$900 music production budget builds - What do you think?

Hi everyone.

So my project is to build a complete system for myself for music production, general internet, and computer stuff.

I have quite specific needs, but I posted in the hope that some fellow noobs with similar needs might benefit from my hours and hours of research and any feedback I receive :)

The system has to include everything I need for a working production machine EXCEPT: mouse and keyboard, OS, and a sound card - I use external Audio interface (Edirol FA-101) for sound input and output.

requirements -
1) As close to $900 as possible

2) decent processing speed (at a good value) and Mobo - the funk factory needs a solid powerhouse.

3) a fair amount of ram - music production eats it up

4) Firewire : allow use of audio interface

5) Needn't be good for gaming. Thus I went for on-board video, I can always get a card later if i want to upgrade to CS:S

6) Needn't be good for overclocking - I need a quiet system and overclocking would necessitate more fans etc. That's why I went for the Gigabyte boards with on-board video (the models lacking this were much better for overclocking). If anyone thinks I should overclock in order to help my music production software then let me know why - so far as I can see, it would involve excessive fiddling about, noisy fans, and not for a massive increase in processing speed (I am upgrading from a recently dead Dell laptop with Pentium III and 512Megs of Ram and even that would render what I asked it to eventually).

Anyway, here are the two builds, please give me some feedback!!!


1. Intel build

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Conroe 2.13GHz 2M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819115004
$220

Mobo:
GIGABYTE GA-965G-DS3 LGA 775 Intel G965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard – Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813128018
$135

Case and PSU - Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450Watt SmartPower 2.0 ATX 12V V2.0 for AMD & Intel systems Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811129155
$99

RAM: OCZ S.O.E 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820227118
$186

Video Card: none – onboard, upgrade later if it becomes necessary / desireable

CD/DVD drive: LG Black 18X DVD+R … 2M Cache IDE Super-Multi DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827136103
$30

Floppy:
MITSUMI Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Model D359M3D/D359M3B - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16821104101
$7

Firewire Card: SYBA PCI to Firewire 1394a 3+1 ports controller card Model SD-NEC-4F – Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16815124003
$10 (note the more expensive postage on the open box version!!!)

Monitor: 17” something-or-other
$100

HD – Storage: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822148140
$95

HD – Apps:
Western Digital Caviar SE WD800JD 80GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive – OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822135106
$44

Total Price: $926


Athlon build

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor 2.0GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103735
$135

Mobo:
GIGABYTE GA-M55plus-S3G Socket AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813128010
$95

Case and PSU
- Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450Watt SmartPower 2.0 ATX 12V V2.0 for AMD & Intel systems Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811129155
$99

RAM:
Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820134046
$220

Video Card: none – onboard, upgrade later if it becomes necessary / desireable

CD/DVD drive: LG Black 18X DVD+R … 2M Cache IDE Super-Multi DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827136103
$30

Floppy: MITSUMI Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Model D359M3D/D359M3B - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16821104101
$7

Monitor: 19” something or other
$150

HD – Storage: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822148140
$95

HD – Apps: Western Digital Caviar SE WD800JD 80GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive – OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822135106
$44

TOTAL PRICE: 875 (+p&p)


Processor choice based on best bang for your buck rating at: http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html?modelx=33&model1=433&model2=471&chart=195

All other choices made on basis of advice from another posting, or reading reviews on newegg - looking at products with a LOT of reviews - 5 stars from 13 people being less reliable than 4 starts from 145say.

ISSUES: (What I want advice about)

The Intel system is set to be more powerful, and much better at multi-tasking. However, it is slightly over-budget and I can only squeeze in a cheapo 17" monitor. The Mobo wont go to quad-core, I am not intending to make major upgrades on this in the near future. (maybe piecemeal sale-time additions of: a video card; extra HD's to make a RAID system etc.)

The Athlon set-up is less powerful for now, but they have just introduced AM2, so I thought in a year or two I can upgrade to an FX or whatever, and for now I can get a decent sized monitor and a system that will most probably serve my needs no problems.

Please fire away with comments, criticisms and (hopefully) suggestions about how to get more bang for my $900 :D
27 answers Last reply
More about music production budget builds think
  1. I suggest the 6400, it appears to be significantly faster for the audio encoding as well as for everything else. I would also suggest either the one of these mobo.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813121048
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813130078

    I think $135 for a mobo with onboard video is a lot of money. The advantage of the Intel mobo is it has 3 PCI slots and both the Intel and MSI have onboard firewire, which gives you an extra $10 savings. The Intel mobo would be $25 less, $15 for the mobo and $10 for the card and would give you 2 free PCI slots given one will be taken with your audio card. The MSI mobo would give you an additional $20 savings but you'd lose a PCI slot, which would put you in the same situation with the Gigabyte mobo given one slot would be taken with you sound card and a 2nd with the firewire card. In addition, with the onboard firewire you would also have a front port. Even if you have to drop to a 17" from a 19" monitor, given what you have to do, I think it would be a reasonable trade off for thei increase in the CPU. Personally, I'd go with the Intel, which is more expandable with 3 PCI and 3 PCI Express x1
  2. What software are you going to be using ?
  3. Thank you very much for the advice everyone. :D

    achilles and gandy I thought the (little bit extra) for the 6400 seemed worth it as i won't be overclocking (I am happy to go that much over budget). I will check out those mobo's. Do you think the savings merit the loss in GHz?

    g-paw Yeah I thought the 6400 was worth the extra $30, given that I don't want to overclock and that it seems to be excellent for multi-tasking and audio tasks. I will not be using a PCI slot for a sound card (the audio interface serves as my sound card).

    Johnny: I will be using Ableton and Reason (although I should really get onto using protools). I do very little synthesised / midi stuff, it's mostly all live instrumental recordings that I arrange and edit.
  4. UPDATE: whoopsy just found this on spoofee -

    XFX PVT73PUDJ3 GeForce 7600GS 256MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail

    available from best buy for $70

    http://www.buy.com/prod/XFX_GeForce_7600GS_256MB_PCI_Express_x16_Video_Card_Dual_DVI_S_Video/q/loc/58207/203000306.html?adid=17662

    now that seems pretty cheap to me. given that it's $100 at New Egg. It also seems to run quiet, and should be fine for heat given that I will not be too demanding of it. I guess that means that I can go for the overclockable geoforce Mobo's, and that might just about even out cost-wise. Let's see (reaches for calculator)...
  5. now that I found that cheap video card deal, I can go for a less expensive mobo of the same quality (minus the onboard graphics).I want a good quality, reliable and upgradable (moreso for AMD than for Intel) mobo.

    For the Intel system:

    GIGABYTE GA-965P-S3 LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813128017
    at $109


    This means that I save $25, and spend an extra $70 on video - total price difference: an increase of $45.

    The intel system has a new total of $970 + p&p


    I wasn't convinced by the reviews on many other Mobo's apart from the one suggested by g-paw - the Intel BOXDP965LTCK http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813121035

    This was the same price, but had firewire, so I would save another $10, making the alternative total $960 + p&p

    It also gives me the option of not getting the video card at all, leaving a possible low cost of $890 - the best I have acheived for the Intel system so far! Nice thinking g-paw. Now do i want to upgrade to CS:S or not... :D

    And for the AMD , i think this looks a better mobo (for only slightly more money): GIGABYTE GA-M57SLI-S4 Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail at $119, so that's a $14 increase, added to the $70 card, is $84 up, making the new total $959 +p&p

    So both systems have gotten more expensive, but the price gap between them has been significantly reduced. Any thoughts?
  6. Of these 2 mobo I would go with the Intel because of the onboard firewire. If you get the Sonata II case, it has a front firewre connection so with the Intel you could have both front and rear connection.
  7. Ok so here is the final project - just to have it clearly listed.

    1. Intel build

    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Conroe 2.13GHz 2M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819115004
    $220

    Mobo: Intel BOXDP965LTCK LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813121035
    $109

    RAM: Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820134384
    $195 (dropped OCZ, due to voltage worry on Intel Mobo)

    Video Card: XFX PVT73PUDJ3 GeForce 7600GS 256MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail
    http://www.buy.com/prod/XFX_GeForce_7600GS_256MB_PCI_Express_x16_Video...rd_Dual
    $60 (at best buy with new google user discount - see spoofee.com a few days ago)

    Case and PSU - Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450Watt SmartPower 2.0 ATX 12V V2.0 for AMD & Intel systems Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811129155
    $99

    CD/DVD drive: LG Black 18X DVD+R … 2M Cache IDE Super-Multi DVD Burner - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827136103
    $30

    Floppy: MITSUMI Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Model D359M3D/D359M3B - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16821104101
    $7

    Monitor: 17” something-or-other
    $100

    HD – Storage: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822148140
    $95

    HD – Apps: Western Digital Caviar SE WD800JD 80GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive – OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822135106
    $44


    TOAL PRICE: $959 :D
  8. Ok so here is the final project - just to have it clearly listed.

    1. Intel build

    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Conroe 2.13GHz 2M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819115004
    $220

    Mobo: Intel BOXDP965LTCK LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813121035
    $109

    RAM: Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820134384
    $195 (dropped OCZ, due to voltage worry on Intel Mobo)

    Video Card: XFX PVT73PUDJ3 GeForce 7600GS 256MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail
    http://www.buy.com/prod/XFX_GeForce_7600GS_256MB_PCI_Express_x16_Video...rd_Dual
    $60 (at best buy with new google user discount - see spoofee.com a few days ago)

    Case and PSU - Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450Watt SmartPower 2.0 ATX 12V V2.0 for AMD & Intel systems Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811129155
    $99

    CD/DVD drive: LG Black 18X DVD+R … 2M Cache IDE Super-Multi DVD Burner - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827136103
    $30

    Floppy: MITSUMI Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Model D359M3D/D359M3B - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16821104101
    $7

    Monitor: 17” something-or-other
    $100

    HD – Storage: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822148140
    $95

    HD – Apps: Western Digital Caviar SE WD800JD 80GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive – OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822135106
    $44


    TOAL PRICE: $959 :D

    IT all looks good however I would seriously consider dropping the 667 for some 533 since you aren't overclocking. Would knock $20 or so off your budget - not a lot but every little bit helps!
  9. I think most people here over-estimate the importance of raw CPU power. I'd dump the graphics card (you really don't need it) stick with the gigabyte S3G & x2 3800, and spend the money on a second big hard drive (OS & apps on the small one, one big one for data and the other for backups and scratch disks). Or maybe more memory.
  10. errr, Real time audio and synthesis loves raw cpu power.
    When working with audio you really don't want to be going over 70% usage.
  11. Ok so here is the final project - just to have it clearly listed.

    1. Intel build

    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Conroe 2.13GHz 2M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819115004
    $220

    Mobo: Intel BOXDP965LTCK LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813121035
    $109


    RAM: Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820134384
    $195 (dropped OCZ, due to voltage worry on Intel Mobo)

    Video Card: XFX PVT73PUDJ3 GeForce 7600GS 256MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail
    http://www.buy.com/prod/XFX_GeForce_7600GS_256MB_PCI_Express_x16_Video...rd_Dual
    $60 (at best buy with new google user discount - see spoofee.com a few days ago)

    Case and PSU - Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450Watt SmartPower 2.0 ATX 12V V2.0 for AMD & Intel systems Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811129155
    $99

    CD/DVD drive: LG Black 18X DVD+R … 2M Cache IDE Super-Multi DVD Burner - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827136103
    $30

    Floppy: MITSUMI Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Model D359M3D/D359M3B - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16821104101
    $7

    Monitor: 17” something-or-other
    $100

    HD – Storage: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822148140
    $95

    HD – Apps: Western Digital Caviar SE WD800JD 80GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive – OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822135106
    $44


    TOAL PRICE: $959 :D

    Looks good. Like I said in an early post, when you have the money I'd get an hdd and enclosure for an external drive but then when it comes of to data, especially music, I'm certifiably paranoid. :lol:
  12. A question... you plan on using onboard sound for a music production system? I would think the sound card would be one of the most important components here....
  13. With audio processing or other uses, do you use any digital memory cards? If so. for ony $12 more you can swap the Mitsumi floppy for a Mitsumi combined floppy and digital memory reader.
    This is a small increase that provides more flexibility.

    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16821104104
  14. I know you won't listen but I'll throw out the option of getting an Intel-powered Mac Mini and a couple of FireWire drives for storage space.

    You can get Live and Reason for OS X, and if you don't want Mac OS you can run it as a PC through bootcamp. Chuck in as much RAM as you can afford, and the CPUs are plenty powerful enough for 'real' recording.

    The only time you really need CPU is for running masses of plugins, and if you say you're doing instrument recordings rather than synthesized sounds then just go for quick disks and a lot of RAM.

    If you go for a PC, just get the cheapest Core 2. You need nothing more powerful.

    I would certainly go for the Mini - it's plenty powerful and is silent and small to boot.
  15. With audio processing or other uses, do you use any digital memory cards? If so. for ony $12 more you can swap the Mitsumi floppy for a Mitsumi combined floppy and digital memory reader.
    This is a small increase that provides more flexibility.

    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16821104104[/quote


    http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?name=Forums&file=iewtopic&p=1447116#1447116
    ] Thanks, didn't know they made these
  16. Thanks for all the feedback everyone. A couple of notes then some replies:

    I hope other people can use this as a reference for building their first home-built music pc. It looks like you can get a quiet, high-pwered, fast, powerful and upgradeable system for about $900 (give or take maybe $80 or more depending on graphics card, whether you have a monitor already etc.).
    Once it is up and running I will post on how well it handles the tasks I set it.

    Boduke: I might drop down to 533, I'll check the prices for a 1.8v 533 - Audio projects can put a pretty heavy strain on the RAM (with a lot pf WAV files all being referenced at once). Without overclocking the increase in RAM speed won't make any difference at all?

    mcgruff: I agree with djgandy - I probably could get away with the Athlon platform for my current music projects, but the more processing power the better, and audio projects require good multi-tasking (for which the Intel is the clear leader over athlon at the moment).

    g-paw - yeah I will keep everything backed up. I have one (full of music projects!) external USB drive now. I actually prefer to backup onto DVD's - somehow it feels safer to have a non-electronic stroage system (I guess because nothign can short circuit...).

    Ragemonkey - I have an audio interface - effectively an external soundcard. For another person doing such a build they would have to get the soundcard. (Good point) - BUT they could just leave out the video card I am putting in (the intel Mobo has onboard graphics) and put in a sound-card and not have the overall price increase too too much.

    rockyjohn - no media card reader for me. I do have a digital camera, but anything with cards also comes with USB cables, so i don't see the need for them really. Interestingly, it was being forced to pay for one in the packages from Dell, Lenovo etc which initially put me off them and made me think about building.

    MesaRectifier - I will have a think about that. I don't do many soft synths, but I do run a few VST's, EQ's etc. CPU Do you really think I can get the same bang for my buck? how's about some links? :D
  17. Quote:
    MesaRectifier - I will have a think about that. I don't do many soft synths, but I do run a few VST's, EQ's etc. CPU Do you really think I can get the same bang for my buck? how's about some links?


    Soft Synths take up a load more CPU than basic EQ, Mod and Spatial FX plugins, so if you're just using the odd EQ and Reverb then you really don't need anything as powerful (or expensive) as an E6600.

    I'd love to provide links to a site with Mac Mini benchies under music tasks but I doubt such a place exists. I can tell you that my Mini with a gig of DDR2 versus a G5 2.3ghz dual with 2.5gb DDR2 stacked up pretty good for the cost. The G5 was faster, but the Mini copes really great - even using some power-hungry plugins like Guitar Rig. If you just use EQ and spatial plugins a Mini would certainly work very well. Mine was about £400, which would probably be a $600 system (if you factor in exchange rate and cheaper prices in the US), plus you'd need a FireWire hard drive, which would be around $100.
  18. Quote:
    MesaRectifier - I will have a think about that. I don't do many soft synths, but I do run a few VST's, EQ's etc. CPU Do you really think I can get the same bang for my buck? how's about some links?


    Soft Synths take up a load more CPU than basic EQ, Mod and Spatial FX plugins, so if you're just using the odd EQ and Reverb then you really don't need anything as powerful (or expensive) as an E6600.

    I'd love to provide links to a site with Mac Mini benchies under music tasks but I doubt such a place exists. I can tell you that my Mini with a gig of DDR2 versus a G5 2.3ghz dual with 2.5gb DDR2 stacked up pretty good for the cost. The G5 was faster, but the Mini copes really great - even using some power-hungry plugins like Guitar Rig. If you just use EQ and spatial plugins a Mini would certainly work very well. Mine was about £400, which would probably be a $600 system (if you factor in exchange rate and cheaper prices in the US), plus you'd need a FireWire hard drive, which would be around $100.

    G5's were awful in cubase and reason though. We had some 1.8ghz's at college, my Athlon 1700 was faster than them. That's why i used to laugh when people used to say macs were made for audio production.
    The core2's are probably giving them the much needed power boost they needed.

    But anyway, speed is important. You will be applying effects cutting pasting normalizing compressing or whatever. The more power the quicker you can do these things.

    The more power you have, the more creative you can be.

    Also if you pick the right motherboard, you might be able to drop in another processor in 2 years time and get another 50% more power.
  19. Quote:
    But anyway, speed is important. You will be applying effects cutting pasting normalizing compressing or whatever. The more power the quicker you can do these things.


    In a multitracking situation you apply effects in realtime, rather than applying them once and having a 'work (wav) file' and an original. It's a much easier way to work. Granted it requires a certain degree of power, but any Intel dual-core eats it up.

    You're not going to be able to do 12 simultaneous Guitar Rig (or other power-hungry plugin) tracks but it sounds like the OP is looking to record 'real' instruments which put more strain on hard drive and RAM than CPU.
  20. Quote:


    Boduke: I might drop down to 533, I'll check the prices for a 1.8v 533 - Audio projects can put a pretty heavy strain on the RAM (with a lot pf WAV files all being referenced at once). Without overclocking the increase in RAM speed won't make any difference at all?


    To answer this question, its really a yes/no answer. A lot of times purchasing higher speed rated memory will allow that memory to operate at lower timings when run at a lower speed. But thats not neccesarily always the case. But to more directly answer you're question, if the system is only going to utilize the memory at 533, putting in ddr575 or ddr650 will not change anything unless you actually set the system to operate at the higher frequency, which typically involves overclocking.

    So, really there is no point in using the higher speed memory unless you need it for a specific reason
  21. Quote:
    But anyway, speed is important. You will be applying effects cutting pasting normalizing compressing or whatever. The more power the quicker you can do these things.


    In a multitracking situation you apply effects in realtime, rather than applying them once and having a 'work (wav) file' and an original. It's a much easier way to work. Granted it requires a certain degree of power, but any Intel dual-core eats it up.

    I wasn't talking about delay, reverb etc. I mean things you do while cleaning up audio. The more power the quicker you can clean it up.
    The extra power is also important in real time, i was just trying to explain how the fact that cpu power isn't just useful for people using synths etc.
  22. Quote:

    I wasn't talking about delay, reverb etc. I mean things you do while cleaning up audio. The more power the quicker you can clean it up.
    The extra power is also important in real time, i was just trying to explain how the fact that cpu power isn't just useful for people using synths etc.


    He's got a decent enough FireWire interface for it to not require 'cleaning up' - and at this level you'd likely apply compression to a track as a real-time effect plugin anyway.

    I'm not trying to shoot you down or anything, but I'm just saying that as far as this build goes the priority should be RAM > HDD > CPU. It doesn't need to be Raptor-fast, any FireWire 400 drive will do, but uncompressed Wav files are pretty big. Any Core 2 is fast enough.
  23. Wow, well this has turned into something of a "debate". Allow me to pitch in. Clearly I am not a music professional - if I was I wouldn't be here looking for advice on building a system. So please don't take anything I say as a challenge to other people's expertise with music production. Just thought I'd say how I'm thinking abou it (as it's my money going on the thing!!) I'm not sure what people think my "level" is in the scheme of people who make music at home, but I'd say I was competant at making professional-sounding tracks, and decent ones, when all goes well.

    Re: macs - Mac minis look cool, seem very well designed, and are more reasonable than I thought. I am not saying anyone should rule them out, but having looked at them I came to the following conclusions:

    1) They aren't cheap - with a 1.66 Ghz processor, you have to pay $850 with 2GB ram, so I'm not really saving money So a) the CPU is less powerful

    2) Possibilities for expansion, modification and upgrading seem limited. Do people mod macs?

    3) Extra HD space will have to be through firewire - so there will be no firewire slot for the audio interface - which means no recording, or listening to music when I have the extra HD's in.

    So I think for now I will go the build route. Might be more fun to build it too :D

    Mesa was going for a 6400 - even if I don't need that much power right now, it's in the price/performance sweetspot, and various other things recommended it (multi-tasking performance made me go C2D rather than AMD etc.).

    djgandy thanks for sticking up about PC's - and I will be cutting pasting editing etc. on complex sequences, so a bit too much speed is probably not a bad thing. Potantial for upgrading also makes me think a build is the way to go- longer shelf life for the comp.

    Mesa I do tracks with a lot of instrumental WAV's (up to say 15/20 at once). so all of the little plugins do stack up, but more importantly the raw processing of data for realtime mastering might not be hurt by having an overpowered CPU (also more room to grow).

    memory Cool, I will try to save some cash on 533 memory, and use it to help offset the price if I get this 19' Acer monitor:
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2528157&CatId=2388
    ($160)

    UPDATE Right now on newegg there is no cheaper 1.8v memory - because the kingston comes with free 3 business day delivery, evening it out with the lowest (OCZ I think it was) 533 memory - so i actually can't save any money there. I did knock another $10 off the video card by buying with google checkout though. :D

    I shouldn't need to do too much cleaning up post-recording. However, normalising etc. would be nice if it was a lot faster.

    I think the order is RAM = CPU > HDD

    a lot of ram is important for music production. I think 2GB will be easily more than enough, but it's better to be safe than sorry. And it seems sensible to keep room for upgrading the memory - seems like every 2/3 years Dell doubles it's "recommended" memory, and I dont see why whatever is promting that should stop.

    the CPU will eventually give way if your tracks get big and complex enough, so why limit what you could do with the system - better to have headroom, and never bump into the ceiling.

    HDD's can be added on later - and for very cheap if you are building a pc. Also audio data that is very precious is best backed up on a DVD (IMHO)

    Ok that's my 5c

    thanks for all the feedback, advice and discussion. :)
  24. Thanks for that - it's very helpful to have a detailed list of requirements.

    With that list in mind, I too would rule out the Mini (it's not competitive in this price bracket).

    Thus, I'd be concentrating on a PC. I'm going to say E6300 & 2gb RAM, though I'm not sure of the pricing on the 6300 & 6400, so if it's not a huge difference then just go with that.

    Other than that, you already have an audio interface so obviously you need no help with that, but I'm going to reccommend a WD SATA hard drive. I'd get a couple of 320gb drives. Forget about RAID unless you're setting it up for backup, you don't need the extra speed and the risk of losing your music work is too great.

    Make sure you have a DVD±RW drive (which I see you already specified) for backing up your project folders.

    Other than that I can't think of anything more to add to a PC build.
  25. "Just thought I'd say how I'm thinking abou it (as it's my money going on the thing!!)"

    Not sure why you think just because it's your money you have a right to express you opinion let alone make the final decision of what you'll buy. :D Seriously, I think you've put in a lot of research and thought, the machine you're getting will meet your needs, and in the long run you'll be very happy with it.
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