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Buying a laptop for tracking only?

rigo

Member
hello everyone, any feedback would be appreciated..

So I have a desktop that’s got plenty of power to operate my daw and any virtual instruments I have. Now I would like to add a laptop to record our weekend jams. I would download Reaper to this laptop and use it exclusively to record up to 8 track via a Focusrite 18i20.. any editing or use of plugins would be saved for my desktop at home.. how cheap of a laptop can I get? Can I get a laptop with an i3 processor 8 gigs or ram? Or do I need more for just tracking up to 8 tracks?
 

nznat

Inspired
hello everyone, any feedback would be appreciated..

So I have a desktop that’s got plenty of power to operate my daw and any virtual instruments I have. Now I would like to add a laptop to record our weekend jams. I would download Reaper to this laptop and use it exclusively to record up to 8 track via a Focusrite 18i20.. any editing or use of plugins would be saved for my desktop at home.. how cheap of a laptop can I get? Can I get a laptop with an i3 processor 8 gigs or ram? Or do I need more for just tracking up to 8 tracks?

i5 and 8GB ram is fine, just make sure you get an SSD hard drive in it, because that will make "a massive difference" in performance with recording. The SSD is essential.
 

Jeries

Power User
An i3/8gb would be fine for tracking 8 tracks...

The key is the HARD DRIVE

BUT
The key is not just a SSD

You need a SSD for the system and programs- and you'll be in good shape

DO NOT RECORD TO THIS SSD

You need a second drive to record the data on- and it has to be fast and connected the best way possible

A cheap plug in usb 2.0 cheap "green" external hard drive is probably not good enough

Get a laptop with Esata and a drive with Esata that you record sessions on to- also sets you up easy to transfer to desktop or even just work out of that external drive...

But don't track to your OS hard drive
and don't track on a SSD- you'll destroy it in a short time
 

nznat

Inspired
An i3/8gb would be fine for tracking 8 tracks...

The key is the HARD DRIVE

BUT
The key is not just a SSD

You need a SSD for the system and programs- and you'll be in good shape

DO NOT RECORD TO THIS SSD

You need a second drive to record the data on- and it has to be fast and connected the best way possible

A cheap plug in usb 2.0 cheap "green" external hard drive is probably not good enough

Get a laptop with Esata and a drive with Esata that you record sessions on to- also sets you up easy to transfer to desktop or even just work out of that external drive...

But don't track to your OS hard drive
and don't track on a SSD- you'll destroy it in a short time

Holy shit mate, your PC knowledge is very lacking. SSD will NOT wear out ever if you buy a good quality one and saving and recording to your operating drive makes zero difference other than being ultra fast. I mean if you buy an ssd from some random outback of China store. Lol. Over still got a pc for recording that has been hard used for years and its the same for all of them now.
 

TG3K

Power User
Holy **** mate, your PC knowledge is very lacking. SSD will NOT wear out ever if you buy a good quality one and saving and recording to your operating drive makes zero difference other than being ultra fast. I mean if you buy an ssd from some random outback of China store. Lol. Over still got a pc for recording that has been hard used for years and its the same for all of them now.

Actually, all SSDs have a finite read/write cycle lifespan. They do indeed wear out faster with more reads and writes. Even the expensive ones. Not saying that recording will or won't do it, but it's indeed a fact that you can wear out an SSD.

[Used to work for a company that came up with optimization technology to lengthen the lifespan of SSDs in the late '90s/early '00s. I believe all of the companies are using some variant of it now.]
 

nznat

Inspired
Actually, all SSDs have a finite read/write cycle lifespan. They do indeed wear out faster with more reads and writes. Even the expensive ones. Not saying that recording will or won't do it, but it's indeed a fact that you can wear out an SSD.

[Used to work for a company that came up with optimization technology to lengthen the lifespan of SSDs in the late '90s/early '00s. I believe all of the companies are using some variant of it now.]

all normal hard drives have a finite read/write cycle lifespan aswell. Everything breaks!! My SSDs have outlasted all my normal hard drives. go figure!
 

Valhallir

Power User
Vendor
I have a HP Pavillion V7, which is 9 years old. Does tracking for 16 tracks with 24 bit and 48 khz without any dropouts. Dual-Core and 4 gb of RAM. No problems. As latency is no issue, just increase the amount and everything will be fine.

Or you take an Ipad (at least the first ones with retina-display) and the auria-app. Works like a charm. No drivers needed.
 

Jeries

Power User
Holy **** mate, your PC knowledge is very lacking. SSD will NOT wear out ever if you buy a good quality one and saving and recording to your operating drive makes zero difference other than being ultra fast. I mean if you buy an ssd from some random outback of China store. Lol. Over still got a pc for recording that has been hard used for years and its the same for all of them now.

Completely wrong
Good quality SSD's have a lifespan

Recording to an OS drive makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE-
AND NOT ONE SOFTWARE COMPANY RECOMMENDS IT or even says to do it
It's nothing to do with speed

You're giving him terrible advice-
anyway- I'll continue anyway....

SSD drives are not made to withstand recording
Last time I checked not one DAW/Recording software company recommends recording to one- in fact they all clearly say not to

LIKEWISE they say don't record to an OS drive- and they've said that for 10+ years
(people complain about protools all day and complain about PC's- but they all don't even follow the directions- I follow the rules- and I've never had a problem and have a set up that can't be beat)

I don't go cheap with my ssd's either- ONLY Samsung PRO no evo or anything else

Regular HDD aren't even made to withstand that constant rewriting- there's a reason WD Purple drives exist

Aside from the fact this guy wants to record band practice- 8 tracks...
If anyone has recorded a band like that before they know the recordings aren't 3 minutes- I've seen bands track an hour plus at that rate- you ring up a 15gb session- and what? 5-10% of your SSD is full?

Furthermore- just doing average pc work on an office computer- no audio- no recording- just simple browsing/average stuff- on a computer for 2 years have put some wear/life on the ssd in it- I don't have the luxury of reformatting every few months or a year, etc-

The way to do it- OS- SSD- record, on a fast speed HDD
That's the way it's done- if you do it any other way- according to every software company- you're doing it wrong

You know that without power some SSD loose the data anywhere from 7 days to 2 years?

The write limits are VERY realistic and VERY doable- especially in audio recording.

KEEP IN MIND anything past a 256gb drive is super expensive- on top of that- if you put the OS on that drive and applications, etc- THEN RECORD ONTO IT- you fill up the drive- transfer to the pc a few 100gb a month and that drive is dead in 2 years

Not to mention- the external thing works much better with bringing it to another computer-

ANYWAY
Most laptops will work
Buy an SSD for the OD
and record onto a fast HDD
 

Valhallir

Power User
Vendor
My main studio PC is equipped with (good) SSD's exclusively. No dropouts or data loss in the last 4 years. I'm using tons of virtual synth plugins and native plugins and never had a problem.
On the other side, some of my Ultra-IDE HD's died in the same lifespan.

So, you never know. Backup is important. But if you run lots of instances with Omnisphere, you'd be quite happy to use SSD (and mucho ;-) RAM)
 

6L6C

Power User
SSD drives are not made to withstand recording
Last time I checked not one DAW/Recording software company recommends recording to one- in fact they all clearly say not to
@Jeries
I could be wrong, but isn't that advice pretty much based on dollar per gig value? And maybe factor in you should not fill a SSD (which I am sure is ignored all the time) The estimates from what I have read is, don't fill a SSD beyond 75% it slows down the SSD and stresses it a bit. And SSD's first started gaining popularity, they were not known for being reliable. I think what I'm trying to say: a policy put out there (don't use SSD's) because at the time the drives were unreliable compared to spinners, also people would not take care as there SSD's filled. I forgot "Trim" allot of people were still running XP so lack of trim which in the long run slow down the drive.

So, you never know. Backup is important.

Finally someone brought it up! :rolleyes::rolleyes:

The one thing talked about allot, but rarely implemented. ;);)
Spinner's or SSD's doesnt matter need backup.
Just in case someone might be curios.
My configuration for my machine and needs. This is a tower BTW
SSD Disk 0 OS and programs
SSD Disk 1 Data (DAW, MP3 library, Photo's (RAW files)
Spinner Disk 2 used for backup.

As far as the OS I do a image backup to the backup drive Disk 2, only if I install a new program or something like that or there was a big update. Also wrote a BAT file, to copy all date from the Data drive Disk 1 to Backup Disk 2
When it comes to the data disk this is the short, its much more involved to give you a idea when it does a backup, its writing twice to the same disk (different folders of coarse) reason: one of the folders is a mirror of the data drive so if that drive fails install new drive, drag and drop onto new drive done! the other backup is there for the sole purpose just in case of accidental deletion this backup wont delete files. The mirror bat will delete files.
Internal backup for data that's kind of stupid (especially in the case of the data drive) and you would be right!
The internal drive I use for backup is just there for convenience. If the OS goes down put in new disk boot machine with boot disk grab one of the images off the backup drive, 20 mins later machine is up and running and already described the data disk failure (drag and drop).
The rest-- internal backup drive gets copied to a NAS and that has mirrored drives.
Also have an off site backup in case of fire or something like that.

Paranoid?? Maybe but I have not lost a thing since 1999.

John
 

Desmo808

Experienced
hello everyone, any feedback would be appreciated..

So I have a desktop that’s got plenty of power to operate my daw and any virtual instruments I have. Now I would like to add a laptop to record our weekend jams. I would download Reaper to this laptop and use it exclusively to record up to 8 track via a Focusrite 18i20.. any editing or use of plugins would be saved for my desktop at home.. how cheap of a laptop can I get? Can I get a laptop with an i3 processor 8 gigs or ram? Or do I need more for just tracking up to 8 tracks?
I think an i3 would be fine. Since you won't be monitoring in real time, you don't need to worry about latency, so you can increase the buffer size.

Get an external HDD. I wouldn't recommend a flash drive (tried one, got dropouts). So I got a 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD. It's cheap, and has worked great so far, even for 45-minute long sessions (I'm doing 16 tracks). It's cheap enough that I can buy more if needed. Plus, you can easily port it between your desktop & laptop DAWs. Like you, I do all my VST work on the desktop (Reaper).

Before you start recording with the laptop, go into the power management or power saving menu (or whatever it's called) and disable sleep mode. I set mine for whenever it's plugged in to AC power, to never go to sleep. I discovered this the first time I tried to record band practice, and wondered why it didn't record anything after about 30 minutes. I realized it was because it went to sleep on me! I guess it got bored of hearing us, lol.
 

Warrior

Power User
Once I went to an SSD in my MacBook Pro and Mac Mini, I was able to record directly to the SSD while also running the DAW app and plugins and samples, etc on that same drive.

No more need to record the audio to a different drive

SSD DOES make a huge difference.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Information gets stated once and quoted forever :)

I've been in the IT industry for a long time (almost 30 years). This type of thing happens a LOT. Some "rules" are created for how to use a certain technology should be used that is accurate for a specific point in time... And it becomes Gospel forever more.

You may want to check the current facts before spouting them to others:

See myth #3:

https://www.zadarastorage.com/blog/tech-corner/debunking-myths-about-ssd-data-storage/

See myth #1:

https://www.networkcomputing.com/storage/6-ssd-myths-debunked/896126592

See myth #4:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.ne...3551/data-center/debunking-ssd-myths.amp.html

You're welcome :)
 

steadystate

Fractal Fanatic
I use a single SSD in my laptop for OS, programs, and recording (32 channels using a Behringer X32 with Reaper) and have never had a problem. Ever. Keep a backup SSD drive in your bag, and you're bulletproof.

I've never had an SSD fail. Unlike the dozen HDDs I've had bite the dust over the years.
 

TG3K

Power User
all normal hard drives have a finite read/write cycle lifespan aswell. Everything breaks!! My SSDs have outlasted all my normal hard drives. go figure!

I never said normal hard drives don't fail, nor did I say SSDs have a shorter lifespan than conventional HHDs. As was mentioned upthread, backup is always a good idea regardless of media type.
 

Jeries

Power User
I never said laptops won't work and you can't record to the os drive- you just shouldn't.

Name any daw/software/hardware you use- then i'll copy and paste where in their manual and website it says DO NOT DO THAT

Then people wonder why PC's are bad or this sucks or that sucks-- everyone complains about protools- it's not the software- it's people not using it right
 

unix-guy

Legend!
I never said laptops won't work and you can't record to the os drive- you just shouldn't.

Name any daw/software/hardware you use- then i'll copy and paste where in their manual and website it says DO NOT DO THAT

Then people wonder why PC's are bad or this sucks or that sucks-- everyone complains about protools- it's not the software- it's people not using it right
He's talking about a budget rig to do some simple recording. While I agree that it's not best practice for a serious recording project, getting 8 tracks of audio on an SSD OS disk should be possible with most DAWs, I think.

I've done 4 tracks on my ProTools system with an HDD in a laptop. Works fine for me.

I assume he would be using this only for capture and then move the files to his workstation for further work...
 
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