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robust system that will support Logic and sample libraries


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I think it's time for a new computer but I want to make sure that buying one will make a substantial difference to my work flow. I currently have a Macbook Pro OS X 10.5.6, 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4 GB of RAM. I also have a Glyph 500 GB hard drive for my sample libraries that I stream into Logic 8 using the 800 MB/sec firewire port. I daisy chain out from the Glyph using the 400 firewire to my Apogee Duet. I have another Glyph 250 GB that I use to store my projects and that's connected to my 400MB/sec firewire port.

 

My big problem is with the streaming of the samples, especially East West Quantum Leap Platinum Plus Orchestra and RA samples. I have to freeze tracks constantly and I still have problems with system overload when I am working on a big project with lots of virtual instrument tracks. The other sample library I have is Komplete 5 from Native Instruments but it doesn't give me nearly the grief the EW libraries do.

 

Here is a response from a very experienced media composer.

 

I would seriously consider slaving a PC. The big advantage is that you overcome not only the processor problem but also the 32bit RAM limit which is going to be with us for a while to come yet. Even with an 8 core machine you can't get more than 2gbs of samples into Logic which will hold you back. Slaving a PC is probably a cheaper option also.

 

I have off the shelf Dell PCs running Windows XP pro for around £400 each, 4gbs of RAM and two internal 1TB drives. I use Midi over LAN to connect them up and used to run ordinary analogue soundcards out of each one into a mixer. I'm now all digital but that is a lot more expensive.

 

An 8 core machine would also solve your problem but the RAM problem will still be there until everything goes 64 bit. Apple is due to release snow leopard its proper 64bit system this summer but I wouldn't bank on everything being stable and compatible for at least a year.

 

Any additional input?

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I think it's time for a new computer but I want to make sure that buying one will make a substantial difference to my work flow. I currently have a Macbook Pro OS X 10.5.6, 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4 GB of RAM. I also have a Glyph 500 GB hard drive for my sample libraries that I stream into Logic 8 using the 800 MB/sec firewire port. I daisy chain out from the Glyph using the 400 firewire to my Apogee Duet. I have another Glyph 250 GB that I use to store my projects and that's connected to my 400MB/sec firewire port.

 

I don;t know much about slaving PCs so I'll not even try to give an opinion there. However, one thing I do know is that both your FW ports (400 and 800) on the MBP are on the same FW800 bus. Everything I've read suggests that when you have a FW400 device on a FW800 bus, you bring all devices down to FW400 speeds. Even if you weren't using the second GLyph drive, your Duet is probably causing the main Glyph to run at FW400 speed.

 

You might get better performance if you bought an ExpressCard FW interface - that way you can run your FW400 devices on a separate bus from your FW800 device.

 

Cheers,

 

Maurice

 

PS I'm happy to be wrong about this, though you'll still get better performance if you aren't sharing one FW bus among 3 devices.

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Well, I haven't tried the express bus FW but I contacted the guy I buy my gear from and he sent me this link. He says as long as the 400 isn't between the computer and the drive that I should be running at 800.

 

http://www.macworld.com/article/139179/2009/03/macminifirewire.html

 

What it says makes sense, but other writings I've seen suggest that if a 400 device is active on the bus, the whole bus drops to 400 speed. So if you're using your Duet at all, it could potentially be forcing your 800 drive down in speed.

 

I personally don't have FW800 devices, but maybe you should try some HD transfer tests with and without the Duet hooked up and active - e.g. do some large file copies with sound going to the duet and some without?

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The first thing I would try (because it doesn't cost anything) is to connect the Glyph 250 thru the Glyph 500 and then the Duet thru the Glyph 250 so that everything is running off the FW800 port and the FW 400 port is open, ie, nothing connected to it. If the Glyph 250 has a FW 800 input capaability I would use that, if not, then use it the way you have the Duet connected.

 

The reason to try this is because ANYTHING connected to the FW 400 port pulls the bus down to 400, so right now your sample streaming drive is actually only running at FW400 speed.

 

HTH,

Tom

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I tried running off only the 800 FW and it didn't change the performance.

 

Any thoughts on the new 8 core Mac Pro with 2.66 processor and 16 GB RAM? Shouldn't that solve all my streaming issues? I'd have all my samples on a second 1TB drive and all my projects on a third 1TB drive.

 

Any other configurations anyone would suggest?

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If you are still looking for options, then I would seriously consider looking at an eSata express card (not the same as firewire) for your MacBook Pro. Mine performs at the same rate as my 7200 RPM internal drive. I haven't done it yet, but I could hook up two drives, since the card I have has two ports.

Might be worth a look.

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I actually did that and it was a disaster. Logic would crash repeatedly and I would get a black screen. I thought my OS had been corrupted. I was then told, by the same person who suggested it, that he found out it was not the right way to go. When I went back to using FW all those problems went away.

 

My main issue now is just streaming many instruments at a time without constantly having to freeze many of them.

 

I'm probably going to buy the new Mac Pro 2.66Ghz 2x Quad Core Nehalim.

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Well, there's something not quite right somewhere in your setup because I have a Macbook Pro with a 2.4 gig Penryn (previous generation) with 4 gigs of ram and an eSATA 2 port Express34 card with 2 500 gig Seagate 7200 rpm HD's running all my sample libraries and using Logic 8.0.2 and and Leopard 10.5.6 and it all runs just fine. No glitches or pops running at a 6 ms latency on a Tascam US-122 usb sound card.

 

I got the Express card and both HD's from OWC and I paid $40 for the express card.

 

Tom

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