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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 11th November 2012 , 04:39 PM
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Default About to order new PC

Just want to run the final spec past you guys before I get this thing Built.


? Attached Item: 1x Define R3 Black Tower Case
? Attached Item: 1x ASUS P8Z77-V LE - Intel Z77 Chipset
? Attached Item: 1x INTEL i7 3770 Ivy Bridge - Quad Core 3.4Ghz
? Attached Item: 1x Stock Intel CPU Cooler
? Attached Item: 1x 16Gb DDR III 1333Mhz Kit (Requires - Windows 7 64Bit OS)
? Attached Item: 1x Nvidia GeForce 210 512Mb - Dual Head
? Attached Item: 3x 1000GB SATA 7200RPM
? Attached Item: 1x Single DVD Writer
? Attached Item: 1x 550w Ultra Quiet Power Supply
? Attached Item: 1x Windows 7 Premium 64Bit
? Attached Item: 1x Acronis True Image Home
? Attached Item: 1x Inta Standard Care Plan
? Attached Item: 1x 3 Port Firewire Card - Texas Instruments Chipset 1394a (TI Chipset)


Now I have chosen 16GB ram, there is the option to double that for an extra 50 quid? Would it be wiser to just go for the 32 do you think?

How about everything else, does it look ok?
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Old 11th November 2012 , 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piano View Post
Would it be wiser to just go for the 32 do you think?
That'll be a yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piano View Post
How about everything else, does it look ok?
Sorry, it's Windows, I've not ventured down that route so I cannot say.

All the best. I am looking forward to hearing some new material from you.
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Old 11th November 2012 , 05:49 PM
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I can't see how you'll need 32GB, but as it's only ?50 then maybe.

Will you also need 3 x 1TB hard drives?

Maybe a smaller SSD for OS and installs and a single 1TB would be enough for storage. Or maybe 2 x 1TB still for storage on top of the SSD.

How much does that come to out of interest? It might be worth looking at Scan as well.
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Old 11th November 2012 , 07:05 PM
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Golden rule to me is always get as much RAM as you can afford. For 50 quid, I would go for the extra 16 Gb. Otherwise it looks pretty good to me.
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Old 11th November 2012 , 08:50 PM
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With the 3 hard drives, I was thinking 1 for system, 1 for storage and 1 for samples.

I'll probably just go with the extra RAM. I don't use an awful lot of samples but I suppose it's worth the extra 50 quid.
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Old 11th November 2012 , 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lester View Post
That'll be a yes.


Sorry, it's Windows, I've not ventured down that route so I cannot say.

All the best. I am looking forward to hearing some new material from you.
I've actually only just started being able to find the time to record again. Had a lot on recently with moving house and getting the new house ready.
I got stuck into a couple of books about mixing and production whilst in the process of moving though so hopefully my future mixes will have improved as a result, if only slightly!
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Old 12th November 2012 , 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piano View Post
With the 3 hard drives, I was thinking 1 for system, 1 for storage and 1 for samples.

I'll probably just go with the extra RAM. I don't use an awful lot of samples but I suppose it's worth the extra 50 quid.
I still say put that extra 50 into the main HDD being an SSD and stick with 16GB. I can't imagine how you'll ever use that much RAM.

Also, adding more RAM later is a piece of p1ss. Changing your mind about the main OS drive later on, not so much.
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Old 12th November 2012 , 09:39 PM
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Ok, I've been doing some checking and pricing the past few days.

The PC I listed is going to cost me about 1150 quid.

I have also been pricing a Mac. I have found one that I would be able to afford, it would just mean me waiting and saving for a little longer. I'll list it's spec below. It has less Ram than the PC and less hard disc space but people are always saying they are so much more reliable. My only worry is, would buying one give me another hurdle to cross with regards to learning how to work the thing? Or are they pretty user friendly? Is it going to be more hassle than it's worth? It comes in at just under 1600 quid. What I do like about it is that it, according to the listing, it's easy to expand things like Ram and Hard discs.

Here's the spec.

Product Description Apple Mac Pro - Xeon W3530 2.8 GHz - Monitor : none.
Type Server
Form Factor Tower
Processor 1 x Intel Xeon W3530 / 2.8 GHz ( Quad-Core )
Processor Main Features Hyper-Threading Technology, Intel Turbo Boost Technology
Cache Memory 8 MB L3 Cache
Cache Per Processor 8 MB
RAM 8 GB (installed) / 16 GB (max) - DDR3 SDRAM - ECC - 1066 MHz
Storage Controller SATA ( SATA-300 )
Hard Drive 2 x 1 TB - SATA-300
Optical Storage DVD?RW (?R DL)
Monitor None.
Graphics Controller PCIe 2.0 x16 - ATI Radeon HD 5770
Video Memory 1 GB GDDR5 SDRAM
Audio Output Integrated
Networking Gigabit LAN, 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g, 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
Power AC 120/230 V ( 50/60 Hz )
OS Provided Apple MacOS X Server 10.6
Dimensions (WxDxH) 20.6 cm x 47.5 cm x 51.1 cm
Weight 18.1 kg
Environmental Standards ENERGY STAR Qualified
Manufacturer Warranty 1 year warranty


What do you think is best to do?
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Old 13th November 2012 , 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piano View Post
My only worry is, would buying one give me another hurdle to cross with regards to learning how to work the thing?
Yes, maybe a small hurdle but nevertheless the two OSes are not identical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piano View Post
Or are they pretty user friendly?
Yes, Mac OS is user friendly and as Apple makes the hardware and the software there is an easier synergy than between Windows and a host of hardware possibilities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piano View Post
Is it going to be more hassle than it's worth?
I would love to say no but I don't think I can answer that for you. That's your decision.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piano View Post
What do you think is best to do?
I would love to simply say, "Get a Mac," but it will take a few days to get comfortable with the way new hardware, a new OS and new or updated crossgrade of your DAW works.

If it helps to know, to compare, I have been using Apple computers since 1986. In my studio is a 3.5 year old iMac with much lower spec than your possible Mac Pro plus one external 2TB drive for recording audio to. At the moment I am recording my band and have songs with up to 16 concurrent tracks and 4 buses plus plug-ins. I can see the little meters for how hard the CPU and HD are working and I still have a lot of room to spare, so your proposal should be plenty powerful enough.

As I have never used a Windows PC it would be better if you had a recommendation from someone who has used both platforms for music.
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Old 13th November 2012 , 04:04 PM
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The only issue with that particular Mac is that it's an old quad core, and likely to be a sideways step in terms of performance for you.

I think it's true to say that you get more bang out of less Ghz in a Mac, but that really is old hat in that machine.

Another option might be to just get one of the new iMac's due in December. The i7 one will be stupidly fast and as long as you don't get the Retina display model, you can still upgrade them yourself. Not only that, it'll really hold its resale value in say 3 years when you want to upgrade again. Plus you can get Applecare for extra peace of mind.

I think learning Mac OS is no different than learning a new PC OS. The actual software you'll be using on it will work the same way (apart from the stupid close window being in the stupid top left )

The final option would be to wait until the new Mac Pro's are announced (well, properly announced) in 2013 and seeing if a base model might suit your needs better. Buy into one of those and it will probably serve you well for 3-4 years at least, and still be worth 50% of what you paid for it. Plus there will be a load of 12 cores coming up on Ebay once they're released I bet
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Old 13th November 2012 , 05:32 PM
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Decisions, decisions ...
I had all of these decisions to make some 6 months ago and I decided to stay with a PC and go for the best I could get. I bought something similar to what you have quoted, from Inta Audio (I didn't feel I needed all of those hard drives though ... I settled for 2) for just under ?1200 if I remember correctly and I am delighted with what I have. Works like a dream.
I had a brother who would often ask me (a Solicitor) for advice, he would then ask his Financial Adviser for advice on the same subject, then his Bank Manager, and then his Accountant. He got different advice from each, with the result that he ended up simply not knowing what to do, and often finished up doing nothing (to his cost)
The moral of the story? make up your mind and get on with it
What you quoted first will be superb and do you for years to come
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Old 13th November 2012 , 07:12 PM
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Ah, the Mac vs pc discussion! Obviously when you are looking to update your pc it's a good time to consider Mac. And, for sure, either are good. For my music I still use a pc and it's not ready for update yet. However, a while ago I needed to update my office laptop and I bought a MacBook. I have to say that I am delighted I changed. It's great quality hardware, straightforward software and just plain works. No real learning curve either.

When I need to update my music pc I will look carefully at Mac and probably go that way too. Nothing really wrong with a pc, but I am becoming more of a Mac convert these days. More dosh, but probably worth it.
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Old 13th November 2012 , 07:23 PM
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It's actually inta audio I have been getting quotes from for a PC.

They appear to be the best value. I tried a few other places but inta seemed the best.

The thing with a mac, is, would i be able to use my current display monitors with it? They're both Acer LED monitors with VGA connections. Do mac's support that or is it something fancier with them? I don't want to have to fork out on new screens as these ones are just not long new.

Have to admit, I'm kinda tempted to hang off and buy the Mac. Going to cost me an extra 500 quid compared to the PC which is just over ?1100 but if they're more stable and more efficient, it might be worth it. Best price I saw was for a mac pro server tower at just under 1600 quid.

hmmm, what to do!
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Old 13th November 2012 , 08:12 PM
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I'm a bit late to this thread but I'll give you the skinny as far as I see things. Mac is by far the better system to run audio on. In saying that Mac is not particularly easy for a novice to upgrade at a later time.


PC's if the system you are buying is already set up/pr-built then 16Gbs of RAM is more than enough for most applications you'll use. Both the 16 and 32Gb options need a 64 bit version of Windows in order to utilise all available RAM. Now if the system comes pre-built then all the BIOS settings should already be set up. Since it offers two possibilities 16 or 32 this suggests to me that in the 16 Gb option you'll be getting 2 x 8 Gb sticks requiring pretty much no under the hood BIOS settings as they are only filling 2 RAM slots in bank 0. Now the 32 Gb system would require a little bit of tinkering in the BIOS to increase the power input to the RAM banks as 2 banks of 2 x 8Gb sticks will be being filled and therefore requires a little more voltage. Thats all well and good provided the BIOS settings are recoverable should the system need to be reset at any point. If not then stick with the 16Gb option as it would be much less hassle for a novice in the long run.


In saying that Tehlords recommendation of a decent SSD becomes more attractive as an SSD will reduce the load times to pretty much negligible levels i.e. from turning on the PC to having Windows fully loaded would take some where in the region of 10 seconds rather than a few minutes from a bog standard 7200 HDD. Applications also load much quicker too. I'd recommend a 120Gb SSD instead of 1 of the 3 HDD's.




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Old 13th November 2012 , 10:41 PM
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Quote:
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would i be able to use my current display monitors with it?
Yes but when you buy the Mac also buy a VGA adapter. Check with the retailer which one. I think the Mac pro has what Apple calls a Mini DisplayPort so I think the adapter you will need is this one.

If your keyboard and mouse are USB they should work just fine, even including up to 4 clickable areas on the mouse and a scroll wheel.

One thing: I noticed you said the word server. My company had a server and the OS works differently. Personally I would go with an ordinary Mac Pro as you won't need the server software features but you will want to log in and use it as a normal computer, not a server. I last used a Mac server about 3 years ago so, again, talk to the retailer.
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