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Need help building a music production/gaming PC - $400-$600 budget.

Hey everyone,

So basically my laptop is a Dell Lattitude E6520 and it just isn't cutting it at home. I want to dedicate my laptop to office/email/on the go functions and so I need to a build a dedicated PC for fun stuff. I do a lot of music production on the Reaper 64bit DAW (VST/MIDI/Live instruments) through an interface, so I need it to handle lots of plugins, record smoothly with high quality, and have smooth playback without clipping. I also want it to store plenty of tracks, but I can always get a glyph drive later I suppose. Secondly, I want to be able to play lots of games smoothly at a respectable level of detail. I know it's kind of a tight budget. I looked at the 600 dollar build in this article: http://lifehacker.com/5840963/the-best-pcs-you-can-build-for-600-and-1200 and while it sounds fine for gaming it doesn't address music production. Another thing I looked at is getting a solid state drive, which sounds cool, but I don't know much about PC components. If going a little over budget or further upgrading down the road gets me nice gains I'm open to it. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
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  1. For your budget, a solid state drive isn't really worth it.

    Do you need to purchase an operating system? Do you need part of the budget set aside for a dedicated audio card or do you already have one? Do you need wifi / keyboard / mouse / monitor? What resolution of monitor do you plan to use? Do you plan to overclock?
  2. pyro226 said:
    For your budget, a solid state drive isn't really worth it.

    Do you need to purchase an operating system? Do you need part of the budget set aside for a dedicated audio card or do you already have one? Do you need wifi / keyboard / mouse / monitor? What resolution of monitor do you plan to use? Do you plan to overclock?


    Thanks for the speedy reply. I have a copy of windows, as well as a keyboard/mouse/monitor. The resolution of the monitor is 1920 x 1080 I believe. The budget is pretty much for what goes in the tower. A dedicated audio card would be nice, I don't have one, but my interface has a sound card in it, so I could hold off on the sound card for a while and stick with an integrated one for non-music purposes, unless having a dedicated audio card is encouraged. As for the wifi, I would need it, or some way to do ethernet, I don't mind running a cord out since it will be stationary. I don't think I'm experienced enough to try and overclock it, so probably no on that.
  3. Best answer
    Motherboard will have ethernet. This motherboard isn't really designed for overclocking, but it's will do the job. USB sound cards are recommended (from what I read), so they're easier to use with laptops.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor
    Motherboard: MSI 970A-G43 ATX AM3+ Motherboard
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
    Video Card: Asus Radeon R9 270 2GB Video Card
    Case: Enermax ECA3280A-BL ATX Mid Tower Case
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer
    Total: ~$615.00 before rebate of $10
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-05 22:41 EST-0500)

    It's a bit over the budget, but right now there isn't much choice in graphics cards at the fitting price range. The $140 650 Ti Boost are no longer available and AMD has discontinued it's older cards in the price range, so either going with the AMD R9 270 ($180) or the older AMD Radeon HD 7790 ($120) is suggested. If you're a gamer, go with the R9. If you only do light gaming, go with the 7790.
  4. Just remembered, you might need a sata cable (I think one comes with the motherboard, but the list has an OEM HDD and an OEM Optical drive meaning you will need 2 cables).
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812816027&ignorebbr=1
    It tells me "$1.5 off with promo code EMCWVTW26, ends 1/6/14"
  5. Thank you so much! This all looks good, and that case looks pretty cool. You did a great job pulling together what I need for the budget, and have really helped out someone who knows very little about choosing components. Can't wait to put it together. Thanks again!
  6. Johnstantinople said:
    Thank you so much! This all looks good, and that case looks pretty cool. You did a great job pulling together what I need for the budget, and have really helped out someone who knows very little about choosing components. Can't wait to put it together. Thanks again!



    Hi There, did you actually built your PC with the specification pyro226 adviced? did it work as expected? what are the hurdles you faced? did we miss any parts? please update...
  7. pyro226 said:
    Motherboard will have ethernet. This motherboard isn't really designed for overclocking, but it's will do the job. USB sound cards are recommended (from what I read), so they're easier to use with laptops.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor
    Motherboard: MSI 970A-G43 ATX AM3+ Motherboard
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
    Video Card: Asus Radeon R9 270 2GB Video Card
    Case: Enermax ECA3280A-BL ATX Mid Tower Case
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer
    Total: ~$615.00 before rebate of $10
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-05 22:41 EST-0500)

    It's a bit over the budget, but right now there isn't much choice in graphics cards at the fitting price range. The $140 650 Ti Boost are no longer available and AMD has discontinued it's older cards in the price range, so either going with the AMD R9 270 ($180) or the older AMD Radeon HD 7790 ($120) is suggested. If you're a gamer, go with the R9. If you only do light gaming, go with the 7790.


    The building process, are there any real steps to putting this together? or is it a guessing puzzle game?
  8. Parag3n said:
    The building process, are there any real steps to putting this together? or is it a guessing puzzle game?


    There are a lot of guides available on how to put computers together. Here is a written guide done by Toms Hardware:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-your-own-pc,2601-10.html

    Otherwise, youtube has a lot of videos. Newegg did a 3 video playlist about buying parts and putting the parts together. (Optionally skip to ~5 minutes)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_56kyib-Ls
  9. pyro226 said:
    Parag3n said:
    The building process, are there any real steps to putting this together? or is it a guessing puzzle game?


    There are a lot of guides available on how to put computers together. Here is a written guide done by Toms Hardware:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-your-own-pc,2601-10.html

    Otherwise, youtube has a lot of videos. Newegg did a 3 video playlist about buying parts and putting the parts together. (Optionally skip to ~5 minutes)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_56kyib-Ls


    Hello again,
    I've heard that a good sound card is basically needed for music production. Now my question is, should i just stick with the built in SCard? or get a different one. You mentioned on your parts list nothing about a SCard, but about a video card. Because i think buying an expensive video isn't really needed for music production. But I've been told that the SCard is important, nothing about a video card.
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