Optimised laptop recommendations

Greetings all. Newbie here.
I am an 8-year Mainstage user. All I use it for is soft synths and it occasionally crashes at a gig - even now! I have gone down the Mac Mini i7 quad core path in the past and it is nearing that time when I need to buy a new Laptop for personal use, work and music, so my question is more about the laptop side of things. Is there a general consensus and any tools to totally strip away anything superfluous to making music on a Win10 laptop? Even considering a total disk partition with a separate Win10 installation if that helps (but surely thats going too far?). Macs have the ability to set a location - home or Gig for example, so I’d like to start off with a new Laptop - a single beast that does everything I need for work stuff and then (separately) have a configuration/user set up for music. Anyone doing this with GP successfully?

Hello simonearly, welcome here

I have used Wndows for a long time for music, and my best “no instability” config is as follows:
A rather old but valiant laptop (lenovo thinkpad T430) / Intel I5 3320M / 500Go ssd / 8 Go of RAM.
A dual boot system:
-1 dedicated partition system with windows 10 x64: audio exclusively.
-1 partition system with Windows too for everything else.
-1 partition for documents (sound libraries, plugins, projects, photos, viruses…)

As I am still evaluating GP in trial mode, I haven’t had time to push my laptop to its very limits by using a lot of plugins to see the cpu charge.

My test rackspace : Midi Guitar 2 (converting audio guitar to midi in real time) + DB-33 Air + IK Amplitube + u-he podolski + 7 FX + 6 gain controls + 5 hardware mapped midi controllers + 1 audio player filled with 6 lanes.
RAM used: 1.2 Go CPU: 20% max.

Oddly, Windows task manager always displays half of GP cpu charge, for a maximum of 12% :heart_eyes:

I have two Windows 10 laptops dedicated exclusively to my musical endeavors, no personal or business apps or data stored on either device. (I have a separate Surface Pro 3 for personal use.)

Both laptops (Dell and HP) are fairly beefy, with i7 6th and 8th generation processors, 16GB and 32GB RAM, 512GB and 1TB SSD drives respectively. I followed the glitch-free guide (https://www.cantabilesoftware.com/glitchfree/) referenced elsewhere on the site to optimize my music laptops for lowest possible latency (I run at a 256 sample buffer size, 44100 Hz with my Mackie Onyx Producer 2.2 USB audio interface using the native Mackie ASIO driver). I also run a utility called Process Lasso in the background to tune GP’s CPU affinities and process priority. I have found this setup to be very reliable for live performance.

Although it is a more expensive option, I recommend keeping it simple with dedicated device(s) if you are serious about your music.

yes, thank you for the reference to the PDF.
I woud just like to point out that it is my intention to have ONE laptop moving forward, for everything. If that requires a beast with M2 SSDs and 64Gb RAM etc, so be it.
I already have Mac Mini i7 quad with SSDs, separate home tower PC and a separate work PC and I’m trying to be a bit clever with a single machine.
Surely the worst case scnario woult be a separate partition boot-up fro music only, but perhaps theres a happy medium where (like on the mac) you can set stuff up based on location or user?
The whoe reason for this excercise is the cost of a Mac vs PC equivalent. A Mac thats super duper will cost 2.5x the equivalent PC for like for like performance. Seeing as I play down the dog and duck at weekends, I dont need dual redundancy etc, just a basic (I would argue most common use case scanrio out there) setup. Pub band, local gigs, covers, beer, sweaty crowds, occasional wedding and function . Got a knackered old (but I love it) P80 for 88 keys - made of metal and used as a controller with a shitty top plastic 61 note throw-away kb with knobs and sliders. All the money (and sounds) are in the Mac on Mainstage currently comeing out of the Steinber U22 thing. All is well, except the poor old mac mini is hitting the rails since I bought Keyscape (seriously, 50Gb samples to play a piano?) so next thing is to get a replacement. DO I spend 2.5k on a mac, or 1k or a PC laptop etc…

I forgot to say that my apps run at 96 samples of latency using a small steinberg UR22, and I paid 250 € for my refurbished laptop :slight_smile:
I regularly perform live for years without worries.

As says bpeterson, the most important thing is a rigorous computer optimization and maintenance, likewise with GP or any musical app.

Less Windows gadgets, more GP widgets.

That’s impressive! I working with a 14 GB primary gig file that has lots of VST instruments and effects, so perhaps my higher latency limitation has more to do with the size, complexity and processing load of my gig file?

14 GB gig file?
Do you store samples as plugin state in your gig?

I use multiple samplers (Kontakt 6, Xpand!2, Structure 2) and sampled instruments like Embertone Walker 1995 D piano. How can I tell if the samples are stored as plugin states?

Kontakt 6 does not store samples in the gig.
Maybe the others do.

You could so this test for example
Create a new gig and load xpand.
Do not load any sample.
Save the gig.
Load a huge sample in xpand and save your gig under a different name.
Now you can compare the 2 gig files.
When the 2nd gig file is much larger than the 1st I am sure xpand saves the samples as plugin state.
This would be the reason for such a huge gig file.

And you should contact the developers of your plugins and ask them

Great suggestion, pianopaul!! Anything to reduce the size and load time of my gig files…

I will say that my largest sample libraries (Walker D, Vintage Horns, and Pettinhouse guitar libraries) are all Kontakt-based. I primarily use the stock preset samples with Xpand and Structure, but it is worth testing and reporting back in case others can benefit.

The other main libraries I use are Arturia V Collection and IK Hammond B-3X. Both are very resource-intensive.

I need to (sheepishly) amend my statement on gig file size. My primary gig file is 14,010 KB, which is 14 MB, not 14 GB. I totally misinterpreted the Windows explorer file size. It still takes almost 2 minutes to load, but the file size is really quite small compared to others who have posted.

Most of that is for the individual loading of the plugins

Correct. I consume between 12 and 13GB of RAM once everything is loaded. Fortunately I have 16GB installed on one laptop and 32GB on the other. That is why I assumed my gig files were in the GBs instead of MBs…