View Full Version : the quest for the ultimate musicomputer

02-25-2010, 05:52 PM
hello respected and admired musicians of ocr, awhile ago i made a thread (http://ocremix.org/forums/showthread.php?t=25316) about my new keyboard and how to use the thing. many helpful comments were made and acknowledged, but several months later here i am with little progress made. why?

computer troubles. :sad:

once again i am here to ask for your sage counsel, this time about, well, computers. i have an old hp laptop, bought brand new in 2004, now considerably aged and on its last legs. as laptops go there isn't much you can do about the hardware since you can't just rip out everything from its proper place. so, i'm thinking it's about time to get a whole new rig altogether.

so, initial thoughts: i want my computer to essentially do two things. one, be able to run all music-related programs smoothly (komplete, cubase, etc); two, be able to run starcraft 2, the only future pc game i'm looking forward to. obviously, the former is much more important.

i'm looking at a price point of around $1000...and here's where the questions begin. would you recommend a desktop or laptop? it seems most music folks around here use laptops, and for good reason...they're small and portable. however, the downside is you can't really upgrade them with anything once you've got em. i'm pretty clueless about the system specs and requirements that sound technology has, so if you can give me some advice, that'd be greatly appreciated! what kind of features should i look for first when considering a dedicated music production rig?

once i get this issue out of the way, then i'll really be able to start making some tunes. promise.

02-25-2010, 06:18 PM
No, most people here defnitely don't use laptops for music production! I strongly recommend a desktop. They're cheaper, more powerful, easier to customize and expand, and support more hardware + peripherals. Plus, unless you really love traveling, wouldn't you want all your music gear in one spot? Your keyboard, audio interface, headphones/speakers, etc.? It's such a pain to carry that stuff around, you might as well get a desktop and anchor it in one place.

Anyway, Prophet will probably chime in and tell you specific components you should get - he has built computers for other people on this website, so I recommend him. But basically, in terms of features, you need a fast, quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and a good sound card or audio interface. Whether you go with an internal or external card/interface is up to you but basically you can't just settle for a SoundBlaster or Audigy or whatever, it needs to be a real audio interface with the proper drivers for music production.

Luckily, you don't need the latest overclocked processors, "extreme" whatever, DDR3 RAM or any other nonsense. So, the components should be nice and cheap. $1000 will buy you a powerhouse computer easily better than what I'm using right now.

02-26-2010, 05:36 AM
thanks zircon! quad-core and 4gb ram...i had no idea sound tech was that intense. i mistakenly assumed laptops were more popular since they comprised the majority of pics in that one "everybody's setup" thread.

by "prophet" you must mean prophet of mephisto? well, i hope he graces us with his presence soon.

02-26-2010, 07:13 AM
I agree with Zircon on this one, but I gotta say, a laptop is an essential part! The bulk of my work happens on two desktops (one PC one Mac), but I use a laptop for recordings where I don't get the tracks sent to me or whoever needs recording can't come to me. If you're not in the business of recording bands and have the space for a desktop (hopefully one that you can dedicate to music production), you really do benefit a lot more from a laptop.

On the other hand, I have been able to tear down my drum room and also keep questionable/rude/dirty people out of my home by having a laptop well configured to do field recordings, so there are advantages to both.

And yeah, as for components, you really don't need more than a quad-core, but 4gb isn't enough these days, I use 8gb of ram and I already want to upgrade to 16. The thing to pay attention to now is no longer processing power, but sample streaming and ram speed. So if you have more ram (make sure you run win7 64bit and have a 64bit host) you can load more stuff without having to stream it off your disc, and that makes things a lot faster.

prophetik music
02-26-2010, 01:44 PM
$1000 to work with? no problem! you can make a solid music computer for under 600$ if you go light on quality in a few components.

are you looking to do this yourself, or are you looking for someone to do it? because i'd definitely be interested in doing it for you if you wanted =) just send me a PM with a yea/nay.

with music systems, you're looking at two major things - maximum ram available for your DAW, and enough CPU cycles to make it work.

since you've got the cash available, i'd suggest going with one of the newest intel processors available, the i7-860. it's not a socket-1366 processor, like the -920, and as such doesn't cost as much for the motherboards. you can get a really nice board for 140$ or 150$, which works out reaaaal nice.

you pick out a nice case, go with the evga offerings for motherboards in the socket 1156 range (the other boards are ok, but evga's boards are bloody works of art...they're SO much better than anything else available), a good efficient power supply, and a terabyte or two of HD space, and you're set.

the starcraft thing is a bit different. starcraft's going to work on a buttload of hardware, meaning that you could run it on something basic as well as something monstrous in the GFX department. if you've got the cash - and i don't know if you do, i'd have to map some stuff out - i'd recommend the gtx 260 core 216. best price-to-performance ratio in nVidia space on the market. it's still 180$ or so, though, so if you don't have the cash (you'd have to get a much larger power supply as well) i'd suggest going with a smaller card - just a stopgap, like a 40$ 8400GS - to offload graphics processing onto a card and off the cpu until you can afford the bigger card. then, when you get the bigger card, you put it in slot one, and have the other one in slot two to allow for four monitors to be plugged in, like i have =)

send me a pm and we can work stuff out.

02-26-2010, 02:02 PM
thanks for the input sirs. a laptop certainly has advantages over a desktop, but i think at this point i want a main mean machine that can crank out the tunes with little trouble. i'm not much of a tech guy but i know that adding lots of ram to a laptop is difficult as space is limited.

mr. prophet, i don't speak computerese but you sound like you know what you're talking about! will continue this in pm. thanks.