Laptop advice please...
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  1. #1
    Tech Convert
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    Default Laptop advice please...

    Hi,
    I was wondering what is the minimum threshhold for the laptop cpu speed?
    My friend is selling her Toshiba A100 (I think with Intel Centrino Duo T2080 CPU and 512M RAM)laptop and I was wondering if this would be enough power to run all the stuff..(I know I probably have to upgrade the RAM to at least 1G)
    I don't have the budget to buy a fast laptop so whatever I can get my hands on cheap would have to do...
    Thanks..

  2. #2
    Tech Wizard
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    How about saving some more and go for a macbook or a macbook pro? You won't, no you CAN'T regret it.
    Last edited by frosse; 04-22-2008 at 02:47 PM.

  3. #3
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    Honestly, I would stay away from anything with under a gig of RAM, minimum. If you're going to go with this purchase then make sure you upgrade it. But, as unhelpful as I think Frosse's response was he has a point.

    How far under budget are you from a faster laptop? I mean, it doesn't need to be a $2,000 Macbook, but even from an $800 Dell laptop? You can always take it to Geek Squad and get their extraneous software removed (only $30, best procedure they have) and get XP put on (unless Vista works for you). I mean, the cheaper the laptop you buy now the sooner you'll have to upgrade. Good luck
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  4. #4
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    Thanks for your quick replies..
    She's willing to let it go for around $300... so.. I don't think anything will beat that.. hehe
    I'm sure I'm gonna do a memory upgrade to either 1G or 2G...and I think I can tweak Windows around myself as well..

    So shy away from it?..

  5. #5
    Tech Guru Fatlimey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonx View Post
    Hi,
    I was wondering what is the minimum threshhold for the laptop cpu speed?
    My friend is selling her Toshiba A100 (I think with Intel Centrino Duo T2080 CPU and 512M RAM)laptop and I was wondering if this would be enough power to run all the stuff..(I know I probably have to upgrade the RAM to at least 1G)
    I don't have the budget to buy a fast laptop so whatever I can get my hands on cheap would have to do...
    Thanks..

    Macbook Pro? Oh puhleeze.

    Audio takes way less processing than 3D graphics so if you can play games on your PC it's MORE than powerful enough to do all but the most hardcore extreme DJ mixing. The super powerful PC setups for Audio are for studios that are running hundreds of plugins on tens of channels, or who need to add effects in software to multiple live input channels.

    Initially you will only have two output channels (main mix and headphones) and only three instances of a single effects on the A and B decks and Main Mix. Processing power is no problem. Heck, I used to mix three channels of MP3s on a PentiumII. Don't worry so much.

    512MB RAM is fine. You're not multitasking, you're running only a single application - your DJ software. You only need enough RAM to hold a couple of uncompressed MP3 tracks and your program which should be less that 150Mb in total.

    The most important thing is a fast USB2.0 port to your external soundcard and the biggest harddrive you can afford. A Firewire soundcard is preferable if you want to record from a mic and remix that back into your sounds, but if you're only pushing sound out then USB2.0 is good and probably cheaper. For a new machine you want 160GB internal harddrives and up, but I have 80GB and it's fine (nearly full!) You need offline storage for your track library, uncompressed mix recordings and mashups-in-progress, and a built-in CDRW/DVD writer will allow you to hand out mixes moments after you made them. Always good to be able to give free music at the drop of a hat.

    The best way to test it it to download the preview of Traktor, Deckadance, AbletonLive or whatever is your favorite and try it out on the machine. I am willing to bet you'll have no problems with CPU power. Enjoy!

    (It's the new generation of software VJs who are the real users of CPU and I/O power)

  6. #6

    Default 512MB is the new 640KB?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fatlimey View Post
    512MB RAM is fine.
    i dunno, as someone that insisted that his mother get no less than 2GB in her new MacBook (thankfully the current default), i am going to respectfully disagree.

    RAM is likely the cheapest upgrade you will ever purchase for your computer, even more so for a laptop. gross oversimplification of virtual memory - all modern operating systems (yes even lonely Windows ME had it, Mac OS 9 did not) will free up memory for tasks in need by looking at applications/processes that are not actively being used (or some other metric of priority, least recently used or somesuch) by taking its memory (or some segment therein) and pushing it to your hard drive (the process is called paging and the region on disk swap). this is really cool as it this lets you run say 30 applications on your computer without needing to have the physical memory to cover the simultaneous memory needs of each application. the disk is not your friend - compared to RAM, a hard drive is more than extremely slow, so you pay a huge price to swap to and from disk. modern operating systems are quite good at this and do their best to make resources available for needy processes but at times the whole thing goes pear shaped and your computer needs a siesta to square the whole thing away, starving your needy processes in the interim (potentially causing drop outs, skips, pops and clicks).

    so it would be ideal to minimize the amount of paging all together (MORE RAM!) and when you do page (inevitable) you want it to occur as quickly as possible (FAST HARD DRIVE). RAM is cheap.

  7. #7
    Tech Guru Fatlimey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jean_pierre View Post
    i dunno, as someone that insisted that his mother get no less than 2GB in her new MacBook (thankfully the current default), I am going to respectfully disagree.
    [snip]
    ...this is really cool as it this lets you run say 30 applications on your computer without needing to have the physical memory to cover the simultaneous memory needs of each application.
    I agree, for general purpose computing running multiple applications more RAM is good. But the questions asked was whether to buy the 512MB laptop for DJing. For a single-application task like running Torq or Traktor under Windows XP, that much RAM is enough.

    Yes, he should try to upgrade as more RAM is always better for smoothing out paging on large datasets and running multiple applications , but for his specific purchase decision I stand beside my statement.

  8. #8
    Dr. Bento BentoSan's Avatar
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    I agree as soon as he loads Ableton into Traktor that page file index will be filling up, that without adding any effects. While i try to keep everything as cpu friendly as possible alot of little things really do add up to alot of ram/cpu usage. Even with my 2.5ghz 45nm processor strapped to 4 gigs of ram i can fill the RAM and overwork the cpu causing audio glitches if i go stupid on my setup. So a large part comes down to 1) what can you afford and 2) what you want to do with your audio

  9. #9
    Tech Mentor jimmymac's Avatar
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    If you want an easy life buy a mac it just works with little fuss. Plus you don't need to waste a big chunk of your computers resources on running antivirus/anti mallware and firewall software

  10. #10
    Tech Wizard smallfry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmymac View Post
    If you want an easy life buy a mac it just works with little fuss. Plus you don't need to waste a big chunk of your computers resources on running antivirus/anti mallware and firewall software
    Honestly, if he's using the laptop just for mixing, I wouldn't put any anti-virus/malware programs on. (And the windows firewall is just fine).

    In looking at the A100 specs, I'd say it will work just fine for you, but as others have suggested, why not install your software and give it a whirl before making a decision?

    By the way, there are also plenty of good new laptops available for 450-500 dollars if that's still below your price limit: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...d&Order=RATING

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