Music Production Build ( 800 range)

Approximate Purchase Date: Sometime this year, As soon as possible.

Budget Range: 800ish range but will pay more if necessary.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Running DAW and VSTs (FL Studio), recording, Surfing the internet, Watching movies

Are you buying a monitor: No

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Ebay, Newegg, Craigslist...I am open to recommended sites.

Location: Rochester, New York

Parts Preferences: Unsure, would like guidance

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Unsure, Would like guidance

Additional Comments: I would Like a Quiet PC that is Powerful and FAST. I need atleast 1TB for the HD. I would like this to be an investment, something that will last and that I can easily improve over time if needed. I want a good graphics card. I find with my current Laptop the display is a tiny bit blurry (its subtle) and hurts my eyes more than other Computers I've used in the past.

Why Are You Upgrading: Laptop is upgrade friendly which holds me back, I feel like Im pushing it to the max or close to it, I am not happy with Graphics card, I want a crisper and clearer display. I will not be gaming.

I don't know much about parts, like whats good and whats not so any and all information is appreciated

My current Setup

AMD A6 3400M quad core 1.4ghz


320gb HD

Specs listed in link, only difference is, I doubled the RAM.

9 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about music production build range
  1. cleaned up my original post for easier reading
  2. Best answer

    First thing I'll do is explain what you should go for with this type of build. Generally a DAW build requires something very quiet and powerful in terms of CPU and RAM. With the graphics, you could easily get by with integrated. I wouldn't bother with a graphics card, it would just add unnecessary cost, power consumption, heat and noise.

    In order to create a quiet PC, the main thing you need to do it keep the power consumption low. The lower the power consumption, the less heat is created. If there isn't much heat, the fans don't have to work very hard to cool the system so it stays quiet. Other than that, you just need to make sure all of your fans are high quality and low RPM.

    Here's something that would be good if you're willing to go a bit over budget:

    Intel Core i5-3470 - $199.99
    DAW software likes multiple cores so a quad core is a must really. An i7 would be nice but you have a budget to stick to. This is better than an FX-8 in my opinion, sacrifices a bit of multithreaded performance but is better in single threaded apps and has much lower power consumption. It also has integrated graphics which saves you unnecessarily having to buy a graphics card.

    2x4GB G.Skill Ares 1600Mhz 1.5v - $52.99
    8GB RAM should be plenty for now and you can still upgrade to 16GB if required.

    Intel BOXDQ77MK - $139.99
    This has dual DVI inputs for dual monitors (which I would recommend as a future upgrade), firewire (in case you buy a firewire audio interface), SATA 3, USB 3 etc. It is also mATX which is nice, you don't really need a massive case for this kind of thing. The whole point is that you're not dealing with a lot of heat and you won't need a graphics card. It also has a few other features which in all honestly you probably won't use but are nice to have, such as a mini PCI-e slot and dual ethernet ports.

    120GB Samsung 840 Series - $94.99
    Using a SSD as your boot drive will make your system feel a lot faster and will reduce vibrations/noise and power consumption while surfing etc. This one is cheap and has a decent reputation.

    1TB WD Caviar Green - $79.99
    Slower than standard drives but you won't notice since your programs will be on the SSD. The advantage of slower spinning is less vibrations/noise and lower power consumption.

    SeaSonic SSR-360GP 360W - $59.99
    Rock solid reliability with plenty of power even if you decide to add a <100W graphics card like the HD 7770 or GTX 650. Also has 80 Plus Gold efficiency which will (slightly) reduce your electricity bills and keep this unit nice and cool. It is also extremely quiet.

    Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo - $34.99
    Cheap(ish) and quiet cooler which just fits in that case. This is here just for the sake of quietness really.

    Fractal Design Define Mini - $99.99
    Nice little case. It is small and is designed for quiet systems. It has sound absorbing foam on the inside, rubber/silicone mounts for hard drives to reduce vibrations, a fan controller to lower the speeds of the included fans and not many vents to let out noise.

    Total - $762.92 before your OS. That puts you $50-60 over budget after your OS.

    EDIT: Another thing. Obviously I would use the included fan controller to lower the speeds of the included fans to the lowest level and set your CPU fan to the quietest setting in the BIOS. Do that and this PC will be extremely quiet while still having all the power you're going to need for DAW purposes. An i7 is ideal if you can afford it but an i5 is good if you can't.
  3. Wow, couldn't ask for a more perfect response. Thanks very much.
  4. No problem, let me know if you have any questions.
  5. Very well thought out build jmsellers :-)

    a few changes I would make are:

    1. Ditch the SSD. for a budget DAW build, stick with a regular HDD would be best in my opinion, especially if you're just booting up in the morning and shutting down at night. this makes even less of a difference if you rarely shut down your computer. instead, just put your OS on the WD Cavier Green 1TB drive, or get a Cavier Blue/seagate barracuda 7200rpm (faster performance, a bit louder, you really need the cavier blue to get "acceptable boot-up speed" if you'll be shutting it off every night". if you have budget left over, go for the 2TB versions of these drives, they're cheap at the moment

    This is the 2TB drive I'm talking about and it's $105

    2. this is more of a suggestion, but I would go for the AMD FX8150 CPU instead. true it draws considerably more power, but it is a bit faster. plus it comes with a nice closed water-cooler which will make your cooling more efficient (and relatively quiet). only $180

    3. now that you're using an AMD CPU, you'll want an AMD motherboard, which is the other reason why I'm recommending AMD because their motherobards are cheaper! here's an award winning board from an awesome manufacturer for $85

    4. if you're going with this set up, you can lose the cooler master EVO 210 and save $35

    Financially, you're spending $25 more on a harddrive if you get the 2TB version, saving $20 on the CPU, saving $55 on the motherboard, and another $35 on the cooler, this comes out to $85 in savings, which would total ~$678, leaving room for your OS etc :)
  6. Thanks for the reply!
  7. sorry, change my motherboard selection to this one:

    if you're going to go with that case (which is a great choice), it only takes microATX boards. my previous selection was a full ATX. this one is even cheaper, saving you ~$100 total :)
  8. Best answer selected by zackw419.
  9. Personally I'd keep the SSD but if you do decide to drop it, get a 7200RPM drive. A 5400RPM will feel sluggish as a boot drive. This change will increase noise/vibrations and the system won't feel quite as responsive but you save quite a lot of cash. It will still perform pretty much the same, it's just that programs won't load as quickly. Bouncing down your audio will slow down a bit as well. Just giving you the information to make an informed choice here, go with whichever one you think is best.

    With the CPU, the FX-8 is a perfectly viable choice as it offers slightly better performance in multi-threaded apps at $20 less. However personally I'd still go with the Intel chip. The performance is still pretty close and you get much lower power consumption. You also get (Intel HD 2500) integrated graphics built into the CPU which is a lot better than the ATI Radeon 3000 built into that AMD board. The advantage of this is the dual monitor support. With the AMD board, you would have to add a graphics card for dual monitors which would just further add to power consumption.

    Nothing wrong with either of those motherboards, means you would save some cash but you are losing quite a few features with them, just for you to bear in mind. That ASUS board only supports 2 sticks of RAM up to a maximum of 8GB, it doesn't have SATA 3 or USB 3.0, firewire or dual video outputs. Again, I'm not trying to poke holes in vmem's suggestions, just pointing out the pros and cons.

    Lastly, with the cooler. In hindsight, the Coolermaster probably wasn't the best suggestion. It fits in the case, it's very quiet and gives great performance for the price but you could get something almost as quiet for a lot less cash. You don't really need awesome cooling performance, just something quiet.
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