Is anyone familiar with the Cubase Elite Digital Workshop or similar music dedicated computers? I am looking at a Creation Station CS250 computer from Sweetwater. Anyone know of Cubase Studio5, Finale 2012 or Garritan library software issues with the Intel H67 Express Chipset (4 core, 8 program threads)?
I checked out Sweetwater's PCs and they look like good units. If you're concerned about compatibility issues I would give Sweetwater a call. They're the ones that would know.
The model you are looking at has the i5 processor. It has turbo boost but not multi threading like the i3 or i7 processors so you would have the four cores and turbo boost when less than four cores are being utilized. For general music making the i5 should be fine-it's what my iMac has-but you should ask Sweetwater about this also.
I was in the middle of typing the last reply when I accidentally hit send prematurely.
What I was about to say was that I spoke with Wooter Reyniers (yes, that's his name), and came to the conclusion that I would probably end up spending the same amount or more and end up with a system that was not as good as what he would provide.
He builds a lot of these machines and optimizes them for audio work. He also gives lifetime support - really. He actually remotely connected to my machine a couple of times to resolve a minor video issue.
This was two years ago, and the machine runs like a champ with more than enough horsepower to run a full Garritan orchestra. complete with effects, in Cakewalk's Sonar X1.
Any of these machines -- the ones that are optimized for audio -- should give you minimal fuss for performance. Their components tend to be picked with media work in mind: higher quality chipsets are used, connections are installed to minimize resource conflicts, and they also tend to be quiet. The software end is also tuned for better performance.
Dare I say it though, today's mainstream computers with comparable hardware specs can compete pretty closely with those behemoths for basic composition work (Finale, lightweight libs like Garritan, and simple sequencing). You may have to do a little tuning of your own and disable certain services, but it's definitely possible. Heck, my five year old laptop with 2 gigs of RAM chugs along merrily doing that. Now, once you get into scoring to picture or using the VSL cube, those purpose-built computers and their boatloads of optimal RAM start to make a difference.
A lot of the performance problems people encounter (latency, stuttering, dropouts) have less to do with their actual computer and more to do with the connection between it and their interface. Driver type (ASIO, WDM, MME) and the quality of the driver code contributes to many system troubles. Chipset and resource sharing does factor in, and certainly the hand-picked components do deliver an edge. Slower, older computers need more processing time, so raising the buffer size can help. (The tradeoff, as always, is increased latency.)