Building a music machine/digital studio on budget

Hi, I am a musician and fancy myself a composer. I recently purchased an M-Audio 88 Key USB MIDI controller/piano keyboard. I quickly realized that my dinosaur of a PC does not have the processing power to handle any of the more powerful software synths, however, and so am looking to upgrade. I wasn't quite sure where to put this, as I intend to buy everything, but I figured that the processor would be a nice place to start (I'll have help for putting it together, so don't worry if I sound like I don't know what I'm talking about!).

Anyways, as I said in the thread title, I am somewhat on a budget, but I want to get something that will allow me to run softsynth VST modules like Synful Orchestra on progams like Steinberg Cubase or Propellerhead Reason. Now, the nature of these programs is basically that level of performance they give out is pretty much set by the system you're running, so I'm going to try to get the fastest processor that I can on my budget. As far as what that budget is....I'd probably say up to about $500 for CPU, motherboard, and RAM.

Now, the main thing that I'm not sure about is...well, anything not directly related to "processor speed." Example: dual core vs single core, caches, socket types, etc. What is the difference between different socket types, and how much of a difference will a newer/more expensive type make? What should I be on the look out for when I see what look to be fairly good deals...can a fast processor still perform poorly given weaknesses in other areas?

This is the processor section of the forum, so I understand if your replies are restricted to CPUs, but I'm honestly looking for info on everything - particularly motherboards, CPUS, and ram.
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  1. I do not know as much about CPU as most guy here but I have helped building an DAW (Digital Audio Workstation as it is known)for a music school so maybe my expereince is beneficial to you.

    My friend is musician and he asked me to build a DAW for school where he taught.It was nearly a year ago and I chose the best possible for him,ASUS P4P800 E-Deluxe mainboard, 2.8 G Pentium socket 478 and CL2 Kingston RAM (1G).In fact, I suggested AMD but this guy prefered Intel.

    He uses Cubase and said that there has been no problem with the CPU when he goes to 24 tracks( maybe the maximum number of track for SE edition).

    You probably know a few PC manufacturere that specialise in DAW and just look at their product configucation. I think for DAW, one of the issus is the latency so possibly CL2 RAM is better ( although there no difference when using CL3 RAM).SCSI hard disk is also not an issues.

    The only thing my friend has not been satisfied is NOISE so maybe you should spend a bit on good case and fan. 500 dollars should do the job for your personal use as it does a job in a small school. But maybe more than 100 dollars should be spent on case and CPU fan
  2. Dual core is better for multithreaded apps and running multiple apps at once.

    Single core is better for things that aren't multithreaded like games.

    Im not really sure how much power your applications require
    # Pentium / Athlon 2.8 GHz or faster
    # 512 MB RAM
    # Display Resolution 1152 x 864 pixels, dual monitor setup
    # ASIO compatible audio hardware recommended

    thats what they recommend on that steinberg cubase

    <A HREF="" target="_new"> Athlon 64 3500+ </A>$219

    not too sure about the motherboard.
    your not going to overclock right?
    value ram should work <A HREF="" target="_new">kingston value ram</A>

    (")_(") bunny pwns j00<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by liquidpaper007 on 09/10/05 09:34 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
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