New PC

So remember two posts down where I said I’ll save up all my Second Life earnings and buy a new computer in about 6 months? Yeah, right – me and my stealy resolve. I’ve buckled, borrowed money from myself and bought a new machine on Saturday – hey, I can still pay the loan back with SL earnings, right? Here are the specs:

First off, the case (pictured) is larger than I expected, probably to accommodate those 120mm and 140mm fans. I planned to get the less blingy K58 or K60 model (no window, and not painted black inside), but they were out. I’m happy with how quiet the case is – obviously a large consideration when making music.

I’ve decided it’s a good time to finally move to Windows 7 – 32-bit for now, which means that I can sadly only use half of the installed 6GB ram. I’ll make the move to the 64-bit version once current audio projects that rely on 32-bit plugins are out of the way.  Either way, I’m very, very pleased with Windows 7 so far.

All my installs went without a hitch with some noteworthy items. The Windows 7 driver for the M-Audio Fast Track Ultra worked out of the box, but crashed when I ticked the “high performance mode” check-box under “settings” in the FTU control panel. I had to roll back with System Restore and re-install the driver, this time leaving the “high performance mode” alone. I’m currently running at the lowest ASIO/WDM buffer size of 128 samples with no problems (I ran the Core2Duo machine at double that – 256 samples).

I’ve decided to upgrade to the latest version of Ableton Live  Lite 8 (8.1.3) – I tried Live 8 on the previous machine, but had it crash on me in a show, so I stuck with Live 7. I’ve played my  last three SL shows on the new machine and so far so good with Live 8 on this PC, except for the little weirdness you can hear from 4:23 to 4:30 in the recording of Live Online #66: Core. Some of my channels dropped out unexpectedly and I kinda expected Live to crash, but it picked itself up and kept going. No idea what happened there ;^/

Finally,  a mention about install times for LA Scoring Strings. It installs off 5 dual-layer DVD’s for a total of 40GB. The documentation warns of a long install, saying that each DVD can take up to an hour to install. That was certainly the case when I installed LASS on the Core2Duo PC 2 weeks ago. Total install time was close to 5 hours. In contrast, the new machine did the install in close to an hour!

Oh, and a note about PC versus Mac. When mentioning my plan to upgrade my PC a couple of people suggested that I move to Mac. I thought about it, but decided to stick with PC for the following reasons.

  • My Cakewalk Sonar sequencing software is PC only – I can install Windows on the Mac, but that kinda defeats the purpose, right?
  • You can’t get a similarly specced Mac for double the price.
  • I’ve never had a problem with XP and I’m more than happy with Windows 7. Honestly, reliability and viruses have never been a problem here.

That all said, Macs are still beautiful ;^)

I’ll update this post if anything crops up with the new PC, but if you don’t hear from me you can safely assume I’m happy as a pig in mud.

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