Your Laptop / Soundcard Configurations

Hi all !

I’m planning to buy a laptop very soon and i want to use it for composing music. After some superficial searches, i think i understood that chosing a (pc) laptop is a %?*$/! mess.

So, as Renoise is the main software I use, I’d like to know which laptops works fine for the Renoise users. I think that the compatibility with the soundcard is the main parameter to care about. I own a Presonus Firebox but everybody should post his soundcard / laptop combo so this thread could be usefull to everyone.

In order to maximize the effectiveness of this thread, i invite you to be the more precise about the configurations you post (hardware and software included). Mac users are also welcome. Pc/Mac users arguments aren’t. And in case you have some specific advices for me, i’ll use my laptop with :

Presonus Firebox
Yamaha HS50 Monitors
M-Audio Axiom 61 Midi Keyboard

Cubase LE 4
(i don’t know about the possibility of using Linux on a laptop but i’ll maybe use Ardour on Ubuntu)

I hope this thread will be usefull to everyone who wants to buy a laptop
Bye, Lucas :yeah:

Personally, I swear by Toshiba. Indestructable machines, which I find more important for a laptop than its performance… If you want good performance, get a Mac Book ;)

I don’t want a Mac Book because all the songs and sound-experiments i’ve made are on PC, and i want to take them back. I’m also scared about Windows/Max OS incompatibility issues, and I suck at fixing anyhting on a mac.

Anyway I don’t care about performance as my budget is around 1000€, and I think that it will be enough to make music, even if my choice won’t be the best performance but the best chance to avoid hardware/software incompatibility issues.

By the way, i forgot to post a useful link about chosing a PC laptop for music/sound production :

From the Tweak Headz forums

I didn’t took the time to read the whole topic but i think it’s interesting (though a little old)

See ya

I own a Clevo D901C (often known as Sager NP9262, mine rebranded as Kobalt Comanche SLI) which is, as far as I’m aware, the last laptop that was made using the TI firewire chipset and was by no means cheap even though I got it shortly after its replacement was released. It’s huge and heavy as it uses desktop components, has no battery life to talk of, but it is powerful as £$&@! (Desktop quad Xeon 2.83GHz processor, 4GB DDR2 6400 RAM (although can only use 3.25 with WinXP32.)) As you can tell it’s my little baby. Wasn’t going to get a laptop at all and then took the plunge when the new models came out and this was the last one Kobalt had in stock of the older model.

Currently just using internal sound but plan to get a RME Multiface 2 and ExpressCard adapter at some point. Definitely by the time I get to the point I feel I can gig live anyway.

For me most of my PC tracks went unusable when I migrated to a macbook, and I do miss several free plugins I used to have on PC. Other than that I’m happy I changed, things are more stable. In principle it is certainly possible to have the mac dual boot with both win and osx, or even (with less than great audio performance) emulate windows with virtual box… personally I just use an old PC when I need the old tracks, and mostly I just make new ones…

My main box is a laptop.I use a single core intel celeron 2ghz in an acer aspire 5315 w/2gb of ram,low budget :huh: however it is more than adequite as i am running it through an M-audio fast track pro w/KRK Rockit 6’s.i also have an emu xboard 49 and i have a collection of free vst’s as well as one’s ive paid for.
93 in all,more than i need.i find this setup gives me crystal clear audio.

Just got a new MacBook Pro here and I’m ultra happy so far (I’m a PC user since the 80s). I was going to get the Presonus Firebox but a LOT of people convinced me that would be a bad choice. So I had another look around and decided to order an EMU TrackerPre, which will hopefully suit live work that I have in mind. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Yes, on OSX you loose a lot of that ‘choice’ you had with plugin variety, but hey if you’ve got enough money to by a Mac you might as well go buy some decent plugins to go with it all and replace your freebies/warez on the PC. I’m currently extending my range of Voxgeno plugs, nice cross platform option there ;)

I always buy the cheapest laptop i can find
Never had any compatability issues ?
Avoid built in soundchips and your good to go
The last laptop i bought for next to nothing was a 2gig celeron that had no support for xp
Two days later and ever since i had hacked a bunch of drivers so it ran XP and it has been doing so ever since and i have never seen a project that i have made or downloaded from here that would even come close to 50% in renoise

USB is a much better option than firewire on a laptop for audio because the mobile forewire chipsets are simply not very good nowadays

Plenty of people will give the old usb is bad for audio rubbish but it is actually just that total rubbish
Edirol have a great reputation for their USB audio cards and i cant recommend those high enough especially if you plan on any Linux bashing

Good luck with your purchase


I’ve gone further into my searches and now i think that the main parameter to take into account is the manufacturer of the FireWire chipset. If it’s Texas Instruments, you have the best chance to avoid FireWire problems, wich seems to be the most frequent ones.

Another way to avoid that problem is to buy a FireWire Express Card (with TI chipset), but some (most) of them are not recommanded. From the Presonus forums : SIIG cards seems to be alright! So StarTech are.

Also, i catch this from Presonus forums :

I think I’m going to buy a Toshiba Satellite, but first I have to check if the FireWire chipset is Texas Instruments (wich seems to be more rare nowadays).

Another thing : most of the time, the rpm of laptops’ HDDs is 4200 or 5400, wich is quite poor for writing audio data. The advice is to buy an external HDD and to plug it via the External Sata port.

I hope it’ll help you. And By the way, thanks for your answers.
Let’s keep in touch,

I wouldnt worry too much about HDD speed
5400 is enough for a whole bunch of tracks
I have done 32 with no issue whatsoever

A lot of the myth surrounding audio is from a long time ago in a galaxy far far away
Seriously most people who spout this stuff have no experience at all and are just quoting a quote of a quote of a quote
Use the HDD and see if you have any issues then decide ;)


I repeat!

There is not a single laptop in production that uses the TI chipset.

This is according to Scott of ADK Audio who got that response from talking to Texas Instruments themselves. Not a single laptop manufacturer has placed an order with them in a long time. Not the new macs. Not the new Clevos. Nobody!

Also using a TI ExpressCard adapter MAY solve your issues but it is in no way guaranteed. You are still likely to have to disable everything else that shares the controller chipset and then you still might have problems.