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OSX/XP Stability and compatibility questions, Upgrading DAW!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by hxckid88, Apr 27, 2008.

  1. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    May 9, 2005
    So here is the deal. This is kind of a Mac Vs PC, compatibility issue thread. Please don't flame me I have searched the forum and there is plenty of information that I am still researching a lot of it. I'm giving myself some time to collect data and make an educated decision.

    I'm investing into a dedicated DAW and KVM switch (probably to purchase by June), so I can run my internet/gaming PC side by side with my DAW. The idea is to eliminate running a muddy mess of software on XP, which I found through the past year it has slowed down and bugged my computer to hell.

    Now here is the question.

    How safe/stable is it to run Cubase Studio 4.0.1, Pro Tools LE/M-powered (7.4?), Reason 4, and perhaps Digital Performer or Logic on ONE computer? I currently run Cubase Studio 4.0.1 and Reason 4 on a PC, but I am wonder if there are any major known conflicts with certain builds. (From what I understand some versions of Pro Tools do not run with Leopard and etc.) I b ring this up because I have a Presonus Firestudio, but when I get Pro Tools, I will obviously need another Digidesign or Maudio interface. I am not sure how these will run together.

    I know people have different concepts about installations, but would this be safe to install all this software on the same drive the OS is on, or on a second drive (meaning the project files, folders, and session are on a third drive)?

    And of course, Mac, or PC?

    My idea is that I am a student studying sound engineering, but I want to break the threshold of an amateur or hobbyist and really grab a hold of some pro gear and be a professional (which means ditch the gaming PC!). I would really love to take this computer I am investing into and use it in a future home studio. I know what software I am comfortable with but I LOVE trying new software. I use Pro Tools at school but I use Cubase at home. I am more of a composer, songwriter, and mixer (as opposed to doing heavy multitracking or live sound).

    I am most comfortable on a PC (XP) but Mac's have EXTREME upgradability from what I understand. As a student I could purchase or build a powerful PC for about $2000 while a Mac Pro will cost at least $3000, even with a student discount. I would like to save some money to buy some processing hardware/plug-ins also. This is a big investment for me, especially since I can only dedicate so many hours of work per week, because I need to focus on school. I do not want interest on my credit card to build up and screw me in the rear.

    I forgot to mention plug-ins. If I invest in plug-ins such as waves, and/or virtual instruments... how would I share these among software titles? I know people that run Pro Tools OR Cubase. But what happens when I want both. I use VSTs alot for Cubase, but for Pro Tools most of them are in RTAS form (correct me if I am wrong). I've been leaning towards mac because it has many expansion slots of UAD cards and future TDM cards if I ever choose to go HD in the future.

    This is a often debated question but I'm trying to get down and personal and get some advice for my situation. I will continue researching and browsing the forum for more info so thanks for any input on this situation!! =)
  2. dterry

    dterry Active Member

    Apr 14, 2006
    There shouldn't be a problem running multiple apps on one computer. I have Nuendo 4, Reason, Sequoia, Sonar 7 Producer Edition, Vegas 8/DVDA, Adobe Audition, and a host of plugins, instruments, sample libraries, 4 SATA drives, 2 IDE, 2 eSATA expanders, X-keys, a UAD-1, RME HDSP PCI card, and 5 USB keys running with no problem on my main WinXP Pro system with no problems. Reaper is the only app that has caused problems with other apps for whatever reason (uninstalling solved it - odd - it caused problems with Nuendo when installed).

    Of course if you need Digital Performer, your choice is Mac. As far as cost and expandability, you can in many cases get more on the PC side than Mac in terms of options if you do your homework. Cost for actual identical hardware is similar if you buy either from a DAW builder where you are paying for build, etc. If you build your own PC, it's less, and you can customize to fit your budget quite a bit more easily as well as have some control over what PCI/PCIe and port options you might want.

    As far as stability or at least reliability and performance, imho, a WinXP PC seems to be a better choice for Cubase than OSX at the moment based on performance tests and user comments I've heard. Low latency performance on OSX doesn't seem to be as good as it is on WinXP, at least with Nuendo/Cubase. There aren't many other apps to compare, so it may/may not be an OSX issue, but at this point, it appears to be. Also, I frequently hear Final Cut editors I work with talk about rebooting their Macs every day or so because "things get weird".... well.... things never really get "weird" on my XP systems - they just work, which sounds oddly familiar....hmmm. I know guys running their PC DAWs for months without a crash, reboot, or hiccup (I shut down nightly). Not sure how many Mac users are doing that, but it may be irrelevant if you shut down nightly anyway.

    As far as plugins - some VST plugins do come in RTAS versions. TDM plugins often don't, so you might have to pick a main DAW and go with it at least for now and have the other as an option or alternative, but not a duplicate.
  3. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    May 9, 2005
    Very awesome. thank you for the reply. And this is why I am debating so much. My main applications will be Cubase, Reason, and Pro Tools, and lots of virtual instruments since I am more of a composer/songwriter. From what I ve heard on the cubase forums, it works well on XP but mac not so much so I must take that into consideration...

    I would really love to see some more "expandability" options on an XP. I've yet to find a case and motherboard that can house as much RAM and as many terabyte drives as a mac can. Maybe I just haven't looked deep into it yet.

    I've been 2 gaming machines so I am comfortable with building, I just like warranties = )
  4. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    May 9, 2005
    I've been doing more research and I kind of just decided to go PC and XP. I feel more comfortable on it and I think I can save tons of money.

    And I don't want to listen to the "Omgz its so buggy and it sux and I have to reboot all the time" type of people. I will install professional audio/video software and that is all!

    I've been an AMD guy for years, I don't know much about intels...

    I guess AMD vs Intel is my next big thing. But appearantly quads don't work with Cubase 4/Nuendo so thats something to consider....
  5. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    Intel have poor performance on Floating point calcs. 1000 - 999 done with floats leads to an answer of 1.000000000000000000001

    Just in case it actually matters to the audio.
  6. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    May 9, 2005
    Wouldn't know! Obviously AMD and Intel have their own pros and cons but I'm not good at sorting them out =P
  7. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    I used to like AMD, then I got an Intel dual core and I like it.

    However, I don't care much about it either way. I'll be building an AMD machine for a recording machine at our Church but only cause I already have an AMD mobo lying around.
  8. quadrivium

    quadrivium Guest

    For what it's worth, I'd like to offer my recent experience in building a PC for PTLE... here is what I ended up with after searching around a lot for what would be very fast, inexpensive and compatible with PTLE... If there is one thing I learned it is that PTLE is very particular about the PC hardware that it runs on so you must choose wisely...

    In terms of trouble it seems that incompatible Firewire cards are responsible for a lot of headaches. there are endless posts reporting problems that are traced back to incompatible soundcards...This one is recommended for PTLE, made by SIIG

    Firewire Card

    For processors, there are various Intel or AMD recommended, this is also a very important piece and I'd recommend going with one that is tried and true . the one I got was made by Intel Core Duo Quad 6600


    The motherboards are also critical that it be compatible with PTLE and the processor that you choose, the one I got is also Intel



    I was also surprised to learn that apparently only certain DDR2 800 memory sticks are optimal for PTLE. Some of the more experienced folks recommend memory with timing specs of 4-4-4-12, and made by Corsair


    For hard drives, it is recommended that you have two drives, one for your programs and one for your session files... here is what I got for mine

    Primary 250GB for programs


    Secondary 500GB for Session files


    The case that I got had lots of room and a clear panel side as well as firewire, usb and sound connections on both front and back...also got a graphics card that will take 2 monitors... You will also need some miscellaneous stuff, cooling fans etc..

    You can get a barebones system that has the fan and power supply installed in the case and a lower price overall than buying the parts one by one, just make sure you get the compatible MB, processor and memory

    Hope this helps...
  9. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    You can UPGRADE a Mac?????????Qmark???!?
    And here's me thinking it was all just a closed, untouchable system.

    PCs for the win!
    When in doubt, grab a Texas Instruments FW card and build the rest around it up to what you can afford, prioritising the acquisition of 2 hard drives, getting more RAM up to 2GB and beyond and for definite, more than one CPU core.
  10. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    May 9, 2005
    Well, here is what I came up with, with some help from guys on the cubase.net forums:

    GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard - Retail
    Model #: GA-P35-DS3L
    Item #: N82E16813128059

    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6600 - Retail
    Model #: BX80562Q6600
    Item #: N82E16819115017

    EVGA 320-P2-N811-AR GeForce 8800GTS 320MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
    Model #: 320-P2-N811-AR
    Item #: N82E16814130082

    CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX ATX12V / EPS12V 750W Power Supply - Retail
    Model #: CMPSU-750TX
    Item #: N82E16817139006

    G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-2GBPK - Retail
    Model #: F2-8500CL5D-2GBPK
    Item #: N82E16820231144

    SABRENT CRW-UINB 65-in-1 USB 2.0 Internal Card Reader w/ USB 2.0 Port supports SDHC/VISTA - Retail
    Model #: CRW-UINB
    Item #: N82E16820300608

    Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    Model #: WD1600AAJS
    Item #: N82E16822136075

    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    Model #: WD6400AAKS
    Item #: N82E16822136218

    (2)Acer AL2216Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor with HDCP support - Retail
    Model #: ET.2216B.0D0
    Item #: N82E16824009094

    SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S203B - OEM
    Model #: SH-S203B
    Item #: N82E16827151153

    M-AUDIO Revolution 5.1 5.1 Channels PCI Interface High-Definition Sound Card - Retail
    Model #: 9900-50906-00
    Item #: N82E16829121122

    Microsoft Windows XP Home With SP2B 1 Pack - OEM
    Model #: N09-01991
    Item #: N82E16832116056

    Of course I still need to get a Firewire card, and this is SO much cheaper than a $3000 mac, I even got dual LCD's to replace my CRT.

    I mentioned on that board a few concerns:

    1.Sound card for playback (an accurate representation of consumer playback sound cards)
    2.DDR2 800 VS DDR2 1066
    3. Server tower with lots of space or will a mid tower do? I have a midtower and I feel like its cramped, its also a gaming PC....
    4. Given the above, will a UAD card fit well with a Firewire card, should I look for something with more PCI cards?

    Again, this will mainly run Cubase Studio 4, PTLE, lots of VSTs,virtual instruments, plug ins, and music for video etc.

    Oh yeah, and the graphics card... I'm thinking about switching out my x1950 in my current PC for the 8800 since the prices went down in case you're wondering...
  11. quadrivium

    quadrivium Guest

    you may want to do some further research into GB P35 boards having DPC latency issues ...


  12. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    May 9, 2005
    Ah hah, thanks a bunch. I will look into this further and see how it affects me. I've heard great things about the ASUS boards for DAWs... I might have to change out that motherboard. I will do further research, thanks!
  13. quadrivium

    quadrivium Guest

    no problem, you might want to post your config on the digi user conference forum thread which relates to the Core 2 Duo systems for PTLE, they will help you make sure you are buying the right stuff...good luck

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