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First Time Building A Pc Need Some Help

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Postby DZA » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:20 pm

So in a couple of weeks im gonna start buying all the parts for a new pc but havent really got a clue what parts im looking for.

So i want it to have an i7 processor and aleast 6 gb ram but not sure on the rest

Its gonna be running Ableton, Reason and some plug ins

Got around £600-£700 to spend

So if anyones got a spare minute and could maybe compile a list of the things ill need or just any parts that would work would be much apprenticed

Cheers Daniel :c:

Edit: doesnt need to have an amazing graphics card aint gonna be using it for high end gaming
Last edited by DZA on Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby JFK » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:25 pm

Get 6gb RAM minimum with an I7 mate.

Dont skimp on the PSU or the cooling either.
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Postby DZA » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:28 pm

Okie dokie edited :mrgreen:
jackmaster wrote:you went in with this mix.
.onelove. wrote:There needs to be a DZA app on iPhone just for id'ing old Grime tracks.

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http://soundcloud.com/keepitgully http://www.mixcloud.com/slevarance/
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Postby Depone » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:51 pm

JFK wrote:Get 6gb RAM minimum with an I7 mate.

Dont skimp on the PSU or the cooling either.


Make sure your running a 64bit OS (win 7 etc) else that extra ram wont go to good use.

Taken from an ableton FAQ

Is Live 8 a 64-bit application. How much memory can Live address running on Windows 7?
Live is a 32-bit application and can make use of up to 4 GB of RAM, regardless of which Windows 7 version you use.

(http://www.ableton.com/pages/faq/windows_7)
Last edited by Depone on Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby jobbanaught » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:52 pm

JFK wrote:Get 6gb RAM minimum with an I7 mate.





Not necessary. My current Ableton project with 42 tracks and >100 plugins takes 700 MB. I have 4 GB on my PC and wasnt able to max it out EVER, and i do alot of multitasking. Go for 4GB with high FSB rate imo. This is my best advice here, go for the fast and quality stuff. theres a point where "more-of-the-same" is not better anymore, and i cant think of any scenario where you would need more than 4GB RAM (even taking into account future programs with more resource hunger than those of today).

Go for two harddisks. One for your programs one for the data. Speeds up lots of things. Again, go for the fast ones, at least 7500 rpm.

Go for an ASUS motherboard. Lots of IO, very good reputation and lots of overclocking options.

Generally, avoid stuff that has been on the market for only one or two month. Drivers may be wonky and you might encounter lots of trouble. Settle for components that are on the market for at least half a year. Google for any driver and incompatibility problems.Cant think of anything more rigt now, if you have specific questions, fire away...
Last edited by jobbanaught on Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby JFK » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:09 pm

Depone wrote:
JFK wrote:Get 6gb RAM minimum with an I7 mate.

Dont skimp on the PSU or the cooling either.


Make sure your running a 64bit OS (win 7 etc) else that extra ram wont go to good use.

Taken from an ableton FAQ

Is Live 8 a 64-bit application. How much memory can Live address running on Windows 7?
Live is a 32-bit application and can make use of up to 4 GB of RAM, regardless of which Windows 7 version you use.

(http://www.ableton.com/pages/faq/windows_7)


Shit. Didnt realise Ableton was 32 bit...... (Blinkered Cubase 5 64bit user here)

But it surely wont be long before Ableton is up to 64 bit? In the interests of future proofing as much as poss I would still go for the 6gb.

Also if he is building a new PC surely he would go for Windows 7? I know lots of people swear by XP but.......
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Postby hurlingdervish » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:47 pm

JFK wrote:
Also if he is building a new PC surely he would go for Windows 7? I know lots of people swear by XP but.......

installing xp on a new computer would be shooting yourself in the foot imo. sooner or later your gonna miss out on something
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Postby gnome » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:30 pm

Buy a mac. He he he :wink:
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Postby DZA » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:34 pm

Lets not turn this thread into a fucking mac vs pc thread like all the others seem to go ffs
:|
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http://soundcloud.com/keepitgully http://www.mixcloud.com/slevarance/
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Postby collige » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:38 pm

Either get Win 7 or OSX.

Make sure you get a good power supply, 650W should be good.
Get a strong fan.
Make sure your motherboard supports i7 and can take 6+ GB of RAM. The more PCI slots the better. If you're not going to be doing any gaming whatsoever, you could save yourself money by getting one with an integrated graphics card.
Get DDR3 RAM.
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Postby gnome » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:39 pm

I'm a pc guy anyway. Tripaddict knows a lot about this stuff
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Postby Danger Co » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:05 pm

I built a solid daw pc a few years ago and learnt the hard way, so imo:

- Yes get solid cooling but make sure you have a case with large diameter fans and a speed switch. You don't want a smaller fan with high speed (very bloody noisy), big diameter fans with slow speed = very quiet. For the cpu zalman make ultra quiet fans.
- Make sure you put grommets between the screws and case to insulate the MB, HD's from vibrations which leads to more noise.
- Your right when you say you won't need a heavy duty video card, try and get one with it's own ram and fanless cooling.
- If you can get a western digital raptor drive (1o,ooo rpm) as your audio/media drive - read/writes faster great for when your using heaps of samples. A regular 7200rpm is fine for the rest.
- Buy a high quality power supply. Antec cases are pretty good and come with good quality power suppply.
- The most important thing atm is that you buy the absolute fastest cpu you can afford - even if you have to skimp on ram, buy more later. This being said though, the fastest cpu's are expensive and for alot less it seems that you can get the 2nd best, which is marginally slower.

Above all make sure all the parts are going to work with each other, do your homework, go for a strong engine and get the bells and whistles later if you have to.

BTW accept that 6 months down the track there will be faster, cheaper parts that are available now which is why you should get the best cpu possible.

Good luck
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Postby futures_untold » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:17 pm

My two cents worth of limited knowledge on the subject.

Start with a decent case. A silent one would be good. Silent PCs have decent airflow inside, and some come with decent stock fans. Ensure your case has enough space to fit in multiple drives (optical and HD). Ensure your case has enough clearance for any PCI cards and cooling devices you attach to the mobo.

450 watt power supply or more will be good sufficient.

Ensure your motherboard can accept the chips and RAM you'd like to purchase. Make sure it has more than one HD connection and that it can support RAID if you decide to do that. As mentioned above, ensure it has plenty of PCI slots.

Decide on your hardrive configuration. The minimum I'd buy would be a small HD for the OS/apps and a large HD for samples/files/etc.

I assume you already have a VDU, audio monitors and input devices. Buy an Evoluent Mouse though as they are really really comfortable!
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Postby deadly_habit » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:26 pm

http://www.endpcnoise.com/ is a good place to start when looking for quiet components
then www.pricewatch.com for a quick pricing comparison
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Postby futures_untold » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:26 pm

http://www.silentpcreview.com has some excellent articles and tests for silent PC gear too.

Really friendly and knowledgable forums too. :)
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Postby SunkLo » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:39 pm

Here's my rig which works very well for me and is similar to what you're looking for:

Core i7 920
6 GBs Muskin RAM @ 1600 Mhz (fast RAM is very helpful and good for overclocking)
Asus P6T6 Revolution Motherboard
Intel 80 GB SSD (for C:\ drive, flash is faster than actual hard discs)
Western Digital Caviar Green 2 TB HDD, 500 GB HDD (Data discs)
Corsair Hx1000w PSU, 1000 watts to make sure there's enough power for GFX cards and OC'ing, you could get away with a bit less
Cooler Master V8 CPU cooler
Thermaltake Element Case (get lotz of fans)
Sapphire Radeon 4870 2GB Vapor X graphics card, you don't need a decent one unless you're playing games though they are getting pretty cheap

Thing is a damn beast, handles loads of multi sample instruments like a champ. You can't really hit a wall with it. I've come close to tying up the RAM but it's been with pretty ridiculous circumstances. Right now I've got 98 tabs open in Firefox and I can still run loads of intense Kontakt instruments, Superior Drummer with all the bells and whistles, bunch of FM8s in HQ mode, etc. so that should give you an idea of what it takes to actually get close to the limit. If you end up with a similar build I guarantee you will be very happy with it. As long as you get a good i7 Mobo, as much fast RAM as possible, speedy HDs, and good cooling you should be set.
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Postby paravrais » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:32 pm

I'm watching this thread with keen interest as recently I've been thinking a lot about going down this route as well. Now that I have a proper desk where I work and a bit more space in my tiny box of a room a desktop rather than laptop is a much more inviting option and I feel I need to build it myself to a: ensure it's prime for audio and b: so I don't pay loads for extra bells and whistles I won't be using.
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Postby gr0nt » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:57 am

First question: have you ever built a PC before? Do you know how to match motherboard specs with parts? The first thing that is gonna dictate your purchase is the soundcard that you're gonna be using. Onboard soundcards are not suitable for production. If you already have an aftermarket soundcard, It may only be compatible with certain chipsets/processors.

I don't post much, but I feel like I can add something valuable to the discussion. I've built more than 2 DAWs recently, and here is what I would do if I were in the market to build a DAW from the ground up for personal use right now. (Sorry for not answering the question directly)

#1. Sorry if someone already mentioned this, and I missed it. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND AT LEAST A RAID 1. should be a mandated standard on any serious DAW. RAID 10 would be nice, but the price would seem to dictate otherwise. RAID 1 in basic terms is a setup of 2 hard drives which are mirrored, they both store the same exact thing. If a hard drive crashes at any given moment, an exact copy exists inside the machine, and you can rebuild the RAID set from the existing hard drive (with the touch of a key), and wont lose ANY DATA. If you don't think this is important, YOU WILL someday, and this post will come back to haunt you at night. Trust me. Dont give me "back up! back up!" yadda yadda, were here to write music, not back up. Don't be intimidated by setting up a RAID array, it's not that much harder than installing windows. If you've ever lost any artistic works to head crash, you will agree that this is absolutely necessary.

#2. I highly recommend (from personal experience) is a nice rackmount chassis. I have this one in/on my current DAW: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... -_-Product And mine came with a nice ANTEC 550W p/s. This think is built like a fockin tank, all steel. I ran live visuals at an outdoor party all weekend in the dead of summer. The chassis took all kinds of abuse and loved it. I had to completely disassemble it and give it a bath. No problem. It's big and heavy as shit tho, (40+ pounds, however many stone where you live) but virtually indestructible. I have a nice studio workstation/desk (which cost more than most synths i own, and one of the best investments ive ever made in production equipment, as a side note) - rackmounted was extremely important to me. Super nice design - everything is modular, including case fans, everything fits with plenty of room, and its lockable. Not lame ass plastic door lockable, you get the drift. As a fringe benefit, its a lot harder to steal than a standard tower chassis.

#3. Def not turning this into apple vs mac thread. But I'm told by a mac guy that you can buy apple compatible pc hardware (somehow). Maybe someone else knows the details on this. If i were to do it all over again, I would get apple approved hardware, so i can have a native dual boot apple/windows 7 situation. I am a windows man, but like everyone says, why limit yourself. That may not be necessary, just a quick google search turns up this:
http://lifehacker.com/321913/build-a-ha ... -under-800

couple things i wanna point out here. If you get the above mentioned case, its about as quiet as a jet engine. People say to buy the 'silent' type fans, which are about 4-10x more expensive than your standard 'loud' fan. I know I'm gonna sound like a jerk here, but my 12+ years IT experience tells me that they're total shit. They'll fail in about a year, or two at max, the same amount of time it takes for the 5 dolla chinese junk to fail. If you have a budget for quiet fans, by all means do it. I have to live with noisy fans, although my ASUS motherboard lets me lower the RPM of the chassis and processor fans, making it MUCH quieter. Of course when I think of building a DAW, I'm thinking lots of outboard gear, thus lots of heat. My room is packed with shit --- multiple synths, mixers, stringed instruments, books, spare parts, psychedelic artwork, convolution foam - you get the picture. One of those 'quiet' types of cases is just gonna cause my stuff to get cooked. It depends entirely on your intended use ;) If getting Silent type chassis - go for the ANTEC Sonata (if they still make em).

Thumbs up to ASUS motherboards - good advice.

Also, as everyone said, get more RAM later if you have to. I would say 4GB is minimum these days. I've got 2 GB, and have crashed out ableton on several occasions. I'm not sure how everyone else is doing things, but in Ableton 8, I am constantly freezing/flattening tracks, then assigning my samples to RAM. Couple this with software like Toontrack EZDrummer, with expansions, and Spectrasonics Omnisphere. Now have a couple of instances of each (for example, sometime I use two copies of EZD, one track with a standard kit for hat work mostly, then another copy with the latin percussion for that sorta thing) Just those two instances are more than 1.5 GB of data stored to RAM, without any other tracks. If you're not assigning samples to RAM, then you're quickly gonna bog down the hard drive bus.

There is a way to determine exactly what size power supply you'll need. Simple Addition. All peripherls have a power consumption rating - my old AMD processor was 18 watts. You find all the power ratings for all the peripherals you intend on using, and add them. Get a power supply rated higher than this number, and you'll be fine. Don't ever get a cheap power supply. Somehow my CompUSA branded power supply shorted about 10 years ago, and actually CAUGHT FIRE TO MY MOTHERBOARD. Not a joke or an embellishment. Don't skimp here. (side note, maybe never buy anything with USA in the brand name, yet manufactured in China. Only buy if actually made in the USA... lol)

So yeah, give me some more info, like your experience, what soundcard you'll be using, you're intended purposes. Maybe I'll write a book next post.
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Postby mks » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:02 am

Some good advice in here, can't really add too much more tbh. I just built a new pc myself last month running windows 7, 64 bit on an AMD Phenom II 3.4GHz Quadcore processor with 8 gigs of RAM. Perhaps I can just reiterate some points:

- Def buy the best processor you can afford. The better you get, the longer the machine will be able to handle whatever is thrown at it. Technologies do change quarterly or monthly, so by doing this you will have a machine that will last you a couple few years and will do just fine. The machine that I just upgraded from (actually still using it, writing this on it right now) was built 3 years ago and based on technology that is probably 4 o 5 years old now, and it's still doing the biz.

- Get the best power supply you can afford. These new machines need a lot of juice. I got an Antec 850W power supply which seems to be doing the job for now. I've seen things go to shit when you have a crappy power supply.

- Buy a good case with lots of fans. One with enough room to put in everything you need easily and to give you enough room while you are working in it. The big fans are def a lot quieter. My new case is oh so quiet, and it has 4 fans on it and I don't even hear a thing. Plus an adjustable fan control, I don't even have it set past halfway right now. This is the case I ended up with: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811119194

- A good video card is not bad if you can swing it. It will free up a lot of processing power from your main cpu not having to worry about graphics. I ended up with a Sappire Radeon 4870 X2 with two of it's own CPU's and 2 gigs of memory.

Good luck!!
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Postby gr0nt » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:20 am

I understand the importance of a strong processor. But thats what the freeze/flatten in Ableton 8 is for. Freeze your VST synth with loads of effects on top, Ableton will render that track to wave, and free the processor up for other things. If you don't like it, or need to edit, simply unfreeze and edit. Then refreeze. An i7 is gonna make a really nice DAW that will be solid for 5 years. But is there an added benefit to spending all the money on the processor upfront? Processors suffer the same fate as RAM... in a year or two, its gonna be disgustingly cheap compared to what it is now. Why not buy an i5 now, then get the i7 in a few years? Im using Core2Duo, 2.13GHZ, a dinosaur by todays standard. But I'm making some fairly complicated music just fine. Yeah a quad core or i7 would be nice, but I don't see it as mission critical by any means. Yes, get the best processor you can afford, but like someone else mentioned, there seems to be a sweet spot in price vs. performance. That's where I always go. Its usually like the 3rd or 4th best intel processor at any given time.

So, 3 years ago when I built my DAW, a core2quad was something like 500 bucks. Now i can get the same processor for 150. I coulda bought something nice with that dough, another synth maybe? enough hard drives for my lusted over RAID 10? Who knows. Anyone agree with me here?

I'm getting by with the techniques mentioned above. My dinosaur processor can run more VSTi's than is practical without freezing. What software are you guys running that mandates such extreme measures as the i7?

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