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Thread: Which computer specs to look for

  1. #1
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    Which computer specs to look for

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    A simple question that has probably been asked a ton of times but theres no sticky as such.

    My PC is struggling to cope with running reaper as soon as I get to the top end of track numbers. I typically work about 30 tracks with a reverb buss and several other plug ins on individual tracks. Some are obviously more CPU hungry than others. The tracks starts to distort/ break up during playback. At the moment I'm using a focusrite solo but plan to get the 2i2.

    I was planning to get a music recording specific PC anyway and have about 500 to spend. In terms of Ram, OS, and processing type / speed, what options are crucial and any specific recommendations in that price range or thereabouts?

    Cheers
    Mark

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    Reaper is a very lean program, both in CPU use and disk space, os it will run happily on just about anything.

    There are a variety of practices that will help keep CPU use low and prevent the system from struggling. These include making use of seperate tracks for effects, and routing sends from recordfed tracks to these, or avoiding sampling rathes of 96 or higher.

    I run Reaper on an i7 CPU desktop with 16gb ram, a SSD and a couple of external hard drives.

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    What's your current system running? Have you tried increasing the buffers when you do mixing. You don't have the issues with latency there.

    I don't usually get up to 30 tracks, 12-16 is more typical, and my old 3.2gHz 4th gen I5 Lenovo handles it fine. I don't run any virtual instruments except MT PowerDrumKit either, so my CPU usage is probably not as demanding. My old I3 laptop struggles.

    I would shoot for I7 system, with 16gb and an SSD to start with. I picked up a 10th gen I7 laptop that runs at a paltry 1.3gHz, and it is quick with most everything I do, faster than my desktop. I haven't really used it for mixing or anything, except for a few small tests.

    Maybe look for something like a I7 10700 or an I5 10400 (2.9GHz) based machine. 500 might be a sticky point, tho. With the holiday sales coming up, you might be able to snag something at a bargain price. I wouldn't worry as much about RAM at this time, its always available and can be easily upgraded.

    I'm not up on the current state of AMD processors and how they run with Reaper. You might check the Reaper forum for some advice. Surely someone there has gotten a recent machine with AMD.

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    Are you freezing tracks when you feel like you've got them mostly baked? You can always un-freeze, but at least in Logic it makes a real difference. I could run a couple dozen tracks on an old core 2 duo with 8GB pretty easily if I keep an eye on what was using CPU, which, along with disk speed were usually the bottlenecks. (Keep projects on a separate disk, SSD, ideally, from the system drive, IMO/IME.)
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Thanks for replies. I didn't make clear that I'm using a laptop and my upgrade will also be a laptop as I need some portability. I have an acer aspire with 8gb ram and an Intel quad core processor N3700 (upto 2.4 ghz)

    Quote Originally Posted by gecko zzed View Post
    Reaper is a very lean program, both in CPU use and disk space, os it will run happily on just about anything.

    There are a variety of practices that will help keep CPU use low and prevent the system from struggling. These include making use of seperate tracks for effects, and routing sends from recordfed tracks to these, or avoiding sampling rathes of 96 or higher.

    I run Reaper on an i7 CPU desktop with 16gb ram, a SSD and a couple of external hard drives.
    I do have busses set up to send reverb to all tracks. I've not had issues until this latest song and it seemed to be one particular plug in that tipped it (A vocal doubler from isotope)

    Quote Originally Posted by TalismanRich View Post
    What's your current system running? Have you tried increasing the buffers when you do mixing. You don't have the issues with latency there.

    I don't usually get up to 30 tracks, 12-16 is more typical, and my old 3.2gHz 4th gen I5 Lenovo handles it fine. I don't run any virtual instruments except MT PowerDrumKit either, so my CPU usage is probably not as demanding. My old I3 laptop struggles.

    I would shoot for I7 system, with 16gb and an SSD to start with. I picked up a 10th gen I7 laptop that runs at a paltry 1.3gHz, and it is quick with most everything I do, faster than my desktop. I haven't really used it for mixing or anything, except for a few small tests.

    Maybe look for something like a I7 10700 or an I5 10400 (2.9GHz) based machine. 500 might be a sticky point, tho. With the holiday sales coming up, you might be able to snag something at a bargain price. I wouldn't worry as much about RAM at this time, its always available and can be easily upgraded.

    I'm not up on the current state of AMD processors and how they run with Reaper. You might check the Reaper forum for some advice. Surely someone there has gotten a recent machine with AMD.
    Yes I have increased the buffers and that was helpful when the system was struggling several songs ago.

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    The Pentium N3700 runs at a nominal 1.6gHz, and its not exactly a high end processor. This laptop that I got in January on sale has an I7 1035g7 processor which specs out from 2 to 5 times faster, even at a lower clock speed (depending on the benchmark program). It cost me $550 on sale at the local Office Depot. An I5-1035G7 is close to the I7. That will save you a bit of cash. The I5-10300H is a bit faster still.

    I don't know prices in the UK (assume you are there since you specified pounds vs dollars or Eu). In the US, there are quite a few I5 laptops around $650 which is in the 500 range. Make sure its not a 1035G1, as that runs at only 1gHz.

    A 256G SSD is adequate, but plan on a good external hard drive for storage (you probably already have that).

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    Are you sure it's not disk speed, I'm guessing a spinning one, not a SSD. You could always try splitting the storage locations between an external usb3 drive and the internal drive - this can help. Or even just an external SSD with a usb3 connection. This worked on my laptop when the issue was simply quantity of data, not processing overload.

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    TalismanRich you were right about the price sticking point. 600 - 700 is probably more realistic. I had a quick look at ebay and wouldn't normally dream of buying a laptop there...however there's a seller with decent feedback putting out the spec you want (i7/i5 , 4 or 8gb ram) on a random brand refurbished laptop...price point around 220 with 12 month guarantee...like I say, not normally a way I'd go but theres some temptation with that price for the spec. Anyone experience of buying this way? I suspect I'd be taking my chances....

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    Watch for the holiday sales. I see the exact laptop that I got last Jan for $519 on a Black Friday sale. Easy to upgrade with a second SSD, and easy to upgrade memory above 8GB. Its a Lenovo Ideapad S340.

    A refurb with a 7th or 8th gen I7 should do well. I'm running an I5-4570 on my desktop. ecc83 got a refurbished laptop recently, I think a T510.

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