I Need Computer Advice – What Do You Suggest?

I have a couple important decision to make and I need your input. The time has come to get a new computer for my office.

I’m writing this post on my Dell laptop that has served as my primary business tool now for three years. I’ve been a laptop guy for several years. I guess my “freedom” mindset extends to not feeling tethered to a desk when I work (though the truth is that 98% of the time I do just work from my desk).

But now my laptop is dying. I’ve already ordered a new system from iBuyPower after extensive research.

I tend to be a maximizer when making decisions (i.e. I have to look at every possibility before making a decision). It’s a product of my perfectionism, something I’m working on lately and definitely a topic for another blog post.

So I need your help. I still have two things to purchase for my system. Well, actually three.

  1. Two monitors
  2. Video editing software

Which Monitors Should I Get?

I’m finally moving to a dual monitor set up after listening to Sterling rave about it for years. I’m thinking 24″ or more for each monitor after looking some over at Best Buy.
However, there are so many considerations — glossy or matte, LED or LCD, is 27″ too big, is Samsung better than HP? Remember, I said I could be a maximizer and a perfectionist.
What do you suggest? Is there a monitor type or brand that you’d recommend?

Premiere or Vegas (Sorry No Final Cut)?

My first short film (a side hobby I have) was edited on an iMac using Final Cut. I’ve decided to switch to a PC-based system now for editing. I know there are Apple fans who will read this and think I’m crazy. I have a number of reasons for switching.

  1. I would have to buy a brand new Mac Pro to run the latest Final Cut
  2. I’d rather invest in one super awesome computer for both business and video editing than have to maintain two mega computers
  3. Adobe and Vegas seem to work better with the clips from my Canon 60D
  4. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the new Final Cut
Anyone have any insights about whether to get Adobe Premiere CS5.5 or Sony Vegas? Or is there something else you would suggest?

What Do You Think?

Which monitor? Which video editor? What do you think? I’d love your help. Let me hear it in the comments below. Thanks!


  1. Complaints about the new Final Cut stem from the fact that it’s now “easier to use.” I completely understand the frustration of the hard core video pros but this is the trend and there’s no escaping it, IMO.

    That said, Premiere isn’t bad although I used it heavily a few years ago and it would occasionally just get a mind of it’s own and weird stuff would happen to our files as if there was some ghost in the machine making his own choices about how we should have cut our project.

    It’s nice in that it “talks” to After Effects really well so for that reason alone I would go with Premiere. …but only in this specific scenario.

    Final Cut 10 with a Mac is perfect for me.

    Monitors: We have the HP LP2580’s here at Disney and I am VERY pleased with them. Very adjustable and they can be color calibrated… …which is not always the case with this kind of monitor.

    JVO, you’re the best! Thanks for changing my life.


  2. Joe Lalonde says:

    For monitors, I would go matte. As much as I like the picture on glossy monitors, they give a lot of glare. If you can, go for the LED. Thinner, crisp, and less energy usage. I’m not a big brand person, so I won’t offer any advice there.

    I’ve never heard of Vegas for video editing. I am currently using Premiere and it works well for what I do.

    • Looks like Premiere is getting the most votes. You’re right, I think, that either brand would be great. I should just pick the size and features I want and call it good.

  3. Get a Mac :-). I think you could do what you want with one of the new MacBook Pros — I don’t think you need to have a Mac Pro.

    I’ve got the 30″ Apple cinema display, but the 27″ inch would probably be great, too.

    I also have a 22″ HP LCD that I’m very, very happy with. Glossy. My wife has a 24″ Samsung that is really good too, so I think either brand is safe.

    • 30″?! Wow. That’s some serious screen real estate.

      • I wouldn’t get the Apple Cinema display. When you look at cost to what you are getting it is just not worth it. Especially since last time I saw it is nothing more than a LG display with a different case. But I would recommend getting a LED screen. The colors have far more contrast and also the screens are far brighter than LCD.

        Plus if you are planning on getting a Macbook Pro or Mac Pro make sure to check to see where their product life cycle is at. The last thing you want to do is buy something and then 2 months later see that something else is out that is better.

  4. Premiere hands down. http://www.lynda.com/ has some great video tutorials. 24″ are great when you have 2, 27″ become over bearing, get the best resolution you can. I have a 27″ and a 24″ and 2 24s would gave been fine. Mine are led.

  5. I would definitely go with 2 24″ monitors. I have a 27″ and a 24″ and sometimes it seems like too much.

    I have used Adobe Premiere and love it, it will do everything you need. I have never used Vegas.

  6. My experience. Sony Vegas movie studio for the last 6 years. Adobe premiere for the last 6 months. I was very happy with Vegas. The only reason moves to premiere is because of my son I was eligible to purchase Adobe at a very reduced cost and I wanted after effects. Both are excellent choices. I’m not sure of the technical aspects, but Adobe seems to render much faster.

    • Jason,

      It’s nice to hear from someone that has used both. I got an Nvidia card that can use the new Mercury Playback in Premiere which has me leaning that way. Thanks for the input!

  7. I use mac and pc and own a 60d :)
    I’ve dabbled in premiere a while back, a fair few pros are switching from fcp to premiere so that speaks volumes. Personally i’d follow the money, there will be lots more tutorials and plugins coming out i’m sure. Monitors 27inch, bigger timeline is better, matte is more common in edit suites due to reflection issues, depends on your room/lighting layout. I prefer gloss though for playing movies and looking at photos and i edit on a glossy led no prob.

  8. See Also: VHS or Beta?

    1. For video editing, where is the support and critical mass? Who or where are you going to reach-out for support? Check the publisher’s website and forums… are they responsive to users? bugs? IS THE NEXT UPGRADE going to cost big bucks or little bucks?

    2. For monitors: I support the dual monitor scenario. Gives you more options (like turn one off if not needed… or temporarily use 1 if the other is on the fritz). I’ve heard 24″ is about right.


    I’ve found that for small business, going to DELL is one of the easier suppliers to get new business credit from. No experience trying to get a commercial account from Best Buy, but it may be time to check it out. (to build biz credit report).

    Good luck

  9. For those of you using LED, how much better do you like it than LCD?

    • Just to emphasise, “LED” monitors are still LCD displays, they just have an LED backlight instead. But it does make a huge difference in general. Besides being able to have thinner screens, the colour contrasts and brightness are much better with the LED backlight.

      The next big thing will be the OLED displays (which genuinely is a new display technology) which don’t even need a backlight because the display itself is (organic) LED.

    • I now have my new monitors. I’ll post an update soon. The new monitors are LED backlight. When seen next to my LCD laptop monitor, the new ones are way better. That said, I don’t know how much of that to attribute to the LED tech.

  10. Brad Lee says:

    All of the YouTube sites I like that are doing quality HD video production are using Sony Vegas – so that’s what I’d buy.

    Monitors – Matte finish and LED, make sure you can calibrate them.

  11. Personally, I’d like to know what kind of desk are people using for dual monitors.

    I have a 23′ LG HD monitor. It can also double as a TV. That’s a huge benefit. In the old days when we upgraded our monitor, we put the old one in the closet.

    Now, I can take this monitor and hook it up to cable and it works as a TV with the remote and internal tuner. Huge plus.

    Here’s the link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824005144

    If I could have two of these side-by-side, I would but my current desk does not allow that… thus the desk suggestions.

    Hope that helps.

    Also, I too use a notebook computer for everything. I have an HP notebook sitting on an HP docking station. I hook up my monitor, speakers, USB, wireless keyboard and mouse to the dock. One cable connects the notebook to the dock and powers everything… including power.

    So, when it is time for me to move the notebook from the office to the deck, I disconnect one cable and off I go.

    • Steve,

      I use an IKEA desk that I put together for my space. Right now I have an iMac and my laptop on it. Soon it will have my two new monitors. The iMac might have to move elsewhere.

  12. We are producing a web series using a 2011 15″ Macbook Pro with a Thunderbolt port which will connect to multiple displays and fast high capacity hard drives. It is perfect for editing video in the field and at the studio. You cannot beat this hardware as far as quality. I only have one LED cinema display, but with Lion I use 8 virtual desktops or “spaces” in mission control. With the swipe of three fingers, I can move back and forth between desktops. It’s a great way to work. You can even program a hotkey to go to an often checked app. For editing I prefer Final Cut Pro X because it is simple to use and very powerful and perfect for web based video, especially when combined with Motion 5. Also, I use Parallels to run Windows 7 for applications that require it. The best of both worlds.

  13. Hey Jason! I don’t have time to read all the comments on your post right now but I wanted to add my 2 cents real quick. I loved Vegas when I used it. It was really great…my only complaint was the tutorials/lingo they used in the tutorials was like reading Shakespeare…you had to “get into it”. Basically the lingo the creators of Vegas used didn’t seem very “intuitive” to me. But besides that I was quite happy with it. It ran great on my little PC laptop. I would have to say that if you had a choice that getting a computer specifically for video editing/gaming/media stuff and one specifically for word processing/internet surfing/etc that way you can somewhat separate the worlds because blending them can cause problems that I’m sure you can imagine. One of which that is super important is BUGS. Example, you are surfing a lot on your editing computer and it gets a bug and ruins your project. Also let each computer do what it does best. iMac does graphics/video editing better and PC does word processing better. Also I’ve edited with many different software, Avid, Final Cut, Vegas, Pinnacle, iMovie and I have to say that Final Cut is my favorite…although Avid comes in as a VERY close 2nd. And keep in mind that for someone who edits only part time you may just want something “too easy” to use like Final Cut. Well that’s all for now, gotta go. Good luck!!!
    PS I plan to sign up for your internet business mastery classes this fall!!! Wish me luck!

  14. I would never use anything less than a dual monitor setup anymore – it literally increased by productivty by at least 25% I would say. I’ve got a 3 screen setup now, where one monitor is linked to my laptop and a seperate system is setup on the other side that I’ve used Synergy to link to (nice little program that lets you extend your desktop onto other machines).

    Regarding your choice of monitor, I would always go Matt. Gloss screens completely do my head in when it comes to the amount of glare you receive. In my mind the pros of a gloss display are pretty much non existent, true, they make the colours look slightly more vivid, but you barely notice in reality. I’ve just installed a mattifying protector onto my laptop to get rid of the glossiness that Dell insisted on putting on!

    The monitor i’m using with my laptop is a Philips 226C and I really can’t praise it enough. The colours are so much clearer and lifelike that on the screen of my Dell 17″ laptop and the clarity is amazing. It’s a 23″ screen and offers full HD resolution so it’s perfect for what I need – I would highly recommend it to you!