Intel Core i3-2100 CPU ok for audio production?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by gweber, Jun 27, 2011.

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  1. gweber

    gweber Guest

    I am currently in the works of building a custom PC to be used mainly for audio recording purposes (ill use Cubase, Pro Tools, etc. ) and also will be used a bit for gaming and also for watching HD/Blu ray movies.

    I just wanted to hear your opinion on this processor for these purposes and if not, suggestions would be greatly appreciated :)

    here is a link to the processor. Customer Reviews: Intel Core i3-2100 Processor 3.1GHz 3 MB Cache Socket LGA1155

    So far i only have a few parts for the PC picked out.
    Cooler Master Sniper Black Edition case
    Sapphire Radeon HD 6770 Video card
    - will have at least 4gb of ram and a 64 bit windows
    - havent picked motherboard yet, will pick mobo to match CPU

    ALSO let me know what you guys think about overclocking for music recording purposes.

  2. jimmys69

    jimmys69 Active Member

    Apr 16, 2011
    Arvada Colorado
    There shouldn't be a need for overclocking for recording. i3-2100 plenty good enough for ya as far as recording goes.
  3. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    May 22, 2011
    JHB, RSA
    Home Page:
    Of course, the i3 is completely sufficient for audio production. However, installing games on your PC will almost certainly complicate matters as they tend to soak up precious system resources. I can almost guarantee you that you will not get the same performance out of your system. It is never recommended to install games on the same machine running audio applications. Same goes for internet.

    Media players like WMP are somewhat negligible as far as CPU load goes, but others, like Winamp, are known to be CPU intensive. Stick to one media player for all playback duties. I use VLC because it's completely stable, easy on the CPU, and it'll play any media, often even corrupt files (while fixing them for you in the meantime).

    One tip when it comes to graphics cards. Find one with a heat sink instead of fans. They can be really noisy and there's nothing worse than trying to work with audio when there's a fan (along with all the other cooling wizardry in your tower wizzing in your ear.

    Cheers :)
  4. Cleanpants

    Cleanpants Active Member

    Jun 23, 2011
    Sherman Oaks, California, United States
    +1 with MoFacta on a number of points. First I definitely agree with keeping your gaming (and internet) usage completely separate from your audio system. Great advice. With the processor, the Core i3 would be sufficient for audio production, no doubt about it. But, IMO, a better option might be the Core i5-2500K. A better processor for not that much more money. I think you can get an i3 for around $120 to $140, the i5 for somewhere just north of the $200 range. If you want a real beast, check out the Core i7-2600K. You can grab one of those for around $300 (give or take).

    I also agree with using a fanless video card, the less noise coming from your rig, the better. Another thing to keep in mind when designing your system, is that you want a separate, dedicated hard drive for your audio as well as a separate, dedicated hard drive for your sample libraries. Regular 7200 rpm drives just aren't that expensive anymore, and the performance boost you'll see will be well worth the minor cost increase.

    I wouldn't recommend over-clocking your processor when talking about audio production. Not that it can't be done, but it can be a delicate balancing act between the processor, mobo, and RAM involved and many times can cause real headaches. With an audio system, stability should be one of your biggest concerns and over-clocking can be a major hurdle in achieving that.

    One other thing that jumped out at me. The main benefit to having a 64bit OS is the ability to use more RAM. Maybe you should think about going with 8GB instead of 4GB.

    Just throwing my 2 cents out there...Good Luck!
  5. Yep

    Yep Guest


    Hi all,

    After reading your posts, i'm wondering if a a 1.8ghz i3 processor would be ok for recording purposes, am i going to get some latency and lagg issues, even if i use a seperate harddrive for the recording?

    It would be used with cubase & a line 6 toneport interface.

    I would have chosen an i5 but there's a deal on this one PC and it has a crazy graphics card so i'm hesitating!

  6. mberry593

    mberry593 Active Member

    Apr 10, 2012
    Silver Spring, Maryland
    Home Page:
    gweber: Unfortunately, you mentioned the possibility of using Pro Tools.

    The i3 should be ok for the new PT11. It is said to be very efficient of CPU capability.

    It is NOT ok for previous versions. Recording is not the problem. Playback is. You will be forced to use large buffers. You will be very limited in instances of cpu-hungry plug-ins like Auto-tune & Eleven. You asked for alternatives.....For PT 10, I am using a Zeon Westmere W3670 (12 HT cores). It is ok for my rather modest sessions but would not be adequate for anything big.

    ..........also I highly recommend using your workstation for audio only and nothing else. Every (NO exceptions) professional installation that I know of has a dedicated audio computer and a second computer for everything else. The producer is going to want a separate computer anyway so he can surf the web for p*rn while the engineer works.
  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Quebec, Canada
    Home Page:
    If I would be a musician and a gamer(which I'm not), I'd buy two more HDD to seperate everything.
    A small HDD (possibly a SSD) for recording clean OS
    1 big HDD with higher speed (10k or 15k) for Audio data.
    The included HDD for games and other possibly hazardous activity..
    + a backup solution if you have customers..

    A clean install is the best way to have a stable and trouble free recording experience.
  8. mberry593

    mberry593 Active Member

    Apr 10, 2012
    Silver Spring, Maryland
    Home Page:
    Actually that is what I am doing. Most of the time my main audio workstation is completely is not connected to the internet & has no software other than Pro Tools.

    But for 10 days each year, I participate in a team competition doing distributed computer protein folding.


    [Official] Chimp Challenge 2013!

    For the competition, I remove my usual HDDs and put in one that has the folding client. After the 10 days, I return to the exclusive audio workstation configuration. This isn't a big deal. It only takes a few seconds to swap drives. After a year of being disconnected, there are plenty of Microsoft updates to do, but that doesn't require any attention so I let it run overnight.

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