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Trying to avoid Apple. Any suggestions?
my laptop and protools don't get on well - i keep getting CPU errors and BSOD.
you gonna be recording in a field?
want to buy overseas?
you'll want one with a quick and large harddisk and lots of DDR3 Ram (4GB Minimum, try to aim for as high as 8) then get a bloody awesome external sound card. Windows 7 seems like a good OS for this sort of thing (unlike Vista) because it seems to give you a lot more Ram to play around with. Get one with a midrange processor, it's not such an important element mind for what you're looking to do! It's all about the memory and storage & sound quality
effects or software synths or instruments.
it will tell you the % of cpu its using at any one time.. to test it, bounce all your tracks down into one audio track and upload that into the same program.
both do decent USB/Firewire interfaces for sub-£100 with a couple of inputs/outputs. Just have a look at various music sites and see which ones meet the spec you're after. And yes, generally an audio interface will help a bit when it comes to glitches in the sound but if you're computer isn't very powerful it might not make a massive difference.
just make sure whatever you get has a fucking beast processor. no other specs matter as the rest will be external.
consider an SSD. The difference they make can be staggering; it's the main reason the new Macbook Airs punch above their weight in terms of performance. You can get a 120gb one for less than a hunnerd quids now as well.
I think it's a myth that there's one particular laptop make/specification which comes straight out of the box and is perfect for your particular needs. In the past I've heard the car metaphor used to describe this i.e. you don't buy a Ferrari for it's storage space etc
If we're limiting this to purely looking at laptop hardware and not OS, sequencer etc, then you could do with asking yourself questions like:
1. What is going to be the main thing you will be using it for? Sequencing? Live Recording? DJing?
2. How important are things like screen size? If you're going to be spending hours and hours staring at the screen, having 10 GUI windows open at once, you need a larger screen e.g. 14" or bigger. However, the bigger the screen, the heavier the laptop. 17" laptops look great, but are ridiculous for humping around town.
3. What is your budget? No point telling you to go out and buy a three grand laptop if your budget is £300.
4. Apart from music, will this be your main computer for other things e.g. internet, word processing etc?
This is not an exhaustive list, but answering questions like these will get you a lot closer to a decision on what you want.