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PC RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MUSIC EDITING

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March 22, 2010 10:02:41 PM

Hello, I need a computer that will do a solid job with video and music editing, and some gaming (Halo 2).

My deal is that when I go to best buy, they try to push either a $2,500 apple, and say it has the best music editing software, and that macs operating system requires half the hardware to perform just as well as windows or they try to push a windows based computer with intel i7 processors.

My question is what do I really need? I don't mind paying that much if I really need it, but I sure don't like to waste money either.

Basically what I'm thinking is a few years ago intel core 2 duo's were the big dogs and people were saying they were flawless and if so why wouldn't it still be good today. What is the best base chipset out right now that would perform best to my needs.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
March 22, 2010 10:18:14 PM

Hey, Brad,

I have a serious A/V project studio and have had (evolving) since 1987 (when it was all analog audio and video).

I am now 50yoa and staring at a 52" LCD, which is flanked by two 21U racks and two MACKIE 4-bus mixers.

Sure, you could literally go to your local GoodWill Industries PC recycling center and get the parts for a song or ressurect an old socket 478 Hyperthreading Single Core, like the one I am typing on (NorthWood 3.2(c)). It is *SO* nice that great pro audio takes almost no compute stamina at all !

On the other hand, even your time is worth something and life can seem short, so, I would recommend a nice, new AMD Socket AM3 Phenom-II x3Core (~3.2GHz) Proc with THE WORKS for, say, $550.

If you are TRULY interested ... and have the cash ... I would spec it out @ newegg for Ya.

= Alvin =


March 22, 2010 10:26:45 PM

BTW:

There are also so many really great CHEAP older music studio software packages (MAGIX products come to mind), that really work and do .mp3s and mix MIDI with Analog-in ... even synch to SD (DV-25) video. We are talkin $5 to $95 for world class recording and authoring.

Good point ... Pro Music Creation has become fully democratic and affordable, for anyone in the developing world. With onboard 8ch audio, as the modern mobo standard, there must be PILES of "almost free" sounblaster Audigy cards (I have an Extigy, and Pro-sonus XLRx2@1394 and SONAR Studio).

= Alvin =
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March 23, 2010 2:26:04 AM

as alvin said, you don't require an extremely powerful PC, but the more you spend on the processor the less time consuming your work will be.

an Athlon II 620 would probably be a really good middle ground. 4 cores and a respectable clockspeed but at an affordable price.
March 23, 2010 2:40:35 AM

So is the processor the most important part for what I want, and will a better chipset help, an option of choice for intel and amd, I'm not real familliar with amd much, does the value hurt performance or compatibility?

Thanks, more questions to come, I want to get this right the first time round.
March 23, 2010 2:45:32 AM

compatibility isn't an issue, in fact compatibility is higher with AMD chips since they are not as fond of releasing new sockets all the time.

as far as performance goes, AMD are behind intel, but at a considerably lower cost. they are certainly the better choice for a budget build.
an i7 would certainly be better for the tasks you want, but you'd have to spend twice as much money and certainly wouldn't get double performance.
March 23, 2010 3:11:43 AM

Ok I will go with you on that, what kind of graphics card then would you suggest for the video gaming I'm doing, its halo 2 nothing fancy but would like to run it maxed out, ive tried it on a few friends computers and have always wanted that game to work on mine, but thats the extent of my gaming.

I'm assuming the game would be more taxing on the video card than music and video editing, and if you feel you need to bump up the processor recommendation for that game feel free.
March 23, 2010 3:21:20 AM

Gaming largely depends on the resolution of your monitor. For 1280x1024, just about any card released in the last year will be fine. For 1920x1080 and up, you will probably want to spend at least $150 (ATI 5770) or more on a video card.
March 23, 2010 3:24:33 AM

the processor should be fine for HALO 2 (will be, its an old game) and you won;t need much of a GPU for it either. probably a GTs240 would suffice. an ATI 5670 would also be a good choice.
March 23, 2010 3:27:58 AM

"Amen" to all advice, so far !

HALO ??? Nothing FancY ?? That makes a pretty big diff ...

For fps shooter games, "maxed out" at 1080 or 1200 ... You want a RADEON 5770 or a 5850 ... not cheap ! But worth it.

... AND ... beyond having at least 2 cores ... you want the fastest clock speed you can get ... 3.2GHz+ stock ... Grab a Hper 212 cooler ($34) and O.C. ! !

= Alvin =
March 23, 2010 3:56:43 AM

Wow thanks for all the helpful advice so far, my screen is 1920 x 1080p and I do like ati over nvidia, so that just leaves me with only a few more components to work out, I am shopping on newegg after the recommendations for that site. What do you guys think about the motherboard chipset (not the processor), there are so many choices for performance and budget chipsets.

I'm not even sure what it does, and how important it is to get a good one, my friend told me if you dont get a great chipset your other components will suffer. What do you think of that statement, he recommended the x58 chipset for intel but looks like since I'm going amd thats not an option.

Thanks again, Brad
March 23, 2010 4:11:20 AM

chipset isn;t that important really, you just want a newer one where possible.

if someone recomends a good motherboard, they are therefore recomending a good chipset.

personally id recommend to you the gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P. a very nice board, with good expandability and not too pricey.
March 23, 2010 4:18:15 AM

Well ... The mobo is a "platform" ... Like a breakout box for your CPU and GPU ...

... The overriding (pertinent) qualities are (1) Bandwidth (How much data can it move around per temporal unit) (2) What are the type, speed and number of I/O ports (i.e. USB2/3 .. SATA-II/III). (3) Modal and Administrative Features (i.e. O.C. facilities .. OnBoard RAID and VIDEO .. Memory Modes .. etc.

That's it ... The trick with "building" is to take advantage of overlapping product cycles and to guage cutting edge performance against trailing edge economy and utility ... all at "per cost".

Hey ??
March 23, 2010 4:26:23 AM

And ... Guys ... I'm thinking I'd (now-a-days) go with AM3 all the way up to 965 and then to jump straight to a 1366, if more is needed ... Perhaps a 750 or an 860, as a slightly cheaper games or edit, respectively, but why not go on up to 1366 and skip over 1156 altogether ??

I really do not see a lot of worth-while gradation, in there ... get a cheap 920 and step on up (at this point).

ATOM who?
March 23, 2010 4:38:23 AM

I have heard good things about gigabyte, now onto amount of ram, i'm going with these other specs

amd phenom II x4 965 Black Edition

ati 5770

still not sure on the motherboard yet, they are out of stock on that one, but i will get one with ddr3. Now knowing some components and what apps I am using it for, what is the optimal amount of ram and speed for what i'm using it for.

I try and do alot of research before I post stupid questions, but there just isnt alot of info on recommendations for the particular things I'm looking at.



March 23, 2010 4:44:21 AM

Minimum recommended RAM is 4 GB. That's also the maximum recommended RAM for gaming. Since your primary purpose is editing, however, you should consider 8 or 12 GB if it fits in your budget (and there's available room on the mobo).

The current sweet spot for DDR3 RAM is 1333-1600 MHz with CAS Latency 7.

This G.Skill kit is frequently recommended. Please ignore the Intel-focused marketing speak. It'll work on an AMD board just fine, they're just referring to the lower voltage cap on Intel boards.

This Mushkin kit is an especially good deal, $100 after MIR.

Or you could step up to 1600 MHz with one of these two G.Skill Ripjaws 1600 MHz or G.Skill Eco Series 1600 MHz.
March 23, 2010 4:56:52 AM

Also ... The Black 965 CPU is just a 955 that has had the multiplier upped by "1" ...

... SO ... it makes better sense to get a 955 and a Hyper 212 Cooler and clock it for all it's worth ...

... Not only will the cost difference help pay for the cooler ... BUT ... The 965 won't achieve any higher TOP CLOCK than the 955 (all else equal).

= Alvin = Those who go with 955 show they know what's up.

March 23, 2010 4:57:54 AM

But you could run a 965 at STOCK CLOCK and use STOCK COOLER ... I get that.

But a fully cooled and clocked 955 will go faster than a stock/stock 965 ...


March 23, 2010 5:02:15 AM

Alvin Smith said:
Also ... The Black 965 CPU is just a 955 that has had the multiplier upped by "1" ...

... SO ... it makes better sense to get a 955 and a Hyper 212 Cooler and clock it for all it's worth ...

... Not only will the cost difference help pay for the cooler ... BUT ... The 965 won't achieve any higher TOP CLOCK than the 955 (all else equal).

= Alvin = Those who go with 955 show they know what's up.


alot of people seem to say this, but its not entirely true.

assuming you get the 125w TDP 965, you are actually getting a more efficient chip, that runs at a higher clockspeed on lower voltage. these gives you more OC headroom due to the lower stock heat output. given the marginal price difference, i would actually recommend the 965 every time (to an overclocker at least)

March 23, 2010 5:05:30 AM

... not to argue (at all) but, to clarify ...

.. Does not the 955 MBOX C3 have the exact same stepping as 965 ???

I don't grok the difference.

= Al =
March 23, 2010 4:05:12 PM

ok so as long as I go with 7 or less latency and at least 1333 speed Im ok. What is that micron m9 ram that people are talking about, and should I get buffered/unbuffered, ECC/non-ECC?
March 23, 2010 4:56:18 PM

Ok now should I go with 7200rpm, 10,000rpm, or solid state HHD drive? Im not sure how much performance gain I will see between these for what I'm doing.
March 23, 2010 5:23:43 PM

If you can afford it, an SSD will provide the most noticeable increase in system responsiveness. If you get one, use it as your boot drive and just put your most frequently used applications on it. You wouldn't want to actually store the files you're editing on the SSD, you'd want a separate traditional hard drive for that.

The 500 GB platter 7200 rpm drives compete with 10k (Velociraptors) at streaming/consecutive tasks, while the VRs are faster at random I/O. SSDs are an order of magnitude faster than the VRs. As in, average seek time for a VR is about 4 ms. Average seek time for an SSD is under .1 ms.

I'm of the opinion that if you're considering VRs, you should just spend a little more and get SSDs. If you can't afford the SSD, stick with 7200 rpm drives for now and get one later when the come down in price.
March 23, 2010 5:37:10 PM

The important thing about HDDs (at this juncture in the market) is to go with 7200RPM and ** 500GB Platter Tech **

Samsung Spinpoint F3 Series 500GB/7200RPM or 1TB/7200RPM ...
Seagate 1200.1
Caviar Black 1TB

Any others ? Folks ?

As far as SSDs go ... Highly recommended for any build ** IF ** you can afford it.

My blurb is that you want an SSD for a boot/apps drive and that, even tho they cost over $2/GB, the decrease in boot-time, apps-load, OVL swaps, and browsing (temp files) TOTALLY justifies the extra cost AND that they are more than 3x as reliable ... can be read, even after they start to degrade (5 yrs down the road) and that YOU WILL NOT WANT TO RE-INSTALL YOUR ENTIRE (tweaked and evolved/updated) OPERATING ENVIRONMENT AT A LATER TIME ...

.. DO IT NOW ... BE "DONE WITH" ... because you are doing a fresh OS install with this new build and you will be tweaking windows for performance and doing security updates and driver updates and other "customizations" and "preferred layouts" ... Will you really want to scrap all that effort, later ??

So ... YES! .. Choke up another $150 for a Kingston 64GB (rebranded INTEL) SSD ... Remember to always leave 20% space free (for TRIM MaNAGEMEnT) and that is a lot of space as I have 4 complete edit suites, OS, Browser, Comm-utils, a dozen Audio production suites ... all full installs ... even several x-indexed bible research suites in a dozen languages ... ALL of this and much more ON A 70GB Raptor drive and that boot/apps drive still has 46GB free space !!!

My content and archive HDD is a 300GB seagate and it is half full of HDV/DV-25 ingest and projects ... .mp3s ... gigabytes of hi-rez photos and 100s of saved web-reference pages, etc.

The main thing is to avoid "EXPRESS INSTALLS" with large games with a lot of Cinematic Transitions, etc. Just choose "Custom Install" and route the install to your (MUCH BIGGER) HDD.

= Al =
March 23, 2010 6:17:46 PM

ok well I will definitely go with the ssd drive then, so if I install my game on the 7200rpm drive will it play on that one or can I run it on the ssd for faster performance? Basically what you guys are saying is the os and the apps that require active use of the hdd should go to the ssd and the files and other things that sit on an idle hdd go on the 7200rpm.

I also want to get this dvd drive question out of the way while I'm thinking about it. I burn cd's and dvd's, lots of them, what are the specs to look at when looking for a burner, is it just speed? Because I bought a 24x drive a while back and returned it because the quality was poorer compared to my 8x drive, though the other was faster. Whats the fastest you'd recommend.
March 23, 2010 6:24:46 PM

OS and application binaries (including games) can (but applications/games don't have to) go on the SSD.

Files that are going to get updated a lot (scratch files, audio tracks, pre-mastering, etc.) should go on a traditional drive.

I don't burn a whole lot of CDs or DVDs, but my impression is that a drive is a drive, for the most part. Some people claim Plextor is a more quality manufacturer, but I can't comment on that. I would just get a cheap/fast drive, and if you experience problems, while burning, set the speed slower than the max. Basically any software should be able to specify burn speed.

In case I haven't mentioned it, I think that this Corsair Nova 128 GB SSD is currently the best drive in terms of price/performance. I have not used one personally, but based on the specs & price, it's pretty much the sweet spot.
March 23, 2010 6:36:38 PM

Look .. You can do a FULL CONTENT INSTALL of ANY 6 MAJOR GAME TITLES ...
.. You can load an entire 8-Game Star-Trek Series and 12 sound studios with GOBBS of room to spare ! ! ! (all on your 64GB boot SSD .. and still leaving over 20% free!)

You just need to learn rules of thumb, like ... One hour of DV-25 footage = 13GB

... OR ... One DVD holds 4.2GB which, fully uncompressed, might run twice that (on install)

I have been putting anything I want on my 70GB drive and deleted nothing, for 2.5+ years, now ... I also have Goog Chrome and Earth, dozens of Audacity/AudioGrabber/Irfanview/LAME free internet apps as well as a dozen music tutorial (guitar kb lessons) with full video and animated fret-grafx, etc. ... My desktop and toolbars are littered ... I empty my trash-bin once a month and check my drive properties, once per month, just to make sure I'm still under half full.

Even this old (expensive!) 70GB SATA-I (original) 10Krpm Raptor is pretty snappy ... I am terrified to dare to imagine what a Kingston would do for this old rig.

I will prolly faint-out-cold, when I finally get a 955(OC) w/8GBc7 and Kingston SSD !

= Al =
March 23, 2010 8:39:06 PM

Ok the next component would be the psu, which has been talked about on this forum, if I were to have a 1366 socket i7 920 with 2x 5900 series Xfire and 12gb ram... what wattage would be plenty. I'm asking with those specs in case i want to upgrade down the road, (future proof it) a few people on this forum said if there is one component not to skimp on its the psu. Any thoughts.
March 23, 2010 8:47:54 PM

750 Watt Corsair *SHOULD* push it without any probs ... (well within spec limits).

850W Corsair *WILL* push it, without any doubts (fully loaded 2xCrossFire)

( A full 150+ Watts of overhead )

Anything above 850Watts ??? You would simply be a pig. (but you could throw out your space heater ! ).

Corsair (single rail = "good") ~800W~850W (80 PLUS) SLI-Ready (ACTIVE PFC fan control)

= Al =
March 23, 2010 8:57:54 PM

WOOOPS!

I had to edit that last post ... The link is now correct !
March 23, 2010 9:11:25 PM

Also ... There is a distinct and concerted trend DOWNWARD in the power consumption of ALL components ... SSDs ... Ram/Mobo/CPU voltages and, I'm sure, GPU/GDDR power and cooling will also trend downward.

Even the "largest" builds, will use (at most) 30% less power, within 18 months and, yes, I just pulled that number out of my ass but, I'll bet my lunch money (and yours) on the truth of it.


I could show you the differences (even now) between the 930 and the 920 ... or between the most recent steppings (C2 vs. C3) of the 965, for example ....

READ ThE DESCRIPTIONS CAREFULLY (WATTs)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...

Can you guess which one is newer ??? (HINT: It is not the 140W model)

= Al =
March 23, 2010 9:19:54 PM

nothing came up on the last link there, but I do see what your getting at. I would like to know how to caculate how much wattage I need, do I just add up all the components max wattage output and add 100 extra watts overhead?

and whats (80 PLUS), and (ACTIVE PFC fan control)?
March 23, 2010 9:23:44 PM

Here are power specs for a WD 250GB mechanical Hard Disk Drive (7200rpm)

Power Dissipation
Read/Write 7.80 Watts
Idle 7.20 Watts
Standby 0.97 Watts
Sleep 0.97 Watts

AND HERE ... THE PWR Specs for a Vertex 250GB SSD ...

Performance
Max Shock Resistance 1500G
Power Consumption (Active) 2W
Power Consumption (Idle) 0.5W

Starting to see a trend toward "THE FUTURE" ? ?

= Alvin =

March 23, 2010 9:28:06 PM

The 1st link works ... I had to edit ... try again ...

The new 965 uses 125W vs. 140W (which it replaces) ... The 930 uses much less than the 920 ...

What I'm saying is that the 850W Corsairs are out of stock but the 750s will do just fine ... even moreso, in the lower-powered future. (this is a global commitment ... Just as with large screen HDTVs (OLED) ...

= Al =

March 23, 2010 9:34:02 PM


And here is another dirty little secret ... SHHHhhhhh !!!

SLI/Crossfire will (most-likely) be dead, in 18 months ... Did you know that the new PCIe Bus Standard is due out in one year and that the bandwidth on all lanes will nearly double ??

Don't go shouting that, around here, though ... Besides ... By then, 3D"Feelaround"(TM) may be in Vogue ... but your 5850 wont be doing any of that, anyway ... not even 2 (I'd wager).

= Al =
March 23, 2010 9:50:33 PM

Good comments on that, and no I did not know that. The power supplies aren't that expensive. Ok on to the last component and the reason why I never built my own pc ... the dang case! I have looked and alot of the recommended ones are either fugly or difficult to work with. I like black or the apple pro look and actually like the window to see all the cool components (take it or leave it), but needs to be of good quality.

Things I dont like about a case are wierd shapes, to much neon, lack of front ports including memory card reader, (if I can get that seperate than great) and ones with 1 billion dvd drive panels on the front! What are some great cases? Better yet what are the recommended brands, I will spend extra on a high quality case.
March 23, 2010 10:01:55 PM

Well ... We DO kind of like all those blank panels, on the front, cause they let you install front ports ... yes, card readers ... temperature status and fan control, etc., etc.

But cases are VERY personal and if budget is flexible, then go for what you really like ... why ? ... Because you will FEEL GOOD every time you look at it and that is really worth something.

So ... I will shoot some links at you.

plz stnd by ...
March 23, 2010 10:21:09 PM


Those were just so we can talk about what you hate ... There are still very many more choices at newegg and beyond .....

... What is the most you would spend for the perfect case (for you) ?? ...

... You do like rounded edges ... simple side windows ... a stark/clean look ??

March 23, 2010 10:31:38 PM

none of those links worked for me, but to answer your other questions, my budget for the case is theoreticaly limitless just so I dont count out anything of the bat and will narrow from there. rounded edges...yes simple side windows...yes and stark/clean look...yes, and I understand what you mean now about the blank panels If neccesary I will accept them. I always thought the front ports came preinstalled, but better that they don't so I can get higher quality ones and possibly usb 3.0?
March 23, 2010 10:49:08 PM

Well, without links ... our little session is "hosed" ...

... Lemme know when you can do links, cause they are workin' on this end ...

... any lurkers having probs with my links ??

= Al = Good Luck ... Cases are a personal thing .. Choose ATX Mid-Tower and go from there.


SORT ON "MOST REVIEWS" ... and LOOK for 4 or 5 "eggs" rating.

March 23, 2010 11:03:34 PM

They're only working because you have the appropriate cookies. I (and I assume others) are getting the following message: You must first designate which items to compare by clicking on the appropriate check box in the product listing.
March 23, 2010 11:08:22 PM

coldsleeps got it, thats the message im getting on the links, but I will keep looking on newegg.

So there is not any reason to get a full tower? is there a way to go smaller than mid tower with out decreasing performance and whatever other variables?
March 23, 2010 11:13:10 PM

Oh... I thought others had seen my "compare links" many times, before ...

... Comments back to me like "I like the mobo on the far left" ... I wonder why some can see and others cannot ??? ... That compare function was letting me choose specific items out of a broader power search result...

The "look-n-feel" of the newegg site DID change today, tho ... wonder if that might have hosed my methods ...

= Sigh = ... bummer

March 23, 2010 11:14:54 PM


The "Chuckles" had some nice Pepto-Bismol Pink and Radio-Active Hot Green designs .... Yeah, Man !

March 23, 2010 11:27:35 PM

lol
March 24, 2010 12:03:16 AM

Well ... Let's talk about cases, in general, if you are inclined. I have recently participated in many threads, on the issue, and that can either be a place where you can cut cost to the bone or it can be an extreme vanity splurge ... as I am sure that you are already painfully aware.

We all know what we want ... but in what order? ... By what priority?

I split this littany of desired features into two lists ... Machine Factors & Human Factors.

What does the MACHINE CARE ABOUT ? ?

Cooling! ... Fit(yes) ... Drive Real Estate .. Slot Cutouts .. Sturdiness ... Filters.. etc.

What do HUMANS CARE ABOUT ? ?

Ease of Assmbly/fit .. noise .. Looks .. layout .. x-ports .. capacity .. sharp edges ..

All that.

Obviously, then .. Reasonably priced, "machine adequate", Cool Looking!, Ports, Upgrd

Air-flow is very well thought out, in cases such as the HAF-922 which has a PSU baffle/channel that directs airflow.

I would prefer an Antec Lanboy Air (~$180) but I already have a "machine adequate" case and it is butt-ugly but will do everything my machine cares about.

I'm guessing you should look at the Lian and SilverStone cases ... clean looks and very adequate .. some models are pricey.
March 24, 2010 12:09:48 AM

Ok I will take a look at them and get back with you.

Why aside from value/bang for the buck do people not like preconfigured dells and such?
!