Topic: Laptop success...

Hello,

Just thought I would post my positive experience with finding a budget laptop that works very well with my Multiface 2.  Please see my previous post: http://www.rme-audio.de/forum/viewtopic.php?id=10596 relating to this subject.

The laptop is the Lenovo/IBM Thinkpad T60 (T60p). Please note that this is a 4-5 year old model, but there are many available on the used market. I’ve purchased 2 in excellent “low milage” shape. Paid around $300 US for each.

The reasons I wanted this particular model are very specific:

1)    It has the Merom chipset which can take a Core 2 Duo T7200 (this is what I have)/T7400/T7600 and has TI PCMCIA and Expressport.
2)    It is basically an Intel/TI box. It has some Atmel security stuff and the Analog Devices audio chip, but you can disable these in the BIOS and/or Device Manager.
3)    It is a sturdy unit.
4)    Parts are cheap and plentiful...lots of documentation available on the web for DIY.
5)    Can run a 64 bit OS with a C2D CPU.
6)    Good battery life. There are 2 battery options...a 6 cell and a 9 cell.
7)    Double insulated 2 pin 90W power supply (http://www.soundonsound.com/forum/showf … ber=690190).
8)    Has the Ultrabay which can be used for a 2nd drive or battery in place of the standard DVD/CDRW.

This model is in kind of a “sweet spot” for audio laptops. It is fairly powerful (SATA 1/C2D)...but precedes the Penryn and beyond laptop chipsets (T61 for example) with all of the inherent and confusing audio symptoms. It is not a replacement for a high powered DAW...RAM is capped at 3GB (you can run 2 x 2GB interleaved, but the chipset will only address 3GB) and the T7600 is the fasted CPU you can install...but nevertheless it is a very capable performer.

I put a 60GB OCZ SSD on the main SATA bus and a 500GB 7200rpm drive in the Ultrabay. I have a very streamlined/tweaked (nLite) XP Pro-32 sp3 OS with all firmware and drivers up to date.. I have turned off all of the peripheral hardware in the BIOS except for the Intel wireless which I enable/disable in the Device Manager as needed. I also disable ACPI battery management  in the Device Manager. I’m using the RME PCMCIA card although the T60 will also take the Expresscard. The T60 does not have built-in firewire, but because of the onboard TI circuitry, I’m fairly certain a TI firewire card would be troublefree for Fireface users.

Testing with DPC Latency Checker ( www.thesycon.de/eng/latency_check.shtml ) I get excellent average readings of between 8-12 microseconds with the occasional 20-30 microsecond blip. I can record all 18 Multiface audio channels at 64 samples (3ms) of latency without a hitch...and with all inputs and outputs activated in software (Reaper). The Reaper performance meter reads at about 15-20% during recording. The MIDI response is as good or better than my desktop DAW. I have not tested maximum track/VSTI/plugin count but I’m sure I could easily mix a modest project if necessary.

The one annoyance is the fan which can be controlled somewhat with a dedicated app called TP FanControl, but this certainly is not your silent 120mm desktop variety. I’m looking into modding this for better noise performance.

So...suffice it to say that I am more than satisfied with the T60, with kudos to the Multiface 2 which lives up to its excellent reputation.

I hope this post may be of some help to those seeking a budget mobile recording setup.

Cheers,
arrangeit

(PS: I’ll be cross-posting this in the SOS forums)

Re: Laptop success...

Agreed! I'm running the same setup (except multiface I). I'm on Win7 home pro with just one drive (WD 500gig 7200rpm) Using Nuendo as my DAW.

I have no issues recording 18 tracks and mixing down medium projects. I'm using high performance on the power options and I have the 9 cell battery. On the balanced power profile i get about 5 hours of battery life!

Fully agree with arrangeit on this laptop!

Isaac P

3 (edited by arrangeit 2011-05-31 06:07:46)

Re: Laptop success...

Hi Isaac,

Yeah...it's quite surprising what this laptop can do. I actually just test recorded 16 tracks (8 Analog + 8 ADAT) at 32 samples latency...flawless.
Tried my Halion 3.5 sampler and got over 64 voices at 128 samples latency with tight MID timing.

I have a 9 cell battery in one T60 and a 6 cell in the other. You could theoretically get the Ultrabay battery...combine it with the 9 cell...and have 6-8 hours of unplugged usage...would need a external power source for the Multiface however.

I think I should have posted this in the HSDPe forum where my original post was...I'll move this over.

Cheers,
arrangeit

Re: Laptop success...

arrangeit wrote:

I think I should have posted this in the HSDPe forum where my original post was...I'll move this over.

I moved it here...


Regards
Daniel Fuchs
RME

Regards
Daniel Fuchs
RME

Re: Laptop success...

Hi,

I realise this is an old thread.
Based on the above info i just bought a T60 to run my multiface/cardbus.
Im getting click and pops with just one channel of audio at 32 and 64 sample buffers.

Works fine on my monster i7 desktop with a PCI cardbus adapter.

Im running it on Vista 32bit fully up to date, up to date RME drivers.
Ive done all the recommended tweaks for audio useage.

Any hints or ideas?

ta
Matt