PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Discussion of anything not related to audio or music production
H20nly
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Re: PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Post by H20nly » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:11 pm

ethnotronik wrote:Thanks for the response. I will look into a budget of 2-2.5k for a laptop for live set, multitracking, production and mixing on the go. If dell, as the competitor to apple, offers this at 30% less, I am hoping there will be more competition elsewhere. My desktop computer is at the storage for the past two years, and I am totally laptop dependent for everything audio related.

In my work day experience (as a Network Administrator) we typically only use Dell for servers and then only because of the (really good) warranties.

Otherwise, we have found both Lenovo and HP to make better products at this point in time. We typically do not recommend Dell (any more) as they have started cutting a lot of corners on workstations. We run about 85% Lenovo and and 15% HP (about 415 total PCs). The last few years HP having been building better units... IMHO.

At home, all the techs that work with me have ASUS units... I personally have an iMac, a Macbook, and an ASUS laptop. We all put more faith in ASUS motherboards than anyone else's. Once you get over the disposable/consumer grade low end ASUS specs and start to get near or over the 1000+ US dollars range, you start getting into some really nice computers. If I was switching from my iMac to a Windows laptop for audio, I'd look no further than ASUS.

I'd build my own desktop (with an ASUS motherboard).

just my .02

good luck with what ever you ultimately decide on. hope it is everything you need and more.
cheers

Angstrom
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Re: PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Post by Angstrom » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:37 pm

H20nly wrote:
ethnotronik wrote:So, how does this speed applies to Ableton live in terms of use? How do you benefit from this?
I have an SSD on an 2012 mbp running and loading samples smoothly in a project bout 4-8 GB size
it doesn't
you don't
it would only benefit you in personal file management - such as when you decide to move your entire library to a new drive or folder.
Hmmm, I woud say its case by case.
For Video editors (working with vast files) and for people who compose music in certain (disk-heavy) ways theywill certainly benefit - but for Ableton users it will depend on individual working methodologies

Number Crunching because I was curious.
SATA III has a notional max bandwidth of 500Mb/s but hey - lets say it's 300Mb/s because there's always some shitty bottleneck somewhere.
Now personally I'm rarely gonna hit that bandwidth limit because of the way I work, If I have 50 audio tracks in a set at least half of them are VST instruments, external inputs, or samplers. Not that much stuff streaming off the disk. Perhaps I have 20 tracks of streaming and they are all at either 44.1 or 48KHz, because Iam a monster.

But lets imagine a user prefered to stream 50 tracks of 96Khz/32bit straight from the disk, at 96Khz.
The required Bit Rate for one stereo track is 6144 kbps, so 50 tracks is 307.2 MB/s

So we can say that if a user is streaming 50 or more synchronous tracks of rendered 96KKz 32bit audio from disk, or they are editing 4k video, then the newer (wider) bus will be pretty handy.
I think most professional Protools users would fall into that camp from how I see them working. Lots of rendered audio, hundreds of tracks of it.

People who score for film and TV are likely to really want that bandwidth. I'm not sure about most Live users though.
Me, personally, I don't currently work that way, so I'm fine.

That said - price of PCIe drives is plummeting now.
It's no longer a bleeding edge technology.
A Samsung 500GB SSD SATAIII costs about £100,
A Samsung 500GB SSD PCIe costs about £170

So they cost more, but not horrifically more. 18 months from now PCIe will be the standard.
How much they cost will depend on whether people still buy hard-drives at all, but that's a whole other story!

fishmonkey
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Re: PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Post by fishmonkey » Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:09 am

it's wise to have a backup laptop available, but if that is not possible then a solid machine with excellent support is paramount.

i'm not saying you should get another Mac, but, like it or not, Apple laptops have consistently scored at or near the top of reliability surveys, and their customer support usually ranks as the best.

it's not a good idea to choose a laptop based primarily on price.
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

H20nly
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Re: PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Post by H20nly » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:50 pm

Angstrom wrote:
H20nly wrote:
ethnotronik wrote:So, how does this speed applies to Ableton live in terms of use? How do you benefit from this?
I have an SSD on an 2012 mbp running and loading samples smoothly in a project bout 4-8 GB size
it doesn't
you don't
it would only benefit you in personal file management - such as when you decide to move your entire library to a new drive or folder.
Hmmm, I woud say its case by case.
For Video editors (working with vast files) and for people who compose music in certain (disk-heavy) ways theywill certainly benefit - but for Ableton users it will depend on individual working methodologies

Number Crunching because I was curious.
SATA III has a notional max bandwidth of 500Mb/s but hey - lets say it's 300Mb/s because there's always some shitty bottleneck somewhere.
Now personally I'm rarely gonna hit that bandwidth limit because of the way I work, If I have 50 audio tracks in a set at least half of them are VST instruments, external inputs, or samplers. Not that much stuff streaming off the disk. Perhaps I have 20 tracks of streaming and they are all at either 44.1 or 48KHz, because Iam a monster.

But lets imagine a user prefered to stream 50 tracks of 96Khz/32bit straight from the disk, at 96Khz.
The required Bit Rate for one stereo track is 6144 kbps, so 50 tracks is 307.2 MB/s

So we can say that if a user is streaming 50 or more synchronous tracks of rendered 96KKz 32bit audio from disk, or they are editing 4k video, then the newer (wider) bus will be pretty handy.
I think most professional Protools users would fall into that camp from how I see them working. Lots of rendered audio, hundreds of tracks of it.

People who score for film and TV are likely to really want that bandwidth. I'm not sure about most Live users though.
Me, personally, I don't currently work that way, so I'm fine.

That said - price of PCIe drives is plummeting now.
It's no longer a bleeding edge technology.
A Samsung 500GB SSD SATAIII costs about £100,
A Samsung 500GB SSD PCIe costs about £170

So they cost more, but not horrifically more. 18 months from now PCIe will be the standard.
How much they cost will depend on whether people still buy hard-drives at all, but that's a whole other story!
Yeah those numbers are meaningful after a point, but ethnotronik said his project was 4-8 GB and that he has an SSD. I'd still wager that he would not see a perceivable benefit within Live.

There are also other points to consider. The bottleneck is not limited to drive speed. RAM, bus, and even the number of files vs. file size are all contenders.

What I mean by that last bit is that a single 20 GB .wav file will transfer faster than thousands of smaller files that equal 20 GB in size.

In some environments, a cut/paste is faster than a copy/paste... or copy/paste/delete, since the additional step would have to be taken. In Windows, the former is considered a write to clipboard (temp file) and a paste (write to destination)...
The latter is simply a 'Move' (which has been omitted as a context menu option since Windows 7). This isn't noticeable when inside the OS, but if you try this across a domain you can quickly see how logging into the remote machine is preferable from performing the same copy/paste action remotely... as you wait for the files to upload to the *local* clipboard (temp file).

Point being, there are many unseen factors and nuances at play that we try to resolve by adding muscle to only one part of the equation...

SSD speed is a significant jump from HDD speed. By the time the meter that tells you how fast the transfer is going starts to level out and give you a constant speed, the transfer is complete. An additional 100 Mbps is negligible at 300+ Mbps* speeds in all but the most taxing situations - Live is not a file transfer tool and unpacking Live packs is not real world enough to rate 'DAW Performance' on IMO.

*Also using 300 Mbps as a real world number due to (realistic) factors you stated

H20nly
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Re: PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Post by H20nly » Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:24 pm

@ Angstrom - sorry... reading my reply again, it looks like one of those bizzaro lecture tangent things that have become common in so many threads.

i was essentially just rambling on from your post... as it got me thinking... i in no way was trying to mind wrestle with you. it was more like a bunch of nodding as i read, with an... "And Furthermore!.." at the end of it.

Angstrom
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Re: PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Post by Angstrom » Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:46 pm

Hey I'm not bothered, I was fully wasting time with my post full of idle thoughts.
I was meant to be working and started wondering why I had never run into a storage bandwidth bottleneck with my sets and started doing idiot math.
I don't actually care too much about this fascinating topic.

H20nly
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Re: PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Post by H20nly » Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:54 pm

:wink:

Sans math, that's where i was at too. Our bottlenecks at the office usually come from network bandwidth. One exception, Windows 10. It will choke an HDD quicker than the forum mods would delete a Trump thread - and that's just during boot. No Windows user who hopes to make music should be using Windows 10 on an HDD.

I would not wish that on anyone.

jestermgee
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Re: PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Post by jestermgee » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:49 am

H20nly wrote::wink:

Sans math, that's where i was at too. Our bottlenecks at the office usually come from network bandwidth. One exception, Windows 10. It will choke an HDD quicker than the forum mods would delete a Trump thread - and that's just during boot. No Windows user who hopes to make music should be using Windows 10 on an HDD.

I would not wish that on anyone.
Yeah my 4 main PCs (My main machine, developer machine and 2 spare machines mainly for the kids) all run SSD and Win10 with boot times of approx 15-30 seconds from cold and quick-as-you-like usage.

Then there is my laptop which is half-decent in specs but has a mechanical 5400 HDD/Win 10 and used only for Serato (only that and iTunes installed). Boot time, 2-3 minutes to windows and another 2 min before Serato fully loads which is why I dread a computer crash during a gig (thankfully never happened). Then there is the issue of any kind of attempted update downloads if it's connected to WIFI while performing.

I have several spare SSD drives on my parts shelf that I should cloan and install in it but apart from the slow load time, it runs just fine so not worth the effort to crack it open. Shows just how much difference that drive really makes with performance.

ethnotronik
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Re: PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Post by ethnotronik » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:34 pm

I have completely forgot that windows 10 has the annoying updates running almost every day.
In what way is windows 10 bad for making music? Apart from annoying updates.

I haven’t noticed anything strange about it, except it was much better than my mbp 2012 16gb ram.
My desktop is Gigabyte z68x UD3, 2600k, 16GB RAM, it ran smooth but with so much more CPU headroom, load times were faster, export (bounce) was uncomparably faster. VST’s were taking up the bottom of the meter. Never tested it for Live 10, but I would think it would be a monster comparing to mbp 2012.
Unless someone has hands on experince. I even fiddled with tonyx86 instructions with pretty succesfull results. But I am a busy professional now, don’t have time for games, hacks and hardware.
I only have a concern of taking 5k laptop to jungle gigs to constant exposure to humidity and salinity. And the ocasional mini sand storms. Mbp 2012 is holding up pretty nice. It has been used heavily at least 3-4 times a week in the jungle outdoors, over the period of 18 months, it is being raped in the heat and humidity, but after a gig it goes back to a climate controlled room. Haven’t done any cleaning to it, except blow out the fan shafts once in a while. It is just the matter of time when this computer will die. And then what?
I need to do more research about PC...do live sets with hardware only, anything but buying a new mac
2012 MBP 16GB RAM 512SSD 10.11.x, Push2, Xone K2, Minilab MK2, Komplete Kontrol25, Model D, Digitone, Roland TR8s, Eventide Timefactor

H20nly
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Re: PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Post by H20nly » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:25 pm

ethnotronik wrote:In what way is windows 10 bad for making music?
as long as you have an SSD, i do not believe it is bad at all.

with an HDD, even after you arrive at your desktop... it can be minutes before it registers key strokes properly and (if you can get it to open) when you look in the Task Manager, you see that disk utilization is either at 99% or 100% for several minutes after boots, installs, or large downloads/transfers.

i have no complaints with Windows 10 (Professional) on an SSD.

ethnotronik
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Re: PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Post by ethnotronik » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:34 pm

Time to refresh the thread.
I am looking at Razer, MSI, Dell, and Lenovo Thinkpad...

Will 32 vs 64gb ram make a big difference?
I am looking at i7 8750 (it is in a cheaper range and I think still good)
I just haven't run a large project on a monster spec laptop (comparing this to my 2012 MBP which is on its last legs)
It has been handling, sometimes crackling, coughing up, going out of sync with playing back clips, but I feel I need more VST and larger project with more clips and effects!

Anyone using PC laptop to play live gigs with large live sets, I would like to hear their experience. I do not want mac, period.
2012 MBP 16GB RAM 512SSD 10.11.x, Push2, Xone K2, Minilab MK2, Komplete Kontrol25, Model D, Digitone, Roland TR8s, Eventide Timefactor

miyaru
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Re: PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Post by miyaru » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:35 pm

I do not have expirience with laptops for making music, but an i7-8750 with 32 GB ram should do the trick. Be shure speedstepping can be disabled in the BIOS - you do not want that.

See my signature for my system specs, and it is running fine with larger projects!
Greetings from Miyaru.

Prodaw i7-7700, 16Gb Ram, Focusrite Saffire Pro40, Live Suit 10, Push2, Presonus Eris E8, Lexicon MPX1,
Korg N1, Korg R3, NI Massive, Air Hybrid 3, Rob Papen's Predator 2, Sonarworks Reference 4 and Scaler.

ethnotronik
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Re: PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Post by ethnotronik » Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:26 pm

I am researching speedstepping, but how does this benefit Live? Anything else I should be aware off?
2012 MBP 16GB RAM 512SSD 10.11.x, Push2, Xone K2, Minilab MK2, Komplete Kontrol25, Model D, Digitone, Roland TR8s, Eventide Timefactor

miyaru
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Re: PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Post by miyaru » Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:38 pm

Speedstepping is the lowering of cpu speed to save the battery. It happens if the system is not fully in action, say not full power, if power is needed the cpu power is scaled up again, but to slow for Live or any other DAW. It also prevents overheating. In not every laptop this can be disabled. I have a Lenovo i5 laptop which cannot so. This one is not used for music as it has not have enough power to do so.
Greetings from Miyaru.

Prodaw i7-7700, 16Gb Ram, Focusrite Saffire Pro40, Live Suit 10, Push2, Presonus Eris E8, Lexicon MPX1,
Korg N1, Korg R3, NI Massive, Air Hybrid 3, Rob Papen's Predator 2, Sonarworks Reference 4 and Scaler.

ethnotronik
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Re: PC Laptop Recommendations for Large Live Set?

Post by ethnotronik » Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:02 pm

Razer, Lenovo or Dell XPS
These are my three choices...any objections?
2012 MBP 16GB RAM 512SSD 10.11.x, Push2, Xone K2, Minilab MK2, Komplete Kontrol25, Model D, Digitone, Roland TR8s, Eventide Timefactor

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