Time for mini laptops yet?

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propel
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Time for mini laptops yet?

Post by propel » Thu May 14, 2009 7:15 am

I had my eye on the EEE PC about a year ago and finally decided to wait it out. Since then i've bought myself a macbook and i'm really, really happy with it, don't get me wrong, but i'm still searching for a little laptop that i could use live to run some vsts and not have to worry about it all the time.

I don't like the idea of using my macbook in an on stage or gig setting and i really use it more as a desktop than anything else (although one that takes up a lot less room and student friendly :))

Okay i'm drifting off topic

So basically what I want to know is if it's a good time to buy one of these mini inexpensive laptops and are they powerful enough yet to run some vsts on live in a band setting? I'm looking at the HP mini series and would probably wanna run GeForce's M-Tron more than anything else (in combination with my nord electro 2 to have a whole organic vintage arsenal at my disposal :D )

Thanks,

David

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Re: Time for mini laptops yet?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu May 14, 2009 8:38 am

I don't think an Atom processor would be up to the task of live softsynth playing, but you could find out by getting a copy of the Live demo from their website and installing it on a showroom demo machine and seeing how it went. If you're serious about buying one then you should be able to find a place that will let you try it out before you buy. I picked Live because the demo includes soft synths and it's an easy single install for both a sequencer and softsynths, and if it runs fine I would imagine any other program would too.

I'd be interested in finding out your results too.

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Re: Time for mini laptops yet?

Post by JSRockit » Thu May 14, 2009 1:01 pm

It would have to be able to play a soft synth or two... if not newer stuff, at least older stuff... I ran reason 1 and fruity loops with VSTs on way inferior laptops back in the day.
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Re: Time for mini laptops yet?

Post by meatballfulton » Thu May 14, 2009 1:36 pm

There are YouTube vids of a number of netbook users showing Reason, Live, etc. running fine for small amounts of tracks (less than a dozen). Use of track freezing and other CPU savers will obviously help. Known CPU hogs should be avoided of course. My 3-year old Toshiba laptop is only a 1.6G Celeron with 2GB of memory and I'm running Reason, Acid, Live and Absynth on it fine so I'd expect the faster netbooks to do OK.

Make sure you get one of the fast processors (1.6G Atom vs. 900M Celeron) and 2 GB of RAM, add a USB audio/MIDI interface and you should have something usable.

Stab Frenzy's idea about installing some demos on a display model and seeing how they run is a good one.
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Re: Time for mini laptops yet?

Post by novielo » Thu May 14, 2009 1:47 pm

JSRockit wrote:It would have to be able to play a soft synth or two... if not newer stuff, at least older stuff... I ran reason 1 and fruity loops with VSTs on way inferior laptops back in the day.
yep!

fruity loops 3

System Requirements :

* Windows 95/98/Me/2000
* Pentium class 200MHz processor
* 32MB RAM
* 800x600 video display
* Windows-compatible audio hardware
* CD-ROM drive

what ever the program used:
my only concern would be how would it be live when loading new samples, copy/paste parts of the song and if you can seamlessly re sample your stuff
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Re: Time for mini laptops yet?

Post by redchapterjubilee » Thu May 14, 2009 2:47 pm

I considered it when I upgraded computers last year. I was running Reason and lesser VST's just fine on a P3 1GHz laptop with 512MB RAM. The only VST's I had that choked on it were the two ARturia synths I had. I figured the software would run fine on it, but I didn't want to try to program Reason on so small a screen! And the lack of an optical drive meant a hassle for loading software and my Reason & Arturia discs are a b***h sometimes about wanting to be reloaded for verification so...I ultimately demured. But I could see someone easily running older VST's on one without difficulty. I wouldn't want to try to run something like Live or Cubase plus a bunch of other stuff but for using as basically another synth module for live triggering I think it would be ideal.
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Re: Time for mini laptops yet?

Post by th0mas » Thu May 14, 2009 5:07 pm

terrible photo, but this is my writing rig:

Image

acer aspire one, 120GB harddrive, 1 gig RAM, 1.4ghz atom

So far, it runs reason fine, I can record midi into it.. I don't use it for playing live (got an mpc and blofeld for that) but for recording on the go it can't be beat.

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Re: Time for mini laptops yet?

Post by Ashe37 » Thu May 14, 2009 11:46 pm

Keep in mind that these mini notebooks are gonna be slower than anything else current you have... but, it depends how many softsynths and effects you are trying to run.A good Reaktor synth that consumes 10% of the CPU on the machine i am on right now, would consume about 30% of the CPU on a netbook...

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Re: Time for mini laptops yet?

Post by tyrannosaurus mark » Fri May 15, 2009 1:45 am

I'd just get a pelican case and some clear food wrap and use your macbook. Those small laptops are going to be at the very bottom of the power required so if something weird spikes in it you synths will go weird
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Re: Time for mini laptops yet?

Post by propel » Fri May 15, 2009 5:39 am

wow thanks for all the replies so quickly

my use of the laptop would really be to run one synth at a time, probably something like the M-Tron or impOSCAR, as standalones..nothing fancy :P

oh and th0mas, that's one h**l of a portable rig you got going there

as for trying out a test model that sounds like a really good idea, once i'm done exams i'll go on the hunt

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Re: Time for mini laptops yet?

Post by propel » Wed May 20, 2009 5:10 am

okay so i went to best buy and asked the computers guy if i could come with my korg nano and download a vst or two (probably the imposcar demo), he said it shouldn't be a problem

i'm thinking of trying out the acer aspire (copy th0mas' rig :P)

so i guess i know what i'm doing tomorow :D

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Re: Time for mini laptops yet?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed May 20, 2009 7:16 am

Awesome, don't forget to let us know how it goes.

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Re: Time for mini laptops yet?

Post by toad » Wed May 20, 2009 9:48 am

I've been using my Acer Aspire One (8 gb SSD version with only 512 mb ram) as a sound module, running Bidule as a host with various synths, 10-50 % CPU usage. I use the Behringer UMA25S as a MIDI controller and audio interface. Aside from the crappy keys it's a great companion to the netbook.
People seem to forget that these netbooks are just as powerful as "regular" computers were only a few years ago. As long as you don't try using the latest and greatest resource hogs you should be fine.

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Re: Time for mini laptops yet?

Post by meatballfulton » Wed May 20, 2009 12:15 pm

toad wrote: I use the Behringer UMA25S as a MIDI controller and audio interface.
How does the UMA sound? I've seen a few reviews claiming the audio interface wasn't very good. How low can you get the latency?
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Re: Time for mini laptops yet?

Post by JSRockit » Wed May 20, 2009 1:04 pm

I have an HP Mini coming in today... but I don't think I'll use it for audio. I way just run an old app or two just for fun when I get bored... maybe I'll put rebirth on it. ;)
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