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Best laptop for PTLE and Mbox 2 pro?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by hellbound, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. hellbound

    hellbound Guest

    Any suggestions?
  2. soundfarm1

    soundfarm1 Active Member

    Dec 30, 2008
    Well, this is a bit of a vague question, but allow me to pose a few more to maybe help get the ball rolling:

    1. First and foremost, what is your budget?

    2. Are you more comfortable with PC or MAC?

    3. Is this for primarily home, location, or both?
  3. hellbound

    hellbound Guest

    1. $1000 - $2000

    2. Mac......and PC just to see what my options are.

    3. Both

  4. soundfarm1

    soundfarm1 Active Member

    Dec 30, 2008
    Thanks for the input!

    Now, if you are willing to go factory refurb on the mac, you can have a very nice macbook pro for around $1699. (the only suggestion is you upgrade to a 7200 RPM hard drive). MAC would be my primary recommendation since (as you probably already know), is far more stable of a platform and they hold up well for travel.


    In terms of PC laptops, I would go with a Dell or Toshiba. ( I use a Dell D830 with Nuendo and a MOTU 896 for location work and have no issues). Both brands will fit in your budget and are generally well built. Couple of caveats:

    1. Dell batteries tend to go bad quicker than other brands from my experience.

    2. Toshiba's tend to have a lot of problems with power supplies.

    In terms of hardware specs, follow your interface manufacturers recommendations, but here are some guidelines:

    1. minimum of 7200 RPM drive (I say this as most laptops come with a 5400 rpm drive)

    2. Max out your RAM whenever possible.

    3. Don't go cheap on the GPU, especially if the laptop will be utilized for other purposes.

    4. Make sure you invest in a good external firewire hard drive to backup project files. (LaCie or Glyph have worked well for me).
  5. hueseph

    hueseph Distinguished Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    I wouldn't worry as much about replacing the hard drive. Rather, make sure to buy an external hard drive @7200 rpm. You don't want to by writing audio to your system drive anyway.
  6. soundfarm1

    soundfarm1 Active Member

    Dec 30, 2008
    Oh, i absolutely agree the external audio drive needs to be 7200 RPM, but there is a boost to system performance as well on 7200 vs 5400 for OS drives as many people at this stage are using their laptop for more than just DAW (Hellbound - I am assuming you will be using this laptop for more than just audio recording in this scenario) .

    Not to mention, people like me sometimes forget our external drive and have to rely on our OS drive to get us through. Always good to have a plan B. :D
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    And don't forget you need to get a laptop that is on the Digidesign ProTools recommendation list. You can't just use anything with Digidesign products. It's a snafu. And if you want lots of real-time plug-ins running, you need an expensive laptop not to mention the affirmationed other recommendations by the previous posters, RAM, external 7200 RPM hard drives, blah blah blah blah.

    Blah humbug
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  8. hellbound

    hellbound Guest

    Thanks for all the help! I posted this on a few other forums and had no replies :(

    I went to my local mac store today and took a look around. They had two refurbished Macbook pros but they had a max of 2Gb....not sure if that's a problem....I also checked out the new 15" Macbook pros but was a little confused that it had three different prices......

    2.53Ghz, 250gb - $1,799 (Canadian prices)
    2.66Ghz, 320gb - $2,099
    2.8Ghz, 500gb - $2,399

    Can someone explain what this is all about?

    Also....Is it possible to use two separate DAWs on one computer? I'm having second thoughts about PTLE and the Mbox 2 pro...it's giving me a headache. Logic 9 might be better suited for my needs.....I'm a beginner and any input would be much appreciated! I haven't purchased anything yet and I'm in no rush.....I want to get what's right for my needs and I'm not interested in cheaping out and upgrading later.

    I'm in a band....but I want to record my own songs, at my own pace, and play everything myself. I'm going to be using Toontrack superior drummer 2.0 and the metal Foundry Expansion pack. I would also like to be able to record a full drumkit but I don't think that's possible with PTLE .....right? On top of all that I want to be able to record my friends bands!

    Sorry for all the questions! I have more on the way! Once again any help, advice and input is much appreciated!
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Yes you can record an entire drum kit with Pro tools LE. Up to 18 simultaneous inputs provided the interface is capable. With LOGIC you can record as many tracks simultaneously as you want from virtually any audio interface. You can still go with Mac or PC but LOGIC is strictly Mac. What you really need is a good front end/computer interface. You want good preamps. There are so many decent preamps out there it can make your head spin. But those rotating head recorders are rather outdated these days. So don't let your head spin. Let your discs spin. Then you can go loopty loo.

    What about a whirling dervish?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  10. soundfarm1

    soundfarm1 Active Member

    Dec 30, 2008

    OK, in terms of the price differences you stated, that depends on the hardware configs. Notice that as the processor speed and hard drive capacity increased, so did the prices. Also, the amount of memory and whether a macbook has a 256 or 512 MB graphics interface (those are generally the two options for macbook pro) can make a noticeable difference in price. Also, the macbook pro is not limited to 2 gigs of memory. The one's you saw in the store were probably only built with 2, but you can easily upgrade to 4.

    The one caveat you should consider with the 15" macbook is that there is no pci-express expansion slot as there is on the 17" model. This can make things a bit inconvenient in terms of external interface choices.

    If you want to go the MAC route, my advice is save up and get the 17". It will also make things a bit more pleasant in terms of screen real estate when working with virtual mixers, plugins, etc..

    In reality, it's all a question of your budget and what you are most comfortable with. I would also suggest taking a deeper look at the DAW software options as well. If you go with pro tools, you are locked into digidesign hardware. Ideally, especially if you are just starting out, you want to go with a platform that is scalable not just in terms of I/O , but also in terms of the ability to upgrade to an interface with a higher fidelity, lower latency, etc... Options are a good thing.

    oh, and eat lots of fiber.
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    The Dell latitude series (like the D830) have an optional battery that very easily replaces the optical drive. This setup is modular and I also have secondary hard drive modules. The interface for the pc end of the module is not SATA however so still not equal to a firewire external or SATA internal.

    The part that goes bad on the Toshiba laptops is the power cube that the power cable plugs into on the end of the computer. It is a bad design but is also rather easy to replace if you're handy.

    +1 on the Glyph but I have had various clients with LaCie issues. Not insurmountable problems except one fellow who should have still been using a rock and chisel for communication.

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