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VI Computer Configuration for the future...
Last post Sat, Jun 09 2007 by vinco, 27 replies.
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Posted on Sat, May 26 2007 20:26
by vinco
Joined on Fri, Apr 27 2007, Posts 56
Hi there,

With all the confusion in my head I thought I should try to write a thread about it to get your opinion about this.

My current setup is:
- Mac G5 2Ghz 4.5Go RAM running PT HD3 with a Digital Digi 192
- PC Pentium 4 2Go RAM running VI SE with Kore and RME Adat Card.

I obviously can work with this setup and I'm not complaining about it.

However here's the limitation I have with:
- I can only output 16 mono tracks at a time to PT (Adat Lightpipe)
- I can run about 6 instances of the VI SE max.

So I'd like to upgrade my setup by the end of the year to a more powerful system.

My first idea was to upgrade my PC to Dual-Core with 4Go RAM and get a second one with similar specs. I'd use a M-Audio Pro-Fire on each PC which would give me 24 Out on each PC for a total of 48.

But that means I'd need 2 more Digi 192 + an extra licence of the VI SE.
I'd also be stuck with 48kHz which is fine with me (or I'd have to halve the number of Out using SMUX protocol).


But I'm thinking about the future and I believe we're slowly switching to Madi which offers way more. Sure it's still expensive but it seems to me that I'll be alright for a while with it.

Even though I've been using PCs for a few years now running exclusively Gigastudio and Virtual instruments, my experience was not great. I'm not a PC guru and I probably don't configure the PCs as well as I should but I also don't have the time to do it. Each time I'm opening my PC, I'm afraid something is going to happen.

Anyway this is not the point!

Even though we're still at the beginning of 64bits, it's only a matter of months before it is ready and good to go.

Considering those 2 factors (64 bits and Madi), I think it might be better to consider buying a Mac Pro and Madi interfaces.

It ends up with a more expensive system but as I said previously, it should give enough power for a while.

What I'm considering is the following:
- I'd keep my Dual G5 as my main station with Protools. I don't need a more powerful computer for now since the cards take care of the processing and that's enough for my needs.

I'd get rid of my Digital Digi 192 and switch it to a SSL Madi interface which gives me 64 I/O

- I'd buy a Mac Pro starting with 8Go of RAM and a RME Madi interface which would give me 64 I/O on a single card (32 at 96kHZ) which is way enough for my needs. This could be expanded to 16Go RAM when 64 bits will be there and will work.

I'd also use my Logic Pro licence to host the VI.


This setup would roughly cost USD10K.
If I'd go with 2PCs, the cost would probably be around USD8K.

The difference is the system would be more future-oriented and I'd be set up for upgrades such as more I/O or more RAM.

Also if I'd like to buy more VI I could host them on the same Mac and it'd avoid a lot of trouble for setup/maintenance.

I realize it's a lot of money but it seems to me it'd be a better investment versus the PC versions.


What do you think about this?
Does it seem reasonable or completely out of focus?

Vincent
Posted on Sat, May 26 2007 20:30
by vinco
Joined on Fri, Apr 27 2007, Posts 56
Just one more thing:
- I believe the ADAT format is going to be less and less used in the next few years to the advantage of Madi as we experience it with the Midi format going to the USB.

- I therefore think that the value and the expandibility of the Madi format is the future but I might be wrong!!!

Vincent
Posted on Sun, May 27 2007 01:20
by cm
Joined on Fri, Dec 20 2002, vienna, Posts 9052
vincent, although the 64bit OS X (leopard) is IIRC announced for september and i'd assume apple would release a 64bit logic version after this date we don't know anything about the behavior of this OS in detail and you should expect some delay until a 64bit VI will be available and everything works flawless.

a tiny issue seems to add: if i read the macPro specs correctly, there are still only PCI-express slots in the machine, whereas the RME MADI is *classic* PCI-card (although the connector looks like PCI 2.0 and therefore compatible to PCI-X slots) http://www.rme-audio.com/premline/hdspmadi.htm

christian
and remember: a CRAY is the only computer that runs an endless loop in just four hours ...
Posted on Sun, May 27 2007 03:08
by vinco
Joined on Fri, Apr 27 2007, Posts 56
Hi Christian,

Thanks for your reply.

I believe RME is just about to release a PCI-Express version of the Madi Cards.
It's supposed to ship within a month.

As I said, I'm talking about a system that I probably won't build before 6 months or so.

I realize there's going to be some issues at the start and I'm not expecting everybody to release drivers or software versions right away. I assume it will probably take 1 year or 2.

That's why I'm talking about a system for the future.

My point/question is that it might actually be better to build a system thinking about what's coming up.

The system will already work as of now with limitations but will be ready when each company will release the necessary updates.

As I said, I'm already happy with what I have and that doesn't prevent me from working but if I'm going to update my system, I'd rather see a lit bit ahead of time even if it costs a little more money.

I'm not changing my setup every day. I consider it as a 5 year investement.

That's why I've been posting this thread.

I'm still thinking about the whole thing and I'm not saying I'm right.
I just put everything on table to get as much feedback as I can to see if that seems feasible and reasonable with the knowledge I have.

This is a personal choice of course but at the same time, I'm open to any suggestions and critics about it.

I just want to make a smart investment Smile

Vincent
Posted on Sun, May 27 2007 04:00
by cm
Joined on Fri, Dec 20 2002, vienna, Posts 9052
thanks for the heads-up regarding RME and PCI express - i've been already wondering why it is so quiet at RME regarding this *new* connector ...

5 years ... hmm, looking back the past 2 or 3 years and reflecting how we can currently use (resp. no longer use) 3 year old machines i'd consider 3 years as a maximum age for computers used as (high end) sound devices ... of course i can still get *something* out of the machines which are now 5 years old, but i would not like to use them for daily work today.

i'm saying this as someone usually changing office computers not before 5-6 years in the past, but currently i doubt my 2 years old *working horse* will survive the next year at it's current purpose ...
christian
and remember: a CRAY is the only computer that runs an endless loop in just four hours ...
Posted on Sun, May 27 2007 14:46
by Sergino Futurino
Joined on Thu, Dec 18 2003, Livorno, Posts 651
Ciao Vinco,
Thinking now "about a system that I probably won't build before 6 months or so" it's a bit too early.

Voices say we won't have 64 bit before next march.
So I think for you it could be better to buy some gigas of RAM and keeping your 2 computers for another year.
Ciao
Sergino
www.sergiobrunetti.it
Windows 10 on Vertex4 SSD - I7 3960x overclocked @4.0 Ghz - 32 GB RAM -
2010 MacbookPro 2.66 Ghz 8 Giga RAM -
MOTU: 2408 MK3, 24i, Traveler,MIDI Express XT
Studio One 4.1 Pro, Notion 6.5, Sibelius 6.2, Kontakt 5.6
VE Pro 6, VI Pro 2, Vienna Suite, Vienna MIR Pro w/Roompacks 1 and 2,
Libraries (preload size 2408): Special Edition Standard and Plus, Appassionata I, Solo Strings I, Dimension Brass, Percussion, Soprano Choir, Upright Bass, Flugelhorn, Saxophones, Concert guitar, Jazz Drums, Epic Orchestra, Dimension Strings
Posted on Sun, May 27 2007 15:43
by julian
Joined on Fri, Jan 07 2005, UK, Posts 717
cm wrote:
thanks for the heads-up regarding RME and PCI express - i've been already wondering why it is so quiet at RME regarding this *new* connector ...

5 years ... hmm, looking back the past 2 or 3 years and reflecting how we can currently use (resp. no longer use) 3 year old machines i'd consider 3 years as a maximum age for computers used as (high end) sound devices ... of course i can still get *something* out of the machines which are now 5 years old, but i would not like to use them for daily work today.

i'm saying this as someone usually changing office computers not before 5-6 years in the past, but currently i doubt my 2 years old *working horse* will survive the next year at it's current purpose ...
christian



Is it me or is the software (OS) running somewhat behind the current hardware. My main computer (G5 Dual 2.5/6.5MB RAM) is currently waiting imminent replacement but reading the forum the performance that others are getting with an 8 core MacPro doesn't seem too advance from where I am at the moment.

For good, quick and efficient transferable workflows I do prefer to try and keep the main production environment within a single computer. I am often resorting to some work rounds but I can get a reliable Logic Song structure that is using 25 Vienna Instruments as AU plug-ins and from what I read this isn't so far away from the current 8 cores.

Now the raw computer data would indicate that the latest fastest MacPro should have a capability nearly 5 times greater than the G5 PPC but currently this isn't demonstrated by practical operation.

I do hope that the new Mac OS system along with parallel 3rd party software development will unlock more of the potential in the current hardware and move the game forward.

Is their a similar "pause for breath" software hardware relatonship existing in PC land or is there a dfferent dynamic there?

Julian
Posted on Sun, May 27 2007 16:46
by vinco
Joined on Fri, Apr 27 2007, Posts 56
Hi guys,

Thanks again for your comments.

I think you have all very good points and when I think about it, it is true that I changed my computers every 2 years or so and that so many things can change in 6 months.

I guess I'm going to let it nurture in my head for a while and keep doing music meanwhile!

Thanks again,
Vincent
Posted on Mon, May 28 2007 06:09
by cm
Joined on Fri, Dec 20 2002, vienna, Posts 9052
julian, working on PC most of the time all my comments (and your assumption) from above are valid for this platform too, besides i don't see too much difference between a mac and a PC basically, particulary since apple moved to intel processors.

one could have long and abstract discussions about details like GUI, filesystems, thread handling and similar but for both neither twice as much RAM or harddisk capacity or GHz gives the user twice the power.

a significant amount of power is regulary eaten up by (what i call) *featuritis* of OS and apps, a certain amount lost by simple overhead immanent to the (hardware) system itself.

more impact on the performance has the design of a system and it's components. regarding media applications PPC simply suited better than the pentium 3/4/5 and the core duo/core 2 duo beats them both, SCSI performed better than IDE (pATA), sATA and SAS (serial attached SCSI) is more efficient, chipsets based on ICH (integrated controller hub, the successor of crossbars) give you more throughput than the southbridge/northbridge design, ect, ect, ...

remember the move from 16 to 32 bit computers in the mid nineties - a huge leap, besides the addressable RAM we got 32bit grafic (*true color*) and 32bit audio and the transition lasted ... a while.
what will be the advantage of 64 bit aside from addressable RAM? aside from x-ray pictures (fine greyscale) no graphical advantage, we don't expect audio to use 64bit in the near future, quality of video formats is actually decreasing (mpeg compressed and still 32bit), representation of unicode characters will still be 2 byte (16 bit), ect ...

so what should we expect overall: large overhead on every edge of a system because we will need 32bit compatibilty everywhere for a long time and it wouldn't take me wonder if we would see some disappointed faces around the table finally ...
christian
and remember: a CRAY is the only computer that runs an endless loop in just four hours ...
Posted on Mon, May 28 2007 22:09
by Vagn Luv
Joined on Sun, Apr 02 2006, Copenhagen, DK, Posts 271
I'm along the same lines cm, but don't forget all we VI users are after are exactly the addressable RAM. [Wink]
Pro Tools 9.0.6 HD2, 3x192

Windows 7 64bit Ultimate (with SP1)

PC, Asus P6T Delux v2 MoBo, i7 920 D0 @ 3.8 stable, 24GB RAM, GeForce 285 using 285.38 driver, Intel X25-M G2 120GB SSD sytem drive, Intel SSD and Raptor HDDs for sample streaming.
Posted on Tue, May 29 2007 09:10
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608
Vagn Luv wrote:
I'm along the same lines cm, but don't forget all we VI users are after are exactly the addressable RAM. [Wink]

And this is why it is so disappointing that there is no 64bit version of the player yet. I mean, XP64 is no spring chicken. Confused

DG
Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Tue, May 29 2007 10:48
by cm
Joined on Fri, Dec 20 2002, vienna, Posts 9052
i don't want to tell boring stories about 64bit driver installation now, but: which host except sonar comes into your mind?
christian
and remember: a CRAY is the only computer that runs an endless loop in just four hours ...
Posted on Tue, May 29 2007 11:12
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608
cm wrote:
i don't want to tell boring stories about 64bit driver installation now, but: which host except sonar comes into your mind?
christian

FXT...... Big Smile

D
Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Tue, May 29 2007 23:11
by cm
Joined on Fri, Dec 20 2002, vienna, Posts 9052
well i've read the lines ... sounds interesting, but is not a 64bit host ... lets see if it limits to 4 (as expected) or 8 GB RAM
christian
and remember: a CRAY is the only computer that runs an endless loop in just four hours ...
Posted on Wed, May 30 2007 07:25
by Stéphane
Joined on Tue, Mar 11 2003, Nantes, France, Posts 149
Bidule is a 64 bit host.
Stéphane Péneau
CASAWAVE
Posted on Wed, May 30 2007 08:07
by cm
Joined on Fri, Dec 20 2002, vienna, Posts 9052
thanks St├ęphane, i've not been up to date here ... btw: when i checked out bidule the last time i've been impressed how intuitively i've been able to understand the GUI (environment)
christian
and remember: a CRAY is the only computer that runs an endless loop in just four hours ...
Posted on Wed, May 30 2007 08:15
by Stéphane
Joined on Tue, Mar 11 2003, Nantes, France, Posts 149
Christian,

There is another possibility to find all (?) the 64 bit hosts : The KVR database.
Here it is the actual result
Stéphane Péneau
CASAWAVE
Posted on Wed, May 30 2007 15:26
by Jerome
Joined on Mon, Jul 10 2006, Los Angeles, Posts 298
Posted on Wed, Jun 06 2007 07:55
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608
cm wrote:
well i've read the lines ... sounds interesting, but is not a 64bit host ... lets see if it limits to 4 (as expected) or 8 GB RAM
christian

64bit version (beta, I think) just released. Now over to you guys..... Oh, and make sure that Syncrosoft has its a*se in gear. Big Smile

DG
Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Wed, Jun 06 2007 09:37
by cm
Joined on Fri, Dec 20 2002, vienna, Posts 9052
hmmm, should i have receivved a respective newsletter?
though i can confirm LCC installs and works fine on XP64 i just notice it runs as x32 process ... i'll keep you posted ...
christian
and remember: a CRAY is the only computer that runs an endless loop in just four hours ...
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