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Marbury
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Good Multimedia PC
      #1039802 - 25/03/13 08:03 PM
I have an antique Medion PC running a very slooooow XP when handling music, video or photo editing. As it's my media business I feel I need a more professional set up. I don't want to go mad but I would like advice on buying a new PC that will for a long time handle photo, video and music editing. I already have a very good Dell pro monitor.

As I am familiar with XP I will stick with that but if there is better out there I will have to change (except I am used to Outlook Express and keep all my business emails archived) so I hope that is still catered for.

Would Dino PC be a good place to start ?

Thanks.

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Marbury
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1040426 - 29/03/13 01:57 PM
Well I thought at least someone here would know. Here is a start of the kind of thing I am looking at and my budget is up to £450

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoostorm-7877-0095-Premium-i5-2320-Windows/dp/B006 ZINMP6/ref=sr_1_3?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1364463281&sr=1-3#productDetails

http://www.ebuyer.com/443461-zoostorm-pro-sff-desktop-pc-7873-0357

I would have ordered the last one from Ebuyer but looking at their terrible customer service reviews I have given them a miss.

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Marbury
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1040495 - 30/03/13 01:52 AM
No help here then :-(

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Dynamic Mike



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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1040536 - 30/03/13 12:20 PM
I bought this http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pavilion-p6-2240ea-Desktop-i3-2120-Processor/dp/B0 08LQXSWW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1364645582&sr=8-2 a little while ago for my son (but not from amazon) for general use. No complaints so far but what surprised me is that it's nearly as quiet as my Carillon. I don't know whether that's an issue for you. I eventually gave up on XP when I moved to Cubase 6.5 & haven't regretted it yet.

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Disclaimer: The views or opinions expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of the poster by the time you read this.


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Marbury
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1040692 - 31/03/13 11:09 PM
I really need at least 8gb ram and an i5 processor. Surely more here can help ?

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photvid



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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1040713 - 01/04/13 08:15 AM
I would check out Scan. Although I don't have direct personal experience, I heard a lot of good stories about them (including on this forum --> do a search). Their value range would fall ballpark wise in your budget. Note that all these bundles can be configured/tailored; so, as standard most of these come with 4GB, but for another 30 pounds or so can be upgraded to 8GB.

http://3xs.scan.co.uk/Category.asp?SystemMasterCategoryID=39

Only thing is, they don't come with XP but with Win 7 or 8 (or w/o OS installed). I would always opt for Win 7 personally anyways though.

Edited by photvid (01/04/13 08:16 AM)


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ezza



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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1040729 - 01/04/13 09:24 AM
Quote Marbury:

I really need at least 8gb ram and an i5 processor. Surely more here can help ?




Windows XP can't see more that 3.5GB of ram so 8GB would be a waste. Unless you are using XP 64 bit...


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Goddard



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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: photvid]
      #1040746 - 01/04/13 11:54 AM
If you're so concerned about support, wasn't it Pete (of Scan) who talked you through resolving the wiring problem with your system a while back?

If you will be running heavily multi-threaded applications, you might consider a system based on new AMD FX Vishera cpu rather than i5. FX83xx/63xx run 8/6 threads versus only 4 on i5 and cost about same if not less.


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Scramble
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Goddard]
      #1040765 - 01/04/13 03:28 PM
I haven't given a reply because I already said a while ago that I think you should look to getting a W7 system. Also, I have no experience of getting a new PC for such a small amount of money (but I appreciate you have budgetary constraints).


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Marbury
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1040875 - 02/04/13 10:07 AM
Thanks. Yes, I have resigned myself to Windows 7 as XP seems outdated. I totaly forgot about Scan Computers DOH ! I will check them out. Dino PC seem good but they add £25 postage.

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Madman_Greg



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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1040877 - 02/04/13 10:22 AM
http://www.inta-audio.com/computer-music-c36/music-pcs-c37

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Exalted Wombat



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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1040879 - 02/04/13 10:35 AM
Quote Marbury:

Thanks. Yes, I have resigned myself to Windows 7 as XP seems outdated. I totaly forgot about Scan Computers DOH ! I will check them out. Dino PC seem good but they add £25 postage.




So they reel you in with an artificially low price, then charge for delivery. Don't worry over that, just look at the overall figure.

I's be wary of a "bargin basement" computer for music work. If this is your business, pay a bit more. You don't want to cut corners on motherboard architecture, power supply. You DO need a quiet, fanless graphics card (that most computer users would dismiss as "cheap").

You'll actually be getting Windows 8 these days. Live with it. No point in buying into an already obsolete system.


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Goddard



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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Exalted Wombat]
      #1040885 - 02/04/13 10:56 AM
Prolly prudent in any event to avoid PC builders/vendors with no DAW expertise, i.e., those only selling gaming rigs.

With an Ivy Bridge i5 cpu, for DAW usage you should not even need to spend on a separate graphics card, the latest on-processor HD4000 graphics are quite decent and also able to support multiple displays. If you will be doing graphics or video, or considering an AMD FX-based system (no on-processor graphics), then you would need to add on a graphics card.


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Marbury
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1040895 - 02/04/13 12:38 PM
This seem ok ?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B006ZINMP6/ref=s9_simh_gw_p147_d0_i1?pf _rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=149T8RDSXS24M0WQH0DT&pf_rd_t=101 &pf_rd_p=358549767&pf_rd_i=468294

Price is good. Again, more for editing photo/video and internet use. The music PC could come later as a stand alone. When I bought my music PC in 2004 I was advised to keep music production away from the net to avoid viruses etc. Perhaps times have changed.

Edited by Marbury (02/04/13 12:38 PM)


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Pete Kaine
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1040909 - 02/04/13 01:52 PM
Quote Marbury:

Again, more for editing photo/video and internet use.




Thing is that Video and Audio work are really the only things outside of a few select games that can truely eat performance machines for breakfast these days being that both of them are CPU processing and bandwidth dependent, so picking up two low powered systems rather than one monster in this instance seems counter productive.

If your worried about viruses and clutter either keep it away from the net (use your old machine to browse) or set up multiple boots for work / none work.

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Marbury
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1040936 - 02/04/13 05:30 PM
I am getting on with the music PC with the odd crash but perhaps it is time to combine the 2 in a decent machine depending on cost. I don't want to be buying everything again as Cubase SX3 files will not run on the new Cubase versions. I already paid over £500 for SX3, I don't want to be shelling out again unless they let me pay for the update. SX3 does me fine when it is working and has all I need. My ipad software also provides the cutting edge sounds I need better than any VST.

Decisions decisions!

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Marbury
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041143 - 03/04/13 06:46 PM
So, can anyone recommend a decent all in one super system that is a good deal. Pete ?

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Exalted Wombat



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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041144 - 03/04/13 06:52 PM
Quote Marbury:

My ipad software also provides the cutting edge sounds I need better than any VST.




That's a BIG statement! :-)


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Scramble
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041216 - 04/04/13 08:34 AM
Quote Marbury:

So, can anyone recommend a decent all in one super system that is a good deal. Pete ?




Most people here either build their PCs themselves, or buy them from specialist DAW makers like Scan. I doubt anyone here will have much experience with buying a PC for rock-bottom prices from some unknown company. You're just asking for trouble again.

I know money is tight but those extra few hundred pounds could make a real difference, especially if you're earning your living from music.


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Marbury
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Scramble]
      #1041219 - 04/04/13 08:52 AM
Quote Scramble:

Quote Marbury:

So, can anyone recommend a decent all in one super system that is a good deal. Pete ?




Most people here either build their PCs themselves, or buy them from specialist DAW makers like Scan. I doubt anyone here will have much experience with buying a PC for rock-bottom prices from some unknown company. You're just asking for trouble again.

I know money is tight but those extra few hundred pounds could make a real difference, especially if you're earning your living from music.




Which I am. I just need some gudance on getting a machine that is future proof. What I can't understand is why some of the faster machines I have quoted above can't do a decent job. How much then would I have to pay to get something decent ? I always though the music PC builders were more expensive than Ebuyer etc for the same parts because they are targeting musicians.

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Pete Kaine
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041339 - 04/04/13 02:42 PM
Quote Marbury:

I always though the music PC builders were more expensive than Ebuyer etc for the same parts because they are targeting musicians.




Nope, we're more expensive because the firms in question spend time testing with loads of software/Hardware so you don't have too!

Your paying for specialist knowledge. In our case our parts are not marked up on the build but we charge a standard fee for build/warranty which in the case of the audio rigs is charged at the same rate as the video editing rigs, cad systems, servers and other pro systems.

Why?

Because a gaming rig is a gaming rig and past a gfx card the is the bare minimum to worry about in those things.

Once your move up to pro machines and you need to deal with stuff like Xeons, Tesla, Phis, Asio, UAD's (well you get the idea) and all the other stuff that your mainstream companies don't deal with and won't deal with even if you ask them.

We charge a slightly higher build on the pro machines because you can't just throw it together like a gaming rig. The benefit to you is that if we get it wrong or more to the point something goes wrong its not your problem and that's where the money goes.

If you buy a gaming rig however from ABC systems somewhere and your Creamware card/Midi Keyboard/ Interface won't detect... well, best of luck!

I don't think anyone said the machines up top wouldn't do the job at all, it's just nobody here will know stuff like DPC or driver issues that might be associated with the hardware in question. It could be fine, but nobody is going to say "spend your money" on something we can't be sure about.

My previous points on spending on one bigger machine is down to raw processing power. Have a Google if you can for comparisons showing video processing times between a Q6600 & a 3770 to see sort of difference you'd expect. Last time i benched an i3 it pulled around the same a Q6600 so it's not completely unusable, but if your going to spend £800 overall then you might as well spend it on an i5 with two OS drives and do it properly. In the long run you'll be more productive as you'll be able to render and edit far quicker.

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Scramble
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Pete Kaine]
      #1041352 - 04/04/13 03:30 PM
>I always though the music PC builders were more expensive than Ebuyer etc for the same parts because they are targeting musicians.

Why would musicians, a notoriously tight (and broke) lot, pay more just because they are 'musicians'? As Pete says, these specialist PCs cost a bit more because people like Pete have put a lot of work into making sure the system in question will work, and work well. There are endless problems and incompatibilities that can arise when you start putting a DAW together with specialist hardware and software, which you don't get if you just want to run Word, Internet Explorer, etc.

You also get much better support than you get from a mass box-shifter.

That's not to say you can't get a cheap system that will work for you, perhaps you'll be lucky, but it's a risk, and not one that I would take if I was making my living from music.


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Marbury
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041399 - 04/04/13 07:46 PM
Ok, I appreciate all the info you have just given as I had no idea. My current music PC (that is familiar to Pete as he replaced the motherboard 3 years ago) was built by Dawsons Music but they stopped doing this a few years ago so I had no support. I am happy with Cubase SX3 IF it isn't crashing as it is all I need for what I do. If I can get it installed on a pro machine from say Scan with no issues I will be a happy camper. If not, I will have to upgrade. I would want Windows 7 and not 8.

Thanks folks.

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Edited by Marbury (04/04/13 07:48 PM)


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Scramble
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041405 - 04/04/13 08:08 PM
I should add that you are more likely to be okay with a cheapo machine if you're knowledgable about computers, because then you can fix the problems that arise yourself. If you're not, then the risk of a major problem(s) causing you serious grief rises a lot -- just look at all the people on this forum who have issues.

I still kind of hate to say buy a more expensive machine because it's possible that you could buy a cheap machine and it does everything you want with no trouble for years, but like I said, that's a bit of a coin toss. The only reason my knowledge of PCs has increased a lot over the last decade is because of all the investigation I have had to do into computer issues. I would rather know less about computers and have that time back to spend on music.


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Marbury
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041574 - 05/04/13 04:43 PM
So would a decent machine (not pro music PC) be good enough to run Cubase SX3 ? If not I will just re-install SX3 on a new hard drive on my old machine and carry on.

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Scramble
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041577 - 05/04/13 04:56 PM
With any modern computer you buy you will be able to install XP on it (assuming you have a non-OEM version of XP) and Cubase SX3. Then connect up your hardware, installing drivers where necessary, and fingers crossed there will be no problems.

When XP becomes completely unusable you will then have to upgrade your OS, which means also paying for a new version of Cubase. Hopefully by then you will have a bit of money for that. Or maybe just start using Reaper!


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Marbury
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Scramble]
      #1041582 - 05/04/13 05:27 PM
So Cubase sx3 can't be used on windows 7 ?

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Scramble
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041591 - 05/04/13 06:16 PM
Officially SX3 doesn't work with W7. Unofficially it doesn't work with W7 either. I have heard of a few reports of people getting older versions to work with W7, although I'm not sure if that includes SX3. But generally you get all sorts of problems and crashes, and usually it just doesn't work at all.

If you're buying a machine with W7 on it you could always try installing SX3 and see how you get on. If no success install XP over the top (or on a separate partition or separate drive so you have both available).


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Marbury
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041600 - 05/04/13 07:12 PM
Ok thanks. Failing that, is Reaper any good as I haven't heard
of it?

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Edited by Marbury (05/04/13 07:13 PM)


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Scramble
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041603 - 05/04/13 07:21 PM
Lots of people around here love Reaper. Red Bladder wants to marry it. I had a look at it once, looks like there's some work involved in getting used to it if you come from Cubase, but I wouldn't have thought that much. If you want to work on the cheap then it seems to be the way to go. But do you do a lot of MIDI stuff? Don't know if it's as good as Cubase on that front. Anyway, you'll get some advice here about Reaper from other forum members.

Just thought of an issue for you -- if your copy of XP came installed on your old machine then it'll most likely be an 'OEM' version and you won't be officially allowed to install it on another machine. Possibly it will work on another machine though, not sure about that. It will certainly install, the issue is whether you'll be able to get it past Microsoft's 'registration' process (or whatever they call it).


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Logarhythm



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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041608 - 05/04/13 07:47 PM
Are you working purely "in the box", or do you need a machine that is quiet enough to not interfere with acoustic recordings?
Like you I'm fairly tightly constrained by budget, so have never spent more than £400 on a PC. I therefore speak from experience when I say that some of can be rather noisy, particularly when being worked hard, and I suspect this is one of the areas where the specialist builder like Scan offer a considerable advantage.

That having been said, if this isn't too much of an issue and/or you have somewhere to put it out of the way then I think it is entirely achievable to get a useable PC within this budget.
Ok, so it will struggle if you want to score a Spielberg blockbuster or running hundreds of instances of the latest VSTis, but in my (albiet limited) experience you can achieve adequate performance without spending huge amounts.

I'd recommend speaking to local independent computer shops, as some can do custom builds at impressive prices by avoiding overspeccing bits that you don't need. You also get the benefit of none of the pre-installed needless junk that is never used and just slows the machine down, but branded PC suppliers seem to insist upon (free trials, antivirus that pops up every 30 seconds to demand money for a full license or else the four horsemen of the apocalypse will literally be downloaded to your computer next time you even think about the internet etc..).
There are unsurprisingly also similar places on the net that can offer full or partial custom builds. It's even worth looking at eBay - my current PC was from a shop that I found via their auction listings then ordered a semi-custom PC direct after speaking to a real person. Sadly they seem to have vanished, otherwise I'd pass on the details for you.
As a guide, mine is a good few years old now, but for my £350 I got an AMD Phenom II X3 2800 with 8 gigs of RAM, a decent graphics card (doubled as a gaming machine at the time), some extra USB ports and a copy of Vista.
My previous machine was a self-build that I bought from a local PC shop - went in on the offchance to see what they had, and they offered to match the total best price I'd managed to find online for each component! Cost £300 excluding OS and provided reliable service for what were probably the five most creative years of my life to date.
Both of these options also give real service and knowledge, so if there are bits you aren't so confident about if speccing/building yourself and/or are wary of a cheaper generic machine from a faceless online presence then it can be very helpful. (Perhaps second only to the SoS forums )

If I had the money I'd love to get my next machine from someone a music specialist like Scan, but whilst the above options aren't going to be the fastest I've never felt creatively constrained by the systems I've had, beyond perhaps having to freeze tracks more frequently than others would.

N.B. Worth noting that I'm about as amateur as they come, so my requirements perhaps aren't the highest. It might also help to know that given the low budget theme of my set-up (It would be grossly misleading to apply the word word "studio"!), the software I'm using isn't the most modern or demanding - for example a copy of one of the decent orchestral libraries would be very nice, but probably a little more resource-hungry than my antique copy of Edirol Orchestral


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Marbury
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041613 - 05/04/13 08:23 PM
That's very helpful advice thanks. It's amazing what you can get using seemingly amateaur software there days. I have said it before that my ipad apps blow away a lot of pro software, synths I have. For general sequencing DAW SX3 does the job fine as long as it is working. I also get a lot of other ideas down on the ipad. A the moment my main issue is getting a PC that can run the photo editing software Lightroom 4 as I earn some part of my income from images.

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ezza



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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041650 - 06/04/13 06:59 AM
Quote Marbury:

A the moment my main issue is getting a PC that can run the photo editing software Lightroom 4 as I earn some part of my income from images.




From adobe.com:
What are the minimum system requirements for Lightroom?
For Windows

Microsoft® Windows Vista® with Service Pack 2 or Windows® 7 with Service Pack 1

I think you have to forget about XP and therefore Cubase SX. OTOH you could try a dual boot system with Lightroom on a windows 7 or 8 partition and SX on an XP partition. Big hard drives are pretty cheap nowadays.

Also have to agree with comments that you should buy one system that is the most powerful one you can afford. As well as benefitting now from using a faster system you will future proof yourself to some extent.

i think the advice to have a computer not on the internet for audio is redundant nowadays. Run a good virus checker and be careful what you click on. In that respect, binning Outlook Express would be a benefit too. I'm sure you could find a way to import your emails into a web based email client like gmail or hotmail if you look around on Google.

Good luck with it.

/e


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Marbury
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Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: ezza]
      #1041654 - 06/04/13 08:50 AM
Quote ezza:

Quote Marbury:

A the moment my main issue is getting a PC that can run the photo editing software Lightroom 4 as I earn some part of my income from images.




From adobe.com:
What are the minimum system requirements for Lightroom?
For Windows

Microsoft® Windows Vista® with Service Pack 2 or Windows® 7 with Service Pack 1

I think you have to forget about XP and therefore Cubase SX. OTOH you could try a dual boot system with Lightroom on a windows 7 or 8 partition and SX on an XP partition. Big hard drives are pretty cheap nowadays.

Also have to agree with comments that you should buy one system that is the most powerful one you can afford. As well as benefitting now from using a faster system you will future proof yourself to some extent.

i think the advice to have a computer not on the internet for audio is redundant nowadays. Run a good virus checker and be careful what you click on. In that respect, binning Outlook Express would be a benefit too. I'm sure you could find a way to import your emails into a web based email client like gmail or hotmail if you look around on Google.

Good luck with it.

/e




Funny you should mention Outlook Express: Strange one this. Even o2 support couldn't work it out. Basically, I use Outlook Express on XP. I have used it for years on the o2 email account. I can get my google mail through it fine but my o2 emails throw up my username and password login box. Have checked they are correct (as well as all my account settings, confirmed with o2 live help) and still it won't accept my details when entered (which are correct). I can login on the o2 website with the same username and password to see my webmail fine so it's not incorrect.I have even deleted my o2 email account in Outlook Express and re-instated it with no success.I am stumped.

--------------------
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ezza



Joined: 19/11/04
Posts: 346
Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041657 - 06/04/13 09:07 AM
Forward your O2 emails to google and only use that account. Don't waste time trying to make an old and unsupported software carry on working.


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Scramble
active member


Joined: 11/09/02
Posts: 2171
Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: ezza]
      #1041661 - 06/04/13 09:24 AM
I hate to say this, but you should have updated to Cubase 5 when you had the chance. (I hate to say it because it doesn't help you now, and it's easy to be wise after the event). That would have cost you something like £120, and you'd then have a Cubase that would be useable with Windows 7. I update every two versions, because that's what Steinberg generally allow you to do. In fact you can even upgrade to Cubase 7 from Cubase 4 for £180. But not from Cubase 3.

You could also think about getting Cubase 7 Artist, which is around £190.


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Scramble
active member


Joined: 11/09/02
Posts: 2171
Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Scramble]
      #1041662 - 06/04/13 09:34 AM
Have a look on eBay UK. There is currently a version of Cubase 5 for sale there, including dongle, etc. (I know someone who bought a version of Cubase Studio a few years ago from eBay, and it works fine, so it's not like this isn't allowed).


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Marbury
active member


Joined: 28/08/03
Posts: 1736
Loc: Cheshire, UK
Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041663 - 06/04/13 09:35 AM
Thanks. I will bear that in mind. I just need to get a good machine from wherever. Like the post ear
Ire, I could get Reaper if all else fails. Bit of a pain with Cubase not being upgradable from sx3

--------------------
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Scramble
active member


Joined: 11/09/02
Posts: 2171
Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041672 - 06/04/13 10:23 AM
There's also a Cubase 4 currently on eBay at £50 with one day to go, with only 1 bid. You could buy that and upgrade to Cubase 7 from it. You're still going to be spending a fair bit, but nowhere near as much as buying Cubase 7 new.


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The Red Bladder



Joined: 05/06/07
Posts: 2449
Loc: . ...
Re: Good Multimedia PC new [Re: Marbury]
      #1041685 - 06/04/13 11:15 AM
Quote Marbury:

I just need to get a good machine from wherever. Like the post ear
Ire, I could get Reaper if all else fails. Bit of a pain with Cubase not being upgradable from sx3




If you use a great deal of MIDI, then CuBase is the better option. If MIDI is less important, Reaper is far better. As it is a free download with a $60 honesty box, just try it and see!

Quote Scramble:

Lots of people around here love Reaper. Red Bladder wants to marry it.




We have already had several children! We call them CDs!

Medion PC? I am on one right now and they are sh¦t of the highest order - never again (a laptop bought in haste at Aldi on a Sunday to complete a sleeve design). The mechanical bits are just as poor as it gets (overheating power cable - screen defective - letters rub off keyboard) and the only audio SW that runs on it reliably (without clicks and pops) is Reaper!


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