build recommendation for music production

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build recommendation for music production

Postposted on Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:35 pm

Hi all,

A friend of mine said he was going next weekend to buy a new PC to use for music production. He is looking to spend around $2000.00 USD. He already has win7 and peripherals. He was going to go to BestBuy and buy a prebuilt PC but I stopped him in time and recommended buying all the parts and building from scratch. I only know a little about music production so here is what I was thinking so far...

Antec Three Hundred Two Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $69.99

ASUS P8P67 DELUXE (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS $209.99

SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze 520W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply $79.99

Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I72600 $299.99

CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B $89.99

Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F240GBGT-BK 2.5 $349.99

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5 $119.99

HP 24X Multiformat DVD Writer Black SATA Model 1260i $25.99

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 $29.99

Sorry for the bad formatting, tried to copy and paste the wish list from Newegg. Still can't figure out how to do proper links lol.

I recommended an i7 2600 mostly because I know he won't be OC'ing at all. I also left out a GPU because I don't know why he would need one for music production, it would only add heat, noise, and draw more power. As far as the case is concerned, I have the Antec Three Hundred and I think the revision would be a good fit. It's not too big, not too expensive, however I'll let him know he can pick out whatever case he likes. 16GB of ram should be plenty, although I haven't looked to make sure the ram I chose is on the vendor list for the mobo. The SSD should be a great addition for the music programs. The heatsink is what I have on my own PC and I think it would be nice and quiet for this build. I'm sure there are other PSU's out there that might be cheaper, I've only heard good things about Seasonic though. I did see one that was "fanless", any thoughts on that? As far as pricing, I'm sure there are combos out there to lower the price but I haven't bothered looking in to that yet. I figure so far the build is right around $1300, he will be able to use the extra money for more music hardware/software or just put it to savings.
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Re: build recommendation for music production

Postposted on Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:37 pm

Oh, I forgot to add that he already has a sound card/interface for his music production peripherals so we don't need to worry about that in this budget. Seriously, I wish I had an extra $2k laying around to build a sweet new PC...
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Re: build recommendation for music production

Postposted on Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:46 pm

I don't have a lot to add but here's a couple thoughts... unless he already has a good backup storage solution, you should consider adding something for that as well. I dunno if the Caviar Blue is ideal for this build, but I do think 500GB might be too little.

I'm not real familiar with that PSU, but I would just suggest making sure it is a pretty quiet model, and also maybe get some Noctua fans for the case as well. Headphones are great for music production, but anyone who's serious about it is going to need to listen through speakers as well, and having a very quiet PC is nice for that.

I'm sure he won't have a problem finding ways to spend all the cash you're saving him :)
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Re: build recommendation for music production

Postposted on Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:54 pm

For music, is it compressed (like mp3 files) or is it uncompressed (think wav or flac files)? If uncompressed, 500GB may NOT be enough. Go for 2TB if possible. Otherwise, the build is just fine.
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Re: build recommendation for music production

Postposted on Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:56 pm

Yeah not a lot to add also other than perhaps saving a few bucks on a cheaper MB and maybe a smaller power supply. 520 is pretty overkill especially if he isn't going to need a graphics card and has no intention of OCing.
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Re: build recommendation for music production

Postposted on Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:09 am

Another vote for making the secondary disk a 2TB model, adding external backup (if he doesn't already have it). Also, is your friend running multi-monitor now, or might do so in the near future? That would be the main reason to go ahead and put a GPU into the mix.
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Re: build recommendation for music production

Postposted on Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:31 am

Why not go 3tb? They cost $229 nowadays (WD MyBook Studio @ MicroCenter).
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Re: build recommendation for music production

Postposted on Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:59 am

From a music producer here
  • CPU is fine, will give him enough headroom to load up anything and use any DAW, number of simultaneous plugins etc.
  • 16GB Ram is overkill but hey, it's cheap enough and he was already planning on spending 2k so
  • I've never really done production on an SSD, so I couldn't comment on it's benefits, but surely there must be some, regarding project and samples load speed.
  • For a music producer, it's not about how many TB of storage you have, it's more about how well your data and work is protected. Now, I'm not saying go for a RAID setup, not at all, just that, instead of providing a single 2TB HDD, give your friend the option and space to manually backup files, recordings and stuff he considers important on a separate or external drive.
  • And finally, multi monitor!!! You have now idea how multi monitor setups help on music production. Dual screens is a must, but being able to have 3 different screens, surfaces to display track sequencer, track mixer, equalizers, compressors etc is a producers dream. In this case I would recommend having an eyefinity ready cheap AMD GPU tossed in for future expansion sake.
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Re: build recommendation for music production

Postposted on Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:13 am

Obligatory 'If he could, wait till Ivy Bridge' comment.

Skullzer wrote:ASUS P8P67 DELUXE (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS $209.99

You could get by with a cheaper motherboard, like the ASUS P8Z68-V LX for $125, if you don't need eSATA, Bluetooth, more than 4 USB ports etc.

Skullzer wrote:HP 24X Multiformat DVD Writer Black SATA Model 1260i $25.99

Could consider a Blu-Ray drive.
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Re: build recommendation for music production

Postposted on Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:29 am

Skullzer wrote:ASUS P8P67 DELUXE (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS $209.99
I also left out a GPU because I don't know why he would need one for music production, it would only add heat, noise, and draw more power.
Intel's P67 chipset doesn't let you use the graphics capabilities built into the Sandy Bridge processor. For that you need the Z68, H67 or H61 chipsets.

Here are three sub-$200 LGA1155 ATX motherboards with the Z68 chipet and four DIMM slots as well as IEEE-1394, eSATA and USB3 external ports:
$150 -15 code "GAMB210216" Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3
or $175 ASRock Z68 Extreme4
or $193½ ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3

This micro-ATX H67 motherboard has the same external ports, but one less PCIe x1 expansion slot and one less legacy PCI slot:
or $125 Asus P8H67-M Evo

If you don't mind using one of the five dozen firewire cards available at Newegg and/or an e-SATA adapter, you could spend less on a motherboard.


Skullzer wrote: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5 $119.99
HP 24X Multiformat DVD Writer Black SATA Model 1260i $25.99
500 GB probably isn't going to be enough in the long run. He might want a larger drive for storing uncompressed audio files, either replacing the 500 GB drive or in addition to it. You might consider having a stack of storage drives that could be swapped in an external e-SATA (and/or USB3) dock.
$130 -20 code "EMCNHNC42" 2 TB Seagate ST2000DL003 Barracuda Green

Is there a reason not to get a Blu-ray player?
$58 -8.70 code "EMCNHNA29" Asus BC-12B1ST BD-ROM/DVD-RW
or $64 -9 code "EMCNHNA29" LG UH12LS28 BD-ROM/DVD-RW

P.S.: How much memory is needed for audio applications?
$130 2x8 GiB PC3-12800 Crucial BLS2KIT8G3D1609DS1S00 (DDR3-1600, CAS 9, 1.5 V)

P.P.S.: If you want to install a graphics card as TaBoVilla suggested, here's an inexpensive option that supports up to 5 monitors:
$127 XFX Radeon HD6770 HD-677X-Z5F3
If your monitor lacks DisplayPort, you may need a Mini-DisplayPort to DVI active adapter.
Here's a deal on a 23" 1920x1080 e-IPS LCD monitor with DisplayPort input:
viewtopic.php?f=34&t=79973
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Re: build recommendation for music production

Postposted on Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:43 am

As a music producer:

Specs look ok. You would want to make sure the motherboard has firewire. Alot of higher end audio interfaces use Firewire, it's definitely something worth having when the mobos are only $10 more.

Go big with the mechanical storage - samples and keeping multiple versions of projects take up alot of room.

Multi-monitor is extremely recommended (DAW in one, plugins on the other).

With the multimonitor in mind - nothing wrong with recommending a midrange GPU with the ability to output to 2 or 3 monitors.

Also be mindful of installing 32 or 64-bit windows (some of his plugins may be 32-bit only, so won't work in 64-bit versions of his DAW - I had to deal with this recently).

I'd also recommend a case that puts quietness over everything else. Something like the Fractal R3 or the P280 would do the trick.

Make sure you also have a nice backup solution sorted.

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Re: build recommendation for music production

Postposted on Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:51 am

32-bit has been outdated since at least 2006. You want a 64-bit operating system. The ODMs have had since 2005 to update their drivers. If there's something out there that hasn't been supported well enough to move to 64-bit in the past six years, you probably want to go with a newer product that is still being supported.
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Re: build recommendation for music production

Postposted on Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:19 pm

Agree with the people who are saying he needs more disk (and a backup solution).

Recording uncompressed multi-track digital audio will chew through disk space like there's no tomorrow.
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Re: build recommendation for music production

Postposted on Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:01 pm

Thanks for the comments guys. I sent him the list but added a 2Tb hard drive. He has a few external drives already in use for backup and sample libraries. I also recommended a mobo with FireWire or he could buy an expansion card for that. As far as multi monitor, nice catch on that. I'm pretty sure he has the monitors already so ill check his connections and recommend a 6770 or something. He did mention something about some of his vst plugins only work in 32bit. Since that's more of a software issue I'll let him figure that out himself.
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