What should i look for in my new Studio PC?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by SPIT, Sep 28, 2004.

  1. SPIT

    SPIT Guest

    Heres the specs im looking at:

    Pentium 4 3.2ghz
    2gig DDRRAM
    40gig & 80 gig HDDs
    Dual DVDRW

    What else do i want to consider for music and or expansion possibilities? eg. What am i best buying/looking for when looking for a top performing Audio PC? How do i go about using Firewire? Any other things i should consider for an audio pc? Motherboard Specs?

    I currently run Cubase SX, Reason 2.5 and a fair number of Software Synths. I am also looking to buy a few hardware synths too.

    Id be very grateful for any help at all

    Many Thanks

  2. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    Woodbridge, Va
    Home Page:
    What else do have other than what you just listed? How about an audio interface for starters. You can also fine tune Cubase for recording by increasing the memory (samples) per channel in the audio engine. That should help avoid any stuttering problems in that area. And using the firewire bus or adding a card should not be an issue these days, it's pretty much the norm. Do you have a dedicated midi interface with this setup? You'll need that too for your hardware as well as software synths. Other than that, you're cool.
  3. boheme6

    boheme6 Guest

    I went to great lengths to make mine QUIET as well.

    Seasonic Super Tornado power supply
    Zalman or Scythe CPU fan
    silent 120mm fans - both on fan controllers

    my machine is whisper quiet - and runs exceptionally cool...
  4. Someday

    Someday Guest

    I would simply and straight look for a G5 or a G4
  5. radioliver

    radioliver Guest

    Macs are slow for twice the price of a PC.
    How much is a 3 Ghz G5??? F*uckin expensive and they don't even seem as fast as PCs....Do not go Mac, you had a good start there. Consider an audio interface and midi controller for your synths.
  6. Someday

    Someday Guest

    A Windows computer tuned for audio will cost more than a Mac tuned for Audio with the same power, more stability, more fun and more options.
    Anyway i don't want to transform this thread into a platform war. So this was my last word.
    (just one suggestion: before choosing, try it! :) )
  7. Thornbyrd

    Thornbyrd Guest

    That is because Mac G5 are 64 bit with dual processors and have a superior architecture to windows/linux/PC/blah. Mac G5's perform more tasks per clock cycle; more efficiently than PC based. I wish I had one, but all I can afford is crappy PC. Don't even talk $*^t about Mac!
  8. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    Quakertown PA
    You must be joking, a P4 3.2, Asus Mobo w/ 1gb RAM, 80GB & 200GB HDD's, DVD/CDRW and Case w/ 450 watt PS and seven fans with speed control is under $1500. Show me a MAC that get's anywhere near that performance for that price. The STABILITY argument just doesn't hold water since the release of 2K & XP.
    The fact that entertainment and game software is virtually nonexistent sort of limits your FUN don't you think? OPTIONS? lol, PC's have way more options than MAC and the few that MAC does have are way overpriced.

    AMD Athlon's are 64 bit also but until software developers catch up we are all only running true 32 bit, Mac's included. MAC's and PC's both can run dual processors but unless you are running software that can take advantage of it (and their is very little out there)you're only using 1 processor. I know of no music production software that can run dual processors. Your argument of "more tasks per clock cycle" is old like the stability issue. This comes from the RISC vs. CISC arguments during the 80's and early 90's. While the Reduced Instruction Set Code theoretically allowed for more tasks to be performed, the data must be processed many times in order to accomplish the same result as Complex Instructon Set Code does (simple version). The point is moot however as both Intel and Motorola have been using a marriage of the two technologies for many years. By the way Windows and Linux are not architectures. Linux was created by Linus Torvalds as part of his thesis as a graduate student. This same Linux you are bashing is based largley on Unix as is the MAC OS you tout as being superior. Perhaps you could sell your "crappy PC" and shop where the other guy is getting MAC's for less than a PC.

    All this said I like both platforms. I have owned both and use both in my job. Mac's are intuitive, stable, have great software and are sometimes ahead of the competition with new technology. On the downside they are expensive, limited software selections, new technologies often require a new MAC and MAC doesn't stand behind their products like they once did (check the MAC forums). Also if you intend to play games DON"T buy a MAC (their the bottom of the barrel for gaming) On the other side PC's are now stable (with XP or 2K), very versatile, expandable and offer huge software selections. The real downside is store bought PC's. It may be a P4 or Athlon processor but the Mobo is crap as well as the memory, video card, sound card, network card etc. If you want a quality PC you have to build it yourself or have someone build it for you. Like I said I think both platforms are great and if money is not an issue and you don't need the machine for other uses like gaming the MAC is a great choice (It's best to have a dedicated audio machine anyway). But if your on a budget like most of us and want great performance for a lot less money you can't go wrong with a PC, plus you can spend what you save on a great mic or pre.

    Spit, That's a great starting point for your PC. Other things to consider are a good power supply (450 watts is good), a video card with support for 2 monitors (you can always add a second monitor later), SATA drives are a bonus (I would look at a larger drive than 80GB for storing your music), the Intel 875 chipset on the MOBO (you probably don't need PCI express) and a good case to put it all in (don't go cheap here) Good Luck!
  9. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    D, that was beautiful.
  10. Thomaster

    Thomaster Guest

    i still like macs better. i didnt really go into the speed-contest, since i think thats just not the most important issue here.
    my main reason for buying a mac:
    i love spending my money once (thus; not buying all kinds of different hardware over and over again to make m match)
    i love the design, not only the appearance, but also the user-friendliness, which is, to me, as a daily computer-user, a great issue.
    i just like things smooth and looking great
    i love great support and fixing things myself. macos x just lets me do everything on my own, and when it doesnt, its already automated.

    all this has just never let me down, i am a proud Dual G4 owner for over 2,5 years now, and, can you imagine, it has NEVER EVER crashed on me!! NEVER. and i use this computer for my audio-work, but i have also always used it for internet, banking, messenging, downloading, playing&d/l games, everything!
    i've never met anyone who told me similar things about his/her PC, unless he/she had a separate non-audio pc.
  11. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    Wow. Then you are doing well. At a lecture I attended on the all software studio at the most recent AES conference, the 6 panelists agreed that a 20 hour mean time between failure is quite good.
  12. Lazy

    Lazy Guest

    One thing you should consider is have the hard drives on something other than the IDE bus.

    I run a Hard drive on a SCSI chain for recordings.

    The Studio I'm at has switched off SCSI to firewire because the IDE drives they use are cheaper.
  13. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Build yourself a Shuttle XPC SB-83G5 for about $800 plus soundcard (versus $1600 for a pre-built slower "Music XPC" unit) and you will have a quiet, small, extremely powerful little box. It is a fantastic logical design using cutting edge Intel 915 + ICH6R chipsets, and the cooling is really advanced. Even uses the LGA775 P4, and has PCI-Express capability! Only one PCI slot, one PCI-Express slot, but 2 FireWire and 8 USB ports!

    That's what I did, and I'm diggin it bigtime :D. It even outperforms my year-old $1500 DIY full-size Tower PC!!! (very simular to the one Big_D mentioned). I added a RME 96/36 PCI card I got off eBay for $239, and I have a killer music production optimized PC (nothing is running that doesn't need to be - and I mean nothing!) I built for about $1000. Could "Mac daddy" touch that? NOT! ;)

    Here is a link to the barebones case/MoBo/PowerSupply (add Processor and RAM, and Video Card if on-baord graphics are not desired). (Isn't it cute ;) )


    Firewire and SATA drives should be PLENTY fast for all but the most extreme track counts (or 192KHz hi-rez requirements - whatever that's for :roll: ). But a seperate OS drive is always a good idea. I prefer external FW drives for the portability (the empty FW enclosures are only about $40, add an OEM hard drive, and you will save a good amount over a pre-mounted HD/Enclosure, and save TONS over a Glyph!)

  14. Thomaster

    Thomaster Guest

    to me thats 'NOT quite good'.. i dunno, but ive never ever really heard anyone tell me they're happy that their stuff keeps running for 20 hours and then breaks down.
  15. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    No one said they were happy about it, they just said it seems for many to be a fact of life.
  16. tik777

    tik777 Guest


    If you want the best computer for music creation buy an Apple G5 dual 2 Ghz or better....
    1. Better bus speeds big time!
    2. The OS has core audio!! not horrid drivers
    3. No IRCs (conflicts)
    4. PCX slots
    5. FIREWIRE that actually works right
    6. Integration and synergy thru-out all software
    7. 64 bit processing with actual shared dual processor power
    VERSES 32 bit cruddy overflow processing.
    8. Macs are cheaper than ever actually!!!

    I have only seen a few PCs that can almost hang with a G5 Dual...one was an alienware, which was quite a bit noisier, and fell short and costs 2 times more than the G5-so to all you people preaching pricing reasons for avoiding a mac, you are misinforming people.

    Technology for PC is mostly developed on mac first!

    The only reasons to stay in PC world-
    1. You are limited to only being able to use Sony Acid Pro
    2. You love horrible Direct X plug ins...lol
    3. Viruses make you hot!!!
    4. SOUNDFORGE<--this is nice I must admit
    5. You like Microsoft alot and love when they spy on you
    6. You believe in a company whose OS is so huge its gonna come on 12 dvds eventually, plus you love the fact nobody at microsoft can fix the bad windows code...Also you support the IRAA in full, and would love to turn in pirate software users like microsoft who pirated Sony apps...HAHAHAHA but activelly treated other mp3 ers and etc like larcenists and felons. Plus you love longhorn and paladin which will allow Bill Gates to get even richer by charging you for windows usage monthly WOW!!!

    I'll stick to better apps, logical interfaces, integration with all apps smoothly, dual 64 bit processors, and Logic Pro 7.0 which by the way has the best amp simulation of all things even dedicated hardware..:D, Faster bus speeds, Quieter design, better heat distro, and multiple other things.

    You pc people are right about one thing there is no comparison!
    I would recommend LINUX for PC'ers...then we got some competition, that is as soon as linux drums up some POPULAR software for music!

    WHITE PAPER: I have yet to see the bite of the barking dog. I have heard many haters of macs come and go, but one thing remains quite constant-I have never seen the G5 Dual beaten YET!! And I know of many many studio that use pcs some of which are carillons, and other customs which outpriced the dual G5 but did the usual-got infected when introduced to the web, failed to play a DVD without droppin frames when tryin to multitask 2-3 apps..its embarrassing.

  17. tik777

    tik777 Guest

    Logic 7

    Logic 7 Pro uses both processors and is 64 bit!
    that ends that argument!

    Windows handles dual processors wrong

    I have seen the side by side comparisons WHOA not even close!

    I know 10 people who use (actually push the hell out of the macs they own) and they have never crashed to this day...in fact the only mac I have ever witnessed crashing in recent os X is the emac, but we tried to kill it...and succeeded...thats the slowest mac though!

    I use both systems because both computers have some decent software that the other doesnt offer! So it never hurts to have both if budget permits...but the G5 is not in the same league as a PC of any build...and this lies not in the unit...but in the quality of the overly overdue for a remake OS called windows XP...and to the dude sayin ME and XP are stable you have to be kidding right, I like 98SE better by far...XP is some crashin stuff, IE crashes more than any app I have ever seen....too bad that IE is the OS! :D

    Okay, I am done...bring me the exact numbers, let me see the test...pull up Cubase and use the same plugs-like something stable from waves, run the same number of tracks through a bi-platform I/O card ...so that we can measure the two machines consistantly...I have already done this!

    IN THE REALWORLD...its perfectly feasable for one to make music without the use of 70+ plug ins and 128 streaming tracks!!! I remember a far better time when 4-8 tracks and skills out performed technology :D People have made great works on far inferior machines to todays specs...its the musician not the gear always;)

    have fun making music,
  18. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    I have a feeling that this is going to start a very fun argument! :)

    I'll start.

    I use Cubase SX myself and love it.

    VST, where all the exciting freeware plugs are written. UAD-1. TC Powercore.

    How are you going to get a virus? A proper DAW is not connected to the internet.

    Hell yeah! :)

    Again, only on the internet, which you shouldn't be on in the first place.

    Crap. You got me there :( :) Looks like XP is it. It may be the end of the PC DAW if XP (which is stable, by the way) becomes obsolete.

    And that's the bottome line! Though it's still fun to have a friendly argument once and a while. Can't wait to see what Big_d or Randyman have to say....

  19. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    I'm confused...Why are we trying to talk him into a Mac now? It sounds like he wants info on putting together a PC, which can be great for DAW if you are willing to tweak and use good components. If you are unfamiliar with building a PC, then perhaps you should choose something ready-to-work, like a Mac.
    Oh, and steer away from the usual PC brands (Dell, HP) if possible=They will usually compromise quality in one way or another. No real wisdom to impart here for you; just make sure you carry on with your research before going either route.
  20. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Like I mentioned, you CAN get a fairly state-of-the-art PC (building it yourself) for about $800, and you will have NONE of the virus issues if set up properly (professional DAW's are not online).

    My ~ $1500 home PC is a multi-use PC (lots of money in HD's alone - it's only a 2.8GHz 1Gig RAM - with one HD it is about a $1000 machine), and it can burn a DVD at 4X (I don't buy 8X media), burn a CD-R at 48X, surf the web, copy files between drives, and have all my "multitasking" virus and spyware apps running AT THE SAME TIME with ONE PROCESSOR (P4 HT, baby!). I see a dual G5 can do that, too. Geese - Id' hope a dual 2.0GHz processor machine could beat a "lowely" 2.8GHz home-made single proc PC machine ;).

    So, maybe Mac does do Dual Procs better. So what? I don't think you are gonna get much more performance out of your PC software than a PROPERLY BUILT 3.4GHz P4 could offer (dual procs on PC's are advantageous, but I don't really see ANY need - did you see what I can multitask above with a comparitively SLOW 2.8GHz single processor w/o RAID and only 1Gig of RAM?). The Virus argument is valid, but NOT for a professional DAW w.o internet connectivity (like my second dedicated tracking DAW - Shuttle XPC - I mentioned previously).

    If I stuffed my machine full of 4 Gigs of RAM, I bet there is not much it couldn't do (I only have 1 stinking Gig!). NTM - Overclocking (when done right in a stable manner) can yeild mind boggling RAM improvements which translate into more avalible "work" to keep the P4's pipelines slammed full of bits (a good thing). Their performance is jaw dropping at times.

    Mac's ARE cool if you don't mind the limited options, expensive software, limited hardware, but want it to work w/o fuss. PC's are cool if you are a "car" type dude, and like to really get to know what you have avalible, and go with it in any direction you want to ("No Holds Barred"). It's obvious what kind of guy I am (I'm also building my first hardware Mic Pre, and a LA-2A DIY compressor is in store, too!). How many Mac guys would consider themselves "DIY'ers"? Maybe there is a reason for that (don't want to worry about the easy tweaks needed on a PC? The same reason Mac guys have their oil changed by JiffyLube for 4x the cost of oil and filter ;) ). DIY. PS - I've been to some of the Mac forums - you guys DO have crashes, freezes, OS upgrade nightmares, incompatibilities, DOA components, you name it. Some of the Mac forums I checked out seemed worse than PC forums (well, not quite).

    Anyway - They are both good, but I'm a PC guy. :cool:

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