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Good Multimedia PC

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Good Multimedia PC

Postby Marbury » Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:03 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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Marbury » Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:57 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/B006ZINMP6/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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Marbury » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:52 am

No help here then :-(
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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Dynamic Mike » Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:20 pm

I bought this http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pavilion-p6-2240ea-Desktop-i3-2120-Processor/dp/B008LQXSWW/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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And of course there must be something wrong. In wanting to silence any song.


Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Marbury » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:09 pm

I really need at least 8gb ram and an i5 processor. Surely more here can help ?
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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby photvid » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:15 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.
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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby ezza » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:24 am

Marbury wrote: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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Goddard » Mon Apr 01, 2013 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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Scramble » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:28 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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Marbury » Tue Apr 02, 2013 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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Madman_Greg » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:22 am

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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:35 am

Marbury wrote: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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Goddard » Tue Apr 02, 2013 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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Marbury » Tue Apr 02, 2013 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.
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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Pete Kaine » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:52 pm

Marbury wrote: 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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Marbury » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:30 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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Marbury » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:46 pm

So, can anyone recommend a decent all in one super system that is a good deal. Pete ?
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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Exalted Wombat » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:52 pm

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

That's a BIG statement! :-)
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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Scramble » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:34 am

Marbury wrote: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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Marbury » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:52 am

Scramble wrote:
Marbury wrote: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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Pete Kaine » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:42 pm

Marbury wrote: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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Scramble » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:30 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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Marbury » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:46 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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Scramble » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:08 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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Marbury » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:43 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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Scramble » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:56 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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Marbury » Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:27 pm

So Cubase sx3 can't be used on windows 7 ?
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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Scramble » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:16 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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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Marbury » Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:12 pm

Ok thanks. Failing that, is Reaper any good as I haven't heard
of it?
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Re: Good Multimedia PC

Postby Scramble » Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:21 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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