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Music Production PC - $1000-$1500

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May 2, 2012 4:49:14 PM

So I've finally worn out my current laptop. It's really beginning to prevent me from growing and furthering my skill set as I'm limited in what I can use on this system.

So the time has finally come to get myself a new rig. I have a budget of about $1000-$1500 and have been bouncing back and forth between getting a Mac or a PC. Initially I was interested in getting a Mac Mini to do my work but I've read some things that have turned me away. I just feel like I can get way more bang for my buck if I take the custom build PC approach. I have a nice '23 monitor so the iMac would be usless, and i'd really prefer a desktop computer this time so scratch the macbook idea. That pretty much leaves me with the Mac Pro and I simply cannot afford, nor do I have the skillset to need one of these machines right now.

I'm looking at running Reason, FL Studio, Maschine primarily, although I definitely want to have the option of being able to expand to more higher end DAW's in the future.

I'd really love if someone might be able to give me some guidance on this one. Recommend what I should build. What parts to get etc.

Thanks,
Christopher
May 3, 2012 2:32:32 AM

Hi cxchrismna,

There are so many options out there for a DAW.

You didn't say what audio interface you are using. If its a PCI card (M-Audio Delta, Wren etc) you have to make sure your motherboard has the legacy slot. This right away eliminates the ASUS Z77 (for the new Ivy Bridge CPU) motherboards. Gigabite Z77's do have the slot. If you have an outboard interface then ASUS is a fine board, reasonable price.

Since you're using Reason, there is no native VST support so you'll probably be using Rewire for any you may have. So, the more RAM the better. Try for at least 16GB and at least a 7200 RPM SATA III 6GB/sec HDD would help in grabbing your samples from the library quicker. Get the biggest you can afford. I recommend a Western Digital Black of at least 1 TB for your libraries. A 128 GB solid state drive for the OS and DAW installs would speed everything up dramatically. Just be sure to install your FL & NI libraries to the HDD.

The CPU should be the single biggest expense. While a Core I5 will do what you need (think IMAC), there's less headroom for extremely large projects. You should consider an IVY bridge I7 3770K for $350 at Newegg.

Lastly, you may want a second monitor. Dual monitors are a huge help in DAW's.

With this in mind, you can start checking sites for pricing and such. In my opinion, you can get a very capable system up and running for $1500.

I have spec'd out a system at Newegg for my DAW that I can send you via EMAIL if you'd like. It comes out at $1490 without monitor, case and PSU.

I'm using:
Cubase 6.5 / Reaper / Focusrite 24DSP interface / a Behringer 1832 USB Mixer / NI Komplete 8 / A ton of other VST's

Good Luck and PM me with your email if you want to see my Newegg List.

Michael
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