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Need help buying a new computer for music production...
Old 25th July 2016
  #1
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Need help buying a new computer for music production...

What's up Gearslutz?

I'm looking to buy a new desktop computer for music production but I have no idea which one to choose. These three desktops are in my price range and have similar specs... but I may be missing something important that might make a big difference.

So... which of these three desktops do you guys think will give me the best performance for computer music production?

CUK HP Pavilion Desktop PC - $879.99
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...A2TC87EJKQMY9O


Dell Inspiron i3650 Flagship High Performance Desktop - $799.00
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...A16YSFOH31M2GC


HP Elite 8300 Workstation Computer - $699.99
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...A3QHHNIUZ3MGA6

Last edited by ASICE; 26th July 2016 at 01:58 AM..
Old 25th July 2016
  #2
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Any opinions on these desktop machines?
Old 25th July 2016
  #3
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You'll spend way too much, i5 cpu is fine for music production.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref...nid=2224369011
Old 25th July 2016
  #4
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I5 is NOT always enough for music production. Where did you get that idea? We can't answer this question responsibly until we know what the op wants to do. Just tracking? Mixing audio? Heavy vsts?

And you can save loads of money building your own system. Its not that hard to learn if you're motivated to save money.
Old 26th July 2016
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirka View Post
You'll spend way too much, i5 cpu is fine for music production.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref...nid=2224369011
Thanks for the reply.

So... you think a i5 is strong enough to run 5 or 6 instances of Kontakt and other large vsti instruments and a ton of effects... on one project without any problems?

Also... I'm using

1. Studio One 3 - main DAW

2. Maschine 2 - as a plugin in Studio One 3

3. A lot of Kontakt instruments

4. Tons of Effect plugins on almost every track.
Old 26th July 2016
  #6
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i7 5820k, reasonably overclocked with 16 or even 32 GB or RAM sounds about right for what you're doing.

Not an i5. That would suit a tracking setup or some light mixing duties.
Old 26th July 2016
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaolin View Post
i7 5820k, reasonably overclocked with 16 or even 32 GB or RAM sounds about right for what you're doing.

Not an i5. That would suit a tracking setup or some light mixing duties.
Thanks...

Do you think I should go with a SSD or HDD?
Old 26th July 2016
  #8
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Go HDD as SSDs are still more expensive. Their main advantage is faster boot up, which isn't really a big deal if you're dong a 12 hour mix! For VI libraries and recording there is no advantage.

7200 rpm is plenty fast enough for DAWs.
Old 26th July 2016
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ASICE View Post
Thanks...

Do you think I should go with a SSD or HDD?
The SSD are a little more $ but I have been using them . They are quiet, take less power so if you build a PC with a PSU large enough to not need to turn its fan on to cool your machine could be running a lot quieter and cooler.

I run two when working then hook up a spindle gigabyte drive for backup outside the case.
Old 26th July 2016
  #10
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Quote:
i7 5820k, reasonably overclocked with 16 or even 32 GB or RAM sounds about right for what you're doing.
You are right, considering what the OP does, i7 is "safer".

Quote:
i5. That would suit a tracking setup or some light mixing duties.
Bull..., i run instances of Omnisphere on a i5 and 8 giga of ram.
You can track and light mix on a pentium 4 !
Old 26th July 2016
  #11
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Thanks for all the feedback guys.

Are there any other advantages of using a SSD's besides faster boot times and being quiet. Does using a SSD improve your DAWs performance at all?

Also... how do you guys feel about buying refurbished computers?
Old 26th July 2016
  #12
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In Europe, the cheapest way is buying at websites that let you choose the components out of a list and assemble the pc for you.
I suppose that should exist in the states too.
Old 26th July 2016
  #13
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How would you guys rank these when it comes to importance in computer music production?

1. Ram.

2. Processor speed.

3. Drive speed.
Old 26th July 2016
  #14
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hodshonf's Avatar
i5 and rotating mechanical hard drive recommendations?

good lord - what decade is this?

priorities:

1. Ram. - #1 priority !!!

2. Processor speed. - #1 priority !!!

3. Drive speed. - #1 priority !!!

ASUS is a very good brand to check out.
Old 27th July 2016
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASICE View Post
Thanks for all the feedback guys.

Are there any other advantages of using a SSD's besides faster boot times and being quiet. Does using a SSD improve your DAWs performance at all?
Any other advantages of using a SSD?
Old 27th July 2016
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirka View Post
You are right, considering what the OP does, i7 is "safer".


Bull..., i run instances of Omnisphere on a i5 and 8 giga of ram.
You can track and light mix on a pentium 4 !
You were hasty in recommending an i5 and were shown to be wrong. Just accept it and move on. Don't throw out insults and try to recover your credibility. It just makes it worse.
Old 27th July 2016
  #17
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jaxman12's Avatar
I bought an HP I7 with 16GB Ram several weeks ago from HP's website. Looks exactly like the one you are showing. I am not satisfied with it. I believe the motherboard may be substandard. Glitchy, not a smooth response like there are bottlenecks in the system.
Old 27th July 2016
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaxman12 View Post
I bought an HP I7 with 16GB Ram several weeks ago from HP's website. Looks exactly like the one you are showing. I am not satisfied with it. I believe the motherboard may be substandard. Glitchy, not a smooth response like there are bottlenecks in the system.
Which one... the Pavilion or the Elite? Also... SSD or HDD?
Old 27th July 2016
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASICE View Post
Any other advantages of using a SSD?
Silent
Fast boot up
Fast loading of projects, samples, patches (makes browsing on Kontakt or Omnisphere much more smooth)
More reliable (IMHO)

If you can afford an SSD I'd totally recommend it. Samsung Evos are a good deal. I only use HDD for backups now.
Old 27th July 2016
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by explorer View Post
Silent
Fast boot up
Fast loading of projects, samples, patches (makes browsing on Kontakt or Omnisphere much more smooth)
More reliable (IMHO)

If you can afford an SSD I'd totally recommend it. Samsung Evos are a good deal. I only use HDD for backups now.

Thanks for the feedback.

What would recommend putting on the SSD... and then what on the HDD?
Old 27th July 2016
  #21
Just a chime in with my recent solution. I've been building my own PC's since DAY ONE of using a computer for recording. At my start I didn't even KNOW how to USE a computer! But being a handy type of hands on guy that I am, I worked through it.

Anyway, this time around I decided not to bother building, for a couple of reasons. (reason #1 ) Coming from Win XP land only recently, I didn't know much about the newer technologies & 64 bit. I decided to buy an off-lease Lenovo D-20. Dual 6-core Xeon CPU's (that's 12 cores @ 3 + Ghz per core) with 48 GB of DDR3 ram. Came with Win 7 64 bit with install disk. (reason #2 ) I bought this power house for much cheaper than I could build a PC myself...for the price of a new bad ass CPU...about $550 plus shipping. Easy choice.
Old 27th July 2016
  #22
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hodshonf's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Fogal View Post
Just a chime in with my recent solution. I've been building my own PC's since DAY ONE of using a computer for recording. At my start I didn't even KNOW how to USE a computer! But being a handy type of hands on guy that I am, I worked through it.

Anyway, this time around I decided not to bother building, for a couple of reasons. (reason #1 ) Coming from Win XP land only recently, I didn't know much about the newer technologies & 64 bit. I decided to buy an off-lease Lenovo D-20. Dual 6-core Xeon CPU's (that's 12 cores @ 3 + Ghz per core) with 48 GB of DDR3 ram. Came with Win 7 64 bit with install disk. (reason #2 ) I bought this power house for much cheaper than I could build a PC myself...for the price of a new bad ass CPU...about $550 plus shipping. Easy choice.

REPLY OF THE YEAR.

great info... i'm pretty well set with my ASUS laptop.

but i have been looking for a solid desktop/tower platform for the studio and use the laptop for the road.

the D-20 looks like a good candidate!

THANKS!

<pssst, where'd you get yours... i won't tell.>
Old 27th July 2016
  #23
Lives for gear
Please look into building your own computer.

It's not hard... and it's extremely worth it. You'll get WAAAYYY more bang for your buck at that same price point.
Old 27th July 2016
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ASICE View Post
Thanks for all the feedback guys.

Are there any other advantages of using a SSD's besides faster boot times and being quiet. Does using a SSD improve your DAWs performance at all?
Faster boot, faster response of applications and application switching, silent, no heat, no humming, you can stream sample libraries directly so less RAM use (and much faster loading of samples, think factor 10).
For audio recording & project files it is only interesting when doing large track count overdubs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mirka View Post
In Europe, the cheapest way is buying at websites that let you choose the components out of a list and assemble the pc for you.
I suppose that should exist in the states too.
And then hope they do a good job. Most of these sites have no clue about what is required for real time audio & video work. It may work well, or maybe not.



Quote:
Originally Posted by hodshonf View Post
i5 and rotating mechanical hard drive recommendations?

good lord - what decade is this?

priorities:

1. Ram. - #1 priority !!!
Irony... you only need stable RAM, enough to load libraries. RAM speed does not matter at all. More RAM than you need is wasted money.

CPU speed needs to keep up with what is going on in your projects. You need enough RAM to let samplers load the content. The rest can be seen as luxury (although I would never use a HDD for OS anymore), as the next most essential part is *a good configuration of soft- and hardware settings*. Forget about SSD and RAM benchmarks.
Old 27th July 2016
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS View Post
Faster boot, faster response of applications and application switching, silent, no heat, no humming, you can stream sample libraries directly so less RAM use (and much faster loading of samples, think factor 10).
For audio recording & project files it is only interesting when doing large track count overdubs.

And then hope they do a good job. Most of these sites have no clue about what is required for real time audio & video work. It may work well, or maybe not.




Irony... you only need stable RAM, enough to load libraries. RAM speed does not matter at all. More RAM than you need is wasted money.

CPU speed needs to keep up with what is going on in your projects. You need enough RAM to let samplers load the content. The rest can be seen as luxury (although I would never use a HDD for OS anymore), as the next most essential part is *a good configuration of soft- and hardware settings*. Forget about SSD and RAM benchmarks.

Thanks for the feedback.

Which do you think would better for music production?

A i5-6600 with 16Gbs of RAM or a i7-6700 with 8Gbs of RAM?

Last edited by ASICE; 27th July 2016 at 05:17 PM..
Old 27th July 2016
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPhoenix View Post
Please look into building your own computer.

It's not hard... and it's extremely worth it. You'll get WAAAYYY more bang for your buck at that same price point.
One should definitely 'look into' things I agree. I'm actually into building my own machines generally. I looked into things for myself, & decided to buy a complete powerful system in the used/off-lease market. Not saying this is the 'only way' to go, as no one way is for everyone's needs or criteria. If 'rolling your own' simply must be, than that's that's the only answer. The main thing about building my own, besides pride & joy, is that I get to research & pick out every single component that gets put in the box.

I'm always looking for the 'best bang for my buck' and that means buying 'used' whenever possible. I've filled my home studio with mostly used stuff, saving several thousands. When you consider buying a case, case fans, CPU & appropriate cooling heat-sink/fan, RAM, PSU, a motherboard, video card, operating system, etc, etc, the cost adds up very quickly. The entire cost of my current powerful 'workstation class' PC equals the cost of a single new super powerful CPU alone...now that's bangin'
Old 27th July 2016
  #27
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jaxman12's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ASICE View Post
Which one... the Pavilion or the Elite? Also... SSD or HDD?


HP Pavilion 510st Desktop PC
Product number: V9A74AA#ABA

•Windows 10 Home
•2c16 Cycle AV
•HP USB Wired Keyboard with volume control
•Merapi Wired Mouse - Black
•Power Cord
•DTS Studio Sound™
•Intel® H170 chipset (Hamar): Intel Skylake-S; 2 DIMMs; USB Ports: 6 (Front: 2xUSB2.0; Rear: 2xUSB2.0 + 2USB3.0)
•Twinkle Black
•Intel® Core™ i7-6700T (2.8 GHz, up to 3.6 GHz, 8 MB cache, 4 cores)
•NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 730 (4 GB DDR3 dedicated)
•16GB DDR4-2133 (2x8GB) UDIMM
•1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6G 3.5 Hard Drive
•Ultra Slim-tray SuperMulti DVD burner
•802.11b/g/n (1x1) and Bluetooth® 4.0 M.2 combo
•PSU 180W
•Country Kit Windows 10
•1/1/0 Warranty
•HDMI Cover
•VGA Cover
•Drop in Box Warranty flier
•Packaging Single .COM
•Drop In Box HHO Flier and Packing List
•McAfee LiveSafe SEC 12M PHTM
Old 27th July 2016
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ASICE View Post
Thanks for the feedback.

Which do you think would better for music production?

A i5-6600 with 16Gbs of RAM or a i7-6700 with 8Gbs of RAM?
It really depends on what you do.
A 6700 will offer lower latency at larger projects, larger projects, higher Q plugins, a longer use.
However, if you have a few big sample libraries, you may need more than 8Gb.
Old 27th July 2016
  #29
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greggybud's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS View Post
And then hope they do a good job. Most of these sites have no clue about what is required for real time audio & video work. It may work well, or maybe not.


Apologies for being a snob in advance, but for anyone buying a PC for "music production" especially anyone who says "the best" or "the best bang for the buck."

1. Define exactly your audio objectives. How many audio tracks in your projects? Going to attempt to use only factory DAW VST's or 3rd party too? Going to use orchestra sample-heavy 3rd parties such as EWQL, large symphonies, or VSL? Going to use UAD that takes up slots? Going to use Acoustica? Did I miss anything here?

2. Define the connection between ITB and OTB. Do you use lots of external hardware? USB or Firewire or both? Kind of AD/DA converter?

3. Determine your daily, monthly, yearly usage. 8 hours a day 5 days a week? Making a living from this or a hobbyist? If you experience a PC issue would you like immediate support like...let the builder view in real time the issue? Or maybe you don't mind spending days or weeks trouble shooting via email? That is incredibly frustrating when you state a specific problem, everything is updated and the manufacturer replies with something generic like "please update your....etc"

4. Are you focused on tracking, mixing, or mastering? Sure, 99% will say all 3 but really decide where most of your time is spent because it does make a difference with how you configure your PC. Ask any ME using a PC with outboard equipment and a mastering application such as Wavelab, Sadie, etc

5. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Decide if you want to finish completed tracks perhaps with deadlines, or on the extreme opposite end...just experiment and not worry about completing anything.

Learning any tool takes time. In 1999 it took me months to learn and build in Reaktor at the cost of fewer competed projects. A few years later the same thing happened with me with NI's Kore. How much time are you willing to sacrifice, build and configure a PC? How much time are you willing to configure all your software, optimize it, and then really learn your tools?

Over the years I have had PC's custom built by people who specialize in DAW's for audio production. I also had a PC built by my nephew, but I insisted...and he agreed to really REASEARCH what would be optimal for my audio objectives. IMO going to Newegg and blindly choosing components is a risk. You have to educate yourself about what works best with other stuff. Also, to add confusion a brand that is superior today may be the worst tomorrow. Contrary to my Audio PC builders advice I insisted on all Seagate when he said Western Digital. My Seagates didn't last very long.

I have been using Cubase since 1997. Contrary to many threads I have read over the years, I have never ever at any time, experienced any performance issue. With Cubase, I have been using most everything from Waves, NI, Toontrack, Arturia and some UAD. The same is true with Wavelab9. Maybe I got lucky?

I also stay disconnected from the internet except for occasional updates. I use a laptop for the internet including all files from customers to immunize anything potentially bad. Sure, 95% of users (according to Arturia) are on line. I simply feel more safe being off line. It is more difficult for updates/upgrades, but even today I still feel it is worth it.

Good luck!
Old 27th July 2016
  #30
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jaxman12's Avatar
As others have said in previous posts, Your best bet for the buck is to build your own. I built my music computer around 7 years ago. I bought a Intel Extreme Gaming Mother Board, Intel Quad Core Processor, Geeforce GTX460 Video Card. I used those products mostly to eliminate compatibily issues. It has been by far the best move I made. Even after all of this time, it runs my DAW and software like ESQL, Diva, and others with no problem. If I upgrade, I will go the same route. Intel no longer makes gaming mother boards, but there are others out there just as good. The HP I noted in an earlier post I bought was for business purposes and a backup for my music computer.
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