I need help buying a laptop

Yitzy Posts: 3 Just Starting Out*
edited June 2021 in General


I'm trying to buy a laptop so that I can finally edit from my own computer but I'm on a budget of 1,000$ and I'm looking for something with a 100% sRGB. Does anyone have any suggestions? And do you know if Hitfilm uses sRGB or AdobeRGB? I just learned about Color Gamut literally yesterday and now I'm stuck.


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,396 Power User

    Hitfilm is sRGB.

    This is NOT the consideration you need to be making in buying a laptop. Color gamuts are adjusted at software level and have (almost) nothing to do with hardware specs.

    Now, I said "almost." Different laptop panels have different color ranges that can be displayed. This article covers the basic tech behind most panels.

    In general, laptop munufacturers will not tell you the specific panel being used, but, since sRGB is a MINIMUM standard, pretty much any laptop you buy will cover sRGB. Laptop panels that reproduce wider gamuts are available, but you'll pay hundreds of extra dollars, even if the manufacturer has them as an option.

    High gamut monitors for colorists who actually NEED full gamut displays start at about $700 and can run over $10000

    Note that sRGB is a "safe" color gamut designed as a "minimum" standard. SRGB reproduces fewer colors than Adobe RGB. Adobe RGB reproduces fewer colors than the old NTSC/PAL gamuts used for SD TV broadcast. NTSC/PAL reproduce fewer colors than the rec 709 color gamut used for HD broadcast, and all are unable to produce the color range the human eye can see.

    This chart shows various color gamuts. The rainbow represents the range of human vision, while the polygons show the limits of various gamuts.

    Hitfilm is sRGB, YouTube is sRGB and pretty much any other gamut will still display sRGB correctly.

    Ok, now that we've talked too much about why this isn't important, my next post will get into what you SHOULD be worried about.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,396 Power User
    edited June 2021

    For Hitfilm the most important component is the GPU. The GPU handles all effects and frame rendering in Hitfilm. If you purchase a laptop without a dedicated GPU, as far as Hitfilm is concerned, it's slow.

    The Nvidia MX series is fairly underpowered. You want a GTX 16xx series or RTX 2060 if you're lucky. RTX 2070/2080 and RTX 3xxx cards will be out of your price range.

    I'm not really up on AMD video cards. Perhaps other users can add more.

    Next component is the CPU in your price range aim for an Intel i7. An i5 if cash is tight. Avoid the i3. In recent years CPU advancement has slowed. There little difference between an i7-9xxx and i7 11-xxx.

    CPU and GPU cannot be upgraded in a laptop. These are the two most important components to decide on.

    RAM: 16 GB minimum. RAM is about the only thing that can be upgraded on a laptop. If you buy a laptop capable of handling 32 or 64GB, you can always buy a 16GB configuration and upgrade later. Heck, you could go down to 8GB and upgrade later.

    Storage: The other component that can be upgraded. SSD NOT HDD. Hard drives do not have the sustained speeds needed for video editing. If you can get a machine with two drives, do so. For a single drive, you need a minimum of 512GB. 1 TB is better. If you can get two SSDs, then one is your OS/Programs drive, and should be at least 256GB. The second is your work project drive. Again, at least 256GB

    Ok, Hitfilm has cache folders for temp file storage and Pre-renders. If Hitfilm ever adds a true proxy system, this will also have dedicated folders. Cache/temp files can be large, and pre-renders can be HUGE. By default these folders are on your Operating System drive, but can be moved to any drive. On a two SSD system, decide if your cache folders will be on the OS drive or work drive, and assume you want another 128GB for that. Using the recommendations above that would be a 256GB OS drive and a 500GB (or more) work drive.

    Again, storage drives can be upgraded later. Prioritize your GPU and CPU.

    Finally, I do not recommend looking at the "major" manufacturers (HP, Dell, Lenovo) and just picking a pre build. I would recommend going to a site dedicated to custom gaming rigs like AVA Direct, XoticPC or CyberpowerPC. You'll be able to customize your build from a wide range of hardware, usually at a better price point than a pre-built.

    Like this guy. As shown it's about $930 with a 9th-gen i7 with an Nvidia 1660ti, 8GB RAM and a single 512 GB SSD. It can upgrade to 16GB RAM and add a second 512GB SSD for $1037.

  • Yitzy
    Yitzy Posts: 3 Just Starting Out*

    Thank you so much! This is very informative.

  • Andy001z
    Andy001z Lord EarthPosts: 3,630 Ambassador

    Hi, just to chip in. Right now laptops seem to be the best buy given the crazyness that is going on with GPU prices in desktops. Your looking at a gaming laptop really, it will give you the best GPU. You could try and get a studio one but I bet it will cost way more becuase they sell far less. I agree with @Triem23 comments, GPU and CPU are most important. Make sure you get a GPU with at least 6GB onboard memory if not more. I use a 1060 3GB which works but it does run out of memory on larger or more complex stuff.

    Steer clear of Alienware as they seem to just charge way over the top. MSI are good, I've found my ASUS pretty solid.

    Happy hunting.

  • Andy001z
    Andy001z Lord EarthPosts: 3,630 Ambassador
    edited June 2021

    This just popped into my feed, might be off use?

  • cluelessnube
    cluelessnube Posts: 515 Enthusiast

    Um, I don't understand why anyone is video editing on a laptop. I'm not talking about the horsepower but the screen real estate. Maybe it's just me with my geezer eyes, but there's just no way I would use Hitfilm on a laptop screen. Even a 27 inch screen is too small here.

    I have a 27 inch main screen, and a 30 inch second monitor. That works. I'd attach a 3rd monitor but I don't have room on my desk for it.

    A laptop with an external monitor attached? Ok, I could see that I guess. Sorta. Well, not really. :-)

    Seriously, if I couldn't use Hitfilm on dual monitors, I wouldn't be video editing.

  • triforcefx
    triforcefx United StatesPosts: 1,647 Moderator


    While a laptop isn’t perfect for every situation, the portability and practicality is well worth the trade-offs for most users. If I could only have one or the other (which is the case for a lot of users due to budget constraints), I would choose a laptop every time. I need the portability, even if it means sacrificing power and screen size, plus it would be pretty rough to try fitting a desktop setup in my current living space.

  • cluelessnube
    cluelessnube Posts: 515 Enthusiast

    Ok, you know your situation obviously. If you're a twenty something with 20/20 vision then a small screen may be suitable for you.

    If you do need more screen real estate, you might be able to find a cheap used TV which could serve as a 2nd monitor. That's what I'm doing, and while hardly perfect, it's affordable and gets the job done.