The support shared among readers in the comments section is one of the things we love most about the Engadget community. Over the years, we've known you to offer sage advice on everything from Chromecasts and cameras to drones and smartphones. In fact, our community's knowledge and insights are a reason why many of you participate in the comments.
We truly value the time and detail you all spend in responding to questions from your fellow tech-obsessed commenters, which is why we've decided to bring back the much-missed "Ask Engadget" column. This week's question asks how to select a new laptop for a user who is going to be running a ton of music production software. Weigh in with your advice in the comments -- and feel free to send your own questions along to firstname.lastname@example.org!
I am a student at the University of Washington. My interest is music production using Cubase 9.5 Pro. All new premium laptops on the market get reviewed for "content production" such as video editing (and of course, gaming), and a number of top YouTube reviewers, but there is never any mention of the suitability of the laptops for music production, which requires a special set of properties dealing with drivers and power management.
Music production without dropouts and clicks requires a computer that can sustain peak performance without being interrupted. There are some tweaks to Windows 10 that can be made, but not every laptop responds well. They each have to be tested. Appropriate benchmarks appear to be LatencyMon and both DAWBench DSP 2017 and DAWBench VI for Cubase.
I can afford a top-dollar premium laptop, but need something that will really work and is reliable. I cannot afford a $3,000-plus mistake. I am considering the 15-inch Surface Book 2 (i7-8650u) with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB drive, a similarly equipped HP x360 15t with an i7-8705G (I don't like the keyboard on the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1) and a new Dell XPS 15 9570 with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.
Asking questions in the Steinberg Cubase forums hasn't been productive. The same is true of other forums such as Reddit, although you can occasionally get a LatencyMon benchmark. The first indication is that the new Dell XPS 15 9570 fails LatencyMon right out of the box.
I would like a comparison of these premium laptops for music production in Cubase using the appropriate benchmarks and test projects so that I can make an informed decision.