We have a new laptop at DVC which uses desktop Haswell processors. Desktop processors are always more powerful than their laptop counter parts but are rarely found in laptop computers because they require more power and more cooling.
However, desktop processors have been getting less power hungry and in need of less cooling. As a result we can have a desktop processor in a laptop and still get a reasonable battery life (about 1½ hours in "standard" use) and only have the fans ramping up when they are doing intensive processing.
The biggest advantage is the power that you have for rendering or editing tough footage, like 4K.
This new laptop has a choice of two graphic cards (a 6GB GTX970M or an 8GB GTX980M) and can have two internal "normal" drives and two of a new type of drive, called an M.2 drive.
What is an M.2 drive?
We have several types of drives you can use in laptops:
Normal "mechanical" hard drives based on platters.
Solid state drives (SSD) which are the same size as normal laptop drives but based on the kind of memory you would find in a USB pen. These are considerably faster than normal drives and we tend to use them as drives for Windows, as it speeds up the whole computer. They are also great for using as video drives, although the larger ones do cost quite a bit more than regular drives.
mSATA - a type of SSD on a circuit board. They are as fast as the SSDs, possibly even slightly faster, and are smaller, so you can fit one or two of these in a laptop as well as some normal drives.
M.2 - a further development, like mSATA - a solid state drive on a circuit board that communicates faster with the rest of the PC than mSATA or SSD. There are fast and ultra fast variations of these drives with the fastest drives achieving speeds of up to 600 MB/s. Compare this with 60-100 MB/s of a mechanical drive or 200-300 MB/s with an SSD. This new laptop can have two of these M.2 drives as well as 2 normal size drives (either mechanical or SSD). On our website you will see options for using the fast or ultra fast "PCIe" versions
How does this laptop compare to our other laptops?
We have 4 other laptops, some available in both 15" and 17" versions. All have the same laptop processors, so have roughly the same processing power:
The Haswell no FireWire (typical system price £1,047+VAT)- one mSATA and 2 "normal" drives, plus an optical drive, with Intel Quicksync and an nVidia 2GB GTX 860M graphic card.
The Haswell with FireWire (typical system price £1,319+VAT)- The main advantage of this laptop is that it has FireWire for use with DV and HDV cameras, as well as hard drives. It also has options for different graphic cards and can take 2 mSATAs as well as 2 normal drives and an optical drive. It has a backlit keyboard.
The Haswell Thunderbolt (typical system price £1,680+VAT) - The main advantage of this laptop is that it has a Thunderbolt connection which is useful for adding in decent Thunderbolt I/O devices such as the Blackmagic range (including the 4K UltraStudio). The other laptops can use I/O devices via USB3, of which Blackmagic have 3 varieties, but these only work properly in Premiere Pro, not in some other programs. Thunderbolt also lets you connect to a variety of other devices, such as Thunderbolt hard drives and we have even used normal PCIe cards, like Matrox 4 stream capture cards, in a Thunderbolt add-on box with this machine. This laptop also has two graphics cards - so great for DaVinci Resolve or the latest Adobe Premiere Pro which can use both cards. You can also capture from FireWire devices using a Thunderbolt to FireWire adaptor.
The HP Zbook (typical system price £1,869+VAT) - The main advantage of this laptop is that it is from HP and so has a 3 year HP warranty as well asour DVC one. It is also validated for Avid Media Composer. It has both Thunderbolt and Express card so can connect to devices like the Matrox MXO2 or Grass Valley Storm Mobile, as well as the Blackmagic Thunderbolt devices.
The "typical system price" is for a laptop with an i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 128GB mSATA for Windows and a 1TB 7200 RPM video driver. The HP has a slightly lower specification - please see the website for more details.
Typical system price for the desktop processor laptop with similar specification and the best i7 processor: £1,463 +VAT.
The new laptop, which we are calling the "desktop processor laptop", obviously has more processing power than all of these laptops. You can use a variety of i3, i5 and i7 processors in the laptop; with a desktop i3 or lower i5 processor it would be about the same power as the other laptops' i7 processor. The graphics card is on a par with the Haswell FireWire/Thunderbolt laptops as well.
No FireWire or Thunderbolt
The new laptop only has USB3 sockets so is limited to using the Blackmagic USB3 I/O devices which, as mentioned above, do not work properly with some programs. They appear to be fine with Grass Valley EDIUS, Premiere Pro andBlackmagic DaVinci Resolve, but do not work properly with Avid Media Composer.
No Blu-ray or DVD drive
The desktop processor laptop cannot have an optical drive internally - you will need to add an external drive. External Blu-ray drives are not that much more than internal ones, but it is something extra to carry.
No Intel Quicksync
The Haswell processor has a function called Intel Quicksync which lets you do fast encoding to H.264 video for Blu-ray and MP4 files with Grass Valley EDIUS and Sony Vegas. You can use Quicksync with the Haswell no FireWire or Haswell FireWire laptop, but not with the desktop processor laptop. Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer cannot use Quicksync anyway, so it is immaterial for these programs.
Noise and battery life
When doing hard processing or encoding the fans on the laptop ramp up to keep the processor cool. This makes a reasonable amount of noise. The other laptops will also make noise when processing as they too have powerful processors and graphics cards but not quite as much as the desktop processor laptop. The Thunderbolt laptop, with its two graphics cards, is fairly similar in noise levels to the desktop processor laptop. However, this noise only kicks in when it is doing hard processing and most of the time the laptop is amazingly quiet.
The battery life on this laptop is roughly the same as the battery life on the Thunderbolt laptop. Our other models will last longer: 2-2½ hours of "general use" can be had on the non-FireWire and FireWire laptops, whereas the desktop laptop is about 1½ hours. Of course, the life does vary depending on the components you have and what you are doing - intensive processing means you will be using more power.
We absolutely love this new laptop here at DVC. Apart from getting our own demo system one of the tech guys has also bought one for his own use. The ability to carry around something which is as powerful as a desktop computer, and yet still get a reasonable battery life and have something that is not too heavy to carry is amazing. The price is not too bad either - more expensive than the non-FireWire Haswell but cheaper than the Thunderbolt laptop!
You can read more about the laptop and choose your own components on our website:
We have produced a new tutorial on AAF export in EDIUS which is on our YouTube channel and website.
AAF is a way to get an edit from EDIUS to another program - for example, taking a project to DaVinci Resolve for grading or trying to take the edit to Avid Media Composer or Adobe Premiere Pro. Obviously you could just make a movie but that would be one simple file with all the effects and cuts "baked in". An AAF lets you export a project as a series of separate clips which is much better for grading and effects work.
AAF is not perfect, as we explain in the video, but it is the best option we have. We are using AAF export in EDIUS 7.41 which has had some improvements to allow for better AAF exports to other programs.
When talking about exporting to Avid in these videos we make use of the Avid DNxHD plug-in for EDIUS
, which is covered in one of the new chapters for our EDIUS tutorial update. This was recently made available as a paid option for EDIUS Pro users. You may wonder exactly what this add-on gives you, which we aim to explain in this video.
The new version of our EDIUS tutorial has a completely revamped interface and many new chapters. The total tutorial runs for over 16 hours, and is very comprehensive. However, you need a way to find the information you want in a tutorial so comprehensive hence the new interface. You can see the new interface for our EDIUS tutorial here: http://www.dvc.uk.com/tutorial/index.html
Special price for owners of the original DVC EDIUS tutorial
All owners of our original tutorial can order the new version for just £20. We have done this because although the tutorial has many new sections it also includes a lot of material you already have. This offer is available to all those who bought our tutorial on its own or received it free with a DVC system.
Special introductory offer for people who do not own the tutorial
For people who do not own the tutorial, you can order it now for £49 inc VAT
. We have extended this offer until the end of February 2015
If you want to read more about the tutorial and what's new in this version please visit our EDIUS tutorial pages: http://www.dvc.uk.com/acatalog/EDIUS_training_dvd.html
You can see the AAF tutorial here: http://www.dvc.uk.com/acatalog/AAF-Export-in-EDIUS-Pro-7.html
We have been exhibiting at the BVE show for many years. Over the years the show has changed and is becoming more of a showcase for the makers of software and hardware (like Adobe and Avid) than for a reseller like ourselves so this year we have decide not to exhibit and concentrate on other marketing activities.
This does not mean there are not good reasons for you to visit the show yourself as you will see the latest in software and hardware for a variety of companies. Expect 4K acquisition and delivery to be the hottest topic being discussed!
The BVE show is on at the Excel centre in London from 24th-26th February.
The show is free to enter, if you register in advance, so we suggest you do so, even if you find out you cannot go when the time comes. You can find out more information and register here: http://www.bvexpo.com/
Obviously the show won't be quite as good without us there but you are always free to ring, email or visit us at our premises in Brighton for an in-depth chat on the software and hardware to suit your needs.
Avid Media Composer 8.3 added support for 4K media and introduced a new Avid format, DNxHR, designed for converting all types of 4K media into an easier-to-use footage. Presently hardly any other programs can read the MXF files this media is stored in.
Blackmagic released DaVinci Resolve 11.2 and its major new addition was the ability to read and write to DNxHR format. This means it is now easy to exchange 4K media between Resolve and Avid.
We expect Avid to do more with their DNxHR codec, probably allowing us to makeQuickTime versions that other programs will be able to read and write and making it a much more standard codec like their old one, DNxHD. Since they only released Avid MC 8.3 at the end of last year it is still early days. However, this is a good step forward!
The DNxHR support is in both the free (lite) and paid versions of DaVinci Resolve. You can download Resolve from the Blackmagic Design website:https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/support/family/davinci-resolve
You can see our range of DaVinci Resolve systems here:http://www.dvc.uk.com/acatalog/Black_Magic_Systems.html
Just as we were about to send this newsletter Blackmagic announced the Intensity Pro 4K. Blackmagic have always produced capable hardware which is cheaper than anyone else, and now they have announced the lowest priced 4K I/O card there is, as the Intensity Pro 4K is set be the same price as the current HD Intensity Pro - £135+VAT.
All we know about this card is what is written on the Blackmagic site - basically it does various video resolutions up to UHD at 25/30P, including 1920x1080 @ 50/60P, has composite and component connections using phono plugs and has HDMI in and out. The current Intensity Pro only supports HD at 50/60i and lower. The Intensity Pro 4K does not do full 4K (4096x2160), only UHD (3840x2160) although this is enough for most people.
The next Blackmagic card up is the Studio 4K which does do full 4K, as well as 2K and has SDI in and out as well as analogue and HDMI. These are the main reasons why you would buy the Studio 4K (at £369+VAT from us at DVC) rather than the Intensity Pro 4K.
What are the likely downsides of this card?
As it has just been announced we do not know when we will actually get it - it could be weeks or months. Obviously we will get a better date as more information becomes available.
It is a 4-lane PCIe card which means it will use more resources in your computer than the current 1x Intensity Pro. This may cause a conflict with other cards in your system. In a typical system with a graphics card and just this card you will probably be ok. In a system with a graphics card, Intensity Pro 4K, FireWire PCIe card and possibly a RAID you may struggle to get it all working optimally. Obviously this is something we deal with all the time here at DVC when building systems and we can advise on what may or may not work and what system is the best for you, bearing in mind everything else you need in a system.
The Intensity Pro 4K will only work on version 10 Blackmagic drivers. Grass Valley EDIUS only officially supports the version 9 drivers and we have not heard when they will be updating EDIUS to use the newer drivers. That means using this card with EDIUS will mean using an officially unsupported piece of hardware. It has to be said that we have been using EDIUS with version 10 drivers on other Blackmagic cards with no problems but it is not officially supported.
You can read more here: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/intensitypro4k
Should you buy an Intensity Pro Now?
On first look it would seem silly not to buy the Intensity 4K instead of the standard Intensity Pro. We do not know if the current Intensity Pro will be discontinued although it seems likely. However, there are some very good reasons why you would buy the normal Intensity now:
It is still the cheapest card that does HD and SD in and out, works in lots of programs and is available now
You are using Grass Valley EDIUS and want to use the recommended drivers (version 9) which will not work on the Intensity Pro 4K.
Your system can cope with a 1x PCIe card (like the standard Intensity) but will struggle with a 4xPCIe card (like the Intensity Pro 4K). Even our standard Haswell system may struggle if using the Intensity 4K, a graphics card and one other PCIe card, while it can handle easily using just a 1x card. Our Haswell-E and Xeon systems would not have a problem.
You can see more on the full range of Blackmagic cards on our website: http://www.dvc.uk.com/acatalog/Black_Magic_capture_cards.html
Microsoft have been showing off Windows 10 and there is even a free preview program which you can use. One surprise announcement was that if you own Windows 7 or Windows 8 then you will get Windows 10 free!
We have only a few details regarding this offer at the moment. It would appear that you have to claim the free Windows 10 with a year after its release. The Microsoft website says it is free for "qualified new or existing Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices", although there is no definition of "qualified" that we can see so far. Other reports simply say that it is free to anyone that owns Windows 7 or Windows 8, which should include all DVC system customers
Microsoft also say you will get free updates over the life of your device.
What happened to Windows 9?
A very good question to which we do not have a very good answer Microsoft never showed off or released Windows 9 and skipped straight from 8 to 10.
So what is Windows 10 like?
Windows 10 has not been released yet so all our impressions come from the preview version that we have downloaded and installed. At first glance it looks like the kind of operating system Windows 8 should have been, combining the good bits of Windows 8 with Windows 7. We will not find out how it works with editing programs and hardware until it is properly released.
When Microsoft carried out their big launch event they also show cased some new technology: holographic computing. This allows you to see your computer interface in front of you in 3D - rather like "Iron Man" uses his computer in the Marvel movies. It is not quite the same since you need special glasses to do so, however, after watching the Microsoft demo my kids are dying to start wandering around "real" Minecraft environments! You can see Microsoft's demo of their "HoloLens" here: http://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens/en-us?ocid=WOL_HoloLensGlobe
Microsoft's "Cortana" personal assistant program is also going to be included in the desktop version of Windows 10.
We do not have an exact date for Windows 10's release. The preview version is supposed to come to an end on 15th April, and most reports are suggesting it will be released in June 2015. We will post more information in a future newsletter.
You can read more here: https://winpreview.catalysis.com/registration.aspx?hfid=WRF0&loc=en-US#disclaimer
Blackmagic have produced some new drivers for their range of video card, the 10.3.5 drivers and at the same time nVidia have produced some upgraded graphics card drivers for their geForce range of cards to version 347.
We have had issues with both of these and Avid Media Composer 8.3. The nVidia drivers cause problems with Avid's overlay - i.e. you cannot see anything on the computer screen. The Blackmagic drivers cause occasional error messages, especially when changing project settings.
We have not tested every variety of graphics card or every Blackmagic card so it is possible that these may work on your system, however, If you have not yet updated your graphics card drivers or the drivers for your Blackmagic device we would suggest that you do not do so.
Avid Media Composer 8.3 was the version that introduced 4K editing to Avid. This does need updated drivers for the Blackmagic devices and we have found that the version 10.3.4 drivers seem to work the best.
Just as we were about to press the send button on this email newsletter Blackmagic released the 10.3.7 drivers. The main purpose of these drivers is to add support for the Intensity Pro 4K (as outlined above) however they made make a difference with other devices and Media Composer 8.3. Naturally we have only had a quick test and the seem to be better than the previous versions but obviously we would like to do more than a quick 5 minute test. If you have a system that is working we suggest you stay with your current drivers until you need to change them.
Matrox have produced new drivers for their MXO2 range to work with Media Composer 8.3. These new drivers are for Windows 7, Matrox have not yet produced the Windows 8 drivers which they have said they are working on. TheMXO2 version 7.7.2 drivers are available on the Matrox website : http://www.matrox.com/video/en/support/downloads///
As with the Blackmagic drivers we suggest you do not update your nVidia drivers either as there is no pressing need to do so. The latest version we have used that works is 344.48. If you buy one of the new nVidia 960 graphic cards it will only work on the 347.25 drivers which basically means you cannot currently use the 960 cards with Avid Media Composer.
The situation is different if using nVidia Quadro cards instead of GeForce ones. Quadros are the preferred cards for Avid in any case and we always recommend that if using a Quadro you stick with Avid's recommended driver.
You can read more about Avid Media Composer here: http://www.dvc.uk.com/acatalog/Avid_Media_Composer.html
1 ONLY special price £888+VAT!
We have one GH4 which we are selling it at a really low price. This is a new, completely unused and unboxed item, with a full warranty and a steal at the current price. It is simply at a low price as it has been on our shelf for a while and we would like to find it a proper home.
We have 2 ex-demo 4K screens we are selling. One is a Dell TFT 24" screen which is an excellent PC monitor as well as a video screen, and the second is a 28" Samsung UHD screen which makes a good video screen at a very reasonable price.
Click here for more information.
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All prices correct at time of email but subject to change; errors and omissions excepted.David Vincent Clarke Ltd
Unit 11, Woodingdean Business Park,
Sea View Way, Brighton, Sussex, BN2 6NX
Tel: 01273 205700