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Old Laptop for new PC Tower

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Old Laptop for new PC Tower

Postby Julian Walker » Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:56 pm

Hello Folks

I've got a Toshiba Sattelite Pro laptop that is about 7 to 8 yrs old, running W7 64bt, I5 processor with 4gb of RAM. I only use it for music production so it never really leaves my home studio and only run a few applications at a time. I use mainly Reason as a DAW sometimes turning to Reaper for certain projects and that's about it!

My AI is a Focusrite 2i4 and I also use my Focusrite ISA which I run most live acc guitar & vocals through pre AI.

At first I was just using the samples in Reason so wasn't really putting to much pressure on the Toshiba however as I've started using more and more VSTs and outside samples the "you're computer is too slow to run this program" tab is flagging up with ever faster frequency.

I considered upping the RAM in the Toshiba for about a second because I think the age of the laptop and the fact that im asking much more from it than before are overriding factors.

So I'm considering a tower pc using a company called Novatech to supply who've been recommended by our work tech guru as a decent affordable builder of pcs.

There's a couple of their standard builds that would suit my purpose with a few tweaks in some choices but I wanted to run past you folks what I think I need for decent, affordable home studio recordings.

Budget of about £700 but no more than £800

I think I need,

I5 processor
16gb of RAM
Decent amount of USB connection
SSD of about 250gb
1tb. Standard drive

Do you think this sounds about right? I need to run 2 monitors so I'm not sure what graphics card i need and seeing as I'm using the AI to run all sound through do i really need any flash sound card?

Any comments \suggestions welcomed with appreciation.

Julian
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Re: Old Laptop for new PC Tower

Postby ef37a » Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:42 pm

Hi Julian,
I am really only replying because I mainly want to follow the thread when the Big Boys chip. Bit surprised that you i5 machine is maxing out but the little I have learned about computers has told ne that not all i5 processors are equal. The 4G of ram is probably marginal seeing you are running a lot of samples?

Do you have a copy of W7 or is there a "factory gate" recovery partition on the system drive? (this i3 HP has one) If so you could try a total HDD format and re install the OS and JUST those things you need and leave 7 years of crud behind you.

A tower makes sense to me however since they are almost infinitely expandable and future proof. No, you don't need an internal soundcard though you are almost certain to get one! I would disable it, in BIOS if possible, in Device Manger if not and do that before installing the 2i4 drivers.

Couple of questions. Will this be Win 7 as well? If so bear in mind we don't have long left! Like me you probably hate the idea of W10 but since this would be a new start, best to bite the bullet?

Spec you gave said i5 but the one in the Toshy was slow. Why not i7? Cost?

Now awaiting a slap from my youngers and much betters!

Dave.
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Re: Old Laptop for new PC Tower

Postby Julian Walker » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:57 pm

Hi Dave,

I’m a not really that tech savvy if I’m honest but I have been told some info and read in places that if your running lots of applications then theprocessor is the workhorse. If your running heavy samples and VSTs in a DAW then RAM is the more important factor. Hence sticking with i5 in the proposed tower, that and saving some money that I can put into more RAM.

I’d have to look and see if I have a copy of W7 and wouldn’t really know where to start looking on the laptop for factory gate whatchamagig.

Is there a procedure I should follow.

Thanks for the interest and advice

Julian
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Re: Old Laptop for new PC Tower

Postby Trevor Johnson » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:16 pm

So I'm considering a tower pc using a company called Novatech to supply who've been recommended by our work tech guru as a decent affordable builder of pcs.

I have heard good things about Novatech, too, although I haven't used them.
Looking at their website, you are probably looking at something like the NT1317, which has an i5 8400 CPU, which benchmarks at around 11,710and is 6 core. I have a 6 year old i3930K, similar specs, which will run anything you can throw at it so CPU wise, you will be fine. It isn't worth going i7, unless you are thinking about highly intensive tasks, e.g. 3D rendering.

It may run 2 monitors OK, with its on-board Intel UHD Graphics 630, but I would check.

1TB is smallish, go for 2 or 3TB: I bought a 3TB Toshiba DT01ACA300, for another build, which I am very pleased with: Backblaze have found them very reliable.

Win 10 or 7: go for 10, because drivers are being written for 10, rather than 7, and I have had no problems with 10, on 3 separate machines.

Hope this is useful.
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Re: Old Laptop for new PC Tower

Postby Funkyflash5 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:11 pm

I think what you have listed should do fine, since while you will be going from one i5 to another, you will be going from probably a 3rd gen mobile i5 to a 7th or 8th gen desktop i5, which is 2 extra cores and a touch faster. 16gb or ram should be enough, and starting with what you have listed for disk space sounds reasonable to me, especially in a desktop where adding an extra drive later if things get full is super easy.

Looking at novatech's site, I was able to spec out a suitable build of the NTI317 for £782.92. To me, the key upgrades were going to a b360 motherboard instead of an h310, to get 4 ram slots instead of 2 so that in the future when you decide you want more ram you can just add to whats there instead of having to replace it all with new, going up to the i5 8600K cpu to get the 28% speed increase, adding a cpu cooler to replace the stock one to keep the system much quieter, and going with the 2x8GB configuration on ram so you can have it use dual channel and not eat up all the slots. If money is tight, I'd drop the cpu upgrade, but I'd consider the motherboard and cooler critical, and the ram config is the cheaper of the 2 16gb options.

The onboard graphics will push 2 hd monitors just fine as long as you're not trying to game with them, just know that you'll either need to run one on hdmi and the other on dvi, or get a cheap cable adapter to convert one of the outputs to match what your monitors want. I've run dual monitors perfectly off my 4th gen i7 integrated graphics in my studio pc, and only just added a card in anticipation of a 4k display.
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Re: Old Laptop for new PC Tower

Postby ef37a » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:52 pm

Julian Walker wrote:Hi Dave,

I’m a not really that tech savvy if I’m honest but I have been told some info and read in places that if your running lots of applications then theprocessor is the workhorse. If your running heavy samples and VSTs in a DAW then RAM is the more important factor. Hence sticking with i5 in the proposed tower, that and saving some money that I can put into more RAM.

I’d have to look and see if I have a copy of W7 and wouldn’t really know where to start looking on the laptop for factory gate whatchamagig.

Is there a procedure I should follow.

Thanks for the interest and advice

Julian

Hi again Julian. I am also not that cure with PCs but bits of gen' have stuck! If you right click on "Computer" on the desktop then go>Manage>storage you will get to the partitions on the system drive (should be "C") and if you have a Recovery partition it will be there.

I humbly suggest your first purchase should be a USB 3.0 external drive. Then get clued up about making an image of the laptops drive. Once you have that on the external drive you can safely clean up the laptop and if it goes wrong, restore everything back as it was.

The external drive can be used when you get the tower as a backup drive and for holding images of that as well.

I thought someone might also suggest W10. I have it on an gash desktop for "learning purposes" but I have not powered it up in weeks. I understand that if the wallet can stand it, it is better to go for the next version up from basic W10?

Dave.
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Re: Old Laptop for new PC Tower

Postby Julian Walker » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:04 pm

Funkyflash5 wrote:I think what you have listed should do fine, since while you will be going from one i5 to another, you will be going from probably a 3rd gen mobile i5 to a 7th or 8th gen desktop i5, which is 2 extra cores and a touch faster. 16gb or ram should be enough, and starting with what you have listed for disk space sounds reasonable to me, especially in a desktop where adding an extra drive later if things get full is super easy.

Looking at novatech's site, I was able to spec out a suitable build of the NTI317 for £782.92. To me, the key upgrades were going to a b360 motherboard instead of an h310, to get 4 ram slots instead of 2 so that in the future when you decide you want more ram you can just add to whats there instead of having to replace it all with new, going up to the i5 8600K cpu to get the 28% speed increase, adding a cpu cooler to replace the stock one to keep the system much quieter, and going with the 2x8GB configuration on ram so you can have it use dual channel and not eat up all the slots. If money is tight, I'd drop the cpu upgrade, but I'd consider the motherboard and cooler critical, and the ram config is the cheaper of the 2 16gb options.

The onboard graphics will push 2 hd monitors just fine as long as you're not trying to game with them, just know that you'll either need to run one on hdmi and the other on dvi, or get a cheap cable adapter to convert one of the outputs to match what your monitors want. I've run dual monitors perfectly off my 4th gen i7 integrated graphics in my studio pc, and only just added a card in anticipation of a 4k display.

Great advice,thanks very much Flash, that's really helped me narrow things down
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Re: Old Laptop for new PC Tower

Postby James Perrett » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:09 pm

Novatech must be doing something right as they've been around for years and are usually competitively priced. I used to pop over to their place in Portchester for bits and pieces but have never bought a complete system from them.
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Re: Old Laptop for new PC Tower

Postby Julian Walker » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:13 pm

[/quote]

Hi again Julian. I am also not that cure with PCs but bits of gen' have stuck! If you right click on "Computer" on the desktop then go>Manage>storage you will get to the partitions on the system drive (should be "C") and if you have a Recovery partition it will be there.

I humbly suggest your first purchase should be a USB 3.0 external drive. Then get clued up about making an image of the laptops drive. Once you have that on the external drive you can safely clean up the laptop and if it goes wrong, restore everything back as it was.

The external drive can be used when you get the tower as a backup drive and for holding images of that as well.

I thought someone might also suggest W10. I have it on an gash desktop for "learning purposes" but I have not powered it up in weeks. I understand that if the wallet can stand it, it is better to go for the next version up from basic W10?

Dave.[/quote]

Thank you Dave, I'll follow your tips tomorrow and see if I can make the image of the laptop drive

Julian
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Re: Old Laptop for new PC Tower

Postby Pete Kaine » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:43 am

ef37a wrote:Bit surprised that you i5 machine is maxing out but the little I have learned about computers has told ne that not all i5 processors are equal.

Shot in the dark time, but a 7-year-old i5 mobile would be around the 2540m sort of level which pulled benchmarks not far above a Q6600 desktop. A fine model 12 years ago, but rather underpowered in today's terms.

To give you some sort of comparison, CPU benchmark on that is around 3000/3500 exact model depending, whereas a modern desktop i5 8600 is around 12,000 and the 8700 is around 15,000.
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Re: Old Laptop for new PC Tower

Postby Julian Walker » Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:35 pm

Trevor Johnson wrote:
So I'm considering a tower pc using a company called Novatech to supply who've been recommended by our work tech guru as a decent affordable builder of pcs.

I have heard good things about Novatech, too, although I haven't used them.
Looking at their website, you are probably looking at something like the NT1317, which has an i5 8400 CPU, which benchmarks at around 11,710and is 6 core. I have a 6 year old i3930K, similar specs, which will run anything you can throw at it so CPU wise, you will be fine. It isn't worth going i7, unless you are thinking about highly intensive tasks, e.g. 3D rendering.

It may run 2 monitors OK, with its on-board Intel UHD Graphics 630, but I would check.

1TB is smallish, go for 2 or 3TB: I bought a 3TB Toshiba DT01ACA300, for another build, which I am very pleased with: Backblaze have found them very reliable.

Win 10 or 7: go for 10, because drivers are being written for 10, rather than 7, and I have had no problems with 10, on 3 separate machines.

Hope this is useful.

Useful stuff, many thanks Trevor.
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