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Minimum (Windows) laptop specs to run DAW and VSTs


Barefoot Heart Music
I've looked around online, and concluded that I needed to have an Intel chip, at least 16 to 32GB of RAM, SSD drive (1TB), USB 3 ports (Firewire if I can for my Saffire Pro 24), 14 inch screen minimum, max 17 inch, network card, etc.

I'd be installing Mixcraft or Reaper, Omnisphere, Addictive Keys, (maybe Ivory II too), Kontakt with a bunch of plugins Valhalla, some Waves, etc.

Any suggestion as to a brand name? HP, Dell, Asus, Acer, Samsung, etc. I'm hoping to score a used one under $500 CAD.

Many thanks!



Barefoot Heart Music
Thanks, I see what you mean about the RAM.

What about AMD vs Intel for music recording and VST? I see a lot of DDR4, but also a lot of HDD 5400RPM...


Lenovo is really great, very happy with my machine sofar.

Strongly recommend (Lenovo P50) , but for 500$ is going to be hard to find anything with more than 8GB of RAM.


Barefoot Heart Music
Lenovo is really great, very happy with my machine sofar. Strongly recommend (Lenovo P50) , but for 500$ is going to be hard to find anything with more than 8GB of RAM.
I think I'd be OK with 8 GB DDR4 RAM. However Lenovo P50 sells for $2,000 new here in Canada. Ouch.


KSP Wizard
Out of those three, if I were you I wouldn't go with the HP simply because of the age of the CPU... Acer probably wins because it has a 1080p display, plus an SSD. Although I must say I'm really not a fan of Acer.


Barefoot Heart Music
Thanks for the tips, any thoughts on ASUS?

I'm checking Dell's refurbs. That being said, I may have more luck shopping in a pawnshop for recent used...


I never metaphor I didn't like
Aw... come on! >:(

Edit: Tired of winning, are we? ;)
That's why I keep both CA and US checking accounts. This way, one can 'play the rates'. We were just about at par a few years back. It's worked out fairly well. But lest you think I'm gloating (well... maybe a lil') this arrangement doesn't come close to making up for my fundamental investment philosophy:

"Buy high, sell low." :dancedance:


Senior Member
I'm still very happy with a 2nd hand Lenovo W530 I bought, near new, about 4 years ago - i7-3940XM max 3.90GHz, 32gb RAM. I removed the WWAN mSata card and replaced it with an 512GB mSATA SSD for OS and programs, which gives me 2 large SSD bays (currently 2x 1TB) for samples, etc.

Now, if money's no object and you want a really powerful "laptop" with desktop performance and components, you should look at a CLevo Prime-X or rebranded versions, e.g. Metabox in Australia or Schenker, Sager, etc. elsewhere.

I recently bought a near new Metabox Prime-X P870G, I7 6700K with 2 X GTX1080 SLI, 17.3" QHD (3K) 2560 x 1440 120Hz with G-Sync screen and 64GB RAM. Why 2x GTX1080 you ask ..., because it came with it ;)

EDIT: When I bought the Lenovo, it came with 16GB, but I added 16gb. When you buy a 2nd hand unit with the intention of adding memory, confirm how many empty memory slots it has!
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Active Member
I would definitely go for the memory, then processor. I have a used Surface Pro 3 with 8 gigs of ram. I'm running Pro Tools 12, Sibelius, Notion, and my EWQLSO Gold and some smaller libraries on it. When I look at my template in Pro Tools, I see the CPU is just fine, but memory is about 50-60% with 7 instances of Kontakt. I wish I had 16 gigs min. But like you, I'm looking at some of the Windows laptops with 16 gig or more. Some even have 64 gigs, but you're looking at least at $1800 for those.
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