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Thread What computer specs?

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1 What computer specs?
Hey again,
I posted last week under the subject "A comlpete newbie needs advice", and got a pretty useful response - thanks a lot.
However, I'm now weighing up my options, and considering getting a laptop.
If I were to do this, what minimum specs should I look at if I want to make/record music on it? (please see my other post for more info)
Thanks in advance for any help,
Ferdie
2
Hi!

I copy/paste a part of our tutorial:

The central unit

There are 4 main things to consider when buying a computer :
- The CPU power is the key factor in the capacity of the system's real time processing. Real time processing is very demanding in terms of CPU power. Any recent computer will have enough CPU power to do step by step processing. If you want to do real time processing always remember to check the minimum requirements which are given by software editors,
- The amount of memory : it is always better to have too much than not enough (see the system requirements given by software editors), because audio applications require a lot of memory. Memory is relatively cheap. If your system lacks memory, your softwares performances will be limited,
- The amount and quality of data storage,
- The reliability : chose a good OS, take the time to update your softwares and drivers

The soundcard

There are 4 main criteria in the choice of a soundcard :
- The sampling rate : it is measured in Hz. It sets the range of frequencies which will be treated by the soundcard. The sampling rate must be at least equal to the highest frequency audible by the human ear. Nowadays all soundcards work in a range from 20hz to 20khzcard. Oversampling the signal at 44khz offer a lower signal to noise ratio. The standard sampling rates are 44khz, 48khz and 96khz.
- The sampling depth : It is measured in bits. It sets the definition in the analog to digital conversion. A higher sampling depth means a better rendition of the small nuances of the audio signal.
- The latency : a standard computer is not designed to be constantly processing data. To allow an uninterrupted flow of audio, the computer builds a “buffer” of data. It is generally considered that the human ear is not able to tell a delay below 10ms. Thus a soundcard with a latency under 10ms is a must to be able to process audio in real time.
- The signal to noise ratio
- The kind of slot required by the soundcard : all of the kinds of slots available today can reach very good performances. Yet, if you plan to use your soundcard on a laptop computer make sure to purchase a USB or firewire soundcard.

As a reminder, the standard format of audio CD's is 16 bits at 48 kHz.

The storage

All the hard drives available on the market today offer sufficient performances to record in direct to disk.



For a Laptop, take care because most of the time you will have 256Mo. It's really not enough. If you want to use sampler or virtual instrument, take 512 or 1024Mo!! Take care to the hard drive: for laptop constructors generaly put low consumption hard drive with low performance.
For the CPU, I really enjoy my Centrino because it doesn't heat at all, and it doesn't need fan -> no noise at all!! When you are recording of listening it's really usefull!!!!

Hope this helps!
3
Thanks for the advice.
How does this look to you: http://www.evesham.com/PCs/Info.asp?e=8B1EF7D9-73F2-44B9-B75D-2A79F158B2CF (hope that link works)
If that laptop looks reasonable, then presumably all I'd then need in terms of hardware, would be a good soundcard? Or would a useable one come with the laptop? If not, are there any good budget laptop soundcards I should take a look at?
Thanks again,
Ferdie
4
Mmmmm Windows XP Home edition.... I would prefer Windows 2000, but why not. It is said it's a good OS...

For the CPU, as I told you, you will be able to work 2h or 1h30 with the batery, not more, and it makes a lot of noise. If you don't mind the noise, it's ok with a PIV. If you prefer a reduced noise, take a Centrino.
Take in mind that with this kind of souncard you will not have good connectors, and certainly a big latency.

Ok for the memory. No details for the hard drive.

I think it's not the more opimised for home recording in fact ;-)