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I'm thinking about buying a new computer. The one I'm on right now only supports like 1GB RDRAM.. which blows.

My computer right now can't even handle some of the VSTi's that I have.

Basically, I want to be able to run and record with VSTi. Some of mine are rather large and it creates a choppy/laggy sound due to the fact that I don't have enough RAM and other things.

Can anyone recommend any computers or specs that are ideal to have for remixing? What amount of RAM is ideal? And are there any benefits to using a Laptop v. Desktop computer?

I was thinking about getting a Dell, that's what I'm running right now. I've had it for 5 years and it's been a great computer.

It's just really outdated now. I just have no idea about building computers.

Thanks.

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Desktop vs. Laptop - You will always pay more in a laptop for the same amount of power you get in a desktop. You also tend to lose customizability and expandability when you go with a laptop. You will not be able to install PCI or PCI-e cards, customized cooling systems, or additional hard drives or optical drives. You will have less USB and Firewire ports. Sound card selection will be limited. Replacing damaged parts will be harder. However, laptops are typically quieter than desktops, they are much smaller, and they are portable... which is the whole point.

Short answer: If you're not going to be moving around much, and space is not at a premium, get a desktop.

Computer specs - I don't know your budget, so I will give you general recommendations. You want an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. These are great in terms of power and value-for-money. The e6600 (2.4ghz) is the best buy right now. Anything higher is a waste of money, IMO, and that will run massive amounts of plugins.

2GB of RAM is ideal, but make sure you get a motherboard that supports up to 4GB (preferably 8) for when you upgrade to a 64-bit OS. Currently, it is really not worth it to do that for audio production, and a 32-bit OS like Windows XP Home or Pro can't really get much benefit from more than 2GB of RAM.

I suggest a pro sound card. The low-end models are actually not very expensive but still perform way better than consumer cards, and in many cases, fancy consumer cards can be MORE expensive. I suggest the EMU 0404 PCI card ($100 list price - you can get it for less), which is not difficult to install. For more info, see my thread in the Guides & Tutorials forum on soundcards.

Video card is somewhat irrelevant. Any card that's more than $50 from a name brand will be fine. If you want to play games, then get a better card. Simple. Even a 5 year old video card would be fine for music production though, so.. don't worry about it. The only thing to *avoid* here is integrated video.

250gb of storage should be sufficient. If you are willing to spend a little more, you could get an 80gb drive that runs faster (10,000 RPM - a Western Digital Raptor drive for example) and put your applications on it, along with Windows. Then, use a 250gb drive to store audio files, videos, music, samples, and so on. But you probably don't need this setup.

OS should be Windows XP Pro, for maximum customizability.

Everything else doesn't really matter; of course, you'll want a DVD and CD drive (combo is best).

I'd say configure a system in Dell with these approximate specs, then do the same at avadirect.com and see which is better. AVA has great service - they not only create each computer to your individual specs, but they test it for several days to make sure there are no problems. They have warranty and labor options on par with Dell and IMO are better all around. Plus, they don't install the crap on your computer that Dell does.

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LOL Dell. I have one and I'm probably never going to buy another thing from Dell in my life. Aside from the stuff they let you customize on their webpage, it's a cheap piece of shit. It'd be unrealistic for any computer to not give any problems... though my old Gateways were pretty great. I used my Gateway 2000 with no upgrades from 1998 to 2004, and my mom got a new one from them, it's a pretty solid-looking tower but I haven't opened it up yet :3 Nice-ass monitor too. I can't vouch for AVADirect 'cause I've never used them.

Zircon, is there really absolutely no difference between 2 and 4 GB of RAM in Windows XP? I thought XP handled up to 4 GB of it.

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There sure as hell is a difference between 2 and 4gb of ram. Aside from letting you turn off Disc Streaming engines in some samplers to give your HDD a break, it lets you load more samples in general, and gives you headroom to run many more applications without bringing your workspace to a crawl.

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Well I configured a computer using Zircon's configurations from an old thread with some slight tweaks.

I used AVAdirect.

CUSTOM COMPUTER, Core™ 2 Extreme DDR2-800 SLI Performance Series System

# LIAN LI, Classical Silent PC-6070Bplus II Black Mid-Tower Case, 450W PSU, ATX, Aluminum

# ASUS, P5N-E SLI, LGA775, nForce 650i SLI, 1066MHz FSB, DDR2-800 8GB /4, PCIe x16 SLI /2, SATA RAID 5 /5, HDA, GbLAN, FW /2, ATX, Retail

# INTEL, Core™ 2 Duo E6600 Dual-Core, 2.4GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 4MB L2 Cache, 65nm, 65W, EM64T EIST VT XD, Retail

# NMEDIAPC, ICETANK CPU Cooler, Socket 754/940/939/AM2/478/775, Copper/Aluminum

# CORSAIR, 2GB (2 x 1GB) XMS2 PC2-6400 DDR2 800MHz CL5 (5-5-5-12) SDRAM 240-pin DIMM, Non-ECC

# ASUS, EN7600GS SILENT/HTD, GeForce™ 7600 GS, 512MB DDR2, PCIe x16 SLI, VGA+DVI, TV-Out, Retail

# SEAGATE, 500GB Barracuda 7200.10, SATA II 300MB/s, 7200-RPM, 16MB cache

# RAID, No RAID, Independent HDD Drives

# SONY, CRX320EE Black 52x32x52-16A DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo Drive, OEM

# SAMSUNG, Super-WriteMaster SH-S183L Black 18x DVD±R/RW Dual-Layer Burner w/ Lightscribe, SATA, OEM

# MITSUMI, Black Internal 1.44MB 3.5" Floppy Drive

# LOGITECH, Cordless Desktop® MX™ 3000 Laser Keyboard & Mouse, Black, USB+PS/2, Retail

# MICROSOFT, Windows XP Professional Edition SP2b w/ Free Upgrade Coupon for Vista, OEM

# WARRANTY, Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts, 3 Year Labor Warranty)

This is roughly $1700. I'm not sure if there are any errors with that config. I'm sure everything would work together fine.

It seems that a desktop with this config at Dell would cost at least $300 more.

As for a power supply, what is a good idea? 400W? or should I get more, like a 600W?

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With a modern computer, it is generally best to get the biggest Power Supply unit you can afford, what with everything sucking down juice like crazy. But I would say that it is more important to get a brand name PSU than the rating. I would much prefer a 500W thermaltake than a 600W no-name. Coolermaster is good too, and there are several others that slip my mind right now. With that setup, I would go for a 500W PSU at least.

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and there are several others that slip my mind right now.

ENERMAX! Expensive, but the best. I have a 485watt Enermax Noisetaker II that consistantly specs higher than many 600 watt power supplies, and true to its name is really really quiet.

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XP only handles 3gb properly. It doesn't give you a true advantage because you only get 2gb per application. Thus, FL, Cubase, Sonar (whatever) won't use more than 2gb. The extra will be used by other apps and Windows itself, but do you really run that many other apps? My XP install is trimmed down to about 200mb w/ nothing else open.

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im no computer expert, but, have you ever thought of getting a Mac? as for a laptop vs a desktop, it all depends on what you're going to use it for. if you're always on the go and have no time on your hands, a laptop is the way to go. however, a normal computer gives you more flexibility and better performance(usually,not always though,it depends) plus you can upgrade pretty much all the parts on a desktop, as for a laptop, other than installling software, youre stuck with whatever you have on there, so if you are going to get one, get at least a halfway decent one, even if it means paying a little more. once again, this is just my opinion and im no expert, but i thought i would share that with you. EDIT: i think that XP is a heck of a lot better than Vista.

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i'm late but i'll throw this out there anyways..

i'll never buy a desktop computer again.

laptops are very nice these days, they have the same fast Core2Duo cpus and the same fast RAM as desktops.

the only areas where you presently may not make out as well (internal hard drives) are negligable.

the only audio/midi interfaces you'll want are gonna be FireWire or USB2. there are few PCI options these days.

i used to have both a desktop and a laptop. i liked having a full-size keyboard, mouse and 20"+ display yet i also liked being able to take my computer to work or wherever.

now i have only a MacBook Pro. when i come home i just close the lid and plug in that big display, full-size keyboard, mouse and BOOM -- now it doubles a desktop. best of both worlds.

the are good reasons to pass on a laptop (cost, specific hw needs) but they've become rather marginalized.

18 months from now you'll have an easier time selling your 'old' laptop than your 'old' desktop.

cheers.

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i'm late but i'll throw this out there anyways..

i'll never buy a desktop computer again.

why? is there something wrong with them?
laptops are very nice these days, they have the same fast Core2Duo cpus and the same fast RAM as desktops.
i have to agree, not only are they convenient, they have quite a few things that even the desktops dont have.
now i have only a MacBook Pro.
MacBook Pro's are awesome! my bro has one. their pretty cool. So you're an Apple user too?
cheers.
indeed indeed, good sir. lol.
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why? is there something wrong with them?

there's nothing wrong with a desktop, it's just that there isn't much of an advantage to owning one anymore.

in recent memory, what used to sell me on desktops was the upgradability. well, i've been upgrading desktop PCs for the last 15 years and i know pretty well that upgrading isn't as efficient as one would hope.

the standards always change. when it comes time to upgrade, you end up discarding more than half your hardware! and this discarded hardware is often worthless; you either use it to build a crappy file-server or end up throwing it out.

an old laptop can be worth something, though. so fuck upgrading.

MacBook Pro's are awesome! my bro has one. their pretty cool. So you're an Apple user too?

yeah, since the Intel switch i haven't had a single excuse to get a PC.

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A big advantage is PCI expandability. If you want to get Powercore, Creamware, or UAD stuff, you're going to want PCI or PCI-e ports, ideally. Plus, PCI soundcards are usually cheaper than their USB/Firewire counterparts and have lower latency (in my experience).

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no, PCI is negligible. Powercore is available thru FireWire, an ExpressCard UAD is coming out soon and Creamware will likely follow suit.

FireWire latency has always been just as good as internal sound devices in my experience.

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there's nothing wrong with a desktop, it's just that there isn't much of an advantage to owning one anymore.

in recent memory, what used to sell me on desktops was the upgradability. well, i've been upgrading desktop PCs for the last 15 years and i know pretty well that upgrading isn't as efficient as one would hope.

the standards always change. when it comes time to upgrade, you end up discarding more than half your hardware! and this discarded hardware is often worthless; you either use it to build a crappy file-server or end up throwing it out.

an old laptop can be worth something, though. so screw upgrading.

yeah, since the Intel switch i haven't had a single excuse to get a PC.

what i meant kinda is more like a imac than a PC desktop actually, or more acturate like comparing with the MacTower Pro. both of those are kick-a**. you have to agree with me,right?

A big advantage is PCI expandability. If you want to get Powercore, Creamware, or UAD stuff, you're going to want PCI or PCI-e ports, ideally. Plus, PCI soundcards are usually cheaper than their USB/Firewire counterparts and have lower latency (in my experience).
get a imac or MacTower Pro and you wont have to worry about it.(though you CAN upgrade a MacTower Pro, but it isnt really worth it because it already has the most premium stuff in it already.)
no, PCI is negligible. Powercore is available thru FireWire, an ExpressCard UAD is coming out soon and Creamware will likely follow suit.

FireWire latency has always been just as good as internal sound devices in my experience.

you made some valid points,zircon, but i have to agree. Firewire/USB pretty much suit all your needs unless you have a crappy off-the-wall thing or a super professional or weird brand of whatever your using.(just to let you know, i could definitely be wrong, i have no idea what im talking about, im just guessing,lol:grin:) EDIT: you used to be a judge,right,analoq?

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what i meant kinda is more like a imac than a PC desktop actually, or more acturate like comparing with the MacTower Pro. both of those are kick-a**. you have to agree with me,right?

i had an iMac, it was a great machine. i'm happier with my MBP, all things considered.

the Mac Pro is a great machine too. but the professional studio engineer who needs the Quad Xeons and the 10,000 RPM hard drives isn't going to be poking around this forum looking for advice. i'm speaking here to people like me: home studio guys. hobbyists. so a laptop is a solid recommendation.

all the remixes i have on this site were made on an Athlon 2000 w/ 512 ram.. you don't need a supercomputer to make OCR-quality music.

cheers.

(oh and yeah, i'm a retired judge)

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no, PCI is negligible. Powercore is available thru FireWire, an ExpressCard UAD is coming out soon and Creamware will likely follow suit.

FireWire latency has always been just as good as internal sound devices in my experience.

I've had the opposite experience. Having used both PCI and Firewire-based interfaces on the same setup, the PCI ones had better latency. I suppose this is a negligible point, though IMO it's always annoying to take up USB and Firewire ports.

With regards to Powercore, their Firewire interface is nearly $1200, for the same amount of power you get for their $700 PCI card. Likewise, even a B-stock of their Compact interface is well over twice the price of an older Element card with the same power. Additionally, you can easily fit multiple PCI and PCI-E cards in a desktop PC - it's harder, clumsier, and more expensive to do that with a laptop using PCMCIA/Firewire/USB. Also, as far as I know, the PCI-E TC/UAD has put out are desktop-only - not compatible with laptops.

http://www.dv247.com/invt/32956/

Somehow I don't see how you could install that in a laptop.

I will concede that DSP cards are starting to fall by the wayside as native processing power is going through the roof... but nonetheless, they're still pretty popular, and there are a great many plugins that are exclusive to that platform. I know quite a few people that swear by Creamware plugins for example.

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i had an iMac, it was a great machine. i'm happier with my MBP, all things considered.

thats great! the MacBook Pro is a very good computer also.

the Mac Pro is a great machine too. but the professional studio engineer who needs the Quad Xeons and the 10,000 RPM hard drives isn't going to be poking around this forum looking for advice. i'm speaking here to people like me: home studio guys. hobbyists. so a laptop is a solid recommendation.

i agree, a formal, professsional music creator isnt going to need to because he already has the resources he needs, or he will get it from professional source. now im not saying ocr is low or anything, ocr is a great place, but, it isnt a formal, full-fledged professional music creating place or anything like that. yeah, im not a rich person or anything, i just do some research on it and the fact my bro has a MacTower,not a Pro though, this is back when they made the plain old MacTowers, at the time it was the 2nd best computer out of all the Apple computers they sold. now, its actually slightly under the current imac in quality,speed,etc.

all the remixes i have on this site were made on an Athlon 2000 w/ 512 ram.. you don't need a supercomputer to make OCR-quality music.
i totally agree,you can make a fantastic song on Garageband on a computer as slow as my emac if you know how to use it. i'd actually like to get Logic Pro sometime though, i still like Garageband though.
cheers.
lol, why do you always say cheers? you type like if you were a british person in an british comedy(for all i know, you could be).
(oh and yeah, i'm a retired judge)
i thought so, though ive only been registered on here for about 6 months, ive been looking on here for about 4 years(5 years if you count this year). yeah, is it fun to be a judge or at least is a cool job?
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there's nothing to gain from belaboring over DSP card configurations. i gave in my first post a couple good reasons to pass on a laptop: 1. cost barriers and 2. specific hardware needs.

for most everyone here, zero DSP cards is plenty and one DSP card is more than enough. and i already mentioned viable solutions for that.

i maintain that the need for PCI(e) is negligible.

ol, why do you always say cheers? ... yeah, is it fun to be a judge or at least is a cool job?

holy off-topic, batman. you can send me a private message or hit me up on skype, though. cheers.

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lol. everybody, i think we have lost the point of this thread. we seem to be turning a question thread into a computer debate thread. personally, i do not see how this is going to help Mahon in any way other than help him get confused:?:. i suggest that we actually TRY TO HELP HIM rather than start arguments and debates amongst ourselves. now some people may consider what i said blasphemy, but hopefully everyone can agree with me on this. lol, that is so funny that a thread could stray so far away from its original point.

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I would like to think that our discussion HAS been helpful to Mahon... anyway, to respond to an earlier post:

Well I configured a computer using Zircon's configurations from an old thread with some slight tweaks.

I used AVAdirect.

Looks good - but 450w is a little low. 500 or 550w might give you more room to grow, especially if you are going to put in extra HDs in there.

Now, here's the thing. The system that you configured came out to $1700. A comparable notebook system on Avadirect? 2.33ghz, 2gb RAM, 120gb hard drive? *Weaker* than the desktop system, yet it would cost $2,100. Ouch. That's one argument against laptops.

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well, i just dont see how arguing is helping him, simple as that. if you think that it helps him, by all means, go ahead and keep up the debate. i just think we should be more focused on answering his question than arguing about who is right. im not trying to start an argument, im trying to state a valid point. and no, im not talking about what you posted after the first sentence, that WAS helpful.

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The arguments in the labtop vs desktop are completely valid. If you are going to get a desktop with an idea to upgrade in the future make sure you get a kick ass motherboard. What I usually do is buy a kick ass motherboard and use it for 5 years, upgrading it as time goes by. And once the specs on my motherboard start to become outdated then I get a new motherboard which always entails getting new ram and most likely a new processor. With what you got running under the hood make sure you get at least a 500w power supply. If your goin to end up buying a whole new setup in 2-3 years anyways and are on the go a labtop might be the thing for you.

It wouldn't hurt to look at AMD processors either. I was looking at some bench mark tests and an AMD X2 was beating the core2duo in lots of tests, and vice versa. Also I've found an AMD X2 chip that is a model above the AMD X2 chip they used in the bench mark tests that is cheaper than the core2duo. I'm an AMD fanboy so take my comments with a grain of salt, but those are some facts and numbers I came up with while searching the net.

Also Vista 32-bit is a big piece of crap that uses up all of your resources for shiny menus, although the 64-bit edition is awesome. If you use Sonar go for the 64-bit edition otherwise just stay with XP.

I would def go for something like AVAdirect if you can't build the computer yourself. Dell computers were awesome 5 years ago, but the past 2 years they have went down hill. The hard drives on their current labtops only last 2-3 years.

Good luck dude!

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oh yeah, wireless internet laptops have been shown to cause cancer. as for a normal laptop, i do not know. EDIT:

The arguments in the labtop vs desktop are completely valid
yes, their valid, but it doesnt make sense that by arguing what is better, which i would think would confuse someone, would help him understand. it just doesnt make sense to me. that's all.
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