Looking for a PC for DAW's

Discussion in 'Computing' started by tobacco_slammers, Nov 16, 2007.

  1. Hi there, I'm setting up a small home studio for creating dance music and i'm currently looking to buy a PC specifically for this.

    I've spent hours looking at various sites and was looking into building my own but i'd much rather just buy one that's already built as i've spent more time looking into it than making music!

    I'm not too sure what type of PC I would need so i'll give you some info on what I want to use it for.

    In a nut shell, i'm going to be using Pro Tools LE with an MBox and Reason 4.

    The minimum requirements for these software's are:

    RAM - 1GB or more

    O.S. - Windows XP or newer (It has to be XP, Vista won't do the now)

    Disc Space - 2MB

    If anyone knows any online shops or has some advice that would be great.


  2. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    I build my own, so as far as pre-builds, I can't help you there.

    The most important thing, in my book, is that you get at least two large hard drives (120Gig+) - one for the OS, one for audio tracks, and 2 or more Gigs of RAM.
  3. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

    Have you considered a mac?
  4. cfaalm

    cfaalm Active Member

    Feb 21, 2005
    Home Page:
    To elaborate on bent and huseph:

    If you want to build your own you have to investigate what components are compatible and learn from other builders, consider the processing power you need and the budget you have. That is a lot of work but it can save you money plus you will now all ins and outs of your PC.

    Since a stock pre-built PC is hardly good enough for what you want to do, forget about a pre-built unless you buy a pre-built DAW-PC from e.g. ADK. Anyhting else would lead you to a Mac.

    For working with audio, have a separate audio drive. When you work with samples a lot, it is good to have another separate drive for that. So in total you would have 3 drives.

    Don't buy a notebook/MacBook unless you absolutely need to be mobile.
  5. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    There are several companies out there who will build you a dedicated audio PC. Of course, it is cheapest to build your own. But if you have a job that doesn't involve this kind of knowledge and your time is at all valuable, it doesn't make sense to research this once every several years. The small companies will be closer to the bleeding edge of technology. The larger ones will have a bigger service network which will usually mean a faster response time. The drawback is that they tend to value stability and are less willing to change chips/components to gain a slight performance edge. I've dealt with Sweetwater - a big company. I've been pleased - but I knew the tradeoffs going in. If you do a search you can probably find a lot of small companies.
  6. Hi guys, thanks for the replys.

    I've not had much experience building PC's before but i've looked into it on various sites and been advised to build my own so I guess it's the logical thing to do. I'm an engineer to trade so that will give me an advantage.

    I've looked into a mac but budget wise I cant afford one just now but I can afford a decent PC.

    Can anyone recommend any site's that sell components for PC's?

    From what i've been told from people and what i've been reading about I believe the most critical selection of components should be:


    I'm not sure of which make/model I would need to get for each of these so if anyone could advise that would be great.

    From what I do know, I think I need:

    Intel Core 2 Duo Processor or better
    2GB RAM or better

    Is this correct?
  7. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    New Egg: http://www.newegg.com/?CMP=KNC-overturesmx&ATT=hp

    Tigerdirect: http://www.tigerdirect.com/

    CDW: http://www.cdw.com/default.aspx

    Look into your local mom and pop's, I'd rather drive a few miles and spend a couple extra bucks, than buy online when I can.
    Keeps the local economy going, ya know?
    And, they're more apt to give you help and advice without breaking the bank, whereas the onlines and chains don't care if they get your business or not.
  8. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Motherboard -Asus,Abit,Tyan, Intel. Make sure it is compatible with the interface/software you plan to use. Digidesign would be the main concern. Fortunately, they have a compatibility list on their website.
    CPU - Take your pick, Intel or AMD. Just make sure your motherboard supports it. But the best one you can afford.
    RAM - Buy the best you can afford. No less than Kingston but try for Crucial or better.
    PSU - ThermalTake, Antec has some good quiet Power supplies. Consider an Antec Sonata II case w/PSU for the sake of quiet operation.
  9. Kent L T

    Kent L T Active Member

    Oct 28, 2003
    Home Page:
    Is the M Box the fire wire version? Make sure the motherboard has a TI chip set for its fire wire ports if it has them built in. If not then buy a fire wire card that has the TI chip set.

    Make double sure as hueseph said on compatibility with the interface and the mother board. Check their forums for compatibility issues.

    There are a couple of fan free video cards that will help lower the noise your computer puts out.

    You can purchase an after market cpu cooler that will be quieter than the stock cpu fan that comes with the cpu.

    Find a quiet and cool running and fast hard drive. Toms Hardware website has a good drive comparison database to help you find the drive that meets your needs.

    Find a DVD/"every other type" drive that doesn't sound like a jet airplane taking off(not an easy task).

    Big fans can run at slower speeds which can mean a quieter computer.

    I like the antec cases as well I got a p180 quiet but is a little massive and not very portable. I am sure there are other adequate cases as well if you search the manufacturers sites for quiet cases it should help give you options.

    There are a lot of power supplies out there. I used an enermax Skimping here can cause problems if you dont get a good stable power supply with plenty of wattage.

    I found both new egg and mwave had acceptable pricing.
  10. Below is the spec list of processors from the pro tools site:

    Dual-Core Intel Xeon 51xx Series Processors with Intel 5000x Chipset (Quad-Core Intel processors have not been tested by Digidesign on Windows)

    Intel Pentium 4 or Xeon - 1.3GHz minimum, 2.4GHz or higher recommended

    AMD Opteron Dual and Dual Core

    AMD Athlon 64

    AMD Athlon 64 FX

    Do you think one of the following processors would do me then?

    Intel Core 2 Duo E4500, S775, 2.2GHz, 800MHz FSB, Allendale Core, 2MB Cache

    AMD AM2 Athlon 64 X2 5000 + Windsor, Dual Core, 2.6GHz, 2 x 1MB L2 Cache
  11. Dunno why I never thought of this before, but could I just simply modify my existing PC?

    I have:
    Acer Aspire T600-F97Z
    Intel Celeron D Processor
    80GB SATA Hard Drive
    512MB DDR2 RAM
    DVD RW Dual, Double Layer writer
    Windows Vista Home Edition

    Not sure but I could get a new PC case, Upgrade PCU and RAM.

    Add a new Hard Drive, partion it and install XP on it then have a multi boot option.

    Would this be possible or acceptable?
  12. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    If you elect to have a multi boot system, place both operating systems on the same hard drive.

    Use the other hard drive for audio storage only.

    The way it was explained to me, when the operating system writes/reads from the working hard drive and you are recording on to this "same" hard drive, errors can happen.

    Here is the link to the thread:
  13. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    A few years ago, I bought a gaming machine from an online vendor (www.directron.com) . It had 95% of the specs I was looking for, and was on sale the day I went browsing, scored it for 50% of what a built box would have cost me. I've done a couple of minor upgrades to it, but it still holds its own performance wise against newer machines that friends are using (by their accounts). Worth checking this category out!

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