• Register
  • Help
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Topic: Two computers, or one SUPER computer?

  1. #1

    Two computers, or one SUPER computer?

    Ok, I'm in a pickle here,

    I wanted a new video card, cause I still like to game time to time, but I also wanted the latest technology which is PCI-Express. So therefore I would need to upgrade my board, processor, ram, everything. I currently have two Athlon XP systems that I built almost 2 years ago. I use QLSO Gold a lot, and Gigastudio 2.5 from time to time. I run Sonar 3 Producer as my sequencer. Right now, my 2nd pc has been collecting dust because I haven't hooked it up properly. I've done all my composing on one computer the last 6 months using Gold, and I have 1.5GB of ram. It's crashed a few times because I overloaded my ram, but I only have 3 DIMM slots, using three 512MB sticks at PC2700 speed.

    My question is, would one super computer with 2GB of ram, an AMD 64 3200+, with my current IDE 8mb/ cache drives be BETTER for what I'm doing than having two average comps? The motherboard I would get would have 4 DIMM slots, and I'd have two 1GB sticks of PC3200, so I could eventually expand to 4GB.

    I already asked one person this, and he thought it would be better to hold on to both computers because of the PCI-Bus issues and overloading of the processor. I could still get dropouts even with 4GB of ram. He thinks running something like MidiOverLan would be a better alternative. But will it still be better than the computer I proposed to build? There's also the new nforce 4 chipsets which are supposedly faster, and M-Audio is coming out with their 64-bit drivers.

    I would be selling my 2nd PC and the guts to my main comp to get the money to do this. Here's the important stats of both I have:


    MSI N-force 2 K7N2-L Motherboard
    AMD Athlon XP 2500+ Barton Core
    Antec True Power 430watt Power Supply
    1.5GB DDR PC2700 Samsung RAM
    Dual Western Digital 120GB Special Editions (240GB total)
    Gigabyte Radeon 9200 w/VIVO
    M-Audio Delta 1010LT


    MSI N-force 2 K7N2-L Delta Motherboard
    AMD Athlon XP 1800+ Thoroughbred
    Antec Blue 350watt Power Supply
    Dual Western Digital 80GB Special Editions (160GB total)
    1GB DDR2700 Crucial RAM
    M-Audio Audiophile 24/96
    Nvidia Geforce 2 MX64

    I need some serious opinions and knowledge on this, because this would be a BIG change for me. Also, I will be obtaining a MOTU 828mk II and a Powerbook within 2 months, so if that might sway your advice, then tell me. THANKS!


  2. #2

    Re: Two computers, or one SUPER computer?

    Jared, I can't give you definitive answers; a lot would depend on your preferred work habits. But I can tell you how I've configured my multi-computer studio, and hope it sparks some creative solutions for you:

    One computer for running the sequencer software (in my case, a Mac with Digital Performer, but there's no reason why this couldn't be a PC with your sequencer of choice.

    This machine also runs many plugin instruments - Atmosphere, Trilogy, Stylus RMX, GPO and EWQLSO are the main ones - and FX plugs - Waves, Pluggo, etc. But I always pay attention to the Performance/CPU meter, when it starts to get over 60%, I start looking for instrument parts to farm out - Both orchestras and the Spectrasonics stuff run on my 2nd main computer, a P4 3.0G. This box runs VSTi's on V-Stack, and has had very few problems (one VSTi crash, not repeated) since I built it 3 months ago. I can keep all the instrument parts flexible by using MIDI tracks, and don't need to commit to audio until all the parts and patches are finalized (though if you know the part is not going to change, it will usually save CPU horsepower to write it as an audio file to the main sequencer/recorder.)

    My third computer, a 1.8G P4 with a Layla card, is for Giga 2.54 with a four-in MIDI box from MOTU.

    These are networked together via a router with a print server, and a KVM rig so the sequencer screen is always up on one monitor, the second monitor, connected to the KVM, shows whichever of the other computers I need. The audio goes though a mixer to analog ins on the sequencer, or digitally straight through to the sequencer, independent of the mixer.

    The nice part is that it's adaptable: When I upgrade to Giga 3, I'll want to swap all the hardware and software around, so the relatively hot 3.0G machine gets the hot stuff, and the more sedate VSTi apps can run on the slower, but still capable, machine.

    I have another computer as well, for internet and email and routine apps, so I can keep my music boxes pristine (relatively speaking) but the remember - if you aren't heavily loading the CPU you don't need a firecracker box (my net machine is a 1M Dell with 512M RAM, and does it's job just fine, if you're not in a hurry.) OTOH, it's nice to have one available. Eventually, I will add another hot superbox and the net box becomes surplus, the 1.8 becomes net server, and so on down the line. But if all I need is another VST player, I can get a pretty cheap box that will work just fine - almost any new low-end computer (that means 1.4G or so these days) with 512M of RAM can run audio apps, VSTi's, mix-to-premaster apps. Just add a $1-200 audio/midi interface and you're off...

    The concept works great, and the actual implementation is pretty good, generally. Digital patchbays can help the workflow greatly. Keeping the software and OS updated can take a bit of time, but once it's all up-to-date, you can just set aside a few hours a week for maintenance and you're all good to go.

    Now if I can just find a few hours to actually create some music...
    It's all about the music - really. I keep telling myself that...

  3. #3

    Re: Two computers, or one SUPER computer?

    Definetely go two computers.

    - The 2gb limit will be overcome on two mcahines (FX Teleport would be great).
    - An AMD 64 isnt going to do much without 64bit O.S, drivers, software etc. (I assume you're talking about an AMD 64bit processor here.)

    Did you know that many 32bit processors on the market already do 48 or even 64bit internal calculations anyway?

    If you did want a more powerful processor, Id go dual CPUs for the host at this time. It will give you more grunt and overall stability/compatibility than a single 64bit.

    But my recommendation would be stick with two machines. If you want a gaming machine, you could try Hyper OS, it lets you have differently configuered versions of Windows; a virgin installation, an internet install, one tweaked and configured for music, one for gaming etc. It takes about 30 seconds to switch between versions. If one version gets corrupted or a virus (say the internet one) you can trash it.

    BTW, your two machines are almost identical to the two I use to run Gold, AMDs, same ram, and MSI boards. Gold works beautifully along with all my other VSTS on them.
    - SCA - Sound Studios -

  4. #4

    Re: Two computers, or one SUPER computer?

    Thanks for the info. My question is, what is the most recommended for transfering MIDI, samples, etc through multiple comp. My friend said MidiOverLan would be fine, but I'm still confused how to get that to work properly, plus I'm not on a gigabit lan. Would an external rackmount MIDI device be better and more stable? Take an M-Audio 8x8 USB for example. Could QLSO run through that fine? I plan to have around 4-5 rackmount computers in the future, so the inputs would definitely be needed later on.

    Opinions on the process? I have MidiOverLan and FX Teleport, but feel there could still be better solutions.

  5. #5

    Re: Two computers, or one SUPER computer?

    I think FX Teleport is ideal for your situation. Are you not using it? This will transport midi, audio etc back to your host and let you load more than 2gb of samples.
    - SCA - Sound Studios -

  6. #6

    Re: Two computers, or one SUPER computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Cairns
    I think FX Teleport is ideal for your situation. Are you not using it? This will transport midi, audio etc back to your host and let you load more than 2gb of samples.

    Last time I used it, I was getting horrible dropouts, and had to press the buffer to 4000ms. When I did a mixdown in Sonar...the instruments coming from the 2nd PC would drop out in the compiled .wav. What's wrong?

  7. #7

    Re: Two computers, or one SUPER computer?

    Hi, it could be a lot of things really. You could try upgrading to two Gigabit cards, they're getting pretty cheap these days. Use CAT6 cable with them, not 5 or 5E.

    Also, try restricting the range of your network. For example:

    Give it an I.P. of

    Give it an I.P. of

    Set the subnet mask to (instead of 0)

    Also, if you are running connection sharing or something, try turning it off, I know some people have had lousy performance from FX Teleport when other network shares were running.

    Perhaps also try the FX-Max forums or ask Max for tech support.
    - SCA - Sound Studios -

Go Back to forum


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts