Last night on MoChat we talked about the pros and cons of working on either desktops or laptops. The general consensus was that laptops are great for portability—if that’s your thing—but come render time, it’s really nice to have the power of a desktop. In the end, it comes down to personal preference. For getting the most out of your preferred rig, desktop users recommend upgrading the GPU (as time/budget allows), throwing in lots of storage, and taking advantage of the expandability desktops afford. Laptop users tend to have external monitors on their desks at home to help with lack of screen real estate and external drives are a must.

Transcript

Welcome to #MoChat everyone. Tonight we’re talking about Laptops vs Desktops. First, quick count… Who’s using what?8:00 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I use them all, but actually get work done on a desktop. #mochat8:00 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Desktop #mochat8:01 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Laptop at home. Desktop at work. #mochat8:01 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Freelance/home=laptop job=desktop #mochat8:01 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Hi B-boys. I’m on a laptop. #mochat8:01 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I can get so much more work done on a desktop in much less time. No reason to use a laptop. #mochat8:03 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Why is that? Render & preview times? #mochat8:04 PM Sep 4th, 2012

it’s function + CTRL and then the period or the 8 key. #mochat8:05 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Agreed, I tend to find the laptop nothing but cumbersome while working. #mochat8:05 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Only judging on marks of sheer power a laptop is miles behind even the lowest level desktop. That’s physics. #mochat8:06 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Desktop. Laptop on the road or to vnc into desktop #mochat8:06 PM Sep 4th, 2012

my desktop is a giant paper weight. back in the day it was a boss though. #mochat8:06 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Word processing/Research/Devolopment/Portfolio Creation – laptop Image manipulation, Graphic creation, editing, vfx, etc – Desktop #mochat8:06 PM Sep 4th, 2012

looks like just CTRL + period works for the audio preview just not the markers. #mochat8:06 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Dekstops definitely have the power & expandability edge. But after having a laptop, it’s nice to move it around. #mochat8:07 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I guess since I don’t do much 3D stuff I haven’t had a problem with speed. #mochat8:07 PM Sep 4th, 2012

All of that’s coming from a 3D guy though, but I have rendered a plenty out of a macbook in AE and waited just as plenty. #mochat8:07 PM Sep 4th, 2012

: Currently using a laptop. Typically 9-5 desktop and laptop in the evenings.” #mochat8:07 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Hoping to get a desktop at home next year. #macpromaybe #mochat8:07 PM Sep 4th, 2012

as much as i love the freedom of the laptop, id rather have the power of the desktop. you just dont know the power of the dark side. #mochat8:08 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I actually got a ’12 MBP because I needed to replace my ’06 Mac Pro. So far, not really regretting it. #mochat8:09 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I also require some instant gratification from my 3D previews, or else I get irritated. Went desktop and never looked back. #mochat8:09 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Yeah, mine’s due for some upgrades, but I’ll still take it over a laptop. #mochat8:09 PM Sep 4th, 2012

desktop yeah 😀 #mochat; portability :(.8:09 PM Sep 4th, 2012

my cat loves my laptop though. she sees it and says ‘oh goody he has the warms out’ #mochat8:09 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Where are you laptop guys going? I’m not the starbucks kind of guy, its so distracting… #mochat8:09 PM Sep 4th, 2012

So those of you who have a desktop, do you ever yearn for portability? #MoChat8:10 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Since I’m looking at probably working from a co-working space a lot in the future I’ll stick with my laptop for now. #mochat8:10 PM Sep 4th, 2012

That said, if a new Mac Pro drops next year and is truly awesome (we’ll see), I will be selling the MBP. #mochat8:10 PM Sep 4th, 2012

i dont do that either. i go from the table, to the bed, to wherever the kids can reach it. #mochat8:10 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Different places around the house. Outside. Office. Sometimes coffee shops. #mochat8:10 PM Sep 4th, 2012

You should replace the cat with a dog 😉 #mochat8:10 PM Sep 4th, 2012

shit your effing mouth #mochat8:11 PM Sep 4th, 2012

shut… dkls #mochat8:11 PM Sep 4th, 2012

oh yeah; I’d like working out of a local collective, but moving my workstation? ugh. #mochat8:11 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I just picked up a new MBP and love it so far. No complaints. A nice new MacPro would be nice for the heavy projects though. #mochat8:11 PM Sep 4th, 2012

My desk is much more comfortable than any entertainment room, so I stick at this. #mochat8:11 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I do wish I had the portability when going on vacations and the like, but not enough to warrant the buy. Yet. #mochat8:11 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Maybe really strong people can carry their desktops to Starbucks. #mochat8:11 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I need my desktops’s numerical keys, maxed out ram, proper f keys and the quadro . Need the extra oomph #mochat8:12 PM Sep 4th, 2012

ive seen that……. #mochat8:12 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Haha not my desktop, I built a full size tower. Can you imagine me biking with it #mochat8:12 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I have a 27″ & proper keyboard hooked up to the MBP at my desk. Makes a fair balance. #mochat8:12 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Not at render time…#mochat8:13 PM Sep 4th, 2012

#mochat tell me your kidding 8:13 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Portability is key for meetings e.g. meeting clients which is y ya need a laptop but all visual work-desktop #mochat8:13 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Obligatory: http://t.co/y5PQ54ID #mochat8:13 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I’ve been on a laptop for the past 5 years or so. #mochat8:13 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Crap, is that you? You lug that puppy around? #mochat8:14 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Oh, definitely not. Though I don’t do a ton of freelance anymore, so super heavy lifting hasn’t come up quite yet. #mochat8:14 PM Sep 4th, 2012

How do u manage all visual work on a laptop :O #mochat8:14 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I do miss the numerical keys #mochat8:15 PM Sep 4th, 2012

i use 3 screens lol #mochat8:15 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I’d gone insane by now. Kudos to you. #mochat8:15 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Laptop users: how do you compensate for lack of screen real-estate & render power? #MoChat8:15 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Anybody installed extra RAM in their MBP? Is that tricky? #mochat8:15 PM Sep 4th, 2012

i am not #mochat8:16 PM Sep 4th, 2012

when my student loan comes through – dual screen time! #mochat8:16 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Laptops are great, but you just can’t beat the power of a desktop with mucho CPU and a gonzo GPU. #mochat8:16 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Ditto. I’ve had to reprogram some shortcuts for the laptop keyboard. #mochat8:16 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Yea man, use what you have too. But if you had the choice, I would insist on desktopping. #mochat8:17 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Very easy. I put 16GB in mine the day I got it. Just the 10 screws or so in the bottom. #mochat8:17 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Got use to it. It got really easy sitting on the couch designing stuff. Then migrated working standing up in the kitchen #mochat8:18 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Why would I ever leave this? #mochat #desktop http://t.co/sAPtgNjg8:18 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Go ahead, find strange things on my desk. #mochat8:19 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I have a 27″ hooked up at the desk (along with proper keyboard). Rendering is tricky tho. Always worried I’ll melt it. #mochat8:19 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I compensate for the screen real-estate with a separate monitor and by weeping softly into my keyboard. #mochat8:19 PM Sep 4th, 2012

yeah, I don’t even know how I got stuff do sometimes lol #mochat8:20 PM Sep 4th, 2012

having kid issues atm. im afk #mochat8:20 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Besides , anyone willing to post their work area of the machine of choice? #MoChat8:20 PM Sep 4th, 2012

What do you use the upper monitor for? #mochat8:21 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I did the dual screen thing too But never was comfortable with it for some reason #mochat8:21 PM Sep 4th, 2012

The left 3 are a single computer, the top one is usually has spotify/hulu/netflix/renderpictureviewer. #mochat8:21 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Woking on it. #mochat8:22 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Late to the game for #mochat tonight. Desktop user here. I’d post my work area, but its in complete disarray.8:22 PM Sep 4th, 2012

RT : Besides , anyone willing to post their work area of the machine of choice? #MoChat -Come on dood!8:22 PM Sep 4th, 2012

#mochat if I ever make money I want both. Right now laptop.8:22 PM Sep 4th, 2012

#Mochat antiquated hilarity sitting atop my desk.8:23 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I would but my kid is busy playin Warcraft 3 on it. I done got booted! #mochat8:23 PM Sep 4th, 2012

The Pro is currently out of commission, so I’m stuck on the iMac: #mochat http://t.co/eX89knUe8:24 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Work area. Dimly lit. #mochat 12″ Sony CRT to the left of here. And a bunch of HDDs. http://t.co/DRcD4W488:24 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Seriously though guys, building a homebrew computer isn’t rocket science, and the price is well below buying anything prebuilt. #mochat8:24 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Anyone with windows understand these ratings, this is what a fully eqquipped desktop can provide 😉 #mochat http://t.co/okRqRv0V8:25 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I agree with this. I would never buy a prebuilt machine again. #mochat Do it once and its like riding a bike.8:25 PM Sep 4th, 2012

If you need to actually get work done and want something mac pro level, build a custom for 1/4th the price of an entry mac pro. #mochat8:25 PM Sep 4th, 2012

#MoChat Slight disarray: http://t.co/jXxCN6ea8:25 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I love my MBP laptop… until I hit render. #mochat8:26 PM Sep 4th, 2012

If you absolutely hate windows (I guess people still get viruses?) you can even do a hackintosh with just a little effort #mochat8:27 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I see a lot of Hack Pros with just an i7 though. Why no dual Xeon E5 love? #mochat8:27 PM Sep 4th, 2012

How’s the rendering with the added RAM? #mochat8:27 PM Sep 4th, 2012

My main work area. This the old Mac. why? Don’t know. Close to the beer? lol 😉 #mochat http://t.co/PjWKk1Nk8:28 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Is that a Rouge Voodoo Doughnut I see? Breakfast in a bottle. #mochat8:28 PM Sep 4th, 2012

The newer MBPs with the 650m definitely help for MIR/Element renders. #mochat8:28 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Recently switched to a laptop. Loving the ability to work from home, already sick of lugging the machine back and forth. #mochat8:28 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Intous 4???? :O #mochat im getting one soon! 😀8:28 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I mostly only notice it on RAM previews. But works great. The downside is the 16-17GB swap image sitting on my SSD. #mochat8:28 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Any compatibility issues with file formats, old project files made on Macs, etc. with your PC? #mochat8:28 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Don’t forget to sync up your life between laptop & desktop! #mochat8:29 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I like the idea of hack pros but don’t want to deal with all the tinkering. Use to do it. #mochat8:30 PM Sep 4th, 2012

RT : I love my MBP laptop… until I hit render. #mochat8:30 PM Sep 4th, 2012

My guess would be cost reasons. i7s aren’t quite Xeons but they’re close enough for a marginal cost. #mochat8:30 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Besides AE sometimes not filling out the /volumes file path in Win (You just add back any file and it finds them all. No #mochat8:30 PM Sep 4th, 2012

thats about what mine looks like at home lol #mochat8:30 PM Sep 4th, 2012

ive got two 24’s at work, plus the mbp #mochat8:31 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Same here, Not going to do the hackpro thing at all. But some people have strong opinions. (I sure don’t) #mochat8:31 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I love my HP Z820, ESPECIALLY when I hit the render button. #mochat8:32 PM Sep 4th, 2012

make sure you to follow – he just finished a Hackintosh and is readying a write-up soon #mochat8:32 PM Sep 4th, 2012

You are the poster boy of appeasement & modesty. #mochat8:32 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Kind of want to migrate to just one computer. Hate having to sync stuff. But not sure if possible. Like the portability #mochat8:32 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I’m hoping to build one w/in six months. I’ll let you guys know. Or what said #mochat8:32 PM Sep 4th, 2012

my opinion is if you have a computer that does what you like, then who gives a shit what it is. #mochat8:33 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Does anyone go the route of laptop + small render farm? #mochat8:33 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Seriously guys, anyone serious about building a homebrew desktop and if you have a question, feel free to ask me. #mochat8:33 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Comes down to using the machine that works for you. The retina MBP has been a great asset in our work at #mochat (cc: )8:34 PM Sep 4th, 2012

RT : my opinion is if you have a computer that does what you like, then who gives a shit what it is. #mochat8:34 PM Sep 4th, 2012

RT : Seriously guys, anyone serious about building a homebrew desktop and if you have a question, feel free to ask me. #mochat8:34 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Retina worth it? Hoping to see some retina desktops before I need to do any new purchases. #mochat8:35 PM Sep 4th, 2012

i wish i had the money to upgrade man.. id be all over it. #mochat8:35 PM Sep 4th, 2012

It’s too bad AE isn’t getting the retina update most of the other apps are. #mochat8:35 PM Sep 4th, 2012

yeah, found it strange. #mochat8:35 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Have you upgraded to an SSD on your desktop? Thinking about getting one for a cache/footage drive. #mochat8:36 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I think for cache or boot, an SSD is great. For editorial footage, I’d still go with a RAID. #mochat8:37 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Just ordered this matter of fact, its on its way. #mochat http://t.co/vCeJHfXD8:38 PM Sep 4th, 2012

What kind of external gear do you hook up to your laptop? #MoChat8:38 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Anyone run into any licensing issues when using both laptop and desktop? #mochat8:38 PM Sep 4th, 2012

And Desktop users: what internals can’t you live without? #MoChat8:38 PM Sep 4th, 2012

So far, no. Almost all the licenses I’ve seen allow for both, as long as they’re not used simultaneously. #mochat8:39 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Blackmagic Decklink Studio card. #mochat And lots of RAM. Other than that, not much else.8:39 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I long for an SSD for boot purposes. #mochat8:39 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I always take my Wacom with me to the coffee shop and be “that guy with the Wacom” #mochat8:40 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I haven’t even had an issue running them simultaneously… #mochat8:40 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I’m really tempted to. Just don’t have the workload for it yet. #mochat8:40 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Extra monitor, 3 TB external drive, Wacom tablet, speakers, sometimes wireless keyboard. #mochat8:40 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Well, it’s not a technical limitation, except for some software on the same network. (Particular, etc.) #mochat8:40 PM Sep 4th, 2012

quadro and 16 GB of ram. Need to add one of those fusion IOs tithe mix #mochat8:41 PM Sep 4th, 2012

you are all making my laptop feel depressed #mochat8:41 PM Sep 4th, 2012

All of our work is done on a laptop and I’ve loved having the speed of the retina. If you’re going laptop, it’s the one. #mochat8:41 PM Sep 4th, 2012

It’d be nice, but thus far, it’s not a dealbreaker. #mochat8:42 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Picked up this Retina beast for mobile/couch work. Bout as fast as my MP Tower and stays cool for a lappy. #mochat http://t.co/4AMlgdYj8:42 PM Sep 4th, 2012

You guys are the most mobile design team I know. Never know where you’re gonna pop up next, haha! #mochat8:43 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Is it really the retina that offers the speed, or the SSD? I have a ’12 legacy MBP @ 2.7 w/SSD. Plenty fast. #mochat8:43 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Plus I have an extra 7200RPM 750GB drive sitting in the optical bay. #mochat8:43 PM Sep 4th, 2012

What’s an optical bay? #mochat8:44 PM Sep 4th, 2012

That thingy you put the shiny discs in. #mochat8:44 PM Sep 4th, 2012

the gfx card issue sometimes creeps up on laptops though #mochat8:44 PM Sep 4th, 2012

We at try to keep it movin’ 🙂 #mochat8:44 PM Sep 4th, 2012

yeah it does #mochat8:45 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Let me clear something up, when laptops grow up and start acting like real computers I am excited to be super portable. #mochat8:46 PM Sep 4th, 2012

We’re just not there yet. #mochat8:46 PM Sep 4th, 2012

The problem is, mobile will always need low power. Desktops don’t have that limitation. Mobile will always be slower. #mochat8:47 PM Sep 4th, 2012

The SSD is probably the bigger part, but the whole package is great. As a mobile solution, I wouldn’t choose any different. #mochat8:47 PM Sep 4th, 2012

my laptop is beautiful, because i am beautiful #mochat8:47 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Are you planning on using it as a boot disk or cache? #mochat8:48 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I definitely wouldn’t mind shedding about a pound off the laptop when lugging it on my bike. #MoChat8:48 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I thoroughly believe it can get there. Just not yet and it may take a long time. #mochat8:48 PM Sep 4th, 2012

i urn for the power of a beastly deskyop #mochat8:48 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I agree though. If you’re doing some heavy lifting. Laptops don’t cut it. Unless you have plenty of patience #mochat8:48 PM Sep 4th, 2012

This one will be boot, the next one will be cache. #mochat8:49 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Tell that to he bikes around with two laptops. 🙂 #mochat8:49 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Have any laptop users run into heat issues? I don’t mean just getting hot to the touch, but actually causing damage? #mochat8:49 PM Sep 4th, 2012

RT : Where are you laptop guys going? I’m not the starbucks kind of guy, its so distracting… #mochat8:49 PM Sep 4th, 2012

my laptop doesnt c ut it come render time… it just doesnt. #mochat8:49 PM Sep 4th, 2012

no damage, but its shut off a few times…. #mochat8:50 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Co-working spaces, Bars > Coffee Shops #mochat8:51 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I just realized the awesome in rendering .png sequences out of #c4d to & working on another computer #mochat8:51 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I like using my laptop to setup my comps and animations and using the desktop for the renders. #mochat8:51 PM Sep 4th, 2012

The laptop let’s me get out from the cube or office and outside or some place inspiring to work. #mochat8:51 PM Sep 4th, 2012

1/2 agree, how in the hell do you get work done in a bar?! #mochat8:52 PM Sep 4th, 2012

With just about 10 minutes left, what is something you would tell someone deciding between a laptop or desktop purchase? #mochat8:52 PM Sep 4th, 2012

nor have I, or had the adobe police after me #mochat8:53 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Next work from home day you have let us know, we’ll show you the ropes 🙂 #mochat8:53 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Women coming up and talking to me at bars, I cant get any work done (disclaimer: women don’t talk to me) #mochat8:54 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Find what works for you. Try and strike a balance between power an mobility if necessary. #mochat8:54 PM Sep 4th, 2012

And also, what’s the one big thing you regret about your choice, if anything? #mochat8:55 PM Sep 4th, 2012

estimate your needs, double that. get the machine that will do that #mochat8:55 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I’ve had problems with Creative Cloud’s licensing. I’m constantly accepting the agreement on both my laptop and iMac. #mochat8:55 PM Sep 4th, 2012

my old 2007 MBP had battery actually warp, was a recall issue, known defect #mochat8:55 PM Sep 4th, 2012

i regret nothing… except not having any money… i regret that… #mochat8:56 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Mobility #mochat8:56 PM Sep 4th, 2012

You regret mobility? #mochat8:56 PM Sep 4th, 2012

And max out the RAM! #mochat8:57 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Amen. #mochat8:57 PM Sep 4th, 2012

thats like saying you regret boobs… or bacon… #mochat8:57 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Yea, lately I have been bringing my Nexus7 and using splashtop & google drive/dropbox to show work to clients/take notes. #mochat8:57 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I reget not getting the SSD installed in the laptop at first. Started out with a 5400rpm took PSD forever to load. #mochat8:58 PM Sep 4th, 2012

That’s where I was at with my purchase this year, too. #mochat8:58 PM Sep 4th, 2012

<- This. and then just create! #mochat8:59 PM Sep 4th, 2012

boobs or bacon? #mochat8:59 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I meant lack of 😛 3 hours of roto does this to me 😛 #mochat8:59 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I bought a giant heavy desktop-replacement laptop, and actually might be willing to trade power for more portability. #mochat8:59 PM Sep 4th, 2012

not being portable I miss getting out and about much. #mochat but at the same time I enjoy the quiet of my home office.8:59 PM Sep 4th, 2012

RT : thats like saying you regret boobs… or bacon… #mochat8:59 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Photoshop is the bane of my existence for the same reason. Why is it so much slower than AE? #mochat8:59 PM Sep 4th, 2012

bein able to get work done on a tropical island is enough reason to have a laptop ha #mochat #expenseit8:59 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Both. #mochat9:00 PM Sep 4th, 2012

running the 64-bit version? #mochat9:00 PM Sep 4th, 2012

They aren’t mutually exclusive. #mochat9:00 PM Sep 4th, 2012

If I am at a tropical destination I better damn well not be working #mochat9:00 PM Sep 4th, 2012

currently building a standup desk actually for the home office. #mochat9:00 PM Sep 4th, 2012

well said brotha #mochat9:00 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Nope. #mochat9:01 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Those are cool, curious to hear how you like it. #mochat9:01 PM Sep 4th, 2012

easy. bacon covered boobs. #mochat #bacontalk9:01 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Not sure, but it loads faster on my wife’s Macbook Air than on my older MBP with a 7200rpm. #mochat9:02 PM Sep 4th, 2012

WINNER! RT : easy. bacon covered boobs. #mochat #bacontalk9:02 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I love having a macbook pro for side projects outside of work. Great for most things, except not quite good enough to run Element. #mochat9:02 PM Sep 4th, 2012

This is an idea I can support. #mochat #bacontalk9:02 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Well, that does it for another night of #MoChat. Thanks for coming out everyone?9:03 PM Sep 4th, 2012

And, as always, go make something, either with your powerhouse desktop, or laptop on a tropical island. #mochat9:03 PM Sep 4th, 2012

And look for the transcript & summary on tomorrow. Thanks everyone! #mochat9:03 PM Sep 4th, 2012

I’m Ron Burgundy? #mochat9:04 PM Sep 4th, 2012

G’night everyone, thanks for the good chat, as always. #mochat9:05 PM Sep 4th, 2012

We like to leave things open ended? #mochat9:05 PM Sep 4th, 2012

Ah gotcha? 😉 #mochat9:05 PM Sep 4th, 2012