What Windows machine in 2022? Laptop? Nuc?

Hi All,
I’m still currently using a Sager 7280 purchased in January 2011 for my music PC…built like a Sherman tank! i7 12gigs of memory and an old Presonus Firewire Firebox from the 2000’s.

Only update was an SSD…and it still runs things quite well…do get occasional latency/overloads running out of memory on big layered pad type patches…but with Gig Performer can usually work around things.

I have wondered though if I should consider an upgrade at some point!

If you were buying a Windows machine today what would you buy?

A Nuc? Laptop? What would be the 'must have’s in 2022?

I assume I’d probably have to move to a Usb C type audio interface? Probably a Motu M4 by the look of it.

I also have wondered about using a mini computer form factor and an external monitor instead of a laptop. The form factor of the laptop is actually a bit of a nuisance at home because I use a couple of 24 inch monitors…but could be handy I guess when out and about to not have to bring a monitor and a desktop.

What has been your experience? Have you built up a dedicated pc? What specs do you recommend?

Thanks for any tips!

This topic is frequent here, I suggest that you use search. For example, check out these topics:

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Thanks for the tips…apologies for repeating the topic…great to read the various options. I’ve actually been amazed how well my old 2011 laptop has done…it was a high end ‘video editing’ machine from that era…Sager…so I think the quality of components has a lot to do with it…as does the good old Firewire interface…it actually makes me wonder whether I’d get that much benefit upgrading versus sticking some more memory in it!

The form factor is definitely an interesting question…am quite tempted by this Nuc/form factor idea…as I find the laptop just a pain for the desk real estate it needs at home versus just a box I could hide behind a monitor…only benefit would be the ‘on the road’ mode.

Can certainly see now there are quite a few threads out there…Reddit has a lot too…

This one had some interesting suggestions:

https://www.reddit.com/r/MiniPCs/comments/mc77ka/mini_pc_for_music_production with Nucs, Asrocks and PN50’s all being mentioned.

It almost seems like the memory is the biggest factor…along with a good quality SSD…maybe makes the biggest difference? Anyway thanks…shall keep reading and googling!

I found the best solution for me (after pondering a MacBook Pro of the new batch 2021) was a shuttle PC. Only problem I had with this one is PSU noise - the power supply is external like those laptop thingies, and I had to purchase a transformer isolator box (Behringer, 35 bucks). Now thats okay for live gigs.
Shuttle fits snugly in my setup (K&M table-style keyboard rack).
I filled the shuttle with a i9 10900 10-core and 64 Gigs of RAM to be on the safe side. interface is a MOTU M4 which gives me a latency of about 9 ms @ 256 samples. Excellent.

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Your personal requirements dictate what will work best for you. When you have that landed and understood the choice becomes straightforward.

Yes, NUCs and mini PCs can work - depending on your requirements, but they are not necessarily the quietest solution if that’s critical. I would highly recommend that you thoroughly read the posts and check out the various links in the topics that @npudar provided. At the end of the day, only you can determine what will be best for your particular setup. Good luck, and let us know what you finally choose!

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Thanks for this. I think the crucial criteria for me are:
Quiet machine
Lots of memory (24Gig +)
‘Reasonable’ small form factor…maybe it doesn’t need to be as small as a NUC though if that means we can keep it quiet.
A suitable interface for the Motu M4… something that can beat my old trust Firewire port!
USB 3.1 Gen 2? Usb C?
A competent CPU that provides bang for buck!

I’m assuming anything with the new Usb C spec should be fast enough?

Thanks…shall keep researching!

I use a MS Surface Pro 8. In fact, I have two of them whereby one is a back up. Specs are i7, 512 SSD and 16 gig ram. Form factor is ideal for me. The SP line do run warm but certainly do the job well. Expensive yes, but top quality build.

I don’t know why people consider quiet to be of any importance in a live situation.
Anybody working on stages that use moving head lights knows they all have fans in and the whole area is whirring away.

When you’re using in ear monitoring you don’t hear that stuff. Using molded inears that reduce outside sound significantly you can listen at quiet living room levels

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For my part, I perform alone on stage with a narrator who reads poetry and short stories. The sound is very soft and full of silences.
Not only are moving lights prohibited, but I even had to change some of my MIDI footswitches that clicked too loudly and disturbed the listening. I also carefully chose a laptop with silent fans.

Live music can take many different forms and even poets use GP!

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@Hermon What a great reply. We all think of the “world” as we experience it, but for many others it is vastly different. Silence is golden to me in many aspects of my life and important in preserving what hearing I have left. Many years spent in shipboard engine rooms on both steam and motor plants took a very heavy toll. As the song goes, You Don’t Know What You Got (Until it’s Gone).

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I agree with the silence aspect… Given machine will also sit at home for practice etc. Built my video editing PC a few years back and didn’t think about the silence… but thankfully when I put it together all the various components still came together as a near silent build which is so nice not having this noisy PC in the office/music room!

Anyway on the PC build front continuing to research this… really not a Mac person and reading that other thread really like the idea of a slimline desktop build of some form.

Mini itx… or server size case?

I’ve noticed I’m getting latency clicking popping issues with my 2012 i7 12 gb ram laptop when I’m running a couple of layered Omnisphere pad sounds… so hoping a newer machine + audio interface might solve that?

Wondering if 32 gig ram + a modern i5 processor + Usb interface is enough… or whether I need this newer ‘thunderbolt’ spec is required?

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There are numerous threads on here about what will run what, including an excellent new news article by @npudar Nemanja on running GP on a $369 mini PC. If you take the time to search and read what you find I have no doubt you will be able to narrow your search, whether PC or MAC, to tick all the boxes of your personal circumstances and budget.

Thanks will continue to read. Thank you.