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Homebuilt Vs Prebuilt

I'm looking for a new studio audio pc. Audio-only programs such as Sonar X1, Soundforge Pro, Reason, Audacity, VST plugins, samples etc etc. No games, No video, No MS Office.

Can i home build something better than this (Stratus A2 Audio PC from Rain computers) for equal or less cash?!
I have a WD Essentials external 2TB drive which is why I haven't selected any other drives, but I don't think they do a SSD with this model (awaiting a response)..

I have a Soundblaster Audigy Pro 4 internal card and external module.

Selected options:
Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium [64-bit]
Processor: 3.6GHz AMD "Zambezi" FX Quad-Core [4MB Cache]
Memory: 16GB (4 x 4GB)
Hard Drive - Bay 1: 1TB SATA III Hard Drive [7200RPM]
Hard Drive - Bay 2: None
Hard Drive - Bay 3: None
Hard Drive - Bay 4: None
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 5450 [1GB]
Optical Drive: StormDrive Dual Layer CD/DVD Writer
Optical Drive 2: None
Wireless: None
PSU: 500 Watt [80Plus Certified]
Ensemble: None
RainCare Support: RainCare [1yr] FREE 30 day Creative Computer Support Trial

$1319.00 (excluding delivery)

Thanks for your help in advance!
19 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. That Rain rig is massive overkill in every way. If all you want is audio, you don't need a graphics card. Creative encodes on the card, so you don't need much CPU. You only need one PCI slot. You will never use as much as 1G RAM (but Windows will want more). I'd be thinking microATX mobo with an APU and 4G RAM. An SSD is a nice treat. You'd have a small, cool, quiet rig for peanuts.
  2. That's a ridiculous overcharge. You could do an excellent gaming build on that much money.
    Follow Petrofsky's advice. An APU like the one they offer you, 4gb RAM, a mATX board and a case that comes with a small PSU should do you fine at under $400. Tossing in a $145 Patriot Pyro 120gb SSD would be quite nice.
  3. I don't think the audigy4 however does any encoding. I would still get a GPU, but get an nvidia one in case any of your programs can use CUDA. Yes you can build for cheaper, probably around half of that price. $1300 without even a monitor? Rip off.
  4. Thanks for everyone's responses. However, I currently have 4GB of RAM and since upgrading to Sonar X1 which processes effects dynamically rather than applying the effect directly on the section of the audio file it uses, I need at least 8GB RAM and much better processing power than my 2GHz, 6 year old processor. I agree on the video card, all i want is a decent resolution on my monitor. So...
    - I need 8 GB RAM minimum
    - One hell of a CPU
    - SSD (Patriot Pyro 120gb SSD looks good)
    - Mobo needs to support USB 3.0
    - Something quiet as Petrofsky mentions

    Can I still do this for under $1K? If so, would you kindly list what I need?
    I'm awesome with sound engineering and studio work but lousy when it comes to the bit that makes it all work :)
  5. motherboard: biostar Ta75A+ (supports USB 3.0)
    CPU: AMD A8-3870K (APU comes with integrated graphics HD6550d)

    link for combo:

    SSD: Patriot Pyro 120GB Link:

    Memory: GSkill ripjaws 8GB DDR3 8GB 1600 Link:

    Not sure if you need a case, or not but the total for all of that is $441.96 (excluding delivery)
  6. If you have that much money, I'd go with the 2500k. I don't have time to spec a machine out but perhaps someone else will or I'll get time later.

    Can you check your software to see if any of it supports CUDA?
  7. @ Rage33 - Thanks for the list - yes i need a case and will probably get a blu ray writer. Do you have any recommendations for those?

    @ 4745454b - I had to do a bit of homework to understand CUDA :) The answer to your question is:
    - Sonar X1 - Not yet
    - Reason - Yes
    - Audacity - Yes
    - Effects Plugins - over 50% of them

    So what does this mean?
  8. A couple of other things that drew me towards the pre-built PC was that they "tune" Win 7 so that it is optimal for Audio processing. Is this a con or is it possible?

    The other thing is, I have never allowed an internet connection on my studio PC because of having to install virus software etc etc, but this PC from Rain computers has a virtual environment. You can start up this virtual environment and then surf the internet without having to worry about virus protection/adware/all-things-nasty - When you shut down the PC or exit the virtual environment, everything in it is lost and there is no possible link from the virtual environment to your physical environment (unless you download something and choose to transfer it)

    Does anyone know if this kind of virtual surfing is unique to Rain computers or available as software to purchase?
  9. It's a con.
  10. kajabla said:
    It's a con.

    I feel like an idiot for believing it...
  11. If your programs support CUDA then I would get a GTS450. It will do the effects MUCH faster then using a CPU to do it. Best of all a GTS450 should be $100 or less so its not like its a big budget item. I would think you should still be able to get a 2500, 8GBs of ram, GTS450, win7, and everything else you'd need for less then $1300. Unless you need some high end audio boards...
  12. 4745454b said:
    If your programs support CUDA then I would get a GTS450. It will do the effects MUCH faster then using a CPU to do it. Best of all a GTS450 should be $100 or less so its not like its a big budget item. I would think you should still be able to get a 2500, 8GBs of ram, GTS450, win7, and everything else you'd need for less then $1300. Unless you need some high end audio boards...

    This is looking good! I already have a good audio board. So i know i'm asking a lot from you and everyone else, but I would really appreciate it if you could help out with the grand list :)

    GTS450 - $109.99
    Case - ?? (Estimate $80)
    8 GB G.Skill Ripjaws Memory - $46.99
    CPU/Cooler/MOBO?? (Estimate $400)
    SSD Patriot Pyro 120GB - $174.99
    1 TB Internal Drive - $124.99
    Sandboxie - $39.44 (for virtual environment when surfing)
    DVD Burner - $18.99

    So I estimated the parts I don't know about yet and it comes to around $1000 (excluding delivery)

    Am i way off or on track?
  13. Best answer
    So, assuming you want to go 2500K, let's draw it out.

    The 2500K is $180 at Microcenter if you can make it to a physical store. That's an excellent deal.

    Might as well save $7 on the RAM with an identical 8gb of Kingston HyperX.

    $120 ASRock Z68 Extreme3

    A decent heatsink on the cheap would be the $18 Hyper TX3, or you could go for performance with the $35 212 EVO.

    Choose your case by stylistic preference. Just trawl Newegg and see what catches your eye.

    You've forgotten a PSU. This $50 Antec 380W
    is about at good as it gets at the low end.

    And we're at $958, I think, with the TX3, or $975 with the EVO. Both numbers are before rebates; you'll get $30 back on the Pyro.
  14. Kajabla, does that include the motherboard? I'm not up to speed on Intels boards so I'm not sure what z68 to link.
  15. Ya, I think it did when I added it up. Note my Z68 Extreme3 above.
  16. Kajablas build looks like a good build for you. I'm not sure the additional heatsink will be necessary, are your anticipations to overclock?

    Also, Kajabla what are your thoughts concerning the recent influx of people having issues with their asrock boards.
    I don't use asrock myself,so I am not familiar with their products but I have personnally witnessed two people in the last couple of weeks tell me in threads I was participating in that they just bought asrock extream boards and had problems. One guy said his mem slot wouldn't work and another said his pci.e slot #1 wouldn't work. I have heard of many others with these same issues and having to rma thier boards. It is my understanding that if you can get a good asrock board then they are awsome but sometimes it takes an rma or two to get there.

    Only needing 1 pci.e slot for 1 gpu the op might be better suited to a board of this caliber

    unless your audigy card is also pci.e in which case you could get by with this

    These are both 8 channel audio boards and I would suggest the z68 if affordable to you.

    MSI is not my favorite brand as you can see by my avatar but they are both cheaper than what you would find their comparison in an asus product and MSI does use good components.

    Just an opinion and not intended to undervalue yours kajalba.

    I am just curious why with all the bad reports going on about asrock axtreme boards that people are still recommending them. Is it because you personnally haven't had any issues over a course of time?
  17. I think the probability of an RMA is low enough to allow the extremely attractive price to win out. Who knows; maybe in a few years the OP will feel like a little more graphics power (jamba, feel any urge to get BF3 lately?), and the extra slot will make for an easy SLI build, maybe to sell to someone else. I just like to leave upgrades open.
  18. Best answer selected by jamba.
  19. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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