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Re: using laptops for music

Hi Paul -

[I am copying the group on this, for any other folks interested in going PC
notebook....I find this topic very fascinating, yet very complicated]

Absolutely, you don't want to cut corners on your processor type and RAM,
if you plan to build a laptop system for looping with Mobius and any degree
of robust VST effects, hosts, etc.  Check this out, because you might find
quite surprising:

Part I:  I have a personal laptop, which is a consumer model Compaq
Presario 2525US, which has 500MB of RAM and an Intel Pentium 4 2.GHz
processor. This is a desktop processor, by the way...any laptop that is
really thick,
heavy, and has a noisy fan is using a desktop rather than a mobile
processor. The old reasoning behind this is that a notebook with a desktop
processor was more stable and efficient...this is now a myth.  Size doesn't
matter any more in light of newer notebooks when it comes to performance
mobile technology in processors has made leaps and bounds in terms of
performance for the consumer and commercial markets.

Part II: I also have a work laptop, a commercial notebook HP/Compaq NC6000
that has an older Intel Pentium M (for "Mobile") processor that is only
and with 500MB of RAM.   Want to take a guess which notebook out performs
the other?  My work notebook kicks the ass of my personal computer, even
though it is only 1.6ghz. The reason is the quality and model of the Intel
processor. Hence, if you want to go with a PC notebook, my recommendation 
get a mobile notebook with the newest and fastest Intel Mobile processor,
which is basically the Centrino processor chip set...not just the 
but a chipset on a board that works together for better performance. Don't
fooled by what appears to be a lower ghz speed of the processor, because 
Intel Mobile and Centrino processors are a completely different animal and
allocate tasks differently than traditional desktop processors. My wife 
works in marketing for Intel and managed the Centrino program, by the
way) has a new IBM thinkpad that is half the size and weight of my work
notebook, with the Centrino chipset, and it even outperforms my mobile
notebook with just an Intel mobile processor.  The thing looks like a toy
but it screams past my work computer, which out performs my personal
notebook with the highest ghz processor of them all. Again, size, weight,
processor speed, etc...are all relative now to the type of processor. And
I've said this before, but a commercial box will out perform any consumer
box any day. IFyou can afford it, don't buy your notebook from a retailer,
but a business/commercial notebook directly from the manufacture's website
or sales line.

My next notebook will likely be a new IBM Thinkpad with the newest Centrino
processor/chipset. I believe they are up to 2.2ghz now, which translates
something much higher than 3ghz in terms of performance...I don't have the
performance comparison data with me off hand.

In my opinion, you'll need this extra performance if you want to run both
Mobius and any robust VST effects on your notebook. I know because I am
struggling with my personal consumer notebook I mentioned in Part I above.
It simply isn't robust enough to do what I want. I can run Mobius and a few
VST effects simultaneously, but not much more than that. If I run Mobius,
Antares Filter, Lexicon PSP84, a basic chorus and delay VST effect at the
time, the notebook will drop to its knees. Just using my VST effects and
host is fine,
and just using Mobius with a few basic VST effects is fine.


riginal Message ----- 
From: "paul" <phaslem@wightman.ca>
To: "Kris Hartung" <khartung@cableone.net>
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2005 8:38 AM
Subject: Re: using laptops for music

> Hi Kris,
> thanks for the info, especially concerning which processor to look for.
> Most recommendations I've received have been for the p4 or the athlon but
> all of those recommendations came from people who aren't using their
> laptops for music specifically. From the research that I've done you're
> probably the user that is most similar to the setup that I'd like to move
> In a couple of weeks I'm going to be performing at a trade show in
> it's a pretty intense weekend working several hours a day but a good way
> move a lot of cds and be seen by many people that wouldn't go to a
> I'm planning on using my laptop running mobius and still using my
> effects for reverb, delay and eq (really necessary on the hammered
> dulcimer). I'm going to bring the echoplex but really just as a backup.
> I'll let you know how it works out. If this setup works really well, I 
> sell the echoples to help fund purchasing a new laptop to run the vst
> effects. My personal feelings are still that working with the laptops is
> excellent alternative to all the rackmount equipment.... especially since
> if my laptop goes down, you can find computer techs everywhere, and I can
> even rent another laptop and be back working within a day or so. When my
> echoplex quit on me, it was about 6 weeks before it was working again, 
> would have been longer if I had to send it to Gibson. Their best timeline
> was 4 to 6 months.
> Anyway, Thanks again, I always look for your posts,
> all the best,
> paul
> At 10:54 AM 10/17/2005, you wrote:
> >Hi Paul!
> >
> >Cool, someone reads my posts. :)
> >
> >This very instant I am using a HP Compaq NC6000, which is already
> >but kicks butt. I was just looking at the  hp.com site and clicked on
> >laptops and then those for businesses, and you can see their whole NC
> >Some are very affordable.
> >
> >I run my VST system on a Compaq Presario 2500 with 500MB of ram and 2.4
> >Intel processor, which is great, but it is a honking huge box, think,
> >fan (because they put desktop processors in those thick notebooks, not
> >mobile processors).
> >
> >Hence, whether you buy HP or not, my main recommendation would be to get
> >notebook that has an actualy Intel M or "mobile" processor in it which
> >be quit and efficient. In fact, I recommend a notebook with the Intel
> >Centrino chipset. My wife wroks for Intel in Marketing, and that was her
> >product....so I hear A LOT about it. And then be sure you get the 
> >processor and 1GIG of RAM. These three things are the lucky combination 
> >think.
> >
> >Also, we can't always guarantee that the soundcard on any notebook will
> >decent for sound, unless you customize it as such. I replaced my 
> >soundcard with an external Creative Labs Audigy 2 notebook card, that
> >in the PMCIA slot...wonderful, plus I can take it out and use it in
> >notebook if I wanted. But you may get lucky with whatever is in the unit
> >get no latency issues.
> >
> >Kris
> >
> >----- Original Message -----
> >From: "paul" <phaslem@wightman.ca>
> >To: "Kris Hartung" <khartung@cableone.net>
> >Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2005 11:45 PM
> >Subject: using laptops for music
> >
> >
> > > Hi Kris,
> > >
> > > I was interested in your comments about laptops, and I agree with you
> > > the grade of laptop certainly makes a difference. I've had a few
> > > (compaqs) and still have them and they are functioning fine. I
> > > afford the $4,000.00 price tag so in the past I've found off lease
> > > that were of the commercial grade but more suited to my budget.
> > >
> > > I'm finding myself more interested in running vst effects and my old
> >compaq
> > > m300 just won't run some of those. I was wondering if you could make
> > > recommendations as to laptop models that would work well for me, and
be of
> > > that more commercial quality.
> > >
> > > Thanks,
> > >
> > > Paul Haslem
> > >
> > >