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Can anyone give me specific specs on their PC

Discussion in 'DAW's, Computers & Software' started by nikhilpk, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. nikhilpk

    nikhilpk Member

    Jan 2, 2012

    I was wondering if someone can give me specific specs of a PC they built for recording. I am wanting to build my own pretty much for the experience. I realize a retail one from best buy would work fine but I wanted something custom.

  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Well if you want to build a custom computer, the sky's the limit. You might want to check out Micro Center on the Internet. It's a smaller computer chain of stores that purchased Comp USA when they went under. I do all of my shopping at Micro Center and have built a number of custom machines, over the years since 1996. There is certainly things to be learned by doing that. A lot of that today is geared towards gamers. But you don't need an ultimate gaming machine for audio/video purposes although it can help. I just don't play any computer games myself. Spending $700 on a display card is not what I would call an intelligent decision. It might be important for fast gaming but that's not what you're talking about. However, regardless of what you build up, some software manufacturers have specific requirements. So if you already know what kind of software you will be running, you'll already have technical specifications on what you should be going after. And what kind of hardware specifications since so many different interfaces are available.

    I have been particularly pleased with the ASUS series of motherboards and NVIDIA line of display cards. My current multitrack computer rig is of PCI types of cards but newer cards utilizing PCI-E, Thunderbolt and others are starting to hit the market. While they may be quicker, it might not be for the interface that you want to purchase. There are many factors involved. And you must be precise. So I'm still quite happy with a more than five-year-old computer. Since many processes have moved from hardware to strictly software, you will need to make intelligent decisions. How many plug-ins are you going to be running? Do you expect all real-time performance? Is rendering going to be a big factor? You have to know this. My current audio interface is a MOTU PCI-based 2408, 24 simultaneous channel capability with both optical & TDIF ports which also interfaces quite nicely with my older TA-Scam DA 88's and my ALESIS HD 24 XR's. But real time effects generally will require rendering when you are running a single core processor such as my hyper threaded Pentium 4 (which kind of emulates a dual core processor while not actually being dual core). And all that other sort of stuff. And since I work in a hybrid analog/digital fashion (like most other professionals do) having multiple cores is not quite as vital for me. I'm also running an HP laptop with an early core duo processor which must remain compatible with only its FireWire & USB 2.0 ports with outboard computer audio interfaces. And it does well with those. So if it's something you want to take out on the road with you regularly, laptops are a heck of a lot easier to deal with than a desktop machine. This is where compromise is not a dirty word. So it might be doable for tracking purposes on location where a more powerful desktop machine with specialty cards plugged in to the motherboard may work better for your studio for mixing. And that's 2 computers not a single computer we are talking about now. Computers are sort of like studio hardware. You'll never own a single brand or type of microphone, you won't just be using one manufacturers preamp and delete computers that will be able to deliver for you how you are going to work.

    People think I'm a computer expert because of this and I'm not. But I am computer literate.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  3. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Not really. Starting from scratch is much, much better.

    I bought an HP 4 years ago, mainly for internet, and Office-type stuff. Those "everyman" computers are laden with feature/quality compromises, and loaded with bloat. And since most of them come only with a "reinstall image", and not actual physical discs to reinstall only what you want...and since those images are extremely specific to that one physical computer...it's a pain in the arse if you have to change something...like the OEM-specific motherboard that became completely unusable after doing an official HP BIOS flash, from THEIR website, following THEIR instructions! (Apparently, after researching, I had a LOT of company!) The updated flash appearing 1 week after my warranty ran out. THEIR reinstall wants to see the ORIGINAL motherboard. Nothing else. So, on trying to reinstall, it tells you that it's not authorized to install on the machine. (There is a long, convoluted way to get around that, though.) HP wouldn't even sell me a new MB, let alone provide one under warranty...since it was 6 days out! They were, however, happy to have allowed me to send it in for them to repair, at a cost of $600+shipping! (The entire computer package cost $399 on sale.) In short, what I told the 'customer non-serviceperson' was "F%($! you. I'll NEVER buy another crappy HP product"! I bought a similar ASUS board, and bullied the image into installing...but it wasn't easy.

    I would NEVER had considered using that thing for any serious music production.

    Now, then. Trying to have everyone list their complete computer specs is an exercise in futility. Although two identically-manufactured computers will be the same right off the line, the very first time someone installs ANYTHING on it, or in it, the entire comparison is gone. That's the same for the very first BIOS, Windows, peripheral or program setting change. And people who tweak music computers tweak a LOT of stuff. So, Joe's computer is now completely different than Fred's computer...even though they were identical twins at birth. Just a few settings changes can change the entire relationship of a lot of thngs.

    As Remy said, start with the software, PLUS the recording interface. Decide HOW you want to use it. (MIDI+Audio? Multi-track linear audio recording, only? A lot of samples and loops+audio recording? All the above?) Does the interface come with its own software, to build upon?

    Search for what computer brands (mainboards, etc) and stuff seem to be more highly-recommended for that interface/program. Buy good quality boards, RAM, hard drives, etc. (Stay away from stuff like "Kingston Value RAM". It's "value" for a reason. It's basically the same physical RAM as their good RAM, it just didn't pass the high-stress tests as well, so they "valued" it to get rid of it.)

    Factor in the costs of your very own OS physical copy. All the peripherals (video card, etc) should come with their won physical copy. Imagine what you MAY want to add in the future, and determine if thee mainboard has enough of the slots you'll need, if you may want to consider adding something like, say, another of the same internal interface board to double the I/O, and sync up easily.

    You can do some powerful recording these days with even a relatively modest system. As much quality RAM as it can take doesn't hurt. Good quality, fast hard drives. Pay attention to any FireWire chipsets, f you plan to use that. Some are reported to cause problems.

    Don't add unnecessary bloated programs, turn off a LOT of services you don't need, and keep it lean.

    My XP-based audio computer boots completely up in less than 1 minute, from the time I press the button. Once I've closed any programs, it shuts completely down in 6 seconds flat.

    Anyway, the point is that even if everyone DID list their complete specs...it wouldn't do anything but further confuse you, what with the infinite variety of boards, drives, hardware, software and personal usage tweaks.

    Any quality recent-model motherboard/RAM/drive/peripheral combination will allow you a lot of music-making possibilities, if you do some research to see what certain devices/programs that you may have decided on DON'T like.

    Good luck,


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