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Advice on new pc build

Postby Scouser » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:22 pm

Im looking to upgrade in the coming months, due to a dying laptop, which is not economical to repair. The spec on laptop was intel core 2 Duo 1.8ghz 2Gb mem, lots of Hdd space ( Upgraded dual 500Gb drives ). I have a usb Edirol interface or a delta 66 omnistudio which I can use for interface. I will be using cubase 5.


I'm hoping the upgrade I have in mind will be able to cope with what I want to do, which is record audio tracks, rarely more than 15, apart from that it is mainly software based, ie superior drummer, kontakt and its libraries, samples, many plugins and vsti, and cpu hungry reverbs. The above system, was struggling to do this.

I am thinking of self building a desktop tower and was thinking along the lines of:

i7 or i5 ? Thoughts on which would be helpful, I would like i7 but would a i5 suffice as cost is also an issue. My thinking was that compared to what i'm using the i5 msy well do the job.

Again would like 16Gb mem but 8Gb may well suffice. One can always upgrade. Decent PSU, not sure which, was thinking of silent type build, but it doubles the price, so I will keep it in a different room, just need long monitor cables..

SSD ? My understanding is that it helps for application responsiveness but it's unlikely to get me more simultaneous plugins so is a luxury ?

So to recap:

i7 or i5
8 or 16Gb mem
2Tb HDD
SSD
PSU
Dvd/rw
Wireless keyboard and mouse with good range

If anyone can give specifics ie Which PSU, Mobo, SSD etc and what this kind of build might cost..
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Scouser » Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:47 pm

My first post was a little vague, guess that's why I got no answers..

So I have decided on some components for my system build ( Which I've never done before !) and would like to know if there are any parts I sould be wary of ( incompatibilities etc ) would you consider this a reasonable spec, future proof, if there is such a thing ?

Intel Core i7-4770
2x8GB Corsair Vengeance LP C10 1600Mhz
Gigabyte GA-H87M-HD3
180GB Intel 335 Series SSD
Seasonic G-360 360W PSU
Fractal Design Core 1000
Coolermaster Hyper TX3 CPU Cooler

Any thoughts ?
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Offramper » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:21 pm

Sounds interesting! I've only built a couple of PCs for music and from what I can tell, it is a reasonable choice of components around the H87 chipset. I have a bit of a concern about the mobo as, although it has a PCI slot compatible with your I/O card it only seems to have 2 DIMM slots so you will be limited to 16GB of RAM unless 16GB DIMMs become available and then you will have to trade the old ones (should you need more RAM). I also wonder if the i7 4770 is a bit overkill for the mobo and maybe you could save a bit by going for something a bit more consistent? Will you be using your existing hard drives for example? If they are both 2.5" they will be limited to 5,400rpm and will they be able to take advantage of the SATA 3 transfer speeds? It looks to me like access to the library is quite important in your setup and a 1TB 6GB/s drive could be purchased by spending a bit less on the CPU. I can't quantify my argument but maybe it will prompt others to weigh in!

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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Scouser » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:59 pm

Thanks Dave,

I can use all the feedback I get on this..

Didn't realise that 16Gb DIMMS are not available as yet, good point..

Re Hdd I will put a couple of existing 2.5 in the machine total about 2Tb and get the biggest ssd I can afford. As ssd come down in price I can replace the 2.5's and at the same time gain performance
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Offramper » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:46 pm

I should have checked about the DIMMs - Crucial advertise a 16GB one at about £148 - CT16G3ERSLD41339 - need to check if there is one on the Qualified Vendor List for the board. Still it may be worth looking into - you have 8 effective processors ~ quad core and multi threaded, so does a single DIMM provide sufficient bandwidth to accommodate all those threads? I don't know, just hoping somebody else does! It is an interestingly different option and it would be good to know if there is an issue beforehand. I haven't seen any other machines built with this kind of configuration to the best of my recollection.

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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Pete Kaine » Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:45 am

It's a dual channel board, so you better off using 2 dimm's. I'd also change the cooler to something quiet, the hyper series are for gamers and whilst they cool well for the price they ain't half noisy. Try some of the Noctura range.
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Scouser » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:30 am

Pete Kaine wrote:It's a dual channel board, so you better off using 2 dimm's. I'd also change the cooler to something quiet, the hyper series are for gamers and whilst they cool well for the price they ain't half noisy. Try some of the Noctura range.

Which of the Noctura range would you try ?
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby The Boogiemen » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:16 pm

Although I upgraded to 16GB last year when prices were lower, I don't actually need it. 8GB is/was more than enough to run superior drummer and other various VSTs in real time without any memory shortage issues. The SSD upgrade is the best money you could put into the computer. I have my OS and current project on the primary SSD, and data store/backup on a standard 2TB 7200rpm sata drive. Even running the OS off the same SSD as the project, it's still tons faster than using the second Sata platter drive.

An i7 may be overkill for your needs, but it does future proof you and affords you more real time playback capabilities (which tend to be procesor hungry).
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Scouser » Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:23 pm

An i7 may be overkill for your needs, but it does future proof you and affords you more real time playback capabilities (which tend to be procesor hungry).


Thanks for confirming that..

Also will prob go with the 8gb mem
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Pete Kaine » Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:12 pm

Scouser wrote:
Which of the Noctura range would you try ?

Something with a 12" fan at least, so the NH-U12P is where I'd start looking or even the 14" model above it if budget stretches. I know both options are a sizeable wedge more than the hyper mind so in between the two options perhaps look at the Thermalright True Sprit 140.
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Trevor Johnson » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:31 pm

or even the 14" model


You could even build your own hovercraft with 14" fans.
I used a Noctua NH-D14-2011 on my last big build and always find Noctua products excellent.
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:53 pm

Indeed - I think Pete must have been having a senior moment there, and obviously meant 120mm rather than 12" (there's a bit of a difference, as the actress said to the bishop )

Although who knows - he does get to see hardware before it's officially released you know!


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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby DC-Choppah » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:54 am

I've built 2 PCs for doing audio now, so I am not an expert, but have some practical experience for sure.

I've noticed that depending on one's style of working, one places very different demands on the system.

The hardware you listed is very competent and should work very well. I think the issue is which part of your system you will stress given the way you work. So the same amount of money can be spent in different ways.

My humble experience tells me that you need to tip the balance towards:

Lots of audio tracks in the mix or recording = more/faster disk drives
Lots of virtual instruments = faster CPU
Lots of processing plugins = more memory

It's probably not that simple, but you will likely end up with a system that has far too much of something and not enough of another depending how you work if you don't do your homework.

I recently switched from using lots of virtual instruments in a session to bouncing everything to audio tracks and when I did that I went from memory limited to hard disk limited.
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Pete Kaine » Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:19 am

Martin Walker wrote:Indeed - I think Pete must have been having a senior moment there, and obviously meant 120mm rather than 12" (there's a bit of a difference, as the actress said to the bishop )

*ahem* I'm going to blame the fact I've been rushing around for this show all week (Manchester music show, this weekend @ Manchester Central (GMEX), SOS also in partial attendence I believe, details over in the news section </plug> ) and not paying full attention to anything else I've been doing.

Martin of course is correct and I can't help but feel one of those would leave the aforementioned actress a little more disappointed than the other!

Martin Walker wrote:
Although who knows - he does get to see hardware before it's officially released you know!

I reckon I could fudge one into a Silverstone FTO 2 or 3 given a crow bar and some hammers.
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Scouser » Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:21 pm

Just wondered what part of the spec I would have to change to build something that could be in the same room as where I plan to track ?
I'm presuming possibly case, PSU & CPU if anyone could advise on replacement models, would be good.
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby The Boogiemen » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:40 am

I use an aftermarket 120mm CPU fan and my system never gets loud enough to affect tracking with a mic. Make sure you have a 92+mm exhaust fan (or two) so the temps inside the case never get too warm, and this allows the CPU fan to run at a slower and more quiet speed.
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby DC-Choppah » Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:58 pm

I use a custom built PC that goes in an enclosure with a glass door. The use of aftermarket quiet CPU and case fans plus the enclosure allows me to record in the same room as the PC.
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Scouser » Sun Nov 17, 2013 12:34 pm

Anyone using the Fractal R4 and managing to track in the same room ? It looks like a good case with soundproofing..
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Pete Kaine » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:23 am

Scouser wrote:Anyone using the Fractal R4 and managing to track in the same room ? It looks like a good case with soundproofing..

If anything is going to work for you it would be that. The built in fans are decent too, so you shouldn't have to change them unless you have enough headroom to undervolt them further.
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby shindigger » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:05 pm

I'm using the R4 and i'd recommend it.
Lots of space for a newb to get round.
This is my first self build and i don't think i could have picked a better case for my needs.
Nice minimal looking case. But spot on for a DAW.
2 onboard fans are fine. Im running an i7k not overclocked.
Stock cooler, i did use a fan control programme, but that, possibly, was the cause of the odd hiccup.
Think i have them wired to the onboard control switch now.

Its sat about 2 yards from where my mic would be.
No issues.
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Imran500 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:06 pm

Having recently taken ownership of a new music PC I'd recommend the following:

i7 (it's a beast but that said I have no experience of the i5!)
SSD for your system drive (super fast bootups, instant sample loading) - I went for 256gb but go for double that if you can afford it. Definitely not a luxury it's a must have I'd say.
16GB RAM, just cover yourself - for example I'm now using Superior Drummer with all the bleeds on and that in itself canes almost 2.5gb of RAM,
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Scouser » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:59 pm

Thanks for replies chaps, looks like the R4 is the way to go. My one remaining niggle is the mobo, however pete reassures me that as long as im not overclocking it should be fine.. Would be interested to hear from anyone using the Gigabyte GA-H87M-HD3
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Scouser » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:11 pm

Updated proposed build

Intel Core i7-4770
2x8GB Corsair Vengeance LP C10 1600Mhz
Gigabyte GA-H87M-HD3
500Gb Samsung Evo SSD
BeQuiet Pro 10 550W PSU
Fractal Design R4
Noctua NH-D14 or Thermalright Archon
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Imran500 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:56 pm

By the way you not going for a second hard drive? That can be a standard HDD, Seagate Barracuda or Western Digital Caviar
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Scouser » Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:28 pm

Not sure yet, it seems it would introduce noise. I could just use a couple of usb HDD to transfer projects etc, until I can afford a 2nd ssd..
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby The Boogiemen » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:58 pm

Scouser wrote:Not sure yet, it seems it would introduce noise. I could just use a couple of usb HDD to transfer projects etc, until I can afford a 2nd ssd..


The second drive would only make noise when it was in use, and most newer models don't make a lot of noise anyway even at full read/write speeds.

But the plan to use a USB external drive is fine, just make sure you have two copies of important stuff at all times (backups). External drives are susceptible to failure just as much as the ones you buy for internal use. They're the exact same thing, they just connect to the computer using a different means. That's why I keep recently finished but non-active projects on my internal Sata drive, and have Acronis perform weekly backups to an external. It's not super expensive and really, the nominal price is well worth not losing the data.
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Scouser » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:08 pm

I was also thinking, does it make any difference either going for a 500Gb ssd or 2 x 250Gb ie if one partitioned the 500, or are we getting into the realms of splitting very small hairs ? Just thought if I had OS and progs on one and samples on the other, might be more efficient, but on the other hand I know very little about ssd
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby The Boogiemen » Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:54 pm

Scouser wrote:I was also thinking, does it make any difference either going for a 500Gb ssd or 2 x 250Gb ie if one partitioned the 500, or are we getting into the realms of splitting very small hairs ? Just thought if I had OS and progs on one and samples on the other, might be more efficient, but on the other hand I know very little about ssd


Partitioning is all about separation of data and not about performance. You're always limited to the read/write of the drive's hardware abilities/spec regardles of how the drive appears visually in Windows. To see any performance increase in your scenerio you would need two separate physical drives. The SSD is fast so partioning won't HURT performance, and it might make management of the data easier for you.
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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:04 pm

The Boogiemen wrote:The SSD is fast so partioning won't HURT performance, and it might make management of the data easier for you.

You shouldn't notice any degradation of performance if you partition a Solid State Drive - it has no moving parts, so accessing files from one partition or another should take exactly the same time.


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Re: Advice on new pc build

Postby il Padrino » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:47 pm

Scouser wrote:Anyone using the Fractal R4 and managing to track in the same room ? It looks like a good case with soundproofing..


I'm using a Fractal Design R4 Mini, which is the smaller version. I have just one exhaust fan, a 120mm model with a speed switch on the lowest setting. Yes, tracking in the same room with ease. Quiet build though as I'm using SSDs throughout and a Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro Advanced C1 CPU cooler. Couldn't stretch to the Noctua range at the time, but there was no need to either as this beast is silent, virtually. (System based on the i4670k CPU. Before that, I used a OCZ Vendetta 2. I wish I could have continued using it but it doesn't fit the new board. Best cooler I've ever used.
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