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Is core i7 important?

Discussion in 'Computers / Software' started by Greythunder, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. Greythunder

    Greythunder Active Member

    Through my research, people say that core i5 is good enough for what I plan to do. I don't have all the money for it yet, but what I plan to buy is a $750 HP laptop with these specs: Intel core i5, 6 gigs of ram and a 750GB 7200 RPM HDD. I also plan to buy a $150 external hard drive. To upgrade that to a core i7 (and to add 2 more gigs of ram), it would cost me another $200, and that is money I could spend on other things that would be very useful. I do plan to both record and mix all my music on this laptop, but after a year of recording I have never had a song of mine reach over 10 tracks, so most of my stuff is not heavy-duty. I do tend to use a lot of plugins, though. Should I put in the extra $200 to get the better core and 2 gigs more ram, or should I stick with the core i5 and spend the extra money on other things that I want to get? Since money ain't gonna be coming in fast.
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    For best results: Save for the i7 if you are in the planning stages. 8 gig is min.
  3. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Save for the i7!
    Yes, an i7 is more future proof than an i5 because you have up to double the power, especially with the Sandy Bridge processors.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I'm still using single core Pentium 4's with hyperthreading and a Core Duo HP laptop which is an early 2 Core, 32-bit Celeron like processor running at 1.7 GHz and it still does me just fine for projects with 24 channels and plenty of plug-ins, with only a maximum of 2 GB of RAM. Provided I render it out rather than expecting it to run in real time. Unfortunately, ProTools insists on running in real time which really does require more cores and more RAM. I am actually looking at the HP, a newer but similar model to what I currently have owned for over six years. Yeah, it's an i7 and yeah, you should save for one of those. My HP was the top-of-the-line unit when I purchased it six years ago and it was still over $1500. A similar model to day is still $1500 which I guess is good considering our gas prices have far exceeded what we were paying six years ago.

    I'm full of gas
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  5. Greythunder

    Greythunder Active Member

    Arright. I'll save up and get the i7. It is true, for future software that will be more demanding than the current stuff, I will probably want it. I'll need to wait on getting the external drive and other things I wanted to get, but in the long run, It'll probably be worth it. Thanks for the advice!
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    You're still going to have to save for that external drive. Multitrack recording, mixing and playback will not work well when trying to do it from the main C drive in your computer. You'll be okay for 4-8 tracks until you get the external drive. But instead of that nonsense, why not just save up for a internal SSD? Then you could utilize the former C drive as your external with a simple adapter. Then all you'll have to do is reload your operating system from the disk the computer manufacturer has supplied you with and all of your software. Then you can go crazy with extended battery time, superfast operating system drive access. Of course the internal drive will probably only be a 5400 RPM drive but you might be able to find one of the HP laptops to have 7200 RPM internal drive. Your system would be great for the next five years plus. And then instead of saving more money, you can simply spend all of your money on better external audio gear, microphones, speakers, preamps, control surfaces, Lyons and tigers and bears, oh my...

    Oz luvz this business
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    Your processor requirements will vary with your processing requirements.

    I'm kinda with Remy, too. I used a Core2Duo 2.4GHz with 4GB RAM for years and it still kicks ass. What's more important is keeping your Windows PC clean and optimized.

    Cheers :)
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    There is no reason to buy old technology ala Core 2 Duo regardless of whether a few people still have them and they "work fine for me" (includes me but the computers are heavily tweaked). An i7 is the way to go for a new build not least of which is the motherboard memory controller is many light years ahead of ANY back in the day C2D motherboard. It isn't the same thing as saying a Shure 57 works just as well today as thirty-five years ago.

    Now, as Remy so ably stated, most laptops (and many consumer desktops) come with 5400rpm hard drives. These should be relegated to at best long term storage or just outright replaced. An SSD as a main drive is an awesome recommendation. The key thing here is to make sure that 25% of the drive is free for most efficient data transfer (has to do with cache and temp folders). On most of my laptops I replace the optical bay with a secondary hard drive whose only job is to be the temp folder for instance. Utilize other internal or external 7200rpm SATA drives as your audio destination and working drives. If you are big into VSTi instruments and sound libraries plan on these being on their own drive as well for best efficiency.

    Now as to laptop.......

    I love a laptop for mobile recording. Today's modern laptops however do not have a decent firewire port/chip and most no longer have an Express Card port for expansion. That means they can't be used with the best computer audio interfaces (in my case the Fireface 800). There a VERY few high end USB interfaces like the Fireface UFX that work well for high track count recording in any situation but knowing your equipment can often dictate whether a modern laptop is the way to go. If not, there plenty of desktop options out there that are either rackmount or can be transferred into a rackmount case. For most folks I do think it's better to just go ahead and save your shekels for a custom purpose built machine from PC Audio Labs or similar. It will have all the ports you want and no setup BS.
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    As John indicated, not all computers, even those with identical processors may be good quality, high track count good recording and mixing computers. For instance, my slower HP is quite a bit faster than my faster Dell. I only have the Dell/Dell's since I got them free from the dumpster (the dumpster is my favorite place to shop). They actually have faster processors but the motherboard chipsets are slower. And as a result, they don't multitask as well and they are nowhere near as fast as my slower HP. Even though the HP is rated at 1.73 GHz and my fastest Dell is a 3.2 GHz speed processor. I can't even install as much RAM into my HP which still remains faster than my more heavily RAMMED dell's. Some motherboards play a big part in and beyond just the processor within. I have found in building up my own previous desktop DAW workstations that the ASUS Line of motherboards were the fastest and most efficient ones I enjoyed utilizing. These Dell's are stable and reliable but everything goes into and out of it like you are trying to run through Jell-O and I say to gel with that.

    I like my mixes to gel and not my computers
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  10. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    I never told anyone to buy a Core2Duo. I myself have an i7-2600 machine with 8GB of RAM. The point was that you can still do great work on a Core2Duo machine running the latest software. Remy himself has said many times he still works on a P4 machine. I guarantee you that if you keep your PC clean and optimized you will have fewer problems and higher processing headroom.

    But by all means, get the biggest, baddest machine you can. Of course.

    Cheers :)
  11. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    For apps that support hyper-threading, it is significant.

    Using Logic pro my four core i7 shows an extra four cores, for a total of 8 cores.
  12. godchuanz

    godchuanz Active Member

    Realistically, an i7 is definitely not required for most audio work. Save the $$$ to buy more RAM (allows more of those large-sample VSTs to be loaded at once), and if you can afford it, an SSD to keep all your VSTs and programs. The loading speed is gonna be phenomenal.
  13. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    By the same token, stay within the i3/i5/i7 series. Using tech older than that is unnecessarily and because of the mobo's that are used with non "i" series cpus, actually a little detrimental.

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