I'm still in the market for a notebook; any suggestions?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
dn83
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I'm still in the market for a notebook; any suggestions?

Post by dn83 » Mon Nov 05, 2007 10:52 pm

Hi everybody - I'm still in the market for a PC notebook to use for everyday stuff as well as music stuff.

I've already tried a few models, but have been finding that they've been incompatible with any external audio interfaces that I use for some reason. (I've already written a post about this - using ultra-portable notebooks with audio interfaces). By incompatible, I mean that they will work with the interfaces, but they exhibit a seemingly random single crackle noise every minute or so...

Any advice is appreciated.
Last edited by dn83 on Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

inmazevo
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Post by inmazevo » Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:30 pm

I read a bit of your other post, and from what I've read, I don't think I'd go this route (1420).

The XPS that didn't work for you shares many similarities with the other Inspiron machines. It's unlikely that if the XPS failed for you, that the 1420 will work better. Personally, I think you're having chipset incompatibilities with your audio interfaces. This is fairly common with laptops, particularly budget laptops, and some interfaces are quite picky about what chipsets they'll work well on.

Have you considered a Macbook and bootcamp?
I have that, and it's worked flawlessly. The base model (which has recently been revamped a bit) is $1099, and has a TI chipset, 6-pin FW port.

I've used this with a MOTU 828, a Mackie Onyx Satellite, and currently a Focusrite Saffire. All worked flawlessly with Live @ 128-160 samples per buffer, under both OS X and Windows XP Pro.

I get around 4 usable hours of battery life when using it as a DAW, and 5 usable hours of battery life during general use. That's twice as long as either my former Dell or Sony laptops would give me.

Just a thought,
- zevo
infinite density, zero volume

dn83
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Post by dn83 » Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:48 pm

Hey there - thanks so much for your post. What you said makes a lot of sense. Yeah, I'm afraid that this 1420 will do the same thing. =\

Maybe I should just go with a MacBook and BootCamp. Does BootCamp come with Leopard?

FavoriteStation
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Post by FavoriteStation » Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:55 pm

Dude, if I can give you any advice, it would be to stay away from PC and get a mac. I went through your situation, and had a great sony laptop. Every i/o I used, i had glitches, crackles, etc. I have a mac book, and it's seamless! Perfect. It will change your life.

adventurepants_
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Post by adventurepants_ » Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:36 am

or just do your homework and get a pc laptop that has a TI firewire chipset. Most Dell inspirons come with Richohs, that are no good for firewire audio. Vista is also a bit of a dodgy choice at the moment due to driver and performance issues, though those are slowly getting worked out.

so a good pc laptop with a TI chipset on XP, should have no problems with performance, and will be easily on par with a macbook. The macbooks are a good computer, but dont be convinced that they are somehow inherently better for audio productions. they are running on the same pc hardware after all.

nate_D
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Post by nate_D » Tue Nov 06, 2007 2:51 am

FavoriteStation wrote:Dude, if I can give you any advice, it would be to stay away from PC and get a mac. I went through your situation, and had a great sony laptop. Every i/o I used, i had glitches, crackles, etc. I have a mac book, and it's seamless! Perfect. It will change your life.
:script:
Macbook 2ghz c2d, 2gb ram, osx 10.5.5, live 8.0.8, fw-1884, ms20, x-session, 2xLP

dn83
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Post by dn83 » Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:29 am

Hey guys, thanks for the replies. Yeah, I might end up getting a MacBook and putting Windows on it in addition to Leopard.

It would be nice if the 13" MacBooks had dedicated graphics like the MacBook Pros...and a 7200rpm hard drive option would be nice too. But at least they now support up to 4GB of RAM ('bout time)! :wink:

tricil
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Post by tricil » Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:47 am

dn83 wrote:Hey there - thanks so much for your post. What you said makes a lot of sense. Yeah, I'm afraid that this 1420 will do the same thing. =\

Maybe I should just go with a MacBook and BootCamp. Does BootCamp come with Leopard?
yes bootcamp comes with leopard


i'm buying XP Home and Fruity Loops next week!

gonna kick it old school

non-sequitur: does using live on bootcamp use up another unlock? signs point to yes here, but just making sure.....
MacBook Pro T7600 / OS X 10.5.7 / Ableton Suite 8.0.2 / Peak Pro XT 6.1.1 / ReMOTE 37SL

nate_D
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Post by nate_D » Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:41 am

dn83 wrote:Hey guys, thanks for the replies. Yeah, I might end up getting a MacBook and putting Windows on it in addition to Leopard.
thats what i said but i still haven't done it yet. why put windows on when osx kicks so much ass? theres not really that much that windows can do that osx doesn't.
Macbook 2ghz c2d, 2gb ram, osx 10.5.5, live 8.0.8, fw-1884, ms20, x-session, 2xLP

dCross
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Post by dCross » Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:35 pm

tricil wrote:non-sequitur: does using live on bootcamp use up another unlock? signs point to yes here, but just making sure.....
Yes, it's considered another instance of the program for the purposes of our servers.
David Cross
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cross@ableton.com

inmazevo
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Post by inmazevo » Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:37 pm

dn83 wrote:Hey guys, thanks for the replies. Yeah, I might end up getting a MacBook and putting Windows on it in addition to Leopard.

It would be nice if the 13" MacBooks had dedicated graphics like the MacBook Pros...and a 7200rpm hard drive option would be nice too. But at least they now support up to 4GB of RAM ('bout time)! :wink:
I thought I'd notice the lack of dedicated graphics as well, but for the most part, I think those fears are more about how shared graphics used to behave. The chipsets are much better at this now than they used to be.
I slave a 20.1" 1680x1050 screen off my Macbook's shared memory, and for DAW use it works.

I put a 7200RPM drive in mine, and bumped the RAM to 2GB (I don't have the new model).
Live just pounds on this little thing, though it pounds ever-so-slightly better on the Windows side of it (don't know why, but it's true on this machine).

And, of course, the 6pin powered FW chip is Texas Instruments. Very good.

Take care,
- zevo
infinite density, zero volume

dn83
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Post by dn83 » Tue Nov 06, 2007 8:23 pm

Thanks for your reply.

Yep, getting a MacBook again and just putting XP on it is sounding more and more like the way to go.

Yeah - the Mac OS is innovative, visually inspiring, and has a lot of cool features, but it's not very functional I'm afraid.

I mean, in terms of navigation, file organization/viewing, and customization, it's just not as malleable as Windows.

But it just depends on the user and how he/she uses their computer. If the aforementioned functions aren't very important to the user, then yes, the Mac OS would be fine for them.
Last edited by dn83 on Tue Nov 06, 2007 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

leedsquietman
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Post by leedsquietman » Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:29 pm

The major problem is Vista, bad implementation and lack of driver support.

The point about checking the firewire chipset is valid but every Dell I've run has a TI chipset, my admittedly older P4 3.2 Ghz laptop absolutely flies with every audio interface I've tried it with (it has a TI chipset), even the m-audio firewire 410 which is the bastard lemon of firewire interfaces in the opinion of a sizeable number of users worked great. Wirks great with an RME fireface 400 and a MoTU 828 Mk II also.

Things such as avoiding hardware IRQ conflicts is also a potential problem. And XPS machines are not 'budget' machines, neither are the top of the line Inspirons which share much of the XPS specs. Just because Dell makes some entry level notebooks doesn't make their range crap. Had 4 desktops and 3 laptops and been very satisfied so far with Dell's products.


And firewire is not the only option, there are great PCMCIA interfaces, such as the EMU 1616M and USB 2.0 interfaces are getting better and closer performance wise.

ENE and Ricoh chipsets do suck donkey balls though for firewire and unfortunately are very prevalent as they are cheap as chips and are probably in 90% of laptops sub 1500 dollars.

It has to be said that the Macbook Pro is worth considering right now. It has a stable os, can run windows programs under bootcamp and has good specs, just the price could be a bit better IMHO, still overpriced but at this time with Vista totally not ready to be near to optimal yet and the crap shoot with your firewire interface, it makes it worth a look, especially if you can get a discount (education or drive a hard bargain with a 3rd party mac store)
http://soundcloud.com/umbriel-rising http://www.myspace.com/leedsquietmandemos Live 7.0.18 SUITE, Cubase 5.5.2], Soundforge 9, Dell XPS M1530, 2.2 Ghz C2D, 4GB, Vista Ult SP2, legit plugins a plenty, Alesis IO14.

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Post by adventurepants_ » Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:43 pm

im pretty sure the 1420 does have the Ricoh chipset. My 1720 does. its otherwise a great lappy.

im still planning on running xp as my main OS for about another six months until the kinks in vista are worked out.

dn83
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Post by dn83 » Tue Nov 06, 2007 10:46 pm

Hey guys - yeah, actually it's not just FireWire interfaces that I've had this problem with, but USB ones as well. That's what makes it so strange. I currently own a USB 2.0 and a FireWire audio interface and they've both exhibited the issue I mentioned, on multiple laptops, XP and Vista. It must just be cheap components. =\

MacBook Pros are expensive, you're right. They START at $2,000? Haha, crazy...

DELL is a great company, I mean, they are super-affordable, they offer lots of configuration options of the latest technologies, and I really like the BIOS they use (which usually offers a lot of changeable options). If only they didn't use such cheaply-made components! I'm pretty sure that the 1420 that I'm about to try will do the same thing, but I thought I would give it a try. It might arrive by the end of this week...
Last edited by dn83 on Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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