CPU


  • Recommended CPU's (PtP): Ryzen 3 1200, Ryzen 5 1400, Ryzen 5 1600, 7th gen Pentiums, i5's, 8th gen i3 (non-K)
  • Don't bother with AMD's FX processors. They look good on paper but don't perform well and are energy hogs.
  • Ryzen 7 and Core i7's are good for 4K video/photo editing, but overkill for DAW's and Plugins
  • Intel's "K" processors can overclock and the non-K ones can't. Studios need not overclock though.
  • Ryzens' X processors are pre-overclocked, but otherwise not really worth the extra money.
  • Intel "K's" and Ryzen "X's" don't come with stock coolers (a cooler is necessary)
  • Ryzens perform much better for the price, but have less motherboard variety and require a video card.


Motherboard


  • Mini ITX's come with the least features and ATX's come with the most features.
  • A Mini ITX is fine for a studio as long as you don't need a ton of storage drives and USB devices.
  • Smaller motherboards only allow for 2 sticks of RAM, so go with more capacity and less sticks for them.
  • Get a motherboard with Ac wifi if you don't plan on using an ethernet cable.
  • Not all motherboards allow overclocking, but studio's don't really need it.


RAM


  • 8 GB minimum.
  • 16 GB can be beneficial if you can afford it.
  • DAW's and Plugins won't benefit from 32 GB at all.
  • No amount of RAM can save a weak processor.
  • Choose a higher RAM speed if you're using an AMD Ryzen CPU.
  • RAM speed doesn't matter that much for an Intel CPU.
  • DDR4 motherboards need DDR4 RAM.


Video Card


  • A studio can get by fine with Intel's integrated graphics.
  • If you use an AMD Ryzen, a video card is mandatory.
  • If you are doing heavy photoshopping and 4K video editing too, you should use a video card.
  • RX 550 is the most energy efficient and budget-friendly card of acceptable performance.
  • GTX 1050, GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1060 (3GB) are the best cards for the money right now.


Storage


  • Use a solid state drive (SSD) for the operating system and a hard drive for the media files.
  • A SSD measurably meaningfully boosts performance for day to day tasks and studio work in general.
  • SSD's below 120 GB are a bad value. SSD's over 250 GB are unnecessary if you are using a hard drive.
  • If you want a dead silent computer, use SSD only (or use a quiet hard drive like WD Green)
  • External hard drives are recommended if you do your studio work on different machines.
  • Get a 2TB hard drive instead of a 1TB hard drive because they cost 20% more for 100% more storage.


Cooling


  • Assuming you have a good processor, stock coolers that come with the CPU should be fine for performance.
  • However, if you want low noise, get a quiet cooler: Dark Rock Slim, Hyper 212 Evo, Sycthe Mugen and Noctua coolers are an option.
  • Get a few quiet case fans if you want more silence (140mm preferably if you have room): Be Quiet Pure Wings 2 fans are great.
  • It's not worth it to spend too much on cooling if you're on a tight budget.
  • Some coolers won't fit tiny cases.


Case


  • ATX cases (large) offer better airflow (for silence and performance) and are easier to build in.
  • Micro ATX cases aren't much more compact so just go with ATX.
  • The Fractal Design Define cases are a good recommendation in general.
  • Go with Mini ITX if you want a smallish form factor (Metis Plus isn't a bad case).
  • Windows improve aesthetic but may sacrifice some silence.
  • A case with few to no openings will have poor airflow and fans will get louder.
  • Premium cases are mostly vanity. $40-80 is the best price range.


Power Supply


  • Don't cheap out on this, seriously.
  • Check power supply tier list articles on online forums.
  • You want 350-400w capacity minimum so that it can handle loads efficiently.
  • You don't need more than 500 watts for a recording studio.
  • Semi and fully-modular power supplies make building the PC easier and allow for better airflow.
  • Consider the noise level of the power supply's fan if you want a silent build.