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View Full Version : need to squeeze better Logic performance out of ibook




mopppish
Jun 27, 2006, 11:00 PM
I've been doing the first full-scale recording project in Logic Pro 7.1 on my ibook over the last few days and, expectedly, have been running into some performance problems. I knew that the ibook was not a "pro" machine and that I would be limited in what I could do with it, but I was hoping to squeeze a little more performance out of it for cheap as I really can't afford a better laptop. It's the last rev 12" ibook G4 and the RAM is maxed to 1.5GB. I use firewire audio interfaces (Firepod, MOTU 828mkII) and daisy-chain an external firewire Lacie d2 drive to them to record audio to. The biggest problem I have is that after recording a take and hitting stop, it sometimes takes a few minutes for Logic to become responsive again (during which time I can hear things being written to the Lacie drive) BEFORE it even starts to draw in the wave files, which then takes another few minutes. When you have musicians in another room waiting for you to hit record again before they do another take, this can become embarassing.
If I make some decent money over the next few months doing recording, then I may spring for a Macbook or even MBP, but in case that doesn't happen, I wanted to make what I have better.
Would plugging the Lacie drive into the USB port help even though firewire is generally better for this purpose? I'm thinking that by the time you're trying to run 16 channels of audio and a hard drive through one firewire bus, you may be negating the benefits of firewire for writing large files.
What about putting the application Logic itself on the Lacie drive? Would having it run off of something other than the system drive improve performance? As a last ditch effort, will getting a certified Apple tech i.e. CompUSA to put a faster hard drive into the ibook itself void the warranty, and if not, might that help this problem? If the bottleneck is the processor itself, then I surrender my efforts, but from what I've seen in Logic's CPU meter and Activity Monitor, that doesn't really seem to be the problem. Thanks.
P.S. I should mention that I was using my 2 audio interfaces as 1 aggregate device, so maybe I just really can't expect better performance when running them that way.



Platform
Jun 28, 2006, 12:26 AM
It seem that you have done what you can, external HDD, max RAM....don't think you can do much more :o

CanadaRAM
Jun 28, 2006, 01:25 AM
Tough one.

Do an experiment -- clear sufficient room on the internal drive, dismount the LaCie, and do the same capture to the internal.

What you're trying to determine is: what is worse - the lower RPM and bandwidth of the internal drive mechanism, vs. the net bandwidth of the LaCie mechanism AFTER being beat up going through the contended-for Firewire controller.

USB has it's own special problem -- it sucks CPU cycles -- exactly what you DONT want to have happen in Logic.

The last measure you could take is to drop a 100 Gb 7200 RPM drive into the 'book to see if it is viable as the primary capture drive.

Or if you have to: Rent a G5 tower to complete this project. Buy a big fast SATA drive of your own to install internally as the audio drive -- then remove it and keep it when the project is done.

Also, if you are running a second monitor off the 'book, stop. That sucks CPU cycles away from Logic as well.

mopppish
Jun 28, 2006, 01:44 AM
Also, if you are running a second monitor off the 'book, stop. That sucks CPU cycles away from Logic as well.
Really? :confused:
I thought the 2nd monitor would just eat up video RAM. I DO have the screen span hack on the ibook, but I haven't been using it while tracking. I sometimes have used it while mixing with no problems.
I was considering doing an internal drive upgrade but don't want to void my 3 year Applecare. That's why I was wondering whether or not having a certified tech do that would void the warranty.
This project is not big enough to buy a drive and rent a G5. :) I'd LOSE money doing that!
Really, worst case scenarios, I either deal with a pokey ibook, haul my imac with me when doing location recording for a few days or more (which would have actually worked pretty good for this), or pony up for a new laptop. It just seemed like the bottleneck was NOT the processor, so I wanted to see if anyone had any ideas for improving the performance otherwise. Granted, a G4 is really not capable of much more.
Thanks for your advice.

Xeem
Jun 28, 2006, 02:07 AM
A second monitor in itself shouldn't really affect CPU performance much, if at all; I'm not sure if the spanning hack changes this, but I would think that it still wouldn't matter. USB devices do suck up CPU usage to some extent. Personally, I'd try exactly what CanadaRAM suggested: I'd try running and writing Logic all to your internal HD just to rule it out, as well as running it with your LaCie hooked up to your FireWire port (not running through your FireWire sound card) using built in audio just to make sure there isn't any slowdown happening in your daisy chain.

CanadaRAM
Jun 28, 2006, 02:12 AM
A second monitor in itself shouldn't really affect CPU performance much, if at all; I'm not sure if the spanning hack changes this, but I would think that it still wouldn't matter.
I got this directly from an article in Recording (or maybe Sound on Sound) where there was the exact situation -- G4 Powerbook 1GHz+, 16 tracks of audio wouldn't play smoothly until they disconnected the 2nd monitor. The added CPU load of computing the extra pixels was too much.