My kids wants to buy a digital movie camera and a laptop. The purpose of the laptop is to edit the HD movies they make. I'm so far behind on the latest computers and I don't want to spend a fortune. I can buy a new laptop for $300. Will pretty well any laptop be able to edit HD movies, or do I have to go high end? Thanks for your input.
It depends on just exactly how much editing you want to do. If it is Occasional editing, about any of the current laptops will do the job.
If you are going to do it more than a couple times a month, I recommend springing for at least a Core i5 based laptop and preferably with what is known as Discrete Graphics. The new Intel integrated graphics HD 4000 isn't bad, but a system with a separate (discrete) graphics processor (GPU) from either Nvidea or ATI/AMD is really a better choice. Beyond that, look for DDR 3 Memory, a good sized Hard Drive, and USB 3.0 (aka USB Super Speed). The faster memory and faster USB ports will allow you to move the data to and from the camera faster.
I did a fair amount of HD movie editing on my Mac Intel Core2 Duo last spring, and I was kicking myself for not springing for the discrete graphics. It would literally take overnight to transcode a 30-40 minute HD movie. I got the project done, but learned a lesson.
I would say in the $500-$600 range is where you want to be. The $300 stuff is not going to be real good for movie editing. Watch the Black Friday ads, good news is, Christmas time is usually a good time to score a deal on a laptop.
These are just my opinions, others may disagree. Good luck.