[LAU] Small instrument hardware module

Patrick Shirkey pshirkey at boosthardware.com
Tue Oct 21 19:13:45 UTC 2014

On Wed, October 22, 2014 5:35 am, Kazakore wrote:
> On 21/10/14 21:12, Patrick Shirkey wrote:
>> Every DJ I know uses a laptop
> But real DJs use vinyl No fans there!! ;-)

It's rare to find a DJ that doesn't use a laptop at least some of a set
these days. Nearly everyone has one.

In my experience there's a greater risk of overheating without a fan and
the ARM (allwinner) chipsets are prone to that. My bet is a low power x86
processor/unit with a (quiet) fan will out perform and outlast an ARM
chipset without.

But the difference is around $200 so you get what you pay for.

IMO, it's still a big ask to expect a super cheap ARM device from a cheap
Chinese manufacturer to perform to the same levels as a $300 x86 unit from
Intel. The cheap chipsets are just not designed for professional level
abuse especially from manufacturers like AllWinner/RockChip/MediaTek. The
cheaper you go the less reliable/powerful they become. For example the
a20's have to be clocked down if you don't want them overheating. They
have an auto shutoff at 70degC which is surprisingly easy to trigger in a
warm climate/room. You might get good results from Qualcomm or TI but I
haven't used their chipsets. Some other people round here work for those
companies though so they might be able to offer some insight.

If I was performing and needed a linuxsampler/pianoteq/realtime synth unit
I would go for a $500 i5 unit (incl fan), with a really fast SSD and 16GB
DDR3 RAM as a baseline. I used a similar setup for a few years and never
had any problems with fans. I also spent a lot more money and time on it
too.  It would have been great to have a portable quad core with 16GB of
RAM and dual 1080p hdmi back then. That would have enabled me to achieve a
lot more.  Back then those kind of specs costs several thousand dollars
and were definitely not portable. IIRC 8GB was the max for RAM too.

So, spend a little more and get something really killer. Be glad you don't
have to spend thousands any more to get something that can do almost
everything you can throw at it.

The difference between $50 and $500 is a few weeks work for most people
earning a western income so it's worth the wait.

Patrick Shirkey
Boost Hardware Ltd

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