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Potiental PC Specs - You get what you pay for.

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Purrhonda, May 10, 2005.

  1. Purrhonda

    Purrhonda Guest

    Ah, the ego.

    Potiental PC Specs:

    Computer brands? HP, Sony, what do you think?

    Pentium 4 Processor or a 2.0 GHz AMD Athlon XP

    512MB (I'll try for 1 GB)

    400 mHz FSB

    DDR400 RAM

    Hard Drive 200GB

    8MB cashe

    CD burner - Lite-on (not a biggy)

    I'm planning on buy the Echo Layla 3G (will that need to be installed?) Or do you have other ideas.

    Last, I have a basic understanding of the above so if you decide to advise me, please explain.

    I will be recording an acoustic guitar and vocal at first.

    Thanks for your time; I imagine you get really tired of this question.


  2. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
  3. David French

    David French Distinguished Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    I still think i'm right. :D

    Purrhonda, allow me to do some interpreting.

    The question is this: Is there an approximately $600 off the shelf computer out there that would be appropriate for simple home demo recording?

    This is what I know: A person can build a great little machine for this purpose for about $500 (no monitor) I've done it. A Dell Dimension 3000, for example, can be had for under $600.

    This is what i'm still unsure of: Will the Dell perform as reliably and as well as a custon built budget DAW with ASUS A7N8X, Athlon XP Barton, Kingston, ect. etc?

    Come on guys, make me proud. 8)
  4. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    ahhh geeze Dad do i have ta?

    OK Awesome
    Antec Sonata case
    Asus A7n8x ... replace with Gigabyte K8NsUltra 939
    AMD XP 2500 ... replace with AMD 64 3000
    Zalman 7000
    512 meg DDR 400 ... add 1 more for dual channel
    40G OS drive
    80G audio drive
    MX 4000 dual head video card
    Win XP home

    i think the parts should be around that.

    a store bought $600 computer?
    you get what you pay for, might be fine for a few tracks
    biggest issue is chipset compatibilty with an audio card

  5. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    Quakertown PA
    Sure, if your needs are simple I see no reason a decent off the shelf model wouldn't suffice. Of course home built or custom built DAW's offer the best performance but not everyone has the knowledge to build their own or the budget to buy a custom DAW.

    The Dell would probably be the best choice of the name brands but another option you may want to explore is the Shuttle XPC. They are much smaller than a conventional PC, very quiet and easily transported and should cost a little less than an OTS. Most come with the motherboard and CPU installed in the case (bare bones) so all you do is add memory and drives (very easy to do) and you know where to come for help if you need it. This would also increase your knowledge of PC's should you decide to tackle a build someday. Randy built one last year and loves it, maybe he'll jump in here. If you feel the XPC is over your head get the Dell, it will certainly do the job but if you want to save a little and learn something in the process try the XPC. Here's a link to one at Newegg.

    Good Luck!
  6. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Hey there, Big_D!

    I'm still loving my Shuttle. Mine was the SB83G5 - Intel 915G/ICH6R version, so I have a socket 775 P4 and PCI-Express 16x video slot (PCI-Express may not be the best choice for a DAW, but mine is rock solid thus far using the 915G's onboard video for now).

    I'm assuming the AMD equipped Shuttles will be a good deal less expensive than the Intel based Shuttles (mine was still not "expensive" by DAW standards), and probably very competitive performance wise. As long as 1 PCI slot and 1 AGP/Video slot will meet your needs, there is not a lot this system can't do IMO. I use the RME Multiface + PCI card for audio I/O, so 1 PCI slot is all I need.

    Mine is mounted into a 12 Space SKB rack (on a 3U Aluminum Rack Shelf with the Logitec Wireless Mouse/Kbrd station next to it) with my AD's, and a few Pre-Amps. I used the Shuttle's "feet screw holes" as mounting holes on the front of the shelf, and used short right-angle braces to attach the rear "quick release screws" to the rack shelf (does that make sense?). There were no direct modifications needed to mount the Shuttle on a Rack Shelf! How 'bout that :wink: ?

    Here is a pic of the Rack mount (YES, that is a B... Headphone amp in there )

    I use the extra space on the left for the Keyboard, and for misc BNC and Digital cables while in transit (extra storage space).

    Anyway, I am pleased with my Shuttle XPC, and as long as you know its physical limitations, it is every bit as powerful as my "Full Size ATX" P4 at home. It is fairly quiet to boot! It is also "cute" if you are affected by such physical features (lol).

    If you want any more details, let us know.

  7. David French

    David French Distinguished Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    Now there you go Purrhonda! Thanks guys, you're the best!

    We won't hold it against you... it's just for monitoring! :lol:
  8. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    Quakertown PA
    Randy, That is AWESOME! Nice Job, I knew you'd come through. :cool:

    If my mobile rig wasn't already a 4U rackmount I'd be building an XPC also.

    Purrhonda, If you decide to go the XPC route we'll be glad to help you in any way we can. Hope this helps.
  9. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    If you are in a place large enough to have Circuit City's, etc., then you certainy have several locally owned computer shops. Stop in at one or two and tell 'em what you'd like to do and how much you'd like to spend. Have it locally built and at least someone, locally, will KNOW what's in your PC and EXACTLY how to fix it when it breaks or upgrade it when you want - this is worth alot of EXTRA money, but you won't have to spend anything extra... One of the guys at my local shop studied audio recording, recently, in college! helpful - though not neccessary. A good computerist will know computers, which is what you need.

    My thoughts:

    Mid-tower ATX case.
    Good mother board.
    P4 - fast as budget allows!
    As much ram as you can.
    Good video card(Great not necessary.).
    Do your internet(If any) with ethernet, not USB.

    You'd rather 1 40 gb(For OS and software) and one 80gb(Or more) for data storage and temp files than one 200gb. Sooner or later you will kiss yourself if you go with a 3rd. 80gb(+?) drive, on a removable drawer(All could be on drawers) for images(backups) of your other drives, along with Norton Ghost to do the backups(You could do a USB drive but, EIDE is cheaper.). Drawers are cheap.
    If you're young, with good eyes, a 17" CRT monitor will get you going and be cheaper.
    Get your sound card in before the thing is built(Maybe they can pick it up for you?).

    Tell the builder very specifically DONT PUT ANYTHING EXTRA IN IT!!! No "freeware", no ANYTHING!!! Just the OS and what you NEED to do your audio - this is critical. He needs to know, from you, that NOTHING must run automatically without you knowing about it and being able to easily disable it - even virus protection and firewall.

    Don't know how you'll do for 600 bucks? But... give it a try.


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