1 (edited by miminashi 2013-06-20 07:44:45)

Topic: Which laptop to use with Fireface UC?

Can anyone recommend a good laptop to use with the UC?  I'm partial to the Thinkpad line (I don't know how people use the average laptop keyboard...), but I'm open to any suggestions.  I'd also like to stick with XP or Windows 7, if people have found that performance is acceptable.

I'm using an Expert Sleepers ES5 to synchronize a hardware sequencer to Cubase, so both reducing the latency and eliminating dropouts is a top priority for me.  I'd like to operate with a buffer size of 128 or lower, if that's possible.  The lower the better, obviously.  I don't need to play back a ton of recorded tracks or use too many plugins.

My current laptop is a Lenovo T60p, which sadly features the poor ICH7 controller.  I've tuned my system to reduce the DPC latency as much as is practical, and I've found that a buffer size of 256 is fairly stable using Cubase 5 under XP (there are still occasional dropouts which I can't quite account for).


Re: Which laptop to use with Fireface UC?

I have used both a Lenovo T520 ad W520 without any problems whatsoever. These will keep you in Lenovo land, whilst significantly upgrading your CPU speed, and they can maintain low DPC figures (if WiFi is switched off, and you use the Intel HD graphics). I would suggest you avoid the Nvidia or ATI discrete graphics cards as these can be problematic from a DPC perspective. Please see the following links:

http://www.rme-audio.de/forum/viewtopic … 808#p75808
http://www.rme-audio.de/forum/viewtopic … 974#p63974

I have only used these laptops via their ExpressCard slot for audio [with either 1) an RME MadiFace and 2) RME Madi PCI and HDSP PCI cards within a Magma 4-slot expansion chassis] so please bear this in mind, however I think they are the best value for money audio laptops these days. I have no reason to believe that there would be any problems with their USB implementation. The current model is now the 530 series (T530 or W530) however great bargains can be had via Ebay on the older 520 series. I picked up both my T520 and W520 for under USD $800 each, and once you upgrade them with an mSata boot drive (either 128 or 256 GB), your laptop will fly along at great speed (they can also be easily set up with 3 independent hard-drives, so no external drives are required). Another benefit of these laptops is that if they shipped with W7, you can do a clean install of W7 with any W7 OEM disc, and simply use the W7 key found within the laptop battery compartment. In this way, you can guarantee a clean install, adding only what you want (ie none of the included bloat-ware/demos etc). With a W7 OEM disc, there is also no need to use the Lenovo Rescue and Recovery method, and you therefore do not waste any HDD space through the rescue partition that this method automatically creates. Good luck in your search.


Re: Which laptop to use with Fireface UC?

But T520 lacks USB3... T530 has got it onboard. I very much enjoy using USB3. The W-Series has advantages for graphic professionals, for audio the T-series should be fine.

Re: Which laptop to use with Fireface UC?

Thanks for the replies.  The T420/520 have been on my short-list of school laptops for a while.  I'm not surprised to hear that these laptops are working reliably with an Expresscard interface -- even my old T40 and a Multiface with the Cardbus adapter outperformed the Fireface UC and my current laptop.  I realize this is a limitation of the USB controller and not the Fireface, which is why I am curious to hear from people using a USB interface with their laptops.