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33.2. Set the Stage

You can avoid many overburdened-Mac situations just by taking the time to set up your GarageBand environment smartly. For example:

  • Quit as many other programs as possible. GarageBand needs all the memory it can get.

  • Every PowerBook, iBook, and Power Mac G5 lets you switch your computer's brain into a slower, reduced-power mode to save heat and battery charge. But for GarageBand, that's just asking for trouble; it needs every hair of horsepower it can get.

    Figure 33-1. Top: When GarageBand starts having trouble keeping up with everything going on in your tracks, the Playhead begins to change color. It turns from white, through orange, and finally to deepening red, as you approach the system-overload point. It's your early-warning system that your piece is approaching GarageBand BogDown.
    Bottom: When GarageBand absolutely reaches the end of its ability to process all of the music, this message appears. Time to read this chapter.

    So choose → System Preferences, click Energy Saver, then click the Options tab. Now from the pop-up menu, choose Highest. Close the window.

    Your laptop battery won't last quite as long, and your G5's fan might spin up a little more, but at least you'll be able to get some meaningful work done in GarageBand.

  • Don't try to play a song, loop, or audio file that's on a CD or DVD. Copy it to your hard drive first.

  • Turn off FileVault, if you're using it, by choosing → System Preferences, clicking Security, and clicking Turn FileVault Off. (FileVault is a Mac OS X security feature that encrypts your entire Home folder; you'd remember turning it on.) It slows down data transfer from your Home folder dramatically.

    Alternatively, copy your GarageBand projects to a location outside your Home folder—into the Shared folder, for example. That way, you can leave FileVault turned on without any speed penalty.



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