No current off-the-shelf PC laptop w/working DAW firewire?!?

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antilog
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Post by antilog » Sun Mar 29, 2009 5:41 pm

I'm currently using a Dell Inspiron e1405 with a Cables Unlimited Firewire Expresscard . 1.67GHz dual core, 1.5GB RAM, 100GB 7.2k rpm HDD

I'm running MS Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 (32 bit), Steinberg Cubase 5 and Wavelab 6, no issues other than understandable limitations regarding track count w/ plugins.

I'm upgrading to a Lenovo T500 this week, will see how it goes.
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Post by Aj » Sun Mar 29, 2009 6:26 pm

Cool, let us know how it goes... all the new Lenovos don't have TI firewire chips anymore (I believe they use Ricoh now), so I'm curious to hear if it works for you stock - or with the Cables Unlimited card.
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antilog
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Post by antilog » Sun Mar 29, 2009 6:32 pm

I don't do onboard FW because it isn't practical to use the 4pin connection. It's not physically stable or robust, especially with a mobile laptop. I always use a dedicated card.

Will let you know how it goes....
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Post by Nightowl4272 » Wed May 06, 2009 6:56 pm

qball wrote:I have the HP DV9000 with Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, wide screen and two 100gb drives...All chipsets are Texas Instruments. Using it with 2 Firepods and Reaper. It's the best setup I've ever had!
Hello everybody, new person here desperately looking for a more current working laptop for digital audio.

gball, your post gave me a ton of hope so I started to look up a DV9000 on ebay. There are zillions of DV9xxx series there but I eventually found some true DV9000 models. I asked many of the sellers to check the Firewire controller in the Device Manager and they've consistently told me it's a "RICOH OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller" ??? Also HP's website says that the 5-in-1 Card reader is Ricoh...don't know if that matters though.

I realize that your system is working which is awesome regardless of the chipset. Maybe this just one of those lucky laptops that happens to have a Ricoh chipset that actually works?

So gball, my question is, are you sure your laptop is just a DV9000 or is it a DV9xxx such as DV9535? There are hundreds of different models in the DV9000 series and I'm wondering if only a few happen to use the TI chipset. I haven't been able to stumble upon any at HP's website with random clicking through the hundreds of models.

The HP web address with the DV9xxx series list is http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/prod ... uct&os=228


Thanks, and great message board everybody!
Nightowl

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antilog
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Post by antilog » Wed May 06, 2009 9:21 pm

Nightowl4272,
I urge you to let go of the firewire minutia and get an external card. Best thing I did. This is the one I use, and it works well. Good stable physical 6-pin connection, no issues. Works with my inspiron e1405 and my new Lenovo T500, which has a great purchase. Huge improvement over the e1405.
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Post by Brian Brock » Wed May 06, 2009 9:40 pm

RME is very confident about their new USB version of the Fireface.

Their skill with drivers is respectable enough that I believe them.

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The explanation for our frustration

Post by Aj » Thu May 07, 2009 8:40 am

Nice to see this discussion still active (I'm the original poster).

Since this thread started, I've done a bunch more research and STILL HAVEN'T bought a thing. But I have finally learned in detail why this cluster#@ is happening. Basically, this is a terrible time for anyone to buy a laptop for professional audio. Here's why...

This is the "last gasp" moment for all the current external interface technologies - Firewire (any pin size), USB (2.0), even Expresscard (which pretty much replaced PCMCIA) and eSata. The writing is on the wall everywhere. Macs have all but discontinued Firewire. Many PCs now don't sport Firewire ports at all. Meanwhile, USB is too slow for top-end audio/video applications (despite RME's valiant attempts, I doubt we'll see 24 channels in/out in a USB device; their new USB Fireface is a temporary step, nothing more). And Apple refuses to include eSATA ports on their products - effectively preventing users from gettting true high speed "pro audio approved" throughput from external drives.

Why is this all happening at once? It's the perfect storm of port obsolescence. Everyone is quietly waiting for USB 3.0, which was announced 6 months ago and is a huge, exponential improvement over the current USB 2.0, Firewire, and really any of the above mention interface technologies. It's ten times faster (!) than the current USB spec; several times faster than Firewire; is powered (unlike eSATA); and can daisy chain up to 6 devices (two more than the current USB). In many ways, it's very much like a USB version of a PCI Express card.

USB 3.0 (perhaps to be marketed as "USB SuperSpeed", or maybe "USB Extreme") is "estimated" to start arriving on computers in late 2009/early 2010. Yes, Apple will adopt it. Meanwhile, a new version of the now ubiquitous Expresscard port (dubbed 2.0) has been announced too - it will also be able to operate at USB 3.0 speeds. I believe it will appear around the same time as USB 3.0.

The upshot? Eventually, we pro audio folks will be carrying around nifty USB 3.0 equipped lappies that can easily plug into whatever powerful new USB 3.0 products RME, MOTU, Avid, Echo, etc. are undoubtedly developing for 2010 and beyond. And we will be able to daisy chain (via USB 3.0) into external data drives for maximum throughput as well. It'll be bliss, and this whole firewire debacle will be forgotten.

At least, that's the plan. Expect a year or so of driver updates before the dust (and latency bugs) settles. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Like I said, it's a terrible time to buy a laptop. For me, I think I'm going to start looking into rackmount for my desktop PC :)

Aj
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RE: new white macbook firewire

Post by woodhenge » Thu May 07, 2009 11:51 am

For what it's worth, I own the new (Jan 09) white macbook and have used it with MANY firewire interfaces and have not had a single glitch yet. (I've used the Alesis IO26, M-Audio Profire 2626, Presonus Firepod, and the Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 mostly, but I have yet to try it under bootcamp, though.) I typically record 16 tracks simultaneously to an external FW drive, and have had nothing but stellar results. Hope this helps!

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Post by ctmsound » Fri May 08, 2009 12:28 am

Seriously, buy a fucking Mac and stop saying, "i'll just keep waiting until microshaft gets their head out of their ass". It will never happen! Buy a mac like I did. 10 year windows user, loving this thing to death. Everything works, I'm recording shit all the time and not waiting for idiot technology to catch up.

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Post by rwc » Fri May 08, 2009 12:39 am

ctmsound wrote:Seriously, buy a fucking Mac and stop saying, "i'll just keep waiting until microshaft gets their head out of their ass". It will never happen! Buy a mac like I did. 10 year windows user, loving this thing to death. Everything works, I'm recording shit all the time and not waiting for idiot technology to catch up.
the day I can pour my drink cup into a mac laptop the way I can into my thinkpad and not have a fried laptop(much less a non-interrupted recording), I'll go for it.

for professional use, IMO, function beats form everytime.
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farview
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Post by farview » Fri May 08, 2009 9:20 am

here is an expensive solution

http://www.sonicalabs.com/

ctmsound
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Post by ctmsound » Fri May 08, 2009 9:25 am

rwc wrote:
ctmsound wrote:Seriously, buy a fucking Mac and stop saying, "i'll just keep waiting until microshaft gets their head out of their ass". It will never happen! Buy a mac like I did. 10 year windows user, loving this thing to death. Everything works, I'm recording shit all the time and not waiting for idiot technology to catch up.
the day I can pour my drink cup into a mac laptop the way I can into my thinkpad and not have a fried laptop(much less a non-interrupted recording), I'll go for it.

for professional use, IMO, function beats form everytime.
A week into owning my macbook, I spilled an entire newcastle beer into it. 8 months later, works great!

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Post by qued » Tue May 12, 2009 4:36 pm

newcastle is a teriffic beer

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Post by stevebozz » Tue Sep 01, 2009 11:15 pm

does anyone know why laptops seem to universally pack 4-pin firewire connectors versus the 6-pin? I always figured it was a 'power-saving' thing, but I figure most people operate with their laptops plugged in, anyway.

that is really interesting to read about the format/connector wars. I do, however, think it's a bit ridiculous to count out firewire for the next 5-10 years. With the amount of hardware built with firewire interfaces, I think it's a dumb move for anyone to stop carrying those ports on their new computers. Yes, even Apple.

I resist buying Apple's even though I constantly drool over screenshots of Logic 9. Repairing and customizing Mac's is extremely expensive and quite contentious. I've seen a lot of Mac hardware completely fail, usually just out of warranty, and with Apple the only parts retailer, each piece of hardware is crazy expensive.
Steve

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