#1
Hello there!

I need a new computer(mainly for making music) but I'm on VERY tight budget. I write mostly progressive/symphonic metal. The PC should be able to handle a reasonable amount of tracks,effects and VSTs.(No more than 50 tracks,of that I'm certain.) I was thinking of buying this:http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?cc=us&dlc=en&docname=c04121860&lc=en&jumpid=reg_r1002_usen_c-001_title_r0001#N240 Would it be enough? My knowledge of computers isn't great so help would be appreciated!
#4
^^

To add some food for thought.

If you use samples in real time or VST's that rely on samples (which I suspect you will run into with symphonic music), then 2 hard drives can work smoother. You can always buy an external HD for this though so no problems there with this PC.

If you use the latest VST's/are planning to keep "up to date" well.. manufacturers tend to scale up there software fast with consecutive releases due to the limit for some things being purely processing power.

As for Sample library's you'd need RAM due to having more samples per sound for more micro variations and dynamic depth.

So if you can upgrade to 16Gb ram in the future that would be sweet.

CPU handles mainly track count and (non sample) VST's/FX that rely on algorithmic calculations. Most CPU's now though are more than enough.

I'm also not sure how or if dedicated audio interface relief stress and or latency for plug-in's.

I know I can handle bigger audio-out depth rates through monitors coming out of my interface though. Someone might want to come in to give more insight on this.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at May 12, 2014,
#5
Few things that I am not crazy about:

One thing I really hate about this PC is the power - looks like it is integrated into the Back I/O ports of the mobo, so I think if your power supply takes a dump (and they do fail the most from all components that I've seen in PC) your whole mobo is toast.

Not crazy about the Foxconn mobo either as they're probably the most budget you can get.

Supports up to 16 GB (unbuffered) on 64-bit systems (only two mem. slots, so you'll have to pay up, instead of adding two more up as needed if it had more slots)

AMD Radeon HD 8400 graphics (combined with the processor) - not a big issue but it will grab for graphics some of your CPU cycles, maybe an issue with more tracks.

HD seems well specced and I will probably install a second internal for later.

One thing I really hate with HP is the they don't have drive imaging system and no restore discs anymore, so you'll have to create your drive image when you get the machine not to lose your OS license if something happens with the original drive, and if you're going to do a lot of recording it is most likely that it will wear out faster than usual.

Have you thought of interfaces, recording software? I personally prefer firewire but they seem to be taking a backseat to usb as fewer machines come with firewire. If you decide to go firewire you'll have to buy add-on card with TI chipset (about $40 more on music supplier stores).

Personally I'll see if I price similar PC with a local builder, they usually warranty their builds and you can specify what you want part-wise. You can probably also chose your OS. Windows 7 is better as you'd get stuck with Windows 8 on HP (unless you buy one that is downgradeable to 7). I hate Windows 8 for serious work as it always wants to put you in that store/tablet mode when you need it the least.

Maybe even go nuts and learn how to build the things yourself with a friend?
Last edited by diabolical at May 13, 2014,
#7
What tasks are you looking to handle? Is it for mixing duties or something as simple as just getting your ideas and the gist of your arrangements down? In my situation, at first I only wanted to get my ideas down - but than I became more or less obsessed with learning how to mix and kinda just went on from there.

My drum routing alone (with samplers at least) take upwards of 40 or so tracks from project to project. I can downsize that considerably, but it can go to show how far you may find yourself going at some point. Samplers alone are going to eat your PC resources to a great extent, whether it be in RAM, bottleneck with storage access, or expecting your CPU to perform adequately during playback & editing which I assume is more dependent on settings such as sample rate & bit depth. Somewhere down the line, them 1's and 0's have to output as perceived audio - and the only resource I see get hit the most at that point is the CPU. IDK for certain, I've enough overhead to not have to concern myself all too much about hitting a bottleneck anywhere.

Anyways, I figure that you will find that pre-assembled pc lacking sooner than you think. Especially when you find yourself needing that ONE additional synth in the arrangement - only to find it's the straw that broke the camel's back and your entire project is on the fritz, incapable of being listened to in realtime.

In other words, no I wouldn't pay the money for the HP. You would be better served spending a few days reading up on pc components and assemble one yourself for a few hundred more. If you can fasten a bolt and push teeth into a matching slot - then you can just as well buy the parts for yourself and build a more than adequate system that'll see you much further in the game with components that are less of a hassle to replace.
Last edited by Night at May 13, 2014,
#8
Thanks guys! I indeed do have a friend who knows pretty much everything about computers and she said that she'd be happy to help me. I think I'll go for a custom built...Wouldn't want pay for something that needs to be replaced in few years.
#9
Hi again! I did some research,asked around different computer forums and the guys there recommended using these parts:http://i59.tinypic.com/n68a2t.jpg It's in finnish(sorry) but you should be able to find the parts. For RAM I would use two(4gbx2)of these:http://www.kingston.com/en/memory/hyperx/predator/beast and I can more if necessary.

The hard drive is pretty big,so I think that the SSD is not crucial to the package or what do you think? This is pretty much all the money I can spare,so again,would this suffice?
#10
GuitarManiac110, actually even the HP would suffice. Custom build is a lot better because you can upgrade some of the parts as needed.
Things that you should buy and not skimp on that are crucial are processor speed, RAM and hard drive speed.

Expect about 3 years of usage out of a PC, 5 if you're lucky. Modular system at least lets you keep some of the parts for the upgrade, like the case, power supply, drives.

SSD drives are the fastest on the market and have better read/write rates than the rest so it is usually common to do the OS/install disc and software spinning disc (the one you'd have your programs on) as SSD to optimize read/write rates.

Then usually second drive is attached for the recording. SSD is too expensive at the moment to justify inclusion for the recording disc, unless you're rich and price doesn't matter, not the case here, so the common drives used are SATA 7200rpm. Funny fact here is that size is actually not bigger the better, because of speed dips when writing to the outer region. Negligible maybe but again we're building a Ferrari, not a FIAT

I'd suggest 1TB max for that and you can possibly get a bigger drive for storage later.

The SSD is an option, you can easily get started off of a conventional drive or get two conventional drives, one for music and one for the OS. Easy to expand that at any time.
Here's an article on SSDs:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr10/articles/pcnotes_0410.htm

Another thing that I think is essential and life saver, an imaging software to create full images of your system so you won't have to load your thousand programs and validate them all the time in case you need to restore your system. I currently use Acronis, but there are even some freeware solutions that will work.

The specs on what you're building looks good. I am not sure on the moboas I couldn't see too well and no link, looked like it had little possibility for expansion if you need to add some extra cards, like firewire if you decide to go that route, etc. Maybe I am wrong but everything looks top notch and probably about the same as the HP in price?
Last edited by diabolical at May 14, 2014,
#11
Yep,had a discussion about this with a friend of mine who works at the local music store and who has experience in this stuff and he said that the parts looked good for my budget. I also actually have an external hard drive so storage at this point wouldn't be a problem and I can always get the SSD later. I think I'll go with this one.
#13
Well, I'd actually get a mobo with a capability to have 32GB max. But that's just me.

In any case, the stuff in post#9 looks good to me. It has enough CPU power to do what you want to do and enough RAM expansion that you can just buy more RAM if it locks up on you occasionally.
#14
Personally I prefer Intel stuff over AMD, but they'll both work. Everything else looks good though. Personally I'd rather a WD Black over a Blue, but that's a speed thing.

Crazysam, I've NEVER found a situation where I've ever needed more than 16GB of RAM. I've had freaking MASSIVE Pro Tools sessions open, plus Firefox and Chrome (huge memory hogs) and had no problems.
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