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Michael Richards

How To Replace Desktop System With Laptop

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For all the people that use laptops with Cakewalk, I would like to know how you get along with connecting and disconnecting your laptop.

I am thinking of buying a Dell XPS 17” laptop to replace my old Win 7 desktop computer. I use this computer in my music studio with Cakewalk at least 5 hours everyday. My concern is that I am also heavily involved in photography and want to move my photography scanners and printers into another area, so I would be moving the laptop each day. Disconnecting from the audio interface and large monitor to another place that also involves connecting different items and a different color calibrated monitor.

I think that might be a hassle not worth venturing into. To make matters worse, I need to be able to use this laptop offsite using Cakewalk. Is this to much to ask from one laptop?

Thank you, Michael

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Posted (edited)

i routinely connect and disconnect from a large monitor and IO to do things in other places. it's an old Dell 3521 but it seems to handle the switching around reliably.  i also use it to remote session into my desktop machine (an even older Dell 545) which generally stays connected to its monitor and IO devices. i also sync the cakewalk projects and content folders between them using Google Drive, and my studio design programs and work folders using OneDrive.  so far all devices seem ok with all the permutations.

a few important notes:

  • no one except me is allowed on my machines. this avoids the "oh crap! i think i broke my laptop, can i use yours? oh crap! i broke your laptop too!" repeating disaster syndrome. thankfully everyone's phone is powerful enough to do their own work on the phone until i get around to repairing their laptop... 😉 
  • there are no games (except solitaire) installed or played.
  • updates on OS and apps are applied pretty regularly.
  • _anything_ which even suggests misbehavior is uninstalled or rolled back 🙂 
Edited by Glenn Stanton

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Yep nobody gets their hands on my laptop either - the only thing mine seriously dislikes is disconnecting the audio interface while the laptop is on. It's an old Gen 1 Focusrite 2i4 and if I disconnect it 'hot' the laptop immediately blue screens.

But that's just a quirk of my setup and not a general problem with laptops AFAIK. As for disconnecting from I/O and my monitor - not a problem.

Whatever you decide, hope it goes well.

Andy

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Posted (edited)

Computers are so cheap and powerful these days, If I were in your shoes, I would get a separate computer for the photography area. The idea of moving the laptop from one room to another might seem like a solution as you only have one computer, but I don't think that would work for me, that would be a workflow killer. You could investigate using a docking station I guess.

I use a docking station and KVM switch for my internet/business laptop which is a latitude e7450 (they have the docking port on the bottom). Basically, my tower computer is set up for music/video editing and is offline. It is directly connected to the  speakers, audio interface, midi keyboard and the LCD monitor. The mouse,  computer keyboard and printer goes to a KVM switch. The KVM switch also goes to the docking station as the other computer.

The docking station is connected directly to the second input on the LCD monitor and the USB dongle for internet.

When I want to do music, I just turn power on to the tower computer and peripherals and away I go since the KVM switch is set to default to the tower computer so the PC keyboard, mouse and printer automatically work there. When I want to do business/internet, my laptop is already sitting in the docking station, I just turn power on to it and then press the KVM switch button to switch the PC keyboard, mouse and printer over to it and away I go. The LCD monitor automatically switches to the input showing power so I don't need to worry about that. If I want to take the laptop with me anywhere I just eject it from the docking station and go, nothing to connect or disconnect there.

This works for using 2 computers on the same PC keyboard, mouse and printer in the same area so it is a different setup to what you might be looking at. I don't think the XPS line of laptops have docking ports either so it would be more expensive buying a docking solution.

In your situation, I would definitely  look at getting a separate dedicated computer for your photography area. Continually connecting and disconnecting the audio interface, monitors and the LCD monitor and then reconnecting/disconnecting the peripherals at the other end would drive me nuts and you can't really use a docking station for your audio interface or your speakers.

 

 

Edited by Tezza

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Posted (edited)

One thing I did when I had different computers in different rooms was to use the same model keyboard and mouse for all of them so it didn't feel strange switching.

Edited by Tezza

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Posted (edited)

Thank you, all. I appreciate your detailed answers. It looks like I should  get 2 computers, a desktop for Cakewalk and a laptop and monitor for the photography. I go back and forth during the day and think I will tire connecting, disconnecting, and reconnecting.

Even though some of you do this, I am sure I will get frustrated going back and forth, even though I’m a patient person.

Edited by Michael Richards

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Modern laptops are overkill for audio, but many of them may have Latency issues.   My 2019 Gigabyte Aero drove me bonkers getting it to work correctly and I'm an IT professional (short version:  disable the ACHI battery controller in Device manager before doing audio work).    I used this as my only PC until just last week when I was able to get my hands and a 5950x and build a modern system.

The laptop was fine, able to mix anything I needed and run guitar amp sims at 4.3 ms latency reliably.

You do you, either way you'll be fine.

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I’d like to know about your Ruben 9 5950x system. Are you happy with it? I have all sorts of questions. Things like which digital audio interface you are using and what your latency is?

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