Looking for a laptop for editing under 400

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Dak on cam
Dak on cam Senior Member • Posts: 1,990
Re: Looking for a laptop for editing under 400

Photo editing is not really taxing laptops a lot.  Video editing is, though.  I am pretty comfortable using my Lenovo Thinkpad T420 (bought used) for either (and audio recording/editing).  Its 2nd generation Core i5 (2 cores) got along pretty ok.  I did replace it with the slowest 4-core version though, a move that would likely not make a lot of sense for video editing: the GPU (and video encoder support) runs at a lower frequency because of that and the laptop is not thermally suited for a 4-core.  So for going 4-core with Thinkpad, a T430 would be a more proper choice (the next-generation of Core i used in there generates less heat).

Either way, it was important for me to have 16GB of memory (my main reason for abandoning T61 which would have supported up to 8GB but at horrendous price as the respective DDR2 SODIMMs cost more now than when they were new).  For better or worse, image processing programs are not particularly careful keeping memory requirements down, and video editing programs are quite worse.  For fast access to card readers and other peripherals like external disks, a USB3 connection would be desirable.  That also makes a T430 more desirable than my T420.

On the plus side, my T420 has a builtin SDcard reader on the PCI bus, and the MemoryStick reader I use in its expresscard slot is limited by MS speed, not USB bus speed.

An SSD drive is pretty desirable, too.  So basically in the Thinkpad department I think that you should aim for T430 or better and plan for not less than 8GB of RAM, better more.  I don't think that a 4-core or more would really be relevant for editing.  Instead look for things like good screen resolution and quality, USB3 port(s) and reasonable peripherals (a built-in card reader is nice to have but will likely not have the same speed as newest USB3 UHS readers).

It's conceivable that you'll want to also budget for a larger external screen for the sake of editing at home.

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