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Going from Mac to PC, advice needed
Old 8th July 2005
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Going from Mac to PC, advice needed

I've been very happy about my iBook 1.2 GHz, but it's just too slow to handle the hungrier VSTs, not to mention the Korg Legacy - especially with Live 4. Also, I've found it a bit frustrating that a lot of the good freeware VSTs (Like the Kjaerhus Classic series, which a lot of people seem to recommend) are Windows only.

So, I'm in the market for a PC. Choosing a Mac was pretty straight forward. With PCs, on the other hand, there's an abundance of things to consider: Intel vs. AMD, chipset type, etc. And I have to admit that form factor means quite a lot to me - a generic-looking tower cabinet is out of the question.

I like the look of these:

http://eu.shuttle.com/en/desktopdefa.../noblendout-1/

Any experience with them, are they okay value for money?

In fact, any advice appreciated.
Old 8th July 2005
  #2
Lives for gear
 
jitterybit's Avatar
dont buy a shiny little box unless...

i've been looking at upgradeing to a better pc myself and have spent a good bit of time recently doing research on that fact. first off unless you really plan on hauling your pc alot, don't buy a little box of pc. there is little upgradeing to those. if you know how to assemble a pc, do it yourself(not much of an option with mac). i personaly am looking at a few different dual xeon 3Ghz mobos(motherboards) currently priced $390-450US. i don't really need all of that, yet... keep in mind that the next version of windows is very hardware demanding, as i expect DAWs, etc to follow suit. get a motherboard with many expansion slots and NOTHING intergrated. if you need to haul your PC around, get a rackmount case. if you build your own, it can be exactly what you want/need and more for less than you'd pay otherwise.(make sense..? oh well )
last bit: if you decide to take my advice in any way, get quality components that supply their own memory(esp. vid cards) and always leave room for a little upgradeing hardware, OSs, etc.
oh and by the way, i'm waiting for the new dualcores before i buy anything, hopeing for a price drop.

best of luck.
-s*
Old 8th July 2005
  #3
Lives for gear
 

morten....
ive made lots of posts to help people in the past on pc confign....and to retype would take pages of advice. so please just search under my name for configs/advice.
frankly as you will go through a learning process i would buy a used athlon amd system for 150 bucks (as people upgrade to dual cores youll see more of these)....and ensure it has 512 to 1 gig ram as well as a second fast hard drive with 8 mb cache. this will take you through the learning process and let you get lots of work done until the dual cores come down in price.
OR...
one individual i highly respect here is henchmans amd 64 laptop confign .
so you might want to search his posts as well. but this will be more money.
it would help to know what your max track and plug in count needs are.
this would help point you in salient directions.
just my 2 cdn cents.
Old 8th July 2005
  #4
Lives for gear
 
JSt0rm's Avatar
another thing you can do for yourself is spend a little of your time everyday reading over at

www.anandtech.com

The forums are very active and lots of information flys back and forth.
Old 9th July 2005
  #5
With regards to the Shuttles (they caught my eye, too, a while back), you'll want to read the reviews carefully and keep an eye on issues like noise, expandability, and connectivity. (I'm not saying they're necessarily deficient for your needs in those areas; I'm just saying those are things to look at.)

I believe Shuttle has some models built around Pentium M chips. As you probably know, the next generation of the PM will be one of the first Intel chips in the next gen Macs.

Since the PM is one of the coolest running, most efficient chips around, it has the potential to be at the heart of a quiet, cool system -- but a lot will depend on the peripherals. Put in a cheap power supply with a noisy fan -- or some overblown gamer's video card with 3 fans of its own, and the equation changes.

I like the idea of a smaller case, as I find myself doing most of my work in the living room anyway (I've got a nice big sunset window to look out) and my next tower will probably be used out here. But even more important to me is noise. Wherever I end up working, a quiet running machine I now perceive as crucial.

Even beyond recording issues -- I'm just spoiled by my laptop. After 18 years of having a tower running 24/7 someplace in my home (for most of that time my computers lived in a semi-soundproofed studio/workroom which kept the noise from being overwhelming), suddenly realizing that even my 'whisper-quiet' desktop was way too loud was a bit of a revelation.

It took me months after I got the laptop before I turned off the tower. (Well, the tower was acting as a server, too. But the USB2 external drive I dock to is about 1/20th as loud and faster than a networked drive.) But when I did, I knew there was no going back. I'd forgotten how I missed (relative) quiet.


Now, my next suggestion (it's only a suggestion, mind you) might sound extreme for someone contemplating his first non-Mac pc: build it yourself.

Chances are you already have all the skill and tools you'll need. (A couple screwdrivers... uh... not much else, offhand.)

And these days it's more like putting a component stereo used to be... you put the CPU assembly in its space on the motherboard, you put the memory in, pop in the video card if it's not built into the mobo, you screw in a hard drive and a CD ROM and hook the appropriate cables from the mobo to them... am I missing anything?

Anyhow, you get the drift. You've probably done just about every separate process involved except the CPU insert, which these days is a breeze. You buy good parts and put them together and you have a feeling that you 'own' the machine that people who treat their computers as black boxes never will.

And you end up with a machine which, if it has compromises, you know right where they are. And because of the interchangeability aspect of the pc platform, when it comes time to upgrade or fix something, you know right where it is and what to do.


You're going to spend a bit of time researching/shopping and then a couple hours building (if you did it everyday, you could probably build a whole basic machine in a half hour and have time for a smoke). Installing the OS (Windows, go ahead, roll it around in your mouth and get used to the funny taste heh ) takes maybe another hour -- but your involvement there is mostly minimal, answer a couple questions early on and (I'm thinkin') one or two toward the end. (Or you can do a little quick homework and figure out how to configure the install to plow straight through if you don't need certain options).

[But I absoultely have to note, having hyped the Pentium M, that while there are more and more DIY resources for folks who want to build around the PM, you'd be a bit of a pioneer compared to the masses who've been building around Pentium 4 and Athlons, etc. Still, what's worth doing...]



You know, it's not as crazy as it might sound at first. And, like I say, it's an extremely empowering thing. A little more time and effort, yes. But I think it's an investment that really pays off.

And even if, say, your next computer after that is another laptop (as my current machine is), having the experience and knowledge is still very worthwhile thing. (That said, I bought the biggest, baddest next-day onsite warranty Dell had at the time. Not the longest though -- going from 3 years to 4 years nearly doubled the price. So, I'm figuring 3-4 years is a very reasonable life expectancy for this machine. heh )
Old 9th July 2005
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
Stay away from the shuttle boxes for serious audio.
Get a brandname motherboard etc.
Which software will you be usign with it?
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