Minimal laptop requirements to avoid total frustration

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redmeg
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Minimal laptop requirements to avoid total frustration

Post by redmeg » Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:03 am

Hello!

I'm hoping to spring for a laptop soon with all the Black Friday sales going on. I currently have Finale 25, Garritan PO5 and World Instruments running on a creaky old desktop that is likely to die sooner than later. A Windows laptop will replace it.

Lacking infinite dollars, what are the minimum specs I should look for to avoid Finale usage to be a complete exercise in frustration? I'm especially wondering RAM, SSD vs HDD (I saw a few sale models that had both that seemed interesting but they sold out quickly) and screen size. From reading the Finale site, it sounds like 16 GB is needed for Garritan, but does that mean I simply won't be able to use it with 8 or 12, or that it will just take longer?

Thanks!

Re: Minimal laptop requirements to avoid total frustration

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BuonTempi
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Re: Minimal laptop requirements to avoid total frustration

Post by BuonTempi » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:52 am

Finale's requirements are still pretty light (given that it's essentially software designed years ago). MM's System Requirements page state a computer with 4Gb of RAM and Core 2 Duo CPU, which is average for a computer built more than 10 years ago. :lol:

https://makemusic.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/ ... quirements

GPO5's requirements are also for a computer with 4GB of RAM, though it does say that "There is a direct correlation between the amount of available RAM and the number of sounds that can be loaded."

https://www.garritan.com/products/perso ... uirements/

On My Mac, Finale uses under 500 Mb of RAM, while playing back 16 tracks using Garritan. It does, however, use one entire core of the CPU while doing so (a known bug). So you definitely want to get a 4-core CPU, so that the whole computer doesn't grind to a halt when Finale monopolises the CPU.

I'd recommend 16Gb as a useful minimum for any brand new computer, not because of Finale, but because of the other demands of a modern OS and other applications you may have running at the same time.

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HaraldS
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Re: Minimal laptop requirements to avoid total frustration

Post by HaraldS » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:51 am

The real source of frustration with Finale on a laptop for me woud be the small screen size, not any other technical spec. 17'' or the like is not enough to display enough music to work senseful in Finale, as is my experience.

Working speed in Finale depends highly on the ability to copy things; this works best when you have the source and destination measures on the screen simultaneously. A small screen requires more scrolling than a larger one, which slows down the working progress considerably.

Additionally, laptops tend to have a slightly bigger audio latency than desktop computers. I found this also to be true on new laptops, even if the latency is noticable less than in former times. This will only be an issue if you want to enter notes and have Finale play the appropriate VST sounds back immediately when pressing a key. You could avoid that with better external audio hardware, but then you have an additional device.

That's why I would avoid a laptop at all.
Finale 3.0-25.5, German edition, Windows 7
mostly hardware synths/keys, Cubase 7 / trombonist, pianist, conductor / Recklinghausen, Germany

Djard
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Re: Minimal laptop requirements to avoid total frustration

Post by Djard » Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:17 pm

If you don't click hurriedly and wait for Finale to complete tasks, especially when closing a document or exiting, a laptop with the minimum recommended specs will be just fine. When buying a computer, nothing beats plenty of RAM for performance and reduce problems related to processing power; so if you must choose between HDD size and RAM, choose the latter. You can always add an external USB HDD for more storage (and security) later as well as add a second monitor (in extension mode).

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MikeHalloran
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Re: Minimal laptop requirements to avoid total frustration

Post by MikeHalloran » Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:31 am

BuonTempi wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:52 am

On My Mac, Finale uses under 500 Mb of RAM, while playing back 16 tracks using Garritan. It does, however, use one entire core of the CPU while doing so (a known bug). So you definitely want to get a 4-core CPU, so that the whole computer doesn't grind to a halt when Finale monopolises the CPU.
...
How many instances of the Aria Player are you using? If one, that’s not a bug. Each instance of a VI uses one core. Multiple instances let the OS balance the load among the cores.
Mike Halloran

Finale 26.2, SmartScore X2 Pro, GPO5 & World Instruments
2017 iMac Pro 14 Core, 128G RAM, 2TB Mojave; 2012 MBP Catalina
NotePerformer3, Dorico3, Overture, Notion, Encore, DP 10, Logic Pro
Old G4: OS 10.4/9.2, Finale 1998–2011

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BuonTempi
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Re: Minimal laptop requirements to avoid total frustration

Post by BuonTempi » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:29 am

MikeHalloran wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:31 am
If one, that’s not a bug. Each instance of a VI uses one core. Multiple instances let the OS balance the load among the cores.
Finale pegs 100% of a single core on ANY CPU during playback, regardless of the number of VST/AU units being used. (Even if you're not using any, but playing to Smart Soft Synth via MIDI.)

Finale needed 100% of a core to play on my 2006 Core2Duo iMac, and even though my 6-core 2018 Mini is 5 times faster per core, Finale still uses 100% of a single core. It'll use 100% of 1 core on your iMac Pro, even though the other 13 cores are idle. That's hardly load balancing. There's no CPU in the world powerful enough to use less than 100% of a core for Finale's playback! :lol:

Logic, Dorico, the standalone ARIA Player: none of them use 100% of a single CPU core during playback, unless they're really going some. I can barely get any of them over 25%, and that's multi-threaded across all the cores.

I'd say that's a bug. I reported it years ago. No one said it was expected behaviour. As far as I know, it's still on the To Do list...

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MikeHalloran
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Re: Minimal laptop requirements to avoid total frustration

Post by MikeHalloran » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:51 pm

BuonTempi wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:29 am
MikeHalloran wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:31 am
If one, that’s not a bug. Each instance of a VI uses one core. Multiple instances let the OS balance the load among the cores.
Finale pegs 100% of a single core on ANY CPU during playback, regardless of the number of VST/AU units being used. (Even if you're not using any, but playing to Smart Soft Synth via MIDI.)

Finale needed 100% of a core to play on my 2006 Core2Duo iMac, and even though my 6-core 2018 Mini is 5 times faster per core, Finale still uses 100% of a single core. It'll use 100% of 1 core on your iMac Pro, even though the other 13 cores are idle. That's hardly load balancing. There's no CPU in the world powerful enough to use less than 100% of a core for Finale's playback! :lol:

Logic, Dorico, the standalone ARIA Player: none of them use 100% of a single CPU core during playback, unless they're really going some. I can barely get any of them over 25%, and that's multi-threaded across all the cores.

I'd say that's a bug. I reported it years ago. No one said it was expected behaviour. As far as I know, it's still on the To Do list...
You’ve been a Mac user how long and you don’t understand something this basic? Oh my...

A single instance of the Aria player — or Kontakt or UVI or (favorite VI player here) etc. uses a single core. The more instruments you load into that instance, the heavier the load on that one core. That’s how it works. It is not a bug and never has been. There is nothing to “fix” and no way to do it. It’s not on anyone’s to-do list.

To access multiple cores, you must use multiple instances of the player. The OS will now balance the load among the cores. Most of us with large track counts nowadays use a single instance of a player for each instrument.

A 12 core Mac Pro 6.1 can handle about 150 instances of Kontakt with a convo reverb and another plugin on each track but it’s straining. A 10 core iMac Pro can handle 300 without breaking a sweat and the Mac Pro 7.1 was demo’d with 1,000 tracks at the WWDC last year. I know someone who tested his 6 core Mini with a thousand instances but wasn’t running a convo plug-in on each track.

I have confidence that my 14 core iMac Pro will handle whatever I throw at it — unless I try to load all my instruments into a single instance of Aria, of course. I have no idea what it takes to peg a single core on my machine and life’s too short to find out.
Mike Halloran

Finale 26.2, SmartScore X2 Pro, GPO5 & World Instruments
2017 iMac Pro 14 Core, 128G RAM, 2TB Mojave; 2012 MBP Catalina
NotePerformer3, Dorico3, Overture, Notion, Encore, DP 10, Logic Pro
Old G4: OS 10.4/9.2, Finale 1998–2011

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BuonTempi
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Re: Minimal laptop requirements to avoid total frustration

Post by BuonTempi » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:15 pm

Apologies for not explaining myself clearly, because your chastisement is not really relevant to the point.

Finale uses c.103% CPU in Activity Monitor when I playback with No VSTs or 1 VST or 2 VSTs. It always uses 103%. Number of instruments be damned. Always has done on any Intel hardware I've owned, and always will, from what I can see. The same files on markedly different hardware.

Other apps use much less, even with much higher VST loads.

My point to the OP is that more cores are better when purchasing a machine for Finale, because it seems to be much less efficient at using CPU for playback than any other audio app.

If you can at least accept that, then that will do.

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