Beat the Bloat: Choosing the right PC for RƎLAY
It’s no secret that many computer manufacturers load their machines at the factory with more than just the operating system – they also include third-party programs they say will “enhance your user experience”. Sometimes this software is fully-functional; often it’s trialware or nagware designed to get you to pay for the full version. But in nearly all cases, these extra programs (which have become known as bloatware to the tech community) slow down and hinder the performance of the computer. Just what you don’t want, especially when you’re doing live audio mixing with DSP in realtime! For many of us, our first action in commissioning a new PC is to format the boot drive and install a clean OS. There are even software tools that clean the bloat from new PCs.
Thankfully, PC makers have taken notice of buyers’ dissatisfaction at having their powerful new PC hampered by programs they don’t want or need. We’re glad to report that even Microsoft has taken notice; the Microsoft Store now includes Signature Edition computers, a curated collection of PCs from different makers – including top-line names such as Dell, Sony and Lenovo – that are unburdened by bloatware and (according to Microsoft) are quality-checked and optimized to deliver an optimal power-user experience.
Naturally, we think that choosing this route is an excellent decision for broadcasters setting up new RƎLAY installations. Of course, you don’t have to go through any particular portal in order to order these trimmed-down systems; most major manufacturers make them available from their own direct outlets, or those of their distributors. You just have to pay attention to the listing.
Naturally you want the most powerful machine you can afford. We currently recommend Intel Core-i7 quad-core machines (like the Dell XPS 15 9550 Signature Edition used to debut RƎLAY at NAB 2016). 8GB RAM and a 512MB hard drive are the sweet spot.
If you plan on running lots of apps and VSTs, add more RAM. An SSD drive is not crucial, since RƎLAY is not hard-disk intensive. Is a touchscreen needed to use RƎLAY? We recommend it for ease of use, but you can run RƎLAY perfectly well with a touchpad or mouse.
Any way about it, keeping that useless bloatware off your machine is essential, so do your shopping and of course, feel free to drop us a note if you’d like to chat.
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