Windows Laptop specs

I need to get a Windows 10 laptop. Always been a mac user…

What spec should I look for? (not completely OT because I will use Dorico and Cubase on it).

The same goes for Windows as for Mac - my quad core runs large Dorico projects substantially better than my dual core. Go 16gb RAM if you can.

Is there much difference between an i5 seventh generation and an eighth generation?

I doubt it, but don’t quote me on that…

FWIW, my wife and I have laptops with similar specs, but hers has an i5 and mine has an i7. Mine runs substantially faster than hers, so the choice of processor might be relevant, although I don’t know if that applies to Windows systems. I second Leo’s recommendations for more cores and 16 GB RAM.

Thank for the replies, Vaughan and Leo. I don’t have many problems with my old macs…but I suspect I should be more careful with PC specs.

I definitely recommend an i7 if you can swing it.

With and i7, does seventh or eighth generation mean anything? There’s quite a cost difference.

For these purposes, no, not really.

Just be careful with some laptops as they can be low powered equivalents of desktop CPUS if you’re comparing specs/benchmarks - make sure any suffix/prefix letters are included when you check them out, as one digit difference could be fooling you into thinking you’re buying a more powerful machine.

I went from Mac to PC and i used the Mac Benchmark site to find an equivalent of Macs i know and note the CPU model, in order to get my bearings within the PC/Windows world:-

I know that any CPU around the 15000 benchmark multicore score is good for me, and that helped me make a decision very easy (For a desktop machine) and understood which machines i needed to target. The raw power will be the same whether you’re running Mac or Windows, so if it helps to equate what you know in the Mac world to potential PC purchases it may be worth looking through that list as a reference.

For windows machines, I’d take more notice of the chipset and motherboard in any given machine than the actual generation of CPU. The better the motherboard and it’s surrounding components equate to a more stable machine… So i’d rather have an older generation CPU running in better hardware than the other way round. And also, the touchpad isn’t a given in windows laptops, check reviews for that also - such elements we don’t have to worry about in the Mac world, as it’s a standard quality that we expect.

There is quite a cost RANGE within each generation, depending on the specs.

Data from Wikipedia:
Generation 6 “release prices” ranged from $378 to $623.
Generation 7/8 from $378 to $546.
Generation 8/9 (incomplete data, missing the models to be released later this month) from $390 to $409.

Of course retail prices are basically “whatever people are prepared to pay for the latest toys.”

This is useful info, chaps. I last bought a PC with 3.1 on it…

There are so many variables involved, and we don’t have any definitive guidance about what the best configurations are, but I think you’d get a reasonable idea of the expected performance from the Geekbench Multi-core benchmarks: . It should help in comparing different chip generations and i5 vs i7. Generally speaking, I would expect that if a CPU performs well in a real-world benchmark such as this, then it should give a decent idea of how it might perform with Dorico. If in doubt, go for more cores over an increase in processor speed.

That is consistent with the multicore CPU benchmark of 18000 for my (not very new) 6-core i7 WIndows desktop, which runs Dorico without any bother on anything I want to do with it (i.e. typically scores with 100+ pages).

Of course the downside is that there is no price competition, with a monopoly supplier.

I recently read an interview with one of the designers of the early Mac’s who had a story that the marketing department insisted on raising the selling price of one system to add another $500 of pure profit, because they didn’t want customers to think it was too cheap to be high quality.

Sometimes, you don’t get what you paid for :slight_smile:

My Windows machine seems to get a multi core Geekbench score of around 14500, and despite an RRP of around £3000 I picked it up for a remarkably modest £900 - it was a shop ex-demo machine. That said, my next machine will definitely be another Mac; Windows 10 has brought with it an awful lot of grief, after roughly 10 years of macs just working.

I’m torn because my iMac is 5 years old and my Mac mini at work is going on 5… so I want to replace them for more horsepower but like Leo said… they just work. I wanted to do an amd custom build but windows scares me. I’ve had absolutely no problems with my macs whatsoever (barring one machine with a faulty ram card; once a new bit of ram was popped in it was totally fine).

My windows machines, on the other hand, (especially at my last job where I had two machines, one of which was new and relatively powerful), caused me much grief. I particularly hated how it would decide to install updates without warning at the WORST times imaginable. 9:22am, Tuesday, and windows update held my computer hostage for 35 minutes. Ugh. I had a university technician spend nearly 8 total hours over the course of a few days trying to get adobe’s creative suite to work after one update. He was never able to figure it out, even after testing multiple drivers, multiple builds, deleting system caches… consulting other technicians… you name it, we tried it. After that one update I was never able to use indesign again. The only answer was to wipe my computer (that was only 3 weeks old), put in the older OS and start from scratch. Lol. NOPE.

The performance to cost ratio is high with windows (easy to get good bang for the buck) but in my experience with at least 6 windows machines and 5 macs the last decade, I just can’t make myself make the switch… so it’s time for me to start saving my pennies again for a new Mac. That apple tax sure can be high though. Sigh.

Without devolving into the tired Mac v. Windows debate, I’ll just say that I’ve never understood the issues people have with Windows. I’ve only ever used that OS, and I’ve never experienced the sorts of problems people describe (except for automatic updates, which are a festering scourge… but can be turned off).

I’m running Windows 10, which is really quite good. I don’t think I’ve had a system crash in… maybe 7 years?

You hear of a lot of people who have issues with their ‘work/office’ PC vs their personal/audio Mac which makes them hesitant to move. But try incorporating a Mac fully into the average business environment/network and they’re incredibly frustrating also. In fact, they’re not even viable for vast majority of private companies.

Any modern windows network will have the server controlling a lot of elements of each workstations configuration via policies, when you separate a windows machine and put it into a standalone audio environment it’s an entirely different experience as you have sole control on how it runs, managed via a single admin account, hasn’t been installed via a mass network distribution/iso, and hasn’t got multiple user accounts/file permissions to cause issues plus you will spend extra attention to detail in regards to what drivers are running when it’s first setup. i.e. your prime focus won’t be on getting it connected to a network as fast as possible.

Auto updates, for me, seem less intrusive now too - the only bother they can be is when i’m due a shutdown and it gives me the ‘update and shutdown’ option, but with a SSD running the OS that’s super quick anyway. Takes about 5 mins. So i’ve not felt the need to disable them yet. There used to be a time where i would be typing on the keyboard and accidentally OK an update, they seem to have sorted that out(?!).

But i’ll say it once more, when you’re running the application there’s absolutely no difference, if you’re still concentrating on the OS too much at that point then you have a serious problem with procrastination i would argue!

I’d much prefer to be using a Mac, of course, but that’s driven by my love for MacOS and using ready made Hardware. However, The money i save today can go into real instruments tomorrow which i would love more, and cherish for many years. But i get that some people just love Apple/Mac too much to walk, i totally understand that.

Very useful. I’m getting my head around the geek bench stats. Any other gotchas with a Windows laptop? Using an extra Screen or anything like that.