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Topic: GPO on a Powerbook or iBook?

  1. #1

    GPO on a Powerbook or iBook?

    Hi all,

    Up until now my trusty G3 clamshell running Finale, an Oxygen 8 and a small backpack have taken me literrally around the world and have allowed me to write on planes, trains and automobiles.

    Alas the time has come to upgrade and I would like to incorporate GPO. Im not sure which system of the available iBooks or Powerbooks is best suited for the job. It would be nice if i could build the following template with all the following loaded at once and on-line in GPO/Kontakt w/DP4 and/or GPO Studio with Finale 2k5

    5 wind KS instruments (Picc, Flute, Ob, Clar, Bsn)
    4 Horn KS instruments
    1 Trumpet KS instrument
    1 Tromb KS instrument
    2 Percussion Inst
    1 Keybd Inst
    1 Harp Inst
    5 String KS instruments (vln 1, 2 vla, vc, cb)

    The following Apple portables are available


    • 1GHz or 1.2GHz PowerPC G4 processor with Velocity Engine and 512K on-chip level 2 cache running at 1GHz
    • 133 MHZ system bus
    • 256MB of PC2100 (266MHz) DDR SDRAM (256MB built-in and one available SO-DIMM slot) with support for up to 1.25GB


    • 12-inch models
    - 1.33GHz PowerPC G4 processor with Velocity Engine, 512K SRAM on-chip L2 cache, 167MHz system bus
    - 256MB of PC2700 (333MHz) DDR SDRAM; one open SO-DIMM slot; support for up to 1.25GB

    • 15-inch models
    - 1.33GHz or 1.5GHz PowerPC G4 processor with Velocity Engine, 512K SRAM on-chip L2 cache, 167MHz system bus
    - 256MB or 512MB of PC2700 (333MHz) DDR SDRAM; two SO-DIMM slots support up to 2GB

    • 17-inch model
    - 1.5GHz PowerPC G4 processor with Velocity Engine, 512K SRAM on-chip L2 cache, 167MHz system bus
    - 512MB of PC2700 (333MHz) DDR SDRAM; two SO-DIMM slots support up to 2GB

    I am guessing that I really do need 2GB of ram to have the full orchestra on-line. This is what I have on my desktop and it works very nicely although my desktop runs a dual g4 1.25 ghz.

    There are very big price differences between the above three models so I dont just want to buy the biggest one unless it is absolutely necessary.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance,

    Andy Brick
    Phone: 917-327-0293
    Email: andy@andybrick.com
    Web: http://www.andybrick.com
    AIM: andybrick
    Skype: andrewbrick

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    NW Illinois

    Re: GPO on a Powerbook or iBook?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Brick
    Any suggestions?
    Andy Brick
    Wait until the Mac Expo in January happens. That's usually when new products and pricing comes out.


  3. #3

    Re: GPO on a Powerbook or iBook?


    I recently bought the 15" 1.5GHz PowerBook. I previously upgraded from a WallStreet G3 machine to a 1GHz PowerBook just a year ago, but I really felt the need for the extra speed after starting to use GPO and other softsynths heavily on the road. Fortunately a situation came up where I could upgrade (bought a refurb from the Apple Store online) and pass my 1GHz on to a family member for a reasonable price. The 15" is the best size for frequent travel - 12" too cramped for music applications, and the 17" is too bulky for coach class airline seats and many other situations. The iBooks are all 1024x768 resolution, same as your G3 and the 12" PowerBook....the extra pixels on the 15" really make a difference.

    RAM is important, I have 2 GB and would suggest 1GB as a minimum. PowerBooks are picky about RAM, makes sure you buy from a dealer with a good return policy who certifies Apple compatibility. You can load up the orchestra you describe in 1 GB, but it WILL choke in some situations: low buffer size, dense orchestration, or lots of sustained keyboard notes or rolled timpani, etc. Having more RAM and keeping DFD turned off will eke out a few more voices on a PowerBook.

    Unfortunately at this time Apple portables are lagging behind the raw performance of many Windoze laptops (which I am loathe to admit). With careful management of resources and freezing of parts (in a sequencer), you can get a lot of work done on a PowerBook - but for dedicated Finale+GPO performance, a fast PC laptop will deliver more bang for the buck. I don't know if there is likely to be any huge leap in performance announced in January; Apple is expected to go one more round with the G4 before they manage to get a G5 chip into a PowerBook. If you're ready to buy now, the Apple store has the same refurb deal I bought, $2099 for 1.5GHz with 512 MB RAM, SuperDrive, etc.

    I just bought the Korg MicroKontrol to go with it. I don't particularly like the mini keys but the other features won me over and it fits handily in my suitcase. The control sliders work great with GPO and I mapped one of the pads to toggle CC#64 for legato programs...other pads control DP's transport and other functions.

    Hope that helps, good luck with your purchase.


  4. #4

    Re: GPO on a Powerbook or iBook?

    Hi Andy and Brian:

    Brian is correct in everything he says about the current Mac Powerbooks and to boot he knows more than the average bear about computers and how to optimize their tools for music composition.

    I also bought a 15" Powerbook and put 1 GB of RAM in it. Also, I opted for the 5400 rpm HD instead of the 4200 it normally comes with. This helps a lot, but with a 1.5 GB CPU I only get 8 instruments playing at one time and have to use AU Matrix reverb. The processor won't do any more for that kind of reverb. So, instead of AU ambience reverb or something like it, I'm dealt a pat hand.

    I think Brian is correct in saying we all should wait for powerbooks to get more powerful (G5). The new iMacs can hold about 4 GB of RAM if I heard my Mac rep correctly--and that's what makes GPO happy--RAM and a CPU greater than 1.5 GB (2 or even 2.5 would be great).

    Wish you well in your search for the perfect GPO tool for you.

    Jack Cannon--MacBook Pro (2015, 13") GPO4/5, JABB3, Auth. STEINWAY, YAMAHA CFX, Gofriller CELLO, Stradivari VIOLIN, COMB2, WORLD, HARPS, PIPE ORGANS, FINALE 25.5, DORICO 1.2.10, Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 9.51, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express, MacBook Pro (2012, 13") 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Shelton, Washington State

    Re: GPO on a Powerbook or iBook?

    I'm using a iBook G4 933. I bought it as a desktop replacement but virtual synths with effects need much more power than this. I'll probably order a DP G5 Power Mac next week and take care of the problem.


  6. #6

    Re: GPO on a Powerbook or iBook?

    Greetings! I'm using a 15 Titanium Powerbook (1GHZ processor, with 1GHZ of RAM).

    I can usually load just about two instances (full of instruments) of GPO into Cubase SX1 before problems arise. This of course depends upon the other VST instruments/effects you choose to use concurrently.

    I quite often wish I had more RAM... probably 2GIG would be about ideal for me. To load the list of instruments simultaneously that you have in mind, you will need a decent amount of RAM.

    Todd Kinsley
    Sound Designer


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