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Topic: Help! Purchasing a new desktop--Need advice

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Mesquite (Dallas)

    Exclamation Help! Purchasing a new desktop--Need advice

    I am seriously considering purchasing a new desktop computer as my present system still gets lots of midi pops/hiccups whenever I have a piece with a lot of midi channels and/or attempt to play a piece with many midi channels/tracks back with reverb, etc. I uninstalled the Gigastudio program I had on it as I rarely use it now since I got GPO and while my system is much quicker since uninstalling Gigastudio, I still get the above problems with songs that have many midi channels/reverb...in both my Finale 2006 and Cubase VST programs. I recently purchased EWQL Gold Pro XP and fear that when it arrives and I install it I will have even more of the above problems since all of their instruments come with reverb attached and I understand reverb is a major "CPU hog". Plus in the future if I decide to install Kontakt 2 and any programs with large libraries I fear they may not have enough space or speed to roam around and be truly happy.

    My present system is:
    Windows XP Home Edition
    Pentium 4, 1.69 GHz processor (400 MHz front side bus),
    2 hard drives:
    C (operating) drive 37.2 GB with 16.3 GB free space
    D drive...76.3 GB with 52.8 GB free space
    2 GB ram

    (It tends to run very, VERY warm whenever I have Finale or Cubase open and I am working on pieces...not necessarily hot enough to fry an egg or scald my hand when I touch the top of the tower, but about the temperature of a warm bath.)

    I talked to someone at a local music store yesterday who told me he didn't think the midi hiccups/reverb problems, etc. that I am having have anything to do with my CPU, slower processor speed etc., but rather with the midi channels themselves being "too loud" or that I just need to adjust the latency on my sound card. But my sound card (M Audio) gives me no trouble with audio tracks. Not long after I first installed it it used to pop really bad until I adjusted the latency, but since then I have no trouble with it except for songs that use many instances of Kontakt (many midi tracks) especially if there is a lot of midi data in the midi tracks (e.g. timpani rolls/string tremolos, cresc./decresc., etc.)...and that's just dry. Let alone if I add reverb! I also don't think the "volume" of the midi tracks is necessarily an issue either because as a rule I tend to use the normal volume settings that automatically come up with the GPO instruments.

    I also talked with a salesman at a computer store and he thought my problem with my present system was that it was not running efficiently because of the heating issue. He suggested in addition to putting in a new mother board and processor in my present system to change the casing to provide a better cooling system for it, as increasing the processor speed, etc. would only make it run hotter and even less efficiently. However, when I spoke to the man he suggested I speak with (who actually does computer overhauls) he told me that I would end up spending about the same amount of money trying to overhaul my present system as I would buying a brand new computer and suggested I go that route instead.

    I basically want a system that will give me no more midi hiccups/popping issues...even when working on pieces with a large amount of midi tracks/midi data. I want a system that will not drain my CPU, slow my system down or give me any problems...even when using lots of reverb (like in EWQL). If at all possible I would like to somehow utilize my present system, even if/when I do purchase a new computer as I have quite a bit invested into it (a second hard drive, 2 GB RAM, etc.)...possibly as for storage files, etc. if anyone has any suggestions. And of course, like everyone else, I would like to spend only what is necessary to get this all accomplished!

    The man at the computer store suggested the Gateway (model# GM5076E) for $1300 with Intel Pentium D processor 940 with 2 processor cores, 500 GB hard drive, 2 GB PC4200 DR mem expandable to 4 GB. 2 PCI slots (which means I would be using both of them off the bat...one for my M Audio sound card, the other for a LTP1 printer port PCI installation as I have an older printer and still have to use Cubase's "key" or "toggle" that plugs into an LTP1 printer port in order to use their software). Still this sounds like an incredible deal...but would this solve all my problems?

    If I could find someone to custom build me a system for a good price instead, would it be better to go that route, and if so, what should I make sure was included in it so that I would not have any more of the above issues? (I basically want a hassle free system that I don't have to coddle or worry about so I can get on with the business of making music!)

    Any suggestions or advice would be sincerely appreciated. Thanks!
    "The above remarks must not be taken as pointing backwards to the bad old days when viola players were selected merely because they were too wicked or too senile to play the violin. Those days are happily gone forever." [-Cecil Forsyth on "The Viola," Orchestration]

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Traverse Bay

    Re: Help! Purchasing a new desktop--Need advice

    Not one of the more techy guys around here, however, there are a couple of things I noticed.

    -1.69 GHz seems slow (3+ ideal), especially with 3 hard drives and intensive midi/samples
    -wondered how fast your hard drives are (7200 at least?)

    Possible changes:

    -add another computer and put libraries and effects on the faster of the two
    -only 2 internal hard drives for a standard tower and cooling system
    -replace mother board on original PC with 3 GHz
    -preferably, all of the above

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