System fo rmusic studio?

I really hate asking such a broad question, but I've been pulling my hair out with researching this system, that system...

Budget: Tops - 600.00 - No monitor, just the motherboard, cpu, memory, video card.

Used for: Home Music Studio using Cakewalk Sonar 8.5

Do I need quad core cpu?, will a dual core be sufficient and be good enough for recording music. (going through a firewire unit (tascam fw1884) for recording)
Recommended memory - I would like at least 6gigs.

I will be hooking-up 2 or 3 monitors for display.

Note: I'm looking at a HP Slimline system i5-750 with 6 gigs for around 575.00.
What do you think? Basically it has everything I would like but I really do not know much of the Slimline units.

Thank you,
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More about system rmusic studio
  1. For 3 monitor support you need a Radeon card that supports 3 Screens (Eyeinfinity i believe) or SLI a fermi. The computer you are linking doesnt have a video card that would support three monitors. I personally if you are just doing sound and plan on no gaming, get a ATI 5770 to replace that card thats in there (Like this card):

    For the CPU, its not bad, i was actually looking at the i5 750 for my gaming rig, and it has a lot of power for the price :).

    It has DDR3 RAM and plenty of it.

    So I would grab that and replace the video card. Then use the remaining money in your budget to buy a nice SSD...

    Another thing. Unless the computer is getting 1 Star reviews and a lot of them (40 out of 70 kind of thing), every computer that a major computer manufacturer builds is usually of good build quality. I personally would trust any Dell/HP computer that will ever consider on buying (Its not a factor im worried about, but then again I prolly wont be buying from Dell/HP unless its a laptop or something i don't feel up to building). As long as the computer fits your needs (And the ebay seller looks legit) I would see no reason why not to get it, with one exception.

    There is the fact that its refurbed, so it might not last as long, and you COULD have troubles along the way... But it looks like a good seller, and unless you want to buy one new or build your own I would grab it :).
  2. I didn't think i through when i recommended the 5770 (If it was important to run 3 monitors) that the PSU included in that computer might not be enough. You might have to wait on the SSD :lol: and get a better power supply...

    Hope i helped... :)
  3. Thank you for your time and help. Stupid question? What is a SSD?
  4. An SSD is a solid state disk. Basicly it uses flash memory instead of the old fashioned Hard Drive. Its WAY faster than an old fashioned hard drive, but they cost an arm and a leg (The one i just buought for the computer im building is only 64GB but it costs 100 bucks without rebates).

    This might give a better discription that i can:

    Yea, no problem! If you have any more questions just send me a pm :P.
  5. Trust me, you dont need more than 6GB of RAM :). Anything over 4-6GB is just bragging rights. Even 4GB (At the moment) is more than enough, but more than 6 allows more bragging rights :lol: .
  6. don't bother with the Intel i5-750 and that whole platform (socket 1156)... as it's being replaced in just a few weeks by the next generation (Sandy Bridge socket 1155)

    so you may as well save money and go for an AMD platform... that will more than suffice for your audio recordings needs (i record music professionally too)
    - motherboard: $100 -> and that one will give you also USB3, SATA3 for future proofing + great data transfer rates (you'll be happy when transferring large audio files)
    - CPU: $160 -> fast quad-core -> great for multi-tasking and high clock speed for the audio apps (which tend to be more frequency happy than multi-core happy)
    - RAM: $100 -> 8 gigs of quality RAM... can't beat that
    - GPU: $100 -> you're not gaming so you don't need a gaming card like the R5770... but you do need 'Eyefinity' support (for 3 x monitors)... and lowest noise possible.. as you need that for best audio recording purposes -> this R5670 /w 1gb memory is one of the few (if not the only one), that has a silent cooler for a graphics card at that level... perfect for your needs..!
  7. Well i would have given him a whole rebuilt list like the one you gave, but since it didn't sound like he wanted to build his own (I even said up in my original post that if he didn't want to build his own then to get this one). The 5670 is a great card, i didn't realize that eyeinfinity went that low on the scale.

    Well it is getting replaced, but at double the price. AND so is the AM3 platform, the whole AM3 platform will be outdated within a few months. Don't get me wrong, I do like that Phenom (ALMOST as powerful as the I5), but the problem is once again, he would have to build his own computer (And it will be outdated). And it sounds like he just wants to buy one.

    I like this time when the new stuff is getting refreshed, because i can pick up a part that is plummeting in price because the new stuff will replace. So for the OP: If you want to build your own, i like wasup's lineup. If not, then go for the i5...
  8. Actually, I would like to build it myself but it seems to be cheaper to go with pre-built. I know with building it myself I could pick and choose but as of now money is the issue.
    This would include the whole works - without keyboard, mouse and monitors.
  9. i thought it was $600 only for those parts mentioned in your first post... if you can build a PC... then i urge you to do so instead of a pre-built... for a 1000 reasons...

    so take off that CPU and put this one instead ->
    it's still a quad-core @ 3.0GHz stock for $100

    so now with CPU, RAM, motherboard + GPU... you're at exactly $400...
    - Case + Power Supply: $95 -> GREAT Antec case with loads of ventilation + Antec power supply too (good quality)
    - DVDRW: $17
    - HD: $70 -> the higher performing western digital hard drive even on SATA3

    there ya go $580... top quality... custom built
  10. You dont want to drop that far on the CPU.... That L3 cache could come into play in what he uses the computer for... You didn't include the RAM... Building it yourself isn't worth the performance drop your talking about.

    (Edit) If you build, get the Phenom, its worth the extra pennies, and if you can not get the Phenom while building it would be WAY better just to go prebuilt with the i5. Your talking about cutting the performance by quite a bit so he can home build it.
  11. again... there's no point in getting an Intel based core-i5 system now... (i have the core i5-750 - great CPU)... when its direct replacement 'sandy bridge' is out in just a few weeks time in January... no point my friend...

    and i did include the RAM... all 8 gigs of it... and that whole system comes under $600...

    what you have to look at is his audio - recording needs.. he needs fast + large file transfer rates -> which he'll get from that motherboard, USB3 + hard drive... plenty of RAM... a silent GPU that will still give him 3 x monitors... and an all-around multi-tasking quad-core CPU @ 3.0GHz...

    if you can spend another ~$30 or so... you can get this CPU:
    that's still a quad-core @ 3.0 GHz... but this time with the L3 cache...

    you're still around the ~$600 mark for a fully custom built audio-recording monster
  12. If your saying that there is no point on getting an intel based system that will be outdated, then why get an AMD when in a few months the replacement will be coming in.

    I do like that Phenom for the price :).
  13. money of course... the "replacement" is coming in to replace the Intel platforms'..not AMD's...

    his budget is 600... (that pre-built slim-line he mentioned for 575 will be far inferior for his audio recording needs... even if it has an i5-750.. not to mention the bad quality parts they always put in those machines)

    the sandy bridge (or 1156 for that matter), platform will cost him more... so AMD is the best solution here for that budget so he can get all his audio-recordings perks that i mentioned above... :)
  14. (when i talked about the "replacement" - i meant the sandy bridge coming out in a couple weeks)
  15. For the budget we are talking about, stick with an AMD solution. The 1156 i5 procs and mainboards will also probably see a price drop if SB proves out like the initial bench tests, so you might want to consider them after SB is out.

    I have learned that system builds are usually best after a speed bump, but don't let the anticipation of a speed bump prevent you from building a needed system. I have been sadly disappointed quite a few times int he past doing this.

    Also, expect that older kit (the old hotness) will get a healthy price reduction if the new kit is really competitive. Often, this can be the better buy than the new hotness, since the supply is already in channel (and the drivers are mature *wink*) and most retailers are wanting to move inventory to make way for the new hotness.

    Keep in mind that you will also need to add an OS in there just to keep it legal. Last I checked, Cake Walk Sonar X1 only ran on Windows, so no free Linux versions unless someone is able to get it to run under WINE.

    I'm not even sure if they officially support the x64 versions of Windows yet, so it may be overkill to recommend more than 4 GB of memory anyway. So plan on Windows XP or Windows 7 OEM as well ($100-130). You would get the OS as a matter of course with any integrator as well.

    I personally would be in favor of homebuilt, as this gives more finite control over the quality of the parts since the budget is tight to begin with. Splurge on CPU and mainboard, don't overkill on memory (4 GB should be sufficient) and go for 32-bit edition OS as the primary software doesn't oficially support x64 yet.

    For the case, power supply and CPU HSF, the quieter the better. You don't want to have to contend with a wind tunnel in your recording studio. It can actually pick up on even the cheapest recording equipment.
  16. I know that. No matter what he does his computer will be behind by a generation in a few months (Unless he waits). Bulldozer is coming in a few months which will replace all the AM3 CPU's (Just like Sandy Bridge replacing 1156).

    But why worry. The fact that it will be replaced is irrelevant. He is asking if this would work for him, and it would. Either would prolly be fast enough for him, to compare:

    The I5 system (You could wait and see if the price goes down):


    lLower build quality (The parts you buy are usually better, but the parts HP will use work well, and last long enough you shouldn't notice a difference)


    Self Built
    Higher Build Quality


    Remember both will be outdated and replaced within a few months.

    I agree that building your own is better because you can custimize your parts, and most of the parts you can get are better than what they put into the PreBuilt stuff. But you are saying that a AMD quad core system with 8GB RAM is better than a i5 (Intel Quad Core) with 6GB of RAM. Once again like I said up in one of my first posts 6GB of RAM will be plenty. Anything more than 6GB RAM is just for bragging rights. The difference in performace is going to be small with the different systems as will the price. OP: Go with what you want and feel is better :). Each has their own disavantages and advantages :lol: .

    But it doesnt matter, the OP knows what I would do, and he knows what you would do. He can make an educated guess from what we have posted.
  17. OhI didnt think of that, you still need the OS on top of the building price ( :lol: i always seem to forget the OS). The OS price can add from 100-300$ if you want windows. If you want more than 4GB then I would go with a 64 Bit OS....
  18. gidgiddonihah said:

    All ive seen are posts that are trying to say that the AMD system would be far superior (And you keep dancing around the fact that the AM3 system will be outdated just like the i5 in a few months.)

    He can move his AMD AM3 processor, DSP card & RAMs to a new AM3+ motherboard.

    He doesn't really need that much jam, anyway, but the Asus M4A785TD-M EVO / AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus for $170 is a good start. The lack of L3 is nearly meaningless.

    Toss in the GSkill 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 for $72 and off he goes.

    edit: I fergit .... :lol:

    He can run 2 monitors off the integrated Radeon HD 4200 GPU --- run 2 more off a $20 HD4350 if he was so inclined.
  19. again... you're comparing just the "i5-750 /w 6gb RAM vs P2 X4 945 /w 8gb RAM" for him... and ignoring his specific needs. as a sound engineer myself -> i know he'll be dealing with:

    - transferring large files to + from the hard drive... for which he'll want that WD Caviar Black and the SATA6 controller

    -transferring + backing up HUGE amounts of large files from the PC to external drives for which he'll definitely want in the USB3 (and that hard drive as well)

    - silent GPU that is still capable of 3 x monitors at once, as he requested...

    non of those attributes are in that pre-built system... the only thing there is.. is a "fancy" CPU... in which it is overkill anyways... Audio apps can do with good dual cores even... (and that Phenom X4 is not far behind the i5-750 anyways)

    to the OP -> if this is getting too messy... i'll just sum up my recommendation for you:
    - Antec case + power supply: $95
    - ASUS motherboard /w SATA6 + USB3: $100
    - G.SKILL 8GB RAM: $100
    - Radeon 5670 1GB /w Eyefinity (up to 3 x monitors) + silent cooling: $100
    - WD Caviar Black SATA6 640GB HD 64MB cache: $70
    - DVDRW drive: $17
    - Phenom II X4 945 (quad-core @ 3.0GHz /w L3 cache): $136

    TOTAL: $618

    and remember... for audio recording... you can get a cheaper CPU as well if you want to save a little more $ -> like the Athlon II X4 640 ($100), or a fast dual-core like the Phenom II X2 555 ($90) / 560 ($100)
  20. (also he might need a lot of RAM for 'audio-plugins'... memory is cheap now... may as well take advantage)
  21. Please note: his flagship software (Cake Walk Sonic X1) does not officially support 64 bit operating systems yet. It would not make sense for him to go to 64 bit Windows until such time as it does. Hence, anything more than 4 GB of RAM would be a waste, since 32 bit Windows will only recognize 3.5 GB at best.

    Additionally, unless he has 64 bit drivers for all his audio equipment, it would also make sense to stick with 32 bit Windows from that perspective as well.

    Yes, audio plug-ins do take up a certain amount of memory, but 4 GB is more than plenty for Cake Walk and any other audio plug-ins he will need. He would be better off putting the extra $40-50 into a faster processor and/or FireWire card (if it isn't already on the planar).
  22. even though that software doesn't 'officially support 64 bit' ... doesn't mean it won't work... i'm sure it'll be fine... i have used even older audio recording apps than that in a 64 bit OS for years.... and they all work fine... it'd be a shame to use a 32bit OS (less than 4GB RAM limited) at this point in time...

    dude wanted at least 6GB... it's cheap now... may as well **and please get a 64bit OS.. unless you're absolutely positive that your main recording app doesn't work with 64**
  23. here's Tom's HW's recommendation on the benefits of more than 4GB of RAM at this point in time... especially when their prices are low :),2778.html
  24. wasupmike said:
    i thought it was $600 only for those parts mentioned in your first post... if you can build a PC... then i urge you to do so instead of a pre-built... for a 1000 reasons...

    so take off that CPU and put this one instead ->
    it's still a quad-core @ 3.0GHz stock for $100

    so now with CPU, RAM, motherboard + GPU... you're at exactly $400...
    - Case + Power Supply: $95 -> GREAT Antec case with loads of ventilation + Antec power supply too (good quality)
    - DVDRW: $17
    - HD: $70 -> the higher performing western digital hard drive even on SATA3

    there ya go $580... top quality... custom built

    mike - amazing - Thank you for the help, Craig
  25. welcome
  26. Don't buy that Asus 870 motherboard (doesn't have FireWire for your Tascam fw1884) - unless you plan to use a separate controller card.

    You really don't have a need for USB3/SATA6/Gbs. There is no product on the market, and essentially when it gets here it will be expensive or not perform up to expectations. If that time arrives you may always buy a controller card. You don't have a need for a $100 video card, either.

    Something like the Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s whomps all over that fancy WD SATA6/Gbs drive from a performance standpoint - it's bigger and cheaper, too.

    And in a budget build there is really no reason to favor a PhII over an AthII Propus quad-core. That more than frees up enough cash for your OS - with cash to bump from 6GB to 8GB of RAMs..
  27. 'wisecracker' is right about 1 thing i missed - the lack of firewire on that board (my TASCAM card is USB.. so it slipt my mind :))
    - grab this one instead -> it has the exact same specs as the other one + 2 x firewire ports @ the same price... great board from Gigabyte

    ignore everything else he said... (sorry buddy - but your missing certain elements that would benefit his pro audio recording needs)

    good luck..!
  28. wasupmike said:
    'wisecracker' is right about 1 thing i missed - the lack of firewire on that board (my TASCAM card is USB.. so it slipt my mind :))
    - grab this one instead -> it has the exact same specs as the other one + 2 x firewire ports @ the same price... great board from Gigabyte

    ignore everything else he said... (sorry buddy - but your missing certain elements that would benefit his pro audio recording needs)

    good luck..!

    Dude ...

    A faster HDD would not benefit his performance?

    Saving substantial money on a video card he doesn't need is not a benefit?

    Show me how great that WD Black 640GB 64MB SATA3 6/Gbs Black performs when compared to the Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s. A link will suffice.

    (Hint: You won't find one.)
  29. I stand corrected on the L3 cache :), and i agree that SATA3 doesn't add all that much more performance onto the table (IVe read this in several places... If anyone wants i might be able to dig the links up). I forgot to mention that in my post earlier... :)

    Just to let you guys know, i finally decided on a Athlon II x3 445 3.1GHz for my (Gaming) build and I'm really excited for when it all get together and i can use it YAY :lol: .
  30. Thank you everyone - you've just about got my gear ready to be ordered.

    Thank you and God bless,
  31. OK everyone. My budget is $1000.00 now and really want a bang for my buck.
    You all have the absolute best advice and I trust your opinions.
    Not gaming at all. 90% music with Sonar X1 - 10% rendering with 3D studio and Vue modeling software. Need smooth rotation on graphics in modeling.

    Thank you very much.
  32. Don't know anything about the new sandy bridges, but i believe that the top end sandy bridge and a low end graphics card (ATI 5550 or below :)) you could get away with getting lots of memory, an SSD, and the top Sandy Bridge :). You might even be able to squeeze something bigger such as an ATI 5770... But I have yet to figure out which sandy bridges are better, will need to take a look at tom's reviews... :lol: Havn't even looked at the current models besides a quickie glance at the egg.
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