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AMD A9-940 for music production

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AMD A9-940 for music production

Postby Will1402 » Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:07 am

Hi guys, I'm not a regular poster but could do with a bit of advice if I may. I've had for the last few years a Lenovo Ideacentre 510 All-In-One with the AMD A9-940 and 8GB RAM and it's been ok for running my DAW of choice (Cakewalk by Bandlab). The problem is, now my productions are getting a little more advanced from my previous novice-level attempts and I'm now running many more processors - compressors, EQ, ambience generators, parallel effects etc (largely within Cakewalk rather than 3rd party plug-ins) things are - maybe unsurprisingly - starting to get a bit slow! A typical set up for my tracks would be guitar, bass (both using the TH3 modelling), programmed drums and vocals but I am aiming for more advanced mixing/processing than demo type tracks.

The way I see it, I either need to break down my productions into smaller parts and render more to audio earlier on to save on the CPU (some advantages to this as it would force more decision making!) which could make the Lenovo more usable, but I am seriously considering whether a new desktop would be worth biting the bullet for. One I've got my eye on is the ACER TC-885 tower with Intel i5 9400. The RAM is the same at 8GB but it also has 128 GB SSD (I don't think the Lenovo has an SSD). It's probably at the top of my budget at around £600.

To cut to the chase, would the purchase be massively advantageous for running Cakewalk? It looks to me on paper the main difference is the change of processor but would that equate to a vastly improved experience using music software? If not, are there any other desktops in the same price bracket that would fit the bill better? Alternatively, should I save the money, stick to what I've got and adjust my recording/mixing workflow to render/bounce more to audio earlier on to save on CPU?

Many thanks in advance,

Will
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Re: AMD A9-940 for music production

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:35 am

Hi Will, smarter folks than me will be along in a bit, but when I was looking at potentially upgrading my machine earlier this year I came to the conclusion that I really needed to be lobbing about £750 at it to get something with a notably improved processor, decent drives and a good set of RAM (at least 16GB was my thinking).
So my gut feel would be to hang for a bit. But it would be worth giving the folks at Scan a call to see what they could do for you.
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Re: AMD A9-940 for music production

Postby Will1402 » Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:12 am

Thanks Drew, perhaps it does make sense to wait a bit for a higher spec machine with better RAM. I hadn't heard of Scan as I've only bought from the likes of Curry's and John Lewis in the past but will have a look, thank you.
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Re: AMD A9-940 for music production

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:51 pm

They're PC specialists and (amongst other things) they do machines designed as music workstations first and foremost. You'd assume (as I did) that this would immediately put them out of budget but actually when you compare them to a similar spec from the likes of Dell then they're still very competitive.
One of their employees, Pete Kaine, is a regular on this forum as well so that's a bonus in my eyes. :)
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Re: AMD A9-940 for music production

Postby Folderol » Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:57 pm

Just as a matter of interest, is there a specific reason for wanting a laptop (convenience, work space etc.) the reason I ask being that you you'll get a better spec desktop machine for the same price. Also, it's my experience that finance permitting it's best to get something you'll grow into, rather than grow out of!
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Re: AMD A9-940 for music production

Postby Will1402 » Wed Jul 22, 2020 2:01 pm

True that makes sense, though there may be some confusion as I am only talking desktops :) My current one is an all-in-one but I am looking at towers with separate monitors (which I should have gone for originally due to them being more upgradable)
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Re: AMD A9-940 for music production

Postby Folderol » Wed Jul 22, 2020 3:13 pm

Ah! It was the 'all in one' bit that made me thing laptop - my error :blush:
Incidentally another happy Scan customer. My last one was little more expensive than an off-the-shelf ones and exactly what I wanted.
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Re: AMD A9-940 for music production

Postby Will1402 » Wed Jul 22, 2020 3:35 pm

Ah hehe no worries :) So from the point of view of a worthwhile upgrade from the AMD A9/8GB RAM (assuming the processor and RAM are the most important factors), I guess I should be looking more towards 16GB, but what would be the benchmark of processor I should be aiming for if I can go towards the £750 or slightly higher mark? I've heard good things about Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen 5, but should I be looking for the highest number of cores within those categories? I take it Scan will build to the customers specifications - it does sound like this is the way to go!
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