[PD] Buying PCs for PD: Quantity or Quality

gml at xs4all.nl gml at xs4all.nl
Wed Mar 31 17:53:25 CEST 2004

> I'd really be interested just to hear about things people have done in the
> past, and what kind of computer
> power they found they needed.

> Does having several computers give any actual power benefit over one
> behemoth.

Obviously one fast computer can make more complex sounds and then
distibute those over different speakers, as opposed to a bunch of slow
computers making a lot of simple sounds independly.
It all depends on what kinds of sound you produce. I regularly overload my
dual 2 GHz athlon box during performances making only sounds. But those
are all synthesized on the fly. For sample playback you need a lot less
CPU so if you want a lot of simple voices more or less out of sync a
couple a slow computers will do the trick.

> What situations have you found noise to be a big problem in, and in what
> situations has it been more important
> to have small form factor (as the two seem to be mutually exclusive). Are
> there any unobvious advantages to SFF
> and low-noise other than the obvious portability, hide-ability and, well,
> low noise? eg. have you ever had
> p
> roblems with loud machines interfering with microphones?

In a studio environment yes. A reasonably quiet of-the-shelf computer (not
the cheapest allready) I have found not to interfere in a theater setting,
with all the lights and aircondition etc. But in a recording studio with
nice mics you really notice them. It all depends again on the kinds of
sound manipulation you do and in what kind of environment. A noisy PA for
instance will mask more than a high end one. I you have the  good mic and
you want to have it take samples, so you are gating the input, you will
notice noisy input a lot sooner than if you only amplify it since noise
becomes more noticeable when it is interupted. That can be nice or not
depending on your esthetics.

For GEM I would definitly get a seperate card but not the most
expensive/newest one.Onboard graphics are not meant for 3d stuff. But for
pdp they might be ok, I don't know


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