Laptop Configuration

Discussion in 'Computing' started by PinguinoGrande, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. Hi,

    I am in the process of setting up my laptop to record music.

    Computer Specs:
    AMD 64 bit processor 3200
    1.25 gigs of RAM
    40GB 4200 Hard drive.
    5 USB 2.0 ports
    1 firewire port

    I am most likely going to be purchasing the Firebox by Presonus for my input (unless someone can recommend something better in that price range). I will also most likely be using Nuendo or Cubase SX for software.

    My question is, will an external hard drive prevent latency issues and allow me to accomplish multi track recording with this laptop or are there other issues that should be addressed as well?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. arbiter

    arbiter Guest

    The slower internal drive will probably be a limiting factor for a while.

    I'd probably get the interface, and see what kind of track count you can get on the internal drive. Then upgrade as soon as you can afford it to an external firewire drive. Something 7200RPM with 8 or 16mb cache.
    You should big benefits from that.

    It'll also save you "mileage" on your internal drive. Recording can really wear a drive out quickly, and you don't want your internal drive going bad on a laptop...they're a pain to replace, and expensive.
  3. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    Definitely definitely definitely get an external hard drive. I wouldn't even try using just the internal drive. It just wont work.

    The hard drives in most laptops run at 5400 rpm..and even at 7200 rpm it's not recommended that you run Cubase from the same drive that you are recording to. This it true for standard computers, not just laptops.

    I use a Firewire audio interface and an external USB 2.0 Harddrive. It works great.
  4. Thanks for the help. I have heard that firewire hard drives are better for recording than USB 2.0 eventhough they are slower. Is this true?

    Also, what is this about running cubase on a different drive than you are recording to?
  5. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    Firewire vs USB....

    I use USB 2.0 and I have had 40+ tracks playing back with no problems...while recording. The reason I went with a USB hard drive rather than a firewire one is because my audio interface was firewire and I didn't want to put may audio drive on the same port. So I just used the USB port. The drive is actually compatible with both firewire and USB as most external drive are today. So get one with both and then you have some options.

    You don't want to run your program on the same drive you are recording your audio to. Your best bet would be to install cubase on to the laptop's harddrive and record all the audio to the external harddrive.
  6. Thanks for the help. I will keep that in mind when I order an external drive.

    Thanks again.
  7. tnjazz

    tnjazz Active Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    I can run 8 tracks to my internal drive (4200 rpm) at 24bit resolution (48k) with no trouble. Any more than that and I have issues.

    I was able to run 18 tracks to the drive at 16bit/44.1k in a live environment one time though (a last second emergency "cross your fingers and hope this works" kind of situation...)

    So it will work, but high track counts will not do so well. I use a firewire external these days and I can push 24 tracks at 24/48 for 3+ hours with no difficulty.

    I agree that you should never record to your OS drive though, and also agree that when you pick up an external you should look for a "combo case" that offers both USB2 and firewire connectivity.

    I've had issues with USB so I run firewire exclusively, but lots of folks out there run USB drives for audio with no problems.

  8. phantompower

    phantompower Guest

    firewire has its own method of communication between devices, whereas usb 2.0 is controlled entirely by the computer's processor. so if the processor is tied up with other tasks, the high-rated speed of the usb drive slows down in response. this is not an issue with firewire, which is why things like video cameras are still firewire. also, with firewire, you can chain up to 60 (maybe 64 or something) devices together with nothing slowing down in the chain, so if you only have one firewire port, its not an issue. however, most people i know who use usb 2.0 drives have had no problems anyway.
  9. Thanks again for all of your help. I guess my last question is what kind of latency can I expect from a firebox/firepod when I am recording one track at a time. I have read on several other threads about people having up to a half second delay from what is playing on their screen to what they are playing. I know that I have experienced that in the past with my edirol keyboard running through minimoog or b4 software.
  10. slowjett

    slowjett Guest

    On my laptop p4 2.66ghz, 1gb ram, 20gb 4500rpm tracking to internal drive. I can get 3 to 2.5ms latency with no issues on my firepod recording like 3 tracks. I just use 3ms, becuase at 2.0 I get some crackles, pops n skips.

  11. is that noticable when you are recording additional tracks to a mix? Seems like it would suck to have any delay in recording.
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