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Budget £500 GBP, in UK, building a PC for Audio /Music

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September 16, 2011 8:55:10 AM

I have a budget of about £500 GBP or maybe even slightly more.

I need to have a decent spec system for running Audio applications like Cubase and various music software.

Ideally, I would like as a minimum a decent CPU, good amount of RAM, plenty of HD space and a DVDRW, and also a decent Soundcard with dedicated audio.

Is it possible for a decent spec with an I5 or I7?

I would like as fast as possible to cope with VST software.

Thanks
September 16, 2011 9:48:01 AM

I'm not sure what type of software your using so I cant really comment there.

i7-2600 £227 - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-core-i7-2600-s1155...

Ill try and list an i5 build here though (same build would work with the i7-2600):

i5-2400 £145 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-core-i5-2400-s1155...
H67 m-ATX motherboard £70 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-p8h67-m-lx-rev30-in...(x16)-vga-on-board-micro
8GB RAM 1333MHz £40 - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-(2x4gb)-corsair-ddr3-pc3-10666-(1333)-non-ecc-unbuffered-cas-9-9-9-24-15v
Corsair 430w PSU £35 - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/430w-psu-corsair-builder...
1TB WD Caviar Black £63 - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-western-digital-wd10...
ASUS Xonar Sound Card £88 - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-xonar-d2-ultra-fide...
or
Creative Sound Blaster £106 - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/creative-soundblaster-x-...

The Creative got slightly better review than the Xonar:
Xonar: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2007/09/03/asus_xonar_...
Creative: http://www.bit-tech.net/custompc/reviews/230883/creativ...

Case: ??
Optical Drive(s): ??



September 16, 2011 10:14:27 AM

hi
thanks

for soundcard, i was thinking of one of the maudio audiophile or delta soundcards.

bascially, pc is for running Cubase software and some graphics packages.


For motherboard, does that have USB 3.0?

I reckon i would also need another 500GB harddrive.

i'm trying to make a more futureproof pc.

so i don't mind spending more and upping my buget for a solid spec.

For case, i have no clue,

for optical drive, any DVDRW would do.
Related resources
September 16, 2011 10:29:01 AM

The motherboard only has USB 2.0 ports.

If you need more HDD space, it might be worth picking up x2 1TB Samsung SpinPoint F3's, they are around £40 each.
£42 each http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-samsung-hd103sj-spin...



Case - Pretty much any Mid-Tower-ATX case will do. Just find one that fits your budget :)  http://www.scan.co.uk/shop/computer-hardware/all/cases-...

Optical Drive £15 LG DVD-RW - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/lg-gh22ns70-22x-dvdr-16x...

Z68 Gigabyte Motherboard with x2 USB 3.0 Ports £75 - This is also an ATX motherboard so there's more room for expansion. Z68 is one of the latest chipset from Intel.
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigabyte-ga-z68a-d3-b3-i...(x16)-atx

That motherboard would also enable you to use quicker RAM, 1600MHz -
£45 8GB 1600Mhz Corsair RAM - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-(2x4gb)-corsair-ddr3-vengeance-lp-cerulean-blue-pc3-12800-(1600)-cas-9-9-9-24-xmp-15v

As far as the sound card goes, i really have no experience in this sort of area, so id recommend checking out this section of the forums: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/forum-10-176.html
September 16, 2011 10:40:27 AM

hi thanks
i just checked in the thread below my thread. someone else has got this put together for their audio workstation, which is pretty much the same thing I am doing. this is what they have decided on.

how much do you reckon i could get this for from UK shops?
Sounds ideal for my needs too.


MOBO - GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0
$139
CPU - Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core
$219
GPU - GIGABYTE GV-R567D3-1GI Radeon HD 5670 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express
$70
SSD - ADATA S511 Series AS511S3-120GM-C 2.5" 120GB SATA III
$205
or
SSD - OCZ V$ertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$200
HHD - Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB
$89
RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
$55
CASE xclio nighthawk
$60
PSU - CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE
$85
September 16, 2011 10:46:30 AM

if say, i upped my budget to £600, do you reckon that would cover a similar spec to above?

i'm not too clued up on PSU's, Coolers and Cases, but overall, i just need a good solid workstation which is fairly silent.



September 16, 2011 10:47:34 AM

Well you don't need a graphics card since the z68 has built in graphics and you wont be doing anything demanding enough to require a discrete GPU, and if you don't need the GPU then you don't need such a big power supply.

Ill try and break it down to your requirements:

i5-2500 - £145 (i5-2500k £160 - K means unlocked, which is for over-clocking the CPU, i presume your not looking to over-clock your CPU?)

GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 - £102

ADATA S511 - £155 / OCZ Vertex 3 - £170

WD Caviar Black 1TB - £63 / 1TB SpinPoint F3 - £42

RAM - The vengeance i listed before is the same spec, £45

PSU - 430w Corsair I listed is plenty if you dont use a graphics card £35

The only real difference in the build you listed above is a slightly more expensive motherboard, a graphics card, and an SSD. Its a build designed for gaming, rather than for production and speed.

For an exact copy of the build you posted above (other than the case because i cant find it listed in the UK) the total comes to: £487. Also bear in mind that build doesn't include a sound card other than the onboard audio from the motherboard.




September 16, 2011 11:00:26 AM

On the thread you took that build from, check out the Best Answer selected. Its a build posted by "michxymi" and is much better suited to the user needs than the build the OP tried to put together. I suggest taking some components from michxymi's suggestion.

UK websites you can use to check prices:
www.ebuyer.co.uk
www.scan.co.uk
www.dabs.co.uk
September 16, 2011 11:01:11 AM

AdrianPerry said:
Well you don't need a graphics card since the z68 has built in graphics and you wont be doing anything demanding enough to require a discrete GPU, and if you don't need the GPU then you don't need such a big power supply.

Ill try and break it down to your requirements:

i5-2500 - £145 (i5-2500k £160 - K means unlocked, which is for over-clocking the CPU, i presume your not looking to over-clock your CPU?)

GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 - £102

ADATA S511 - £155 / OCZ Vertex 3 - £170

WD Caviar Black 1TB - £63 / 1TB SpinPoint F3 - £42

RAM - The vengeance i listed before is the same spec, £45

PSU - 430w Corsair I listed is plenty if you dont use a graphics card £35

The only real difference in the build you listed above is a slightly more expensive motherboard, a graphics card, and an SSD. Its a build designed for gaming, rather than for production and speed.


thanks

yeah, i don't need to overlock anything, i think standard I5 will be enough, i'm not going to be gaming or anything.

Its primarily for audio production, and also some graphic / possibly video editing, which is why a graphics card might be useful.

i don't think i need the ADATA S511 - £155 / OCZ Vertex 3 - £170, standard drives.


so if i get this with graphics card for any additional video/graphics editing i might do.

i5-2500 - £145

GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 - £102

GPU - GIGABYTE GV-R567D3-1GI Radeon HD 5670 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express

WD Caviar Black 1TB - £63 (for operating system, windows 7 32bit)

1TB SpinPoint F3 - £42 (for data/files)


8GM RAM - £45

£15 - DVDRW


PSU ? something to handle with graphics.

Case ? something to focus on silencing. Maybe i need a specific fan or cooler.

Operating system? windows 7 32bit, don't know how much this would cost.








September 16, 2011 11:05:28 AM

Windows 7 is about £75. If you want to use more than 3-4GB RAM though you need 64-bit windows NOT 32-bit. They are the same price, just make sure you get the right one.

£76 Windows Home Premium 64-bit http://www.scan.co.uk/products/microsoft-windows-7-home...

NZXT HUSH £67 at Ebuyer - http://www.ebuyer.com/129993-nzxt-hush-black-silent-cas...

You don't need to add anything to the case. It comes with built in sound dampening material and the fans have rubber washers around them to reduce noise from vibration. Basically, its ready to go right out of the box. Also comes with 2x120mm fans which should be plenty of cooling. Your CPU cooler will come supplied with your motherboard.

You still haven't listed a sound card?
SSD is totally optional
The 430w PSU i listed before is enough for a 5670. Maybe look at 500w to leave more headroom.
September 16, 2011 11:12:01 AM

AdrianPerry said:
Windows 7 is about £75. If you want to use more than 3-4GB RAM though you need 64-bit windows NOT 32-bit. They are the same price, just make sure you get the right one.

£76 Windows Home Premium 64-bit http://www.scan.co.uk/products/microsoft-windows-7-home...

NZXT £67 at Ebuyer - http://www.ebuyer.com/129993-nzxt-hush-black-silent-cas...


i'm not sure whether i even need 8gb ram tbh.

on my current old spec PC, i have 2gb ram, its the cpu and motherboard which are dated.

but yeah, i guess 64 bit would be for my needs.

on that thread, he listed a CPU cooler too. This stuff gets heavy! i get confused quite easily on what to choose.


Quote:
Fractal Design Define R3 White ATX Mid Tower Silent PC Computer Case

SeaSonic X series SS-400FL Active PFC F3 400W ATX12V Fanless 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power

Intel Core i5-2400S Sandy Bridge 2.5GHz (3.3GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 65W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52400S

I would go watercooling for deadly silence. There are a lot of reliable kits out there, like Corsair H60. (Just make sure to use case fan instead of the one that comes with it)

CORSAIR CWCH60 Hydro Series H60 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler


GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9W


ASUS EN210 SILENT/DI/1GD3/V2(LP) GeForce 210 1GB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Low Profile Ready Video Card


SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA


SAMSUNG DVDRW Model SH-222AB - OEM

September 16, 2011 11:13:36 AM

I reckon i could cope with the onboard soundcard for a while.

but im looking at maudio audiophile 192, seems suitable.
September 16, 2011 11:20:04 AM

Aftermarket CPU cooling wont be necessary unless your over-clocking the processor. You get a CPU cooler with your motherboard that will be more than sufficient.
September 16, 2011 11:23:38 AM

ok so if i have this together

1.) i5-2500 - £145

2.) GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 - £102

3.) GPU - GIGABYTE GV-R567D3-1GI Radeon HD 5670 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express - £60 avg

4.) WD Caviar Black 1TB - £63 (for operating system, windows 7 32bit)

5.) 1TB SpinPoint F3 - £42 (for data/files)

6.) 8GM Corsair RAM - £45

7.) LG DVDRW - £20

8) Case - NZXT HUSH - £67 or maybe a cheaper one with similar or decent spec.

9.) Windows 7 64 bit £75

10.) PSU ?

11.) maudio 2496 soundcard - £70




September 16, 2011 11:27:19 AM

i definitely need a cheaper case i think. i will have a browse for cases and try find a suitable one.

i don't want to spend too much on the case.

if i can get everything in for all under £500 that would be great for me.
so i don't mind getting slightly cheaper stuff.

In fact, the maudio soundcard, i could even leave that for a while and shop for one on ebay later on and get a cheap one. Because even an onboard soundcard is usually ok.

so soundcard is not really a priority now.

right now, if you could recommend me a decent case + psu that would be great.

I think i dfeinitely need the graphics card as i may want to do some editing later on.

September 16, 2011 11:28:26 AM

Looking much better.

The motherboard you listed is more expensive than the one i listed because it has SLI (multiple graphics card) support. There's probably not much point paying for a feature you more than likely will never use.

This is still a better option: £75 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigabyte-ga-z68a-d3-b3-i...(x16)-atx

PSU Corsair 500w £45: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/500w-psu-corsair-builder...

HDD's - Theres not much point getting 2 different ones. Either get 2 Caviar Blacks, or 2 SpinPoints. They both perform the same although Caviar Blacks have been around for longer and have well established reliability.
September 20, 2011 7:09:22 PM




hi thanks

ok, i used the slightly more expensive motherboard and a graphics card (need a cheaper one, but not sure which one),

all from one shop, obviously i can shop around on the web to find them the cheapest of each part.

------------------------------------------------
i5-2500 3.3ghz, 850mhz - £158
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-core-i5-2500-s1155...


GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 - £102
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigabyte-ga-z68xp-ud3-in...


GPU - GIGABYTE GV-R567D3-1GI Radeon HD 5670 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express - £86
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-gigabyte-hd-5670-pci...



WD Caviar Black 1TB - £63
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-western-digital-wd10...


WD Caviar Black 1TB - £63
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-western-digital-wd10...



8GM Corsair Vengeance RAM - £44
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-%282x4gb%29-corsair-...


DVDRW - LG 22x SATA GH22NS70 - £15
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/lg-gh22ns70-22x-dvdr-16x...




PSU - Corsair 500W CMPSU-500CXUK - £45
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/500w-psu-corsair-builder...



Case - Coolermaster Elite 430 Black Mid Tower Computer Case - £38
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/coolermaster-elite-430-b...



Windows 7 32bit Home - £74
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/microsoft-windows-7-home...


Total = £688
----------------------------------------


a bit over budget.

Ok, so i think if i use the cheaper motherboard / cheaper graphics card, and maybe find a slighty cheaper case i might be better of.

Do you think I will even need 8GB of Ram? or do you think 4GB will be enough?


September 20, 2011 7:32:24 PM

I changed the motherboard and graphics card and slightly less RAM. a bit cheaper, but i'm not sure on the graphics card.

_______________________
i5-2500 3.3ghz, 850mhz - £158
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-core-i5-2500-s1155...


Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3-B3 MoBo - £75
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigabyte-ga-z68a-d3-b3-i...


GPU - Asus HD 5670 Graphics Card EAH5670/DI/1GD5 - 1GB Asus HD 5670 - £60
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-asus-hd-5670-pci-e-2...(x16)-4000mhz-gddr5-gpu-775mhz-400-cores-d-sub-dl-dvi-i-hdmi


WD Caviar Black 1TB - £63
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-western-digital-wd10...


Samsung Spinpoint F3 - £45
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-samsung-hd103sj-spin...



4GB Corsair Vengeance RAM - £28
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/4gb-%282x2gb%29-corsair-...


DVDRW - LG 22x SATA GH22NS70 - £15
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/lg-gh22ns70-22x-dvdr-16x...




PSU - Corsair 500W CMPSU-500CXUK - £45
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/500w-psu-corsair-builder...



Case - Coolermaster Elite 430 Black Mid Tower Computer Case - £38
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/coolermaster-elite-430-b...



Windows 7 32bit Home - £74
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/microsoft-windows-7-home...


Total with this spec is: £601

_________________________________

If I can get this spec for under £500 all in that would be great, or maybe i'm expecting too much?

September 21, 2011 3:07:14 PM

quick bump.

need some advice on which Solid State HD to get.
I'm thinking I could get 1 SSD for OS and 1 Spinpoint F3 for files.

and need advice on the graphics card, if there any cheaper alternatives or recommendations.

thanks
September 21, 2011 6:14:12 PM

metal orient said:
Please get windows 64 bit, 32 bit will only limit you.

Not convinced you can afford an SSD on your budget. Although do you definitely need a graphics card? The IGP would probably be fine otherwise.

But yes i'd get a 64GB SSD + 1TB HDD

e.g.:
crucial m4 64GB £73
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/64gb-crucial-realssd-m4-...

and

samsung F3 1TB £43
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-samsung-hd103sj-spin...



hi
thanks

reason ive been recommended to get windows 32bit is that a lot of the free VST plugins i use may not work on windows 7 64bit.

Apparently,i've read of issues when using Cubase on windows 7 64bit with plugins not working. How much of it is accurate im not sure.

But I don't understand why they wouldn't be compatible?


and yes, im thinking of leaving the graphics card out altogether, since this build is primarily for audio production, although later on i might add the graphics card with more funds.

this motherboard seems fine, the one Adrian perry recommended.

Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3-B3 MoBo - £75
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gig [...] x16%29-atx


a quick question: Is the core i5 IGP any good for watching hd video?

thanks
January 6, 2012 9:45:20 AM

some of these prices have gone up
can anyone give me some cheaper prices for these components or different alternatives

thanks
January 6, 2012 9:53:35 AM

if i can start again from scratch, please help me build a pc for audio work. budget needs to be under £500.

it will be just used for audio production, so will be using something like cubase and ableton.

im not sure i will need any seperate graphics card, as i could always add that later on.

!