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Old 01-02-2012, 01:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question I need an idea of what PC to build. Help?

Now I just joined the forums, but I don't have any experience in building computers. I found my way here because I was sifting through websites and different computer companies to look for a PC that I could use for my music production. I have a desktop that I'm using now that is terribly slow, and I've had it since 2005. Its pretty reliable for basic web surfing and streaming, and I've done much with it but the programs I now use takes up a lot of memory. I've been using my girlfriend's laptop for some time now to achieve the best results I can, since it is recently bought and was built for her gaming experience. However, I need to invest in my own machine, and I just want to get a good idea of what I should look for.

I realize there are a lot of specifics to consider, so that is why I came here, because I'm not exactly sure what would be best. I just know a PC built for gaming can sustain my music production. Ideally, I should have a laptop. Is it possible to get laptop supplies and have it built, or should I just customize it online?

I would like to point a few things out. I do want an all around experience out of my PC. I would like to get the best possible PC, and the best value (I'm sure everyone does).

Video - I value a decent video card. From streaming YouTube videos to watching BluRay discs, I want a good, high definition video experience. I wont be playing games or editing movies, so I don't need anything extravagant, but still great. Since I would like a laptop, I would like to be able to hook it to a monitor to work at home or studio. I understand there are HDMI plugs (or something of that nature) available?

Sound - I shouldn't even have to stress how important this is to me, as a producer. I need the best quality sound I can get. The speakers should be decent, but I will do most of my listening through my Sennheiser headphones, and hooked up to a mixer when I DJ. So the speakers themselves on the PC don't need to be amazing, but the sound quality needs to be impeccable. I don't know if "Dr. Dre Beats" is the best thing out there, but its such a big deal, it might be.

Memory - Fastest thing possible. i7 quad-core, or better, epic RAM... something that can render my audio tracks with ease.

GF's Laptop specs (worked just fine for me):
HP Pavilion dv7t Quad Edition customizable Notebook PC
*Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
*2nd generation Intel(R) Quad Core(TM) i7-2720QM (2.2 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache) w/Turbo Boost up to 3.3 GHz
*1GB GDDR5 Radeon(TM) HD 6770M Graphics [HDMI, VGA]
*FREE Upgrade to 6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
*1TB 5400RPM Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
*Blu-ray player & SuperMulti DVD burner
*HP TrueVision HD Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone and HP SimplePass Fingerprint Reader
*Intel 802.11b/g/n WLAN and Bluetooth(R)


Forgive me for sounding like an absolute "noob". Haha.
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would reccomend a desktop. More raw power. I'm a DJ on the side, and while I know most prefer a laptop for portability, a desktop is always my first choice. You can build it yourself, unlike a laptop, and get way more value out of it. The desktop I use is the one in my sig, and while it's a bit over the top for a DJ rig, thats not all I use it for. But trust me, it holds up better than any laptop out there. Hell, I can play Fallout NV while I'm at a gig, I just minimize Traktor and pull up NV, no lag AT ALL. So, just my opinion, consider a desktop, and thats an opinion coming from expierience. But, if you have to go for a laptop, my wife has almost the same model, but hers has a 6850m (a better graphics card). And as far as Beats Audio, it's absolute BS. That shouldn't be a selling point for you, because I assume if your using a laptop for DJing, your using a USB audio interface to connect to your rig, not the Laptops onboard audio.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: I need an idea of what PC to build. Help?

I figured as much, I just wanted to make sure I got additional insight from someone who knows better. That is why I said I'm not sure if "Beats" is the best thing out there, because I'm reluctant to give into hype.

Ah, a Traktor user... DJ Craze would be proud! I use Serato. So you use a desktop for your gigs? Do you spin somewhere regularly? I have a hard time sometimes because I use turntables with Serato records. Most clubs I've been to, I see many DJ's that use CDJ's or just laptops themselves. Normally I prefer the desktop for the reasons you stated, but I just wondered how I would pull a gig off with that, as opposed to the portability and practicality of a laptop. I use it a PC more for production, but I thought I could kill two birds with one stone.

I appreciate the feedback, you desktop sounds good. I would love to see you spin a mix while playing Fallout NV! Haha.
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: I need an idea of what PC to build. Help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow Phoenix View Post
I figured as much, I just wanted to make sure I got additional insight from someone who knows better. That is why I said I'm not sure if "Beats" is the best thing out there, because I'm reluctant to give into hype.

Ah, a Traktor user... DJ Craze would be proud! I use Serato. So you use a desktop for your gigs? Do you spin somewhere regularly? I have a hard time sometimes because I use turntables with Serato records. Most clubs I've been to, I see many DJ's that use CDJ's or just laptops themselves. Normally I prefer the desktop for the reasons you stated, but I just wondered how I would pull a gig off with that, as opposed to the portability and practicality of a laptop. I use it a PC more for production, but I thought I could kill two birds with one stone.

I appreciate the feedback, you desktop sounds good. I would love to see you spin a mix while playing Fallout NV! Haha.
Yeah, stay away from Beats and the like. I used to be the DJ for a local night club, but they weren't paying enough so I quit there. Now I do any event that needs a DJ. Weddings (those are BORING), Grad Parties (fun!), Dances (high school mainly, some College), etc.. Yes, I use the desktop. It only weighs maybe 40lbs, and I set it under the table. and my monitors on the table. The lights in the desktop are always popular. Like I said, portability isn't an issue. And man, this thing is powerful. I can use Fruity Loops to edit audio WHILE at a gig as well. most laptops won't do that. I would say go for a desktop. And build it yourself, so you get exactly what you want, and for the right price. If you need help, we can help you with that, every step of the way. And the NV at a gig is pretty freaking sweet. That's the good side of life, if I do say so myself.

Ps, Welcome to TF!
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: I need an idea of what PC to build. Help?

I appreciate the welcome!

Look, this is the current Dell desktop I currently sport:
Windows Vista Home Premium, no service pack - 32-bit operating system c.2006
* Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.80 GHz, 2.79 GHz (Why does it say two different Gig numbers?)
* 2046 MB RAM (Yes. I've had this since 2006)
* SoundMAX Integrated Digital Audio, Unimodem Half-Duplex Audio Device
* ACPI x86-based PC (What the heck does this mean?)
* Intel(R) 82865G Graphics Controller (Microsoft Corp XDDM)

No particular order, I just posted the info I could find.

Where do I start? I know there are many processors. Should I just get the latest Intel release? i7-3930X? i7-2720QM? i5-2500K? I don't anything about the DDR RAMs, but I assume they are better than a regular 8 bit RAM Memory drive. Speaking of memory, what is SSD? What makes the SSD different than regular storage memory? Ideally, I want 1TB of storage. Come on, the more the merrier, right? I know my girl has 500 GB on the C:/ and another 500 Gigs on D:/. Should an SSD drive be for C:/?

So many questions. Not to mention the video and sound card drives. Should I just google the best reviewed ones? Mix and match? Is that essentially what building a PC is, or is there more to it?
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: I need an idea of what PC to build. Help?

If you'll give these guys a dollar value for a budget they'll help you shop for the best deals.

This link will help with the assembly

The animated guide to Building a PC. Learn to build a PC from scratch with PCitYourself!
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: I need an idea of what PC to build. Help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow Phoenix View Post
I appreciate the welcome!

Look, this is the current Dell desktop I currently sport:
Windows Vista Home Premium, no service pack - 32-bit operating system c.2006
* Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.80 GHz, 2.79 GHz (Why does it say two different Gig numbers?)
* 2046 MB RAM (Yes. I've had this since 2006)
* SoundMAX Integrated Digital Audio, Unimodem Half-Duplex Audio Device
* ACPI x86-based PC (What the heck does this mean?)
* Intel(R) 82865G Graphics Controller (Microsoft Corp XDDM)

No particular order, I just posted the info I could find.

Where do I start? I know there are many processors. Should I just get the latest Intel release? i7-3930X? i7-2720QM? i5-2500K? I don't anything about the DDR RAMs, but I assume they are better than a regular 8 bit RAM Memory drive. Speaking of memory, what is SSD? What makes the SSD different than regular storage memory? Ideally, I want 1TB of storage. Come on, the more the merrier, right? I know my girl has 500 GB on the C:/ and another 500 Gigs on D:/. Should an SSD drive be for C:/?

So many questions. Not to mention the video and sound card drives. Should I just google the best reviewed ones? Mix and match? Is that essentially what building a PC is, or is there more to it?
None of those numbers mean anything to you at this point. Except that x86 is 32bit, and can only recognize 4gb total RAM in the system. x64 is what you're new system will be, meaning it can (theoretically) handle any amount of RAM you put in it, so x64 is the way to go. Before I recommend parts, I need to know what your budget is. I would recommend Intel, considering what work you're doing. A 2600k would be great, if your budget isn't high enough for a 2011 board/Sandy-Bridge-E processor (the new Intels like the 3930x and the likes). The current standard for most Intel boards is dual channel DDR3. There are many numbers and types, but we can just skip that whole lesson and find some that will work for you. An SSD is an acronym for Solid State Drive. It's like a hard drive, but it has no physical moving parts, so they are much more reliable, and SO much faster than traditional hard drives. Unfortunately, they are expensive, and aren't very big capacity wise yet. And for a DJ, you may want a few drives. Depends on how big your music collection is. Video card wise, since I assume you're not a hardcore gamer, a GTX 560ti will do you just fine, if it's in your budget. You shouldn't need a sound card, if you have an external USB interface. I don't have a soundcard, and I have NO issues. Googleing does help, but give us a budget, we'll get you started. And mix and match works in some scenarios, but not with things like CPU/MOBO. So the best thing to do is pick your core parts like the MOBO, then the CPU, then the RAM, and after that, most things should be compatible. So, what's your budget?
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: I need an idea of what PC to build. Help?

Thank you Slaymate for the link. I understand a little better now, I'm still looking through the page. I will do some studying!

Ah... ok TJ. That settles "x86" for me. I see it everywhere. I was just reading an article in Wikipedia about it, but I still didn't understand what the heck it was, just that it was a common ending number for set architectures microprocessors developed by Intel, or something like that, which is mostly gibberish to me. Thanks for that.

To be honest, I came here to find information to plan out exactly what I would save for. I don't have a budget to work with right now. I was aiming for the $1000-1500 area though. If that helps you guys. I want the best I can get within a reasonable price range. I don't need a monitor, or sound system, I have all that covered. Maybe a new keyboard, I suppose. Hmm. How good can I get with $1000? $1250? $1500?

Solid State Drive. Gotcha. I have 37 GB of storage on C:/ itself, but I use a Hitachi 500GB external to store everything, which my music alone takes up 155.09 GB. I intend on getting more, as always. I plan on replacing that Hitachi too... I keep getting cyclic redundancy errors now when I try to add more music to it. Would it be a good idea to make C:/ an SSD and additional memory 1 or 2 TB as D:/? What is RAID and how does that help me? Is that just additional memory slots?

Ok, video card. Looks like a GTX 560ti is about $100 more than a Radeon HD6870 1GB GDDR5... thoughts? I saw that Radeon description in a Titanium Gamer TI9082 tower on Amazon. It gave the Radeon as the video card. Is the GTX still a better option? Am I just overlooking something?

As I learned on the link Slaymate provided, the motherboard has to sustain everything I throw at it. So what should I invest in? I could get something that I could upgrade in the future, but will perform the way I need it to now. I need to run Ableton Suite 8.2.7 and Reason 5 simultaneously and effectively. The both use like 200,000k together (looking at task manager). Usually I have iTunes open and maybe Google Chrome as well. I'm a multi-tasker.
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: I need an idea of what PC to build. Help?

Honestly, 100-1500 is a great budget.

Almost any video card will do what you need. If you spend more than $100 youre just wasting money. Though some programs are starting too use the video card to help speed up encoding.

The main advantage of an SSD is just increasing program speed. So you put windows and you music program on it, but thats pretty much it.

Any motherboard you get will work for all your stuff. The better the motherboard usually relates to better it can be overclocked.

What program are you using? If you posted above sorry, I didnt recognize it. But if your program isnt multi-core capiable, then theres no use in getting a multli-core cpu like an x6, 3960x or even a i7 2600k.


I'd lok at 8Gigs of RAM, I'd go 2 sticks of 4Gig, just incase you somehow actually use it all. You can then get 8Gig more to add easily.

Now the sound card, may or may not be a need. I'm no where near a sound person, though the new motherboards do have pretty good sound, but you are alot better in that department.

Realisticsally, I'd run a
Intel 2500k
A good quality z68 motherboard
8Gig of RAM
120Gig SSD
~$100 video card, like rthe 6870.
A good quality power supply. I'd lok into a good silver or possibly a gold level of efficiency, since you'll have it on alot.

That should be about a grand. Though if you start adding regular hard drives for storage, then you'll be upping it a couple hundred.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: I need an idea of what PC to build. Help?

I figured it would take a grand at least to get something decent.

Thanks patronb. That's some helpful info. I didn't realize most higher-end "mobos" come with a decent sound card. On that subject, I still think I need a stand-alone though. I will consult the Ableton forums to see what other producers use. So you say I should use an Intel i5-2500k? Interesting. I'm not sure what you mean by multi-core capable, but it takes a lot to keep it up. Almost everywhere I go says a gaming PC works great for music producers too. I use two programs simultaneously, Ableton is 1.5 Gigs and Reason is 2.5 Gigs. I'll need extra room to store my music, so only 120GB is out of the question. I need at least 500 GB in total, with room for growth. So I'm aiming for at least 1 TB.

So is SSD really worth it then?

I feel better knowing I can possibly get something good for just a grand.
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