Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

$1000-$1300 Digital Audio Workstation [Help Appreciated]

Last response: in Systems
Share
July 15, 2009 12:32:37 AM

Hi guys, new to this forum! I need an awesome build for my price range, primarily for audio production and editing.
Oh and I'm kinda noob too so forgive me of any noobish comments... I seriously need help... Been sitting at my laptop for like 16 hrs straight (excluding meals and sleep) trying to figure out what to get... and I only came up with a few items so far :sweat: 

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: As soon as possible (within a week or two)

BUDGET RANGE: $1000-1300 USD

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Mostly use for programs like reaper, pro tools, cubase, etc. Will also be for some gaming like Counterstrike 1.6 and Counterstrike Source. Some Warcraft III also, but i assume if it can run CS:Source, WC3 shouldn't be a problem... Occasional movies as well.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, and Speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, anywhere else with better prices!

PARTS PREFERENCES: all I know is i want...

-Q9550 Core 2 Quad Intel CPU

-Quiet, Efficient CPU Cooler (needs to fit in my tower. obviously :sarcastic:  ) I read that these quad core babies run friggin hot! Also, I'm thinking about getting OCZ Freeze Thermal Paste. Comments/thoughts?

-a fast, reliable motherboard. I looked at some ASUS ones and i saw a lot of comments complaining about the BIOS updates as well as them glitching/dying in a year or so... so maybe stay away from ASUS? unless anyone else begs to differ. needs to be well spaced cause im planning to get an Audiophile 192 soundcard.. although right now digidesign.com is out of stock :( . Anyone know a site where i can get these?

-lots of 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM (how much do i need? i've read varied responses from like 4 GB to 8 GB... can i get 6 GB? or will 3x2gb sticks not be compatible with the 775 Chipset Motherboards?) Corsair is a great brand right?

-a fast AND quiet hard drive (how many do i need? i've seen lots of builds with 2 separate hard drives, one for OS and other non-audio stuff, one solely for Audio stuff. Is this easy to do? I don't know anything about having 2 hard drives at once >.<...). Is 7,200 rpm enough? can i get 10,000 rpm and still fit my budget? can i have one hard drive for OS, misc. operations with 7,200 rpm and the other for audio production at 10,000 rpm? What brand?

-A REALLY QUIET AND EFFICIENT CASE that i can comfortably build my parts in, and not have to get neck cramps from trying to install parts in an immensely small area. Also has to be light; I was considering the Cooler Master 1000 case pretty seriously until i saw it was 30+ lbs.... sigh.

-Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit (mainly cause i want to run more than 4 gigs of RAM). How does Vista hold up running these audio softwares? Hope i don't a bunch of incompatibility errors in the future :cry: 

-CD/DVD Reader and Burner (just an average one is fine, but not one that will die/make lots of noise in a few months...)

-A graphics cards that can run Counterstrike: Source decently well (not maxed settings) and support for dual widescreen monitor use.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes, but only a little, as I've heard u can easily overclock the Q9550 while maintaining stability

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe in the future if i wanted to play some crazy graphic intensive game.. but we're talking at least a year away so i don't know if you need to worry about that

MONITOR RESOLUTION: not sure... but i know i want to have 1-2 widescreen monitors... not sure what resolutions i would be using.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Quiet, Cool, Fast are the gist of this computer :p  SORRY FOR THIS SOMEWHAT LENGTHY POST, BUT I AM SO DESPERATE... my brain is fried from sitting at this stupid laptop all day trying to figure out what will fulfill my needs :cry: 

Thanks ahead of time. I'm excited! :bounce: 
July 15, 2009 12:38:39 AM

Guidance and recommendations will receive e-hugs :hello: 
July 15, 2009 1:07:32 AM

With your budget, you can throw in an i7, which will greatly improve your audio processing speeds. Following each little section here are parts I recommend.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Asus P6T is a popular board, and will do fine for your build.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You'll want RAM that's DDR3 3x2GB (so three sticks of 2GB) that have the lowest timings you can find. That will help reduce latency on your build, which is critical to audio clocks.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Do you have an external multichannel recording interface? Often times you can use them as an audio device to drive a reference speaker system.

A 4850 will do fine for your gaming needs - find one with a dual slot cooler if you can. That will help quiet your machine down. Usually for audio builds I use passive-cooled GPUs, but they don't game well. You can't use two screens to game, really...think about it. Your crosshair would be in the center of the two screens. That would be obnoxious.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

10k RPM drives generally make more noise than 7200RPM disks. Plus, most of the 10k RPM disks are outdated, and modern 7200s can outperform them. Just get a nice ~500GB drive for your OS, applications, and sample audio, and then get a good terabyte drive for your actual recordings. I usually choose Western Digital drives - just make sure the drive you get has a long warranty (5 or longer years).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for case choice, don't settle for a case that has 80mm fans. Get 120's only. They're much quieter. This goes for your power supply, too - which should be around 600W. I recommend Corsair PSUs. They don't blow up.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Vista 64 plays nice with pretty much all audio software - it's the hardware you have to worry about. Make sure your specific audio gear has drivers that will run on Vista 64. I've never had any trouble with it though.

What are you using to edit? I'm a big fan of Sonar.

As for a CPU heatsink for overclocking, take a look at the Thermalright Dark Night for i7 CPUs. It's big, cool, and quiet.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The hardware I listed here came out to ~$1050, which still leaves plenty of room in your budget for a case and other things you might want.
Related resources
July 15, 2009 1:24:37 AM

thanks so so much i'll be looking into all the stuff u posted =]]]
July 15, 2009 1:26:26 AM

okay so basically my dad just told me that he saw on the news that building computers yourself is dangerous cause apparently, the production lines implement some kind of component to stop static electricity build up which could cause catastrophic failures, and building one yourself would lack these safety components... is this true? is there a way to ensure that i don't end up building a computer that will fry in less than a year?
July 15, 2009 1:30:01 AM

While it's possible that you can damage your components with static buildup, there are many ways to prevent that during construction..and they're really simple. I've been building and working on machines for ~10 years and have never encountered a dead component due to static.

There is no way to ensure that your computer won't fry in a year - but then again, what's to stop a retail machine that's prebuilt from doing the same thing? Nothing. All parts have warranties. That's what they're there for.
July 16, 2009 12:23:51 AM

Don't worry about the static shocks I've been building component based boxes(computers) for around 6 years now. The only thing I make sure I do before starting work on the components is make sure I ground myself first. You know, touch a doorknob something to release the static then I get to work. It shouldn't be a large concern.
July 16, 2009 12:52:05 AM

You can't have a real audio workstation with a $1,300 budget. Especially with a monitor, lose the monitor or you can't do it.

Assuming this is near professional level, you need a good sound card which runs $200 plus dollars.
July 16, 2009 1:15:24 AM

For recording purpose, I know M Audio got some products for keyboards, guitars and microphones... but an 8 line recording sound card cost a lot.

Also... at the, an i7 is not a good idea. Get a Core 2 Duo Quad Q9XXXs... the litte s means more efficient.
July 16, 2009 1:50:08 AM

not moose,
sorry i meant $1000-1300 USD excluding the monitor

frozenlead,
"You can't use two screens to game, really...think about it. Your crosshair would be in the center of the two screens. That would be obnoxious."
i meant dual screen for audio work, and turn off dual screen for gameplay haha sorry.

so... after reading "Get a Core 2 Duo Quad Q9XXXs..."
i guess i'm back to my first post..
need help building a computer around a q9550 processor. still need: case, PSU, cpu cooler, graphics card, ram, motherboard, TWO hard drives(are there compatibility issues to worry about? or are hard drives universally compatible?), cd/dvd burner/player, audio card (should i stick with the audiophile 192?). so far i have the OS checked off from my first post (gonna go with windows vista 64 bit home premium :D ). thanks guys! further help needed/appreciated!
July 16, 2009 1:53:40 AM

redgarl said:
For recording purpose, I know M Audio got some products for keyboards, guitars and microphones... but an 8 line recording sound card cost a lot.

Also... at the, an i7 is not a good idea. Get a Core 2 Duo Quad Q9XXXs... the litte s means more efficient.


oh btw can u expand on the M Audio product(s)?
July 16, 2009 4:34:35 AM

bump >.<
!