Quantcast Can a laptop work for capture? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
12-17-2018, 06:07 AM
discmeister discmeister is offline
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Hi all,

I'm desperately trying to keep my VHS capture project on track - but my tiny study is bursting at the seams and I think the idea of having a separate dedicated tower PC for capture just isn't going to work.

Given that I'm using an ATI USB (purchased via this forum), I wondered if an older i3 or i5-powered laptop running XP (if I can get it going) or at worst Windows 7 would be an option for capture? Would probably only be USB 2.0 so dumping it to an external drive wouldn't be feasible - although I've noticed a few that have eSATA sockets so that could be potentially feasible.

Just curious - I know it's recommended to have a dedicated PC but, well, lifestyle and logistics are dictating that I ought to try to find a more compact/portable solution.

If so, what should I be looking for, laptop-spec-wise?

Kind regards to all,

Discy
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  #2  
12-17-2018, 07:33 AM
spanak spanak is offline
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A laptop which is able to run Windows 7, probably has enough CPU power and memory for a capture. Unfortunatelly, Windows tends to do many things you haven't told it do, so you are going to have to disable networking and all unnecessary services, to make sure you have the most CPU time dedicated to capture.

Such a laptop is going to have a slow hard drive, and this is where it may fail. You'll have to experiment to see if yours can take the load.
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  #3  
12-17-2018, 08:18 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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FYI, I have one of these: For sale: Capturing system, portable studio laptop [ENDED]
That basically lists out specs.
It has SSHD, not HDD.

Non-glossy/glare monitor is most important, if using laptop screen.
Next is USB3/eSATA for file transfer.
And you want a system that doesn't make lots of noise, decent cooling without loud fans.
Then OS, Windows 7 most ideal.
And then CPU and RAM last, as much will have workable specs. But i7 obviously better.

Disable network, disable startup junk that interrupts capturing.

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  #4  
12-17-2018, 09:01 AM
discmeister discmeister is offline
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Thanks for these quick responses. So broadly speaking, if I end up with an i5 laptop with 8Gb RAM and the ability to upgrade its hard disk to an SSHD item - you can pick up a 2Tb SSHD for about 85 new here in the UK - I'd be on the right track? Do things like Integrated Graphics vs Dedicated ATI/nVidia GFX make any difference at all?

Lordsmurf, do I understand from your post that you capture to the laptop's own SSHD, then use USB3/eSATA to get the (large) capture files onto other storage for post-capture retouching etc? That would be my plan too, you see...

And yes, I have some experience of Windows 7 from years ago so my plan was to disconnect its network access apart from during any scheduled upgrade time.

Kind regards, and thanks again,

Discy
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12-18-2018, 02:39 AM
spanak spanak is offline
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Well, Core i5 series have been around for the past 10 years, but since you say the laptop is going to have 8 GB of RAM, it probably means the CPU is more recent. In other words, the system should be good enough.

And, as for the video card, as long as it can run Windows normally, it is OK for capturing. You do not need a powerful gaming one.
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  #6  
12-18-2018, 02:46 AM
discmeister discmeister is offline
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I'm looking at local selling sites etc because the real bargains are on there. And yes, one that I've noticed is a Toshiba laptop with a 1Tb drive, i5 CPU and 8Gb RAM. I'd plan on buying it, clean installing W7 and then trying it to see how the 1Tb drive copes with capture. If it drops frames then I'd consider an SSHD.

It has a USB 3.0 port so I'd use that to ultimately back up the capture files for post-capture correction and then editing.

Thanks again for your responses,

Discy
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  #7  
12-18-2018, 02:51 AM
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Dell, Toshiba, and Sony are the only ones offering specs I require. Not just any Dell/Toshiba/Sony, but certain machines. And not necessarily new/current models, as I'm always open to older spec refurbs. Or used system from folks I know did abuse the notebooks, just use them (still clean, look almost like new).

Brands like HP offer nothing at all that I'd want for capturing, though I had used HP in years past.

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  #8  
01-21-2019, 12:21 PM
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Hi all,

So I ended up buying an ex-business Lenovo T440p with a 4th-gen i5 processor and 4Gb memory. Cost me only 130 here in the UK. Found a compatible SODIMM for 10 to take it to 8Gb, and then the T440p has an M.2 socket tucked away but still reasonable accessible. Chucked a 64Gb M.2 SSD in there, and the standard 500Gb drive that it came with is 7200rpm.

I did install Windows 7 initially but fell foul of various 'verified driver' issues - so in the end I bit the bullet and put W10 back instead. I know many here are not fans of that OS, but personally I like it. I've trimmed the OS as much as possible and deactived the WiFi so there shouldn't be any interruptions.

The good news is that I've already captured two hours of Huffyuv-compressed AVI files from VHS without a single dropped frame. So it looks like the package is good enough for my needs - and for a grand total of about 175.

Discy
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  #9  
01-21-2019, 02:44 PM
jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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The thing with W7 and worse with W10 is the "verified driver" signing thingy.. is ratcheted up the more recent you get. Last year Microsoft made signed drivers "mandatory" for W10 regardless of user overrides. They said they were "stamping out pirates" but this absolutely broke medical and scientific instrument equipment that depended on old hardware with unsigned drivers. <sigh>

The only refuge is Windows 7 x86 (32 bit) basically Microsoft said "we don't care what you do on 32 bit anymore" and tossed it to the wayside.

Windows 7 (32 bit) is an excellent OS and in many cases it will continue to run "very old" 32 bit drivers even ones not made for it.. but the most important attribute is you can "shut off" signed driver requirement and it will "stick".

I may be the only person on the planet with this opinion but its been very useful to me in a tight situation.

--

another thing with laptops is the OEM recovery partition or OEM recovery discs.. more and more people are discoverying that the OEM install of the OS for that laptop contained custom device drivers not available for download anywhere, even when they were new.

the price of those recovery discs get ridiculous on auction sites sometimes

plain vanilla, fresh Microsoft Windows media also often comes with older or buggy device drivers that were "pre-released" to Microsoft in order to meet Microsoft's delivery schedules.. with the intention the manufacturers would release updated drivers later.. problem was the Microsoft "Update" mechanism and recovery system in the OS give priority to "Out of Box" device drivers.. to they go round and round trying to make Windows stop updating (downgrading) to the Out of Box drivers.. <whew>

laptop OEM recovery disc often have adware or trialware and stuff you would rather they did not.. its usually best to uninstall it yourself.. but you can also use something like 'Double Driver' to take a 'snapshot' of all the device drivers from an OEM install, copy those to a USB stick as a zip file

then install Windows from Microsoft media and after its done updating, restore the device drivers to knock out any yellow caution cones in the device driver manager

as long as the HDD isn't one of the required device drivers for boot up.. you can do this to get as clean a system a possible, but its tricky, tortuous and time consuming.. I just use the OEM recovery discs and clean up the system after they finish reinstalling the laptop

Last edited by jwillis84; 01-21-2019 at 02:54 PM.
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  #10  
01-22-2019, 04:17 AM
discmeister discmeister is offline
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I'd have thought the same - that W7 is 'closer' to the original OS for the ATI USB 600 and would therefore be more accommodating when it comes to installing drivers. In fact, I struggled to get the unverified driver installed in W7 at all - and it kept 'forgetting' the device. W10 was a doddle. Horses for courses, I guess.

Your advice on the 'Double Driver' technique is bang on, however. Well worth people considering that.
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