General PC issues

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by MKS, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. Hi,

    I'm in the process of trying to upgrade my PC to Win2K and I've had a bit of a revelation recently that I thought I'd share.

    My system is Pentium 667Mhz, 512Mb RAM (PC133), 20Gb + 40Gb HDD, Soundblaster Live! Platinum (with the breakout box on the front) and I'm running Sonar, Remix (Steinberg's cut down version of Ableton Live!), Cool Edit 2000 as the major music apps. SO nothing spectacular.

    I recently got the second HDD drive and thought I'd split the first into two boot partitions, both Win2K. I had been running Win98SE as my "everyday" partition and Win2K as my music partition. Win2K has WDM drivers for the soundblaster which cut latency down to really decent levels, so I'm favouring that OS. It's generally more robust for the graphics card as well - I like to dabble with Flight Sims when I'm not noodling with music (Sad man!).

    Anyhoo, it took me ages to flatten the 20Gb drive, partition and reinstall Win98 then upgrade to Win2K and I didn't fancy doing that twice so I purchased Norton Ghost. This allowed me to capture an "image" of my working Win2K partition, copy it out to the new 40Gb data drive, fart around with the partitions on the 20Gb until I got them right, then re-instate the image onto both partitions. The great thing is that creating the image took 4 minutes, and reinstalling it took 3. That means that anytime I trash my working OS partition I can reinstate a working version in less than 5 minutes. GREAT!!

    I'm pretty much in favour of having dual boot systems so that you can have a clean partition with music stuff where the OS is optimised for music, and another "play" area where I surf the net and it doesn't matter too much what I load up.

    By the way there is some great advice about optimising OS's for music in the Sound on Sound PC Music FAQ section hosted by Martin Walker:

    Apologies to any PC music buffs who know all this already, I'm probably just catching up slowly!! ;)
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Does your Win2k system shut down properly?
    My experience is that 2k can be delicate on older mainboards - e.g. no powerdown after shutdown, so I recommend to use XP in most cases.

    I second using Ghost.
  3. unharmed

    unharmed Iron Fishes

    May 19, 2003
    London, England
  4. Hi JMX,

    No my PC doesn't powerdown on shutdown, but that's not really a big deal in my eyes. I generally wait to check that it has shutdown properly anyway (after using Win98!).

    I'm having a debate in my head about upgrading. On the one hand my machine is over 3 years old and getting any more power out of it is going to have to involve getting a new motherboard, CPU, RAM etc. In fact it's going to be easier to get a whole new PC. On the other hand, it does 8 tracks of audio quite happily and provided I don't go completely mad with virtual synths or tons of effects it does what I want it to. Latency is a bit of an issue, but I don't tend to monitor through the soundcard and I can deal with any latency issues after the event in the editting.

    When you think that most tape based 8-track recorders can't do half the stuff that my ancient PC can, I count myself lucky.

    However I have a hankering to take a laptop out and do a guitar/samples/DJ styled surround sound mix in a gallery or something. ;) The power and functionality of Ableton Live is quite inspiring!! :D