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Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby Musec » Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:35 am

Planning to buy a DAW and a new computer. What should the minimun requirements be for the computer in order to create normal pop/rock/hard rock songs, i.e. not symphonies with many instruments?

I have been searching the net and it seems that this is suitable:

i7 CPU at least 8th generation, at least 3 GHz, quad core.
16 Gb RAM
A couple of SSD harddrives with several Tbs.
64 bits OS Windows 10 (Home edition good enough?)

What about sound card? Any recommendations? It seems latecy is of importance.

Anybody with experience out there who could share their views and experience on this? Are gaming computers too loud when it comes to fans? Do I have to worry about chipset? Graphics card? Problems with drivers when it comes to some DAWs?

Haven't decided on DAW yet but am not opting for Pro Tools, but Perhaps Studio One, Reaper, Ableton or similair...
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:52 pm

The experts will doubtless be along shortly but for what it's worth, that spec significantly outdoes the machine I'm working on and that's handled some fairly complex stuff in the past.
Frankly, unless you're thinking about getting heavily involved in video or doing some really complex stuff with resource-hungry plug-ins that should be fine.
Soundcard-wise, i'd be looking at a decent interface and doing it that way rather than spending anything extra on an internal one. You could fund that by going for a cheap / free DAW like Reaper or Cakewalk.
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby ef37a » Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:20 pm

Howdy Musec and welcome.

No expert here also but yes, that spec is way better than most folks enjoy here betcha betcha?

For an interface look at the review of the Native Instruments KA6 in the current magazine. If that has enough ins and outs for you, nothing better at almost twice the price IMHO.

I really like Samplitude but then I "grew up" with it. Like most of the major DAWs you can download a fully working trial to use for 30 days. Try 'em all then take advantage of the post Crimmble bargains! Reaper is really so cheap and good it is a no brainer to have as another option. Nor everything does everything equally well (but Sam gets closer than most!)

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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby Wonks » Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:49 pm

Disk size requirement depends on how many songs you create, how many VSTs and how many sample packs you get.

But I manage with a 500MB SSD system disk (stared out as 125GB but that quickly became full as some programs insist on putting stuff on C:) and couple of 250 GB SSDs; one for songs, one for samples. So you may want to save a bit on disk size to spend elsewhere. You can always expand your storage at a later date when cost per GB invariable falls.

A good i7 will last a long time. Mine's quite old now, but still does fine. 16GB is good. Unless you go big on sample libraries, you probably won't make use of more than 8GB most of the time, but it's nice to know it's there.

Gaming computers have the emphasis on maximising raw power for video handling, and you really don't need a huge amount for audio unless you are dong huge symphonic stuff with multiple orchestral libraries all running (where data import speeds are still more important than ultimate processor power). They often have less RFI shielding, so external instruments and soundcards can pick up more computer noise. A PC designed for audio is the best choice - quieter and with components that won't cause audio bottlenecks.

If you plan to record audio in the same room - vocals, guitar etc, then you really want the quietest PC you can get.

DAW graphics are all 2D, so even the most basic graphics card has more than enough power. I prefer a separate card to built-in graphics, as it leaves a bit more CPU power for audio.

Consider the number of USB or Thunderbolt 3 ports available. You can get by using a USB hub for mice and keyboards, but you are best using direct connections for audio devices and synth/MIDI keyboard connections.

Are you planning on using headphones or monitors? No point in having a decent DAW PC without having at least a decent set of one or the other (or both). Which then leads on to acoustic treatment for your room. Very important if you want to end up with both a good recording space and also mixes that translate well to other systems/environments.
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby CS70 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:12 pm

Mostly is down to what you use to create the music.

For recording - if you record instruments with microphones or using hardware synths, you don't need much power - just a fast hard disk. If you plan to use software synths, however, some of them use a lot of computational power so you need a more high end machine.

The only attention should be that the machine has good realtime response, i.e. none of its components are interrupting the CPU all the time. Realtime response is as good as the weakest link in the computing chain, not the strongest, so a poorly designed component may put a span in the works. But most desktop PCs nowdays don't suffer from much of that and even laptops have gotten much better with respect to ten years ago or so.

For mixing, DAW software by itself doesn't require all that big a spec, but that may change quickly depending on the effects you want to use on each track - how many and which ones - of course multiplied for the number of tracks which are active at the same time.

While it doesn't need to, a commercial-level mix can run easily up to 50 tracks (and some "keep it all" monsters go well over the 100s - but there we're usually talking of sessions containing different takes, tentative stems, stuff that you're not using but you keep just in case etc). A base acoustic guitar+vocals piece can be as little as 3-5 tracks.

In general you want always to spec for a little more than you think you want to do at start, so your spec is good.

As for the interface, the first question is how many external sources you need to record at the same time (microphones or hardware synths). Once you figure that out, double the number up :D

As of latency, most modern interfaces can reproduce right away in the headphones/monitors whatever they receive (it's called "direct monitoring"). But if (as it's the case with software synths, software guitar amp emulations etc) you need to hear the processed sound as opposite to the dry one, or you use MIDI to drive a software synth, low latency becomes critical: the sound goes from your fingers to the interface to the computer that processes it, then back to the interface and back in your headphones/monitors. If that takes more than a very few milliseconds, it's really annoying.

Notice that if you plan indeed to use software synths or emulations (and thus you need to hear the processed signal) in general latency depends both on the interface (drivers) and the computer power. Even an ultra low latency interface won't help if the computer is to slow to process your notes and produce the sound. Some interfaces allow you to perform processing onboard, and that helps.

So the answer to your question is "it depends". Ain't it always the same? :D
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby Musec » Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:22 pm

Thanks for all your info. Perhaps I should have mentioned that I plan to use the computer as a graphics editor as well (not video though), hence a little bit more specs than perhaps needed for audio.

The way I understand it, nowadays most sounds used in a song is in a sound library on the computer harddrive and not in the keyboards/synts? I would like to prefer that way of working anyway. Otherwise you have to get a lot of synths.

Except for synths/keyboards and digital drums, I plan to record a real electric guitar via an audio interface and play on keyboards via MIDI. Not planning on bass since they can be simulated pretty good on the computer, but electric guitar needs to be a real electric guitar the way I see it. Perhaps some singing as well (not by me though), but that can probably be arranged somewhere else. Singing can also be simulated with synths to get some feel for the melody and instead bring in a real singer later when the song is finished.

There are so many questions and so much to understand about this. I have done a lot of googling/Youtubing and it definitely helps, but...

1. The audio interface - can they be used with any DAW? I just plug it into the USB? I only need like two audio inputs, mostly for the electric guitar. Do you have any to recommend?

2. If I want sounds there are sound libraries available - do they work with every DAW? Is this what is called VST instruments?

3. What's the most usual format for the finished song? .wav? .mp3? Or something else? 44.1 KHz seems to be the standard?

4. It would be easier to buy a new fully working computer where I just expand it with larger SSD-drives etc, instead of putting together my own computer from scratch and buying all the individual components myself. This seems ok?

5. If I get a descent audio interface, the built-in soundcard (in the interface) will be the one used instead of the computers soundcard?

I plan mostly do do "radio typ of music", i.e. pop and rock and so on, no symphonies.

Pro Tools wasn't that expensive as I thought, about $559 for the "standard" version, but perhaps I go with Reaper instead. Several others have recommended it. Does any audio interface work with Pro Tools, or do they have their own audio interfaces?
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby Guitarking » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:39 am

I like the op's question. I would like to ad: what type of components is recommended nowafays. It used to be asus and then certain types. How is this now? And cpu still Intel?
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby CS70 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:29 am

Musec wrote:Thanks for all your info. Perhaps I should have mentioned that I plan to use the computer as a graphics editor as well (not video though), hence a little bit more specs than perhaps needed for audio.

Yeah definitely you need all the oomph you get. And some more.
In terms of computing requirements, audio doesn't hold a candle to video.
Also, get a graphic card which is supported by your NLE of choice.

The way I understand it, nowadays most sounds used in a song is in a sound library on the computer harddrive and not in the keyboards/synts? I would like to prefer that way of working anyway. Otherwise you have to get a lot of synths.

With "synth" often one means a software instrument of some sort - not necessary an actual synthesizer. But you're right, "software instrument" is a better general name. You have both types: actual software synthesizers, who emulate oscillators, filters etc; and sample-based instruments. There's also modellers which try to recreate the physics of a specific instrument so aren't either.

The main point for the whole lot is that the processing happens in the computer. That means that you need to hear the sound processed in the computer as opposite to the simply monitoring whatever you put in (which in these cases is usually MIDI, so doesn't really have a sound). For this kind of instruments, latency is critical.

As for "most sounds" it really depends on the music you make. I've recorded for a good few years now and I've seldom if ever used a software instrument in a production - being so that I mainly use and mix physical instruments. And EDM guy will mostly use software instruments. So really up to what kind of music you make.

Except for synths/keyboards and digital drums, I plan to record a real electric guitar via an audio interface and play on keyboards via MIDI. Not planning on bass since they can be simulated pretty good on the computer, but electric guitar needs to be a real electric guitar the way I see it. Perhaps some singing as well (not by me though), but that can probably be arranged somewhere else. Singing can also be simulated with synths to get some feel for the melody and instead bring in a real singer later when the song is finished.

For the guitars, it's the same story: do you record a live, real guitar amplifier using a microphone? Or plan to plug the electric guitar into the interface and use a software emulation running in the computer as amplifier? In this latter case, you're back using a software instrument (the amp emulation) even if the input is with real guitar. In the former, you're simply recording a finished signal via a microphone - just as you would for a vocal track.

1. The audio interface - can they be used with any DAW? I just plug it into the USB? I only need like two audio inputs, mostly for the electric guitar. Do you have any to recommend?

USB interfaces, generally yes (I understand Apple computers have some fancy connectors which allow the company to squeeze some more money from you, but in principle so long you have the right cabling, yes). Thunderbolt interfaces tend to be used only with Macs because the type of connection (as opposite to USB) is not supported by many PC motherboards. Firewire interfaces still work fine but you will find very few modern motherboards still supporting firewire - it's a dead protocol.

Make sure you have direct monitoring, since it helps a lot (but most USB interfaces from the last few years have it)

RME is a fave around here for stability, connectivity, quality and support- but they're a little more pricey.

2. If I want sounds there are sound libraries available - do they work with every DAW? Is this what is called VST instruments?

They are software instruments. VST is one of the formats with which these instruments come in (actually there's several, with VST3 being the most recent) - but it's a very popular format and works with most DAWs. Not sure about the last ProTools, but it's a google away.

3. What's the most usual format for the finished song? .wav? .mp3? Or something else? 44.1 KHz seems to be the standard?

You usually have many formats for the finished song. CD quality is uncompressed PCM (pulse code modulation) at 16 bit / 44.1KHz and it's plenty good for any kind of music.

WAV (or AIFF etc) is one of the "losseless" formats that can contain PCM16/44.1 so from a bunch of WAV you can easily make a CD (that's what CD making factories do).

MP3 takes a PCM16/44 and cuts away information so that the file size is smaller. Quality is always degraded to a degree, but how much and how much that's noticeable depends on the parameters you use to create the MP3, in particular the bitrate (the number of bits of data made available every second). Basically the lower the bit rate, the smaller the file, but the worse it sounds with respect with the original. The main issue of mp3 is that if you compress again a compressed file, the sound artifacts become immediately noticeable (and ugly).

So usually you have a 24 bit PCM master (24bit is the "working" format which you use for recording, mixing and mastering), also stored in WAV format (or similar) which is then converted to 16bit/44.1KHz (for high quality playback, like CD, or as an input to Spotify, Apple Music etc) and a "good" (high bitrate) MP3 that you can distribute to people who want to keep things on their disks and so need to save space.

Note that when you submit a file to Spotify/Apple Music/YouTube etc, these services will compress it first thing (in a manner similar to mp3) so it's worth always submitting CD quality.

4. It would be easier to buy a new fully working computer where I just expand it with larger SSD-drives etc, instead of putting together my own computer from scratch and buying all the individual components myself. This seems ok?

Really depends on how much you know about building computers. If you want to concentrate on the music rather than building, yes. :)

5. If I get a descent audio interface, the built-in soundcard (in the interface) will be the one used instead of the computers soundcard?

Yes, that's the point. :-) Most modern motherboards come with sound cards on the board itself, but for space and cost reasons they aren't that great. Ok for playing videogames but not so much for recording and mixing.

I plan mostly do do "radio typ of music", i.e. pop and rock and so on, no symphonies.

Cool. So do I. Pop and rock can be made the traditional way (four, five chaps with drums, guitars, keys and vocals and a whole lot of microphones) or almost entirely with software instruments (software drums, software amplifiers and software synth/keys/whatever). In this latter case you need the microphone only for vocals.

One word of caution (but it's only my $.10): to do good stuff with the latter setup you gotta be good, arguably better, than with the traditional way. The reason being that while all these emulations can sound fantastic, the work necessary to make them so is a bit off field. Take a drum part: you need to know how to play drums and record them, but once you do - all the performance nuances, timing micro-shifts, all the stuff that makes the part interesting will be there. It takes effort to get the takes to tape, but once you have them, they're good (assuming you are a good drummer :)).

Whereas if you use even a great drum software instruments, you can create a sketch part in a fews seconds.. but then you have to spend lots of time in trying to make it feel personal and realistic, which means thinking explicitly of stuff that - as a drummer - you normally wouldn't... as it would be just what happens: velocity of hits, move hits a little bit to simulate shifts, nuances etc.

To each their own tough, I've heard programmed parts which are incredibly good, so it's perfectly possible, but you get to learn programming them. I'd rather ask a drummer. :D

Pro Tools wasn't that expensive as I thought, about $559 for the "standard" version, but perhaps I go with Reaper instead. Several others have recommended it. Does any audio interface work with Pro Tools, or do they have their own audio interfaces?

Nowadays pretty much everything works with everything - at least with USB. What differentiates the interfaces is the number of I/O, the digital connectivity options, a little bit (but little) the quality of preamps and converters, the inherent latency and quality of drivers (which produces the actual latency), and the overall support from the companies.
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby Luke W » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:48 am

CS70 beat me to the rest of your questions, but I thought this was worth a comment...

Musec wrote:Pro Tools wasn't that expensive as I thought, about $559 for the "standard" version, but perhaps I go with Reaper instead. Several others have recommended it. Does any audio interface work with Pro Tools, or do they have their own audio interfaces?

If you get a perpetual licence for Pro Tools and want to get the updates/fixes throughout the year, you still have to pay for an upgrade plan, which costs a bit extra each year. Also, if your upgrade plan lapses for more than a few months, getting another one started is more money than the renewal in the first place. Avid are making a real push towards the monthly subscriptions, so it's getting quite costly to have a perpetual licence. Of course if you don't need or want the upgrade plan and you're happy to stick with the version you buy then it's not an issue.

There's no hate here, I'm a Pro Tools user myself, but if I were starting again now it wouldn't be on the top of my list.
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby Moroccomoose » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:37 am

The short answers is 'Yes' that will be just fine.

The longer answer is that is the route I would go down (In fact I did go down nearly 3 years ago and I'm not even close to the PC lagging behind the times). You could easily get away with less - say an i5 ( or whatever today's equivalent is?) - basically get as much computing horsepower as you can justify CPU wise. Its not that you need it all, it just gives you comfortable headroom for future proofing i.e. it should last you more than 3 years! If you think you are going to be using lots of samples consider boosting the memory, but 16GB is plenty to be getting on with and if you find you need more you can top it up. SCAN computers have done the hard work in matching components that work well together for audio - I'd vouch for them (As will others on here), that is where I got my DAW PC from.

DAW wise, they all do the same thing, they record and align audio and MIDI files whilst allowing you to treat them in some way or another. All in varying degrees of complexity.

To start with, and in the absence of work flow preference, I would go free or cheap, so that would be something like Cakewalk or Reaper. You might even get a 'free' version of other DAWs with your interface which is ideal.

Then I'd wait until you have out grown that before looking at the more premium products. Its important to know that the premium products do not have 'better sound quality', they simply allow you to manipulate the sounds you have captured in more ways.

That's my starting out with a DAW advice. There's also a conversation to be had about 'which interface' but I'm at work just now ;-) if others don't chime in, I will later!

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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby Musec » Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:08 am

Thanks for all the info.

I don't know how necessary it would be to upgrade Pro Tools regularly? If I buy it (haven't decided yet) it would probably be enough to get updates every 3-4 year or so I guess? The program will still work and function.

There's one issue about Pro Tools though that I'm hesitating about. Perhaps the program isn't that flexible when it comes to different types of plug-ins, software instruments, audio interfaces or other products that companies other than Avid have created? Perhaps Pro Tools are more strict in terms of what products outside of Avid's product line you can use? (So that Avid can make more money.) I don't know about this but I guess there are other DAWs out there with a more open-source perspective?

The electric guitar(s) I was thinking of recording by plugging it in, i.e. what you put in is what you get out, as a simple recording, like recording someone singing. No MIDI-thoughts about this (but perhaps in the future if it's useful). I guess the audio recording (looking like a waveform) from the electric guitar can be manipulated from within the program with reverbs, effects and so on?

If I use a keyboard and use software instruments, will it be recorded as MIDI or the way I record it, i.e. will it end up as waveforms? (There's probably a name for this which I don't know).

Ok, so most products are compatible with each other but perhaps it's best to do a check on this so that the DAW works with the audio interface and internal sound card and so on?

I do have experiences of DAW back in the 90's when I had a keyboard and Cubase and made some songs. I've started to play electric guitar since then and have evolved to like rock more than I did back then, hence the focus on this.

Back then It was all MIDI-based so the synthesizer was the limit in terms of how many sounds it could play at once, but I guess that has changed now to how powerful your computer is.
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby Luke W » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:22 am

Musec wrote:I don't know how necessary it would be to upgrade Pro Tools regularly? If I buy it (haven't decided yet) it would probably be enough to get updates every 3-4 year or so I guess? The program will still work and function.

It's exactly what I'm doing at the moment, I have a perpetual licence with no upgrade plan and I'm perfectly happy with the version I'm on. The only problem is that when I do need/want to upgrade, the cost of starting a new upgrade plan is rather high.

If you're looking at using software instruments and MIDI a lot then there are definitely better solutions out there, but others will be able to advise you better as I haven't used any other DAWS extensively for quite a while now. Unless there's a very particular reason you want to use Pro Tools, it sounds like there may be better (and probably much cheaper!) options for you.

Musec wrote:The electric guitar(s) I was thinking of recording by plugging it in, i.e. what you put in is what you get out, as a simple recording, like recording someone singing. No MIDI-thoughts about this (but perhaps in the future if it's useful). I guess the audio recording (looking like a waveform) from the electric guitar can be manipulated from within the program with reverbs, effects and so on?

If I use a keyboard and use software instruments, will it be recorded as MIDI or the way I record it, i.e. will it end up as waveforms? (There's probably a name for this which I don't know).

Yes, once you've recorded your guitar it can be edited/processed within the program, recording straight in and using amp simulations and effects afterwards is quite common these days. The usual approach with software instruments is that what you play will be recorded as MIDI which then triggers the instuments, you can still use additonal effects and processing in the same way you would with a standard audio track. Once you're happy with a software instrument part it can be converted to an audio file anyway, this also spares up some CPU power.
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby CS70 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:37 am

Musec wrote:The electric guitar(s) I was thinking of recording by plugging it in, i.e. what you put in is what you get out, as a simple recording, like recording someone singing. No MIDI-thoughts about this (but perhaps in the future if it's useful). I guess the audio recording (looking like a waveform) from the electric guitar can be manipulated from within the program with reverbs, effects and so on?

Well, here's really about how guitars work in general. The signal you capture will be very low (and you need an interface which has a special, High-Z input, not all have it.. hi-z is "high impedance", as the guitar, to work, needs an input that looks like a physical amp input). No electric guitar you hear is ever heard like that. A guitar signal is meant to be amplified. Either you use a physical amplifier (and you close-mic it and send the mic signal to the computer via the interface) or you plug the guitar in the hi-z input of the interface and send the signal (in the DAW) to an amp emulation.

You can, of course, capture the "raw" signal of the guitar (so you can send it to different amp emulations later) but as the amplified sound really changes what the player is playing, it's quite limited how far you want to stray,

And to get a mixable sound, you need to send that direct signal to an amplifier anyways (either phsyical, via a reamp box, or to a software emulation)

If I use a keyboard and use software instruments, will it be recorded as MIDI or the way I record it, i.e. will it end up as waveforms? (There's probably a name for this which I don't know).

The keyboard will be simply a controlller sending midi, but the ouput of the software instrument will be audio.. so it depends on what you decide to record. Normally I would record both.

Ok, so most products are compatible with each other but perhaps it's best to do a check on this so that the DAW works with the audio interface and internal sound card and so on?

Really no need. But forget the internal card, once you have an audio interface the best thing you can do is to disable it entirely.
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby Watchmaker » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:40 am

The spec you have is fine. Where you'll run aground is opinions on software, interfaces and microphones!. In my experience, it's more important to have a stable working environment than a fancy one.

The caution I will give is to be leery of any "software as a service", like ProTools subscriptions and Windows 10. These companies have created a business model where they get regular cash and in return they constantly change the program on you. Some think it's great, my experience made me ditch Windows completely because Win10 is a very poorly managed debacle of a software. If it were simply a regular old program I would be less against it, but exposing yourself to the whims of Microsoft for your operating system can lead to very serious problems...including randomly deleting file directories, changes to security settings and other nasties that result from poor QA, a rush to get things out the door and a focus on earnings.

If you're just starting out, consider Mac as an alternative. It took me about three years to change over from PC to Mac and although I'm not a huge Apple fan, at least the settings stay set!
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby Wonks » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:00 pm

Whereas I've never had a problem with WIN10 and my DAW with the way I use it. So YMMV.
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby Musec » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:29 am

But Windows 10 is free when it comes to updates from what I understand?
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby CS70 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:02 pm

Musec wrote:But Windows 10 is free when it comes to updates from what I understand?

Yes. Microsoft these days makes their money elsewhere.

And my guess is that it'll stay like that (aka free) for a while: the continuous updates mode allows them to bring in even fundamental changes without having to release a "next number" version (unless it's useful for marketing).

My wild guess is that at some point they will drop the "10" and name the OS just "Windows".
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby miN2 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:43 am

Musec wrote:A couple of SSD harddrives with several Tbs.

Lots of advice above but i can't help but have this catch my eye. Several TB's in SSD is kinda pricey. Do you really need that much fast storage? Sample libraries benefit from loading and streaming from an SSD as does the OS, but the difference for working projects is not all that great an advance, and when the project is loaded the difference is practically negligible.

If budget is tight i'd change that and get an SSD for the OS, an SSD for sample libraries and the rest of the drives mechanical so you get a lot more space for less money. Throw the amount you save into a better CPU since getting the best CPU (fastest speed with the most cores, not sacrificing too much speed for cores) that you can afford is never wrong. Just maybe overkill at the current time (but that's not a bad thing unless you've overstretched your budget to achieve it).
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby Musec » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:43 pm

I've decided to let a company put all the parts together that I choose so now I have to understand so much about all of this. They charge about $70 but no "unnecessary" components will then be present. The company checks for compatibility but the more I google, the more questions arise that I have to understand. I've googled for about 2-3 weeks now and am starting to understand more and more but still new issues and questions arise. For example, it seems that Photoshop use a GPU only sometimes when it comes to more advanced features.

I have a really crappy, old computer right now (good for surfing and calculations/writing) that I've used for many years. Did a lot of Photoshop with it for a few months recently and now I'm also going to start using a DAW so I might just as well buy a "super-computer" that lasts for about ten years.

I haven't really cared about being updated regarding all the new hardware that's been invented and all the new computer terms: Thunderbolt, CPU-developments (the last I remember is Pentium :headbang:), VRAM, Meltdown and Spectre, PCIe, SSD, M.2 and so many new terms I haven't cared for (or even heard about) earlier. And they have liquid coolers for CPU:s? Wow and puuuuh. Hello World.

Regarding harddrives, My current ones are 70 Gb for system disk and 500 Gb for data and they are almost full. I've decided to go with 500 Gb (M.2) for the system disk. Photoshop temporary files can get really big (20 Gb or something) for one image. I also have to empty my iPhone-photos to the harddrive every once in a while. In the long run it is going to take up space.

One source told me that one normal song 3-5 minutes could be between 1-10 Gb of data on a DAW? 100 songs would be max 1 Tb. Things build up over the years. I'm thinking a 7-12-year span with this computer.

I also want back-ups, so one 2 Tb-disk might have roughly about 25 % of that (the most important data) on the other disk. But perhaps you're right:

SSD 500 Gb (M.2) for system disk and for quick data 1 SSD (2 TB) and then perhaps 1 HDD (4 Tb) + one external drive (2-4 Tb) might be more optimal?

Perhaps I'll go with Intel i9-9900K since it was "only" about $100 more expensive than the i7 when I checked.

All in all this would roughly be $3 600 including Reaper and an audio interface (Focusrite). But I have to research audio interfaces as well. I've decided to go with Reaper because of a lot of positive remarks, it's cheap and more or less open source (?) when it comes to extra features such as plug-ins etc.
Musec
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Re: Suitable computer for a DAW?

Postby Musec » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:13 pm

Perhaps a little bit off-topic (since this is a DAW-forum), but this link was really interesting. Tests show e.g. that anything above a mid-range video card (higher end video cards are at least twice as expensive) only improves Photoshop with a few percent.

Also, Photoshop cannot as of this writing use more than eight cores.

https://www.pugetsystems.com/recommended/Recommended-Systems-for-Adobe-Photoshop-CC-139/Hardware-Recommendations

Perhaps similar tests show similar results when it comes to DAW:s in some areas?
Musec
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