Macbook Pro too slow?

I purchased Ardour and would really like to get it put to use, however, even simple playback fails with a “disk too slow” message. Is this typical for Macbooks (2.33 GHz Intel and 2 GB SDRAM)?

Maybe my $45 was a waste.

This warning message is about your disk and implicitly your filesystem on that disk. The error isn’t a lie - it really does mean that Ardour could not get the data from the disk fast enough to satisfy playback requirements. But it doesn’t mean that your Macbook is too slow - we have plenty of people running Ardour on similar systems. Some of them will hopefully offer up some ideas on how to improve performance so that this doesn’t happen. You may find that a new session doesn’t have the same problem because the filesystem puts the session data somewhere else on the disk, for example.

The internal spindle absed disks on Mac’s laptops are notoriously slow for data access in my experience, I think I measured 5MB/s sustained read at best for my MBP before I put a solid state disk in it.

I would recommend modifying Ardour’s rc file to increase the buffer size it uses from 5 seconds to a much larger value, the exact value is probably best found through trial and error as a larger value will make it more stable for read and write, but will also mean that every seek operation has to fill a larger buffer as well. For the record even on a SSD for live recordings I am about 60s.


Another thing which haunted an user from this site was that Laptops tend to “shut down” the hard disk when the laptop is moved.

I think the user had the problem that the vibrations when recording caused his hard disk to shut down - so the hard disk was to slow. After putting the laptop into a less vibrating place it worked fine.

@gastric_bass: yes, this is definitely a clear demonstrated problem. its particularly bad with loud low frequencies. i know people who have to be very careful to acoustically shield drives (whether in a laptop or not) in order to get them to function for recording. thanks for reminding us all of this issue.