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agrypa1
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:53 am    Post subject: gentoostudio on dell laptop, how well can be customized? Reply with quote

Hi,
Can someone have a look at the following specs and give opinion on how well this laptop can serve as DAW? http://www.dell.com/us/dfb/p/latitude-e6400/pd#TechSpec

My interest is mainly in the latency issues. I wonder how well IRQ can be tweaked to not share firewire port (which would have an audio interface) with other stuff like eSATA ,USB, PCMCIA, fingerprint reader (optional then perhaps it is not an issue)?

Also can anyone tell me anything about the minimal hardware requirements for a DAW with gentoostudio?
I thought laptop like the above could be used to avail the firewire port (audio interface) and eSATA for storage. The internal HDD would only be for the OS and apps. Internal HDAudio would have to be turned off, am I right?

I have read tons of texts on google about other people's suggestions on hardware for linux audio but have found very little guidance so far.

Thank you for any input.

Agryppa
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aCOSwt
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:23 am    Post subject: Re: gentoostudio on dell laptop, how well can be customized? Reply with quote

agrypa1 wrote:
My interest is mainly in the latency issues.

If this is your concern and assuming that you mean overall latency then a laptop (=> external usb/firewire audio device) might not be the best choice you can make.
agrypa1 wrote:
I wonder how well IRQ can be tweaked to not share firewire port (which would have an audio interface) with other stuff like eSATA ,USB, PCMCIA, fingerprint reader

You'll have to especially check for this particular model but there should be no trouble because, if IRQ sharing is highly probable, all the modern hardware I can see around have MSIs capable firewire devices and MSIs are not shared.
agrypa1 wrote:
Also can anyone tell me anything about the minimal hardware requirements for a DAW

If we keep apart the audio devices themselves, then it mainly depends on what you intend to do with your daw.
Of course, if you intend to do a lot of live signal processing then the power of the cpu is important to consider. If you intend to basically only record then ram is the most important to consider.
Of course, if you want to record, you'll want ssds (for the noise)
agrypa1 wrote:
Internal HDAudio would have to be turned off

Not necessarily, you can dedicate it to whatever other usage independent of the use of your external device.
If you WANT to disconnect something... it is more likely to be the WIFI stuff...

More generally speaking and as a simple 2cts opinion, I do not like laptops as DAW.
Because of the limited space available and complex air-cooling circuitry, they tend to be far more noisy than desktops with absolutely no mean to lower it.
Because they are not wired to the ground and get tons of batteries, they are actually and sensitive to and sources of electromagnetic noise.
Depending on what you intend to do with your DAW and its conditions of use, you might not want that.
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agrypa1
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:19 am    Post subject: Re: gentoostudio on dell laptop, how well can be customized? Reply with quote

Quote:

Because of the limited space available and complex air-cooling circuitry, they tend to be far more noisy than desktops with absolutely no mean to lower it.
Because they are not wired to the ground and get tons of batteries, they are actually and sensitive to and sources of electromagnetic noise.


Thank you for your reply to my question.
I wonder how the draw backs you mentioned (electromagnetic noise) affect FireWire or USB connected devices? Those break out boxes are perhaps shielded in a kind of a case?

I am trying to figure out what to buy for a very young guitarist for him to be able to play and record with a linux box and some usb and firewire audio interfaces. I would like to pack the linux with only the guitar related software so as the distro looks almost like an appliance and not all purpose laptop. Hence my inquiry which aims at ruling out first time experience failure for the user.

Do you have any more hints towards that matter?

thank you
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:37 am    Post subject: Re: gentoostudio on dell laptop, how well can be customized? Reply with quote

agrypa1 wrote:
Quote:

Because of the limited space available and complex air-cooling circuitry, they tend to be far more noisy than desktops with absolutely no mean to lower it.
Because they are not wired to the ground and get tons of batteries, they are actually and sensitive to and sources of electromagnetic noise.

I wonder how the draw backs you mentioned (electromagnetic noise) affect FireWire or USB connected devices? Those break out boxes are perhaps shielded in a kind of a case?

Of course this all depends on the environment your system will work.

- For the acoustic noise, a standard recording studio tolerates 20db max (grand total), an acoustic laboratory is at 10db max. In such environment, you'll get fired immediately with your 29db (Idle) 8O system.
(cf datasheets there : http://www.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/about_dell/values/regulatory_compliance/dec_conform?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd)
BTW, you can also simply google and will see an appreciable number of users complaining about the acoustic noise of this particular laptop)

- The same about electromagnetic noise. Of course, as long as you stay 100% digital there is no problem but... at some point... you'll necessarily be back to good old analogic... won't you ?
So everything will depend how far you can be from the analogical systems, how carefully shielded they are and the quality of the ground they are linked to.
The model you are targeting is a FCC Class B only! (as the vast majority of consumer-grade products anyway)

- Now if your purpose is the one you tell about, I would say, regarding the electromagnetic noise, if your young guitarist is actually sensitive to the difference between a 96Khz and a 48Khz sampling rate recording, then you should forget your project. If he is not then you can go on.
- Review a couple of articles of standard users complaining about the acoustic noise level of this particular model and eventually change your mind if you think it might cause a problem.

BTW, If your answer is NO to both then... honestly (and absolutely not disrespectfully meant) is it absolutely necessary to invest in external DACs/ADCs that will, in addition, make your system less handy ? Embedded analogic amplifiers are indeed of poor quality but embedded HDA devices on renown motherboards are *not* bad!
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,
I really appreciate your replying to me and your expert advice on my problem.
I have found an interesting offer on the net but given what you have written I have doubts whether their offer avoids all the issues mentioned before by you? I mean I understand that it might not be obvious even if you look at it...

Here is the link: http://indamixx.com/indamixx-marketplace-3.html[url]

Could you possibly look into it?
I thought that perhaps if they are selling a netbook based on intel atom procesor with 1.6GHz speed, 2Gb RAM then may be it would be a good idea to buy a mini tower based motherboard, metal case and this way avoid some of the electromagnetic noise?

What do you think?

Agryppa
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

agrypa1 wrote:
I have found an interesting offer on the net but given what you have written I have doubts whether their offer avoids all the issues mentioned before by you? I mean I understand that it might not be obvious even if you look at it...
Here is the link: http://indamixx.com/indamixx-marketplace-3.html

Hmmm... well... don't take that wrong... please. I know there is a lot of snobbery in the audio world and I do try to keep away from that.
But... really... did you download their "Product sheet" ?
Honestly !
Page 11 ! 8O
Well... I have never taken any picture of my DAWs but, if I wanted to, that could possibly be on Valentina's grand piano but certainly not... on a 20th century carpet in front of a 20th century TV... :roll: :roll: :roll: writing that a simple hdmi cable will transform it in a low-cost dj solution... :roll: :roll:

BTW, you might have also noticed the application shipped... many of them are available in Gentoo portage... try some... and tell me : Can you really achieve real work with these on the screen of a notebook ?
agrypa1 wrote:
may be it would be a good idea to buy a mini tower based motherboard, metal case and this way avoid some of the electromagnetic noise?

This is what I do. (But I get a 4 Ohm ground)
Do not forget that capturing electromagnetic fields is one thing, the second thing is to, as quickly as possible, sink the induced current to the ground.
This solution however is the best regarding acoustic noise as it is far easier to lower it if needed, than on a laptop.

Regarding your purpose, do not focus on electromagnetic fields yet. Do the test (96Khz / 48 Kz sampling rate recording) first.
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