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New Recording PC Specs - advice needed from computer buffs!

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by bass349, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. Howdy,

    I've decided to upgrade my home recording setup, and first on the list is a new PC. The most affordable way for me to do this (that i've found) is to go through a local computer shop, where you can buy parts at a great price and they give you the option where they will build it for free. The beauty of this is that you can go through their parts list and find the best value for money for each component.

    i've done a lot of research / reading and what i've narrowed it down to is this:

    AMD AM2 Athlon 64 X2 6000+ CPU (3gig dual core processor)

    Asus M3A78-EM AM2+ Motherboard

    4gig DDR2 ram

    500g western digital hard-drive (7200rpm, SATA2)

    pioneer SATA dvd burner

    CoolerMaster Centurion 5 case (with built in power supply)

    I'm also getting an AOC 22" LCD monitor that i found for a great price in the local classifieds.

    I think everything will work well... i've done a lot of reading and read a lot of reviews and this seems to be the best option for me. The motherboard comes with built in graphics and firewire, which saves me buying extra cards.

    I'd really appreciate any comments and opinions from those more informed! Anything i've forgotten / missed? will all these components work well together? Should i invest in a better cooling fan for the processor or will the standard one be able to handle it?

    thanks in advance !!

  2. Looks ok!

    I did the music computer bit last summer.

    Just one thing I wanted to mention...the onboard firewire. Make sure that it can be disabled. Many interfaces don't like non TI chipset on board firewire.

    I used a TI based card.

  3. What Operating System are you planning to use?
  4. Hey guys thanks for the comments.

    Les: have no idea what a TI (true interface?) chipset even is haha. I do have an existing firewire card in my old computer that i could put in there if there's a problem i guess.. I'd image you'd be able to disable the onboard firewire in bios right? I'm using a presonus firebox at the moment and will prob upgrade to the firepod at some stage. What kind of problems are you talking about?

    Hal- I'm planning to use Windows XP as i already have it, and i haven't heard great things about using Vista for this kind of a machine.

    I should also mention, following the advice in an article i read a while back, i'm not going to be connected to the internet or a network for this PC. I'll keep my old PC for internet and general use.

    I also read that it is better to use two hard drives, one with the operating system and programs installed on it, and the other used simply for data. How much of a difference does this realistically make? I was thinking of partitioning the hard drive into two 250gig drives, would that effectively do the same thing? I'm trying to do this on as much of a budget as possible, so i can buy some other gear! so... if i can get away with one hard drive and it won't make that much difference, then i'll definitely go that route.

    Thanks a lot guys, appreciate the help!

  5. beardo


    Jan 16, 2009
    TI being Texas Instruments, they make component chips on firewire cards. He's saying that some motherboards use chips that are not compatible with some Firewire recording devices. If you have a card in another computer, it obviously works, and you can always put that in your new one.

    Doing two partitions is not the same as having two separate hard drives. Having two hard drives (one with the OS and one with data) allows both of them to be doing work at the same time (assuming there is work for them to be doing). It probably won't make too much of a difference for your use.

    Not having the computer connected to the internet will definitely reduce the chances of you polluting it with malware/virus etc... However, it's pretty lame to have to move files and such when you actually do want to download something to the new machine.
  6. Jehos

    Jehos Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    DFW, TX
    Yeah, two partitions is not two hard drives, you don't get the benefit with just two partitions.

    Ideally you'd set up a separate drive that you actually record to, so you have Windows and software installed on one and you're recording to the other, so program access isn't interrupting your recording data stream. That said, I record to a MacBook and iMac, both of which have only one hard drive, and I haven't had any problems so far since both have a fast 7200rpm drive.

    My concern with your setup would be the noise of that CoolerMaster case. Is the computer going to be in a different room from where you do your tracking? If it's not, you should really look into as quiet of a case as you can get.

    Everything else looks ok. Dual core, 4GB RAM, and a fast hard drive are pretty much the basics of what you need.
  7. Cool thanks guys, i had a feeling the partitioning thing wouldn't quite be the same.. i'll stick to the one hard drive for now and upgrade to two later if i feel it's needed.

    I checked a review of the coolermaster case i'm buying and it seems the only concern with it was the front 80mm ventilation fan.. which aparently was rather noisy. it actually got a pretty good review apart from that (http://www.silentpcreview.com/article200-page1.html ). I figured those little 80mm fans are relatively cheap, so if that ones too noisy i can always swap it to another one without it really hurting the wallet!

    Also, i'm planning on building a vocal booth in my shed, so shouldn't be too many dramas there. Most of the stuff in front of the PC will be DI stuff i'd imagine (bass/guit/keys), and possibly mic-ing of DB.

    Thanks for the advice everyone, keep it coming!

    Is XP a better choice over Vista?

    I also had an idea to put another hard drive in and set it up with a different operating system on each, so i can choose at startup whether i want to boot off the recording drive, or general use / internet drive. I teach from home quite a bit, and it can be really handy having internet access in lessons sometimes! And it means i could keep the recording side clean. Any disadvantages to this kinda setup?

    Cheers again,

  8. Dduckster


    Nov 28, 2008
    Reading, UK
    My recording machine is a Vista box and i've never bumped into any problems except i found you can't run the .exe installer for Cubase4 that comes with the CD - haha
    If you have a lot of samples like BFD or orchestra samples etc i recommend grabbing a 10,000rpm hard drive to keep them on, ive got a 120gb raptor drive for my BFD2 and it works a treat! only downside is they're a little noisy when in hardcore use

    I went for the intel Q6600 (2.4ghz quadcore) in my box, they're damn cheap!

    Thumbs up for the TI firewire card - i got burned when i sat down to do my first recording when i first got going

  9. FronTowardEnemy

    FronTowardEnemy It is better to go unnoticed, than to suck

    Sep 19, 2006
    Plainfield Illinois
    Make sure you have another hard drive to record down to. This is the most important thing to make rock solid recordings. As a matter of fact you should be able to use your current PC with a little tweaking if possible.

    I have always ran a WIN XP Pro 1.8GHZ Pentium 4, 256MB RAM, firewire (Tascam 1082) with 2 hard drives, one to record down to and the other your basic C: drive. Never have I had any problems. I also run Cubase SX3 with Waves Diamond bundle.

    Also check out this site http://www.tweakheadz.com/guide.htm
    This should help you out as well if you haven't already visited it.
  10. Hey guys i just thought i'd give a little update..

    I received my new PC about 3 weeks ago, got everything setup and going well. It's a beast! Running Cubase SX3, can take anything i throw at it. Super fast as well.

    However, I did have a problem with the onboard firewire !!! so glad i posted on here, cause i probably wouldn't have even thought to try that. I had been using it for about 4 days, when all of a sudden it just stopped communicating with my interface. I tried a few things, then put in my old firewire card and all is well!

    Anyway it's all kicking along great now, next on the list is Reason 4 and some new monitors :)

    Thanks for your help !


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