Laptop Issues to look for using Harmony: 2014

I know this thread is a repeat, but time makes the older posts obsolete. I’m looking at new laptops to run Harmony, and also do a little 3D in Blender. My main concern is making sure Harmony can do everything it is designed to do. Any suggestions?

Intended graphics card will be in the nVidia GTX series. I’m looking at entry level gaming machines because of the cooling. These are modest machines compared to mobile ‘workstations’. Alienware gets good marks. Toshiba seems to be an overheating nightmare.

I’d guess that Harmony is going to be a lot more taxing than Animate 2, which I’m use to.

I’m jumping from Mac to Windows for a lot of reasons. I won’t bore you with details. I might be jumping to Linux if Harmony was ported there.

I’m also about to buy a new computer for animation and video editing work. I’ve been using an old 32 bit Mac, but will now get a PC mainly due to the price, though there’s also a number of things that annoy me in Macs.

I’m eyeing an Asus laptop, the N550, with 16GB ram and the NIVDEA GT 750M. Asus puts it on the category of multimedia/entertainment machines. They have GTX graphics on their “gaming” laptops (G series), which tend to be a bit more expensive and heavier. I would have to put a SSD or an hybrid drive on it. Some people switch the native HDD with an SSD and take the blu-ray drive out and put a secondary HDD there, but having a blu-ray drive is something that interests me.

I wonder if GTX over GT would make a huge difference in terms of working with animation and HD video? I’m not particularly interested in gaming.

Update: I’ve decided to get the Asus N56JR. It’s the best feature set for the money. For a little over $100 it’s a full series higher graphics card than the next Asus model down. I was worried about cooling, but the Lenovo with more fans seems to have more heat related complaints. With the Lenovo I would also be taking a hit on graphics power. Just to compare, Apple meet or beat spec’s ran 2x cost for iMac; 2.5x for laptop. Every all-in-one PC I found was a dog, and the branded pre-built PC [workstations] were as expensive as Macs, or cost more for better parts. For my next desktop I want to have someone local assemble a workstation. That seems to be what a lot of serious pros with a budget are doing now, if not doing the build themselves. I’m not looking forward to dealing with Windows 8, but oh well.

Original post: I saw some Assus laptops at B&H Photo, a seller I’m comfortable with. It looks like a good feature set and the gaming machines have what looks like ventilation on par with Alienware. I saw a recommendation at the Blender Artists forum for a Lenovo Y510. It has side vent cooling. A nice feature is a slide out tray which can be used for an additional graphics card or drive (as I understand their sales pitch). The current pricing with online coupon looks to be in line with Assus. I’m typing on a Lenovo a home. It doesn’t feel that sturdy, but it’s outlasting a lot of other equipment from HP and Apple.

I’m not much of a gamer either, though I really like I like the look and concepts of some newer ‘ambient’ games. And, I like making game assets.

I thought the N550s were a replacement of the N56s, but that model is obviously new. There’s a lot of people comparing the two models and asking which one is best for them. Besides design particularities the main differences seem to be the better graphics card in the N56JR and the N550JV having a IPS screen.

Another thing, maybe more relevant, is that if you want to install Win 7 or even upgrade to 8.1 there are, apparently, driver issues, including with the GTX. I’m not sure all models are sold with Win 8 installed, and there might be regional differences (I’m in Portugal).

I placed the order with B&H Photo in Brooklyn, NY. Actually, there was only a $50 (US) difference in these two models. I have no idea why. The 56 is suppose to come with more ram and the better card. I will update the situation once I start using the machine.

I have worked on many different OS’s, but this will be the first time I have ever owned a Windows machine. I wish it were not v8, but I guess that’s better than Vista. It will be a few days of system archiving and trying to delete bloat-ware before I even load Harmony. Plus I’ll be looking for drivers to move an existing Wacom tablet over to the laptop.

Somewhere I have bookmarked the URL of a studio in Portugal that does nicely designed animation. Are you in a studio situation there? Just curious. I am in Tennessee, USA where there is not much of a market for what I do. I work with people all over N. America and the UK. I also read a bike blog that says Portugal is a fantastic place to cycle tour - scenic roads, nice local people, great wine and cafe´s.

I couldn’t find yet a professional review of this new Asus model, I wonder if they won’t do something like assembling a new model with the N550 body and the GTX GPU, that would make things easier for me.

I’m curious about the Portuguese studio you mention. Portuguese Animation tends to be arthouse shorts, and TV series are normally in short formats due to lack of funding. There’s a bigger series being currently done in Flash, which is, for now, an exception. I worked in one of the oldest studios for several years and the last series I worked on there was 26 x 3" (trailer: http://vimeo.com/38851661).

i’ve been using win8 since last year, and while it has a few rough edges, i have no complaints about it. runs fast and stable, and never had any issues upgrading from 7 and again recently to 8.1. give it a few days, and after customizing it to your liking and getting used to some of its quirks and new UI language, i think you will enjoy it.

good luck with the new laptop.

Thanks, Frank. I’ve read that it can be modified to work without the tiles getting in the way. I’m going to be starting out slow, maybe seeing if I can get rid of some bloatware that is probably installed, and first making system backups.

A million years ago I got started using Macs because they could share everything, even peripheral hardware, with unix and linux machines. Windows was always the most difficult thing in the mix - couldn’t read other’s files, no font sharing. Even rendered animation could look weird because some file formats had different color lookup tables on Windows machines.

B&H Photo shipped the laptop with no packing - not happy. But, I’ll see if it runs tonight. I am looking forward to faster app speed.

Icanau, hopefully you’re still linked to this thread. Here is the studio I was referring to:

http://www.wearecaptive.com/

I had something related to their Vimeo page in my email this morning, and remembered I never responded to your question.