G3 skipping during playback, mixing and recording

I hope this is the right place for this question. If not, I apologize in advance.

I have been running Ardour on 2 computers, both using OSX 10.3.9. The first is an iMac G3, 600 MHz with 128 MB SDRAM and the other is an iBook G3, 800 MHz with 384 MB SDRAM.

I love the possibilities with Ardour and have done some initial recording with it, but have begun to see problems with my computers keeping up (mostly skipping during recording and playback, but also some crashes). I’m guessing these are a result of slow processor speeds but am hoping (beyond hope?) that I can reconfigure something to help, at least until I can afford a newer computer.

I’m not looking to work miracles, just want to eliminate the skipping at least during mixing. My band and I have begun recording on another program on a bandmate’s PC, but I want to do mixes and other final work with Ardour (the other program is limited in this respect, not to mention in the number of tracks).

If a new computer is the only answer, do you have any recommendations? How have the Mac minis performed with Ardour?

Any help is much appreciated.
Thanks for reading,

Disclaimer: I am not a Mac guy.

(that said)

Is it both computers or just one? I suspect it is just one and most likely the G3 /w 128MB @ 600Mhz. That speed shouldn’t be too bad for basic record/playback/mix… Will have issues with too many plugins. However the RAM is fairly low (in my opinion).

Other cause could be old hard drive and it cannot keep up with the Ardour, or worse, it is beginning to have hot-fixed sectors (and a lot of them) and this will degrade disk performance.

Not sure what the recommended hardware for Mac is… For Linux (on x86), it generally is ~1Ghz w/ 512MB and decent disk performance (SCSI, IEEE1394 however SATA and newer PATA drives are good). Some even have dedicated HD for audio. External IEEE1394 anyone? I however have experimented w/ software RAID0 for near 2x the disk throughput.

A Mac person would know what truly is a good baseline hardware, but that doesn’t mean that you could be having hardware problems (like a slowly failing HD).

I cannot stress that the HD performance is performance is critical.


i’ve had some luck doing very simple things with a B&W PMG3 running at 400mhz. for sessions with only a few tracks and zero plugins, things should run relatively smoothly. the main concern here is the ram. i wouldn’t recommend trying to do anything serious with any less than 512mb.

What kind of performance would you guys estimate I should get from a dual G4 450 using a Delta 1010 audio card? I’m experiencing just about the same problem (mostly skipping during recording and playback, but also some crashes) with only one track of audio. This happens no matter what latency I choose.

I know it’s not the fastest of processors, but there are two of them and I’ve got 1.5GB of memory. I would definitely expect better performance, but maybe there are some tweaks that I don’t know about.