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Pro Tools/ MBOX 2 Pro/ PC question

Hello. I have a simple question about using Pro Tools on my PC. I’m getting an MBOX 2 Pro firewire interface this week and I have a 2 year old Dell Dimension 4700 computer. Here are the specs:

Pentium 4
3.00 GHz
512 MB of RAM
Windows XP home edition
160 GB hard drive

I just added:

A additional 250 GB Seagate hard drive
An additional 1 GB of RAM
An ADS PYRO PCI 64 firewire card (the one Digidesign recommends)

I don’t have a dedicated music computer so this one will have to do. I basically want to record demos of tunes that I am working on and will be playing live guitar and bass parts and will be doing MIDI drums and keys.

Here’s the question:

Since this is my only computer, are there things I can do to make sure Pro Tools will run smoothly? For instance, I was told that whenever I am running Pro Tools that I should disable my Norton anti-virus. Another friend just told me that I probably should disconnect my Audigy Soundblaster card once I get my MBOX/Pro Tools. Stuff like that. I am new to PC recording although I have done home recordings before (10 years ago with ancient technology- hahaha) and want to make sure that everything is running smoothly while I am learning. Thanks for any help/tips you guys and gals can provide. I am really enjoying this forum a lot.



hueseph Thu, 02/01/2007 - 11:13
Personally, I don't like to have a hard drive more that 60% full. The extra drive space gives your comp more "room" to write temp files. Also, the further toward the center of the spindle your drive writes, the more RPM it takes to write, therefore the longer the write times. I would start dumping anything you don't need onto DVD and store it. If you haven't used it in the last month, chances are you aren't going to use it in the upcoming months either. Time to clean house.

Member Thu, 02/01/2007 - 19:33
good advice all around !

you might want to up the 512 MB, 2 GB is the preferred ram for daw applications, 1 GB should be your minimum. Vista even REQUIRES that you have a minimum of 512 MB if you upgrade, so that would suck up all your resources leaving nothing for audio, XP already sucks up 150-250 MB typically. Unless you only need like 4 tracks with just one or two effects. Ram is dirt cheap right now too !

Member Thu, 02/01/2007 - 21:06
sorry, I didn't notice the extra ram add :DOH:

yes, for most projects running win xp 1.5 GB will be sufficient unless lots of load from ram sampling is being performed (you can usually opt to stream from disk, or use bandwidth saving measures such as reducing polyphony/mono samples/fewer fx/rendering file to audio etc).

Vista allows more addressable ram to be used (in win xp pro 3 GB is the maximum with realistically 1.7 GB max for audio apps), so although upgrading to it will hit your current ram, you can upgrade it a lot further (depending on motherboard specs etc) and trust me, no sane person running a stable XP studio setup will be switching anytime soon until a service pack or two are out and reliable drivers are available for all the audio/midi products you use (some products will naturally become redundant...)

Music_Junky Wed, 01/31/2007 - 07:45
Since you are using this computer doing other stuff than recording I would strongly suggest that you install a "clean" Windows on another partition on your hard drive. That is you would have 2 instances of windows on your hard drive one for recording and one for all the other stuff you use your computer to do.

Than you don't have to install anti virus program and just install the applications you really need.

At the moment i only have one computer and after I did this recording and mixing is much smoother.

Member Wed, 01/31/2007 - 18:21
ok. here's my next question regarding dual boot systems. can i just put a clean copy of windows xp on my 250 gb hard drive without wiping my 160 gb hard drive clean? i'm planning on using my 160 gb hard drive for web surfing, mp3's, etc... and using my 250 gb hard drive for recording only. thanks.

hueseph Wed, 01/31/2007 - 19:09
I would download the demo of partition magic from Symantec's site. Use that to split your 160gig drive, install the second incident of your OS on the new partition then uninstall Partition Magic. Use the 250gig drive for audio only. You'll thank yourself later. Running your DAW from and tracking to the same physical drive will comprimise performance.