Laptop and soundcard purchase, petrified


    Sep 01 2006 | 1:24 pm
    I'm looking at a Dell Inspiron 9400 for a portable music laptop, primarily doing MSP signal processing in real time for installations and live performance. The archives strangely don't have a great deal of info on laptops but there are some posts which cast them in a bad light. I do need a laptop, but I want to make a safe choice. What do you think?
    My aim is to get a system with the lowest latency possible. What kind of soundcard do I need? USB 2.0 is my preference...
    Cheers

    • Sep 01 2006 | 9:03 pm
      On 1 sept. 06, at 22:34, robin foster wrote:
      Don't laugh too much... apple is concerned too:
      ej
    • Sep 01 2006 | 10:03 pm
      Here's some advice, not sure if it follows with the latest conventional wisdom...
      If you're going to be doing a lot of performing, a laptop is definitely a must. (well, unless you have the cash for a portage company...) It's less upgradeable than a desktop in a few senses, but between FireWire and USB 2.0, you can almost get everything as a peripheral now. If you have the option for a faster hard-drive, it might be worth the upgrade, as laptop harddrives are often of the 5400 rpm variety. Also, be sure to get plenty of RAM. (at least a gB) (if you're comfortable adding it yourself, you can probably save a bit there) One thing you definitely won't be able to upgrade is the video card, so make sure what you pick will be suitable for your needs.
      Audio interface-wise, I generally stay away from anything Digidesign, as they have a reputation for not always playing well with others. (such as the inability a couple of years ago to have multiple apps accessing the DAW at the same time; this was described, you guessed it, as a "feature". (this may have changed since...))
      I've had good luck with MOTU both personally and in the labs at my schools, and it looks like their 828mkII is now USB2-flavored, and has MIDI I/O so you don't have to lug around a USB-MIDI interface. Depends on how much horsepower you need, but if you're doing installations, the multi-channel output gives you a lot of options.
      Peter McCulloch
    • Sep 02 2006 | 10:10 am
      Hello
      Avoid the Acer Aspire 1692 WLMi if you have a RME sound card, as the ACPI system puts it on a very low IRQ priority on Windows XP --- and no Linux distribution could install on it. I precisely have this model so I am also trying to find a new one but I don't get any interesting information from any forum / list. As far as I know, the Asus, Samsung (Q35 or X11), Panasonic and Apple laptops should be the best, but it's not sure ! Anyway, get a Dual Core CPU machine (avoid the Pentium 4 and the AMD Athlon) with a fast hard disk (some laptops have a 7200 rpm HD) and about 1 or 2 GB of RAM.
      The best audio interfaces should be the ones from MOTU or RME (the Fireface 400 for example). Avoid any USB 1 interface as we are not anymore in 1990 even if digital audio is always very late. As far as I know, only Edirol makes some USB 2 interfaces and if I remember well they have odd hardware buffer sizes instead of powers of 2 (but they should work with maxmsp -- ask a particular user of these cards to be sure). Also, there are some great PCMCIA cards (like the RME Multiface) but this type of connector won't exist anymore within two or three months :)
      Regards j
      Selon Peter McCulloch :
      > Here's some advice, not sure if it follows with the latest > conventional wisdom... > > If you're going to be doing a lot of performing, a laptop is > definitely a must. (well, unless you have the cash for a portage > company...) It's less upgradeable than a desktop in a few senses, but > between FireWire and USB 2.0, you can almost get everything as a > peripheral now. If you have the option for a faster hard-drive, it > might be worth the upgrade, as laptop harddrives are often of the 5400 > rpm variety. Also, be sure to get plenty of RAM. (at least a gB) (if > you're comfortable adding it yourself, you can probably save a bit > there) One thing you definitely won't be able to upgrade is the video > card, so make sure what you pick will be suitable for your needs. > > Audio interface-wise, I generally stay away from anything Digidesign, > as they have a reputation for not always playing well with others. > (such as the inability a couple of years ago to have multiple apps > accessing the DAW at the same time; this was described, you guessed > it, as a "feature". (this may have changed since...)) > > I've had good luck with MOTU both personally and in the labs at my > schools, and it looks like their 828mkII is now USB2-flavored, and has > MIDI I/O so you don't have to lug around a USB-MIDI interface. > Depends on how much horsepower you need, but if you're doing > installations, the multi-channel output gives you a lot of options. > > Peter McCulloch >
    • Sep 02 2006 | 10:33 am
      Exploding laptops aside, thanks for the great suggestions guys ;)
      I'm looking at three choices:
      Acer Aspire 1654 WLMi which I assume has the same issue as the model you mentioned, julien
      Fujitsu Amilo Pro V2085 which I know nothing about
      And the Dell Inspiron 6400 which seems like strongest contender. It has a 667 Mhz FSB too :D
      As far as SOUNDCARD goes, the Edirol UA-25 or 101 seems like a good choice, I definitely want to try and use USB 2.0 or failing that, firewire
    • Sep 02 2006 | 11:25 am