Thin Laptop + Desktop or just single kick-ass laptop?
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard Scoox's Avatar
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    Default Thin Laptop + Desktop or just single kick-ass laptop?

    I need to upgrade my 2009 desktop PC and CPUs have come a long way since then, to the point that even the lowest end mobile CPU at the moment is probably better than my desktop's CPU. For DJing I've been using a Surface Pro 4 for a while, with mixed results, so I'm looking to upgrade both computers. I have two options:

    • Single 15" laptop with i7-8750H CPU
    • Desktop with i9-9900K and 13" laptop with i7-8550U CPU

    I like the idea of producing on the road. I also like the idea of a single system (maintaining a computer system consumes time)—that would be the first option. The laptop I'm looking at is the Xiaomi Gaming Lapotp, which supports up to three internal drives and user-upgradeable memory. With that laptop I could have all my data and applications on one system—no need to sync audio libraries, use external storage or maintain 2 sets of software settigns. The single-computer solution trades ease of maintenance for portability while on the road and performance while in the studio.

    Now, I've DJed both with small and large laptops and small is just more convenient to carry around and set up in places where space is at a premium. Also, many 15" laptops require a slightly bigger backpack.

    This is one area where OS manufacturers are short-sighted. Wouldn't it be nice if we could unplug the drive from one machine and plug it into any other machine, and have everything work just the same? Kind of like Windows 2 Go but without compromises and without the hassle of having to install the drivesr each time. Users would be given the choice of installing drivers to either a small flash drive directly on the motherboard (typically system-related drivers such as graphics, chipset, etc) or the swappable system drive (so that the user can connect their non-system gear to any computer e.g. MIDI devices, audio interfaces, etc). This may even open doors to prevent software piracy as licenses could be tied to a specific drive. For serious work, the cloud is a big pile of BS, and really a cheap excuse to spam us all with social media cr*p

    Anyway, back to reality. I suppose the ideal solution ATM (minus ease of maintenance) would be to get it all, but my budget prohibits, so it's gotta be one of the above two options. Just wondering what computer set-up other DJ-producers here use or recommend, cheers
    Last edited by Scoox; 03-17-2019 at 02:42 AM.

  2. #2
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    Report back if you get that Xiaomi laptop. I’d love to know if it’s any good.
    DJ'ing: 2x1200MK2, DJM 850, Dicers, F1, Zomo MC-1000, Sony MDR-v700, i7 Win 10 HP Envy
    Production: Ableton Live 8 and a mouse, Sennheiser HD400, Sony VAIO

    Click HERE to D/L Free Tracks from Soundcloud!!!
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  3. #3

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    Bought a 2018 MacBook Pro to dj with and produce. Running rekordbox and Ableton with zero hiccups....

  4. #4
    Tech Wizard Scoox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    Report back if you get that Xiaomi laptop. I’d love to know if it’s any good.
    Well, I live in China and there are two Xiaomi stores in my city, so I popped in last week armed with a USB stick and a Native Instruments ASIO audio interface to do some basic testing. I only tested the Xiaomi Notebook Pro and the Xiaomi Gaming Laptop. Build quality seemed very good, very close to Apple standards.

    I loaded a couple of heavy FL Studio projects and obviously the gaming laptop loaded things more quickly and had more CPU headroom. Traktor worked fine on either computer. Mind you, the gaming laptop they had on display was not even the latest model, it was last years i7-7700HQ model, so I expect the current i7-8750H version to be even better.

    The gaming is a bit thicker and heavier than the notebook pro. Palm rest is made of plastic, whereas the notebook pro shell is all-aluminium.

    One of the things I checked, which is the one thing most laptop manufacturers seem to neglect, is DPC latency, and I was pleasantly surprised, here's some screenshots I took (top is gaming notebook, bottom is notebook pro):





    That's with Wi-fi on, NVIDIA graphics (which are often responsible high DPC latency) and no tweaking other than just enabling the "High Performance" power plan. The first screenshot is after running LatencyMon for just 9 seconds, which is not long enough to be conclusive, but I had ran it before for about 10 minutes and there weren't any spikes. The notebook pro was not as good and spiked occasionally, but I reckon a bit of tweaking could take care of it.

    Ultimately, low DPC latency is my highest priority above anything else, including portability, convenience and sex appeal.

    I plan another trip to the store to do more thorough testing to see how many instances of a certain plugin e.g. U-he Diva each of these laptops can handle, and to see how low I can get DPC latency after doing the usual audio PC tweaks. If you or anyone has any questions about Xiaomi laptops do let me know here as I'll be able to test in person and the more things I test the better.
    Last edited by Scoox; 03-17-2019 at 11:07 PM.

  5. #5
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    Nice one Scoox!

    Notebook Pro would be my preference due to it being smaller and made of aluminium...

    A little hard to check in their store, but I’d LOVE to know how the Pro functions as a Hackintosh.......
    DJ'ing: 2x1200MK2, DJM 850, Dicers, F1, Zomo MC-1000, Sony MDR-v700, i7 Win 10 HP Envy
    Production: Ableton Live 8 and a mouse, Sennheiser HD400, Sony VAIO

    Click HERE to D/L Free Tracks from Soundcloud!!!
    https://www.facebook.com/Patchdj

  6. #6

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    The hardware is bad ass... the only problem is the os. Windows is trash! When I ran windows there were always problems crashes and virus’s. First Mac was from 2011. Haven’t had any problems since 2011. When I was with windows, I spent the majority of my time waiting on blue screen or just trying to get it to work. My time is to valuable to waste on a crappy os.

  7. #7
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    I’ve always used Windows, and honestly, it’s got worse and worse for audio since XP. You’re right - the windows h/w is getting better, but the software is getting worse.

    And from what I hear, Macs h/w is getting worse, while the s/w just does its job quietly and properly.

    So the obvious answer is a Hackintosh, but I don’t want to build one. So, if a Xiaomi Notebook Pro will operate as a Hackintosh, then I’ll get one...
    DJ'ing: 2x1200MK2, DJM 850, Dicers, F1, Zomo MC-1000, Sony MDR-v700, i7 Win 10 HP Envy
    Production: Ableton Live 8 and a mouse, Sennheiser HD400, Sony VAIO

    Click HERE to D/L Free Tracks from Soundcloud!!!
    https://www.facebook.com/Patchdj

  8. #8

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    True. My whole thing is peace of mind. When I want to use my machine, it needs to work. As for the Mac hardware getting worse, not sure what you mean? They are never with the latest and greatest hardware but works perfectly with the software. I’m almost done with my first track on this Mac. With all the fx and plugins my cpu hasn’t hit 10%. That’s pretty good.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    My biggest gripe is the removal of USB ports for USB-C ports.

    I don’t wan’t to have to use a hub for multiple devices.
    DJ'ing: 2x1200MK2, DJM 850, Dicers, F1, Zomo MC-1000, Sony MDR-v700, i7 Win 10 HP Envy
    Production: Ableton Live 8 and a mouse, Sennheiser HD400, Sony VAIO

    Click HERE to D/L Free Tracks from Soundcloud!!!
    https://www.facebook.com/Patchdj

  10. #10

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    Yes definitely a pain in the ass there.

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