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Pro-Tools cracking it on a low-powered PC
Old 27th April 2003
  #1
Gear Addict
 
ExistanceMusic's Avatar
 

Pro-Tools cracking it on a low-powered PC

I've been mucking around with Pro-ToolsFREE on my home PC for a while now (Athlon 900, 128mb DDRAM, 80gb HDD, generic 32bit sound card), and have been doing some simple stuff with no problems at all.

However, I grabbed some session files I did at another studio a while back and pulled them up in PT tonight and was very dissapointed to find that they barely played at all before PT died from major buffer underrun issues. This is with 8 tracks of 24bit, 96k audio, no plugs, no audiosuite edits.

What I want to know is what simple, inexpensive upgrades I can do to get a mix happening. I'm working on a student's budget(bugger all), and can only afford to upgrade one, maybe two things.

Whats more important in this case? CPU? RAM? Sound Card even?

pulling my hair out here, I'm sick of fiddling with short samples, want a real mix already!!!
Old 27th April 2003
  #2
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I could very well be wrong here...

But I do not believe PT Free is capable of handling 96k audio.

I think it's only setup for 44.1 or 48k.

That may be your problem.

Best of luck
Old 27th April 2003
  #3
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Kamurah's Avatar
 

P.S.

Nice Avatar heh
Old 27th April 2003
  #4
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ExistanceMusic's Avatar
 

Hmm, if that's the case, then I've got it wrong in my post, it may not be 96k at all, because the tracks play, but anywhere between 10 and 30 seconds in it all dies on me. I'll check tonight, but I'm 99% sure it's a hardware issue.

To clarify, there IS playback, but not for long, and there are lots of skips and pops, because something somewhere along the proscecing chain isn't keeping up.
Old 29th April 2003
  #5
Gear Guru
 

I am a HD/mac guy myself but just looking at your info I am struck by the fact that you have the bare minimum of RAM. they "highly recommend" 192 Megs or better.

RAM is pretty cheap and you will never say to yourself- gosh my computer has too much RAM!

there is a system requirements page for Pro Tools Free on the digi site here

you can check to see if your CPU and Hard Drive (and operating system!) fall within the guidelines.

And the Digi User Conference has a PT Free section where you could do a search for posts from people with problems similar to your own.
Old 29th April 2003
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 

What are the specs on your Harddrive? You'd generally want something that is at least 7200 RPM with a < 9ms average seek time. Also when is the last time your harddrive was defragmented? In worst case scenarios this can be the difference between a computer and a turtle attached to a monitor. Make sure that your harddrive does not have a slower HD or (even worse!) a cd-rom slaved to it on the same IDE connection. And finally, be sure that if you have a DMA/ATA capable HD (which you most certainly do) that DMA bus mastering is enabled on the drive. Again, major performance gain here.

RAM, of course, is a big issue too. You can pick up a new 256MB stick of Corsaire at your local comp store for around $100...bringing you up to a decent 384MBs.
Old 30th April 2003
  #7
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HDD is actually a Digi recommended drive, an 80gb Seagate Barracuda 7200, defraged constantly, so no problems there, althought there is a CD-R drive slaved off it, there's never a CD in it while I'm working with audio, does that matter??

Looks like I'm off RAM shopping, I can get 512 SDRAM for $145AU, so that'd be a good boost, yeah?

Actually, since I've been having these probs with PT I've been using Nuendo more, so it's not all bad, because it's givin me an excuse to learn to drive something different for a while :D

Thanks for your help guys!
Old 30th April 2003
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
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In all practical purposes the cd-rom shouldn't be introducing any noticeable latency issues unless it is trying to scan/access.

Sometimes software/hardware messes up (obviously heh ) but I doubt your cd-rom is causing anything. Out of habbit I just make sure all the computers I build have same-speed HDs on the same IDE and cdroms/CDRW on their own IDE(s). Perfectionist...what can i say =p

Your 512 upgrade should do you just fine - but in the first post you said you had DDR RAM, and you are planning on buying SD RAM? I hope that's a typo, as different types of RAMS are not mixable (and SD is much older/worse)...actually different frequency DDR sticks aren't even mixable - so make sure you're getting the exact same type (not neccessarily BRAND of course).
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