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Any reason a desktop would be better than a laptop?


topher_m
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Hi

 

Let's say you got a firewire interface like the AFI1 to feed a DEQX DAC.

 

You want to feed the AFI1 FLAC files from a ReadyNas.

 

Wouldn't a wireless laptop feeding the AFI1 be just as good as a desktop?

- wireless networked data is packetized and error checked

- most wireless networks should have more than enough capacity for simple audio

 

A stripped down laptop would be a lot easy for me to locate.

 

I currently run wireless to a laptop just to listen to tunes on JRiver but I don't feed a dac.

No problems on drop-outs.

 

Any thoughts?

 

ReadyNas NV - vista laptop - weiss AFI1 - DEQX HDP3 - BAT VK55/PARASOUND JC1/CROWN K2s - Tri-amped Line Array

 

 

 

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1. Because far more people have problems with laptops than with desktops (I know, this is a stupid reason, but still).

 

2. Because a laptop is bloated with unnecessary software which you can't get rid of (but consumes anyway).

 

3. Because a laptop always is underpowered, and where the best CPUs are needed, they contain the worse (energy saving reasons).

 

4. Because many many things can be in order when it doesn't work properly, and all those things you can't get around. Example : On board Firewire chips may sound ugly (no matter why, please believe me); now, there's no way to change that, while adding a PCI card you'd do with a desktop will solve it. So you're just stuck with it.

 

That's about it I think, but #4 can be about a 100 things ...

HTH,

Peter

 

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None that I can think of. :)

 

As you rightly say, the important link in the chain is the ReadyNas/wireless connection - if it's up to the job, then 'job done'! You're not looking for any kind of processing power that a laptop can't give you and you're not looking for a platform for a pro sound card, so a desktop would add nothing to the equation at all.

 

Personally, I've never found NAS drives to give me anything at all over simple USB, when cost is factored in, but I know Chris thinks highly of the usability and flexibility they can offer.

 

I'd say that looks like a pretty good set-up and if it works then you're done!

 

 

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That is where all the things can go wrong, right ?

 

(which would not be the case with a Squeezebox-like)

 

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As an IT professional I can't see any reason NOT to use a laptop as a music server. The only issue may be with the FireWire port as I've heard of compatibility issues with some device / port combinations. The other points Peter raises are (to my mind) irrelevances with modern laptops - they have sufficient power, internal expansion isn't needed, etc. Most desktops these days come with preindtalled software too (assuming bought from Dell, etc).

 

I know you're talking about a Windows machine, but MacMinis (and for that matter many small form factor PCs) are to all intents and purposes laptops without a screen, i.e. laptop processors, hard drives, graphics chips, motherboard chipsets, etc.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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I'm afraid I have to agree with Eloise. I just don't see where the problems are going to come from.

 

If I were looking to assemble a machine around a Pro sound card, then I would go down the Small Form Factor (SFF) desktop route but, as far as processing power is concerned, I'd still be looking for ultra low power. My Intel Atom 270 will play a 24/192 file, through Media Monkey, and use only 23% of itself in the process - just checked it! It eats only about 2.5w of electricity doing it. Low power = low heat and low heat = low noise. I don't see any problems there.

 

As far as bloated software is concerned, well, I think I'd probably uninstall it, so no problems there, either.

 

Problems with firewire chipset/audio component selection are one of those 'research it first' sort of things. I have heard of problems with things not playing nicely together but it's only a question of avoiding the badly implemented stuff. I'm certainly not aware of it being a universal problem so there would be no reason to assume that you'll only get a decent firewire connection through a PCI card, rather than from an on-board chipset. The Mac Mini doesn't seem to suffer from its firewire implementation.;)

 

Replaying an audio file is probably the simplest thing we can ask of a modern computer. High processing power is not required, low heat output/high efficiency is. A laptop fits the bill perfectly.

 

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I think this argument is apples and oranges. IMO, Peter is arguing that at the very highest level laptops are inferior to desktops for reasons that affect the sound that are so far unquantifiable if not unmeasurable (Peter has measured the differences in software playback). In opposition, a laptop performs just fine by most standards. So, in principle, a desktop offers advantages that may or may not affect the sound of your system while a laptop is probably good enough that the difference may not be noticeable.

 

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And Peter may well yet earn his place in audiophile history! :) :) But, with due regard to the OP's question, I'm staying put on this one. :) It's bad enough that we can all get our proverbials in a twist over OS's, jitter and software players without introducing big boxes vs small boxes into the equation as well!

 

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Eloise, being an IT professional brings you nothing, because I am too. So that's out of the equation, unless we can apply further qualification to that, which we better don't ...

 

Now I write playback software as well. Do you ?

Let's say that gives me a small headstart.

 

My Intel Atom 270 will play a 24/192 file, through Media Monkey, and use only 23% of itself in the process

 

Bob, good that you said that. It kind of testifies (no offense meant !) that you really don't know what this is all about. I play 24/192 with 0% (or unmeasurable by normal means anyway), and I STILL say what I say.

Do you get that ?

 

I don't say that anyone must believe me. I even don't care. I do say that I *know* though, while you guys/gals are only estimating. Reasoning with the wrong arguments if you like.

 

Peter

 

PS: Choose for a notebook because of :

- Its smaller;

- Its portable;

- It has Wifi by standard;

- Its disk is large enough to hold quite some albums;

- Its battery is always dead, but that's no problem (stick it in the wall);

- Its keyboard is lousy, but that's no problem too (connect a real one);

- It consumes less power;

- Its loaded with nice software;

- You can't get an upgrade of the OS when it is first available, but this is no minus because the OS version the manufacturer comes up with later is better for the notebook anyway;

- Drivers, the same;

- They can look really slick;

- Their screens are large enough these days;

- There's lots of PCcards available for possible missing connections, no problem here !

- Indeed they have sufficient power for what it needs to support; no problem to be expected because you can't add anything anyway;

- Copying your albums never will take a week, because the disk in there isn't larger than 500GB anyway.

 

So you see, I can do it too. No arguments for SQ to be heard. It really looks like you just can take your chances ! :-)

 

 

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Peter, you do have useful information to present in some of your postings. A suggestion, however: your credibility might just be enhanced if you scaled down the attitude, dropped the ad hominems and instead directed your posting energy to sensible, thoughtful and factual replies.

 

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I think my first post was very factual.

But if I'm tempted with responses as they are, I just give up (and let you know by a post like the last one).

 

Oh well, I'm sorry if it bothered you.

 

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Does anyone have a highly recommended firewire output "card" for laptop or desktop.

 

I may stay desktop for now simply because I already have one and I did take the time to run a 50 foot monitor and network cable to locate the desktop away from listening chair - it isn't the silent type.

 

I know Weiss recommends a TI firewire chipset and not a NEC (as do other proaudio companies - apparently the incompatabilities are chipset specific). But it is hard to find chipset info on specific cards in the specs.

 

BTW, is firewire error-checked like Ethernet?

 

Thanks

 

DIDN'T THINK THIS QUESTION WOULD BE SO CONTROVERSIAL!

THANKS FOR EVERYONE'S INPUT

I AGREE ON THE POINT THAT OPINION IS A BIT MORE INSIGHTFUL WHEN BACKED UP BY TECHNICAL INFO AND NOT VAGUE - I AM ENGINEER SO I LIKE DATA, FACTS, ETC BUT ADMIT I DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE SUBJECT

 

 

 

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A quick search on google for "Texas Instruments FireWire PCI" gives me two or three options for a desktop PC. If looking for laptop do same search but "ExpressCard" instead of "PCI". There was also results from other forums with specific recomendations.

 

I can't comment on the manufacturers of the card but should e much of a muchness. If you want a garantee of compatibility then best to ask Weiss directly if they have a recomendation.

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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I would beg to differ that your original response was factual - leaving aside the FireWire port issue.

 

The original poster asked if there was any reason why a desktop would be better than a laptop. To which the answer is no, there is no reason WHY it would be better, though some people (you and I guess others) have tested both and found the desktops you tried better. I would suspect in some cases the laptop maybe better IF there actually is a real difference at all.

 

I'm sure you already know my sceptical nature: I've never heard differences in bit-perfect software. So for me to think different computers would make a difference is ...erm... unthinkable. It you say a desktop is better than a laptop, then you're also ink the realm where an Asus motherboard is better than an MSI one. Maybe one day I'll be prooved wrong, but as it was you that meantioned FACTs then let's start being subjective about it.

 

Subjectively there is no evidence that (above a certain point) higher processor speed matters.

Subjectively there is no evidence of difference between a 3.5" drive and a 2.5" drive.

Subjectively there is no evidence that a desktop will perform as a music server better than a laptop.

 

Anyway that got that out my system.

Eloise - self confessed sceptic.

 

P.S. Edit: slight retraction. Before anyone comments, Peters observations are facts even though they are objective and (his previous posted graphs not withstanding) not backed by objective proof or explanation as to WHY a desktop is better than a laptop.

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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As my grandma would have said, Peter is probably old and ugly enough to defend himself, but I think his recommendation of a desktop over a laptop was based on technical practicalities more than sound quality? For example the design compromises needed to fit everything into a lappy or a mac mini make it that much harder or even impossible to swap out parts and so on.

 

If you address such issues as disk space (buy an external drive), keyboard and trackpad (buy usb or wireless ones), screen size (use an external monitor), potential cooling problems (set up a home made or bought laptop stand)... well I'm sure you can all figure out where I'm headed.

 

My personal experience of setting up an old G4 Powerbook as a music server wasn't all that great. It sounded fantastic, but quickly developed reliability problems. Most likely a brand new one would work better but it made me wary of going the same route again. I remember I did the same thing with my old pro Walkman D6 - used it as a portable and as my main cassette deck - with some success, but it's a far more rugged bit of gear than a laptop, and even so I did have to get the connectors re-soldered a couple of times.

 

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Eloise, I appreciate your sceptisizm, I really do. IOW, nothing wrong with that from my point of view. However, as I said earlier and elsewhere, there may be too many contexts involved, and they just CAN NOT be explained or told all. So let me take the time to kind of tell you how my first post had to be interpreted, ok ?

 

And please note, your interpretation is all is in YOUR context of not being able to perceive differences between players (just expressed by you as "between bit perfect"), while MY context is from the opposite. Now, good IT analysis (may I ?) should tell you that you should interpret MY text from MY context, and not yours. I could also say : what do you want ? a 100 pages FIRST to convince you of my belief before we ever can start answering the original question ? nah ... impossible !!

 

So here goes :

 

 

1. Because far more people have problems with laptops than with desktops (I know, this is a stupid reason, but still).

 

The only less factual "fact" IMO, because it is only a derival from what I notice from users, and the plain impossibility to help them. Keep in mind, this is relative to the desktop user, who can be told to switch a PCI card, done. If not done, switch another. In the end done. ALWAYS.

 

2. Because a laptop is bloated with unnecessary software which you can't get rid of (but consumes anyway).

 

Don't listen to the person who told in one of the posts that this software can be uninstalled; he doesn't know. I do, FOR THAT SOFTWARE THAT BLOATS AND CAN'T. Must I explain extactly what for which laptop ? or may I expect some little knoweledge in this area, or if not, may I please expect some belief from someone who just gives a good advice.

Those who won't believe me, fine !!! but stop calling this non-factual.

 

3. Because a laptop always is underpowered, and where the best CPUs are needed, they contain the worse (energy saving reasons).

 

Those who think this is non factual just don't know processors, and I'm sure those same will think that MHz = Mhz.

So now what ? must I know explain processor topologies ?

Please ...

If this is not a fact, point me to laptops in general (that means all of them) which can be stuffed with all the modern processors which can be stuffed into a desktop. What ? you want one and it won't fit ? buy a new Mobo for $100 !!!

Again, those who can't get this, just stay out instead of calling this non factual. Ok ?

 

4. Because many many things can be in order when it doesn't work properly, and all those things you can't get around. Example : On board Firewire chips may sound ugly (no matter why, please believe me); now, there's no way to change that, while adding a PCI card you'd do with a desktop will solve it. So you're just stuck with it.

 

I don't need the seme story here I think; at least you recognized it as a kind of valid, Eliose.

 

Now most of you have one problem only : the refusement of believing this all matters to sound quality. I can't help that (although I try here and there), and those who really wish to be that ignorant ... in the end I care less. Really. One thing though : those who wish to see post of mine like this first one to be non factual, really must interpret this within MY contexts. Not your own. If you do the latter, things go wrong obviously, and we talk apples and oranges to begin with.

Those who dove into matters and my context here, can always skip my posts at not believing the context. Also fine. But again, stop calling it non-factual, while you actually should call the context non-factual, which by itself invalidates the post (for your reading).

 

So ... do you get it now ?

 

Let me conclude with this :

If people just refuse to Google into the matters, and really want an explanation for each word said, instead of believing the more experienced, it is of NO USE AT ALL that the more experienced answers to questions like from the OP. In that case, the experienced have better things to do, than counteracting with a silly post like my second one in here, or put something stupid as that a first post for that matter.

 

Right. Now instead of listening to hundreds of posts within my own forum about this, hop over to AA and read thousands on cPlay. Subjective or not, just call all those people crazy just because you can't hear it.

This isn't at the mobo level, this is at the level of underclocking memory.

Please go there and let us know here what you think.

 

Did I sound aggressive ?

yep.

:-)

Peter

 

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souptin, of course the "physical" reasons are the first to deal with, but I thought everybody would get that automatically, and otherwise from my cynical second (larger) post. On this matter too, too many things are to be explained, with one of the most unseen ones the time it takes to copy large amounts of data which just can't be withing the laptop. 24 hours for 1TB is no joke ... do the math.

 

But are these things important while I may expect some sense on this forum and expect SQ reasons ?

SQ reasons are enough, and was hopefully what the question was about.

 

If SQ is not important, then read my second larger post.

Thanks,

Peter

 

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Please accept my apologies for contradicting you, Peter. (Note to self : don't do it again!)

 

And thank you very much for pointing out to me, twice, how stupid I am. (Note to self : keep quiet!)

 

To the OP - please follow Peter's advice and buy a desktop. Unfortunately I've no idea why you must do this, but it seems you must.

 

Note to Peter : Please don't call be stupid again, I'm getting an inferiority complex. ;)

 

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So in summary ...

For most people with most systems a laptop and desktop will work and sound identical ...

Unless it doesn't :-)

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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