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New laptop required...help in choosing very appreciated


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There is no point in comparing CPU frequency or whatever else shows up in the spec sheet on the shop website. This might make sense if you buy a gaming PC but for music production it's more in software and drivers compatibility and really the general ease of use.

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2 hours ago, thawkins said:

There is no point in comparing CPU frequency or whatever else shows up in the spec sheet on the shop website. This might make sense if you buy a gaming PC but for music production it's more in software and drivers compatibility and really the general ease of use.

Also look into how well the cooling works.  Shouldn't be as much of an issue anymore but I had a laptop a while back that would overheat and shut down in the hottest weeks of summer with anything more CPU hungry than basic, day to day use.  Editing stereo audio was OK, but even a 480p Youtube video was risky.  Bad case design, turned out it was a really common problem. 

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Argh.. Am I being brought round to the apple world? To be fair I just need to do the basics office wise and just super reliable ableton. Dont even game. Maybe it is worth a change.

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Your options seem to be to spend more time researching and figuring out your setup, or spend more money on a Mac and spend more time making music.

And honestly I would get an used Mac from apple as I said before.

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Your options seem to be to spend more time researching and figuring out your setup, or spend more money on a Mac and spend more time making music.
And honestly I would get an used Mac from apple as I said before.
Yeah I mean I'm spending time reading about Mac Mini. And yes, I just want a ridiculously reliable machine and no bs. Luckily at the minute I've got my gf's HP Windows Laptop which is good enough to track what I seem to be primarily doing which is writing on acoustic guitar at this point but yeah... That laptop will suffer with anything more than a few tracks I'm sure so yeah.. I'll probbaly just bite the bullet.

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Optimal Stopping (Wikipedia)
Satisficers and Maximizers (Medium)
The Paradox of Choice (The Decision Lab) and the book by Barry Schwartz
Brian Christian: Algorithms to Live By
Quickly looked at these. I presume you're telling me to just make a decision and shut up?! Haha. The thing is that I'm deep into a song right now as is and will probbaly make a decision in a few months when I'm financially better off so yeah...

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Your options seem to be to spend more time researching and figuring out your setup, or spend more money on a Mac and spend more time making music.
And honestly I would get an used Mac from apple as I said before.
Also when you say "figuring out your set up", what do you mean exactly?

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37 minutes ago, Polytrix said:

Quickly looked at these. I presume you're telling me to just make a decision and shut up?!

That's a fair interpretation, although my purpose was to show that it's not that simple to make a choice nowadays, especially when it comes to technology: the choices are myriad and the combinatorial explosion of available options is an avalanche of technical jargon, and we're expected to understand the pros and cons of various configurations from CPU, memory, hard disk, screen type and resolution, available ports and connectors, operating system etc. I'm a tech person through and through, and even I can't make an exact, specific, bottom-up choice but lean into heuristics like what I've had before (Dell or Lenovo - I'm a PC/Windows/Linux user), maximizing the specs to the hilt first and if (when) the result is too expensive, scale down/downgrade e.g. from 32 gigs of memory to 16 gigs, smaller capacity SSD, less performant CPU (from i9 to i7, less GHz...) etc.

Schwartz's Paradox of Choice is specifically about being inundated with choice and how fewer options contribute to easier selection; optimal stopping is about when you should stop looking and just make a choice; satisficers vs. maximizers is about what is enough vs. getting the best deal possible; Algorithms to Live By is about the implicit algorithmic processes in our lives and how not to go insane about them. My point was that trying to be as rational as possible about choices is super hard, and I feel you - I just got a new (personal) laptop in January, it took me a week to filter the possibilities down to a shortlist of three, out of which I chose the most expensive. YMWV.

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6 hours ago, Polytrix said:

Quickly looked at these. I presume you're telling me to just make a decision and shut up?! Haha. The thing is that I'm deep into a song right now as is and will probbaly make a decision in a few months when I'm financially better off so yeah...

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Also when you say "figuring out your set up", what do you mean exactly?

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When I say "figuring out your set up" I mean googling things like "what type of RAM goes into this ASUS motherboard" and trying to understand which CPU-GPU-RAM-motherboard-case-PSU-cooler-cooler paste-LEDs-cables combination you need in order to get the best value for your money.

It's a good way to spend your time, because in the end you'll learn a lot about PC components and what to look for and how to troubleshoot any hardware/software driver issue that you may encounter. However the research and learning process takes time, so if I was in your shoes I would think whether I want to spend my time making music, or researching PC specs.

And yeah I wish I had the time to research PC specs, or learn soldering and electronics DIY or how to program reactive visuals or whatever cool thing you can name. Right now I only have time my day job and some music, so that's why I have accepted that I will pay more for premium stuff because I don't want to spend my time on something that maybe does not work.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I went with a 2020 Refurb mac mini by the way and it's brilliant thus far. Still getting my head round the whole apple world tho.

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Maybe you're already aware and it's not exactly the world's most power user tip but make a habit of using Spotlight (CMD + spacebar to open) to launch programs and open documents etc. It's super quick and works really well. You can customize results (ie exclude internet search, certain filetypes and directories etc.) in System Settings.      

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Thanks. No not at all this is exactly the sort of thing I need to learn. I'm having to unlearn quite a bit of windows stuff. I don't have an apple keyboard yet.

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It has been a long time since I used a Mac with non-Apple keyboard, but I remember that the Control key should do exactly the same things as the CMD key. I.e. Ctrl+C Ctrl+V for copy and paste will work the same. It's just that for the operating system, Ctrl is CMD basically.

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Thanks. Yeah I've been getting thrown by simple things like that. I don't seem to be doing the equivalent of control c/v correctly and something I used to do a lot on Windows was like "Windows D" which would fire me back to the desktop minimising everything else which I can't seem to do on mac yet. Weirdly I'm also finding that monitors seem to switch off after a few minutes of non use "no signal received" but underlying apps are continuing to run. I wonder if this is some kind of auto sleep/energy conservation option I need to disable. Either way I need a proper keyboard and actual pc monitor rather than what is effectively a TV monitor it seems. Teething problems innit.

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On 9/10/2021 at 4:36 PM, thawkins said:

There is no point in comparing CPU frequency or whatever else shows up in the spec sheet on the shop website. This might make sense if you buy a gaming PC but for music production it's more in software and drivers compatibility and really the general ease of use.

What you can do is check DPC latency and LatencyMon results on sites like notebookcheck. There are also CPU comparisons in Dawbench results. Many recent laptops perform a lot better latencywise if you temporarily switch to integrated graphics instead of Nvidia graphics and drivers. 

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23 hours ago, chim said:

What you can do is check DPC latency and LatencyMon results on sites like notebookcheck. There are also CPU comparisons in Dawbench results. Many recent laptops perform a lot better latencywise if you temporarily switch to integrated graphics instead of Nvidia graphics and drivers. 

This sounds cool but when I checked out notebookcheck, the site felt more like 10% content 90% ADS ADS ADS and in the end I never found my laptop in the list.

Dawbench seems to be inactive, at least based on the message they had on the website.

 

I have actually experimented with forcing integrated graphics on my macbook in order to try and keep the fan noise down, but I did not have much success. Maybe I should try again.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/2/2021 at 4:36 PM, Polytrix said:

I went with a 2020 Refurb mac mini by the way and it's brilliant thus far. Still getting my head round the whole apple world tho.

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ha nice - contrary to my previous post in this thread, I ended up getting a refurbished Macbook Pro 13" with the M1 chip.

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