Forums > Misc

a very small PC chip to run a max patch

May 01 2010 | 10:19 pm

If i wanted to setup a long-term maxmsp installation, I was thinking using a computer to run a simple patch over a long period of time would be a bit of a waste. Is there anybody with the electronic know how, who could offer some advice on how to go about setting up a patch on something small that could slot out of view and require little maintenance and power.

Thanks in advance


May 02 2010 | 10:18 am


Depending on your needs i would suggest looking into the arduino and processing for this. I guess Max is still too heavy for smart-phones and such. If you really need Max then maybe a mini-mac (or wait for the hp-slate, somewhere on the forum i overheard someone saying it will be able to run max). Good luck.


May 02 2010 | 11:13 am

I just didnt want the hassle of having to leave some expensive gadget alone with the installation.

The arduino seems relatively cheap, but im assuming it wouldn’t be possible to upload the max runtime and max patches to it, i would need to learn the arduinos programming language. any connectivity between max and the arduion would require a computer to run max.

May 02 2010 | 12:21 pm

Nope, not possible to upload Max-stuff but the arduino-code isn’t that hard to learn. The big plus is you get to upload your programs onto the arduino and after that they run autonomously. So again i don’t know what you’re project consists of or how simple your max-patch is but i think the arduino is probably the man for the job.
(If your installation is based on sound, i think the computer might still be the best solution although this link might prove otherwise;


May 02 2010 | 3:07 pm

No, Max won’t run on smart-phone, there were a discussion about this some month ago, and it looks like cycling74 isn’t planning anything on this side.
To me, the HP Slate would still be really too much big/heavy/expensive for this kind of application – if no screen is needed -.
I imagine that a little PC motherboard – very small ones must exist – using an SSD drive, with USB input, sound output, and connected to batteries, would be sufficient for this application…
well, at least you would need to connect a screen on the first configuration : To configure automatic-launch of the patch/max at Windows start. And if the Windows system is on a SSD Drive, I suppose that the startup will be rather fast, no?

or maybe, more simple, just buy a small netbook…

if your patches only need few CPU%, you have a 300Mhz netbook for 49$, 7" screen, with even "Integrated Quadraphonic Speakers" !

-> important question, i’m wondering: Can max5-runtime launch on this ?
if it does, it might be cheeper and easier than arduino stuff.

After, there is some 1.6GHz netbooks for 180€ :
i’m wondering how efficient this can be with max ?
did some maxers tried to launch max/msp on small recent netbook like this ?
how goes the CPU utilization in DSP Status ?

May 14 2010 | 6:28 am

A netbook is a good choice, but a used laptop or Mac mini might be cheaper and even faster. But you should also consider reliability for an installation…
The 7" mentioned before would not work, as it has an ARM processor, which would not run Windows…

This Mac Mini with a broken video card didn’t sell in Germany, but would be an ideal candidate for such an installation. Control it remote with VNC and you could even do the maintenance from home…

This one has not ended yet:

May 14 2010 | 9:20 am

A little off-topic, but similar: Anyone know what the smallest, bare-bones, cheapest Linux-based "mini-computer" system would look like, that could run a PD patch?

Might not even need peripherals or a monitor, if you could get the file to it and have it work. So you could develop on a regular machine, then load the patch onto the mini-comp. Of course, depending on what you’re actually *doing* with it, it would need some other bits (audio, sensor input, etc.) With basic wireless built-in, you’d have some more options, like getting any feedback from the installation or tweaking its settings remotely.

I wonder if cheap Linux tablets are on the way, that could be really interesting…some good possibilities for wireless controllers using PD.

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