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Hi. Hoping there are some techies who can advise me, a non-techie. Looking for a good laptop, not too expensive, PC, to use for both Pianoteq 7, reading sheet music, and interfacing with my Yamaha P-515. Do you have specific recommendations for size and type of a laptop that is great for pianists? The bigger the screen the better for my eyes. Just using it for home use, doesn't need to be fancy, just great size, reliable, decent price, and can run Pianoteq 7 quickly. Play mostly classical, but lots of other stuff too. Just not super tech savy, so its helpful for me to know if another pianist likes a particular model and why. Or ones to avoid and why. Apple products look great, but kind of pricey. Any alternatives you like?

Really enjoying the Yamaha P-515, particularly when you run Pianoteq 7. The New York Steinway and the Bechstein are fab, not that the CFX built in isn't good too, but with Pianoteq, even better realism.


You can teach an old dog new tricks - having to play digitally since everybody is at home, all the time. Any and all advice appreciated!

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Some used office laptops are cheap and high performance. Search the forums for ideas.

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There are a few laptops that do not work well with music software in general, especially in the latency department. Dell XPS comes to mind, from memory of posts about laptops in music in this forum. I suggest you do a search in the forum, there are several topics on it (use advanced search, with "notebook" and/or "laptop".


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Whether new or used I'd stick with the so-called business laptops.

The home laptops are poorly made. You asked for reliable. Home laptops are not. They're junk.

But business laptops are a good deal more expensive. The home laptops start at maybe $300. The business laptops are at least triple that. But they last.

My wife is still using a 2014-vintage Lenovo business laptop. It only needed a battery replacement ($60) after about six years. It's been otherwise entirely uneventful.

It was a replacement for two successive laptops that each only lasted two years ... and were most troublesome throughout those years. So we stay far away from the "home" laptops.

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Pianoteq recommends a minimum Intel Core i5-5675C which gets 5,903 on passmark. Whatever computer you buy, look it up on passmark.com and it has to be higher than 5903.

Smaller laptops sometimes have a low PL1 power limit despite benching higher than 5903. This means it can only sustain its peak frequency for a short amount of time limited by dissipation. It should still run pianoteq, but it can cause latency issues. The bigger the laptop the less likely you'll run into this type of problem. Gaming laptops are the safebet, because they're designed to have a LONG sustained performance. Ryzen 58/ 59 is the way to go. These will run the VSL pianos no sweat.

For sheet music, even a 17" is pretty small. You'll want a separate tv or monitor for this.

Last edited by EinLudov; 04/13/21 07:29 PM.
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Originally Posted by Spuds
Hi. Hoping there are some techies who can advise me, a non-techie. Looking for a good laptop, not too expensive, PC, to use for both Pianoteq 7, reading sheet music, and interfacing with my Yamaha P-515. Do you have specific recommendations for size and type of a laptop that is great for pianists? The bigger the screen the better for my eyes. Just using it for home use, doesn't need to be fancy, just great size, reliable, decent price, and can run Pianoteq 7 quickly.

Is there a particular reason you want a "laptop"? Desktop computers provide far more bang for the buck. I've bought two Pianoteq capable desktop computers with Pianoteq capable processing power for under $300 from Microcenter, an on line seller with numerous brick and mortat stores around the USA. They are off-lease business computers, high quality, and built much more sturdily than a laptop. They seem to be about 1/3 the price of similarly spec'd laptops.

To see how much processor you need, go to the FAQ section of Modartt/Pianoteq website and follow the link to the list of processors that meet Pianoteq's benchmark performance requirements.

Be aware that as years go by and Pianoteq releases new and improved versions, the benchmark requirements go up. If I remember correctly, Pianoteq 5 could run on a processor with benchmark performance of about 1800. As EinLudov mentions above, the current version requires around 5900. So you may want to purchase more processing power then the current requirements to be prepared for future versions of Pianoteq.


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To make things even more confusing, I have problems with the audio system of a 2020 asus zenbook (ryzen, 16gb, ssd), while a similar asus zenbook from 2014 runs everything perfectly. The problem is with the realtek audio drivers or hardware. I am unable to solve it: Asio, wasapi, or anything else is full of static-like clicks and the audio is reproduced very slowly in all software. On the other hand, the old laptop (cpu benchmark of 2500 if I remember correctly, 8gb ram) with asio4all, runs pianoteq 7.3 trial without a problem and the same happens with garritan cfx full, and all reaper projects.

Last edited by vagfilm; 04/14/21 03:49 AM.
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Ralphiano makes a good point ...
Originally Posted by Ralphiano
Is there a particular reason you want a "laptop"? Desktop computers provide far more bang for the buck.
And a desktop is likely to last a lot longer, too.

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Originally Posted by Spuds
Hi. Hoping there are some techies who can advise me, a non-techie. Looking for a good laptop, not too expensive, PC, to use for both Pianoteq 7, reading sheet music, and interfacing with my Yamaha P-515. Do you have specific recommendations for size and type of a laptop that is great for pianists? The bigger the screen the better for my eyes. Just using it for home use, doesn't need to be fancy, just great size, reliable, decent price, and can run Pianoteq 7 quickly. Play mostly classical, but lots of other stuff too. Just not super tech savy, so its helpful for me to know if another pianist likes a particular model and why. Or ones to avoid and why. Apple products look great, but kind of pricey. Any alternatives you like?

Really enjoying the Yamaha P-515, particularly when you run Pianoteq 7. The New York Steinway and the Bechstein are fab, not that the CFX built in isn't good too, but with Pianoteq, even better realism.


You can teach an old dog new tricks - having to play digitally since everybody is at home, all the time. Any and all advice appreciated!

I'd rather save money for few more months and buy a Macbook m1. It is worth it.


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Originally Posted by EVC2017
There are a few laptops that do not work well with music software in general, especially in the latency department. Dell XPS comes to mind...

Originally Posted by Abdol
I'd rather save money for few more months and buy a Macbook m1. It is worth it.

I had a Dell XPS 13, i7-7500 for the past 4.5 years - just sold it yesterday for USD $750. It has a very nice touch-screen, but a useless audio chipset - high latency and regular freeze-ups.

Purchased a MacBook Air M1 16GB edition today. Will see how that goes with Pianoteq.

Also if you know anyone studying at university they get quite a large discount on MacBooks (well at least they do here in Singapore).

And yes make sure you get an M1 CPU version - Intel was cremated last year (after their 50 year reign - so no need to shed any tears!).

Last edited by Burkey; 04/14/21 10:51 AM.

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I would aim for a CPU with at least ten thousand as PassMark, and cores/threads = 4/8 as a minimum, preferrably 6/12 or more, but processors with higher core numbers are quite expensive, so computers containing them will also be.

As others have mentioned, if the computer is dedicated to Pianoteq or VSTis in general, desktops are better. Not as expensive, do not get as warm, and usually have more USB ports and upgrade abilities.

You can see the list of CPUs Modartt recommends, and say any CPU on that list will be enough. Those are all high end CPUs, but as I said earlier, I would not go below a PassMark of 10,000 (ten thousand).

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html


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Originally Posted by TheodorN
I would aim for a CPU with at least ten thousand as PassMark, and cores/threads = 4/8 as a minimum, preferrably 6/12 or more, but processors with higher core numbers are quite expensive, so computers containing them will also be.

I would not go below a PassMark of 10,000 (ten thousand).

Again, I must emphasize, alot of CPUs especially on mobile can Benchmark near 10000, but because of PL1 power restriction, there can be latency spikes as they have a throttle timer.

On mobile, If you're going to spend ~$1000-1200, get Ryzen 4xxx or 5xxx

~$500-700, Ryzen 4xxx

These will run not only pianoteq, but almost everything you could ever use in terms of piano software.

Last edited by EinLudov; 04/14/21 11:35 AM.
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I have to agree with EinLudov. I know OP is in Canada so I don't know about Costco up there but they have a 2n1 14" Lenovo with the newer AMD 5700u chip that would run anything on the Windows side.
Plus it has an HDMI out port to attach a bigger size monitor if needed. Plus it has Active Pen support to write on the screen if needed. In the USA this model is selling for $750.00

Personally I wouldn't go the Apple M1 route. Not that it isn't a great chip, but because it is still new tech and the OP is not tech-savy.


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Originally Posted by EPW
Personally I wouldn't go the Apple M1 route. Not that it isn't a great chip, but because it is still new tech and the OP is not tech-savy.

I think M1 macs are the best machines on the market, but dealing with software compatibility is not for beginners. laugh

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Originally Posted by EinLudov
Originally Posted by EPW
Personally I wouldn't go the Apple M1 route. Not that it isn't a great chip, but because it is still new tech and the OP is not tech-savy.

I think M1 macs are the best machines on the market, but dealing with software compatibility is not for beginners. laugh

Personally I would rather have a nice Windows 2n1 machine especially now that I have Staffpad smile
With Apple I would need a iPad and still a laptop for my needs. I do agree that the new M1 macs are sweet machines but the software is still going to take time to catch up.


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Wow! I can't thank you all enough! This was way more than I had hoped for. This really helps me you guys, so thank you all for taking the time to reply. This is what I love about Piano World forums, even though I can be sitting in a little town in Alberta, with nobody else in town to go to with this issue, people from all over the world will provide advice. So helpful! Thanks a bunch. Will use all this expert advice when I go hunting for my Pianoteq device. Stay safe and happy playing!

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You don't need anything close to 10,000 SpecMark.
Originally Posted by TheodorN
I would aim for a CPU with at least ten thousand as PassMark, and cores/threads = 4/8 as a minimum, preferrably 6/12 or more, but processors with higher core numbers are quite expensive, so computers containing them will also be.

I've run Pianoteq problem free on a dual-core CPU rated at 2700.
Frankly there's (almost) no computer today that can't handle Pianoteq, so no worries.

Note also that PassMark recently adjusted their metrics, especially around the higher spec CPUs.
For example ... a CPU previously rated 12,000 is now around 9,700.

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Not saying he can't get away with bare bone specs, but he's spending money today, and what could be gotten away with is different vs best Value. What if he needs a slightly more powerful pc to do recording or he decides to try out VSL, buy yet another computer ?

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EinLudov, this info. is really helpful. The latency issue is what I had wondered about. Being able to keep up, with the number of notes - not that I'm some fabulous musician or anything, just seems a tech issue. Was wondering about the gaming laptop too. Yes, a desktop would probably work best, but space and portability are in issue in smaller home. But, maybe I need to check out people's home setups got ideas. Thanks again everyone.



"Smaller laptops sometimes have a low PL1 power limit despite benching higher than 5903. This means it can only sustain its peak frequency for a short amount of time limited by dissipation. It should still run pianoteq, but it can cause latency issues. The bigger the laptop the less likely you'll run into this type of problem. Gaming laptops are the safebet, because they're designed to have a LONG sustained performance. Ryzen 58/ 59 is the way to go. These will run the VSL pianos no sweat.

For sheet music, even a 17" is pretty small. You'll want a separate tv or monitor for this."

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Good luck in your hunt and please tell us what you end up getting.


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
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