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Computer Hardware Audio interfaces, MIDI interfaces, control surfaces, MIDI controllers & USB MIDI keyboards (not motherboards or system components)

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Old 3rd April 2009 , 01:16 PM
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Default Upgrading my studio PC - Minimum spec?

I built a PC a few years ago for my studio and at the time, it was quite a powerful machine.
Pentium 4 3Ghz/1MB/800 FSB - 2.5GB DDR400 & 500GB HD

I recently bought BFD2 and Trilogy Plugins, and my cpu just doesn't seem able to cope with them. I am still only running Cubase VST 5.1. That has no problems, although I think its probably time I raided the piggy bank for Cubase 5.

So, now I guess I will need to upgrade mu running gear. Can anyone tell me if this will be plenty powerful enough for me?

Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 3GHz Socket 775 4MB Cache 1333MHz FSB
ASROCK G31M-S G31 Socket 775
Kingston 4gb (2x2gb) Ddr2 800mhz Memory Non-ecc Cl5

I'm pretty sure the RAM will be more than enough, but is that CPU gonna do the job ok?

I just got to hope that my soundscape mixtreme will be compatible aswell, it seems that these cards are a bit choosy when it comes to motherboards.
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Old 3rd April 2009 , 01:27 PM
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It all depends how much you'll be running through it really I guess, but I run Cubase 4 on a Dual Core 2.something-ghz laptop with 2gig ram and it does ok most of the time so I can't see that spec struggling too much. But your needs might exceed my own, but thought I'd put in my 2 cents.
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Old 3rd April 2009 , 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloke From Barnet View Post
I built a PC a few years ago for my studio and at the time, it was quite a powerful machine.
Pentium 4 3Ghz/1MB/800 FSB - 2.5GB DDR400 & 500GB HD

I recently bought BFD2 and Trilogy Plugins, and my cpu just doesn't seem able to cope with them. I am still only running Cubase VST 5.1. That has no problems, although I think its probably time I raided the piggy bank for Cubase 5.

So, now I guess I will need to upgrade mu running gear. Can anyone tell me if this will be plenty powerful enough for me?

Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 3GHz Socket 775 4MB Cache 1333MHz FSB
ASROCK G31M-S G31 Socket 775
Kingston 4gb (2x2gb) Ddr2 800mhz Memory Non-ecc Cl5

I'm pretty sure the RAM will be more than enough, but is that CPU gonna do the job ok?

I just got to hope that my soundscape mixtreme will be compatible aswell, it seems that these cards are a bit choosy when it comes to motherboards.
Your on the right lines dude but theres a few things that could be changed that would make a huge difference.

First off i would scrap the MOBO, g31 isnt a great chipset, and go for something based around the p45 (or if you have bags of cash the x48). Ive just swapped out my old x975 board for an Asus P5Q-deluxe which is a p45 board and i have to say its the dogs danglies. very efficient and make the machine much quieter thanks to the EPU engine. theres a lot of P5 variants out there for different price ranges so thats what i would look at if i were you, just make sure its based on p45 not p43 as these arent quite as good.

The chip i would go for an 8 series something like the 8400 as theyre on the 45nm process theyre generally cooler and are designed to run at the 1333 where as the later 6 series are effectively just like me clocking my e6600 to work at 333mhz rather than its stock 266mhz. so effectively you would gain the ability to clock a bit more when it comes to the end of its working life (if you wanna go down that route)

Ram choice seems just fine, just be aware windows xp/vista 32bit can only really use around 3.25gb of ram.

HDDs i would use Samsung spinpoint f1s personally i have 2 in my media machine and they absolutely fly and so far have been very reliable ( i know quite a few people with them). Or as an alternative i would go for the seagate barracudas, not the fastest drives in the world but theyve always been solid for me.

Next key thing is get yourself the best PSU you can, when i first built up my e6600 nearly 3 yrs ago i bought a crap supply, when i recased into my antec i bought a good solid zalman supply and its made the system much more stable.

Finally a good case for studio is going to be something like an antec 180/182/190 or a Lian Li like the DV guys use for their machines. Due to the exchange and this economic crisis stuff the prices have gone up massively so your gonna be looking at around 100-150 for one of these cases but its well worth it.
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Old 3rd April 2009 , 02:01 PM
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Great, thanks for the replies. I hadn't actually thought about the power supply. The one I got, just came with the case which is a fairly cheap one tbh. Not sure if that can affect the cpu performance, can it?

You mean this motherboard? ASROCK P45DE P45 Socket 775
Its almost twice the price of the one I was looking at, but I'd rather give up an extra 30 to have peace of mind.
I like asus Mobo's but I bought a nice expensive one (at the time) when I first built this machine and my soundcard didn't work with it. I'm sure that's not the case with all asus mobo's but it has kinda put me off a bit. Not much logic in that I guess because I don't actually know why they weren't compatible.

I think the IDE HDDs I have should be ok. I got 80GB/IDE/7200rpm and a 500GB/IDE/7200rpm
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Old 3rd April 2009 , 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloke From Barnet View Post
Great, thanks for the replies. I hadn't actually thought about the power supply. The one I got, just came with the case which is a fairly cheap one tbh. Not sure if that can affect the cpu performance, can it?

You mean this motherboard? ASROCK P45DE P45 Socket 775
Its almost twice the price of the one I was looking at, but I'd rather give up an extra 30 to have peace of mind.
I like asus Mobo's but I bought a nice expensive one (at the time) when I first built this machine and my soundcard didn't work with it. I'm sure that's not the case with all asus mobo's but it has kinda put me off a bit. Not much logic in that I guess because I don't actually know why they weren't compatible.

I think the IDE HDDs I have should be ok. I got 80GB/IDE/7200rpm and a 500GB/IDE/7200rpm
Asus are probably the best mobo manufacturer around atm, Asrock is an asus sub group for cheaper boards, like epiphone is to gibson.

PSU, CHIP, MOBO,RAM are the most vital parts of the machine, a psu that cant put out a solid voltage/ampage will affect performance as it will cause the CPU to step more often which is not a good thing.

IDE drives are fine but i think you'll find that if you move on to cubase 5 and start working with a good amount of audio tracks your disk caching will cause you problems. Sata HDDs are so cheap these days you might as well just bang one or 2 in there. 35 for a 250gb spinpoint is a steal.

I would be looking to spend between 80-170 on a mobo if i were looking, its probably the most essential part of an audio machine.
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Old 3rd April 2009 , 03:05 PM
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Ah ok, I had no idea they were the same company. Ok, so maybe its time for a completely new machine then.
Y'know I been working & gigging like a dawg to get this place half decent & just about every time I upgrade one thing, something else needs upgrading to cope with it lol.
One day, I'm just going to stop somewhere and start recording instead

Thanks for the info JAYDMF, much appreciated.
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Old 3rd April 2009 , 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloke From Barnet View Post
Ah ok, I had no idea they were the same company. Ok, so maybe its time for a completely new machine then.
Y'know I been working & gigging like a dawg to get this place half decent & just about every time I upgrade one thing, something else needs upgrading to cope with it lol.
One day, I'm just going to stop somewhere and start recording instead

Thanks for the info JAYDMF, much appreciated.
No worries dude. Im in the same boat by the sounds of things, just got the machine sorted and all the racking and the monitors, now i need to treat the room and wire everything in in a suitable order, by which time im sure something will need changing .

Give me a shout if you need any more info
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Old 3rd April 2009 , 03:21 PM
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The cost of PC's scare me. I really do need a new one, definitely a desktop, mainly as a laptop is rather limited to slots and memory and isn't very future proof. I'd really like a Synergy (not going to mention macs) but haven't got a grand and have no real idea what I'm looking for. Most of it goes over my head and I can hardly put a battery in a watch. Not sure where I'm going with this or why I'm even posting it but its distracting me from work, so it can only be a good thing
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Old 3rd April 2009 , 03:25 PM
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The cost of PC's scare me. I really do need a new one, definitely a desktop, mainly as a laptop is rather limited to slots and memory and isn't very future proof. I'd really like a Synergy (not going to mention macs) but haven't got a grand and have no real idea what I'm looking for. Most of it goes over my head and I can hardly put a battery in a watch. Not sure where I'm going with this or why I'm even posting it but its distracting me from work, so it can only be a good thing
Well if you have friends who you know you can trust to build then now is kinda the time. All the older core 2 stuff is well priced and if you go AMD its even better. Ram is just stoopid atm 4gb 800 = 35. HDD are the same. When i built my system nearly 3yrs ago it came to about 700 and although i have changed psu and stuff i was buying the best about at the time. ive priced some machines for people lately that would flatten what im using and the prices are coming out around 550 mark
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Old 3rd April 2009 , 03:32 PM
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If got a mate who said he would build me one (in truth I think he'd get his brother to do it) but has no idea what parts to use to price it up. The best I could off was 'something with a p45 chipset and oooomf', which I thought wasn't too bad hehe. Then I bought festival tickets and used up any cash for components. I might wait a bit and see what happens to the price of Quad core now i7 has hit.
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Old 3rd April 2009 , 03:39 PM
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If got a mate who said he would build me one (in truth I think he'd get his brother to do it) but has no idea what parts to use to price it up. The best I could off was 'something with a p45 chipset and oooomf', which I thought wasn't too bad hehe. Then I bought festival tickets and used up any cash for components. I might wait a bit and see what happens to the price of Quad core now i7 has hit.

Yeah i7 is definatly a beast but i think its tough times at intel atm so you could be waiting a lil while for prices to shift.
I was debating i7 for ages and just opted for a new board to tide me over. I think i7 will come into its own properly once they shrink down to 32nm and the second chipset is released as although its all fine theres a few niggles with things like the voltage of Ram and the turbo mode plus they do get quite hot which in turn probably means fairly noisey although there are some good cooling solutions.

Think intel just shot themselves in the foot by releasing too much to fast in an effort to kill off AMD but its kinda backfired on them thanks to this economic situation. Still its all exciting stuff.
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Old 3rd April 2009 , 03:44 PM
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Yeah i7 is definatly a beast but i think its tough times at intel atm so you could be waiting a lil while for prices to shift.
I was debating i7 for ages and just opted for a new board to tide me over. I think i7 will come into its own properly once they shrink down to 32nm and the second chipset is released as although its all fine theres a few niggles with things like the voltage of Ram and the turbo mode plus they do get quite hot which in turn probably means fairly noisey although there are some good cooling solutions.

Think intel just shot themselves in the foot by releasing too much to fast in an effort to kill off AMD but its kinda backfired on them thanks to this economic situation. Still its all exciting stuff.

I get the bold bits, the rest is in another language hehe.
Think I may see what I've got left when I get my credit card down and make some sorta movement towards a new computer, I've been looking at controllers and upgrading Cubase and all sorts but I think I should probably start with the fundimentals.
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Old 5th April 2009 , 11:58 PM
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I just sent an email over to Sydec (who now own soundscape mixtreme). I want to be sure that my soundcard will work ok with newer hardware before I dive in. I did upgrade to the 192 card a couple of years ago, but I know that their original card won't work with current spec hardware.
At the end of the day, I think its going to be a bit of a gamble on compatibility, an expensive one if it doesn't work out, as happened before with the Asus Mobo.
I think first, I'll try a better psu & see if/how that affects the existing cpu performance. If I can get this BFD plugin to work without squeezing the system to death then I'll be happy, its the only reason I would need to upgrade really. I just can't fathom how one plugin can be too much for a 3Ghz cpu, even if it is a P4 HT. Sure there are a lot of samples to load, but I can record a full live band in 24 bit or Trillogy + Battery + a full set of audio tracks on VST5.1/24 works with no problems on this current setup.

Fingers crossed the psu will make all the difference and I can be on my merry way. If not, this could get expensive just to have that must have plugin.
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Old 6th April 2009 , 10:12 AM
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Thread worthy of a sticky methinks.. A good reference for those in a similar situation as the OP..
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Old 7th April 2009 , 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloke From Barnet View Post
I just sent an email over to Sydec (who now own soundscape mixtreme). I want to be sure that my soundcard will work ok with newer hardware before I dive in. I did upgrade to the 192 card a couple of years ago, but I know that their original card won't work with current spec hardware.
At the end of the day, I think its going to be a bit of a gamble on compatibility, an expensive one if it doesn't work out, as happened before with the Asus Mobo.
I think first, I'll try a better psu & see if/how that affects the existing cpu performance. If I can get this BFD plugin to work without squeezing the system to death then I'll be happy, its the only reason I would need to upgrade really. I just can't fathom how one plugin can be too much for a 3Ghz cpu, even if it is a P4 HT. Sure there are a lot of samples to load, but I can record a full live band in 24 bit or Trillogy + Battery + a full set of audio tracks on VST5.1/24 works with no problems on this current setup.

Fingers crossed the psu will make all the difference and I can be on my merry way. If not, this could get expensive just to have that must have plugin.
Yeah i think that if you look back at a lot of boards from the p4 times theres fair reason for compatibility issues, mainly down to the fact that everything had just come out of the cheap as chips pc stage and most manufacturers were still using a lot of VIA and SIS chipsets. these days you hardly find any of those guys on a mobo in the 80+ range everything is either intel, nvidia or AMD based chipsets now
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