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 Post subject: Tips for Building An Audio Recording / Engineering PC
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:49 am
Posts: 124
It's generally more advisable to build a mid-range PC every 5 years and upgrade it as needed than to build the highest-end PC every 10 years. I've had some musicians ask "I spent $3000 on a Mac Pro in 2010 and now it's slow. Do I need to spend another $3000 now?". No. An excellent audio recording/editing/engineering build can easily be had within a $700-1200 budget.

If having PCI-E cards such as Thunderbolt ports and other expansions are needed, use an ATX (large) form factor. Otherwise, an ITX (small) form factor should handle all of your needs just as proficiently.

While i7 CPU's are powerful, they are not mandatory for strong performance as they may have once been. Nowadays, i5's are also powerful enough to get demanding work done and i3's are definitely not weak either.

A quad-core CPU is recommended, although 6 cores is ideal. DAW's generally benefit both from higher clock speeds and more cores/threads rather than significantly preferring one over the other.

8 GB RAM is minimum. 16 GB is ideally recommended. If more RAM is needed, it can be upgraded. However, it's not recommendable to start with 32 GB RAM without knowing whether your workload will truly benefit from it.

A video card is not needed at all. A strong GPU will not increase DAW/Plugin performance. Integrated graphics are fine; using a CPU with integrated graphics is recommended due to better cost and energy efficiency. All Intel CPU's have them; most AMD CPU's currently do not.

A 500 GB SSD is recommended to speed up the flow of your operating system, DAW, plugins and samples/instrument packs. Determine if your plugins/digital instruments' file sizes are large enough before investing a 1 TB SSD. If you're only recording or mixing, but not composing digitally, 250 GB is fine. Optane and NVMe storage are nice to have, but don't necessarily offer a lot of additional real-world benefit compared to regular SSD's.

An audio PC build only uses ~100-200 watts, at a generous estimate. A power supply with 500+ watts is not needed.


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 Post subject: Re: Tips for Building An Audio Recording / Engineering PC
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 9:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
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Location: Guatemala
For what audio software will that recommendations be good for? just trying to learn what its the most used for this type of applications.

Is a hackintosh recommended or its better windows10 for a DAW?

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 Post subject: Re: Tips for Building An Audio Recording / Engineering PC
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 4:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:49 am
Posts: 124
Logic Pro on Mac is excellent. I use Presonus Studio One 3.5 on Windows because it has a similar well-roundedness to it. I know DJ's prefer Ableton because it's good for live tracks. Reaper is also solid. Cubase is another option.


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 Post subject: Re: Tips for Building An Audio Recording / Engineering PC
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:29 pm
Posts: 6
Very interesting tips!

I got to them a little late since I'm building a $2000 PC for music production (https://pcpartpicker.com/list/jv3zFt). I compose digitally, mix and master.

I chose to go with a 1TB SSD and no HD, I'll have to give up using certain samplers that have huge sample librarys, but other than that, I think I'll be fine. Went 16GB and will test if I need more RAM as I go, Ryzen 2700x for its multi-threaded performance and a 650W quiet PSU (I'll also game on this rig).

I've done almost exactly what you recommended against, oh well...


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 Post subject: Re: Tips for Building An Audio Recording / Engineering PC
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:29 pm
Posts: 6
Abula wrote:
For what audio software will that recommendations be good for? just trying to learn what its the most used for this type of applications.

Is a hackintosh recommended or its better windows10 for a DAW?


I'd say these tips are independent on your DAW and OS. Music production softwares tend to have the same priorities: CPU>RAM/Storage, they usually prefer good core count but also rely on good single thread performance, never really understood the RAM and storage is pretty straight foward, you need the space for storing your files. SSDs are preferred because of their faster boot times, file transfer speeds and lower noise outputs.

From what I read about hackintosh they aren't very stable, so I'd prefer a native Windows system, Macs are also possible as Derek pointed out. In my experience it came down to my DAW of choice, but I believe you can build good audio workstations with either OS.


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