REALLY budget music production/family upgrades


Ideally today, but asap

BUDGET RANGE: £200 = approx $300 MAXIMUM...
...we spotted a bundle for £170 which is my bench mark = approx $270

1) General multi tasking e.g. 1 user is still logged in on on a word processor, but another user is checking email and has a few tabs of web browser, and IM going.
2) Music production with a web page or music player/spotify in background
3) Mid to low range gaming. I play PES 2010 when I have the time, would like to perhaps allow lil bro to play more games in the future (he's 10)
4) Watching DVDs, perhaps Blu-rays in future.

OS (XP already owned)
Speakers (lots of ok speakers around here)
Monitor (currently an old CRT but we have a 15" DSub TFT around too)
Mouse, keyboard, case
PSU (old Dell one - prob about 400W, but budget, budget)

Froogle (google products)
...especially the last 2 as they are local and I can go down to chat to them, or my dad can, if I am not here

In case you haven't guessed it by now...England, UK

I seem to be leaning towards a basic AMD rig with open possibilities for the future

Maybe in the future.
As I can't afford extra PSU or cooling, it'll be stock speeds for now. Also if something goes wrong I want it easy for my parents to deal with as they're not too tech savvy, as opposed to "well, you see, my son did this thing that makes it go faster..." "sorry sir, you have to buy a new one then!"

Maybe in the future
I like the AMD route as certain chipsets like the 780G have a decent IGP that further gets a massive boost with the right AMD/ATI card in the future, via Hybrid XFire

Can't remember, prob about 1280 4:3

Argh, so many boxes, what more to say.

Okay, perhaps a lil background

Am living with my parents for the next few months and as the resident "tech guru" (I did a computer science degree..and have pretty much detested PCs since) I have been presented with the task of fixing the deathly slow family PC.
It's an old Dell Dimension 1100 I think
Celeron approx 2GHz
1GB Ram
Win XP
What I think is a micro ATX case

It's pitifully slow.

Booting windows is a 5min process, as is shutting down
Random errors all the time

This has been exacerbated by younger bro and sis installing all kinds of wonderful bits of software, including search helpers, dodgy warez, and Lord knows what else.

My Dad has to occasionally do work related stuff on it (web research, word processing) and mum checks her email on it. Occasionally lil bro, sis or cousin will play flash games, browse the web, use IM.

I'm an amateur music producer and use FL Studio 9. Have lots of plugins.
My Core 2 Duo 1.66GHz, 1GB, 120GB laptop struggles with some projects. And downright stops at times, especially when rendering or handling 20+ tabs in a web browser (as now)
If virus checker runs, then games, music production, etc become unusable.

While I'm here, am trying to get a decent upgrade that will tick a lot of boxes, and is easily upgradeable for 2,3,4,5 years...the current family PC is about 5 yrs old. (Can't believe it's that long already) Funnily enough they called and emailled me for advice on the current PC...and I told them to go with the Pentium 4 (not the Celeron!)

My current thoughts are:
-AMD Athlon/Phenom II
at least 3 cores to visibly improve on the performance of the Core 2 Duo I have - I know it struggles with my music production or multi-window, multi-tab web browsing
FL Studio 9 is coded for multiple cores. Future software I think will be more and more parallel.
(Phenom II x3 720 or Phenom II x3 710 or Athlon II x4 620 or Athlon II x3 435 or 425)
Approx £70-£100

-AMD 780G M/board (will it handle the AM3 processors' TDP?)
(or perhaps an AM3 board for definite "future proofness")
IGP will handle all the games my Mobility Radeon currently does, and easy performance boost in the future with Hybrid XFire
Will also handle Blu Ray in the future
Supports 800MHz DDR RAM typically
Approx £40-60

-2x2GB DDR2 RAM (or DDR3 if no significant savings for DDR2)
although I've heard talk of 6GB+ being useful for music production. Will need a 64bit OS though, and that's for the future
800MHz will match up with most M/boards I've looked at
Approx £40-£60

So as you see I can get decent parts (IMO) for £170-£220.

Any deviations from this? Recommendations?

Thanks ppl

I checked out
for advice too, but their budgets are much higher

Toms seems to be the best place for advice on the web!
10 answers Last reply
More about really budget music production family upgrades
  1. Full edit didn't work so resorted to another post (until I worked out how to quick edit! Go me!)

    PPS. I guess I'm really asking:
    1) I'm I heading in the right direction? Is there anything obvious that I haven't taken into account?

    2) Which of the AMD CPUs is the best balance (in your opinions) for power, cost and future proof-ness?
    Athlon X3 425/435, X4 620, Phenom X3 710, 720

    3) Which chipset and motherboard would you then match up with these? AM2+? AM3+ for future possibilities of DDR3? Is it worth thinking that long term, when I can get a great AM2/2+ board with a decent IGP, and perhaps one that will allow Hybrid Crossfire, for less money now (than a decent AM3 board), and not much money (to buy a mid GPU card) in the future?
  2. I would think for a tight budget and by your uses the X3 425 would suffice ^^ I would hit an AM3/DDR3 set up with a 785G or 760G chipset Forget hybrid CF - if u need more HP in the GPU front just get a discrete like a HD 4670 later
  3. Thanx

    Have stewed over all the info and prices the last cpl days, and that's basically what I'm thinking too

    CPU: X3 425 - £55
    MB: 785G - £70
    RAM: 1x2GB DDR3: £30

    This is all that is in stock locally so will try and pick it up this afternoon

    ...and just over intended spend but think it'll be worth it:
    4570: £35
    order over Internet nxt few days
  4. Hmm could u reveal the specific model of 785G u intend to buy cos they come in socket AM2+ (DDR2) and AM3 (DDR3) also i thinku meant HD 4670?
  5. Gawwwwd things we type with no sleep. I mean t4650 in this and the other thread.

    I just picked up the M4A785TD-M EVO

    The 425 had just sold out so will sit it out a cpl days and order 1 off the net (a tad cheaper too)
  6. Cool and worked with that board before - classy 785G
  7. Thanx, looked like a good one.

    Saw an Athlon II X3 435 for a few quid more than the 425 I couldn't get
    £61 including delivery, £53 without... - ordered!
  8. You are welcomed and happy building ^^
  9. Thanks man!

    Finally got my bits all together...failed to POST.

    Bought new PSU (450W, £16, cheap piece of junk, I know, I know) and that didn't fix it.

    Swapped out all the bits into an old full ATX case I had sitting around.


    Don't understand it (and that is EXACTLY what I hate about computers)

    I guess the only thing I can say is that I may have reseated everything better 2nd time round? But wasn't going to chance it by swapping back... so will use the old case, Mboard, proc, RAM etc to build a little media server soon (I have 4 or more external HDDs)

    But whoot whoot!

    New PC that runs Pro Evo 2010 like a dream, as well as my lil bros Sonic Heroes game at blistering boots up in 1:20 as opposed to 10:00, shuts down in 20s.

    The ASUS M/board even has this cool splashwave or whatever thing which is like BIOS booted Linux OS that starts in 10-15s and allows you to IM, Websurf, skype, or peruse media (pix, vids, etc) without booting into your favourite bloated, rotting OS.

    And I found an old soundcard, TV capture card, modem in my old PC, the most useful of which is the soundcard as it gives me better quality recordings for free!
    The PC will also handle LOOOOOOADS of browser tabs/windows open (although I'm weaning myself of that particular bad habit, the rest of the fam still has to learn though)

    ..and best of all I can now record with a latency (real-time buffer delay) of around 10ms, as opposed to 50-100 previously (really annoying when playing a key on my keyboard and it sounds out of time through my speakers)

    Thanks again guys!

    Am trying to give back already!

    Happy holidays!
  10. PS the old pc was
    Intel P2 450 (MMX!)
    20GB HDD
    DVD Rom
    ATI Rage Pro

    looool oh dear. It still booted to Win XP, too (after about 5 min!)
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