Searching for the right computer


so first off all a few explanations. I am a sound guy, so I change a long time ago to Mac. I have been programming in Max Msp for some time but for my next project a I chose to go with VVVV. I have some people helping me with that and now the main thing for me is to gather the right equipment for the project. So here is where I need your help. The PC word has one to many possibilities for me to decided what to buy, and it would be very cool if you guys can help me with that.

So here are the details:

I not rendering huge visual effect (like i said I am a sound guy)
I am Tracking with 2-3 Kinect cameras 2-5 people. (that means I need 3 separated USB ports, is that right?)
I analyzing this Information Life.
Is not a muss but it would be great to have the audio Engine (max map or Ableton live) in the same Computer.
And everything has to have as less latency as possible.

At the end is very simple, I am grabbing the data with VVVV from 2-3 Kinects and then sending the information via OSC to the audio engine.

My question in very simple. Where (I am en Berlin, so something here or Online) can I buy the Computer and what should I buy. I don’t want to spend more then 1500 eur if is not necessary.

any help is very welcome


There isn’t a straight forward answer.

Firstly, far as I’m aware you can only run 2 Kinects from one machine, tracking 2 people. If you could get them working on your Mac, OSC to MAX MSP shouldn’t be a worry.

Secondly, yeah, you want them sending data into different parts of you motherboard to be on the safe side. Its churning through a lot of data.

Thirdly, while your patch won’t be graphics heavy, you’ll want to use a quick machine for keeping the data a-flowing if you’re going to run Ableton/MSP on the same rig. You may be able to do the whole thing on vvvv with the help of the new Audio Pack?

Finally, get the best machine you can afford. If or when you decide to go grfik, have something you can rely on in most eventualities.

So without much further ado, I invite you to take a look at this useful thread:


Whats wrong with using the mac you have and installing windows through bootcamp? I use vvvv on an iMac at work and on a Macbook Pro at home and never had any issues (except windows being useless at using retina screens).

Every mac is also a PC (personal computer), so correctly you should distinguish between a PC running OS X and Windows, not between a Mac and a PC.

For the times I have used Windows pc’s, I have to say I prefer a used Workstation computer by one of the big brands like Dell or HP. I used to have a refurbished Dell Precision Workstation that I got for a real good price (800 Euros) and it had Xeon processors and a really well designed case. They have proper drivers and have optimised parts to work well together. Unless you have a lot of experience I would stay away from the temptation of building your own machine.

yes, you need 3 usb controllers to be precise. and as far as i know usb 3.0 controllers don’t work. most motherboards have at least two controllers. one for the front ports and one for the ports at the backside. then you can get a usb card, they are cheap and have up to 4 controllers. i’ve seen a vvvv pc running 6 kincets:

Ok, taking into consideration the need for multiple USB controllers, then most Macs wont be too suited for that as they usually just have 1 or 2 usb controllers unless you have an old mac pro.

I would still recommend to get a used workstation. Just had a look and there is for example, where you can configure a dell precision workstation with 2 quad-core xeons, 16gb of ram and quad-VGA card for around 600 euros. They will have enough slots for some usb cards and will run very reliably. Much more so than spending the same 600 euros on new hardware, that is usually geared towards gaming and meaningless stats. Especially as the latest and greatest isnt necessarily needed, like windows 8, usb 3, etc. not always working as expected with vvvv and other peripherals.

A 5 year old Mercedes S-Class is still better than a new VW Polo.