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Topic: Options?

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Options?

    I have the option of upgrading my existing PC with more ram (1 to 2 gigs), another hard drive, better sound card, split video card, another monitor and several minor things. The techs tell me it would cost me around $500 to upgrade. Or, should I continue to use it as is for Internet and buy another dedicated for music or visa vera? Decisions decisions...
    Styxx

  2. #2

    Re: Options?

    Quote Originally Posted by Styxx
    I have the option of upgrading my existing PC with more ram (1 to 2 gigs), another hard drive, better sound card, split video card, another monitor and several minor things. The techs tell me it would cost me around $500 to upgrade. Or, should I continue to use it as is for Internet and buy another dedicated for music or visa vera? Decisions decisions...
    I think the latter point would be ideal. But 500 clams doesn't sound like you'll be going without food for very long either. So, how fast is you existing system? Could be an inexpensive upgrade might be the cat's meow.
    ~Rudy
    helmproductions.com
    =====================
    Rock-a-doodle-doooo!!

  3. #3

    Re: Options?

    Styxx,

    Depends on:
    --what your current cpu is
    --how much demand you will be putting on the machine

    If you've got a 2GHz machine now, adding a bunch of memory will not necessarily enable you to drive more simultaneous voices. If it's a 2.8, then maybe you're in the ballpark and an upgrade would be reasonable.

    Personally, I went for a dedicated machine rather than upgrade my 2Ghz pentium. I went for an Athlon 64 3200+, which is comparable to a 3.2GHz P4, but without the heat and normalization problems of the P4s. XP Pro, 2GB memory, good soundcard, 2 SATA drives. It has an adjustable fan that hardly runs most of the time, as the machine runs very cool. I have to look to see if the machine is turned on. New faster Athlon64s are out with better clock numbers...and higher prices.

    It is set up quite lean, with all non-essential OS services stopped. Plenty of memory and no extra software running in the background. The extra memory allows me to load a large GPO footprint and still have room for other stuff without having the machine constantly swapping.

    I have my email, etc. on my old machine. I do have an internet connection on my DAW, simply because I use the internet constantly and it's a pain to switch back and forth between machines, even if old and new are networked.

    I'm using a hardware KVM switch, with a single Apple Cinema display, mouse, and keyboard, to switch between the machines. There is also a good software KVM switch from KaVoom that could work for you. I recommend a hardware one, though.

    The difference is the price. Depending on from whom and where, a new DAW like mine can run from, say, about $1500-4000US, depending...so more than the $500 upgrade. But if you can pry loose the cash, a new dedicated box is definitely the way to go.
    Bill

  4. #4
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Unhappy Re: Options?

    It's a pen 4 with 2.66 ghz. So, it's not worth upgrading?
    Styxx

  5. #5

    Re: Options?

    hi,
    if biilp and others can measure their daw performance using Gpo, it may help Styxx for his decision.
    I suggest to create tha kind of measure in this thread.
    Of course it need volounteers...

  6. #6

    Re: Options?

    Quote Originally Posted by tresic
    hi,
    if biilp and others can measure their daw performance using Gpo, it may help Styxx for his decision.
    I suggest to create tha kind of measure in this thread.
    Of course it need volounteers...
    tresic,
    I created a set of GPO benchmarks several months ago if you are interested.
    The full benchmark is HERE.
    Includes everything you need to run and record your system info. There is also a 512K benchmark for smaller systems. It's not posted, but I can post it if there's any interest.
    Bill

  7. #7

    Re: Options?

    Quote Originally Posted by Styxx
    It's a pen 4 with 2.66 ghz. So, it's not worth upgrading?
    You couldn't make it easy and tell us you had a 1.8GHz with 256MB of ram.
    It would be nice to know your:
    --current memory
    --soundcard

    BTW, the extra drive probably won't make much difference if you're not using DFD, since the samples are all loaded at load time, so there's not much demand on the drive while you're playing the sounds. The extra drive really starts to become important with DFD or if you are doing a lot of audio recording. In these cases, having the separate drive can help.

    There are 2 major variables:
    1. The CPU/Soundcard aspect--the more polyphony, the higher the CPU demand and the more important CPU utilization and low-latency soundcard drivers become. Drivers need CPU. Kontakt needs CPU to process requests for samples and feed them to the soundcard.

    If you are trying to play highly polyphonic stuff and are trying to record realtime, you have to have low latency to avoid an noticeable latency delay. A noticeable delay makes it difficult to keep time.

    If you're not doing any realtime recording, you can back off on the latency (bigger buffer size), and thus on the instantaneous CPU demand. So your 2.66 might be just fine.

    2. Memory -- you can add a bundle of memory, load up a lot of voices, but not have the horsepower to play them simultaneously. See #1 above. If you are doing stuff with just a few voices playing at a time, but like to load up the whole orchestra in case you need another voice, then adding memory alone may help you.

    It gets down to number of voices that you need to load, the degree of polyphony that you require, and whether you play/record realtime. If you have 512MB now, let me know, and I'll post the 512MB benchmark and you can see how you do.

    It's always a gamble, but maybe you could try adding memory, and getting a low-latency soundcard for your 2.66 and see how it goes. It might be quite suitable. I think you could wait on the drive.
    Bill

  8. #8
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Options?

    Thanks Bill. I have 1 gig of ram. The extra drive I was thinking of using I do a lot of audio and midi mixing together and yes, most of what I am doing is for full orchestra. Currently putting together a musical using GPO and Diva as well as playing the drums and some percussion in myself. I constantly get low memory warnings and my sound card is always clicking unless I save the project and reload. Then it will stop. The sound card is a consumer Creative Audigy 2 Sound Blaster. I know not much of what is best for these applications and rely on expert (or so called expert in the case of the techs who put this one together for me) to help me get what is needed.
    Bench mark? Ya got me.
    I'm not looking to write the ninth symphony. Just need a reliable PC to do my work. People are depending on me to make this show shine!
    Styxx

  9. #9

    Re: Options?

    Quote Originally Posted by Styxx
    Creative Audigy 2 Sound Blaster
    Styxx,
    I was an SBLive user for a long time, so I've got nothing against SB's. But unless things have changed dramatically, my guess is that the creative drivers for the SB line are still not great. A number of folks on this forum are using the MAudio Audiophile 24/96 and really like it. It's not that expensive and I think it's got better, lower-latency drivers, which will help with the clicks and pops.

    Unfortunately, there's no way of knowing ahead of time if tweaking your current system will do the job. If you want a sure-fire solution and can spare the cash, I recommend an system like mine (or a newer Athlon64) that I described above. I did my competition piece on it. I had the full orchestra, the full Steinway, the marimba, the works. And I could play it all without having to do track freezes or intermediate bounces. I think Stillfox got a similar Athlon recently--a 3500+--and he's happy.

    If you can find someone to build it for you (or do it yourself), you can save a bit of cash.
    Bill

  10. #10
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Options?

    Can the processor be upgraded to 3 or more ghz? And if so, would that be a foolish option? The M-Audio sound card I am set on after reading more on the options. I would still like another hard drive to store other files.
    This has allways boggled my mind. Thanks for your help!
    Styxx

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