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Refurbished Windows 10 Laptop Spec for DAW??

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Refurbished Windows 10 Laptop Spec for DAW??

Postby MikeN » Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:46 pm

1. Have been recommended i7 quad core (even as far back as 2nd generation) as being good for DAW purposes (Dell Precision 4600)...with 8Gb RAm (minimum). I'd go for at least 16Gb RAM. Also Definitely SSD (not HDD)

2. Would this be better or worse or about the same if I was to consider an i5 (4th generation or 5th generation) with 16Gb of RAM and SSD.
Even if this was worse than the i7 quad core 2nd generation -
would i5 (4th generation or 5th generation) with 16Gb of RAM and SSD be a decent platform for DAW purposes ??
(Dell Latitude OR HP Elitebook (or Probook) OR Lenovo Thinkpad T400 or T500 range)

Likely to be using Reaper for recording mixing indie/guitar-based music - probably up to around 24-ish tracks (maybe a few more)...

Very keen to know about the machine spec in point 2 above!!!

Big thanks

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Re: Refurbished Windows 10 Laptop Spec for DAW??

Postby John Egan » Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:25 pm

[quote="MikeN"]

Likely to be using Reaper for recording mixing indie/guitar-based music - probably up to around 24-ish tracks (maybe a few more)... [quote]

I would seriously doubt that an i5 would handle a 24 track mix with plugins and effects.

Hopefully, some of the more knowledgable people here will be along to advise you.

Regards, John
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Re: Refurbished Windows 10 Laptop Spec for DAW??

Postby James Perrett » Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:59 pm

I can do a 24 track mix on my ancient 2004 vintage Acer Sempron based laptop if I stick to Reaper's own effects and avoid convolution reverbs. The i5 will probably be fine for basic mixes but you may need something with more power if you are using processor hungry effects at high sample rates.
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Re: Refurbished Windows 10 Laptop Spec for DAW??

Postby MikeN » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:07 pm

James Perrett wrote:I can do a 24 track mix on my ancient 2004 vintage Acer Sempron based laptop if I stick to Reaper's own effects and avoid convolution reverbs. The i5 will probably be fine for basic mixes but you may need something with more power if you are using processor hungry effects at high sample rates.

Assuming I stick to 16Gb of RAM as a minimum and stick to SSD drives :

What is the minimum spec Intel processor (the "i" number PLUS the generation number please)...that I could reliably use to allow a 24 track mix and not to worry too much about how hungry the effects are I would want to use.
But I obviously wouldn't go totally crazy/mad with very hungry effects either......

Thanks again!

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Re: Refurbished Windows 10 Laptop Spec for DAW??

Postby ef37a » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:48 pm

Mike N is the price putting you off an i7? If so you could perhaps economize on the SSD?
240G would surely be big enough for a music only machine? An external 1TB USB 3.0 can be used to keep the internal drive clear, you should be backing up stuff regularly anyway.

I remember reading a technical roundup of people in the digital audio industry and they all agreed that a fast processor was the main requiement for glitch free audio.

Choice of AI is important too, few AIs are as CPU efficient as RMEs (though my KA6 seems pretty good)

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Re: Refurbished Windows 10 Laptop Spec for DAW??

Postby manwilde » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:58 pm

FWIW, I´ve been running Reaper on a win7 i5 8Gb RAM + RME UFX or Babyface for the past 8 years or so with no problems at all. 20-40 tracks, but I don´t use fancy plugins for the most part. If the session is very crowded with FX I might have to freeze EZDrummer or print a convolution reverb, but normally just increasing the buffer size reliefs the stress.
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Re: Refurbished Windows 10 Laptop Spec for DAW??

Postby MikeN » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:08 pm

All

Big thanks for info so far....

I am on a bit of a budget...around £400....maybe a tad more....
So l'm looking at re-furbished machines to get a spec that I think is going to be ok.

So that's why I asked my question.....
(Obviously if the minimum spec I need is costs less than my budget - I can improve on the spec...and spend a little more! )

"Assuming I stick to 16Gb of RAM as a minimum and stick to SSD drives :
What is the minimum spec Intel processor (the "i" number PLUS the generation number please)...that I could reliably use to allow a 24 track mix and not to worry too much about how hungry the effects are I would want to use.
But I obviously wouldn't go totally crazy/mad with very hungry effects either......"

Thanks again !!

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Re: Refurbished Windows 10 Laptop Spec for DAW??

Postby James Perrett » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:13 pm

It is really difficult to answer unless we know what plug-ins you are planning on using. If you stick to Reaper's plug-ins then virtually anything that can run Windows 10 will be sufficient. Do you need to run amp models or virtual instruments in real time? If so, you probably ought to focus on which machines will give you low latency.
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Re: Refurbished Windows 10 Laptop Spec for DAW??

Postby MikeN » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:50 pm

James Perrett wrote:It is really difficult to answer unless we know what plug-ins you are planning on using. If you stick to Reaper's plug-ins then virtually anything that can run Windows 10 will be sufficient. Do you need to run amp models or virtual instruments in real time? If so, you probably ought to focus on which machines will give you low latency.

Hi James

I have never done recording/mixing on a computer before - so don't know what amp models or virtual instruments I would be using.
OR if I would use them in real time or not.

Let's say I wanted to run amp models for electric guitar in real time. And would want to play say a virtual piano or fender rhodes or hammond organ in real time....
Would also want to use some kind of virtual drums and the odd bit of percussion...

Assuming I'm looking at around 24 tracks for the above with lead vocals and some backing vocals/harmonies in places...

In this kind of scenario - would the following laptop spec cope ok without too much trouble....i7-4810MQ (2.80GHz) and 16gb of RAM??

Thanks

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Re: Refurbished Windows 10 Laptop Spec for DAW??

Postby James Perrett » Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:26 am

MikeN wrote:In this kind of scenario - would the following laptop spec cope ok without too much trouble....i7-4810MQ (2.80GHz) and 16gb of RAM??

I would have said that would be plenty of power - certainly faster than the system that I use here.
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Re: Refurbished Windows 10 Laptop Spec for DAW??

Postby ef37a » Thu Nov 19, 2020 9:44 am

But! "Circumstances alter cases"

I can no longer remember the number of posts I have read of people having problems with their computers, even though they were far better paper spec' than the one I used.

That was an i3 HP g6 laptop with 8G ram and a 360G 5400rpm HDD. That would run 20 tracks of Cubase without a glitch with my KA6. Ok I did not have loads of plugs running but still, not bad for an old i3? Win 7 64 btw.

If you are buying a refurb' you are going to get W10 and all the junk. I am not confident enough to clear that all out of this Lenovo T510 (I have removed the 'free' anti V and just use Ms SE and a sweep with Malwarebytes free about once a month) You should do that if you want the best performance I think.

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Re: Refurbished Windows 10 Laptop Spec for DAW??

Postby CS70 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:24 pm

MikeN wrote:2. Would this be better or worse or about the same if I was to consider an i5 (4th generation or 5th generation) with 16Gb of RAM and SSD.

It's hard to say in general terms, because it's like asking if a car with a 2500cc engine would be able to track Monza in less than 2:15, vs a car with a 1800cc. It depends on a lot of other stuff.

As main music computer I have an i5 49005 with SSD and 16Gb RAM and I can run 40-50 track mixes with loads of plugins with no problems and record with a 32 samples buffer and 4ms roundtrip latency if I so wish. It is well optimized but otherwise a relatively run of the mill machine.

So in principles there is no problem, but a different computer, especially a laptop, might behave a bit differently. When I make demos I have usually four or five sample-based soft synths playing back at the same time without any problem.

Obviously resource hogs may occasionally force a freeze on large project (say over 30-35 tracks, stuff like Ozone 5 and anything by Acustica for example, but it's the rare occasion.

I think you start needing more firepower when you get up to 100 tracks or, so, which means saving everything and their sister in the session. At that point also the DAW you use, I guess, starts to make a difference but it's not a common occurrence for me.
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