Help with projection setup and hardware configuration

 Hello all!

By way of an introduction, my name is Neal and our church has been using EasyWorship 7 now for a year or two; recently we upgraded to a dual-screen setup with an HDMI splitter going to wireless HDMI transmitters.  I'm starting to suspect that the laptop we had purchased not too long before that for just a single 1080p projection run is no longer sufficient.

I've spent a couple of hours trying to suss out system requirements and translating between nVidia and AMD, and figured I'd just post my needs and hope that somebody has experience with any of what I'm trying to accomplish.  So here goes:

We currently run a Lenovo IdeaPad 3500U (4-cores / 8-threads), 256 GB SSD, with 8GB of RAM and Vega 8 integrated graphics.  We utilize the single HDMI output to a splitter that feeds two identical HDMI transmitters for a dual-screen setup at FoH.  We do not utilize any moving backgrounds, or 4K content.  Due to some odd hiccups I'm investigating whether the older Vega 8 is possibly becoming a bottleneck.  Some questions that I have about this:

1.  As far as I can tell, an HDMI splitter doesn't tax the computer in any way as it is only copying the digital signal; is this accurate?

2.  If we are experiencing odd lag issues both on the output (transitioning between slides), and in the software (loading songs into playlist), is it possible that is a function of an overloaded iGPU?  I struggle to believe that a Zen+ 4-core/8-thread CPU is struggling...but Zen+ @ 12nm is getting long in the tooth haha

3.  If it is potentially necessary to upgrade to a better laptop (which is a must over a desktop as we are a mobile church that sets up and breaks down every Sunday), are there any recommendations for a laptop with multiple video outputs in the event we want to use the fold-back feature of EasyWorship for a confidence monitor?

Honestly, I'm really looking for some help and perspective with this.  I'm a techie that loves this stuff, but I know I lack the experience in this particular regard.  So, if you have any recommendations or slap-forehead moments while reading this please let me know!

Much obliged!


The way I look at it is you should approach a laptop differently than you would a desktop. With a desktop you can easily replace the graphics chip if necessary and sell the old card which makes a graphic update fairly simple and not that expensive. With a laptop you basically have to replace the entire laptop. With that in mind you really have to over spec a laptop to some extent due to the cost of upgrading while you can take more of a chance with a desktop.

And just so we are all clear, we do use the Foldback screen with our main system in our sanctuary, and have even streamed from that same computer using OBS. We don't use a Foldback screen with the laptops in our childrens area as they don't support the additional display outputs. Just want to make sure we are all on the same page.

I think the 3060 would be an excellent choice and well worth the additional cost 

Very interesting.  I believe we upgraded from some version of EW that we bought literally back in 2002.  So the jump for us was absolutely massive.  I was one of those people that had no clue about the software's requirements, so the assumption was made that any recent iGPU would suffice after my experience with the version from circa 2002.

I've been agonizing tonight over whether I should spend the extra ~$170 to get a 3060 laptop (140W max variant) because the increase in performance seems to far outstrip the roughly 20% increase in price, but that's literally because I don't want to get caught out with this next laptop like I did buying the 3500U + Vega 8 laptop 2½ years ago for the very old version of EW...and then upgrading to EW7 and realizing my mistake.

I did manage to find a Gigabyte A5 laptop with a Ryzen 5 5600H, 16GB DD4, 512 GB PCIe SSD and a 3060 laptop (140W) for $1,100.  That seems to me to be just about the best bang for my buck, knowing that if we ever decided to do fancy motion stuff, or (possibly) second output, it could handle it with no problem. It even has a mini DP 1.4 to go with the HDMI 2.0. Given the choice, and your overall experience with EW (which far outstrips mine), which would you go for?

The 970 exceeds the specs of the 1050 and the 1650. I would expect the 3050Ti laptop chip to be able to handle any 1080p load that EW will throw at it for the usable life of that laptop. I used my personal GTX 970 on our Church's old Sandy Bridge computer to run the later releases of EW that needed the more powerful graphics and it handled it just fine. The old Sandy Bridge 4 core (i5 2500) began to show it's age after 8 years of use, but the 970 held up just fine. We used transitions, motion backgrounds, play back high res. 1080p (and even some 4k) video content without issue. We were sending out to 1080p displays tho.The only exception was 4k Main 10 video content, but that is a fluke really. The GTX950, 960, 980, all of the GTX 10 and 16 series, and all of the RTX 20 and 30 series cards support 4k Main 10 video playback, but not the 970 which makes it an outlier. Even the lowly GT1030 can playback 4k Main 10. Unless you switch to sending out full 4k signals to 4k displays you shouldn't have a problem.

And I'm still using it in my 5950x system.

The system requirements lists the 1050 as a starting point, and the 970 is about 40% faster or more powerful than the 1050 so you should be safe.

That could change if EW throws us a curve with the next version of EW which I will tentatively refer to as EW8 like they did going from EW2009 to EW6 when they spent the entire development cycle stating that the requirements for 6 would be the same as 2009, then changed that when 6 dropped. There hasn't been any announcements about it other than they are always working on improving EW. What caught a log of people out was even though EW hasn't support integrated Intel graphics for as long as I remember (that's back to EW2007), some people decided to do it anyway with mixed results. That would somewhat work with 480 and 720 displays up thru EW2009, once EW6 dropped that pretty much was limited to 480p or 1024 x 768 resolutions. The latest EW7 has even killed that which is why our Children's and Youth departments still use with their Thinkpads.

In your opinion, with a laptop 3050 Ti slotting in somewhere around a desktop GTX 970 (which appears to be below recommended for specs for EW7), how long would you estimate we'd be able to maintain 1080p projection moving forward?  Because we made such a massive jump in one go (EW2 to EW7) I'm not sure how things progressed from a hardware needs perspective.

I have some leeway to not just settle for what will be sufficient now, so I want to make sure I set ourselves up for the long haul, while also allowing room to grow.  What if we wanted to incorporate more backgrounds / transitions?  Dynamic stuff?  Video playback?  Would a 3050 Ti hold up for more than a couple of years?

I have 2 Gen 3 NVME's in my 3900x system and a 2.5" SATA in the one at Church, my 5950x system, and in my Media PC. To be quite honest, unless you are copying or moving a large files sequentially from one NVME to another on the same system or running benchmarks on the drives you'll never really notice the difference. The difference in the Random speeds isn't that noticeable. Plus the main difference between spinning rust and SSD is mostly the Access time, and there isn't any difference between the access times of a SATA SSD or an NVME SSD. The access time is what gives an SSD it's noticeable performance boost over spinning rust.

Yes!  Personally, a 3600x on an X570 motherboard + 16 GB 3600 + EVGA 3060 (@ MSRP!).  Hoping to upgrade to a 5000-series if prices continue to drop now that 7000-series is coming.  I even built a Hackintosh last year to satiate my need to tinker.  Toys, indeed!

I looked at a NUC, but the math and logistics just didn't work out like a laptop does.  I'm leaning toward a Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming or Legion, either with a 5600H + 3050 Ti + 16GB system memory.  The only difference would be the SSD in one is SATA vs PCIe in the other.  Not sure the ssd speed is critical for EW7, but please feel free to correct me if my assumption is wrong...5-10x performance in read/write is nothing to sneeze at.

It gets the job done. I have a Ryzen 9 3900x, X570 board, with 32 gigs of 3600 ram and a Ryzen 9 5950x, X570 board, with 32 gigs of 3600 ram here at home that I work with, as well as a Ryzen 5 3600, B450 board, and 16 gigs 3200 ram as my media PC. I love my toys.

And I get where you are coming from. When you are a mobile Church your only viable options are a Laptop or something like a Nuc computer that attaches to the back of the monitor, neither of which are ideal for EW.

That's an excellent 'budget' build, even for general usage!  Huge fan of the Ryzen 3000 series CPUs, even today.  I wish we could deploy a desktop PC as I could easily build it to spec for the same or less, but the logistics argue otherwise =D

8 gigs should get the job done. We ran 8 gigs for several years without any issues, but I did put in 16 gigs when I built our new system a couple of years ago. Ryzen 5 3600, B550 board, 16 gigs (2 x 8) 3200, GTX 1660 Super. 

That should work out quite well. A laptop 3050 Ti is equivalent to a GTX 970 Desktop card. You'll more than likely need to set the Nvidia Control Panel to use the Nvidia graphics when using EW tho, just to make sure it happens. That setting is under the 3d tab IINM, but it's easy to find it using your favorite search engine.

Also, how important is system memory for EW7?  I am of the opinion that 8 GB for ANY computer these days is too little, but in a case like this where the usage is centered around a single use-case, I'm wondering I can let that personal conviction slide...

Looking at any AMD APU (with the exception of the still-hard-to-find 6000-series + RDNA2) the iGPU is going to be a 7-CU or 8-CU Vega iGPU.  If it is also paired with a dGPU like the 3050 ti, would there be any issue with EW7 running properly, because the software would tag the dGPU when necessary (or be manual set via Nvidia global settings)?

Thanks again for the help with all this.

Unless someone from EW itself states different,No. It would be best to avoid ANY integrated Intel Graphics at this time. If they ever integrate the upcoming Arc Intel Graphics into their laptops it's possible that will be acceptable, but that isn't available at this time and would have to be tested first.

Another question:

The list of unsupported hardware (Video Cards) includes "Intel UHD (specifically the Intel UHD 620)".  Can this be interpreted to also include any UHD before they switched to Xe gfx (through 11th gen)?  Would it be better to just make the jump to 12th gen and the new gfx architecture?

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