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Re: OT: Laptops for general use & music?



Hi Edward,

Recommending a Windows laptop for music is a bit of a minefield. IMHO the Apple MacBook Pro has the best hardware configuration whether you are running Windows or MacOS. However, it's expensive.

I have an Acer Extensa that I'm happy with. I returned two Dell Inspirons because they used a chipset that didn't work well with my Line6 USB audio interface. The chipset is very important if you use a USB or Firewire audio interface, as it's the part on the motherboard that coordinates the data flow between the cpu and the audio interface. A bad chipset will result in dropouts, glitches and high latency settings.

It can be difficult to discern from the specifications, but the TI chipset is preferred for most USB and Firewire audio interfaces. The Ricoh chipset of the Dell Inspirons that I tried did very poorly with my USB interface. I'd suggest you start with which interface you want to use, and then go to the forum for that specific audio interface to see which laptops people have had good success with.

When you're ready to buy the laptop, check the return policy to make sure you can return it if it doesn't work out. Even after you've done some research, you can still end up with a laptop that doesn't work well for music. Dell was very good about taking two returns in a row. So even though I can't recommend their laptops, their return policy gets a thumbs up!

As for specs, you'll probably have the best luck for musical applications with an Intel i5 or i7 cpu (though the AMD models and previous Intel processors can certainly work well). Most new computers come with Windows 7, it's not important which flavor of Windows 7, they are all a good music OS. Lots of RAM is good, 3 or 4 Gb. I'm running 32bit Windows 7, because at that time ableton live didn't work well with a 64 bit OS. If I were installing the OS today, I'd probably install 64 bit Windows 7. Again, read the forums for your hardware and software to see if it is compatible with 64bit OS. I think 32 bit is on it's way out. If you are recording a lot of tracks, a 7200 rpm drive is good, though I find a 5400 rpm drive works great for me since I rarely have more than 4 to 6 tracks running simultaneously. I use lots of VST plugins, so cpu processing power and RAM seems to make the most difference for me.

As for brands, I'd broaden your choices to include Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba, as they are more likely to use the TI chipset. That being said, I was certainly tempted to try the HP dv7 laptop with the i7 quad core processor when HP had it on sale for under $1000. techbargains.com is a good website for tracking current laptop deals. Good Luck. I'd like to hear how things work out for you.

On Sun, Sep 19, 2010 at 9:39 AM, ejyuhas <ejyuhas@embarqmail.com> wrote:

Fellow loopists,

Iíve seen this discussion before regarding laptop use for running all of your effects, looping, etc.

But what are some of you using for reliable laptops that cover all your bases, meaning your workhorse, email, surfing, as well as using some programs like Soundplant, iTunes and/or desktop recording with an interface and Reason, or any other acceptable programs?

Iím currently shopping and have been looking at the following laptops (but Iím open to suggestion):

HP Pavilion series

Dell Inspiron

Sony VAIO

Which of these are you guys/gals using and are there any reliability issues, or features I would benefit from? Most ďbang for your buckĒ?

You can email me privately, if this has been a beaten horsieÖ

Regards,

Edward




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