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Laptop recommendations for speaker design

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  • Laptop recommendations for speaker design

    After being out of the speaker building game for about a decade I’m ready to dive back in, but I need a laptop that will be decent for speaker measurement and crossover design. In the past I’ve relied on kits or other people doing so design for me but with all the free software that seems easier to use these days I’m ready to try it myself, I’ve got an 8 year old MacBook that I’m running Windows 10 on virtually with Parallels and it’s obviously not powerful enough to run Xsim or the other program I’ve tried (the name escapes me now). It won’t even run WinISD well, which I used along with Unibox for enclosure design back in the day.

    so I need a Win10 laptop but would like to keep it cheap for the short term. I’m even ok with refurbs as long as I can get a year or two use out of it and then maybe buy something newer/nicer. So if there’s anything out there that’ll work decently in the $300 or less range please let me know. Or at the very least, what specs (processor, RAM, etc) should I look for as a minimum requirement for these programs as well as PE’s measurement software.

  • #2
    Speaker modeling and measuring programs aren't memory or speed hogs. However, $300 doesn't get you that much. I'd rather a better used than an el cheapo new.
    www.billfitzmaurice.com
    www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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    • #3
      Originally posted by brianbunge View Post
      After being out of the speaker building game for about a decade I’m ready to dive back in, but I need a laptop that will be decent for speaker measurement and crossover design. In the past I’ve relied on kits or other people doing so design for me but with all the free software that seems easier to use these days I’m ready to try it myself, I’ve got an 8 year old MacBook that I’m running Windows 10 on virtually with Parallels and it’s obviously not powerful enough to run Xsim or the other program I’ve tried (the name escapes me now). It won’t even run WinISD well, which I used along with Unibox for enclosure design back in the day.

      so I need a Win10 laptop but would like to keep it cheap for the short term. I’m even ok with refurbs as long as I can get a year or two use out of it and then maybe buy something newer/nicer. So if there’s anything out there that’ll work decently in the $300 or less range please let me know. Or at the very least, what specs (processor, RAM, etc) should I look for as a minimum requirement for these programs as well as PE’s measurement software.
      You don't get much of a computer for $300, unless maybe it is very used. You could get a Chromebook, but you obviously want Windows 10. If you could bump that up to $400, you'd be able to get a very good used one. Anyway, I recommend at a minimum an INTEL core i5 and 8gb of RAM.
      Last edited by AEIOU; 09-08-2020, 12:30 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by AEIOU View Post

        You don't get much of a computer for $300, unless maybe it is very used. You could get a Chromebook, but you obviously want Windows 10. If you could bump that up to $400, you'd be able to get a very good used one. Anyway, I recommend at a minimum an iNTEL core i5 and 8gb of RAM.
        Will a Chromebook work? I thought Vitiux and Xsim required Windows 10. Personally, I hate Windows but I guess it's a necessary evil.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by brianbunge View Post

          Will a Chromebook work? I thought Vitiux and Xsim required Windows 10. Personally, I hate Windows but I guess it's a necessary evil.
          I have no experience with a CHROMEBOOK. Unfortunately, the majority of software requires Windows. Personally I prefer a Mac.

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          • #6
            Bad timing as the virtual school situation has sucked the market about dry for affordable laptops. I run an old Toshiba i3 with 4 gig. Works fine. Only when I was doing a complete amplifier analysis in LTSpice did I need a bigger machine and it was really only for my patience. Other than gaming, I don't know what those monster machines are for. I wish it had an SSD, but bios is too old.

            Old used machines may need a new battery. Go third party, cheap and work fine. Had to get a dongle to run a rs232 when I programmed my Berhingrer processor, ( but I dumped that POS) I wish it had a PCM out. Some new accessories talk BT, and of course WIFI is required, SOP now.

            I doubt a Chromebook will work as several tools need .net framework.

            I run HOLM, ARTA, LIMP, Edge, PSD-Lite, WinISD, True RTA, VItrux, my own Excel spreadsheet applications , REW . Zelscope, and my trusty Woffer Tester II.

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            • #7
              I've used HOLM with several different, and old XP computers.

              For PCD, I use a windows 7 computer. I don't think the version of Excel needed for PCD works on XP. I might be wrong on that. PCD is just an Excel spreadsheet , nothing more.

              Neither of these computers are used online at all. For online activities, I have a Chromebook. A cheap one. It pays for itself just by not buying antivirus software.

              I use a thumb drive to move files from one to the other when needed.

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              • #8
                Checkout the local office supply and electronics stores and on-line for the weekly ads on Windows 10 laptop computers. For example, this week Staples has specials on HP laptops. The prices start at $400 for a 15.6" screen, Core i3 processor with 8 GB RAM and a 128 GB solid state drive (SSD). A 14" screen model features a Core i5 processor, with 8 GB RAM and a 1 TB hard drive and costs $430. Check stores for open box returns or display models for better deals.

                These days SSD drives (faster boot-up and processing speeds) are replacing the large hard drives (cloud computing may suffice for most users). Don't expect to find an optical drive (DVD or Blu-ray) as most users have moved on. Some computers offer SD memory card readers. Accessories use USB and USB-C ports for now. Factor in some money for software like Office for Word/Excel/and Powerpoint suites.

                Microsoft no longer supports Windows 7 and Office 2010 support ends later this year.

                Good luck in your shopping!

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                • #9
                  Thanks for all the responses. I pulled out my old 11 yo Acer with Vista Home SP1 and VituixCAD seems to be running just fine on it for now. It did crash on me a couple of times if I had more than a couple of programs running at the same time so I’ll keep that in consideration when I’m using it. I know an IT guy who used to sell lots of used laptops that he’d refurbish so I may see if he has anything laying around.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tvrgeek View Post
                    . . . and my trusty Woffer Tester II.
                    Yes, you certainly seem like a guy who woffs a lot. Personally I would recommend a wOOfer tester.

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Jim Griffin View Post
                    Checkout the local office supply and electronics stores and on-line for the weekly ads on Windows 10 laptop computers. For example, this week Staples has specials on HP laptops. The prices start at $400 for a 15.6" screen, Core i3 processor with 8 GB RAM and a 128 GB solid state drive (SSD). A 14" screen model features a Core i5 processor, with 8 GB RAM and a 1 TB hard drive and costs $430. Check stores for open box returns or display models for better deals.

                    These days SSD drives (faster boot-up and processing speeds) are replacing the large hard drives (cloud computing may suffice for most users). Don't expect to find an optical drive (DVD or Blu-ray) as most users have moved on. Some computers offer SD memory card readers. Accessories use USB and USB-C ports for now. Factor in some money for software like Office for Word/Excel/and Powerpoint suites.

                    Microsoft no longer supports Windows 7 and Office 2010 support ends later this year.

                    Good luck in your shopping!
                    No need for MS Office as there are third party freeware alternatives. Excel needed for Bagby. Word is handy.


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                    • #12
                      Not sure if this would work for a Windows Vista machine, but I recently upgraded several machines from Windows 7 to Windows 10 for free.
                      I really like Windows 10. Took them long enough! If the link doesn't work, Google "Windows 10 free upgrade 2020" and go to the Forbes.com link
                      Welcome back!

                      https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonk.../#52185c0b75f

                      I think I hear a difference - wow, it's amazing!" Ethan Winer: audio myths
                      "As God is my witness I'll never be without a good pair of speakers!" Scarlett O'Hara

                      High value, high quality RS150/TB28-537SH bookshelf - TARGAS NLA!
                      SB13/Vifa BC25SC06 MTM DCR Galeons-SB13-MTM
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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by tvrgeek View Post
                        other than gaming, i don't know what those monster machines are for.
                        cad
                        BSME
                        Kannapolis NC

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                        • #14
                          I've been getting HP refurb business laptops and a desktop for almost 2 decades from the hp outlet. I suspect a basic model can be had for $400 and one of the best things is there isn't loads of bloatware on them. They are probably all coming with W10 these days. If you have preference for another brand just look for business models ... refurbs have rocked for me.

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                          • #15
                            I've also had really good luck with refurbished HP gear - I get better deals from NewEgg.com though - check out these systems --> https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?N=100019095%204016

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