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Topic: Best uses for additional "lesser" computers running large sample libraries?

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  1. #1

    Best uses for additional "lesser" computers running large sample libraries?

    I currently has a main DAW machine that's P4 2.8 Intel, 2GB RAM, multiple 200 GB hard drives, with an Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1 audio card, and it's been pretty good so far, except once a while adding a softsynth that's cpu intensive (Korg Legacy Cell for example) will make it crawl and stutter.

    I'm about to add some large sized orchestral libraries, and I predict they will become problems if I try to run them all on my current main machine. I have a couple of older computers that's been "banished" to doing lesser tasks like internet surfing and homework for my wife. They are P4 1.5 Intel, 512MB RAM, multiple hard drives (240 GB total), and Celeron 2.4, 128 MB RAM, one 80 GB hard drive. Both are running the default sound device off the motherboard, with no additional sound card. I'm wondering if it's worth the time and effort to link them all together with my main DAW machine and run something like FX Teleport or MIDI over LAN. I could spend a little money to upgrade those older machines with more RAM and more hard drives (but I probably won't bother upgrading the CPU's).

    My question is, I'm not sure what's the best use for these older machines. Since they have lesser CPU's and older/slower RAM's compared to my main DAW machine. Should I use them to run cpu intensive VST softsynths/effects, or should I use them to run large sample libraries, or should I use them to run both, and leave the main DAW machine to run just the host sequencer and remaining VST's/sample libraries that the older machines can't handle?

    Another questions, if I were to upgrade those two older machines, what are the things that's worth upgrading, and what are the things I shouldn't bother with?

    I'm not opposed to the idea of just buying a new machine tailored for music production and add that to my setup instead of the two older machines, but if I can use what I already have, it's certainly a better choice as I'd save more money.

    Your advice would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Best uses for additional "lesser" computers running large sample libraries?

    If you have any GigaStudio 2.5 license, those machines would both probably run it well, provided you had fast drives in them.

  3. #3

    Re: Best uses for additional "lesser" computers running large sample libraries?

    The P4 1.5 system is still perfectly usable. A few months ago I myself faced this same question, and ended up resurrecting an old system that had been relegated to similar lesser tasks . It is roughly the same cpu strength, and does a fine job of running a full load of samples in giga. The only thing really worth upgrading is your ram - to the maximum that the motherboard will take. If the board is limited to 512, then you might consider changing it for one that takes more (shouldn't cost much at all since it is older type technology) - that is, if you make the system into a dedicated sample slave.

    I'm not certain that the P2 Celeron has sufficient strength to be of much use... and the 128 mb of ram won't go far at all with today's sampling demands... unless perhaps you have a collection of old Akai samples that you have converted and still like to use?

  4. #4

    Re: Best uses for additional "lesser" computers running large sample libraries?

    Quote Originally Posted by jc5
    I'm not certain that the P2 Celeron has sufficient strength to be of much use... and the 128 mb of ram won't go far at all with today's sampling demands... unless perhaps you have a collection of old Akai samples that you have converted and still like to use?
    OOPS! It's a typo--the Celeron is actually a 2.4, so that's a lot more powerful. Add some RAM and more hard drives to that sucker and it should be pretty good?

    How important is CPU for sample libraries? It seems that RAM is more important for samples, while CPU is more important for softsynths/effects? For example, if I max out the P4 1.5 machine with 2 GB of RAM, would I run out of CPU before I run out of RAM while running a big sample library?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Best uses for additional "lesser" computers running large sample libraries?

    Depends upon the platform. Giga 2.5, and 3.0 for that matter, are very efficient at streaming 16-bit samples. Extremely efficient. Kontakt's streaming is less efficient, but you could probably get some good use out of both machines. Where you'd end up hurting would be in CPU intensive things like convolution and lots of synthesis...although you can do a lot of work with either of those machines!! They're definitely not ready for the scrap pile.

  6. #6

    Re: Best uses for additional "lesser" computers running large sample libraries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lunatique
    OOPS! It's a typo--the Celeron is actually a 2.4, so that's a lot more powerful. Add some RAM and more hard drives to that sucker and it should be pretty good?
    Ah, I see! Yes, it should be pretty awesome actually. Press these two systems back into service and you'll have yourself a pretty nifty network going. For sampling I've found that one doesn't necessarily need the latest cpu available - you run out of ram long before the cpu gives out!
    Except of course, as Bruce brought up, if you plan on running a great deal of convolution. But you will be able to use some.

  7. #7

    Re: Best uses for additional "lesser" computers running large sample libraries?

    I would give anything to have your first "secondary" computer as my main computer The pain of no money...

  8. #8

    Re: Best uses for additional "lesser" computers running large sample libraries?

    Well, I live off of my computers, and other than work, they are pretty much my whole world (aside from my wife), as I do my photograhy editing, music production, writing, painting, design..etc on them--not to mention virtual socializing, watching DVD's, listening to music, playing video games..etc. This is what happens when you live in a country you don't like and would rather be in front of your computers living a virtual life.

    Do any of my two older PC's need audio cards? Or, I'm assuming that they would only provide number crunching/sample hosting, and all the data will be transferred to my main DAW machine to be "rendered" by its audio card?

  9. #9

    Re: Best uses for additional "lesser" computers running large sample libraries?

    I'll be facing a situation similar to Lunatique's in the next few months, as I buy a new computer to be my main DAW. I too would like to put my current one to good use running something like GigaStudio or Kontakt if possible.

    My question is, if I run my sequencer, notation, and all other things audio on the new DAW, and run samples off the old (i.e. current) machine, will I still be able to use the old machine for non-audio functions, like surfing the web, graphics editing, and word processing? Or will I have to completely convert its resources to running something like GigaStudio?

    -Inkfingers

  10. #10

    Re: Best uses for additional "lesser" computers running large sample libraries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lunatique
    Do any of my two older PC's need audio cards? Or, I'm assuming that they would only provide number crunching/sample hosting, and all the data will be transferred to my main DAW machine to be "rendered" by its audio card?
    Just backing up a little, if you run MOL you will need soundcards, if you use FX-Teleport you won't.

    Do be aware that if you eventually get into using GS3 via FX-Teleport, there have been users (including me) who have reported problems using GigaPulse. If this is not important to you, then press those old codgers into service and make some use out of them. As long as the network is fast enough they should be quite handy.

    D

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