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Building a new computer for audio recording (hopefully in the $500 range)

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December 9, 2013 11:34:28 AM

Hi everyone, I'm looking to build up a good pc in the next few weeks for recording music, my budget is in the 500 dollar range (I realize it might be more). I already have a monitor and do not need an OS. I have read that an HDD drive is much more efficient so I'm leanings towards that. I don't have a preferred website for buying parts, I'd be interested in hearing your guys input. A quiet computer would be nice. I read in another thread that this case could possibly be a good fit:
SeaSonic S12II 430B 430W ATX12V V2.3/EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The computer I currently have is a Gateway DX4720-03, is there anything I could salvage from this computer that would be worthwhile on my new build?
I would really appreciate anyones input for parts and help, thank you!
December 9, 2013 11:51:23 AM

oops i meant to say power supply, not case
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December 9, 2013 2:41:21 PM

You don't particularly need a top notch PC for top notch recordings, how ever, for audio editing, stretching and exporting you will see a difference with more power

So sound interface wise check this -
http://www.whybuynew.co.uk/sounds-cards/focusrite-scarl...

This would be a good starting point for all round recording, quality cabling is a must to.

Processor I'd go with a core i3, this will be more than capable for audio recording. And editing.

As for noise, go with a silent CPU cooler and get some good 120mm fans,

If you look on ebuyer, customers always leave reviews on products and you'll be able to find a quiet fan, and this website will have reviews of silent CPU coolers.

If you are completely inexperienced with building, I'll put together a list for you, otherwise I w hope this was a help and get back to me if you have any q's

Source - DJ/producer with lots of studio time !
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December 9, 2013 3:00:46 PM

Hi marsay001, thank you so much for the advice. I will basically want to be producing my own recordings using instruments with this machine so editing will definitely be part of that. Thank you for the link to the sound interface, I will definitely pick something like that up. I'm basically in need of a new computer as mine is getting pretty old and slow and I've been wanting to put together a recording set up for a long time (i will also use this computer for browsing the internet, photoshop, downloading) so I figured this was a good place to start. I'm completely inexperienced with making my own build so if you could help put together a list that would be really awesome. I have a few questions, some of these are probably pretty obvious but please bare with me:

does the sound interface function as the soundcard or is that another seperate component?

are there any components from my old PC (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) that i could spare to save cost?

should i get an hdd drive? is it worth it?

thanks again for your help!
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December 10, 2013 4:05:49 PM

I'm also wondering, does it make sense to build a computer for my intended uses and cost point rather than purcahse one thats already put together? Thanks for any input you guys might have
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December 10, 2013 4:15:38 PM

Building your own computer will almost always save you tons of money. This is assuming you dont somehow fry all your equipment and void your warranties :p 

The only other option besides a HDD is a SSD, but at your budget thats not possible
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December 10, 2013 4:38:53 PM

Oh sorry about that, I meant to say SSD not HDD (sorry im new to this). Are they worth the more expensive cost? I'd be willing to expand my budget if they are worth the price.

also i assume that if i had an HDD drive i can hook that up too but not as the primary drive right? and then i could do music editing with the SSD?
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December 10, 2013 6:41:35 PM

If you're dead set on getting a SSD, get a 60-120GB SSD and ONLY install your OS, and main applications you use on there. They'll load and run around 20-50% faster then usual. They arent cheap though, you'd be lucky to get a 120GB SSD for under $100. That's why I don't think you'd be able to fit a SSD, AND a decent sided HDD for your storage in a budget build.
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December 11, 2013 12:41:47 AM

slough said:
I'm also wondering, does it make sense to build a computer for my intended uses and cost point rather than purcahse one thats already put together? Thanks for any input you guys might have


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December 11, 2013 12:45:33 AM

slough said:
I'm also wondering, does it make sense to build a computer for my intended uses and cost point rather than purcahse one thats already put together? Thanks for any input you guys might have


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December 11, 2013 1:06:07 AM

Hi mate sorry for the late reply I lost the email with the notification to the post and couldn't find you on the forum !

If you go with that sound interface I showed you then that will be for INPUTING sound, I'm pretty sure you can monitor with it to. You won't need another sound card though to go with it as there is one in the motherboard you can use for your speakers,

Anyway here's my advice to you, and I'll start by the bits you can keep from your current system -

Case, hard drive and DVD drive.

Then purchase -

An Intel i5-4430 CPU
A Gigabyte GA-H87M-HD3 mo/no

Ram go with 4gb (for now)

CorsairVengeance Low Profi 4GB DDR3 1600 MHz

Power supply Corsair CP-9020047-UK 500w
This came to around £250 on scan.co.uk, apologies if your American lol

You will see one hell of a power jump with this set up and is upgrade able for the future. It's quad core, has the 4th generation (just out) core CPU. And the latest intel hd graphics, which although a lot a people slate, you'd be pleasantly surprised with the gAmes they can run.

Lastly you mentioned an SSD ? I think you meant. you would see an increase in load times, but IMO It's an unnecessary budget hike for now, when you need money for recording equipment.

How's that sound sir ?



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December 11, 2013 1:07:15 AM

And it would be significantly cheaper to bud one, than buy a premade one with a monster CPU but then skimped build quality everywhere else
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December 11, 2013 11:57:17 AM

Hi Marsay, thanks so much for the advice! That all looks good. I was talking with a friend of mine and he bought an SSD drive for a new build but is not going to use it and will sell it to me for $75. this is the drive

Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It seems like a great deal so I'm thinking I should pick it up, if i buy this can i use my current harddrive as a slave? he also told me that he will sell me this power supply for a discounted price, is this a decent supply? (i haven't asked how much yet)

CORSAIR TX Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply & New 4th Gen CPU Certified Haswell Ready
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item= N82E16817139005&h=-AQGJUxCh

Thanks so much for your help!
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December 11, 2013 12:05:06 PM

slough said:
Hi Marsay, thanks so much for the advice! That all looks good. I was talking with a friend of mine and he bought an SSD drive for a new build but is not going to use it and will sell it to me for $75. this is the drive

Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It seems like a great deal so I'm thinking I should pick it up, if i buy this can i use my current harddrive as a slave? he also told me that he will sell me this power supply for a discounted price, is this a decent supply? (i haven't asked how much yet)

CORSAIR TX Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply & New 4th Gen CPU Certified Haswell Ready
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item= N82E16817139005&h=-AQGJUxCh

Thanks so much for your help!


That PSU is a good one.
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December 11, 2013 2:56:14 PM

As RazerZ said, yes and as for the SSD, yes get it, and install your OS, and studio programs on it.

Post back when your up and running, and happy to help. :) 
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December 11, 2013 4:30:39 PM

Sounds good, I will definitely let you know. thanks so much!
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December 13, 2013 10:07:27 PM

hi, one last question. so i want to install windows 8.1 on this machine, should i install the x64 or x86? what is the difference?
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December 23, 2013 3:55:35 PM

Hi guys, I've ordered the parts and should be assembling within days! I had one more questions in addition to the windows x64 vs x86 though.

So the RAM i've just gotten is DDR3 1600 MHz and the RAM from my old computer is 4GB DDR2 800. Will I be able to run both of these even though they are different?

Thanks!
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December 24, 2013 6:29:53 AM

slough said:
Hi guys, I've ordered the parts and should be assembling within days! I had one more questions in addition to the windows x64 vs x86 though.

So the RAM i've just gotten is DDR3 1600 MHz and the RAM from my old computer is 4GB DDR2 800. Will I be able to run both of these even though they are different?

Thanks!


Sorry to disappoint you but the DDR2 ram has a different slot than a DDR3 stick of ram. You could try and sell it to regain some money. Hope you have fun with the build :) 
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January 28, 2014 12:36:51 PM

Hi everyone, so I have everything built up and windows installed. everything is working great! I was wondering, a friend of mine gave me this video card http://www.amazon.com/VisionTek-Radeon-Express-Graphics...

is this compatible with my motherboard? which is a Gigabyte GA-H87M-HD3?

Thanks!
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January 28, 2014 12:52:42 PM

I was also give this card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... Is one better than the other? I was told I could run them together but I dont think my motherboard has the capability of doing this does it?

would installing one of these cards be an improvement over the integrated graphics?
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January 28, 2014 1:17:33 PM

slough said:
I was also give this card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... Is one better than the other? I was told I could run them together but I dont think my motherboard has the capability of doing this does it?

would installing one of these cards be an improvement over the integrated graphics?


You can't run them together, but I would run the sapphire one as it looks like it has a better cooler and it's better than your i5's onboard graphics.
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