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I have been reading up on laptops for a while now... and have started to become a little frustrated. I am trying to find the perfect laptop to use in a live performance situation (ie, software looping/effects/virtual instruments) and some recording. I currently have a Firepod and usually use Cubase LE and Reason 3.0 for my recording setup (windows XP based). I have looked at Ableton as a possible solution for a live software looping setup but have not decided for sure and will probably continue to use the Firepod on stage to get everything in and out of the laptop.

I had planned on building up a "barebones" Asus Z84Jp...

It was going to be great! I was super pumped! I was going to be able to build superstacked laptop that could out-compete (specwise at least) most "name brand" laptops that sell for >$2000 for around $1300 - $1400. But then I found out that the Firewire chipset used in Asus is apparently crap...
i.e. not Texas Instruments. :(

So here is the question. Does anyone know if a Texas Instruments Firewire ExpressCard would solve my problems on the Asus (I was planning on getting one anyway as I didn't like the location of the onboard Firewire)? Does anyone know where to find out if the chipset used for firewire/cardbus on a laptop (preferably barebones)... or ExpressCard... is Texas Instruments? I can't seem to track down this info!

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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Guest Tue, 07/03/2007 - 07:21

adding a TI Xpress card will not solve the issue.
it only helps slightly.

the issue resides with the fact the Asus uses a ricoh chipset for an all in 1 chipset.

this is true with most name brand and white box laptops you can buy.

Laptops known to work

HP (higher end Biz class)
Some Clevo (17 only)
Samsung (if you are in Europe)
a few higher end Toshibas.

the rest use a Ricoh or ENE chipset combo. and fall on thier faces.
low latency is not an option.
especially for live play back.

most laptops wil grab 8-10 tracks live @ a 1024 buffer but past that dont expect much.


moisiss Tue, 07/03/2007 - 09:45

Is there any way to find out what chipset a Laptop uses (without having it hands-on for testing)?

I was thinking about just getting a Mac.... but that would cost me a fortune in updated software....

I was hoping to build a barebones.... but obviously, I don't have the resources to buy a bunch and test them out.

Guest Tue, 07/03/2007 - 14:10

there are NO barebones (white book) you can buy that work for audio.
we have tested ever stinking one!

MSI, Asus, Compal, Uniwill/ECS.

i actually signed up with Apple to be a dealer because of this.
(and i have been a die hard PC guy from day one)

right before we became Apple dealers i found a decent laptop.


gdoubleyou Thu, 07/05/2007 - 18:43

moisiss wrote: Are there any known issues with Macs that you know of?

Apple surprised some developers with their rapid adoption of Intel CPUs, so some plugs haves not been ported yet, or will never be ported. (ie. the plugsound series, no port but all of the soundsets have been moved to Plugsound Pro. You can get it for a price, plus the penelty of GBs worth of content you may or may not want.)

As far as I know the Macbooks are the only laptops that implement the full firewire spec, as oposed to most PC laptops that license Sony's iLink that is a subset of the 1394 spec.


moisiss Fri, 07/06/2007 - 00:11


Yeah... I guess it looks like I'm going to get the Macbook Pro then (gotta save some more cash though). I kinda wanted out of the Windows stuff anyway... Vista isn't that impressive yet and Apple is going to release OSX leopard this fall (for a very reasonable $129...) which looks pretty cool. Not that I dislike Windows... just looking forward to a bit of a change of set-up.

BTW, Anyone know anything about USB port hubs? Mainly for use with midi controllers? Good? Bad? No difference? With only two usb ports on the MBP, I'm going to need to figure something out.

moisiss Sat, 07/07/2007 - 02:45

What about Sony? I saw this video...

on youtube. This is basically the kind of setup that I am thinking about (not beatboxing.... but you get the idea). Around 4:57 it clearly shows that the guys laptop is a Sony (looks kinda old though). Is that a version that has all of the "important" specs (like TI 1394/carbus, decent IRQ settings, etc.)?... Or am I making a bigger deal out of this than I need to. I mean, I just read in another forum about a guy who bought an IBM/Lenovo that has a Ricoh 1394 chipset and says that it works perfectly....

I'm not questioning anyone's authority... just trying to make the most informed decision that I can.

Guest Sat, 07/07/2007 - 08:33

yeah several people have said "it works great"
untill you ask what buffer they can go to or you find out they only have 10 tracks and no sampling..

as far as Sony they used to have TI chipset i dont think any of them do now.

this issue is really only 2 gen of laptop old (since core duo and PCIe introduction)

there are many people who were fine with single core pentium m.


doubleJ Sat, 06/14/2008 - 10:03

I have an asus a8jp (ricoh combo) and a presonus fp10. I just started using it and I'm noticing audible artifacts at the output (like playing pink noise will have glitches every now and then).
It is said that a ti expresscard won't help. Are there any other options (mini-pci, sending audio through midi cables, anything)?
I'm referring to something other than the obvious, "buy a different laptop".

doubleJ Sat, 06/14/2008 - 16:31

I fixed it!!!
I disabled the combo drive (tsstcorp cd/dvdw ts-l632d) and now no pops. It was doing 4-7 pops, in a row, about every 45 seconds.
I read about people with ricoh chips disabling their wireless controller, so I just disabled everything that I knew I didn't need and worked backwards.
Granted, I haven't done any latency tests (I'm not sure how to), but the glitches are gone.

doubleJ Sat, 06/14/2008 - 16:52

I don't know if this says anything about the ricoh after disabling the combo drive, but I downloaded this latency test.
I don't know what's good or bad, but more information is always good for posterity.

CEntrance ASIO Latency Test Utility v3.7

Asus A8jp (Ricoh Firewire/Memory Card Combo)
Presonus Fp10
Sample Rate: 44100
Input Sensitivity: -12dB

Buffer Size / Latency | Measurement Results
88 samples / 2.00 ms | 473 samples / 10.73 ms
132 samples / 2.99 ms | 561 samples / 12.72 ms
528 samples / 11.97 ms | 1345 samples / 30.50 ms
882 samples / 20.00 ms | 2053 samples / 46.55 ms
1410 samples / 31.97 ms | 117 samples / 70.68 ms
1764 samples / 40.00 ms | 3825 samples / 86.73 ms