What laptop are you running on?


Gigabyte Brix… Oh, gadzooks! I am so in love with that thing!

(I’d always prefer to use my own VERY MUCH LARGER monitor over using a laptop!) :slight_smile:

Thanks for sharing that, Neil - I did not know these existed.



After installing Keyscape on my 3-year old laptop and dealing with pops and glitches, I decided to upgrade to the best I could get my hands on – money no object. I don’t regret the investment one bit, but this system is overkill for what I use it for. Based on my trials with other systems, I think 16GB of memory and a 1TB SSD would have met my needs. Anyway, here she is:


  • HP Zbook15 G3 Mobile Workstation
  • Windows10 Pro 64-bit
  • CPU: Intel i7-6820HQ 2.7GHz (Quadcore)
  • RAM: 48GB (16+16+8+8)
  • SSD1: 512GB NVMe (Win10, apps, plug-ins)
  • SSD2: 1TB NVMe (plug-in content)
  • HDD: 1TB hybrid (audio rec/playback)
  • External HDDs: 4 1TB drives (backup)
  • LCD: 1920 x 1080 (FHD) Dreamcolor
  • Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 USB interface (4 balanced outs used for keys, click, backing tracks)


  • Cantabile Performer 3
  • Sonar Platinum
  • Komplete 10 Ultimate
  • Omnisphere, Trilian, Keyscape
  • Superior Drummer 2
  • Truepianos
  • GSi VB3 and MrRay Mark II
  • Various one-off plug-ins
  • No warez anywares on my machines


  • Yamaha P-35 digital piano (cheap, decent feel, lightweight)
  • Studiologic SL-161
  • Korg nanoKontrol2

The performance of this system is so much better than my previous one. I believe it is the SSDs that have made the biggest improvement. I’ve pulled up a couple of my most demanding projects with 20+ tracks with 10+ plugins and it handles them with ease.

It took two weeks and lots of hair pulling to get all the software installed (darned online download installers caused so much trouble). I’ve only had it up and running for a day but everything is running smoothly. I do home studio work (jazz, r&b, pop, gospel) and play live jazz and in a church setting.

[Edit] I played my first gig today and the system performed perfectly. For most songs I was running 2 instances of Omnisphere/Keyscape (3 to 4 layers) and 2 instances of Kontakt with buffers set to 221 (5ms). The crazy thing is that I brought the wrong AC adapter and was running from battery power for 4 hours and only used 50% of the battery capacity. Nice to know that it run for 6 hours on a single charge.


Wow what a machine !



Nice machine!!



I didn’t know this, good to clarify.
So an i5 is only running 2 cores? My alienware has 4+4 virtual. Is that a visualization? Is it efficient?

Update: I’ve found some answers
actually there are no 8 core processors as of now… a six core processor is expected early next year… there are core i7 processors with HT technology that have 8 threads… something like a core gets two partitions where 2 things can be done simultaneously… hence 2 X 4 = 8 threads are 8 apparent cores…


I purchased a Lenovo Thinkpad T410 back in 2012 - specifically to run Cantabile 2.
It was a popular machine back then for build quality - and it had built in firewire -which I wanted because all the USB interfaces at that time could not perform as solidly as the firewire stuff which already owned.
i5 M560 and 8 gigs.
It cost over $1000 back them
This thing has been a total workhorse - and runs demanding plugins like Omnisphere comfortably enough. There is no config that I would run live which would be too much for this thing at a chosen buffer of 128.

Last year (edit: actually it was this year), New Egg and Tiger direct started to knock out factory refurb T420s (slightly better CPU and USB 3) for $200.
I jumped in and purchased another two!
SSDs installed and these things perform excellently.
Next change will be the RME Babyface which seems to have the most efficient, low latency, driver on the market - and it’s USB.
The money I saved on a new laptop buys an interface and SSD drives.
So, a slightly different approach.

It’s worth noting that it’s because Cantabile operates the way it does, releasing the resources of disabled plugins, that truly humungous setups can be put together in a way that no conventional DAW could do, on a purely practical level.

I have brought a few friends into Cantabile and they also went for the Lenovo refurbs. 200 bucks? Silly money for so much computer.


I’ve had the same experience with Ade with refurb Thinkpads, although I haven’t run Cantabile on one. I bought a Thinkpad X220, Core i5 2.5GHz, 8Gb RAM, 320Gb HD for £170 on eBay, which is about $200 at the current silly value of the British pound. Great machine, solidly made, reliable, especially now I dropped an SSD into it. The kind of laptop you can happily take to a gig and not worry if it gets scratched or bumped.


I’m using:
Lenovo W530
Windows 10 Pro 1607
Intel i7-3610QM
2x SSD (1TB+500GB)

RME Babyface
Yamaha MOXF8
MAudio Axiom 61



Wow That’s almost top hitech governement stuff to take over the world!


The i7 6900k gives you 8 true cores, but at 140w it runs too hot for a notebook (or a small form factor case.) I seriously thought about it recently, but it’s a US$1,000+ chip, and with expensive tastes in supporting hardware…


Same here. Refurbished T420 work like a Dream!


I’m a low level user of Cantabile 2 running Scuffam Amps S-Gear, Sampletank, Kontakt, Guitar Rig 5, playing guitar equipped with Fishman Triple Play into a Focusrite 2i4 second generation interface, controlling everything with a Roland FC300.

Would this laptop be a good choice:


Lenovo Laptop T420
Intel Core i5 2520M (2.50 GHz)
16 GB Memory
256 GB SSD
Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit



“a good choice” would be too much.
It could be sufficiant for your need, which we don’t really now.
There are so many possibilities to take into account!
The Amps & Guitarrig would need some CPU-power which could be lacking in this laptop (only i5, older CPU).
For Kontakt and Sampletank the RAM (and SSD) should be good/sufficiant.


Thanks for the reply, Jeff.

I play in a small church using an electric guitar that has a stereo output going to a “Y” cable. The two stereo outputs are plugged into channel one and two of my interface. In Cantiblie 2 I usually have channel one going to S-Gear in rack 1 giving me electric guitar sounds. Channel 2 usually goes to Guitar Rig 5 in rack 2 giving me acoustic guitar sounds. The midi from the Fishman Triple Play goes into a 3rd and 4th rack in Cantibile. Using mono mode midi output from the Fishman, rack 3 is usually using Sampletank bass guitar sounds coming from the guitar low E and A strings, rack 4 Sampletank organ sounds coming from the other 4 guitar strings… The FC300’s two expression pedals are used to blend in and out the rack 1 electric guitar and rack 4 organ sounds and sometimes use a FC300 footswitch to turn on / off the bass guitar sound.

Anyway, here is another more expensive refurbed laptop possibility:


Intel Core i7 3520M (2.90 GHz)
16 GB Memory 256 GB SSD
Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit



That would absolutely do the job - especially if coupled with a good quality audio device which has a proven low latency driver.


There is nothing you’re running that the i5 couldn’t handle easily.
I have two lenovos - a t410 and a t 420.


I know this is a really old thread. I am really confused about processor chips. What’s the difference between say an 8th generation I-5 and an I-7? Computers with I-7 are really expensive. Would the 8th generation I-5 be good enough. I don’t have a lot of CPU hungry VSTs right now. I have several of the Acoustic Samples instruments and M-tron pro that have sample libraries. Eventually I would like to get DIVA and maybe even Omnisphere.

Thanks - Paul


Know what? I purchased a Lenovo Thinkpad T410 back in 2012, specifically to run Cantabile 2, and now 3. It has an M560 @ 2.67 Ghz, I think I paid around $1200.
I’m running it as I type - plugged through to my main rig by SPDIF.
I toured with it - using Firewire interfaces by Focusrite and M-Audio. The way Cantabile targets resources allows that machine to have a perfectly acceptable performance, even running hogs like Omnisphere.
I was so impressed by this machine that 2 years ago I purchased a T420 refurb, with a slightly better i5 2620M.
Contrary to Lenovo’s spec sheet, the max RAM on that machine is 16 gb. When In saw that, I slammed in the RAM and a 500gb SSD. Got a PCI express card on it to continue to run Firewire interfaces which, in my experience, offer better performance than USB 2.0
I paid $200 for that refurb, which looked like new. The memory and SSD probably took the overall investment up to $500.
A friend of mine purchased the same machine and did the same updates, He’s using it, with two external monitors, as his main DAW computer now, rather than pay to repair his faulty desktop computer.

I don’t think one needs to have the highest end i7 to run a totally capable Cantabile rig - but hogs can bring anything to grinding halt. If you are prepared to use a jbridged DIVA, to allow for one extra buffer to be employed, you will still be able to use a low latency setting for the overall system, as described in other threads in this forum - and maybe use a lower quality accuracy (fast - NEVER draft - that totally sucks) on DIVA which, in a live context, I doubt would be detectable, should it be an issue. I just checked on the T420 and a the preset HS Big Old Polly, is peaking at around 60% playing 6 voices -but that’s DIVA for you!
I just tried the same patch on my i7-4930 desktop and it peaks around the same place!

The point is, you can do a LOT with a generation of i5’s that aren’t even current! :smiley: