Powerbook, enough power?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Joeytpg, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. macrumors 6502


    guy, after a hard suffering 6 months (my rev C Pbook was stolen 6 months ago) i'm now able to buy a new machine. I'm starting an Audio Production Master in 2006 (as i mentioned in another post) and i need a powerfull machine to run a few recording software and a few things.

    i'm thinking about mbox 2, (pro tools, Logic, etc... software-wise) or an M-Audio Firewire 410 interface (pro tools m-powered, logic, Ableton Live, etc. software-wise) all this will be run from an External 200 gb firewire drive (7,200 rpm)

    the PERFECT machine would be an imac G5 20" BUT, i need portability since i'll be leaving my country and a student life needs portability. (besides in a year or 1.5 years i'll try to buy a new, faster imac, with bigger screen)

    do you think a 15" rev E (1.67 ghz, 1.5 gb Ram) powerbook will do the job for a year or so?? without it being too jumpy/latency?

  2. Moderator emeritus


    I run Logic 7, Reason and ProTools on a 1Ghz 17" PowerBook, and whilst it's not perfect it's very usable.

    The 1.67Ghz machines are obviously faster, and the external drive is a must.

    However, DO NOT buy the M-box 2, it is giving us endless problems in the programming studios at the Uni, and I cannot recommend it. The M-audio 410 is a much better interface as long as you don't mind dealing with the iLok key.

    There's no way a PB will have the same grunt that a G5 iMac will have and this will translate into less plug-in performance, but latency will be a problem on both machines equally unless you employ the hardware monitoring feature of the interface or buy some serious hardware and Protools HD....;)

    That said, I use mine as a tracking, editing and basic mixing station, and bounce the results to the HD rigs in the Unis main rooms for mixdown, and it runs like a charm, I do a lot of Foley and "to picture" work, as well as DVD authoring and video editing too, which might give you an idea of how capable the machine is, but I have to wait for the render and encode stages a lot.

    For the portability alone the PB's are very good machines, but a good G5 desktop as a target system is very useful indeed.
  3. macrumors 6502


    WinterMute, thanks a lot for the reply. I'd love to be able to buy an iMac but like i said, i need the portability too, maybe in a year or so i'd be able to buy an iMac, besides i just started in this whole recording-production world, and so far i just want a machine that'll let me play with the softwares and record a few basic things to start rollin'

    so i guess a 1.67ghz Rev E (maxed Ram 1.5 gb) will do the trick :D

    Now, another quick question....

    what's the iLok thing? i googled it and it appears to be a lock key (duh) of some kind, but what's the use for it? how do i use it? where can i buy it? Does it comes with the M-audio interfaces or Pro-Tools M-Powered ?
  4. Moderator emeritus


    It comes with the M-powered Protools, and is usually used to hold the authorisations for third party plug-ins on many systems.

    It also acts as the dongle for M-powered PT.

    With the m-box systems, the hardware acts as the copy protection.
  5. macrumors 6502


    so i don't need to buy iLok? it comes with M-Powered Pro Tools?
  6. macrumors 68030


    When you enter the world of Digidesign, it's damn near like thinking
    you can just try a little crack and you won't get addicted.

    Digidesign sells ProTools LE and M-Powered cheap like printer manufacturers sell printers cheap.
    They get you on the return trip for ink.

    Digidesign bites you in the A$$ on proprietary RTAS plugins and soon
    all will be iLok protected.

    The alternative is to buy hardware components and limit your use of plugins as much as possible for live recording.

    I'm strongly considering Logic Pro because it offers greater flexibility with AU and VST plugins.

    In reality, I'll probably end up being forced to buy both ProTools M-Powered
    and Logic Pro, or at least Logic Express.

    Fortunately, you'll be able to take advantage of educational pricing on some of your expenses.

    About the PowerBook.

    You need a portable to cart around between classes and to follow what's going on as you learn the software.
    Talk to your music director to verify this, but what you probably should do
    is get a refurb 1.33 GHz 12" ibook for class AND a 17" iMac G5 for your actual project work both for the price of that 1.67 Powerbook.
  7. macrumors 6502


    oh, i'd love that, i'm in love with the imac 20" (beauty, power, well equipped) it has all the goodies...BUT (the BIG BIG "but") here is that i'll be leaving to Spain (from Dominican Republic) so i need to cary A LOT of stuff including my recording gear, and a lot of clothing, my guitar, amp, etc. etc. so it's ENOUGH....plus (and a BIG plus) is that my gfriend (soon to be Fianceé) will be leaving with me and she's going to buy an iMac 20" for her Video Editing need (final cut pro, DVD Pro etc etc) so i can use that computer whenever i need it.

    Anyways i just want a GOOD, FAST, powerfull laptop so i can use as a daily computer that can cover my basic needs (surfing the web, some simple games, and that'll hold my first year as a n00b in Audio Production. i'm thinking about upgrading to an Intel iMac in a year or in a year and a half, so the powerbook won't be taking the heat for too long.

    I've been thinking about buying an Intel Rev A pbook, but i don't like rev A products, specially this one (Intel switch, etc) i'll wait for a Rev B or probably a Rev C iMac.

    Another Question:

    Is it worth buying the 17" pbook over the 15" ??? 500 dollars more for 2 inches and extra hard drive (which won't be an issue with audio production because i'll run all my programs and all my projects from a 200 gb 7,200 firewire external drive. What do you recommend? 17" or 15" ? (power wise)
  8. macrumors 65816


    it is definitely worth it to buy the 17". I dabble in audio production every now and then and trust me, you want as much screen space as you can get. you say you love the 20" iMac? the 17" powerbook has the same amount of screen space (1680x1050), no lines on the screen, and contrary to popular belief, is just as portable as the 15". I can seriously walk around my house with the powerbook in one hand and typing with the other. :p
  9. pbu
    macrumors newbie

    Maybe Intel Powebooks?


    I will soon be investing in my own low-end home studio. I was considering a similar setup as described above (PB 15" w/410). In light of speculation, regarding Intel based Mac Minis and iBooks (and eventually Powerbooks) coming early 2006, I was wondering if anyone has any insight into how this 'switch' will effect performance, while running Pro Tools (M Powered or LE) and recording through the Firewire 410 and/or Mbox 1 or 2.

    Assuming that there is no performance enhancement, with the switch to Rev A, how will a G4 Powerbook handle single input recording. I am confident in its ability to mix, and edit, and do not intend on recording more than two tracks at once. I am also seeking a portable studio solution and was wondering how major, or minor, the set-backs would be from using a 1.67GHz G4 15" Powerbook. I intend on upgrading to the max RAM (most likely 2GB) and having a couple 120GB 7200 RPM externals. I don't care about screen size, as I am familiar with both 17" and 15" Powerbooks, and prefer the 15". My main concern is latency.
  10. macrumors 6502a

    someone should answer his question...

    i am waiting for the rev a intel pb to see how rosetta fares for audio.

    on one hand,; if there is no altivec support, the switch will hurt audio until the program is recompiled for windows

    on the other, sheer horsepower might make up the difference until that happens.

    but someone else will probably have a much more useful response.
  11. macrumors 68030


    The major problem confronting Joey's decision is that he is moving overseas.

    Otherwise I would just hold off completely until the dual core machines
    are released and evaluated.

    The current PowerBook would cover his basic needs while he is learning
    the applications, but it would kill me to spend so much right now on a single processor G4 with dual cores so close on the horizon.

    The only problem that might turn up in the near future would be waiting
    for Digidesign to release a trouble free update for the Intel based machines.

    Unfortunately, this is just a really bad time to buy ANY single processor, workstation laptop regardless of platform.
  12. macrumors 68000


    I just got my PowerBook 15" - beautiful machine. No lines or anything bad on the screen. It's bright and crisp. I love it. My battery did arrive DOA but Apple's FedExing a replacement so no big deal. Target FireWire mode to transfer over all my old stuff worked perfectly.
  13. macrumors 6502

    I hav a 15 inch PB.. It run's pro tools m-powered. The only problem I have is recording/editing with plugins. I get an error that a CPU Overload occoured. The dongle gets to be annoying, but I can live with that. The problem with Pro Tools is that the plugins included are horrible. I got a trial of the Waves 5 Diamond Bundle, it had some great plugins, like the C4, L2, and Q10. It also had an amazing reverb. But to buy this costs 4k.

    I would recommend waiting with the powerbook. Intel PBs are coming out soon, dual cores will probably arive too.

    And Pubwvj, you mean DHLing :)
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Do not get an Mbox 2, if you want an Mbox, get the first one. It may not have a MIDI interface, but the preamps and the other little things inside are far better quality.
  15. macrumors 68000


    Aye, unfortunately you are right. It was DHL and they are aweful in our area. They deliver overnight packages in about a week, maybe more if they don't feel like it. FedEx, UPS and the USMail would have gotten it here next day. I tell vendors not to use DHL / Airborne as they are so bad.
  16. macrumors 6502

    If you're going to be overseas for more than a year, buy your Mac there.
    The Apple warranty is region specific.
    I bought a Mac while in Europe, brought it back home (U.S.), hardrive died and Apple here would not honor the warranty. Luckily, hardrives are easy to replace, but if it were the motherboard, I would have been computerless.

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