DJs – what is your laptop of choice and why?

Last week, I asserted that the new 15″ Retina screen endowed MacBook Pro was for me, the ultimate DJ laptop (or should I now call that notebook?). And as expected, not everyone agreed. In fact and quite surprisingly, even normally fanboyish Mac users didn’t really agree either. So I got to thinking… given that laptops, notebooks or whatever you call them are just as important a piece of gear as anything in the modern DJ’s arsenal, I’d like to get a clearer picture of just where we are in terms of hardware and software.

So if you could answer this simple poll:

I’d also like for you to add your own comments about your choices. Why did you pick your particular OS? Did you spend just enough or go balls out? What were the key buying factors in your decision? Is your computer dedicated to DJing or is it a general purpose go everywhere companion? Are you a lemming and always install the latest updates, or a more cautious user? Basically I want to know what you bought and why to help me build a better picture of DJs, their computers and their habits.

I’m certainly not looking for flame wars. Let us remember that in this particular discussion, you will never EVER change people’s minds by shouting that Macs/PCs are shit, and frankly I’ll just delete them anyway. This is all about explaining the positive decisions you made when committing a lot of cash to the brains of your setup.

  • arkaei

    my DJing laptop is an IBM T61p. my live laptop is an IBM W701. I chose IBM because they are extremely durable and because IBM offers much better warranty conditions than Apple. examples: the T61p once survived a 6 foot fall from a stage right onto a concrete floor with as little as a small crack on the housing, it shut itself down and was ready to go after a reboot (I was surprised myself, I fully expected at least the hard drive to die on me). far as IBM warranty goes, I’ve had to get the screen on the W701 replaced once. here, the difference between Apple and IBM is that I just had to give IBM a call – and next morning, a technician was at my doorstep with the replacement part, the machine was fixed within less than 24 hours. the warranty I have for both laptops is a 5-year on-site servicing deal that cost me about 1/3 of what you’d usually have to pay for Apple Care, which simply pales in comparison. that being said, I work with Apple machines every day and I used to work with a 2008 black macbook for DJing, so I’m not saying macs are worse than PCs or anything. it’s just that in my use-case, especially on the ableton machine, I need pure brutal processing power because most of my plugins are running live so I can always mess with them – I try to use as little sample material as possible. and there’s no denying that when it comes to performance, high-end PC laptops have always been way ahead of macs – especially the W701, which is essentially a desktop workstation in a laptop housing. the disadvantage of using PCs is that you really have to know how to tweak your system (in my case XP SP3 on the T61p and win7/64 on the W701) to perfection, whereas a mac is practically ready to go out of the box, like you would expect from a closed system. so both platforms have their advantages – and we have to remember that as in any debate like this (see vinyl vs. digital), there is no right or wrong. everyone should use what they are happy with – whatever works for you is fine.

  • I’m currently using a base-spec 2010 13″ MacBook Pro running OSX Lion. The main reason for my choice was the stability of OSX out of the box but I’m also a big fan of the unibody design and quality of construction. Another benefit of the unibody design is how easy it is to clean, something I didn’t consider before purchasing but have appreciated since owning – DJ booths aren’t always the cleanest of places!

    It’s a dedicated DJing laptop and I use an HP Envy 15 for everything else, including all my music organisation and tagging before transferring it to the MBP. I much prefer Windows over OSX for day to day use. My one gripe with the 13″ MBP is the screen resolution, why Apple hasn’t at least brought it inline with the 13″ Air and upped it to 1440×900 from 1280×800 is beyond me! The retina display MBP looked tempting at first, but not at it’s current price and without an Ethernet port (not to mention the lack of a retina display ready version of SSL).

    • +1 on the screen resolution. If they upgrade the screen resolution on the 13″ MBP, I’d probably be willing to switch camps.

    • Retina 13inch models are rumoured for October.

      Also you can adjust the screen resolution for non-retina programs and still benefit from the retina screen.

      • I hope they do announce an improved 13″ MBP before the end of the year!

        As for resolution options in OS X and the way the operating system manages scaling, any applications not optimised for the retina display look pixelated.

        Taken from Engadet’s review of the retina display MBP:
        “Right now, seemingly every third-party app on the Mac looks terrible. Yes, terrible. Unlike a PC, where getting a higher-res display just means tinier buttons to click on, here OS X is actively scaling things up so that they maintain their size. This means that non-optimized apps, which would otherwise be displayed as tiny things, instead are displayed in their normal physical dimensions with blurry, muddy edges. You do have some control over this scaling, with five separate grades to choose from, but none will make these classic apps look truly good.”

  • Personally use a HP Elitebook 6930p running windows 7. Solid machine, dropped a few times and still works a charm. The new asus zenbooks have caught my eye of late, with their ULV i7 being able to turbo boost up to nice speeds, and that 1080p display (on an 11″ notebook). Might upgrade to one of those in future.

  • I first tried OS X because the popular opinion seemed to be that Macs were more stable than their Windows counterparts and better suited for music related applications. I’m not sure if that’s still true (or if it ever really was), but I stick with Macs because they’ve never given me any problems and I just greatly prefer using OS X to Windows. I wouldn’t care if I were only using the machine to run SSL and Ableton, but since my laptop is all-purpose I don’t mind paying the Apple Tax to use my favorite OS.

    My standard is the base 15″ MBP, I’ve been using the same one since late 2008 and it’s still running just fine. I like to install updates ASAP, but I do wait for word from Serato just in case there’s some major issue.

  • Dizzy

    I’m using two 2008 13″ black MacBooks. One is used strictly as an emergency backup. I also back up everything onto 2 external hard drives (one of which is kept in a fireproof safe). I back everything up to at least one of the external hard drives almost daily. You might think I’m a little obsessive compulsive with the whole backup thing but you’ll never hear me say “I lost all my music and years of organizing and tagging because my hard drive died”. On a side note, I am totally obsessive compulsive about tagging and organizing my music. For example, if a song is “Paul, Sean Ft. Keyshia Cole” I’ll make sure “Ft.” is always consistent with all my other tracks (instead of “feat.” or “featuring”) and I’ll put in the comments field of the tag all the different ways I might spell “Keyshia” (Keshia, Keesha) so that when I go to do a search no matter what I type in will give me the expect search result. Yes, I’m OCD with this stuff but I’d rather do the extra work once than just blindly import music into my hard drive and then while at a gig spend valuable time frantically typing away trying to remember how the hell to spell “Keyshia”. Off topic I know but perhaps it will offer some insight into whether Mac users are more OCD than PC users.

    My MacBook is not dedicated to strictly DJing, it’s used for everyday stuff as well… email, web surfing, porn lol. I haven’t upgraded to a newer MacBook because I haven’t felt a need to. Even with software and OS updates it still runs great… if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I should mention that I use ITCH and Virtual DJ for spinning and iTunes to organize all my music and tagging mp3s. Although I haven’t felt the need to buy a more recent MacBook I have maxed out the RAM to 4GB and the hard drive to 750GB which is partitioned into 2 parts… one partition is strictly for music and the other is for my OS and everything else. I chose to use a separate partition for my music because even though it’s probably not the case I somehow feel that things run smoother when the hard drive doesn’t have to jump around as much when the music is in one “area” of the hard drive. Plus I feel like even though I’ve never had a virus at least if I did it might only affect one partition instead of both. I’ve been a Mac user for about 13 years and the main reason is, and I know this sounds cliche, but it just works. Plus, I prefer the look and feel and the workflow of Mac OS. Also, two things that have kept me from getting a newer MacBook are… 1) I love the look of the black MacBook and 2) I hate the track pads on the new MacBooks. Call me old school but I actually like having a button to click on the track pad. I hate that with the newer track pads you have to press down or double tap to click because the pointer always seems to move when I do so. Quirky I know but in case you haven’t noticed I’m a bit OCD with my MacBook lol.

    I usually wait a bit before upgrading my OS or DJ software and let the others be guinea pigs first to make sure that the water is warm before diving in. As much as I like to think of myself as being an early adopter I don’t want to do so at the risk of my MacBook not operating as expected so I’ll usually hang back a couple of months and wait for software developers catch up with updates to accommodate a new OS.

  • I chose to use Windows as my primary usage for DJ’ing an Production. Mainly because I already had a familiarity with the platform but also for price, and dual usage as my all purpose PC. I generally try to keep the programs/software very lean and I don’t let just anyone use it for internet, etc. I’m frankly a jerk when it comes to my laptop. I don’t download any new software unless I really want it or deem it necessary.

    There has been a perception that Windows laptops are inferior to Mac. My view is that the user is more than often the reason for any failures. How you “baby” your Mac or PC is how well it will respond to you.

    My choice in features are the usual suspects: Processor, RAM (and how much I can increase it). and Hard Drive space. I also remove the pre-installed software and start as bare bones as possible. I add anti-virus and try to run it often as possible. I also back up all my programs to DVD’s or my external Hard drive.

    Although I prefer a PC, I would not be opposed to a Mac but I’m comfortable on a PC and the price and choices make it easier to get one.

  • I was using a 15inch Sony Vaio (pretty high spec at the time) and I had no issues using it for DJing as I didn’t use it for anything except DJing/Music. no surfing etc..
    When I started testing Serato VSL I ran it on vista,XP and Hackintosh and it was running so much better on hackintosh but there was an issue with the Vaio that you could only use external monitors rather than the internal screen which meant it wasn’t viable to gig with.
    So this got Apple/OSX on my radar.
    I wanted a unibody model but also liked the portability of the 13inch size, and when apple then released the 13inch unibody models I jumped on it and still using it now (Mid 2009).
    The difference apart from the VSL improvement is that its now my everyday laptop as well as DJin with and I don’t have the same worry about virus/spyware etc… Its been solid since I got it and now have added a SSD drive which has boosted the performance so still not looking to upgrade it so it was worth the initial price, although if someone gave me the new retina model I would happily switch 😉
    I dont see how I could be tempted back to buying a windows based laptop again, even my other half is hooked on apple after getting her an macbook air for crimbo.

  • datguyspider

    I use a mid 2010 13inch macbook pro….running Lion.
    I use it for djing,recording, and editing my mixes.
    As far as why i bought this laptop…well I believe apple provides the most stable OS. That was the major reason behind me going the mac route. Honestly the fact that mac laptops in most cases have better resale value also pushed me in that direction. Getting a mac also gave me more peace of mind as far as being able to use my laptop for more than just djing. Especially as I’m limited to only having one machine at a time. I’m also a fan of only having to download serato once and have all the necessary drivers installed automatically. Too many times i’ve seen other djs not be able to play because they don’t have the right drivers on their pc for whichever serato box is being used that night. But that could also be chalked up to laziness. Guess the bottom line is use whatever you think is best for you…..

  • I take a Sony VAIO (Windows XP) with me to gigs.

    I’ve had it years, and it was never bought specifically for DJing. It’s not even used for DJing now!

    It goes to gigs with me because I use it as a song search/browse/database, cos the screens on my decks are inadequate for the task. It also acts as a backup. If any part of my main playout kit dies, I can switch to playing from the laptop in a few seconds.

    It’s also got various DJ and production s/w on it, so even if the DJ s/w fails I can use another.

    Years ago, when I was using PCDJ Red as my main playback source, I took out a 4U rackmount PC. The first ran a stripped down Windows 2000, and the second was XP I think (may have been Vista – eurgh).

    Chose rack mount over laptop at that time due to ruggedness, CPU power, pro sound card inside, ability to upgrade and bigger hard drives – which were in caddies, so I could whip out the drive and update the songs by putting the caddy into my main PC.

    Only ever bought one Mac – a Mini. Couldn’t stand the OS, so it’s now got XP on it and running as a NAS.

  • sgb

    2012 15″ Macbook pro with the upgraded resolution screen (i.e., getting closer to retina). I love the build quality of the Macbook Pros, even though I really don’t take it anywhere. The reason I use a mac is simple – I want to get the job done and not fight the tools. I don’t have anything against windows (and linux), which I’ve used all my life, but when I have to spend hours making sure the firewall is configured correctly, all unnecessary services are turned off, and so forth, then I’m wasting my time. As cliche as it sounds, time is money for me because I get paid based on how much actual work I do.

    Downsides though – 2 USB ports is simply not enough, and one of the USB ports is finicky. For example, my IamaKey USB drive only works in one of the ports (its a power issue). I’m probably going to swap out the optical drive with a SSD drive at some point, this (ideally) will prevent me from needing a backup laptop.

  • Laptop hp 2004-2006 . Since 2006 I build a shuttle small factor pc and a media center pc with windows 7. 5tb drives each loaded with videos and mp3. 22 INCH display. I7 and Gtx 560, make me the fastest dvj in my town, I work full weekends doing weddings and I think laptops are difficult to fix after warranty. The cash you pay do not deserve the less weight you carry

  • Jared Helfer

    I use a Windows machine. Right now I have a 17″ Asus G71G which I love, but it’s just too big for me to justify carrying around. I recently purchased a customized Sager NP9150 as an upgrade to get Ivory Bridge and a TON of internal storage. The cost, also, while high for a Windows machine, is not attainable on a Mac platform for anything resembling a realistic price.

    I just think the barrier for entry on MBPro’s are too high. I know they work, but realistically I either don’t need what they include (Retina display) or need more for less (hard drive space and ram).

  • sinjintek

    for the past decade, i’ve primarily used Apple computers for all my DJ needs… and during this entire time I’ve never failed to keep instances of the same software also installed on a Windows machine as well, it allows me to compare for each new revision, as well as better assist my PC using friends whenever they have issues or questions.

    how did i end up on an Apple computer? well, it was a 50/50 decision, split between my need for digital graphic programs and my strong desire to get my DVS working (i had Final Scratch, had almost no success in using it for about 3 years using an IBM Thinkpad, a Sony Vaio and a Toshiba Portege portable desktop). Once Native Instruments joined up with Stanton, we got away from Linux …and suddently OSX was an option. Having just bought my first iBook for artschool, i figured “why not?”. well, it worked… for the first time ever. (in the meantime, i had also purchased Serato Scratch Live, which worked well on my PCs …but it performed considerably cleaner on my iBook).

    to this day, i still continue to prefer Apple for my DJ software… but time has taught me this is more due to the OS than anything else. Apple hardware is impressive, but it’s mostly impressive in the marriage between the OS and the hardware… it’s far less a hassle than constantly trying to locate proper drivers, rolling back updates every time you hit a snag because something doesn’t jive. in recent years i’ve experimented with installing OSX onto PC machines and have been quite impressed with the results (yes, low latency with some of the latest versions of Traktor …i’ve scribbled, scratched and scrubbed to my heart’s content and will wholeheartedly tell you that it runs better than Windows on the same machine).

    Unfortunately, i think i may fall under that group of “typically fanboyish” people who aren’t very happy with the new Macbook Pros… i simply do not like that we’ve been blocked from manually maintaining or upgrading our hardware. i’m not a rich man, i don’t buy Apple products for status… they’re investments, and these investments require me to scrimp, save, and prioritize my budget. now i feel as if i’m being strongarmed into a situation were i’m expected to purchase new instead of merely upgrading to extend the life of my notebook.

    do i think i *must* have an Apple notebook for DJing? no, of course not… i’m no stranger to recommending or even setting up users with Windows machines. however, my choice of Operating System is without-a-doubt OS X (retail or hacked, same difference).

  • Apple is the most stable for sure. But it sounds like they’ve made these new laptops very difficult to service and upgrade.

    Also more screen resolution wouldn’t do me any good, since I basically use the laptop to show me a list of songs.


  • I’m running a 13″ MacBook Pro (mid-2010) with OS X Lion.
    Before I got it I’ve used a 15″ Acer TravelMate, 10″ Asus Eee PC, and a 13″ Sony Vaio. All with Windows XP.
    I got the Apple because I had to do much work on the Windows notebooks for making them stable. Also backups are a big PITA if you don’t use 3rd party software. Another reason for the MBP was it’s reputation in the DJ community and the amazing build quality.
    The only thing I regret is the amount of time and money I spent on the Windows machines so I wish I’d made the switch much earlier.

    If you would ask me for the perfect DJ computer it would be…

    13.3″ MacBook Pro with the new glossy, less glare display but with a resolution of 1440×900
    (can’t believe that a 13″ MacBook Air has a higher resolution than the MacBook Pro!)
    – about 2.6GHz quad core Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge CPU
    – integrated Intel 4000 graphics
    – 8GB DDR3 1600MHz SDRAM (upgradeable to 16GB max.)
    – user-replaceable 512GB SSD (I’m having a Crucial at that size and I love it)
    – left side ports:
    — 1x Gbit Ethernet
    — 1x FireWire 800
    — 1x Thunderbolt
    — 2x USB3
    — combined analog/optical audio jack
    – right hand side ports:
    — 2x USB3
    — 1x Thunderbolt
    — SD card slot
    – the same thickness as the current 13″ MBP (0.97inch)
    – no optical drive
    – use the extra space for a state-of-the-art cooling system that suits the quad-core CPU and is as quiet as possible
    – of course: AirPlay mirroring, PowerNap, and all the other cool stuff

    I would pay up to $1,500 for that baby!

  • Oh… I forgot to answer some of the questions above 🙂

    I used the Windows notebooks for DJing only and still had some stability issues.
    The Acer died after a gig (internal power supply stopped working and killed the main board).
    The Sony died during a small party (hard disk died).
    The Eee PC worked well but the specs weren’t good enough for SSL 2.x and the display was a little too small.

    The MBP was supposed to be for DJ use only too but now it’s pretty much my main computer. All of the other computers (including my high-spec desktop PC) are used for gaming, producing, video editing or as servers.

    About updates:
    I update my software with every new release but with OS X I wait until it hits 10.x.1.

    About backups:
    I’m running a 1TB Time Capsule and every now and then I backup my whole SSD to an external drive using Carbon Copy Cloner.

  • I decided to go for the HP folio 13, i5 128 ssd. I run traktor on it, using two vinyl decks and two live decks set to pass through hidden behind. I also run it with an x1.

    I can understand why people want more screen estate, but for me it works.

  • Dj Stu-C

    ive got a 2010 macbook pro 13 for using with serato. im not a mac fanboy i like both OS(cant speak for linux as never used it) and i have windows xp installed on a partition that ill be upgrading to windows 7 or 8 soon. like i say i find all this arguing slightly childish(very childish). both OS have good points and while i admit the mac stuff can look nicer and the features work nicer(maybe not better but easier) i think the options open to microsoft computers is a lot better.

    so all in all im firmly sat on the fence

  • I’m running a 15″ MacBook Pro (Late-2010) with OS X Mountain Lion Beta.
    15″ MacBook Pro with a resoluion of 1440×900
    – Processor 2.53 GHz Intel duo Core i5
    – Memory 8 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
    – 8GB DDR3 1600MHz SDRAM
    – 512GB SSD
    – I removed the optical drive and replaced it with 750GB Hybrid drive
    – Ethernet
    -1x FireWire 800
    – 2x USB
    – SD card slot
    – Line-In
    – Headphone Jack
    Value = $2000.00

    My Dream Machine would be…
    15″ MacBook Pro (2012) with OS X Mountain Lion
    Processor 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz
    MacBook Pro 15-inch Hi-Res Antiglare Widescreen Display
    Hard Drive 512GB Solid State Drive
    Replace optical drive and it with 512GB Solid State Drive
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    – Ethernet
    -1x FireWire 800
    – 2x USB
    – SD card slot
    – Line-In
    – Headphone Jack
    Value = $3,549.00

    • Dj Stu-C

      does the value matter??? you have added it like its a feature of the machine

    • Dj Stu-C

      sorry forgot to add you wont need to replace the optical drive on the 2012 mbp as it doesnt have one installed

      • I just stated the price so I can know how much it hurt me to shell out the money for that MBP and I wouldn’t buy a MBP w/ Retina display as of yet. it’s way to expensive. for what it’s worth. It’s Cheaper to buy a Regular 2012 Macbook Pro with 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz and upgrade the Ram and the Hard Drive to an SDD yourself it’s way Cheaper, but ssshhhh don’t Apple.

  • whitewulfe

    At present, I’m running my old desktop gaming rig, which, admittedly, isn’t the best of choices (AMD Athlon64 X2 6400+, 8GB of DDR2, and a somewhat horrid Asus board, model I can’t quite remember), but I’m looking at picking up one of the Rain LiveBooks. (or, maybe, an Asus G74…)

    I would contemplate switching to a Macbook Pro, but after 20 years of using PCs, certain specific keyboard shortcuts are definitely hard coded in my head, and having to press the equivalent of the ALT key for most shortcuts drives me up the wall (since the Apple command key is where the ALT key is on a PC). OSX just seems to handle audio and MIDI routing so much better than Windows, but the keyboard shortcuts being totally different completely messes with my head… (I rarely use a mouse, keyboard controls and commands if at all possible thanks to repetitive strain in both wrists)

    • Dj Stu-C

      midi controller then you wont need to touch the keyboard??? ive got a denon serato controller and its great

  • I have a 2010 Asus N-series (15″) with a 1st gen Core i7 mobile processor and 4GB of memory for DJ’ing.

    It is not only used for deejaying, I use it for writing music in Reason and recording in Soundforge as well. I also spend a lot of time on it online (just wasting time as well as downloading music). It’s been an amazing machine at any price, but for the $1,049 I paid for it is has been nothing less than phenomenal (not to mention you couldn’t get the CPU or memory I have in a Macbook Pro for SIX MONTHS after I bought my notebook and when you finally could the notebook cost more than twice what mine cost new).

    Soon I am upgrading my DJ notebook to a Samsung Series 7 (15″), as soon as the Ivy Bridge CPU’s are released. I didn’t realize how big the Asus was when I ordered it and I love the innovation of the Samsung putting 8GB of flash memory on the mobo to give users SSD-like performance without having to have an SSD. When I do I think I’m going to use my Asus as a desktop replacement in my studio as I have been procrastinating upgrading that machine for years. The ASUS works great but since I have to replace the old recording desktop soon it just makes more sense to go get the most badass notebook you can for deejaying (the Samsung) and move this Asus into the studio. I kinda like the idea of having a mobile studio workstation too.

  • MacBook Pro, if you go with anything less, you’ll always end up chasing after the best.

  • mac but i only like the os

  • I’m using a custom built Windows 7 laptop with Intel i7 and 8Gb RAM. I won’t be touching with Apple as I can get better specs for less money and, thanks to working for an IT firm, can maintain my system to be just as stable as any Macbook.

    • MrKD

      The whole range of hardware that Lenovo are dropping with massive spec but not hard on the £ in your pocket is looking like it is going to get a really good foothold in the computer market.

      Check it out:

      • Have a look at PC Specialist mate. They’re the guys that built mine. You choose the components and they’ll set it up to your specs and deliver you a laptop that will kick serious ass! Great customer service too and not to wallet intensive. Mine’s a 15″ with i7 (3820QM, 2.7 GHz), 8 GB Kingston Hyper-X Genesis 1600MHz RAM and NVIDIA GeForce 1GB Vid RAM. Only cost me £1300, which is £200 cheaper than the cheapest new Macbook yet a heapload more powerful.
        Unlike a lot of people, I’m not willing to spend £1000 on an Apple shaped LED on the cover!

    • If you are an IT Guy, you should agree with me that OSX is the most stable operating system because it’s designed and optimized around it’s hardware. You will never reach the same stability with Windows, nor with Linux. This are operating systems which must keep compatilibily with infinitive hardware options.

      It doesn’t matter what’s your hardware specs you have.

      It’s like dressing a a suit specifically designed on your body, rather than a t-shirt.

      This is my modest opinion though

      • Not at all. The stability is down to how your machine is set up and how you maintain it. In keeping with your suit analogy, Windows can be expertly tailored to your hardware specifications by someone with enough experience, much like any well made suit.

        Don’t get me wrong. Many people want their DJ laptop to just work straight out of the box, and that’s cool. In those cases, Apple is indeed the better idea. Especially for those less technically experienced in IT. But for people armed with the know-how, there’s no difference apart from personal preference. The idea that anyone SHOULD think a certain way is, frankly, ridiculous.

        • LysaDizzle

          I agree with Carl… the stability of the OS depends on how YOU set up your machine… good info, Carl!

  • I use an ASUS G74SX laptop
    2nd gen intel i7-2630qm cpu
    16gb DDR3 ram memory
    Dual Samsung Solid state hard drives 512gbs each
    Nvidia GeForce GTX 560M 3GB GDDR5 Memory
    17″ 3D LCD Display
    Backlit keyboard
    Windows 7 64bit

    I love the power this laptop offers, the only thing I hate is the bulky size of it. The thing reminds me of an old school American muscle car, tough bulky looks with lots of power. At the time I bought this laptop Apple didn’t even offer i7 cpus in their laptops, I was disappointed by their specs. I needed power and that’s what this laptop gave me. I’m not an apple hatter, I own 3 iPads and 2 iPod touch but I feel macs are so underpowered compared to their price.
    In the near future I plan on upgrading the CPU to a higher spec.

  • BelgianJungleSound

    Hey Giz, why did you delete the comment by that guy who had an IBM laptop or something?

    • It was a triple post. 2 weren’t needed.

      • BelgianJungleSound

        Can’t find it at all anymore…

      • arkaei

        @Mark: I’m pretty sure I only submitted my post (the one about my IBM setup) only once, it’s a shame you deleted it. Perhaps you should check your back-end? Is it okay if I re-post it?

        • I fixed it. There was a paginate comments setting, and it was hardly obvious that there were pages of comments. All comment now appear on one page. I was also confused about the deleted comment – it was someone else’s that appeared 3 times.

  • Macbook Pro intel i7 Quad Core, 8GB Ram 1333Mhz, SSD 512GB, ATI Grahics 1GB DDR5

    Software: Traktor Scratch Pro 2.5, Maschine, Ableton.

    Apple all of my life!

  • something that will suit my needs without overpaying because its a fashion or status statement

  • KLH

    Dedicated Dell D630 Core2Duo 2GHz, 2GB RAM, 7200rpm laptop running Windows XPsp3. I run Traktor Pro 2 (testing 2.5) and the Traktor Kontrol S4 controller. I use iTunes for track management. It’s worked great for years now. I love it.



    Prior to this, I converted a borrowed i3 Dell (which I’d been DJing with already) into a Hackintosh and was surprised that Serato actually ran a hell of a lot more smoothly. (More stably? Not sure. It performed admirably with any stress tests I put it through, but I didn’t trust that setup too much.) That pretty much sold me on Macs as my next system immediately.

    I was planning to wait for the inevitable Retina announcement, but I saw this for $980 and impulse bought it. No regrets. When I’m using my Novation Twitch my entire setup, excluding speakers, fits easily in my backpack, and Serato is now rock solid and fast. The only thing I use OS X for is Serato, everything else I’m running on Windows 7. Love it.

    I’m not terribly knowledgeable about computers, and I do all my gaming on consoles and handhelds, so I’m glad that something will just run well so I can focus on the music. Adobe CS5.5 is running great on the Windows end of things, too, so my art projects are also handled. I don’t feel like I paid a lot for this thing, either. What else is there to ask for? 😀

  • As I said in the other thread, I have an HP EliteBook 8440p which is rugged (Dept. of Defense approved) not bulky, has a really nice 1600×900 screen (with abient lighting detection,) dedicated nVidia NVS graphics, webcam, keyboard light, and most importantly, just about every connector you could want. In my case, the Firewire (for my SCS.1 system,) and eSATA (for my external RAID-1 HD housing my music,) were a must, as was the built-in smart card reader (no more passwords!) Oh, and I got it from HP’s refurbished store online for just $650!

    I run Debian Linux with a realtime-patched kernel (for low-latency audio) and DJ with Mixxx using mostly FLAC files and it works great.

  • GameOver

    HP 530
    Core Duo 2.16
    2 GB RAM
    120 GB HDD
    Win XP SP3

    This is a dedicated dj laptop. I have been using it for 4 years, only with Serato and NEVER had a problem. I’m running the latest 2.4.1 version.

    Don’t believe the hype, Just take care of your laptop 🙂

  • To update this after a few days – it’s interesting how the tides have turned over the years. I ran much the same thing a few years back, and Windows just had the edge. Now it’s a clear lead for OS X – 60% vs 34%. And iOS is beating Linux too. And media only DJs are clearly a dying breed.

    Loving the comments and the intelligent tone. This had flame war written all over it so thanks for your constructive feedback. Keep it coming!

    • How many respondants though?

      • 826 so far. Enough for the larger results to be representative I feel. Could still go ether way on Linux, iOS and Android though. I plan to keep it running and keep promoting it on social media too.

        • I think what you will find is most media only deejays, and most full time working deejays for that matter, don’t spend much time on sites like these, especially taking the time to vote in polls.

          Of all the deejays I know around here almost 100% of the house/techno deejays still play CD (and a couple of them vinyl) only. All that play hip hop, top 40, mashups, etc almost use Scratch Live exclusively. It really all depends on who you are asking. I think if you were only asking pros the percentage that uses OSX would be higher (as compared to Windows anyways, but it might still go down overall) as would the percentage that uses physical media only.

  • When I first converted to DJ-ing with a computer (in 2007) I just used my existing computer:
    Dell Precision M90, 17″ Windows XP, 2GB RAM, 120GB Hard Disk with an external usb selfpowered HD.

    I was somewhat reluctant to go the the “laptop route” and did a fair bit of resrearch before converting. Coming from a background of vinyl, Scratch Live seem like the best option for me.
    I wanted a easy reliable system to just plug & play. I checked around with a few fellow DJs in my city and found that they all were using Scratch Live, so I went with it. (Rane SL1)

    After a year of playing the monstrous Dell, I switched in 2008 for a 15″ Apple MacBookPro 4,1 Mac OS X 10.5.8 Leopard 2GB RAM, 320GB Hard Disk, as Macs are known run Scratch Live effortlessly. In my experience, this has also been the case. On the old XP machine a did have more issues. Mostly down to library management.
    I later upgraded the MBP to 4GB Ram and 1TB internal drive.

    I since then bought Ableton Live 8 for preproduction mixes (fashion show mainly) – running it on the MBP. Also updated to the Rane Sixty Eight and the SL4.

    As I have a background in motion graphics Im looking into VJing, and recently bought a 17″ Apple MacBook Pro 8,3 (Late 2011), Mac OS X 10.7.3 Lion, 8GB RAM, 500GB SSD internal for the purpose.

    I also own a Dell M-6500, Windows 7 (64 bit) 8GB RAM, Nvidia Quadro Graphics that costs about the double of my 17″ MBP, so In general Id say you do get what you pay for, whether its a PC or a MAC…

  • I think a very good choice for a DJ laptop is to look in business segment. Those notebooks are manufactured with great conectivity (3x USB), usually have rigid body and matte screen. This is a reason why I have choosen to purchase Lenovo X201. Its 12″ so it is really portable and light notebook and, 1280×800 display is sufficient for SSL and Traktor and I am sure it won’t let me down for several years.

    Also as somebody mentioned that Apple OS is more stable because its tailored to specific HW, thats not true. It is already years when Apple quit PC components development and switched to Intel platform. The reason why Apple OS seem more stable is that it covers only 20% of OS of market and that means its not in the aim of hackers and virus programmers as much as Windows.

    • I personally put stability down to Apple only having to make it work on a limited number of computers. The configurations they have to check it with is extremely limited. Compare this to the tens and possibly hundreds of PC manufacturers, with all manner of motherboards, graphics cards and suchlike.

      • You’re both right.

        Well, assuming OSX is actually more “stable” (which in my experience it isn’t).

        • BelgianJungleSound

          Reminds me of my friend saying that he had had no problems with his Mac Mini at all, the day after iTunes had crashed 3 or 4 times in a row for no reason (there were no background apps or anything, we checked). OSX is more stable as long as you have a selective memory. That said, I wrote this on my parent’s macbook 😛

          • It’s funny, my good friend is a full blown Apple fanboy. But he knows NOTHING about computers. All he ever says is how good Macs are, except he’s has major problems with his PowerMac G5 as well as his new 27″ iMac (not to mention horror stories from the “service” he received from AppleCare, which he paid a bit extra for). When I’m in his studio and we’re checking things out stuff crashes all the time. And this is an i7 iMac with 12GB of memory! Nothing Apple can/will do to him will change the perception of their products that he has committed to. He’s not the only one and for Apple that is a very good place to be.

  • I’m not a mac hater, the things run audio great I can totally see why it proffered by people who do audio related stuff. I would buy one in a heart beat if they were not under powered.
    There is one thing I hate about mac users, they are not very knowledgeable about computers. They say their macs are great but can’t give me the specs of their mac. Every time I ask one for the specs of their macs they give me the year it was manufactured. Oh its a 2010 Macbook Pro, I’m like WTF?? Is it a damn car?
    I always tell them how macs became PCs with apple software when they switched to intel CPUs and they don’t get that either. Just go look at your pretty mac =) God I wish my Asus was as pretty as a mac, I just can’t live without the power.

  • nurve

    I bought a cheap dell inspiron 1545 with vista 32bit, 3gb ram and intel core duo 2.2ghz puerly for recording sets and a basic editing duties as my studio desktop and decks were in diff locations. Then decided to try traktor scratch pro which worked brilliantly with the dell. That was until upgrading to tsp2. Very under powered for it and thought my only option was to invest in a macbook. A friend suggested i configured a custom laptop with pc specialist. I quickly discovered that my dollar was gonna get eaten up by the unibody of the mac and lack in everything under the hood. For a measley 760 quid i got 15.6″ full hd screen, 2.0ghz quad i7, 8gb 1333mhz samsung ram, 500gb momentus XT hybrid harddrive and 4 usb ports. This now has hooked up to it an audio 10, 2 X1’s and a Pmc 05 IV and using timecode and sample decks and it doesnt even flinch at 5.1 ms latency. Saved myself a grand. I do find a amusing seeing nippers with their macbook pro 17″ running bit torrent obviously keeping their wallet very happy and their fellow djs and producers… not so much.

    • I also have a cheap $400 Dell Inspiron 1545 which I use for my sets. Been rockin it for 3 years now. It works fine and has never failed me. Before that I used a cheap $400 Acer Aspire laptop. I gave that one to my girl, but I rocked that for 2 years before I bought the Dell. That laptop has never failed me either, and I can still use it to play out after 5 years of use and abuse. The Dell fell from the back of an SUV when I forgot to close the bag. It suffered some cosmetic damage, but the screen remained intact and it still works without any hiccups. Both run XP and neither one of those laptops are “dedicated”. I use them for everything. DJing, editing and remixing, design & illustration, surfing, gaming– You name it!

      Most users and DJs (IMHO) don’t need an uber-expensive computer these days, because when it comes down to it, the applications are available cross-platform and even cheap laptops these days are well within the specs of whichever application they’re running.


    Not an apple hater, promise, just good info to keep in mind

  • qubes

    well I just got a Samsung series 7note book im new to this is this a good one to use…

    • Samsung Series 7’s all have Nvidia video cards I think, and those tend to cause latency issues, and you’ll need to do a bit of optimization, but aside from that a new Series 7 with a 3rd generation Core i5 or i7 CPU is about as good as it gets with a Windows machine to use for deejaying. Good purchase!

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  • Weaver2

    To me it really comes down to screen resolution. If you use Traktor, specifically an S4 with all 4 decks, I feel claustrophobic and constrained in anything less than a 1080p resolution screen. I’ve seen people DJ with 14″ laptops at 720p and I have no idea how they’re comfortable like that.

    This is largely due to the relatively poor layout Traktor has (at least in terms of space conservation). Basically, I like being able to see my browser AND what all 4 decks are doing instead of having to pop the browser up and down.

    This is all pragmatic, personal preference. I also see people claiming that 17″ laptops are too heavy… it literally adds like an extra pound to your gear, so unless you’re grossly out of shape or you’re hiking like 45 minutes with all your gear to where you’re playing (you could probably just call a cab) I wouldn’t really say it’s a big deal.

    But really, the unfortunate truth to all of this is you just have to do what works for you. I’ve met people who balk at anything under 15″ in a laptop as being too small for them, I’ve met people who would never go bigger than 13″ (specifically when their booth space is tight).

    My best advice to anyone looking is to not rush it and go to stores and play with the laptops to see what you think is what YOU want. There is no one perfect laptop, only perfect laptops; because everyone has different needs and requirements.

  • John Turner

    Hi – I am using an ancient Dell laptop with VirtualDJ, it works fine as it just has XP and V-DJ, trouble is I get a hum – as we use this for mainly teaching dance it is quire anoying as we ue the PA for instruction with radio mikes. I am sure it is the PC as when I unplug it from the system the hum stops. I need to upgrade, I bought an old Mac to try but was told they are fragile and don’t like being bounced about in the back of vans (It will spend a lot of time doing this) also they are expensive and ther is no sofware available for the one I boughtand I ought to buy a solid state hard drive as most of the interferance comes from this. Has any one gt an opinion? Thanks John

    • I personally recommend Mac over PC, and it seems to be the platform of pro audio people, including DJs who travel a lot too. I totally recommend solid state drives too. So quick, and one less moving part to go wrong.

      I understand the fragile comment on older Macs, but not now. I’ve had RAM chips dislodged from a single drop in the past, but given that the RAM is soldered to the motherboard on Macbook Airs, that can’t happen.

      • John Turner

        Thanks Mark, I may take a plunge into the Mac market….

    • KeepEmDancin

      The hum you are experiencing is caused by a ground loop, and electronic phenomena caused by your laptop power supply’s interaction with your sound amplification equipment. There are two ways to cure this. You can simply put an adaptor on your three prong plug on your laptop power supply to make it a two prong plug, thereby breaking the ground loop. You will get the same results by using the adaptor on your sound equipment, but do not bypass the ground on it. I REPEAT! DO NOT LIFT THE GROUND ON YOUR SOUND EQUIPMENT. Your computer operates on about 20 volts of electricity which is stepped down from 110 volts at the power adapter. Your sound equipment, depending on the manufacturer and/or model, may be energized throughout its circuitry up to 110 volts. If a short occurs without the ground in place it could impose a dangerous shock hazard. One other option is to purchase a Rocketfish power adapter which comes with a phased plug that is without a ground, thereby eliminating the cause of your ground loop.
      Good Luck!

  • Guillermo Dieguez

    I always used Windows on my laptop! I also tried to DJ on a Mac, and it was great too. My laptop never crashed, and it’s almost a year that I have it, so I’m not planning to change it anytime soon

  • DJBooSounds

    I have been using an HP net book since 2010 for DJing, it runs Traktor LE well enough and rarely had issues with crashing – when I have, it has been either self inflicted (ie, didn’t turn off the auto restart after an update – so not a crash as such) or when I’ve asked it load too much in one hit, ie a pre-mixed track.
    However, I am now moving out of that and am totally stuck and confused as to what I should go for. I have Numark mixtrack pro controller and want to upgrade software and laptop… so any suggestion directly to this post will really help – otherwise I’m gonna browse what has been written.

  • DJ Mad Butcher

    How do i Tranfer my file crates from the older verion of Serato SL 1 1.8 verision to the newer verision 2.5? i se the info in Serato backup files however how do i get the files and info i see to function and keep its order of Music information? without me having to do it all over again? can any one help me with this info?

    • Khy Boogie

      just copy the serato folder files in your cusersusernamemusic folder to the same location. if you’re upgrading the software on the same machine you dont have to do anything

  • StellaRagazzo
  • aleks

    So I was looking at the hp elite 8440 and its got speed and power.. But is it a good purchase? Btw I found it on CL. 170$.
    Its my first time starting out so I want something lasting and will be easy to use..

  • Scott

    I have 3 laptops: 2 Dells and an Asus. I was fed up with Windows, and installed Linux on each. One of the Dells only has 1 gb of RAM, and it is still incredibly fast with Linux. The better Dell (the best of all 3) is now Superman fast. I found Mixxx, which is a free open source install for Linux, to be even better than Virtual DJ, which I used for years on Windows. I could not be happier with my switch.

  • Khy Boogie

    i have many dells, had hp before, an older macbook, always been a pc tech so makes sense to me, didn’t like mac, but can’t remember issues with scratch live and sl1 then, fast forward, rane 57, sl3/rane 62, win 8.1, win 10, serato dj, multiple issues and crashes and drops, going home to install a win 7 setup, an ubuntu set up, with mixx on both as well as scratch live and serato dj to compare and on and on and old 32bit compaq as well as the newer 64bit dells…