Cheapest laptop for glitch-free full-on Renoise usage

Hi there gang!

As you might have guessed from my username, I come from a background of using Med3.21 on the Amiga. I have accomplished great feats with this setup over the years, but now feel I have outgrown it, and have decided to take the plunge into the glorious world of Renoise. But first I’ll need a laptop. It’s going to be a PC, because my budget is £500 (and I just prefer them for some weird reason). So tell me, folks:

  • what machine do you have, and can it run Renoise with a bunch of crazy VSTs, samples and other magic going on at once, without cracking up?
  • what’s the best kind of processor in this price-range for high-density Renoise programming? Dual-core? Quad-core? Sandybridge? Ivybridge? i3? i5? i7? What the bejeesis does it all mean?
  • just plucking a computer out of the air, will something like this do the trick? Has it got too much of something and not enough of another? What’s a better one to get? What’s reliable, with good speakers and minimal bloatware?

All I know is that my eight-year old IBM ThinkCentre XP desktop doesn’t even stream YouTube clips properly, let alone cope with the processing required to even play the first thirty seconds of a demo song on the demo Renoise without crashing out. (I have to type this quietly so that I don’t hurt its feelings.)

And while you’re at it, what’s the best cheap soundcard?

Thanks in advance!


I’m on a 2009 core 2 duo 2 gHz, 4 gig ram laptop and am managing just fine. I bet any current day laptop will blow it away. I’d look into a 64 bit system so I could run more than 4 gig ram, maybe others can give you better pointers what to look out for? Good luck!

I assume that it will run Renoise in whatever mode just fine.

Please invest in some fine external soundcard (M-Audio might have some, consider portable amps like iBasse D12 ( [I own one and I kind of don’t leave home without it]) or the Leckerton UHA-6S.MKII ( Also, some decent monitors or headphones (e.g. Beyerdynamic DT 770, read an excellent comparison of 50 headphones here: are a good thing to buy.

I think so because I run Renoise on two machines.

Machine A:

Intel Atom CPU 330 @ 1.60GHz
NVidia ION Graphics
4 GB Memory
Runs 64bit Linux (ubuntu latest)

Renoise runs fine as long as I do not distract the CPU too much by running browsers or other processes

Machine B

Intel i5-2520M @ 2.50 GHz
Some Intel HD graphics
8 GB Memory
Runs 64bit Windows 7

Renoise runs excellent without any glitches or lags whatsoever. Never had any trouble even when putting the machine under some load (heavy browsing).

Mx // redirect

Passmark has a nice page with a lot of processors ranked. It won`t necessarily give you exact numbers for audio performance but certainly gives you a rough idea.

As an example I recently swapped out a 1.8GHz e6300 core2duo in my desktop ~ 1000 points for a quad q6600 ~ 3000 points. From the renoise meters It seems I`ve roughly tripled my computer power on some songs, so it works for me

Heres the page which has mobile processors listed aswell, just do a Ctrl + F browser search to find individual chips:



You really want to consider Hewllett Packard, this holiday season. They are in serious trouble, and some savvy choices, on might just get you a really nice machine. I don’t know the budget, so I will just say, “as far as Intel vs AMD I have no preference.” Do not use the ARM/mobile only chips. – Definitely go with x64, and try and get at least 4 gigs of ram.

As far as, “Running a lot of vst’s, endlessly.” It depends on the vst, the year of the vst’s 1.0 release, and the type of vst. On my computer, I can run 15 instances of Cakewalk’s Rapture… but, I once demo’d U-he Diva, and found one instance, brought my quad core, amd desktop, to a halt…


So the way I feel is, “what are your vst?” If they are a few years old… I think you can run 2 dozen, 3 dozen? More? 50 different processors? But if you have something like, “Synth Squad, or Diva, or one of the new Xils Lab,” than I think you will find, for these super new sound qualities, you can not run endless instances quite yet…

With this budget ,i prefer to take I5 intel processor 2.5 GHZ with 4GB of memory and an external sound card. Don’t forget to tune your OS after install it.

Thanks, folks. You all rule! What a helpful bunch. I can’t wait to get “balls deep” with Renoise - it’s been calling to me for ages.

What’s the best way to tune my OS? Is there a quick way to uninstall bloatware, or did you mean something else? I only really want to run Renoise and Reaper on this machine, so everything else can go.

i have a i7 laptop with windows 7 (64 bits) and when i wan’t use Renoise with best performance i do this :


I’ve been surprised at how poorly the i3 laptop at work handles Renoise songs with only a few tracks and native effects, therefore I would recommend going for at least an i5 if you can’t afford something with an i7 processor in it.

You haven’t mentioned what size of laptop you wish to go for. There is a lot of difference between a 13" laptop and one which is 17"!

Of late I’ve been leaning towards Lenovo and think I will go with one of theirs when I consider mine is at the end of its life but would need to know more about your requirements to try and recommend one from their range.

Ah cool - I shall bear that in mind. I shall investigate some i7 ones and look up their chips on the useful chart mentioned by Ledger above.

Probably a 17" one so that I can comfortably view as much Renoise gubbins at once as possible.

Any particular reason?

Also, forget laptop speakers is my opinion. Maybe the HPs or the likes have real good sound but for a production thing I wouldn’t rely on that.
I just bought a medion this summer starting my study (it was around 500), and have to say it’s rockin, simple i3 with a good geforce gt630M and 8gb ram. Didn’t succeed in overloading the machine with renoise yet, but, most of my production so far on this machine has been VST-less so I can’t report on that. I guess normally a lot of ram is useful, but if you’re gonna load 7 different instances of Massive etc in a song it might need some quite more cpu.

I reckon you’d be lucky to get a 17" starting within your quoted budget and also very much doubt anything with an i7.

Generally read good reviews and less bad, plus most of the Thinkpad range do appear to be harder and more able to take at least a slight bashing that many other laptops. Also generally appear to be fairly well supported under Linux, which is something I like to dip my toes into occasionally even though as yet I haven’t managed to make the move there.

January sales are coming up - you never know!

Lenovo’s are really reliable and durable. But with HP-s I’ve experienced serious overheating.

I don’t have anything to add to the thread, other than to say that I appreciate the fellow’s handle. I, too, have many fond memories for MED 3.2.1.


Fuck inches get pixels is my motto.
PS Lenovo ThinkPad laptops are the ruffest n tuffest the world’s ever seen!

Alas my eyesight is not what it once was, so the larger the screen the better.

Amen, brother - am working on Med3.21 as we speak!