Optimising a laptop for video editing
by, 04-24-2012 at 09:02 PM (6215 Views)
If you've read my ramblings before, you'll know all about my unhealthy obsession with laptops for editing. The editing elite dictate that laptops shouldn't be used for editing. These people clearly live in a house with an editing studio featuring 50 screens and a separate hard drive for each video file.
I always judge my system performance on whether I want to throw the laptop out of the window. I'm not really interested in shaving 5 seconds off my boot time, or live previews of 25 video tracks. My ideal system is one that gives my limited creativity a bit of space. And my 2 year old dell xps 15 does just that. Or it did until recently.
I've been gradually filing up a premiere cs5 project with video of m daughter, which is now approaching the 2,000 video mark. Unsurprisingly, cs5 was starting to lurch. My 7200 rpm disk was trying to do far too much and I needed a solution before my laptop flew out of the window.
So I started looking for a new laptop. Again. But I just coukdn't justify the cost, and deep down I love my xps 15. I looked for upgrades, something I've never considered before and finally opted for the following:
- increase the RAM to the max
- rip out the DVD drive and install a Seagate momentus xt drive in a caddy
- replace the system drive with an solid state drive.
It's been the best money I've spent this year.
I can't remember the last time I used my DVD drive, so I was happy to see the back of it. And installing the HDD caddy was easy. I moved all of the video files to to the new drive, including the caches, and previews. You wouldn't believe the difference. A lot was due to freeing up the system drive space, but most of the performance gan was due to holding the videos on the new drive. The project files load so much quicker, and premiere n longer hangs when it loses focus.
Installing the SSD was much more hassle and can't say I notice any difference. The physical change of the drive was easy, but Norton Ghost wouildn' copy the drive. And annoyingly, I had only days earlier deleted the dell recovery software to free up space to fit the OS onto the smaller drive. Once I'd found the tool on he net, I could create a bootable USB stick and finally install windows.
So, if you want a huge performance gain, ditch the laptop's optical drive and install a SATA caddy with a fast drive.