WiFiSunset

Computers for Composing

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From my own personal experience, I was running into bottlenecks with my 32GB RAM machine, so I recently custom built a new workstation with 64GB, 8-core i7 (4.5GHZ), and PCI-E SSD for sample library storage.  I still use Windows 7, as it works great and is fully compatible.  Kontakt generally works best with more cores, especially with multiple instances loaded.  I tend to have about 12 Kontakt 5 instances fully loaded at any given time.  A 6-core machine is actually fine for that if your audio interface isn't set at super low latencies though.  

 

And in my opinion custom building a workstation is really the only way to go.  I have built my own machines for many years and would personally never buy an "off the shelf" system.  Of course, I have very specific needs for my hardware however as I primarily do high end orchestral production (very RAM and storage intensive), 3D animation (very CPU intensive), and video editing (both) so yeah.  And for cases, as I read someone else mention earlier, I highly recommend Cooler Master.

 

That's my two pesos anyway,

 

-Sam

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Spent a good chunk of time hammering out what I think will be my new studio PC.  Here is a 32GB build that's about as cheap as I could get it.

 

 PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/V2cHCJ

 
CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($159.99 @ SuperBiiz) 
Motherboard: Asus H97-PLUS ATX LGA1150 Motherboard  ($85.00 @ SuperBiiz) 
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory  ($144.99 @ Newegg) 
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 250GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($19.95 @ Amazon) 
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($77.69 @ Newegg) 
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($77.69 @ Newegg) 
Case: Thermaltake Core V31 ATX Mid Tower Case  ($53.55 @ SuperBiiz) 
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply  ($24.99 @ Newegg) 
Total: $643.85
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-11-26 22:19 EST-0500
 
Also going to be throwing in a $200 Juli@ internal soundcard.
 
I have 3 internal harddrives.  A small 250 gb one for the OS and project files.  One for project specific recorded audio and one as a sample drive.  I might go 1TB or larger for the sample drive since I want to eventually upgrade my EWQLSO Gold to Platinum.  
 
thoughts?

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it is a waste to buy three small platter drives instead of an SSD and a single larger drive. for the 170 you are paying for those three, you could buy a 250gb SSD like the 850 EVO and still afford a 2tb WD caviar black. You don't get quite the throughput from the storage drives, but the SSD is so much better. no contest.

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it is a waste to buy three small platter drives instead of an SSD and a single larger drive. for the 170 you are paying for those three, you could buy a 250gb SSD like the 850 EVO and still afford a 2tb WD caviar black. You don't get quite the throughput from the storage drives, but the SSD is so much better. no contest.

 

My thought is, and maybe it's wrong or over simplified, but if you are not going to use the SSD for the sample drive then there is little point to having one. I'm planning on upgrading Omnisphere to Omnisphere 2 which is 20gb on top of the original and getting EWQLSO platinum which takes up close to 120gb.  So that's over half of the SSD and I still have a few other libraries to stick on there.  

 

Is the only benefit to an SSD the decreased load times?  

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My thought is, and maybe it's wrong or over simplified, but if you are not going to use the SSD for the sample drive then there is little point to having one. I'm planning on upgrading Omnisphere to Omnisphere 2 which is 20gb on top of the original and getting EWQLSO platinum which takes up close to 120gb.  So that's over half of the SSD and I still have a few other libraries to stick on there.  

 

Is the only benefit to an SSD the decreased load times?  

 

 

A SSD has no moving parts and therefore will not be subject to a mechanical failure. I've never actually had a HDD fail on me though, so that's just a peace of mind thing. That aside, it generally uses less power and is practically silent compared to a HDD. It also generates less heat, but that's not a huge deal.

 

But yeah, as far as a music production machine goes the main benefit of a SSD would be as a sample drive, thanks to reduced load times. If you can afford it, I'd definitely suggest going for a good size SSD over a HDD.

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I'd just say you should avoid Seagate hard drives if possible. This WD Caviar Black is likely going to perform faster than the Seagate drives, and it also has a great 5-year warranty, as opposed to the usual 2-year warranty I see on Seagate's drives. This would get you a whole 2 TB of storage for less than the one TB you're looking at with those two drives combined, and the warranty is better as well as the performance. Serious no-brainer. Use the cash you've saved there to help get an SSD boot drive, which will at least make the computer much more enjoyable to use, even if you're not seeing massive improvements in your sample library load times. Install your DAW and all your VSTs to the SSD as well, and it'll run nice and smooth. :D

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the main benefit of having an ssd is that it is by far the best upgrade you can make to any computer, regardless of setup, for raw performance gain. just the better performance of the OS makes it worth it.

no one uses an ssd and goes back to platter for their OS drive. nothing compares to the performance gain an SSD gives a desktop. someone else back me up here...i can't imagine anyone who has one wouldn't recommend it to others.

it'd still be worth putting omnisphere on the ssd even if it takes up some space, solely because omnisphere is really annoying when you try to put the sample files elsewhere from your actual vst file.

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the main benefit of having an ssd is that it is by far the best upgrade you can make to any computer, regardless of setup, for raw performance gain. just the better performance of the OS makes it worth it.

no one uses an ssd and goes back to platter for their OS drive. nothing compares to the performance gain an SSD gives a desktop. someone else back me up here...i can't imagine anyone who has one wouldn't recommend it to others.

 

QFT +100.

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The only issues I ran into when upgrading from Win7 to Win10 were with software not working because I hadn't updated it in a few years. If you upgrade to Windows 10 make sure you actually update your programs too. For example, the eLicenser Control Center you get for Cubase needs to be updated once in a while.. I didn't know until my version was so old it didn't work properly in Windows 10. But the latest version I put on worked perfectly.

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thanks for the backups, guys =P

 

zircon, is your setup all unique drives or are they in some form of raid setup? with EVOs being so incredibly cheap i understand the changeover but i'm curious how you've got them connected.

 

also my next upgrade's going to be an M2 ssd. i haven't played with one yet, but man, the raw numbers are bananas.

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I use an external Samsung T1 for all my soundware now. The only thing I haven't moved over is Omnisphere (which hugely suffers for it, but I'm lazy).

 

SOOOO GOOD

 

The reason for the external is that I have my DAW on both desktop and laptop set up to read stuff from the same drive letters, so now I can take all my stuff on the go without having to make sure both computers have the same installations and version .dll's and whatnot. I frequently need to work on stuff outside of the home (at cons/panels, for game studio in-person meetings, etc.)

 

Added bonus is that they read projects from a dropbox folder. Zing!

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Yeah, I've been wanting to get into the whole slave machine computing thing for a while but I can't seem to get a grasp on how to start on that. I keep seeing things back and forth on it.

 

How does one start there?

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My computer is so old I could almost upgrade to a potato

 

2.5GHz processor  and I thought it had 8gb RAM but some of it must be bad. Said I was using 50% and all I had was 2gb used by Cubase and Google Chrome was open... :lol: I don't know, maybe I do have 8, but it doesn't let me get anywhere near to using all of that. 

 

After I move soon I'm going to try to double it at the least, 4GHz and 16GB ram.. would be nice. Not going to upgrade though, going to get a new computer. This refurbished gateway from 2006 is going to be retired for softer work. 

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Yeah, I've been wanting to get into the whole slave machine computing thing for a while but I can't seem to get a grasp on how to start on that. I keep seeing things back and forth on it.

 

How does one start there?

 

You'll need something like VE Pro, which lets you network MIDI and audio over ethernet and such. Then you create templates where you load up your big samples on the slave computer, send MIDI to them from your master machine's DAW and receive audio back in. It's basically like using any other multi-midi channel sampler, except inside of VE Pro takes care of sending and receiving data over network so that on your master DAW session, it simply looks like you're using a gigantic sampler with tons of tracks and audio outputs. (and within that giant sampler you are loading VST's)

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