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Laptop DAW, How important is the external harddrive? Audio Interfaces
Old 8th September 2007
  #1
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Laptop DAW, How important is the external harddrive?

I love me some laptops, the portability, the conveniece of everything being all there on your lap, take it with you everywhere and be able to program/edit/whatever your audio wherever you want...

but when you have a Cubase4 dongle, and an external harddrive, being able to go anywhere you want is ok... if you want to have wires and junk all over the seats/bench next to you..

so how important is having an external harddrive for your laptop daw. is it really that detrimental to have your system, recording program, samples, and recorded audio all going to and from the same disk? how much and what kind of performance issues will come into play for someone who is a solo artist using mostly VST sample based programs and a few tracks of vocal audio or a guitar on occassion?

I really dont track that much and when I do its usually just a single, maybe stereo track?
Old 9th September 2007
  #2
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travisbrown's Avatar
I can record up to 16 tracks of 24/48 at once on my 5400 80gb drive in my 12" G4 powerbook with two MOTU 828 MKIIs when I'm not doing critical tracking. Makes me a bit uneasy, but never run into a problem. I've played back 24 tracks, but occasionally will outpace the drive.

Go nuts if you are just doing stereo. You'll be fine.
Old 9th September 2007
  #3
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pkautzsch's Avatar
 

Recording up to 28 channels 24/44.1 continuously for more than 1 hour has worked flawlessly on my 2004 3 GHz P4 Toshiba laptop into Nuendo, using daisychained MOTU 896HD and Traveler.
It seems to be about turning off all those OS features you don't need for recording, like animated menus or stuff, and having only the hardware you need, and no additional Cardbus cards or other external devices. I'd never ever track to an external HD.
Old 9th September 2007
  #4
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Whatever laptop I get, I'd be running a 7200rpm drive no matter what. It's good to hear that you have no issues with this. The most tracks i've ever needed to record was drums (direct triggered snare, direct triggered kick, and 2 overheads) and I usually use my laptop to record myself (this was a band that I was recording but no money involved, just a favor) so I don't expect to be needing to do many more of those. I doubt I will use the stereo recording feature much either. I will most likely be doing single takes for vocals, guitar, etc.

I still like the idea of using an external harddrive for backing up everything, but that is like, you leave the external drive at home and backup when you want.

I was thinking of putting all my samples for my samplers on the external drive but then if I wanted to use battery/trilogy/ivory, I would have no choice but carry the damn thing everywhere with me and to plug the external drive into my laptop whenever i want to use them, which is pretty inconvenient..
Old 9th September 2007
  #5
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just wanted to clarify, I would be using ivory/battery/trilogy on a lot of my projects, so obviously I will be needing to read lots of samples, if I dont have a secondary harddrive that is supplying the read performance for these sample-related operations, what should I do to compensate? should my harddrive have more cache? or would it be better to invest in more RAM?
Old 12th September 2007
  #6
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anyone got an answer for that? thanks
Old 12th September 2007
  #7
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andsonic's Avatar
 

eSATA

My laptop has an expresscard slot in it. I use an eSATA card. It's pretty sweet. It kicks b*** on usb and firewire400. I have a 500gb Seagate eSATA drive. This also leaves my usb and firewire ports free for interfaces.

The expresscard thing is pretty cool. I also have firewire400 and usb cards available for additional flexibility.
Old 12th September 2007
  #8
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dropblacksky's Avatar
 

depending on your laptop, you can get away with a fair amount...I can usually get 24 tracks going pretty consistently at 24/44 on my powerbook g4, 1.25g processor, 2 g of ram....BUT it gets choked up significantly faster once I start using softsynths...and if you're pulling samples you'll definitely be limited. My advice would be to just test it out...push the system and see how far it can go, then you'll know if you're too limited.

If you have a MAC, there are these which are pretty cool...but pricey.

MCE OptiBay Hard Drive for MacBook Pro, MacBook and PowerBook G4
Old 12th September 2007
  #9
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allencollins's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
I can record up to 16 tracks of 24/48 at once on my 5400 80gb drive in my 12" G4 powerbook with two MOTU 828 MKIIs when I'm not doing critical tracking. Makes me a bit uneasy, but never run into a problem. I've played back 24 tracks, but occasionally will outpace the drive.

Go nuts if you are just doing stereo. You'll be fine.
I used to record 48 tracks at once when I had two 2408 motu units
on a PIII 266 back in the 90's. I suppose I had an adaptec 3940
but you should be able to do more than 16 . Maybe it's the G4 can
handle Synchronous read/write
Old 12th September 2007
  #10
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Well, seeing as you guys are talking about your write speeds (Tracking 20+ streams of audio to harddisk space), and I am using mostly VST's which requires much more intensity on READ speeds (Which tend to be a lot faster than write by nature) I dont think I should have too much issue with only one harddisk.. I mean, I only use one right now and its not too bad. I think a lot of my problems are mostly because I need more ram (guess 2gigs doesnt cut it these days). I usually get low memory errors, though IVORY gives me a "slow disk" warning light occassionally.

Anyways- Hopefully I can find an alternative if it becomes too much of a hassle. That internal disk drive that swaps out the super drive looks pretty neat, I would prefer that they come factory like that. I would be using my secondary harddrive a lot more than I would my superdrive..

the worst part for me is that I will have to carry an additional hunk of metal around with me (a hunk of metal that is very fragile and contains lots of important information!)
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