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How much Memory do I really need

Discussion in 'Recording' started by strata, Feb 21, 2002.

  1. strata

    strata Guest

    I have a pavillion 128 ram, 30gig hardrive, running windows me, sonar and every other software package known to man. (It's also my home PC) I also have a Roland VS-880ex and I move audio back and forth from that to the PC. The PC seems unstable....occasional dropouts. I would like a dedicated PC but....there's that money thing. Does anyone have a similar setup or know what the optimum configuration for a stable system. (RAM, Processor speed, storage, OS, Sonar settings) or know where I can look. My approach to date has been hack away using the manuals. I also need a decent sound card, I have the card that came with the machine...any recommendations?

    I'm new here..this is my first post.
  2. jscott

    jscott Guest

    Well this seems to be the growing question from people these days, how much DAW is enough?

    Unfortunatley there is no real right answer, because so much revolves around the software package, your style of use (audio, midi, loops or some combo). And budget!

    So having done many of these things, I'll offer some hard earned advice and truths you'll eventually face.

    DAW PC's really need to be free of all other programs other than those related to DAW use and the chipset, more so than the megahertz rating of the CPU will determine the suitability of the system for DAW use.

    PC's designed for consumer business app use are very different beasts than those that work for DAW and generally speaking, you get the kind of perfromance problems you have.

    DAW (specifically audio files) requires very efficent streaming of data to and from the hard drives. PC's that have been loaded with devices have to share interupt states and interupts do just what they say, they interupt data flow. This is why you always see the reomendation for using 2 hard drives and the speed of the drive is criticle.

    Plugins use CPU and memory. So if you are loading up on the use of reverbs you need more of CPU and memory. Typically, 256 as a minimum, but don't think adding memory will fix you problem. You need to collect specifics. Like make and model of hard drive, chipset, cpu, BIOS, Motherboard manufacturer, CD, CD-ROM, Video card, on board or AGP/PCI, Do you have on-board audio, USB, SERIAL ports, which are enabled, has Windows been installed with Power Mangament, etc.

    Chipsets allow everything to flow efficently, They can also cause major headaches. So knowing the chipset is key many times. You can have a ATA100 drive but its really only working at ATA66 or even 33 due to another device on the controller. Simple things like video driver can cause your problem. Low system resourses can cause these things, like shared Interupts. Which slot the sound card is in can cause the problem.

    So in the end, the best way to know what works is to pick your software first because it is where you will spend your time. Then go to every forum you can find and read about their setups and ask questions. You will within a weeks time know pretty much what works, and if you can afford it.

    But by and large, if you have 1 computer, and need it for multiple uses, like DAW, WORD, Games and Internet browsing, you are best advised to wipe it out and create a multiple boot setup so the machine perfoms it use independant of opther uses. This way your first boot partition can be for DAW and the second for Office use, etc.

    A program called Partition Magic will enable you to reconfigure your PC without wipping it out first.

    (Dead Link Removed)

    You can go to Harmoney Central Forum and read several threads there too under Software and Computers.
  3. clausiii

    clausiii Guest

    Win 98/ME has problems with more than 512MB Ram. I use 384 and I feel that it´s still not enough...
  4. strata

    strata Guest

    This is exactly the kind of information I need. Can anyone tell me more about partitioning ?
  5. jscott

    jscott Guest

    There really is limited performance gain by multiple partitions.

    If you think about it, its still one drive and still one set of heads. The performance gains come from partitioning and keeping your current audio based files near the front of the drive, where read/write are fastest.

    So you could for example partition the C Drive into say 2 or 3 partitions, and keep core windows files on the first partition and force the location of the swap file in the front of that partition. Some think there is a inherent problem with optimizing audio files. So you can always drop a copy onto a seperate partition that you do not optimize.

    On the 2nd physical Hard Drive, you can again have two partitions, and keep audio files to the front, and midi files is a second partition. But you still want to keep audio files for a project togather if possible. See SCSI vs IDE for more info on drives, how they work, formating, etc.
  6. strata

    strata Guest

    Wow J...
    Thanks for all the helpful advice...Are you are pro ? (I want to be) How about if I send you the money and you pick out the optimum device. Unfortunately I'd miss out on learming about this stuff though. What do you use for your DAW ?
  7. jscott

    jscott Guest

    You can see the link for my bio. I used to be, but have been removed "professionally" for sometime now. But I maintain a curious nature and still do my own recording stuff and drum tracks for a few friends. I also own a business that requires me to build multiple PC's for CAD, Photo and othe design based work.

    I have 3 DAW's, but my main one is Ultra SCSI-3 160 dual channel based. I recommend you make your life easy and consider building/copying a system that has been tested over and over. See RME 1.8a P4 Giga-Byte GA-8IRXP System.

    The RME interfaces are killer from a price for performance standpoint, and this configuration is a great place to start. You can get almost everyone of these components at either Multiwave or
    NewEgg, which are both very good for prices and very good service. Both have excellent ratings and I've ued them many, many times.

    Buy a program called Partition Magic ($69.00) and you can play all you want with partitions, clusters, file allocation scenarios (FAT, FAT32, NTFS, etc.) and the installation of various operating systems. Once this is installed, you can then load a different operating system and try it out without interfearing with a working configuration, Once you have established that you like the new configuration, just wipe out the old one, re-partition and go. You can theoretically do this with up to 4 operating systems on the same machine.

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