
1st M.2 SSD Drive - 1TB SAMSUNG 970 EVO PLUS M.2, PCIe NVMe (up to 3500MB/R, 3300MB/W)
 
My question still stands - why 2 SSDs? What are you planning to store on each?
Thanks again.....hope this makes sense but I really have no idea why 2ssd's to be honest....everyone online raves that ssd is the way to go and thats been my only reason so I thought...yeh 2 ssd without any reasoning behind that decision (a little knowledge is a dangerous thing seems to apply to me).
I don't have a great deal of computer knowledge but I assumed that one would contain the operating system which I thought would be quicker as ssd and any remaining space between both would be for general file storage. In the configurator they give options to partition the drives but I wouldn't have a clue what to do with that so I avoided that.
On my existing external drive I have 180gb of music video files, 13gb of photos, 27gb Karaoke songs, 72gb of music(mp3), 118gb family videos, 2.5gb of legislative documents and other random odds and ends. I have a CAD programme still to install so I would need to increase my drawing storage and I have some 4k video files from my camera that my present laptop cannot view without freezing.
My existing storage between the laptop and external drive is 2.5gb roughly and I still have about 1787gb free so loads of free space.
I'm also about to create a youtube vlog about my planned campervan build and European tour which is why I need the video editing spec so I will increase my storage for those files as I go along but that is assuming I start the channel.
I also want to be able to game on the laptop and was told that everything loads quicker from an ssd drive.
So, being honest, I haven't a clue and I'm randomly selecting drives without the knowledge to know what I need and what is sensible and the more I watch online the more confusing things get.
As you can see I'm clueless and desperately need pointed in the right direction but, honestly, if you feel you're banging your head off the wall trying to assist me I understand and won't take offence if you think I'm a lost cause.
 
Hi I've read my original post and thought the answer why 2 ssds was here in my post.... "I do realise I'm tying up both Nvme ssd slots which only leaves me the 2.5" bay for possible upgrade but I thought that having 2 storage areas worked more efficiently. I did consider one smaller nvme ssd and a larger 2.5" barracuda drive or similar leaving me with a free slot but I don't know how much storage I realistically need."
 

Oussebon

Moderator
Moderator
Yes, I was wondering what you meant by more efficient.

2 SSDs can improve performance in some uses, but it depends how you actually use them. What you do with the PC and what you put on each drive.

A single 1TB SSD would often be more 'efficient' in that you don't have to waste time juggling things between two drives.

For storing a large music and movie collection (media you just consume, not source files for editing projects) then just get an HDD for those as it's cheaper per GB than an NVMe SSD and they'd get no benefit from being on any kind of SSD anyway.
 
Thanks so much Oussebon that's exactly what I needed to know so, based on that information, if I keep the spec the same but change my storage option to -
1st storage drive - 2TB Seagate ATA 2.5" drive 128MB CACHE (5400rpm)
1st M.2 drive - 500GB Samsung NVMe SSD

This gives me far more storage and is cheaper so big thanks for that. Can I ask two last questions please
1. Would the 1TB Segate 2.5" drive at 7200rpm perform so much better than the 5400rpm drive. If the difference is just a bit slower then I think I would stick to the larger 2TB 5400rpm drive then my existing 2TB Samsung external drive would be a handy back up....does that sound reasonable?
2. Is a 500GB NVMe SSD reasonable for mainly my operating system etc, or should I stretch to the 1TB Intel 760p or is that overkill? The reason I ask is that it is still around my budget price.

I'm on my laptop every night so it plays a big part in our family life and I have an opportunity, at this time, to get what I want so I am trying to spec a laptop that should last me a very long time without the need to upgrade down the line which is why I've taken so long to decide.

I had budgeted around the £1,500 mark so your suggestion has dramatically increased my storage for less money so thanks again for that. I wish I had joined the forum months ago and taken advantage of the wealth of knowledge on here and it is such a great resource. It's actually very re-assuring to know this community is out there especially for folk like me/ I noticed today the in-depth virtually "blow by blow" guidance you offered another member to resolve issues he had which is a fantastic talent and you do this voluntarily so my hat goes off to you.
 

Oussebon

Moderator
Moderator
No worries, I'm glad it helps some :)

That storage arrangement sounds fine. A 7200rpm drive would be measurably faster than a 5400rpm drive. However, if it;s just to store music and movies, that's not really an issue because once you've got those files onto the drive, that's that. And if you need more than 1TB of mass storage, that makes the choice for you to some degree

This article talks a good bit about storage for video editing in premiere pro:

It might be a little out of date, but still gives you some idea about what circumstances separate SSDs can be useful. So if that applies to you, then you might still consider 2 SSDs. Though if you do buy 1 NVMe SSD and 1 HDD now, you can still add another NVMe SSD into the 2nd M.2 slot in the future - you have that option.
 
Your a star Oussebon and thanks so much for your sound advice...I'll view that article and then get a laptop ordered but I feal so much more confident, thanks to you, that I will end up with something fit for purpose.

Cheers
 
Hi all,

As a complete novice, I've almost completed my months of researching and configuring a laptop for general use, light gaming and some 4k video editing but I have hit a last stumbling block which is my drive set up.
I had initially thought that 2 ssd's were the answer (I have a 2TB Samsung HDD external drive for storage and back-up) but I was, quire rightly, advised that might not be the best solution for me. I'd like to thank Oussebon, in particular, for the good advice so far.
So, after seeing other ssd reviews and some "real world not benchmark" comparisons of different drives and , value per pound sterling, I'm considering using a single M.2 NVMe 2TB Intel 660p ssd and leave the 2.5" bay and other M.2 slot for future upgrade if needed.
I've read reviews from several people who have only one ssd drive who claim that works perfectly but would value the forums opinion please.

My question is this - would this single drive work well as the only built in drive ?

LAPTOP

Chassis & Display - Vortex Series: 15.6" Matte Full HD 144Hz LED Widescreen (1920x1080) + G-Sync
Processor (CPU) - Intel® Core™ i7 Six Core Processor 9750H (2.6GHz, 4.5GHz Turbo)
Memory (RAM) - 32GB Corsair 2666MHz SODIMM DDR4 (2 x 16GB)
Graphics Card - NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 2060 - 6.0GB GDDR6 Video RAM - DirectX® 12.1
1st Storage Drive - NOT REQUIRED
1st M.2 SSD Drive - 2TB INTEL® 660p M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD (upto 1800MB/sR | 1800MB/sW)
AC Adaptor - 2 x 180W AC Adaptor
Power Cable - 2 x 1 Metre Cloverleaf UK Power Cable
 
Thanks for your response...my thoughts were that this drive (intel 660p) would be a "one size fits all" . I have thousands of videos and photos on my external hard drive but I would like to keep that as a back-up drive for everything so I can have all videos and photos on my laptop (660p drive) for every day use so the ssd was intended as a storage drive and as the main drive for the operating system and programmes.

The 660p is quite a cheap option and faster than the HDD. I also considred getting the HDD and Optane memory. A 2Tb 5400rpm HDD and 16GB Optane with a 500gb samsung 970 evo (seems to be super fast) is about the same price as the 2TB 660p so would that seem more realistic? the HDD for storage and ssd for the rest with the Optane helping the HDD along.

I've seen many laptops being sold with 256gb ssd and nothing else like the Acer Predator Helios 300 so I thought the 2TB 660p would be far better than that. After your last post i was ready to order then thought...lets have another final look at my storage requirement options based on what you said and others online and then i started to spiral out of control once more...almost like googling medication side effects and suddenly having them all.

I think I understand what you said before that the slower HDD wont really matter once the files are on there and when Im playing the videos I keep the programmes which plays them and all operating system etc on the smaller ssd...is that correct and a better solution?

Thanks again for your help with this.
 

ubuysa

Moderator
Moderator
I think I understand what you said before that the slower HDD wont really matter once the files are on there and when Im playing the videos I keep the programmes which plays them and all operating system etc on the smaller ssd...is that correct and a better solution?
This is perfectly true, because videos (and music) are played in real-time which means that the player has lots of time to load the next buffer before you finish playing the current one, there is thus zero benefit in putting music or video on a fast device like an SSD. That said, if the HDD you use is very busy (with other applications accessing the disk at the same time) then you may get video and audio stutters due to queuing for the HDD. A slower 5400rpm drive will suffer more from this than a faster 7200rpm drive. An SSD is so fast that queuing will hardly ever be an issue.

Your 4k images will benefit from being on an SSD. Loading high resolution images off an HDD, especially a slow 5400rpm HDD, will result in images being painted down the screen, especially if the drive is very busy.

Most other user data is in small files (less than 1MB typically) and whilst these are loaded faster from an SSD the difference in load time compared to an HDD is measured in milliseconds and you're unlikely to notice the difference that much. Large data files (big spreadsheets and databases) will load faster off an SSD.

A single large and fast SSD will work very well for you but as you can see a lot of the data on there won't gain much (or any) benefit from the improved speed, meaning that you've bought expensive storage for a lot of your data that you didn't need.

The advantage of multiple drives, whether SSD, HDD or a mixture of the two, is better performance. Windows (indeed any OS) can only have a single read/write operation to each drive at a time, so if many processes are trying to use the drive you'll get queuing and loss of performance. An SSD suffers less from queuing because the response times are so fast the drive is only busy for short periods, a slow HDD (5400rpm) suffers more from queuing because the response times are slow and the drive is busy for longer periods. Having two drives means that Windows can have two read/write operations running at the same time; one to each drive. By having a Windows drive and a data drive you separate the Windows read/writes from the data read/writes - and both can happen at the same time - and this greatly improves Windows performance (and thus system performance) because Windows read/writes are no longer queuing behind data read/writes.

For most users a fast (the fastest you can afford) SSD for Windows and programs and an HDD for user data provides the Windows/Data separation you want and provides the sort of response time for data that's most suited to it. The Windows SSD won't need to be any larger that 256GB - and unless you have a huge number of user programs you could even get away with 128GB.

The grey area is with user data like 4k images (and any other user data in large files that must be loaded quickly) which will benefit from SSD speeds. There are three solutions which resolve this issue...

1. Buy a larger SSD and partition it for Windows and Images. The disadvantage of this method is Windows read/writes may then be queuing behind image read/writes - it's one read/write operation per drive remember, not per partition. A bigger SSD is also more expensive. Even not partitioning and having Windows and images on the same drive could cause queuing (one read/write per drive).

2. Buy a second SSD for images. This doesn't need to be anywhere near as fast as the Windows SSD, something offering a 500MB/s read time would be perfectly fine. The disadvantage of this method is cost and whether you can fit two SSDs and an HDD in the chassis. If you can (and if you can afford it) this would be the perfect solution for you.

3. Buy Optane memory to front-end the HDD and use a large HDD for all user data (including 4k images). Image files are sequential data files and Optane's algorithm works particularly well with sequential data (all cache algorithms do). This won't give you quite the same performance for your 4k images files as an SSD, and how fast these images load will depend on how busy the HDD is (one read/write per drive remember), but it should be plenty fast enough not to have the screen paint wait.

You really need to compare the cost of these three options and pick the one you can best afford. In pure performance terms, option 2 is your best bet, followed by option 1 and lastly option 3, but all three will give your 4k images the load times you'll want.
 
Excellent ill go back and look at my storage configuration and I'll probably go with a smaller ssd boot drive as a starter and then see what I can best afford to run with your option 2 but I definitely don't want to be 2 months down the line staring at the screen loading wishing I'd spent another £100.
Thanks again for a nice to Understand explanation and I'll post what I hope to go for.
Many thanks
 

Oussebon

Moderator
Moderator
My (very superficial) top lines would be that photos can benefit from being on an SSD and likewise videos you use in video editing projects you'd want on an SSD.

But if it's a 2TB SSD to store your ripped DVD collection or completed video projects you only look at, they might as well be on a (cheaper) HDD than an SSD. It makes no difference to them :)

In which case a smaller, faster SSD would benefit your OS, programs, video editing projects. And a larger, cheaper HDD can store your media. You want the SSD to be large enough for your needs, but not overspending on it.
 
Cheers that makes sense but I realised today that the optane memory uses up an M.2 slot it seems because when I add it I'm advised that I cannot have 3 x M.2 slots when the laptop only supports 2. I'm just going through some configurations now to try and follow what you suggested and check costings so I might pop the options on here for your opinion please if thats ok
 
If you have time Oussebon, could you please give your opinion on the 2 options shown below....way below!!

Surprisingly, there's only £56 difference from the three SSD option to the two SSD & HDD option but I think both follow your guidance and I assumed the Barracuda drive would be much faster than the HDD for not much more money and, with all 3 drives being SSD, I could have all my main music and video files etc on the laptop leaving my 2TB Samsung external drive as a back-up drive.

One guy on YouTube, who is a professional video editor, showed his own 3 SSD system consisting of;
400GB boot drive for OS and programmes
1Tb Storage drive (project and media source files)
240GB media cache & scratch drive

which does follow your suggested optimum set up. I'm about to Google what a media cache & scratch drive means. He stated that by keeping his project and media source files on the SSD he noticed a 6 times faster overall performance with the biggest benefit being keeping the window system separate from everything else, again, exactly what you advised.

There's only £55 price difference if I drop the Barracuda and 660p drives to 500GB each but I assumed that "what will do a lot will do a little" and I thought also that to put such a small drive in the other M.2 slot was a wasted slot. But understand the benefits you outlined on keeping the smaller M.2 purely for OS and programmes so I'm happy with the Samsung 970 EVO for that purpose and this looks like the fastest M.2 on the drop down menu.

I cannot wait to get my new laptop and retire my Toshiba Satellite A500 -17X but she's been a good laptop and still works as well as when new with the only mod I made being I super-glued four 2 litre bottle tops to the underside to help cooling (one each corner to raise it up) and that worked a treat.

OPTION 1 - Price £1,591.00
1st Storage Drive - 1TB SEAGATE 7mm SERIAL ATA III 2.5" HARD DRIVE WITH 128MB CACHE (7,200rpm)
1st M.2 SSD Drive - 250GB SAMSUNG 970 EVO PLUS M.2, PCIe NVMe (up to 3500MB/R, 2300MB/W)
2nd M.2 SSD Drive - 1TB INTEL® 660p M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD (upto 1800MB/sR | 1800MB/sW)

OPTION 2 - £1,647.OO
1st Storage Drive - 1TB SEAGATE BARRACUDA 2.5" SSD, (upto 560MB/sR I 540MB/sW)
1st M.2 SSD Drive - 250GB SAMSUNG 970 EVO PLUS M.2, PCIe NVMe (up to 3500MB/R, 2300MB/W)
2nd M.2 SSD Drive - 1TB INTEL® 660p M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD (upto 1800MB/sR | 1800MB/sW)
 

Oussebon

Moderator
Moderator
with all 3 drives being SSD, I could have all my main music and video files etc on the laptop
If it's music you just listen to and video you just watch, put it on a large HDD. There's 0 benefit to putting them on an SSD. (option 1, but with a 2TB HDD)

If it's source / project files, put it on an SSD. (option 2)
 
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