HP 8760w - Any reason I shouldn't?

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FastBikerBoy
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2012/11/17 11:16:33 (permalink)

HP 8760w - Any reason I shouldn't?

I need to replace my slowly falling to pieces old laptop. I've sort of settled on the HP 8760W (LY530ET)

I've never really used a laptop for audio purposes before but I plan on using this occasionally in a live situation for multi-tracking - using a ZED-R16 via firewire.
The 8760 has a 4-pin FW connection which I believe just means no power. That's not an issue as the ZED is mains powered. It also works on my current laptop okay a Toshiba Satellite something-or-other also with 4-pin connection.

My backup plan for if there is problems with the onboard FW connection is to get an express card. Does that sound feasible? I'm going to be pretty miffed if I drop £1600 on it and it won't play nicely with the ZED using either option.

The only other alternative I can find is the Dell M6700 which pans out at about the same price or maybe a little cheaper for a similar spec but comes with 6 pin FW, but I've heard good things on the web about the HP and nothing much about the DELL.

I say only alternative as there are two "got to have"s........ the first is FW or an express slot for a FW card and it must also support a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (I need it for screen capturing at the same resolution as my main DAW). I'm not bothered about size, weight, or battery life - either of them are going to be more convenient than lugging my desktop and monitor around with me.

Anyone any experience with either choice or any alternate suggestions.

Thanks.
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    ampfixer
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    Re:HP 8760w - Any reason I shouldn't? 2012/11/17 15:28:07 (permalink)
    I have a 17" Acer laptop and I find that the battery life is horrible. It's also heavy. I call it my portable computer because it only goes about an hour on batteries and is usually plugged in. It is very portable but a laptop in name only. If you worked with it on your lap your goolies would turn into waffles in short order.

    You say that these issues are not important, and I was the same way until I really needed to do some remote work. It's still way easier than moving a desktop but I found a good portable power conditioner was essential when using it in clubs.

    Regards, John 


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    #2
    gibsongs
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    Re:HP 8760w - Any reason I shouldn't? 2012/11/17 15:59:53 (permalink)
    Hi FBB,
    I work for HP and use HP PCs but would not buy one. When HP purchased Compaq, HP quality went down the tubes - not to mention service. If you get an HP, and for the amount of $$$ you are planning to spend, I would strongly suggest a unconditional service/replacement contract - which will cost a more $$ (I would do this with any portable device since they are apt to be dropped or dinged often).
     
    Personally, I would not spend alot on a portable, just what you need to get by with audio and leave the heavy lifting to a good desktop. Brandwise, I have had a number of Toshiba's and they were very reliable and when something happened (like the keyboard or power supply going west) I had a service agreement to do the repair work. There is a big box store here in the US (Best Buy) that did all the repair/shipping for free since I paid for the service up front).
    Just my $.02 (not sure what that is in shillings - LOL).
     
    By the way, great videos - would you ever plan to do one for Presonus Studio One (it's my new main DAW)?
     
    Take care,
     
    gs
    #3
    FastBikerBoy
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    Re:HP 8760w - Any reason I shouldn't? 2012/11/17 17:50:19 (permalink)
    Thanks for the replies.....

    John. Battery life really isn't important because of the way I use a laptop. I've had this one for 4 years and I think it has run on battery perhaps twice in that time, then only briefly. I basically use it as a portable desktop.

    The main reason I'm after a replacement is the screen resolution. I'm getting more and more deadlines to hit with video work and much of the time I'm away from my studio. I can't capture at the resolution I want so that's the most important thing. It'll allow me to work far more often rather than having to plan quite as far in front.

    The FW is really secondary because if the worst comes to the worst my current laptop is capable of tracking with my ZED but of course it'd be far easier to use just one.

    GS - I've had several Toshiba's (this one is) and I've never had a problem other than their hard drives which fail far more than any other brand I've come across but that's an easy fix. If they had something suitable I'd have it without a doubt but AFAIK they don't.

    Large screens with the resolution I want seem hard to come by, FW even harder and express slots almost as bad. It seems it's HP, Dell or nothing - seeing as nothing isn't an option it's the HP or Dell. I haven't had any experience with HP for at least 15 years when I had a desktop. I have had a couple of Dells also a while ago (10 years or so) and wasn't impressed but I do understand that things/brands change.

    I looked at a cube but I may as well drag the desktop around if I've got to start carrying a monitor around.

    Thanks for the comp on the videos - I guess I could do one on Studio One but seeing as I wouldn't have a clue about using it I doubt it'd be very informative.
    #4
    fireberd
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    Re:HP 8760w - Any reason I shouldn't? 2012/11/18 06:30:19 (permalink)
    I have a Lenovo laptop that I use for on-site recordings, but its strictly for analog track recording either with my Octa-Capture or Fastrack Ultra 8R.  When I get home I transfer the projects to my desktop system and do whatever I need to do in Sonar there.


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    #5
    digi2ns
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    Re:HP 8760w - Any reason I shouldn't? 2012/11/18 13:32:48 (permalink)
    If you go with HP, 

    Make sure you keep the bottom clear and give it plenty of room to breathe so the Video Chipset doesnt fail on you.

    Somewhat of a easy fix if it does, but then its not 100% that it will come back either.  Mine is going on a couple months fine after one of the fixes but its time consuming to do. 

    I was really surprised at how many videos are put out on Youtube on it and how to fix.




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    #6
    FastBikerBoy
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    Re:HP 8760w - Any reason I shouldn't? 2012/11/18 14:11:08 (permalink)
    Hi fireberd (I always want to call you Fireblade after the bike )

    I've had a look at Lenovo but they only seem to do one 17.3 screen and that doesn't have firewire or an express card slot. Some good prices there though.

    Thanks for the input Mike. I think I'm going to go with the HP but TBH a choice of two isn't much choice, but better than one I guess.
    #7
    timidi
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    Re:HP 8760w - Any reason I shouldn't? 2012/11/18 16:11:38 (permalink)
    Any reason I shouldn't?



    It's an HP.


    I've had, and friends have had, bad experience with HP.
    Granted they were big box store machines. Don't know if you get anything better direct from HP.
    FWIW.



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    Disclaimer: I listen on a laptop.
    #8
    FastBikerBoy
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    Re:HP 8760w - Any reason I shouldn't? 2012/11/18 16:22:10 (permalink)
    Thanks for the input. Any experience with Dell? They appear to be the only alternative other than not buying anything, which isn't really an option.

    Most of the reviews I've seen lean me toward the HP for things that are important to me but I'm not entirely convinced yet.
    #9
    fireberd
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    Re:HP 8760w - Any reason I shouldn't? 2012/11/18 18:08:47 (permalink)
    I see more Dell Laptop users than I do HP Laptop users on various recording forums.  I don't know what Dell offers vs what you need.

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    Jim Roseberry
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    Re:HP 8760w - Any reason I shouldn't? 2012/11/18 22:10:37 (permalink)
    The 8760 has a 4-pin FW connection which I believe just means no power. That's not an issue as the ZED is mains powered. It also works on my current laptop okay a Toshiba Satellite something-or-other also with 4-pin connection.



    There are two main issues you'll deal with regarding a laptop.


    The Firewire controller is almost surely not Texas Instruments (meaning it may not work well with a particular audio interface).  The Express-card controller is often using the same (crap) chipset as FW... so an Express-card TI chipset Firewire controller often doesn't solve the problem.
    If you wish to work at ultra low latency settings (64-sample ASIO buffer size), this issue is more critical.

    High idle DPC latency
    The average off-the-shelf laptop is made for the average laptop user.
    Folks surfing the internet, running MS Office, and sending Email are far more concerned with long battery life than achieving absolute maximum performance/thru-put.  Power management features often cause high DPC latency.
    Depending on the unit, you may be able to get it under control... or you may have little to no means of addressing the issue.  Off-the-shelf units (laptops and towers) often don't expose certain BIOS settings that can be helpful for reducing DPC latency.  It's intentionally "dumming down" the product... so a novice user doesn't foul up the machine (causing heavier tech-support load).  High DPC latency will have little/no affect on the average laptop user.  For DAW purposes: If you wish to run substantial audio loads at small ASIO buffer sizes, low/consistent DPC latency is a must.

    Best Regards,

    Jim Roseberry
    jim@studiocat.com
    www.studiocat.com
    #11
    FastBikerBoy
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    Re:HP 8760w - Any reason I shouldn't? 2012/11/19 05:42:52 (permalink)
    Thanks for the input Jim. I've bit the bullet and ordered the HP. I've read lots of good reviews of it (from users as well as 'reviewers') but very little on the Dell hence my decision.

    Low latency isn't particularly important regarding the audio side as I'll be monitoring direct from my ZED-R16. For what little soft synth work I do I can do that in my studio as will the mixing stage. If it turns out I can do that on the HP that'll be a bonus but not essential.

    I'm getting more and more live recording work. My battered old Toshiba Satellite works perfectly well for that purpose *if* for some reason the HP won't but of course it'd be easier if it does work.

    Audio with firewire on laptops seems pretty much a dead end but I never envisaged recording live away from the studio when I bought the ZED which is great on my DAW. Not that it is important to me but it'll run an ASIO buffer of 64 samples with a reported roundtrip latency of 5.8 msecs. It'll run all day like that without problems/drop out etc. As I monitor through the board though it's pretty much irrelevant to me.

    My main use for the laptop will be for screen captures for video work which is why I need the higher resolution. I can also do much of that in the studio but it'll be extremely convienent not to mention more efficient for me, if I can carry on with the video side of things while I'm away from the studio, and for video the HP gets rated quite well.

    I'll post my findings on how it works when I get it set up. It may be helpful for someone else. I've found very little audio based information for it so any I add may be a bonus for others.

    Thanks again to everyone for all the input and comments.
    post edited by FastBikerBoy - 2012/11/19 05:44:48
    #12
    FastBikerBoy
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    Re:HP 8760w - Any reason I shouldn't? 2012/12/05 10:44:54 (permalink)
    Just a quick update on this for anyone searching info pre-purchase.

    The display is great and everything I hoped it would be. Great resolution (1920 x 1080) allowing me to prep and screen capture videos on it.

    The only negative so far is the spacebar. It's possible to press it, hear the click, but it doesn't seem to register. i.e. no space. It seems to be if I catch the bottom part of the bar rather than in the centre. Perhaps it's just me but the rest of the keyboard is fine.

    The other important part for me has worked out okay as well. Without doing much in the way of tweaking except for disabling core parking is that dpc latency is around the 150 - 200 usec mark. I'm sure I can probably get that down if need be but it hasn't caused any issues so far. Having said that the onboard FW is rubbish. Even setting a latency as high as 4096 on my ZED-R16 it still drops out instantly.

    I've bought a FW express card with a TI chip and that is much much better. I can run anything at 128 samples and lighter projects at 64 samples. . I'm sure I could probably improve that situation with a few tweaks but that's good enough for me for now.

    I may post more later as I use it more and start to put it through its paces but the initial impression is great and I'm glad I bought it.

    Hope that helps someone in the future.
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    Bristol_Jonesey
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    Re:HP 8760w - Any reason I shouldn't? 2012/12/05 11:24:02 (permalink)
    Thanks for the heads up Karl

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