Laptop advice please for secondary PC

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Ojustaboo
Ojustaboo Member Posts: 222 Advisor

Please bear with me while I explain what I’m after.

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 Arturia 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

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  • PoorFellow
    PoorFellow Moderator Posts: 3,553 mod
    edited May 4
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    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.

    My best wishes for your recovery.

    As for the computer then after some consideration I was thinking that I would not have anything to add for more reasons , one of them being that the muscle vs size and battery time of the Macs would most likely be hard if not impossible to match at least in the price range.

    However , I were also thinking that such a small screen of what you want to sit with in your chair would maybe not be very good for a lot of stuff that might be hard to see. But then I got the idea to make a completely alternative suggestion. Quote : "my main desktop windows 10 pro PC that is being upgraded later in the year". If you have a desktop PC then why can you not just connect (or cast) the desktop PC to a big screen TV ? And then attach a wireless mouse and keyboard of some sort ? (or alternatively use some sort of remote desktop in your own home)(The former I have setup the latter haven't really tried). I actually have a PC that is also connected directly to a TV using a rather long HDMI cable besides used as/at a workstation ! One can also use a wooden plate/wood board to use the mouse on.

    As for the use in the 'electronic lab' then you could use a cheap KVM USB extender over IP like this.

    Not what you had in mind I know , but an alternative suggestion to achieve something similar. There is both advantages and drawbacks to the suggested. Drawbacks include both that KVM extending/switching is only as good as the setup and it's quality and e.g. using a big screen TV is a sort of 'fixed' solution unless that you use something like screen-cast to more TVs. Advantages include having access to all files that you normally have access to on your computer !

  • Ojustaboo
    Ojustaboo Member Posts: 222 Advisor
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    Many thanks.

    Sadly this won’t work for me due to my wife wanting the TV, hence me using headphones.

    The only really workable think is a laptop.

  • Ojustaboo
    Ojustaboo Member Posts: 222 Advisor
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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


  • solsta
    solsta Member Posts: 108 Helper
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    Congrats! You'll love it, I'm on an M1 Max and I have not noticed ANY issue with my machine outside of maschine software and its occasional headaches. Everything is Sonoma compatible now too, its a gorgeous OS. That computer will be able to edit video for you and even light to moderate 3d work depending. It's a real workhorse, you'll be able to do a lot more stuff. The screen is also WONDERFUL you won't miss not having the tv! :)

    Best wishes on your recovery friend

  • PoorFellow
    PoorFellow Moderator Posts: 3,553 mod
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    You will be happy that you went with something with a bigger screen than 13"

  • Ojustaboo
    Ojustaboo Member Posts: 222 Advisor
    edited May 9
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    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 spending another £200 getting the same model but with a Uk keyboard.

    From my brief tryout, before I erased everything ready to return it, it did look really nice. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have the other one (only had the one other with this spec , if they don’t have it, will have to order from another of their stores taking a few more days) and can really have a play.

  • Ojustaboo
    Ojustaboo Member Posts: 222 Advisor
    edited May 10
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    Returned it this afternoon, picking up the English keyboard one in the morning.

    @solsta 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 :) 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 😀

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