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WinXP 64 on a MacPro for VE standalone?
Last post Mon, Feb 09 2009 by bitmit, 5 replies.
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Posted on Wed, Feb 04 2009 05:28
by bitmit
Joined on Mon, May 09 2005, Los Angeles, Posts 42

I keep hearing that the best pc these days is a MacPro running Windows. I read (most of) the long Mac vs. PC (VE Mac 64bit?) thread last night and started to draw some conclusions. It looks like development for the Mac platform is a bit of a challenge, due to circumstances beyond VSL's control. On the other hand I've invested a lot in VSL products, and am really interested in seeing a return on that investment. If switching platforms gets me there I'm happy to do that, but I don't want the hassle/expense if it's no better. Here's my situation, I hope someone can shed some light...

I bought a MacPro (2x3GHz Quad-Core with 32 gigs of ram) specifically to be a standalone VE computer. By running multiple standalone VE's I have been able to get quite a large orchestra loaded, but I've had a few issues, and I'm beginning to suspect they're caused by running VE in OSX. I'm using VE version 2 with MidiOverLan and lightpiping the audio from a MOTU 2408 to my host TDM system. I tried version 3, but had the same problems, plus I don't want the processor hit on my host computer that running several of the plugins would cause.

I've been slowly setting up the MacPro over the past few weeks, building custom matrices* for each instrument, and the two main issues I keep finding are:

1) Instruments seem to get to a "full" point, where they won't load any more samples. Once this happens I can't load any more samples into any instrument. The matrix/patch data will load, but not the sample data. This is nowhere near the 2.5 gb limit. For example, I have one standalone for violins 1 & 2, with 236mb of Appassionata violins in 1 slot and 150mb of Orchestra violins in another. That's 386mb altogether, but I can't load any more into this without getting the problem.  

2) I get little clicks, which sound like sync glitches, but are not - my MOTU interface is clocked directly from a Big Ben. I think they are some sort of processor protest, and I can make them go away by simply saving a few times on any of the instruments.

Total RAM usage of all instruments so far is 7385Mb, and the memory free shown is 21246. I should be able to load a lot more samples, but keep running into these issues, along with an extraordinary amount of hangs and endlessly spinning beach balls. I'm tired of repairing permissions every time I sneeze. 

So - will I be better off installing Win XP Pro64 on this machine and running it as a pc? If so, will I need to re-install the entire library to a pc-formatted disk? And if that's necessary, what will I gain by buying a 10,000rpm disc (or two, since the largest I can find is 300gb)? Also, will I still be able to open the matrix etc. files that I've made so far in OSX? Are there any driver or other issues I'm likely to run into?

I can't be the only person trying to do this with a MacPro. What does everyone else do?

* As a side note, I'd be interested to compare Matrices with anybody running a similar setup. Let's share ideas on how to get the most playability out of this amazing library.

Posted on Sun, Feb 08 2009 06:38
by cm
Joined on Fri, Dec 20 2002, vienna, Posts 9120

 there are two values which contradict themselves ...

bitmit wrote:
Total RAM usage of all instruments so far is 7385Mb
bitmit wrote:
That's 386mb altogether
... are you sure you are referring to physical memory for both?

the bootcamp wizard supports only vista, but basically XP64 works too ... remember the system volume must not be partitioned to run it ...

whereas OS X can read (not write) NTFS formatted volumes, windows cannot read HFS+ formatted volumes - to overcome this issue you could either use FUSE in OS X (allows to write NTFS) or MediaFour's MacDrive in Windows (allows to read+write HFS+, demo version available) ... basically you would need this only for moving files from an HFS+ to an NTFS partition ...

files in Custom Data Folder are compatible


i personally don't see too much advantage using 10k rpm drives for sample data, though they are significantly faster and most valuable as system drives ... consider they are louder too and, as mentioned, limited in storage space ...


unfortunately the memory limit issue as such on OS X cannot be solved before SnowLeopard hits the ground, but there have been some posts for workarounds on OS X


and remember: a CRAY is the only computer that runs an endless loop in just four hours ...
Posted on Sun, Feb 08 2009 18:49
by bitmit
Joined on Mon, May 09 2005, Los Angeles, Posts 42

Thanks for replying. The total RAM usage quoted was for all instruments - i.e. the entire orchestra (or as much as I can get loaded), the "386mb altogether" was simply for the standalone containing violins. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

I ordered XP64, but while Im waiting for it to arrive I installed XP32. The plugin shows only 1523mb of memory free, even though I have 32gb in the machine. At that point I decided to give up and wait for XP64. I'll come back to it then.

cm wrote:
remember the system volume must not be partitioned to run it
- not sure what you mean here. Can you clarify?

I also switched out the library (mac) drive for 3 NTFS formatted drives, so the library is now spread over 3 drives, as I understand it this should spread the load somewhat. Is that right? It certainly doesn't seem to have sped up the load times at all.

Posted on Sun, Feb 08 2009 21:05
by cm
Joined on Fri, Dec 20 2002, vienna, Posts 9120

 XP32 is a 32bit operating system and can only see 4 GB RAM at best ... in many cases even only 3 (the rest is needed for mapping PCI resources of onboard devices)

during several installs of bootcamp i noticed the system volume (where OS X resides) must not be partitioned, otherwise the bootcamp wizard quits ... there might be workarounds though, but i've not really searched for ...


spreading libraryies across several drives is helpful if you run huge arrangements and streaming from a single disk is not fast enough, you won't notice too much difference during the initial loading time of an arrangement.


and remember: a CRAY is the only computer that runs an endless loop in just four hours ...
Posted on Mon, Feb 09 2009 01:11
by bitmit
Joined on Mon, May 09 2005, Los Angeles, Posts 42

ah - hadn't realized that about xp32. mac person, you see.

my system volume wasn't partitioned, so maybe I got a pass on that one. bootcamp creates a partition though, no? to put the os on...

i'll see how it goes with the drives. of course i want to run huge arrangements - doesn't everyone? Stick out tongue

anyway, thanks for the info - it's appreciated

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