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Topic: Buying a new computer

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  1. #1

    Buying a new computer

    I plan on updating to Sib 5 W/GPO and when I do I also plan on buying a new computer. However as a full time student my resources are limited. I plan on spending about 1000$ for the computer. Any suggestions on what I need to make sure I get? IE: how fast, ram, sound cards (which I know nothing about), and anything else? Thanks

  2. #2

    Re: Buying a new computer

    HI,
    if you can swing $1200 you can get one made by a pro audio company who can support audio!

    Scott
    ADK

  3. #3

    Re: Buying a new computer

    From what I understand, the main thing you need is RAM. 4GB if you can get it. Also a semi-pro soundcard rather than a consumer one.
    Vista / Sonar Home Studio 6 / GPO 2d edition / Melodyne Uno 1.8

  4. #4

    Re: Buying a new computer

    Build your own. It's not hard, and you will essentially double your money in terms of price vs. performance, especially if you don't care about video for gaming.

    Looking at newegg.com and zipzoomfly.com (my go-to guys for least expensive commodity computer gear on the net), you could do:


    Motherboard, huge variety, around $75
    CPU, AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core 4800+, $109
    7200 RPM SATA 500 gig hard drive, $120
    8 Gigs RAM, $380
    Case, huge variety, around $75
    CD/DVD Burner, $40
    Windows XP Pro 64-bit, $140
    Power Supply, huge variety, $60 for a 500w one (big is good)

    Total: $999 + shipping

    Mouse, Keyboard, Monitor, you probably already have
    Audio hardware, you probably already have

    That system will *smoke* anything you could get pre-made from a builder for that price.

    It's not at the bleeding edge as far as CPU goes nowdays, but it was when I built my main DAW around a year ago (and am still using). And I only have 4 Gigs of RAM, and am not running 64-bit.

    If you prefer a 32-bit OS, you can save $190 on the RAM, and probably $40 or so on the OS (for XP), and spend it on a nice video card for gaming, or spend $200 on a good audio interface if you don't already have one.

    If you can
    a) read
    b) confidently work a screwdriver

    You can build it.

    loyd

    edited: cuz i caint speel
    edit #2: oops, no power supply

  5. #5

    Re: Buying a new computer

    Ron,

    NSS forums have plenty of professional members here. Keep this in mind to the advice you get. I remember at one point, in a different forum (SOL), where I asked some advice because I'm building a house, and one room will be my home studio, about acoustics, and electrics, and I got lots of great advice, some of them more reasonable and down to earth, while others a little more towards building the next Abbey Roads Studios or something hihi! All was most educational though...

    Either way.

    The major question here is this: What will you be doing with your new computer? Cause Sibelius 5 and GPO, are not software that will strain your computer really. If you plan on sticking with those, then almost any computer will do (with reason of course, right?). If you plan on slowly building a second system, and adding software, sample libraries, and all that, then your buy needs to be carefully planned for the future.

    Either way.

    I'm not any kind of expert in hardware, but this is what I've gathered over the years (!!!!)

    1. The need of speed is not so prominent, as the need for RAM. Any decent dual core PC will do. For RAM the more the merrier, so 4 GB it is. Although most applications today, are still 32-bit, so limited pretty much to 2 GB. Considering that at the moment we are discussing Sibelius 5 and GPO, 2 GB should be enoudh.
    2. Monitor: Anything really, 17" or bigger
    3. Graphics card. If you plan on using your computer to do any kind of video work (adding music to a video), you will need a decent graphics card that has memory, more than 256 MB. If you plan on playing games as well, then things get a bit out of hand...
    4. Hard disks. I suspect that for GPO and Sibelius, 1 single hard disk is more than enough. But THIS IS the internet! which means that you can get tons of stuff for free! Freeware, prizes, offers, etc. You could end up filling your hard disk very much. So 2 hards disks is tons better! You can keep the first hard disk for windows and sibelius, and have all samples and audio works on the second hard disk, thuis dividing the strain. The sample hard disk will need to be a fast one: 10,000 rpm so that the streaming audio files will move fast. As big as possible as well. If you have the money (which you don't atm), go for a RAID system of 2 10,000 rpm disks...
    5. Windows: Not Vista! not at the moment. Windows xp pro/home are fine, and if you are looking for the future XP64 is the way atm.
    6. Sound card. Well now... This is an issue again. If you don't plan on doing anything else apart from Sibelius and GPO, then the sound card on board should be ok. For the record, before everyone jumps on me, I still have the same damn card that comes with the motherboard three years after buying my computer. You can listen to what I do. Reason? I didn't have thus far keyboards, to connect, so I didn't care much about latency and other problems. Now that I got keyboards I'm changing the sound card (along with monitros, amp, eq, phew... a lot...)

    So Ron, about sound card, in your case, any semi-pro (not gamers) sound card will do the work, and you cna get those for bellow 200$. Things to look for:
    a. To be 24-bit!
    b. To be at 96 KHz
    c. To be PCI or PCI-e, preferably (better connections). If not firewire is the next option.

    Other than that the specs that loyd gives you are great indeed! Just make sure that you can build it yourself (or have a friend/coworker/student/mate) to help you build it.

    hope it helps... (see? I write long posts as well :P)

  6. #6

    Re: Buying a new computer

    One thing I forgot to mention ... if you are going to be running Vista, the soundcard you choose must have Vista drivers!
    Vista / Sonar Home Studio 6 / GPO 2d edition / Melodyne Uno 1.8

  7. #7

    Re: Buying a new computer

    Quote Originally Posted by loydb
    Build your own. It's not hard, and you will essentially double your money in terms of price vs. performance, especially if you don't care about video for gaming.
    double your money?? i dont think so save 20-30% yes not 100%


    Motherboard, huge variety, around $75
    a mobo at that price is going to be junk you get what you pay for!
    CPU, AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core 4800+, $109
    old and slow by todays standards
    Windows XP Pro 64-bit, $140
    most 3rd party samples and plugins are NOT 64 bit ready. there is NO advantage to 64bit at this time
    Power Supply, huge variety, $60 for a 500w one (big is good)
    550 minimum
    Total: $999 + shipping

    That system will *smoke* anything you could get pre-made from a builder for that price.
    and for $200 more he gets something that will "Smoke" what you quoted and have support and not have to fool with it
    so much for the double your money....

    SCott
    ADK

  8. #8

    Re: Buying a new computer

    Quote Originally Posted by Jcschild
    double your money?? i dont think so save 20-30% yes not 100%
    Go find me a pre-built, dual-core, 64-bit system with 8 gigs of RAM for $1200-$1300. I'll wait.

    a mobo at that price is going to be junk you get what you pay for!
    $80 motherboard: MSI K9NBPM2-FID Quadro NVS 210S Sempron/Athlon 64(FX)(X2)Skt AM2 DDR2 - 1000 M-ATX Motherboard.

    Not "old & slow". Is it cutting edge? No. You don't get cutting edge for $1K.

    most 3rd party samples and plugins are NOT 64 bit ready. there is NO advantage to 64bit at this time
    It's called future proofing, and I addressed the savings for 32-bit later. If you run Sonar, btw, 64-bit works great.

    550 minimum
    Are you looking at the components in this system? It would run fine with a 300w. Yes, bigger is always better, but we have a $1k budget, remember?

    and for $200 more he gets something that will "Smoke" what you quoted and have support and not have to fool with it
    so much for the double your money....
    a) He doesn't have $200 more, he has $1000
    b) And for $400 more, you can "smoke" the $1200 system. Amazing! The more money you put in, the better it gets! Who'd a thunk it?
    c) I'll anxiously await a link to a pre-built, $1200 system with similar specs.

    Do you work for a system builder by any chance?

  9. #9

    Re: Buying a new computer

    Ah, just followed up who you are. Amazing, the guy who owns a DAW production company doesn't like the idea of homebuilt. Conflict of interest FTW.

    I went to your site, and tried to build a comparable system. The closest I could come was a $1366 system with only 2 Gigs of RAM in it (your LE only allows for a pair of 1 gig chips).

    The cheapest 8-gig system I could build on your site was $2566.

    Sorry, but as a student on a budget, this is the *perfect* time for someone to learn how to build and take care of their own PC. Guys like you want to make it sound like voodoo, I know, but it isn't.

    So bust out your best $1000 computer for us, I'm anxious to see the specs...

  10. #10

    Re: Buying a new computer

    HI,
    LOL ok ..
    $1270 with 2 gig of ram. stright from the configurator.
    still smokes the system you came up with for $270 more.
    and FYI 64 bit still sucks even with Sonar. bit bridge is a JOKE.

    and more importantly a kid in school on a budget needs a warranty and support more than most...

    Scott
    ADK

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