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Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Choosing a Computer

4. Which Operating system

Which Version of Windows?

For several years Windows XP provided a good, stable platform for running music software and hardware. Microsoft replaced Windows XP at the beginning of 2007 with its brand new Vista platform. Vista brought in many enhancements, not just in terms of the interface, but also in functionality, stability and reliability – all good news for the computer musician. However, Windows Vista required that manufacturers produce completely new drivers for all their hardware, and most software required updating to take advantage of the enhancements. This process has been slow, and many manufacturers are having a hard time converting their interfaces over to the new operating system. The best advice at time of writing is to check to choose the software and hardware you want first, and then choose a compatible operating system.

32 bit or 64 bit

There are 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows, but this has nothing to do with the quality of audio, or the bit rate at which your music is being recorded; rather it is to do with the computing technology itself. The standard version of Windows XP is 32 bit, and all the normal software and hardware you are likely to use is written in 32 bit code with 32 bit drivers. Microsoft latterly introduced Windows x64, a 64 bit version of XP Professional which allowed manufacturers to take advantage of the increased processing power available in 64 bit systems. However, 64 bit is still considered specialist, and only a handful of applications really benefit from it. The biggest advantage is that it can cope with loads more RAM than a 32 bit system - up to 128GB - which could revolutionise the way we use software samplers. However, the rest of the industry is not quite there yet. Windows Vista 64 is also an option, but very few hardware interfaces have drivers for it, so it’s less attractive than regular Vista at the time of writing. Do ensure that the computer you buy is 64 bit compatible though, so that in future you can upgrade to Vista 64 and make use of the advantages which are certain to come in time, and may have already done so by the time you read this!

Apple Macs

The beauty of Macs is that there’s only one specification of machine made by a single manufacturer, warranty sealed and delivered to you. This means that you’re very unlikely to run into any compatibility issues with software or peripherals (providing of course that they are designed to be Mac compatible in the first place). Macs are typically more expensive than their PC equivalents when compared on a spec for spec basis, a comparison which is much easier to make now that they use essentially the same processors. There are also some applications that only run on the Apple operating system, which can make your choice of computer an easy one, although conversely there are some applications that are Windows only.

Buying an Apple Mac computer is very similar in some ways to buying a PC system from a specialist supplier, in that you get similar design ideals. However, you’ll still generally get the best support, PC or Mac, from a specialist music supplier, and it’s often worth paying the extra for it.

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Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

    1. Staff of Thomann GmbH and any cooperation partners and their dependants are excluded from participation.
    2. Should these conditions of participation be violated, especially by using illegitimate means, Thomann GmbH reserves the right to exclude persons from the competition. In case of such violations prizes can be withdrawn and claimed back subsequently.
  4. Announcing the winner

    1. The winners will be notified by Thomann GmbH by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
    2. The prize presented to the winner may not be identical to the item description. There can be deviances regarding the model, colour etc.
    3. The merchandise prizes will be sent by Thomann GmbH or by one of its contracting delivery companies, per freight forwarder, courier or postal service to the postal address indicated by the winner.

      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
    4. An exchange, cash alternative or replacement prize is not possible.
    5. The claim to the prize or replacement of the prize cannot be assigned to a third party.
  5. Data protection

    1. The participant accepts explicitly that Thomann GmbH saves all necessary data for the duration of the competition and forwards them exclusively for purposes related to the winning process to the respective cooperation partner, who is also permitted to save the personal data only for the duration of the competition. The participant is free to withdraw his entry at any time. Please direct the withdrawal to:

      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
      Hans-Thomann-Straße 1
      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Thomann GmbH is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
  6. Liability

    1. Thomann GmbH will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
    2. Thomann GmbH is not liable for the insolvency of a cooperation partner and the resulting consequences for the implementation and processing of the competition.
  7. Other

    1. Legal proceedings are barred.
    2. The law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies exclusively.
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Choosing a Computer overview

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