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Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby IvanSC » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:36 pm

I have an i7 4770 quad core cpu in my desktop, the guts of which go back far longer than your ten years, as I have a really great Lian-Li case & just keep serially upgrading its innards. Most recent addition was replacing my boot drive with a SSD, which has of course really speeded things up significantly.
It is running a very old RME HDSP 9652 pci crd I bought used a long time back, but still great great latency performance.

And my portable rig. An i5 quad core fourth generation like the desktop but using an RME Babyface for an interface. Mostly because it will happily take one of the Focusrite Octopres from my desktop, giving me 8 extras ins and outs.

I would still recommend you to go with a desktop, ideally salaaging anything you can from your current build, even if its only case, power supply and maybe hard drive(s)

Mostly because the laptop, even with TWO SSDs in it comes nowhere close to competing with the desktop.
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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby blinddrew » Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:45 pm

I would suggest that most laptop batteries are pretty good these days actually, way better than they were just a few years ago.
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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby ef37a » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:54 am

I would like to say that if starting from scratch then a good laptop is probably the answer but, since there is a desktop with monitor keyboard and mouse, a laptop means you are "buying the wheel" again, a bit? Trackpads also are not IMHO as handy as a nice mouse. Yes you can plug in a USB mouse but, DOH?

Then, if the Firewire AI is still giving good service a desktop can have a FW card fitted and maybe another card for multiple USB 3.0 (3.1?) .

I also like the "getatability" of a tower.

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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby N i g e l » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:12 pm

blinddrew wrote:I would suggest that most laptop batteries are pretty good these days actually, way better than they were just a few years ago.

Yep, the Sony Vaio's no longer catch fire ! I think the charging circuitry has matured for lithium batteries so its no longer a problem.
Battery lifetime seems to be spec'd in terms of charge/discharge cycles.
500 is a figure of magnitude at room temperature.
= once a week for 10 years,
= once a day for 16 months

I mainly discharge the battery when I return to my desk and forget to plug my laptop into the mains. A marketing department will tell us that this demonstrates the "uninteruptable power supply" advantage of having a battery on board when the mains goes off. If the lights and amplifiers have gone off too then it might not be so important.
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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby hobbyist » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:37 am

ef37a wrote:Trackpads also are not IMHO as handy as a nice mouse. Yes you can plug in a USB mouse but, DOH?

Dave.


I use a wireless mouse using a usb port for the receiver. Works great.
You can a real keyboard too.
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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby ef37a » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:19 am

hobbyist wrote:
ef37a wrote:Trackpads also are not IMHO as handy as a nice mouse. Yes you can plug in a USB mouse but, DOH?

Dave.


I use a wireless mouse using a usb port for the receiver. Works great.
You can a real keyboard too.

Son and I used a wireless keyboard and mouse (15 quid Sainsbury) for years with two desktops because,
1) It cut down wire tangles.
2) Allowed him to be 20ft from the PCs with a mic and AC guitar.

Now, we have been told since Adam was a lad that "wireless" systems on computers can be bad for audio? The dongles and kbds we used never seemed to cause any problems. Different system perhaps?

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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby Pete Kaine » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:13 pm

It used to be and it's classed as networking by the system so sometimes those head-scratching "NDIS.sys" can come down to wifi or Bluetooth.

It's got a lot better over the last few years and a lot of the drivers are native to windows now and more standardized, it's one of the things they got right in the move over to W10 it seems.
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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby hobbyist » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:31 pm

ef37a wrote:
hobbyist wrote:
ef37a wrote:Trackpads also are not IMHO as handy as a nice mouse. Yes you can plug in a USB mouse but, DOH?

Dave.


I use a wireless mouse using a usb port for the receiver. Works great.
You can a real keyboard too.

Son and I used a wireless keyboard and mouse (15 quid Sainsbury) for years with two desktops because,
1) It cut down wire tangles.
2) Allowed him to be 20ft from the PCs with a mic and AC guitar.

Now, we have been told since Adam was a lad that "wireless" systems on computers can be bad for audio? The dongles and kbds we used never seemed to cause any problems. Different system perhaps?

Dave.

I think you got told nonsense.

Mouse and keyboard have nothing to do with audio quality.
Dongles on the other had were a real problem. Worse when the software would also phone home in the middle to cause clicks cause it stole too many cycles from the pc.

I refuse to use any software with dongles as well as any that has to phone home to verify you are a real user.
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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:57 pm

hobbyist wrote:I think you got told nonsense.

Mouse and keyboard have nothing to do with audio quality.

Not nonsense at all. As Pete said above, although things are now a lot better than they used to be, historically (and possibly with bad modern implementations) wireless devices are a form of networking which can definitely cause audio problems on some systems due to the way that the OS prioritises the things its giving attention to.

Later systems should not have a problem but if under heavy load or there is some other resource bottleneck, wireless/bluetooth connectivity could conceivably cause audio glitches, especially if the devices in question have proprietary vendor-specific drivers.
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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby hobbyist » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:18 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:
hobbyist wrote:I think you got told nonsense.

Mouse and keyboard have nothing to do with audio quality.

Not nonsense at all. As Pete said above, although things are now a lot better than they used to be, historically (and possibly with bad modern implementations) wireless devices are a form of networking which can definitely cause audio problems on some systems due to the way that the OS prioritises the things its giving attention to.

Later systems should not have a problem but if under heavy load or there is some other resource bottleneck, wireless/bluetooth connectivity could conceivably cause audio glitches, especially if the devices in question have proprietary vendor-specific drivers.


Not convinced.

You can set priorities in the opsys.
None of mine needed any drivers not already in windoze.
Now interfaces may need a driver or use ASIO instead of windoze's.

There is no delay from mouse or keyboard that I am aware of which would cause audio problems.

I suppose some wireless version could somehow interfere with something in the audio chain from the RF but that does not mean they are all a problem. Our church had unexpected squeals when the pastor turned on his mike the day a gospel quartet was performing who had set up their own gear for a concert to be done after lunch.
But I have never had any problem with a wireless mouse or keyboard.

You will certainly have bigg problems from windoze and all the free bloatware crap that PCs come with on top of not your tweaking all the things you should before trying to use it for audio. Worse if you keep the antivirus running and are connected to the internet too.
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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby hobbyist » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:21 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:It used to be and it's classed as networking by the system so sometimes those head-scratching "NDIS.sys" can come down to wifi or Bluetooth.

It's got a lot better over the last few years and a lot of the drivers are native to windows now and more standardized, it's one of the things they got right in the move over to W10 it seems.


Worked right in win8 too. Did not try it on my XP yet nor my win98se as those are towers with wired mouse on a big table top.

But for a laptop a wireless mouse and keyboard are vital for ease of use.
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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby ef37a » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:36 pm

You have my statements mixed up Hobbyist.

I never suggested that a WIRED keyboard or mouse would cause audio glitches. I did say that "we" were forever being told that wireless devices can do so but mine and my son's experience with a dongle (!) powered keyboard and mouse was that they were harmless.

I have also used the late, lamented Tranzport and that was DESIGNED to go with a music PC, dongle and all!

Then, isn't an external USB drive nought but a big, f'off dongle?

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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:39 am

hobbyist wrote:But for a laptop a wireless mouse and keyboard are vital for ease of use.

Well, for some people perhaps, but certainly not for all. I use a laptop in my job, have done for many years, frequently in hotels and I've always used a wired mouse with no problems or inconveniences at all.

Never bothered with an external keyboard, I type a lot (I write a lot of code and communicate with my international colleagues using Slack frequently) and prefer the feel of most laptop keyboards over any external one I've ever used.
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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby hobbyist » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:31 am

Eddy Deegan wrote:
hobbyist wrote:But for a laptop a wireless mouse and keyboard are vital for ease of use.

Well, for some people perhaps, but certainly not for all. I use a laptop in my job, have done for many years, frequently in hotels and I've always used a wired mouse with no problems or inconveniences at all.

Never bothered with an external keyboard, I type a lot (I write a lot of code and communicate with my international colleagues using Slack frequently) and prefer the feel of most laptop keyboards over any external one I've ever used.

I think your saying is horses and courses.

I hate the feel of the laptop 'keyboard' and the location is way too close for me to see the screen easily.

And the wires are always in the way being annoying.

I have used wired versions of mouse and keyboard but they are not as easy for me to use as the wireless versions.
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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby miN2 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:53 am

hobbyist wrote:You will certainly have bigg problems from windoze and all the free bloatware crap that PCs come

What is this bloatware that people often talk of? Third party startup apps i guess? There's no bloatware on a standard install of Windows.
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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby GilesAnt » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:01 pm

A quick note to say I have taken possession of my new laptop from Scan computers having finally made a decision.

I have added wireless mouse/keyboard and kept my old monitor as I find myself getting a bit hunched and cramped if I use laptop ones for too long or too intensively. I also purchased a spare battery - may or may not be needed, but experience with work laptops has taught me that batteries give up before the lap top does.

Having loaded up all my music software (Cubase Pro, NI Komplete, etc) it is hardly breaking a sweat to cope with my needs. So to answer my original question I would say a laptop is going to be fine for the vast majority of amateur musicians, probably many pros as well. The issue of ergonomics is probably more important than basic computing power.

Many thanks for all advice above - especially Pete and his colleagues at Scan.
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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby CS70 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:47 pm

GilesAnt wrote:I have added wireless mouse/keyboard and kept my old monitor as I find myself getting a bit hunched and cramped if I use laptop ones for too long or too intensively.

Very good thinking. The fastest way to strained neck muscles is to use a laptop looking down at the screen (the second is, of course, to use a smartphone or a pad :D).

Make sure you place your monitor so that you keep your head vertical when you look - that means way higher than most office desks, but quite ok on most studio furniture as you have the baffle for outboard and monitors.

Surely you know already, but absolutely worth repeating.
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Re: Are modern laptops a suitable replacement for old tower PC

Postby hobbyist » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:05 pm

miN2 wrote:
hobbyist wrote:You will certainly have bigg problems from windoze and all the free bloatware crap that PCs come

What is this bloatware that people often talk of? Third party startup apps i guess? There's no bloatware on a standard install of Windows.



When you buy a PC especially one from a big company then it is not a 'standard' microslop distribution.

If you did not erase the disk and do a clean install from factory CD/DVDs then your do not have a clean install free of the crapware.

The sellers load it up with all sorts of 'free' trialware , on top of all the useless crap that windoze has running for their social media devices that are not really useful PCs for audio until you clean them up. The public may choose to buy them because they get the 'free' stuff too.

Check out some PC/audio sites and see the things suggested to tweak or remove before using it for audio.

And see how to use it too. Some people keep their surfing and antivirus open all the time and wonder why they have problems. Some let the useless aps call home when they feel like it to cause noise or other problems. Do you really need your weather ap to update while you are tracking?

You need to get off the internet and kill your antivirus from running along with every other program that may decide to wake up and try to run while you are using the PC for audio.
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