Laptop advice please for 2nd PC

Please bear with me while I explain what I’m after. (Sorry if this isn’t the correct section,)

I have my main desktop windows 10 pro PC that is being upgraded later in the year, I have all my Audio on this, my S88 mk3, Keylab 61 mk2, Maschine mk3, Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 and Presonus M7 Mic

I also do electronics as a hobby, they used to be next to each other hence could use PC for both. My electronics lab has now been moved to our spare room.

Last year I had a couple of major and serious operations, spent 12 days in intensive care and a month in hospital in total.

I’m still recovering, it’s not terminal but it’s going to be a long process and I’ve been told I will be in pain for life and full recovery is going to be a slow process, anyway I won’t bore you with the details.

Often I don’t feel like sitting at my PC, or for that matter sitting in my electronics lab, I just want to sit in my comfy electric recliner and have a tinker.

I’ve recently bought a Novation Launch key 37 mk3 that I can happily connect to my iPad and sit in my armchair having a play, I have a few nice synths on my iPad, but I’d much rather be able to use my NI, Arturia etc software and also my DAW (studio one).

I’m not expecting to be able to run a huge DAW project, I have my desktop for that, more I want to play around, learn a particular synth inside out, maybe record an idea or two. Or maybe use my Maschine instead of the Launch key etc.

I have an over the chair table (bit like the over bed ones) that can fit both my Launchpad and my iPad.

What I want is a smallish (in physical size) laptop that I can use instead of my iPad so I can access all my music software. I can then also use it in my electronics lab.

For my electronics, anything will do, it’s mainly looking up diagrams and watching the odd YouTube vid etc.

But as said, I would also like it to be able to run my music software from my armchair.

Haven’t got a huge budget for this around the £600 - £800 mark, although if say spending another £100 gave me a huge jump (like my examples below), I dare say I could go for it

Been building my own desktop PC since the 90s but know very little about the laptop side of things, except that whichever ones people I know have bought over the years (usually from PCworld/Currys in UK) seem to run like a snail.

I’m open to suggestions, also going to post this in both the Native Instruments and Presonus forum.

As I do like both my iPhone and iPad, I was thinking about a second hand Mac, not older than 2020, with 16GB Ram and an M1 CPU?

For example, for £820 I can get:

MacBook Air 10,1/M1 (8-CPU 8-GPU)/16GB Ram/1TB SSD/13"/SG

or for £875 I can get

MacBook Pro 17,1/M1 (8-CPU 8-GPU)/16GB Ram/512GB SSD/13”/SG

I’ve read that as the Mac air is fan-less it can throttle the CPU, although I’m not going to be writing whole/huge things on it.

Going the pro route adds £55 and halves SSD space

But then I wonder if for the same price could I get a more powerful windows laptop? I know Apple stuff is usually very overpriced for what you get. And of course the one thing with Macs is you can’t upgrade RAM/internal SSD etc, but for all I know, windows laptops might have gone a similar way by now?

Anyway, I’m open to suggestions, will need to buy in next couple of weeks

Many thanks

hI @HobGoblyn

Sorry to hear about your situation, life can through some seriously nasty stuff at us at times for sure, as i’m sure many of us over the age of 40 are only too aware.

I think you’re likely to get better advice from the Presonus forum regarding DAW usage, i know there are a lot of people out there that do use laptops for music though. I’m not one of them though.
I do have an HP laptop i bought about 5 years ago and managed to speed it up considerably by removing all the pointless junk like ‘antivirus’ (unless you’re doing really stupid things online, MS’s windows defender is just fine for most people, strip out any and all software you’re not going to use, i got rid of the daft HP ‘management’ software that does nothing that win update doesn’t do, except send loads of data to HP and slow the machine down. That being said, it’s an i5, my current desktop is an i9 and will do what the laptop can do in an hour in under a minute generally.
You have a fairly healthy budget there, so i’d probably look at Lenovo or similar brands, if possible try running a DPC latency checker on it to see if it’s up to the job, that’s the most crucial thing really.

Not exactly what you’re after, but others might chime in and it might have given you a little more to think about.


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My budget increased, ended up buying a 2021 16” MacBook Pro with M1 Pro chip.

Not a mark on it. Got £200 off as it had both Russian and English on the keys lol

Unfortunately, while the shop said the only difference between this laptop and one £200 more is that this laptop also has Russian on the keys, they aren’t quite right.

I live in the Uk, on a normal UK keyboard

Shift and 2 is @
Shift and 3 is £
The key to the left of enter is #
And the key to the left of that, pressing shift gives you the “

On this keyboard
Shift and 2 is “
Shift and 3 is #
The key to the left of enter is \
And the key to the left of that, pressing shift gives you the @

Setting the keyboard from ABC to British
Now shift and 3 is £
But no other key types # I tried them all

Setting the keyboard to British-PC
Now shift and 2 is @
Shift and 3 is £
And the key that was @ (two to the left of enter) is now “
But again, no other key types the #

I’ve worked on us keyboards in my job many moons ago, so I could live with the @ and “ swapped around (would rather them do what’s printed on the keyboard)

I could even live with shift and 3 displaying £ when I press it even though it has # on it.

But for that to be acceptable, # would have to be a single (or shift and) key press away, and it isn’t.

So I’m returning it tomorrow and getting the more expensive Uk keyboard one.

@HobGoblyn Sorry to hear about your recent health issues but I wish you a speedy recovery and the very best to come. :slight_smile:

I have myself a 2020 M1 MacBook Pro but with only 8 GB and works like a charm for exactly the examples you used. Also, the battery lasts very long time compared to other laptops I had in the past which I think it’s a strong asset.

It does heat up a bit after some heavy use but again not more than other laptops I had in the past (2 HPs and 1 Lenovo) and definitely hadn’t experience thermal throttling but I also don’t like to use it much while it’s charging when it can get a bit warmer.

Anyway, I see you are returning the MacBook Pro with russian keyboard for the UK one. (i hope the new one has a proper keyboard this time !)


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Thanks, returned it this afternoon, picking up the English keyboard one in the morning.

One thing that worries me a bit, there’s a fair few YouTube vids saying that the M1 devices with their soldered in SSD have been failing a lot due to the SSDs dying.

Apparently the op system etc is all on this SSD and when it dies your laptop is basically dead.

Then there’s vids saying that browsers etc write tons to the SSD and others that due to file swapping also writing loads, the laptops have started failing in as little as a few months.

But the reasonable part of my brain says it’s only the few people with problems contacting these YouTube sites, and if it was as bad as they make out, it would be headline news.

The one I’m picking up tomorrow is the same spec as the one I returned today, which is

MacBook Pro 18,1/M1 Pro (10-CPU 16-GPU)/16GB/1TB SSD/16”

My desktop PC is 2nd gen i7 and about 13 years old, it still does everything I need to do on it very quickly except for my audio (Daw etc). I had planned to upgrade it at the end of the year , I still might do so, but it will be interesting to see how well this laptop copes, maybe I can use it for all my audio too then I can hold off spending on updating my PC for a couple more years?

Really looking forward to getting it as never used a Mac at home before. While I will of course test it tomorrow :slight_smile: as it’s my 60th birthday in 2 weeks, my (adult ) children asked what I wanted, end result they have contributed a lot towards this laptop (hence I could get a much better one than my original one) so I dare say once I’ve tested it, my wife will take it off me and I’ll have to wait two weeks before I get it back :grinning:

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