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Topic: What's In Your Computer?

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  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    New Orleans & Birmingham
    Posts
    40

    What's In Your Computer?

    I use an old PC and I am finally ready to upgrade and own the "latest and the greatest" computer to be my DAW.

    I see that a lot of people post in their signatures what type of software they use or what platform but I don't see real specific info on what their computer "looks" like. I know this is not a hardware forum but I identify strongly with the users of this forum and would really like to know what they use that has proven to be rock solid for them in their music production. Information like what video card works best with what motherboard and memory and what sound card or audio interface, etc.

    It's a big investment and a DAW is going to have special considerations that a computer for other uses does not have. It is specialized and this is a specialized forum with members who I am sure have very good info.

    My thinking is to start with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 CPU and a motherboard with an AM2 socket and then go from there. I use a Tascam FW-1884 control surface for my audio and midi interface and will continue to use it in my new DAW.

    Is anyone interested in listing the details of their computer hardware or offering any experience based advice? I'd be very interested in reading them.

    Thanks,
    Dan

  2. #2

    Re: What's In Your Computer?

    you are going to be miles ahead of me, but for your amusement:

    Abit NF7-S rev 2 motherboard
    AMD Athlon T-Bird 2800+
    1GB memory in two 512MB sticks
    Antec 450W power supply
    Matrox G-450 video card
    Frontier Design Dakota Audio/MIDI interface
    Adaptec AH-2940UW SCSI Interface
    Maxtor 100GB ATA133 - four copies of C:
    Maxtor 200GB SATA - samples, loops, etc
    Maxtor 160GB SATA - projects & misc data
    Seagate 9GB SCSI2 - temp, swap, etc
    Plextor SCSI Wide CD Reader
    Plextor DVD Burner on USB2 port (problematic - need to move it to ATA)
    SGI SCSI DAT drive - for reading audio DATs mostly

    Other than the unpredictable behavior of the DVD drive on USB2 and Firewire the system has been stable for a couple of years now. I've had to reinstall from scratch once during that time.

    The reason I have four copies of the OS and applications on the primary drive, if you are curious - one partition is my safety copy, it includes the OS plus applicable patches from the time that I built it, all my administrative utilities, and thats it.

    The next copy is a copy of the OS with all my standard music applications. This to is sort of a safety copy, a good starting point for updates, or for restarting<G>.

    The third copy is my test copy. I boot this one if I want to try out a new application or plugin before I install it on my production copy. I also participate in beta tests from time to time, and I use this copy for those tests.

    The last copy is my production partition. This is the copy I boot from when I want to work. Nothing gets installed here without being tested on partition 3 first. Everytime I get lazy and break that rule I end up in trouble<G>!

    To provide a little more context, I use the following tools for music and audio production:

    Sonar V6
    Sound Forge V6
    Acid V3 (I don't use it much)
    Vegas V3
    Wavelab V5
    Audition V1
    Samplewrench V5
    Awave Studio V8
    Translator
    MIDI Disk Tools
    MIDIQuest
    Infinity
    Finale2006
    SmartScore V3 (wrestling with updating or switching)

    Major Plugins include:
    GPO
    JABB
    FM7
    B4
    Pro53
    Minimonsta
    Oddity
    Mtron
    ImpOSCar
    Jamstix
    DFH Superior
    plus all the stuff that came with Sonar

    Other utilities that amuse me:
    MusicLab MIDIoverLANCP
    Multiplicity

    I have a second machine that is almost identical in hardware that I use for GigaStudio3 Orchestra. I don't have a bunch of libraries, but I do use:
    Scarbee Slapped and Fingered Bass
    Prosonus Orchestral Library
    Garritan Orchestral Strings
    Seyer Acoustic Bass
    and a ton of freeware stuff I've run across

    If I were able to build a new system today I would absolutely go with the AMD64 X2, and I'd get a motherboard that supported two of them. I'd also get a slightly more modern video card, but other than that I don't think I'd change anything else (well, a bigger power supply would probably be a good idea!)

    By the time I do get around to building the next machine I suspect Intel will have cut the cost of their new family enough that I will have to look at them. But today I think the AMD chips are still the best bang for the buck!

    Hope this helps.

    Does that help?
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise
    KB3KJF

  3. #3

    Re: What's In Your Computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanielR
    I am finally ready to upgrade and own the "latest and the greatest" computer to be my DAW.
    So it's a foregone conclusion that you're going to build your own PC from parts, and it will run Windows?

    I hope you would at least consider an Apple Mac Pro, with a Quad Core 64-bit, 3.0 GHz Intel Xeon:

    http://www.apple.com/macpro/

    Of course, I recognize that there's a certain kind of user for whom half the fun is sourcing all the disparate parts and building it yourself. These people never seem willing to look at Macs.

    But if you're willing to purchase a more-or-less turnkey system, an Apple Mac Pro is hard to beat for sheer computing power.

    If you've been working with the same old PC for many years, you owe it to yourself to evaluate switching to a Macintosh.
    Wheat Williams
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Music Copyist in Sibelius
    Apple MacBook Pro, Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion
    Apple Certified Support Professional. I also work with Windows.

  4. #4

    Re: What's In Your Computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wheat Williams
    If you've been working with the same old PC for many years, you owe it to yourself to evaluate switching to a Macintosh.
    That's a great idea... right up to the part where you want to run applications that are only available for Windows<G>!

    Yes, you could do the Bootcamp thing, or maybe even Parallels, but then you are spending extra money for features that you don't use!

    I've been using my Wintel tools for over 10 years now, and I know how they work, what they'll do, and what they don't do... and I have zero desire to spend a ton of cash a weeks or months buying and learning tools!!!
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise
    KB3KJF

  5. #5

    Re: What's In Your Computer?

    Depends on which computer you want information on...

    Well, here's one anyways:
    Intel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz HT
    2 GB RAM
    160 GB HDD
    Dual ATI RADEON Video Cards
    Dual Creative Sound Cards
    USB and Firewire (IEEE 1394a) Expansion cards
    Three NICs, 2 Linksys and one 3Com
    DVD-ROM and DVD+/-RW
    Coolmax Fan with Red LEDs (I wanted an unlit fan, but I just went for the cheapest one...scared me the first time I turned it on though).
    19" LCD Display (1280x1024)
    M-Audio FastTrack Pro Audio Interface
    2.1 Speaker setup
    Windows XP Home
    Sibelius 4.1
    GPO
    JABB
    Space for Garritan Marching/Concert Band Reserved
    Space for Kontakt 2 reserved
    Space for more of my junk reserved

    I'm willing to replace it with a Mac Pro though.
    Colton J. Provias
    Film Score Composer, Location Sound Mixer, and Sound Editor
    Full-stack Web Developer

  6. #6

    Re: What's In Your Computer?

    My computer is getting old, too. If you want a laugh, check it out on my website.
    Greetings from Vienna!
    Peter
    My website: Above the staff.net

  7. #7

    Re: What's In Your Computer?

    Indeed this thread is for laughs.

    Everybody will be laughing at my computer: (lol)

    Here goes:

    PC
    2,7 Mhz.
    Athlon
    2 hard disks
    150 Gb and 300 Gb both ATA and 7200 rpm (1st laughter)
    No midi controler or keyboard at all (2nd laughter)
    no monitors (3rd laughter!)
    2 GB RAM (for that I'm proud! hahahaha)
    Sennheisher HD 600 headphones (they can do wonders indeed!)
    4 USB slots (all of which are taken, so Cubase dongle comes on and off all the time. I'm honestly considering P2P to save 1 USB slot! This is mighty annoying! And yes I'm the guy who had the idea about the poll with the pirated software :P)
    17" monitor (not even 19" )
    Noise making fan
    no mic

    I'm curently using

    EWQLSO Gold and Gold XP PRO
    EWQLSC
    Ivory
    Cubase SL3
    Manytone Upright Bass (yes ladies and gents! found a lovely bass at a fragment of a price)

    Next buys?

    If money comes my way a new computer, and this will got for internet purposes and slave.

    If money do not come my way: Small products at 50$ or elss that will make my arsenal huge to different areas. Cause let's face it with the EWQLSO nor+xp pro I'm covered as far as orchetsral stuff go for now (can't be too gridy!) The Choirs are...ok :-/ (but I do confess that I prefer the sound of Bela D. Media... Shame on me, such a loyal EW customer!), so no buy here either. Loops? No loops! Drums? No drums! Guitars? No guitars! (again Bela D. Media seems to be the way here...). Solo violins? Ok xp pro has some, but the Stradi v 2.0 is just... incredible! What else?

    Csound: Free

    That's all.

    How more off topic can one go really?

  8. #8

    Re: What's In Your Computer?

    I run one machine for sequencing, with all my plugins on it, and a Gigamachine. I'm actually starting to wish I could use a few other plugins on the Gigamachine, but I installed Gigateleport, rather than using FX teleport with the Gigawrapper.

    Anyhoo, my Gigamachine looks like this

    ASUS motherboard
    PIV 3GHz
    2GB RAM
    1x80GB SATA system HD, and 3x200GB SATA sample drives

    VSL Pro edition
    VSL Glass and Stone
    VSL Concert Guitar
    Dan Dean Solo and Ensemble Brass, Woodwind, Solo Strings and Bass
    GOS
    Garritan Gigaharp
    Pieter Siedlaczek Advanced Orchestra
    Ultimate Timps
    VOTA
    Sam Horns
    Celtic Instruments
    7CG Piano
    Front Porch Banjo

    Conversions of various older libraries (SOV, Early Patches, Complete Gamelan, etc)

    The other machine looks like this

    Asus motherboard
    PIV 3GHz HT
    2GB RAM
    80 GB SATA system HD, 120 GB SATA sample and audio drive

    Cubase SX2
    FL Studio
    Sound Forge 7
    ReBirth
    NI Komplete 3
    Minimonsta
    Imposcar
    M-Tron
    Oddity
    Cameleon5000
    Crusher-X
    Stradivarius
    JABB
    GPO
    RA
    EWQLSC
    Konakt Libraries (Atsia, Afro-Cuban, etc)

    And now I need to stop typing, because my wife is looking over my shoulder and totting up how much all of these must have cost...

  9. #9

    Re: What's In Your Computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pingu
    And now I need to stop typing, because my wife is looking over my shoulder and totting up how much all of these must have cost...
    Don't you hate it when that happens???

    I too run a dedicated GigaStudio machine, and I've wrestled with how to manage it for a long time!

    You've obviously solved the bigger problem with GigaTeleport, but what are you doing for keyboard/video/mouse?

    I used a switch for a long time, but recently came across a utility called Multiplicity that lets you control multiple computers from a single keyboard and mouse without a KVM switch so that all of the computers have live monitors at all times. To switch control from one machine to another all you do is drag the mouse to the other monitor!!!

    Pretty cool... it does require desk space for an additional monitor, but I find it a much more natural way to work!
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise
    KB3KJF

  10. #10

    Re: What's In Your Computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by wst3ae
    Don't you hate it when that happens???

    I too run a dedicated GigaStudio machine, and I've wrestled with how to manage it for a long time!

    You've obviously solved the bigger problem with GigaTeleport, but what are you doing for keyboard/video/mouse?

    I used a switch for a long time, but recently came across a utility called Multiplicity that lets you control multiple computers from a single keyboard and mouse without a KVM switch so that all of the computers have live monitors at all times. To switch control from one machine to another all you do is drag the mouse to the other monitor!!!

    Pretty cool... it does require desk space for an additional monitor, but I find it a much more natural way to work!
    OK I've got to try that! At the moment I don't bother with any kind of switching. I have two keyboards, two mice and two monitors. The keyboard that I use least lives on top of my MIDI keyboard, and the other is on the pull out drawer under my desk. The problem is the mice. Because I have a massive MIDI keyboard and two monitors on my desk, there's no room left. One mouse can be used on the pull out keyboard drawer, but that means that I'm always putting one aside whilst using the other. I'll definitely be looking at Multiplicity.

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