First let’s consider the demands placed on our hardware…
In today’s world many people take playing videos on their computer for granted, thinking any computer should be able to do it easily. Well, this may be true for things like streaming Netflix or watching a YouTube video. Those streams are highly compressed and have very small bitstreams (avg. 3.5 MB/s) so yes most general-purpose PC’s can handle that easily. However, we are working with files directly from the content producer. These files not only have minimal compression, but they are also presented at much greater resolution and color depth. This can result in bitstreams that measure in the hundreds of megabits, or for the very large, over a gig!
Keep in mind that single PCI bus lane on most laptops are PCIe 3.0 which can only handle 985 MB/s and they must also accommodate, at the same time, many other data packets not just the ones coming from our video.
Modern systems typically have at least 16 lanes but the number of lanes available on the chipset and CPU can vary greatly and bottleneck’s can and do form. When they do our video stream can end up being stalled and/or data packets lost. This results in glitchy playback at best and not being able to maintain correct framerate at worst.
So, establishing what is a suitable minimum component standard can be difficult. We of course recommend using full desktop units with high quality components that are optimized by their manufacture for performance. But we also know that most of you want the convenience of a laptop. Well, the thing about laptops are they are primarily designed for efficiency and minimal power usage. Plus, there is no real standardization. You could have two systems, from two different manufacturers, both advertising the exact same internal components, but potentially exhibit much different performance levels.
Other than bitstream sizes there are several other stresses the system undergoes. Such as very large storage requirements and large memory usage when more and more files are pre-buffered for instant access and playback.
Let’s not also forget the considerable changes the operating system goes through any time a program is installed sometimes having to make configuration changes to its own subsystems. These changes can have unforeseen consequences for us down the road.
With all that said, we cannot give any sort of guarantee as to will work best for your situation but we can at least give you a starting point to work from.
Intel i7 8th Generation or greater (10 Core or greater i9 or Gen 10 thru 12 preferred.)
AMD Radeon HD 3000 or greater.
500Gb or greater (1Tb M.2 type design preferred.)
Minium 16Gb but 32Gb or greater is preferred.
Must have dedicated GPU (not just an integrated CPU one):
Nvidia GTX 1080 based GPU or greater (Quadro preferred.)
AMD Radeon HD 3000 or greater (Pro versions preferred.)
Windows 10 Pro build 20H1 or greater or Win 10 LTSC build 1809 or greater.
As noted above there are way too many variables associated with the playing of high-resolution video material. However, we can say that you can never have enough computing power. So please consider that when working in the very demanding and competitive world of event productions, performance and reliability should greatly outweigh any sort of budgetary concerns.