What Music PC To Buy?

  smokseyj 17:11 28 May 2009


I've finally had enough with my current PC. Its quite old and just cant keep up with running programs such as reason, ableton etc.

I do a lot of vocal recording and as soon as start to add effects or start multi channel playback it just doesn't have the power to handle it.

So i was wondering if you guys could guide me into the right purchase. My budget is about £400-700. What sort of Ram, Hard Drive, Processor should i be looking for?

  AL47 17:29 28 May 2009

im not sure but i would think thats a processor heavy task more than anything

  OTT_Buzzard 17:39 28 May 2009

Does sound processor intensive, but would also consider getting a dedicated pro sound card.

Also think about the cooling solution for the PC - new PC's tend to have more case fans than older ones and can end up being quite noisy if you're not careful.

I'd think about getting a custom one built rather than 'off the shelf' at PC World etc.

  wee eddie 17:50 28 May 2009

then there will be a problem.

Almost all new PC's, excepting those that are grossly underpowered or fitted with exotic cooling systems, make considerable noise which would be sufficient to ruin any recording of quality.

You would need to have the PC in a separate room at the very least, or record first onto some other medium and then process it separately.

  smokseyj 18:54 28 May 2009

i already have a good soundcard which requires a PCI slot. I bought it for my current PC, and was hoping to move it over when i get my new one.

click here

Thats a link to a PC im currently looking at. Does it look good value for money?

I will be only using it for music purposes, so things such as graphics cards etc wnt be as important.

  AL47 22:15 28 May 2009

tbh i think thats a very poor price, unless im missing something

  OTT_Buzzard 00:30 29 May 2009

As AL47 said, it looks shockingly over-priced and under spec'd.

Although the processor is pretty reasonable, for the money that they are charging you would really want to get a far far better motherboard chipset.

Just a note on graphics: although it is for music recording, without a dedicated graphics card, you will use RAM that would otherwise be used for normal system running, hence hindering the general performance of the PC. The exception to this is if you have around 4GB RAM (assuming normal windows 32 bit OS). My bet is that the PC you have linked to is using 2GB max of DDR2-667 - you could quickly find that it runs out of steam.

The only thing that you might struggle with elsewhere is internal sound-proofing, although a good custom system builder will know where to get some.

The advert is short on detail, but from the looks of it I reckon the built cost of it is around 350 pounds.

  smokseyj 00:32 29 May 2009

what price would you say was reasonable for that spec?

I guess i should be looking for a dual processor...3.0ghz? about 2gb ram? and at least 500gb hardrive?

I guess ill be using Office Home, which therefore means i can only use 3gb of ram max, right?

Do you guys have any websites your recommend?

  OTT_Buzzard 00:33 29 May 2009

Built cost at around 420 pounds - missed the operating system!

On that note, I'm not sure how XP would be a benefit over using Vista????

  smokseyj 00:48 29 May 2009

thanks for the advice..

So just to put me on the right track, what components would you pick for the system? working in a 4-700 budget..

is a 3.0 ghz processor neccessary? or would a 2.8 be enough...

Alot of the programs i use, reason, ableton etc. ive been told do not run smoothly on vista..but im yet to see that for myself...

So XP home will only pick up 2gb of RAM....will vista be able to use the whole 4gb efficiently unlike XP??

  OTT_Buzzard 00:56 29 May 2009

"what price would you say was reasonable for that spec?"

Around the 400 pound mark. Although I've just checked the Asus website and they don't do any motherboards that support the DDR2-800 RAM that the advert says the PC uses. Not a good sign!!

"I guess i should be looking for a dual processor..."

Possibly. It mostly depends on the software that you use and how many applications you use at the same time. The more you run and the harder you run it, the more the nunber of processor cores becomes important. If you only really run one application at a time then spend the money on a high end core 2 duo processor. If you run lots of apps simultaneoulsy then a core 2 quad may suit you better.

"I guess ill be using Office Home, which therefore means i can only use 3gb of ram max, right?"

Kind of. If you are using normal Windows XP / Vista 32BIT then the operating system will only use around 3GB RAM. If you have 4GB RAM and are using onboard graphics (not a dedicated card) then the graphics requirements can be taken out of the remaining 1GB.
If you have 2GB RAM and on board graphics then windows will use what it needs then you will lose another chunk to graphics. Any additional RAM requirement for windows will be formed as a very slow pagefile on your hard drive.

"Do you guys have any websites your recommend?"

I don't know of any specifically for music PC's, but for similar money:

click here (comes in at around 100 pounds cheaper wth operatng system included.)
This should leave enough to take it to your local PC shop and ask them to quieten it down if you think it needs it! A good quiet processor cooler is around 30 - 40 pounds and case fans are only a few pounds each. Novatech may also do it as an 'upgrade' which will work out cheaper. Give them a call - they are a well respected company.

Although the processor speed is a little slower than the one you linked to, the abundance of cache memory and quad cores will more than make up for a few lost megahertz.

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