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Q. Will any of the major software manufacturers offer dual-processor support and Firewire compatibility for Windows 2000?

I have been studying Windows 2000, with great interest, as I have been evaluating the pros and cons of an upgrade. Do you know if any of the major software manufacturers have plans to support any of the new (seemingly musician friendly) features. I refer in particular to dual processor support and 1394 (Firewire) compatibility. Although I'm sure such features are generally welcomed, I know of very few pieces of software that would actually benefit from them, mainly high‑end image editors, CAD & DTP applications. The reason I'm interested is that I am also considering a hardware upgrade along the lines of an Intel 933MHz FlipChip in a Gigabyte 133MHz dual‑processor board and as much 133MHz RAM as I can afford.

However, if there is no support for dual processing I might be tempted to just put an 850MHz chip in my current Slot 1 board, go up to 512Mb RAM and spend the remainder on a 29160 SCSI card. I realise that a purpose‑built music computer is the best option, but the SCSI adapter will give me the future option of using Hot Swap drives and multiple operating systems.

Matthew James Cockbain

Assistant Editor Sam Inglis replies: Emagic and others have recently announced that they will be rewriting their Mac‑format packages to take advantage of the new dual‑processor G4s, so they're clearly aware of the potential gains to be offered by dual‑processor systems. However, the situation with PCs is a bit more problematic. Windows 2000 is derived from Windows NT rather than Microsoft's consumer OSs. Few music‑software manufacturers currently support NT, and those that do tend to be high‑end manufacturers like Digidesign. Rewriting a software package that currently runs on Windows 98 or ME to work under 2000 is a lot of work, as the OSs are quite different.

According to Sound Technology, Emagic have no immediate plans to port Logic to Windows NT or 2000. One of the major reasons they gave was that Microsoft's MIDI engine in both OSs is currently rather slow, and so any ported version of Logic would inevitably suffer worse MIDI timing than the current Windows 98 version. This is clearly not satisfactory on a relatively expensive 'professional' music computer (which any computer running Windows 2000 would be).

Even Digidesign, whose TDM systems currently run only under NT, apparently have no plans for an immediate 2000 version. It looks, therefore, as though there will be few music packages written for Windows 2000 at all in the near future. Whether any that are will take advantage of its dual‑processor support, it's hard to predict; but I would be reluctant to buy a Windows 2000 system now in the hope that this will happen soon!