Should I take this computer back now, or can I salvage it?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by ironlungs, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. ironlungs

    ironlungs Guest

    Hi Folks,

    Wondering about some advice, a quick background on my info:
    I routinely record my band live from the firewire output on a Mackie Onxy 1640, into a laptop running Cubase LE. I use 8 channels tops at any one time right now, but 12-16 would be nice in the future. Besides live recording in the field, I also plan to make an album for a different band project of songs I've been working on for years.

    The problem is that my old Windows XP laptop (Gateway) is on the fritz as the monitor is coming apart at the seams. I knew it wouldn't be long before it went, so a few weeks ago I started looking around to see what was out there since I've never ran on Vista and frankly shied away because everyone says the OS caused so many problems w/ recording.

    Last week I recently purchased a Toshiba M305D-S4830 when I saw it on sale and it seemed like a great buy at the time for $700 (Specs: I haven't opened the box, because I realize it was dumb to not check this model out further. I liked a lot about it, the esata connection, 4gb RAM, Turion x2 dual core processor, and the price - but in fact the reason I pulled the trigger then was because if I waited it was going to jump back up in price to "off-sale" status.

    Anyway, the big deal now I come to find that this thing is running on Vista 64 bit, which at least according to some articles I've been reading was not good for Cubase (they now have a Beta that apparently has no problems according to cust service rep of Steinberg). Not to mention the Toshiba only has 5400rpm hard drive, which I supposed isn't the worst thing in the world as I can replace it.

    So, a few questions:

    1) COMPUTER: Does anyone own a Toshiba and do you like it / how has it performed as a recording machine? WHen you see the specs of this machine, is there anything that would worry you? I remember on my old gateway something about a Radion 9100 series graphics card or something conflicting with my firewire interface (which was presonus firestudio at the time) and that was a huge headache. What are the most important specs in a computer to record with vista ( I know XP was at least 2 gb RAM, 7200RPM drive, etc). Does anyone use solid state drives to record to yet?

    2) OPERATING SYSTEM: Can anyone relate to whether 64 bit Vista is going to cause problems for me recording, either live gigs or in the studio 16 tracks or less at a time? If so, whats the process for scaling back to 32 bit? Is that something I should consider, or just scrap this system and go with something else ( what else then?).

    3) SOFTWARE: What is the easiest software to use overall, and compatible with Vista? I use Cubase only because its what I learned and am not partial to it, but with Vista who knows. I'm open to something better...what do you guys use and think works good recording with Vista? I do want to stick with whatever program I get though, as the more I invest in learning it the harder it'll be to turn back...but at this point I'm still open. The Steinberg Rep said Cubase Studio 4 would probably best meet my needs as a user, and I could upgrade from LE for around $200-$300.

    I appreciate your suggestions, and advice...REALLY DO! I have this unopened computer sitting here, and a semi functional laptop thats going to go any day and once that happens I'm gonna have to make a decision pretty quick. THANK YOU.

  2. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    Jun 9, 2008
    People's Republic Of Mancunia
    Keep it. Open it, Install Cubase. Learn it. You will likely have some teething troubles getting it optimised and stripping away the eye-candy.

    The thing to remember is that a 64 bit OS will allow you to address hundreds of gigs of RAM. Of course, you will need 64 bit applications to make full use of them, but they are the future.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    There's nothing wrong with that computer hardware for audio work. However, Vista64 is likely to be a breaker. See if you can get supplied with a reversionary Vista32 or (better) XP-Pro for it, and you're away.
  4. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Jump in, learn Vista; you'll be glad you did. Skin your knees, bump your shins, stub your toes; you'll learn a lot, and when everyone else is playing catch-up, you'll already be ahead of the curve.

    No matter what the nay-sayers may tell you, Vista works (esp as a clean install, NOT an upgrade from XP), and as long as you do your homework, you'll be ok. There are lots of new security items in Vista and THOSE are usually what cause problems and bottlenecks. I blame MS as well as the software & hardware developers for not solving these early problems, but once you know how to deal with them, you'll be fine.

    For example, here's one major tip for all hard drives (internal and external) running under Vista: Unless you set it up otherwise, Vista will assume you want ALL default security settings under VISTA. So what this means, is that all of your user accounts (again, unless set otherwise) will NOT have full write/rewrite access to things like external hard drives. (Beginning to see an approaching train here?)

    The work-around is to go into the controls for each hard drive (reverse click on the drive icon and click on Properties.) Go into the "Securities" tab, and then click on "Edit" to change your permissions. Once there, click on all of the buttons for authenticated users, and click on "allow" for everything.

    This is similar to network sharing properties, but in Vista, it goes a lot deeper, and protects you much better from hackers getting into your Hard drive and making changes. (Another reason why it's good to use your C drive for OS and program files ONLY. Keep it secure with all the default limitations, and use an external drive for things like audio & video files, etc.)

    What causes a lot of crashing and burning with novice Vista users is the unfortunate fact that most programs (esp audio and video editing systems) will automatically want to seize a file(s) and begin to make copies, append or change files, etc. They CANT DO THIS with all the security settings in place, but instead of telling you that's the problem (which would be soooooooooo simple, right?), most programs simply lock up and stop working, making everyone crazy and angry.

    The result is that most people think there's something "wrong" with Vista and their software/hardware. Sadly, most of the time it's simply because they can't read/write to the drive they're querying.

    Fix this and 90% of those so-called Vista problems will go away, and you can get back to work. :cool:

    There's a few other tips and tricks that actually do work (esp the new search function and better networking overall), but your best bet is to get a complete 3rd party Vista Users guide; there are several on any good newstand or Barnes & Noble. Take an afternoon and read up on all the improvements, and then dive in.
  5. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    Get a flat screen monitor for your old Gateway and pocket the cash.

    Learning new things is over rated.
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