Noobie - Which platform?


    Nov 15 2005 | 3:36 am
    Hello from Austin -
    I am a new max/jitter owner, and for the life of me I can't find (in
    the archives) the answer to my question - for max/msp and jitter used
    in a live situ, which system config is optimal w.r.t OS (most
    importantly), CPU, display, drivers etc.
    I am currently running on a desktop 3Ghz P4, Geforce 6200, 2GB Ram,
    Audigy2, XP Pro.
    but am considering getting a laptop for the task.
    Tell me, which is more stable - the Macintosh version or the wintel
    version, for running Max/msp and Jitter? I'd love to get an Apple
    laptop I must admit.
    I am beginning to understand the '74 reference .. that was the last
    update, right?
    -Mark of Austin

    • Nov 15 2005 | 4:55 am
      this is a difficult question to answer without a bit more context.
      in general graphics hardware is faster on pcs. adam kendall will
      tell you that jitter works like a dream on wintel laptops. not sure
      which model he has.
      i consider the hassle of maintaining a personal windows machine to be
      a major deterrent for moving away from the macintosh platform,
      efficiency or no.
      lastly, you should take that crack about updates back. do you have
      any idea what you're talking about?
    • Nov 15 2005 | 5:28 am
      Thanks Joshua, yeah I guess that was a little bitter.. I'm at 4.5.5 PC
      (July 05). But I still get the feeling that cyc74 development has
      somehow shut down. All the "reference" web site are 404, etc etc.
      Maybe it's the poor forum support (get a real forum, thank you),,)
      Very hard to browse.
      I bit the bullet and got a G4 laptop 2GB, was this folly?
      -Mark o' Austin
    • Nov 15 2005 | 8:10 am
      > I bit the bullet and got a G4 laptop 2GB, was this folly?
      A new G4 with 2G of ram? I hope you got one of the new ones with
      the extra pixels. I was skeptical, but the screen really makes my
      jaw drop.
      That's way better than most jitter visual maestros have.
      You should be set for a while, I've had my 12'' 1ghz pbg4 for 2 years
      and still love it...
      of course I'm a code monkey and 12'' is plenty wide to see 80
      characters in emacs.
      I run out of realestate pretty quick in Live or Logic.
      Jitter on a pbG4 with plenty of RAM and 10.4.2+ is pretty choice.
      Chances are, if your patch is slow you could probably do better with
      cutting some of the fat, or figuring out where your sucky algorithm is.
      > Thanks Joshua, yeah I guess that was a little bitter.. I'm at 4.5.5 PC
      > (July 05). But I still get the feeling that cyc74 development has
      > somehow shut down. All the "reference" web site are 404, etc etc.
      Cycling has by no means shut down development.
      Hell, apple releases an update every 3 or 4 months,
      that's considered pretty aggressive.
      Unless you've got a laundry list of bugs, chill out about the updates.
      > Maybe it's the poor forum support (get a real forum, thank you),,)
      > Very hard to browse.
      I belong to many mailing lists and help forums and I'd say this one is
      hands down the nicest, thanks to the community.
      This is just not a wham-bam-thankyou-ma'am style help forum.
      Thanks everybody for keeping this mail list a page turner.
      I just love grabbing some of these crazy patchers posted here,
      and remixes of crazy patchers... never thought to remix someone else's
      code before :)
      _Mark
    • Nov 15 2005 | 2:13 pm
      You're complaining about this user-support forum while coming here for help.
      Geez. It *is* hard to browse when searching, but you're a new person here
      and you're griping. Hang out for a while first.
      Development shut down? But they're already working on 4.5.6... They
      release incremental upgrades to indivisuals with specific problems...
      Cycling74 is a very responsive software company. The website is often out
      of date, but spend a few days on this list, you'll get the idea.
      Depending on what you want to do with Jitter, PC's *can* be substantially
      better. The processor clock is important, so a 3.xGhz XP laptop will likely
      perform better than a lower-clockrate Mac. Alot of RAM can help, but a
      good, upgradeable video card is important, as is a high-RPM disk.
      There are Jitter features missing in XP compared to Mac.
      In my experience, a 3.2Ghz P4 is about twice as powerful for Jitter than a
      1.6Ghz G4; 1.6 times as powerful as a 2Ghz G4. Other people's results vary
      depending on how they work.
      It's becoming harder to find PC laptops with high clock rates. Without the
      high clock rates, I'm not sure XP is any better than Mac. I don't think
      Dell makes 3.x P4 laptops anymore. Maybe Alienware or Sager, I don't know.
      But, in my opinion -- Yes, your Mac purchase was a folly.
      Happy to help.
      Adam
    • Nov 15 2005 | 2:49 pm
      Mark Hill wrote:
      > I'd love to get an Apple laptop I must admit.
      Go for it, I always get headaches with PCs...
      I am Live on Apple since my first computer
      (Well, to be honest, it was only an Apple II compatible one, and I was
      basically using the built in Z-80 with Turbopascal)
      Though its claimed especially for Jitter that PCs are faster, but by the
      time you reach the limits of your Powerbook (In terms of time to build
      up very complex patches as a 'Noobie') There are new ones out which are
      probably faster than you can fill it with tasks to turn them down.
      Who ever starts now must be in heaven, compared to those Apple II times,
      when I started...
      Stefan
      --
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      &
      Improvisation
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    • Nov 15 2005 | 3:00 pm
      I humbly disagree. I started Max/MSP/Jitter with a 1Ghz TiBook (OS9). Was
      the fastest Apple laptop at the time. It couldn't properly handle my first
      project, and the new Appple laptops can't handle my current projects. My PC
      drops below 15fps, but at least it's still in the realm of usable -- Apple
      laptops would be down to a couple of fps. One man's experience.
      Adam
    • Nov 15 2005 | 3:23 pm
      On Nov 15, 2005, at 6:49 AM, Stefan Tiedje wrote:
      > Mark Hill wrote:
      >> I'd love to get an Apple laptop I must admit.
      >
      > Go for it, I always get headaches with PCs...
      >
      my XPerience has been mostly lousy, comforted by the adage "you get
      what you pay for." Of course I never bought one of those super pricey
      apple lappers with the peeling paint or broken hinges.
      But, I digress. The XP, when it performs, is very nice, as it is my
      fastest computer. But its piecemeal construction has caused me
      headaches (not an inherent flaw of XP, obviously, but w/ apples, for
      better or worse, you are certainly protected from engaging in such a
      project). The constant wrangling of drivers is hell. The XP interface
      treats me like a child, and I resent it. Pardon my Urdu, but who the
      fuck wants to watch a fucking cartoon dog while you are searching for a
      document? Oh, and if you click it, it plays. Cute. Fuck.
      Ultimately, my mind was made up that I hate my XP box because I did a
      show w/ it, and it failed. I had a number of firewire webcams attached
      and working at home. I then broke down, went to a new zip code, and
      put everything back together, and those webcams no longer worked.
      Great.
      On OS X, i never had a problem working w/ the cameras, and I've never
      had such a dramatic example of things working one hour, then not
      working later.
      Ultimately, your great folly is making a move, then asking if it's the
      right one after the fact! :)
      Peter.
      +===+===+===+===+===+===+
      The Pegu Club Cocktail
      3 parts gin
      1 part lime juice
      1 part Cointreau
      3 dashes Angostura bitters
      Shake with ice and serve
      in a chilled cocktail glass
      +===+===+===+===+===+===+
    • Nov 15 2005 | 10:12 pm
      Peter,
      I agree that, out of the box, XP is patronizing in unbelievable ways. I
      don't personally find XP that much more patronizing than OSX.
      You know you can turn off alot of the XP interface stuff, right? I don't
      have any specific articles, but they're around. Once you learn where all
      the options are, it takes maybe 5 or 10 minutes to get rid many of the
      annoying interface issues and make the OS feel more professional.
      My XP setup looks just like NT, which is a reasonably ok OS interface.
      I'm either lucky or have the right machine or have paid my dues with XP, but
      my hardware and driver issues are only marginally more problematic than my
      Apple experiences. I do have some crazy things happen in XP, but often it's
      because of third party software, or it's bad in one way while Apple is bad
      in another.
      I don't really care about platforms or machines as much as my emails make it
      sound. I defend XP so much because I feel strongly that machines are tools
      and people need to be objective about what works for them or not. I think
      many people assume one platform is better or worse without doing their
      homework.
      I understand that you're talking from XPerience.
      Adam
    • Nov 16 2005 | 12:11 am
      Thanks all for replying.
      Peter, I agree it was sorta out-of-order, buying a G4 then asking the
      question Which?...
      What got me started was an email from Cycling touting their beginner
      workshop in SF in January. Laptop, hmmm... Went to Dell's site, saw
      some goodies there, then to Apples' and wow, those Powerbooks really
      sizzle for me. So, since I've got multi wintel desktops, I decided to
      over-invest in something else.. ;-)
      Anyway, I'm going to give OSX a try and if that doesn't work out,
      perhaps I'll try it on XP.
      I imagine there will be lots of study/mistakes/questions along the way.
      Like one poster said, the list here is a good one. I am beginning to see that.
      -Mark.
    • Nov 16 2005 | 1:35 am
      Well, resale value on powerbooks is really good, so even if you change
      your mind you're not hosed.
      _Mark
    • Nov 16 2005 | 7:48 pm
      Well, I guess I didn't really know of which spoke. It does appear that
      updates do get released, so I retract the crack...
      -Mark.
    • Nov 17 2005 | 3:15 pm
      Adam Kendall wrote:
      > Once you learn where all
      > the options are, it takes maybe 5 or 10 minutes to get rid many of the
      > annoying interface issues and make the OS feel more professional.
      The complete time of course is learning + changing. Changing the stuff
      certainly is fast, though if you know where to change and still need 5 -
      10 minutes...
      How long did it take you for learning it? Just curious.
      > I don't really care about platforms or machines as much as my emails make it
      > sound. I defend XP so much because I feel strongly that machines are tools
      > and people need to be objective about what works for them or not. I think
      > many people assume one platform is better or worse without doing their
      > homework.
      I completely agree. Homework will only be done if there is a strong need
      for. If you know one OS, there is rarly enough need to learn another to
      the same level of depth. Same is true for any software. Why learn Word
      if you know Lyx, though I believe anybody who knows Word wouldn't
      believe how much easier life could be with Lyx... (And how much better
      the results look like)
      Stefan
      --
      [][] [][][] [][] [][][] [][] [][][] [][] [][][]
      [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
      Stefan Tiedje
      Klanggestalter
      Electronic Composition
      &
      Improvisation
      /~~~~~
      \ /|() ()|
      ))))) )| | |( \
      /// _/)/ )))))
      ___/ ///
      -------------------------x---
      --_____-----------|----------
      --(_|_ ----|-----|-----()---
      -- _|_)----|-----()----------
      ----------()------------x----
      14, Av. Pr. Franklin Roosevelt, 94320 Thiais, France
      Phone at CCMIX +33-1-49 77 51 72
    • Nov 17 2005 | 3:48 pm
      Hi there. My name is Francisco and I am a composer and Max-MSP addict
      from Argentina.
      This is my question: You are talking about OS (Mac versus PC) . I'll buy a
      new Imac G5 1.9 Ghz , 1.5 Gb of RAM. Anybody has any experience whit
      this machine and Max-MSP-Jitter ?
      Thanks
      Francisco Colasanto
    • Nov 17 2005 | 8:11 pm
    • Nov 17 2005 | 9:36 pm
      It's worth mentioning that although Apple doesn't specify, their total FSB speed is approx 333mhz,
      because total FSB-speeds are dependant on the number of individual buses. In the case of the G4
      this is 2... but, they don't give that much info out in their documentation (not that Intel does...).
      jl
      --------------------------------------------------
      This mail sent through Mills College Alumnae Email
    • Nov 17 2005 | 10:46 pm
      Right, none of the manufacturers give you the cycles per instruction
      (CPI) for the hardware, which is a major variable in the well-known
      equation:
      speed = CPS/CPI
      or speed = (cycles / second) / (cycles / instruction) = instructions
      per second.
      pentiums used to have an average of 10 - 16 CPI, powermacs are between
      4 and 10.
      don't forget about processor cache too!!! that stuff can give you a
      5-10x increase in performance if you have enough and it's properly used.
      _Mark
    • Nov 17 2005 | 11:08 pm
      I've been posting for 1.5 years now that for Max/MSP/Jitter a higher
      clock-rate is king, regardless of the chip's power. i.e., a 3.xGhz P4 will
      perform better than a 2.xGhz G5; a 2.xGhz G4 will perform better than a
      1.xGhz Pentium M; etc.
      I understand there are other issues and it depends on how someone works.
      Ali Momeni's test seemed to prove this.
      The only response from Cycling74 on this forum was one of them (I forget
      who) essentially agreeing with me but with some exceptions.
      Cycling74, can you jump in and give a definitive answer? All else being
      equal, is any level chip with a higher clock-rate going to beat any other
      level chip with a lower clock-rate?
      Adam
    • Nov 17 2005 | 11:15 pm
      I don't know. I'm a programmer and spend alot of my life in front of
      Windows, so it's all stuff I've picked-up over the years. But I've found
      articles covering almost everything I've learned on my own -- I assume
      someone can learn alot quickly.
      Some of the tweaks are for performance, but alot more are to get rid of the
      annoying, visually fatiguing and condescending gimmicks. Also to get
      control back over some things I want to be in congrol of. Just an added
      bonus that the changes sometimes (incrementally) help performance.
      Adam
    • Nov 17 2005 | 11:32 pm
      > Right, none of the manufacturers give you the cycles per instruction
      > (CPI) for the hardware, which is a major variable in the well-known
      > equation:
      >
      > speed = CPS/CPI
      >
      > or speed = (cycles / second) / (cycles / instruction) = instructions
      > per second.
      >
      > pentiums used to have an average of 10 - 16 CPI, powermacs are between
      > 4 and 10.
      I just want to note that this speed equation is a major major
      simplification, and that many of the DSP algorithms that make Max
      users salivate for a faster machine achieve a much greater efficiency
      than the given formula.
      A good analogy is an assembly line, maybe one that is producing cars.
      Would the guy at the front of the line who welds together the frame
      wait for the guy at the end of the line to finish painting the body
      before he starts welding the next frame? Of course not, and in the
      CPU, where there's an assembly line to execute instructions, the steps
      at the beginning can start executing instruction n before instruction
      n-1 has finished executing. It may take 16 steps to execute the
      instruction, but in the best case scenario 16 different instructions
      can be executing at the same time.
      The only reason the CPU has to wait is if instruction n depends on the
      result of n-1. An example of this is in recursive IIR filtering
      (biquad~). However even in this case there's lots the CPU can start
      on while it's waiting for the result of the last sample to calculate.
      At the other end of the spectrum, the FIR filter is not recursive, so
      the CPU assembly line can be completely full during the whole
      operation, meaning that one instruction executes every cycle.
      The worst scenario is a branch in the code (ie, if (condition1) do
      this, if (condition2) do that), but a lot of effort has been put into
      "branch prediction" units that use strong voodoo to speed up these
      stalls.
      > don't forget about processor cache too!!! that stuff can give you a
      > 5-10x increase in performance if you have enough and it's properly used.
      If it's waiting for data to arrive from memory, ain't nothing the CPU
      can do! My experience has been that cache is the most important
      determinant of a CPU's speed with MSP and Jitter.
      As far the platform war, Max is excellent on both contenders. Myself,
      I have slowly been morphing into a Windows user, largely for the
      better graphics card support and (what I perceive as) a more zippy
      environment for Java, but I'm really looking forward to Apple's intel
      laptops.
      Ben
    • Nov 17 2005 | 11:35 pm
      On Nov 17, 2005, at 3:08 PM, Adam Kendall wrote:
      > I've been posting for 1.5 years now that for Max/MSP/Jitter a higher
      > clock-rate is king, regardless of the chip's power. i.e., a 3.xGhz
      > P4 will
      > perform better than a 2.xGhz G5; a 2.xGhz G4 will perform better
      > than a
      > 1.xGhz Pentium M; etc.
      >
      > Cycling74, can you jump in and give a definitive answer?
      Nope.
      Performance is highly machine and application specific. There are too
      many considerations to make blanket statements about comparing the
      performance of differing chip architectures. There are also a broad
      range of Max/MSP/Jitter applications, some of which are CPU bound,
      some of which are memory bound, some of which are disk bound, some of
      which are bound by the graphics hardware, some of which are adversely
      affected by pipeline length or other aspects of the chip
      architecture, some of which support parallel processing, etc. There
      is *no* universal measure that shows that higher clock speeds
      guarantee higher performance. Sure if you have the exact same
      architecture chip (which we don't have even comparing different
      pentium variants with one another), and otherwise the exact same
      memory bus, graphics card, disk controller, etc. then a higher clock
      speed always has the *potential* to be faster. Though if the CPU
      clock speed is not the bottle neck, any performance gains may be
      negligible. In general, I would rely on empirical tests of specific
      functions of actual applications on specific machines, rather than
      theoretical or synthesized benchmarks to determine what machine will
      be best for your needs.
      For realtime video mixing in Jitter, at the time of writing this
      message the new Apple G5s will typically be the fastest option, if
      one uses UYVY support, and performs mixing on the GPU with
      jit.gl.slab. This permits mixing of multiple HD sources in realtime
      at 30 fps or so. Currently we have some performance issues to resolve
      on PC in order to bring video transfer to the GPU up to performance
      parity with what's in place on Macintosh. Hopefully we'll address
      this soon. For most other things, though, the latest, greatest Intel
      and AMD HW may out perform the new G5 machines, though your mileage
      may vary. If I personally had to pick a machine to use for live
      performance with Max/MSP/Jitter, it would be the new quad-core G5s
      with an NVidia 7800. Though if I had to choose a laptop (given
      current models), it would definitely be a fast PC with a decent
      mobile graphics card.
      -Joshua
    • Nov 17 2005 | 11:41 pm
      > Cycling74, can you jump in and give a definitive answer? All else being
      > equal, is any level chip with a higher clock-rate going to beat any other
      > level chip with a lower clock-rate?
      There is no definitive answer because there is no definitive patch.
      Different algorithms will run differently on different chip
      architectures.
      Ben
    • Nov 18 2005 | 12:26 am
      I was the original poster of this thread and my question was, which is
      the _preferred_ OS/processor. Of course a faster CPU will yield better
      results, but I was thinking about stability and stuff like that as
      well.
      I know in the Native Instruments world, Reaktor 5 seems to run much
      better on the wintel platform, but I get the feeling that C74 does
      their main development on Macs, and hence, might be the preferred
      setup.
      -Mark.
    • Nov 18 2005 | 10:54 am
      Mark Hill wrote:
      > I was the original poster of this thread and my question was, which is
      > the _preferred_ OS/processor. Of course a faster CPU will yield better
      > results, but I was thinking about stability and stuff like that as
      > well.
      >
      > I know in the Native Instruments world, Reaktor 5 seems to run much
      > better on the wintel platform, but I get the feeling that C74 does
      > their main development on Macs, and hence, might be the preferred
      > setup.
      Don't worry about that. Cycling does a good job on both platforms (I
      have used both, but I'm on Windows for the moment). And they release the
      new updates for the different platforms at the same time too.
      So you should be fine whatever you choose.
      Anders.
    • Nov 21 2005 | 3:19 pm
      re: different processors being good at different things, I just wanted
      to note that Tom's Hardware has published the "Mother of all CPU
      Charts" for 2005. Doesn't include any of the current Apple chips,
      unfortunately, but gives a good comparison of Windows chips running
      different types of algorithms.
      Ben