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Tweeking OS for Music recording


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#1
G-bo

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Hi folks,I'll try to keep this as short as I can.I am setting up a hard drive to use completely for a recording studio.I've read a bit about this and unfortunately windows xp pro is still the best OS to use according to most(more stable w/the software,better driver support ect.)I say unfortunately because I have 4 gig of ddr2 but I hear that xp will only recognize about half of that.If I could ultize all my memory I would be able to record more tracks and use more effects in those tracks,in short it would be much easier to work with.I hear that you can run Vista and that it will support the software and use all 4 gig but that the OS itself is a memory hog.Guess my first question is can I maybe streamline either of these OS's to run quicker as it will not be using internet or e-mail,just the recording studio and a few pdf manuals and video tutorials for the software.One last question,when I set up this dual boot system I would like to have it so that one OS has absolutely no connection to the other,so would I have to manually unhook the internet connection each time that I booted up the recording drive?Thanks very much.Cheers.
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#2
n3ko

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Building a media editing computer? Cool!

XP Pro can take 4 Gigs of RAM. If you need more, get XP 64 bit, but make sure your mobo and processor can handle 64 bit (most new hardware can though). It can handle up to 128 Gigs RAM, if you can fit that much on the mobo. :) DDR2 is fine, but what's the MHz? For what you want to do, you should have a mobo that can handle 533 MHz or higher - the higher the better.

[Edit: From Overclock.net]

Windows NT 4.0: 4 GB
Windows 2000 Professional: 4 GB
Windows 2000 Standard Server: 4 GB
Windows 2000 Advanced Server: 8GB
Windows 2000 Datacenter Server: 32GB
Windows XP Professional: 4 GB
Windows Server 2003 Web Edition: 2 GB
Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition: 4 GB
Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition: 32 GB
Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition: 64 GB


What kind of mixer application are you going to run? I use Audition for audio on my media station, and it handles more tracks than I ever need. A few people I know have maxed it out, but they just mix separate pieces into a track then combine those to mix in a separate project and manage the whole project just fine that way... It also runs quite happily on XP Pro with just 2 Gigs RAM.

But, if you're using a professional studio software... Just make sure your pagefiling and scratchdisk are a completely separate drive from your OS drive, and from the one you run the application off of. You'll get much better performance that way.

Ideally, I would have 2 HDs. One would be split partition, possibly 40% 60%, depending on the size of the application I want to run and the peripheral programs I may decide to install around it. Smaller partition would be the OS and the editiing application. Larger, the effects, brushes, templates, and mixed files. The size of the drive really depends on the editor you're running and the kind of files you're creating. I do more in video, so as an analogy if I plan on saving most of my final files and templates in a low-loss or raw format, I wouldn't have this drive be less than 320 Gigs.

The second drive should be a blank, formatted partition for scratch, pagefile and files and bits you're working on. You don't need an OS on this. I wouldn't get less than 500 Gigs.

Also, have back-up external drives for your work. For the internals, choose a fast RPM and a high Cache for best performance.

I don't know why you'd want a dual-boot system on this? If you honestly do, it has nothing to do with the internet - indeed you don't want to be connected to the internet at all when you install an OS. You should, however, disconnect one drive from the mobo while installing the OS on the other, if one will have Vista and the other XP.

With no internet connection, you should still run malware and virus scanners, keep them especially if you plan on importing files via flash-drive. They don't take much for resources anyway, your efficiency will be dictated by setup and speed of your drives, your RAM and your processor. Get the best processor you can afford. Your system will be a bit faster for not having other programs, but I don't know that you'd notice the difference from this.

Vista is a resource hog. That said, you can optimize it, and the people here can definitely help you to do that - in the Vista OS forum. I prefer XP, but that's me being stubborn about change. :)

This is all from experience building my own media editor. I use Premiere Pro, Audition, AVISynth, VDM and a few others on that system. Just for comparison, I have Premiere Elements on this one and once I can find my SoundBooth Installer I'll have that too. They run OK, singly and with no other applications running, on 1 Gig RAM, but so much better on 2 or more and can run alongside other programs well. My mobo and CPU are pretty standard too.

So, if you want to kick out all the stops and spend a lot on high-end devices, yes - you'll have a pretty awesome workstation. But, you don't necessarily need to do this to have a good one, either. Look at the system requirements on your editing/mixing software and just kick them up a bit higher.

tl,dr. Sorry about that. :)

Edited by n3ko, 15 September 2009 - 08:02 PM.

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#3
G-bo

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Hi n3ko,I guess I should have explained things a little better.It's actually going to be for audio recording.Here's a little more info on my system too It's an AMD 64x2 dual core 4200+. 2.2 GHz and I'm using an audiophile ap192 sound card with Cubase sx3 for a Daw(plus numerous plugins and vst instruments)I am also running an M-audio Oxygen 8 for a Midi controller.I currently have 3 gig of ddr2 installed and I was told that anything over 2 gigs was just a waste because xp would not use it so that is good news if this is not the case.I have a 160 gig hard drive and have just bought a 500 gig hard drive which I would like to use just for recording.At the moment I am using the 160 gig drive and have all my recording software and all programs for general use(internet e-mail ect.)When I use my recording software I can get maybe 12 to 15 tracks with effects and if it gets much higher than this the audio will sputter and I will have to export a few tracks down to one and reinsert it back into my project to be able to go further which would be fine except that it narrows down the options for the final mixs and mastering eg:tracks that have been put together and returned to the project cannot be tweaked as separate tracks anymore.From what I can gather a lot of folks say to run the recording software and nothing else for optimal performance.So I have this 500 gig drive for that purpose.I had looked into xp 64 bit but most of the plugins I use would not be supported so that's out.I would still like to use the dual boot system if it's possiable to completely separate the two without actually having to phisically uhook one hard drive and hook up the other everytime I want to record.Does this make any sense?(a lot of times I don't LOL)
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#4
n3ko

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:) Sure it does. :)

I knew you were doing audio, I can only equate it to my video, though, since I do a bit of Audio but it's not the focus as yours is. Still, I think the system demands are comparable.

Are you going to pop the new disk into the same system and run everything audio off of that? and keep the smaller disk as a separate bootable disk for everyday work, taking all your audio stuff off?

You don't have to physically disconnect the drives each time you boot. Just when you install the OS on the new disk - and that's only assuming your first, older disk is Vista and you plan to keep it that way. Is your older disk Vista?

Too bad about the 64 bit. But, yes - XP Pro can run 4 Gigs. Other versions of XP can as well, but you need to tweak a switch in the boot.ini, and that's a bit dangerous.

DDR2 just means "double data rate". Faster than DDR, but it's not all that;s important about the RAM Specs. I'm betting that you have DDR2 PC-5300 667 MHz, with that processor. But, it may be 4300 533 MHz. This is important as it's the speed of data transfer.

I think you basic question is if you take your program off that OS and make another bootable one on a larger disk and run your editor/mixer from that disk, with nothing else, will it improve your editor's performance?

Well, added RAM will definitely help. It's a fine processor. If your new hard drive has good RPM and cache, that will help improve things too. And certainly no other programs on the system will make a difference, though you will still need malware and antivirus - they don't take many resources.

My 1st worry is if your system on your old disk is Vista, you need to make sure you have all the drivers for your mobo and devices before you try and install XP. You'll need key drivers - such as chipset and Audio bus controller. Even if it's an XP system you have on your old disk, you need to make sure you have the drivers - will you clone the drive you currently boot from and uninstall programs from it? That should work fine - or if your copy of XP is OEM for that machine (but that brings up licensing issues). However, if your copy is retail, be absolutely sure you have all your drivers burned on a CD somewhere first.

If you have 2 different OSs you need to install one with the other disconnected from the drive. The one you're installing will over-write the other's boot sector if you don't, then only one will be usable. After you can hook them both up and set your system as a dual boot system. It will ask you which OS you want to boot from each time you reboot.

You should still consider having two partitions on your new drive. Scratch files and pagefiles for these types of programs can get large and need to have their own "drive". A separate partition is perfect.

I don't know that program, so I can't say if you'll be able to get more tracks if you do this. All editors/mixers have their limits, and so does the system. Managing projects in the way you describe is what a friend of mine does. It's irritating, but after years he feels it helps him plan his projects better because he can focus on the abstract parts better - but that's his style. :)

For best performance, consider starting to build a stand-alone system dedicated to this. Get top of the line hardware and slowly build it yourself. It's fun, rewarding, cheaper than buying one and it will have less issues and bloatware, and you could eventually have full performance of your program. I love my media machine, it's great when I have time to sit down and geek out on it. Nothing like this little lappy. :)

Hopefully I've answered your question... It's one that doesn't really have a concrete answer, I'm afraid, since so much is personal preference. Will you see improvement, yes. How much? Depends on how much you're expecting and want, and also on the capabilities of both the software and your RAM at the moment. I think the processor and drive are certainly up to it.
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#5
G-bo

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Hi again,just like to say a big thanks,you have been a lot of help and given me lots to think about.I will be installing the new drive along side the old one and the old drive is xp so that should simplify things a little.I would love to put together a separate rig for this but can't right now.Maybe a future project tho' who knows.Thanks again for for your time and help,this is a great site,Cheers.
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#6
n3ko

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Have fun with your mixing! :) If you need help building your OS on the new disk, there's great Staff here that can not only help with that, but also help to optimize the system once it's running.

I know what you mean about the prospect of building a system. It seems pretty expensive and big, but it's not. Look for computer and technology conventions in your area - I got my Mobo and graphics card at one for a real steal! The separate components are often less expensive than buying a whole system to the same specs in the long run. And you can go slow and take your time as your budget permits - it took me most of a year to build mine.:)

Take care!

Edited by n3ko, 16 September 2009 - 11:56 AM.

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