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Laptop for TKaraoke - Buying guide Options · View
vcdz382
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 12:33:54 PM

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Location: California, USA
Things to consider when buying a new laptop for use with TKaraoke:
1. HDMI/DVI output port - important for high quality hookup to big screen TV.
2. Dedicate video card - avoid integrated cards if possible. Your video card should be ranked top 150 in this ranking list.
3. Decent sound card - most laptops under 1000USD don't have dedicated sound cards. However, USB external sound card can be purchased for around 100USD.

Things are not too important:
a. Fast CPU - TKaraoke doesn't require a fast CPU. Any dual core processor is good enough (Intel Pentium Dual Core, Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel i3, i5, and i7 are all good).
b. Large hard drive - TKaraoke supports network drives so you can save some money on the laptop hard drive size.
c. Big screen size - TKaraoke supports dual monitors and you should hookup the laptop to your big screen TV for best karaoke singing experience.
d. High resolution screen - When hookup to the big screen TV in dual-monitors mode, the laptop screen resolution doesn't need to be high to show the "Song List" window - any resolution 720p or higher (including 1280x800) is good enough.
e. Large memory size - TKaraoke only requires about 50MB of memory and depending on your song collection size, I don't see any case where TKaraoke would require more than 100MB of memory. Memory is needed for newer OSes (Vista/7) so 2GB of RAM is good enough.

Other parts:
I. Big screen TV - LCD or LED that supports 1080p is the best.
II. Good mixer and speakers - The most important thing in karaoke is the sound!
vcdz382
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 12:46:00 PM

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I just ordered this Sony Laptop to use with TKaraoke. I think this laptop gonna be great for TKaraoke.

The good things about this laptop:
1. Small screen size - high mobile
2. HDMI output - hookup to big screen TV @ 1080p
3. Nvidia dedicated video card - 512MB (Nvidia GT 330M, not 310M in cheaper models). This card ranked 53 in the above list.
4. Intel i5 CPU - Supports Turbo Boost (TB) technology. TB allows this processor to go up to 2.93GHz when the CPU's base frequency is only 2.4GHz. Only the i5 and i7 can do this. The i3 and below processors don't support TB. TKaraoke is a single-threaded application so TB can be beneficial to TKaraoke. However, as mentioned above, a fast CPU is not required for TKaraoke.
5. Large hard drive size - Can hold about 7000 high quality songs in MKV format using the internal hard drive.
6. 4GB of memory - plenty for Win7 and TKaraoke.
7. Blu-ray drive.
8. 802.11n support (see below regarding streaming Blu-ray ISOs over the wireless connection).

Bad things about this laptop:
1. No dedicated sound card.
2. The built-in wireless only supports 2.4GHz range (5GHz 802.11n is not possible).
3. A little bit pricy.
DavidT
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 4:03:48 PM

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Joined: 9/1/2009
Posts: 234
Location: Ohio
Could you tell us if this machine could operate in Dual Extended Mode using HDMI? - I have not been able to find one yet! - Thanks.



I am older than the Earth :)
vcdz382
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 4:11:28 PM

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DavidT wrote:
Could you tell us if this machine could operate in Dual Extended Mode using HDMI? - I have not been able to find one yet! - Thanks.

I can see that this laptop can do that like eating cake! 2D Extended Mode with 1920x1080 should be easy for the Nvidia GT 330M and even the weaker 310M sister model. However, BB just shipped it today and probably will take a week to get here. I'll post the result.
DavidT
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 4:43:25 PM

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I don't mind spend the $$$ for the right reasons so I am anxious to find out the results! - BTW - I hate to lug my desktop around :).



I am older than the Earth :)
vcdz382
Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 5:35:00 PM

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BB actually shipped it out of Freshno so I got it today. The pic and video were both captured by my DROID phone. The room has little ambient light so the quality isn't that great but it get the message across. The laptop was on wireless 802.11g and the MKV song files were on a network drive. Even with the wireless connection, the delay between songs aren't bad. CPU usage is hovering around 10%. Graphic card performance measured by Win7 is 6.4.

This Nvidia card can handle Extended Dual mode at 1080p easily. Notice that I did move the video window while playing the song. A card graphic card running at its near peak limit will have trouble with moving the window while rendering the video at the same time.

A longer version of the video that demonstrate more TKaraoke features including the use of the remote is available on the rapid share link below.
http://rapidshare.com/files/352173438/TKaraokeFeaturesDemo.3gp

Or watch a lower quality YouTube version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AfeGZ8n0nU

File Attachment(s):
TKaraokeDualSony.jpg (1,112kb) downloaded 89 time(s).
TKaraokeDualSony.3gp (58,442kb) downloaded 78 time(s).


newbie_y2k
Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 9:13:20 PM
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Joined: 5/17/2008
Posts: 472
Location: Dallas, Texas
vcdz382 wrote:
DavidT wrote:
Could you tell us if this machine could operate in Dual Extended Mode using HDMI? - I have not been able to find one yet! - Thanks.

I can see that this laptop can do that like eating cake! 2D Extended Mode with 1920x1080 should be easy for the Nvidia GT 330M and even the weaker 310M sister model. However, BB just shipped it today and probably will take a week to get here. I'll post the result.

Even my sub $600.00 Lenovo can do HDMI dual display mode.
Core2duo E6600, 4GB Ram, 500GB HD, GEFORCE G 210M GRAPHC CARD, BlueTooth, Black Glossy Cover ... for a total of $595.72
http://www.tkaraoke.com/forum/tkaraoke_postst944_Lenovo-Y550-Laptop.aspx
Have been testing this feature for the last 4 months



My computers and PS3 are fighting cancers

Here's how
http://folding.stanford.edu/
vcdz382
Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 9:19:34 PM

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Posts: 1,292
Location: California, USA
newbie_y2k wrote:
Even my sub $600.00 Lenovo can do HDMI dual display mode.
Core2duo E6600, 4GB Ram, 500GB HD, GEFORCE G 210M GRAPHC CARD, BlueTooth, Black Glossy Cover ... for a total of $595.72
http://www.tkaraoke.com/forum/tkaraoke_postst944_Lenovo-Y550-Laptop.aspx
Have been testing this feature for the last 4 months

That Acer has HDMI out port? That's nice for a $600 laptop. Nice to hear that the Nvidia GT 210M can support TKaraoke dual mode without any issue. BTW, the 210M is almost identical to the 310M (ranked 105 vs 103). Check my videos for the use of the remote control. It looks like Remote is the only feature you are missing from TKaraoke!
DavidT
Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 10:09:02 PM

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Location: Ohio
Sux! - I bought a wrong laptop in December with a dedicated ATI video Chip for $750.00!



I am older than the Earth :)
vcdz382
Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 10:17:48 PM

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Joined: 4/9/2008
Posts: 1,292
Location: California, USA
DavidT wrote:
Sux! - I bought a wrong laptop in December with a dedicated ATI video Chip for $750.00!

What's your card ranking on the líst above?
vcdz382
Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2010 1:01:48 AM

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Location: California, USA
Other thoughts about this Sony laptop (not related to TKaraoke):
1. Nice Blu-ray drive. Can play Blu-ray disc or backup Blu-ray ISO on battery mode. No glitch here.
2. The sound going directly to the HDMI port is nice. Just hook HDMI to your TV and it take care of the sound. The TV can be setup to wire the sound to a mixer too. In this case, the TV sound output should set to "Fixed". My Sony TV has an option to turn off the LCD while listening to music through HDMI. It will response to volume controls but there is no picture --> save power and LCD life time.

Negative things:
1. Weak built-in speakers
2. Not related specifically to this laptop but the bandwidth of the Blu-ray movie is too high for the 802.11g wireless connection to handle. Therefore, you can't play backup Blu-ray ISO over the wireless connection. This is a drawback and require the laptop to be wired in when watching Blu-ray ISOs. I have yet to test out 802.11n.

Questions:
1. For serious karaoke, do I lose any sound quality by going: Laptop-->(HDMI)-->TV-->(RCA)-->Mixer? The alternative path is to go direct to the Mixer: Laptop-->(3.5mm jack - RCA converter)-->Mixer. I can tell it doesn't sound as good compare to my old Desktop. However, this could caused by the Desktop having the Creative X-Fi sound card and this laptop has an integrated audio card.
vcdz382
Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2010 2:55:14 AM

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Location: California, USA
vcdz382 wrote:
I have yet to test out 802.11n.

Update:
I tried different ways to try to get maximum throughput for my existing 802.11g router. I was trying not to upgrade the router to 802.11n and still be able to play Blu-ray ISO over the wireless connection. The result is... impossible! With 802.11g, the actual throughput (raw throughput - prototol overhead - retransmissions due to errors) is around 20Mbps to 25Mbps. I tried different wireless security mode and even no security mode to try to reduce the protocol overhead. I'm still not getting high enough throughput for streaming Blu-ray movies. The required throughput to stream a blu-ray movie is around 35Mbps to 40Mbps. This is impossible for 802.11g to get even in good signal condition.

The conclusion is I have to move to 802.11n which promised around 150Mbps raw throughput (vs promised 54Mbps of 802.11g). With protocol overhead, I expect the actual throughput for 802.11n to be around 60Mbps to 70Mbps. This is enough for Blu-ray!
DavidT
Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2010 4:52:14 AM

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Joined: 9/1/2009
Posts: 234
Location: Ohio
[qoute]

Questions:
1. For serious karaoke, do I lose any sound quality by going: Laptop-->(HDMI)-->TV-->(RCA - Pass Through Level Lines? - )-->Mixer? - That's a lot of wires! and you are till converting from Digital to Analog. The alternative path is to go direct to the Mixer: Laptop-->(3.5mm jack - RCA converter/splitter? )-->Mixer - I think this is the way to go. Also, see below. I can tell it doesn't sound as good compare to my old Desktop. However, this could caused by the Desktop having the Creative X-Fi sound card and this laptop has an integrated audio card. - As you have mentioned many times, Dedicated Sound Card/Chip (and Video Card/Chip) are always better than the integrated ones. It's hard to find a laptop with both features!

[/quote]

Creative Labs has an external box that would improve the music experience.

Check this one out for $60.00 - Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1



I am older than the Earth :)
vcdz382
Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2010 9:05:59 AM

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Joined: 4/9/2008
Posts: 1,292
Location: California, USA
DavidT wrote:
[

Questions:
1. For serious karaoke, do I lose any sound quality by going: Laptop-->(HDMI)-->TV-->(RCA - Pass Through Level Lines? - )-->Mixer? - That's a lot of wires! and you are till converting from Digital to Analog. The alternative path is to go direct to the Mixer: Laptop-->(3.5mm jack - RCA converter/splitter? )-->Mixer - I think this is the way to go. Also, see below. I can tell it doesn't sound as good compare to my old Desktop. However, this could caused by the Desktop having the Creative X-Fi sound card and this laptop has an integrated audio card. - As you have mentioned many times, Dedicated Sound Card/Chip (and Video Card/Chip) are always better than the integrated ones. It's hard to find a laptop with both features!

It's actually less wires and hassle to use the HDMI audio. Why? The RCA connection from the TV to the Stereo is fixed and can be wired nicely (inside the wall for example). With this method, you hookup the HDMI and got both video and audio in one shot. With the 3.5mm jack method, you have to hook up the HDMI and the 3.5mm to the laptop to start a karaoke session. The HDMI port is hot-swappable so there is no issue (i.e. annoying static noise that can kill your speakers and piss off your wife) pluging and unpluging it. The 3.5mm jack is not resistant to noise and tend to make a horrible noise when plugging and unplugging with the Mixer volume high (karaoke setting).

I wasn't looking to get better sound than the traditional 3.5mm jack method. I'm actually wondering if the HDMI audio method reduces the audio quality or not. Cuz if the audio quality is the same, I prefer the HDMI method for the ease of connections as stated above.
vcdz382
Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2010 7:45:23 PM

Rank: Administration
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Joined: 4/9/2008
Posts: 1,292
Location: California, USA
vcdz382 wrote:
vcdz382 wrote:
I have yet to test out 802.11n.

Update:
I tried different ways to try to get maximum throughput for my existing 802.11g router. I was trying not to upgrade the router to 802.11n and still be able to play Blu-ray ISO over the wireless connection. The result is... impossible! With 802.11g, the actual throughput (raw throughput - prototol overhead - retransmissions due to errors) is around 20Mbps to 25Mbps. I tried different wireless security mode and even no security mode to try to reduce the protocol overhead. I'm still not getting high enough throughput for streaming Blu-ray movies. The required throughput to stream a blu-ray movie is around 35Mbps to 40Mbps. This is impossible for 802.11g to get even in good signal condition.

The conclusion is I have to move to 802.11n which promised around 150Mbps raw throughput (vs promised 54Mbps of 802.11g). With protocol overhead, I expect the actual throughput for 802.11n to be around 60Mbps to 70Mbps. This is enough for Blu-ray!

Update on the wiressless stuffs:
Just picked up a wiressless 802.11n router today at Frys. My existing network infrastructure is quite complex and to avoid interuption to tkaraoke.com (the server that is hosting tkaraoke.com is on this network), I decided against using this new router as the main router. Instead I use it as an access point and bridge it into the existing network. Slightly below the predicted value, the actual speed over 802.11n is 45Mbps (see attached screenshot - 1MBps = 8Mbps). There is no problem streaming the blu-ray move across this wireless connection (the tested movie is The Hurt Locker).

Other thoughts:
1. The router supports 802.11n on 2.4Ghz and 5GHz. I configured it use 5GHz in N-mode only. This is to avoid interference with the existing 802.11g network (on 2.4GHz) and to avoid interference with the neighbor's networks (all on 2.4GHz range). However, this Sony Laptop doesn't support 802.11n on 5GHz range :o(. This laptop came with the Atheros AR9285 wireless card and the card's manual clearly stated it supports 2.4GHz only. I had to use 802.11n on 2.4GHz. The existing wireless router continues to serve 802.11g clients (other older laptops in the office).


vcdz382 attached the following image(s):
80211NSpeed.png

DavidT
Posted: Friday, February 19, 2010 9:07:30 PM

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Location: Ohio
Quote:
TKaraokeDualSony.jpg (1,112kb)


Where is the video screen on your laptop screen from the posted picture?



I am older than the Earth :)
vcdz382
Posted: Saturday, February 20, 2010 12:08:57 AM

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Joined: 4/9/2008
Posts: 1,292
Location: California, USA
DavidT wrote:
Quote:
TKaraokeDualSony.jpg (1,112kb)


Where is the video screen on your laptop screen from the posted picture?

In dual mode, the laptop screen holds the song list and the big TV hold the video.
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