I've decided make this post to help out any one that is looking to upgrade their pc for music production since the current sticky is really out dated. I haven’t posted here in years so I guess this will be a good intro back into FP and help me remain active on this site once again…sadly haha.
This will be for a builder's guide on what PC components will be needed and not on which music equipment should be purchased. Take those questions to the proper forum section and GTFO! Only kidding…haha
Computers today have had so many new things introduced and marketed that it can be pretty overwhelming on what to buy and what not to buy. Which brand is good and which brand to stay away from etc. A butt load of questions will arise from first time builders and those new to music production so this will be a good start for those that need a decent system to bang out their Crunk Azz Beatz and chipmunk Kanye samples. No pun intended. All Kanye hate comments will be deleted… just kidding
So, in this post I will be listing on what I think will be suitable for your needs as a musician. This setup will be a budget Intel based system but I will make and AMD based system afterwards if anyone is interested in that. I will also add a Mid-Range system and a High-End system later.
Keep in mind that this would be a system that I would build on a low budget. These are the components and brands that I am comfortable working with and have had awesome results and high reliability. I know a lot of people may have different choices in brands, AMD vs Intel, sizes etc. so leave your feedback.
This section will be for the producers that just need an up to date and reliable system that will run all their programs and vst's that won’t break the bank.
Intel's "Sandy Bridge" processors are very powerful and can easily multi-task and run pretty much anything you throw at them. These CPU's will be an excellent choice for any system.
Intel Core i3 3.3GHz processor: $127.99
Newegg.com - Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I32120
This Dual Core CPU can compete and actually score higher than some Quad Core AMD chips in the same price range.
For motherboards, Asus, MSI, ASrock and EVGA boards are all excellent choices. For this budget build I will be listing a Micro-ATX board from ASRock that is slightly smaller than most boards, but will still be upgradeable and will have enough options for any needed accessories.
The motherboard will be where you connect all components for a running system and sometimes called “mobo.”
ASRock H61 Intel Motherboard: $64.99
Newegg.com - ASRock H61M/U3S3 LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Memory will be where your computer temporarily holds the information being processed by the CPU.
I would suggest at least 8 gigs of ram depending on what programs and vst's you will be using. 8 gigs will provide plenty of room to run your programs and still have enough left to mulit-task
Corsair XMS 4GB Memory: $22.99
Newegg.com - CORSAIR XMS 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model CMX4GX3M1A1333C9
You will need to buy 2 sticks of the ram for 8GB's ($45.98)
If you want to lower the total cost you can just get one stick but I recommend going with 8GBs for better performance and efficiency.
4. Hard Drive
For hard drives, Seagate is all I have ever used in my systems and they have been excellent drives. Western Digital is also a really good option but their prices will vary. Just make sure you go with a 7200rpm drive for faster performance.
You can either go with a 500GB hard drive or a 1TB drive. Working with music can use up a lot of space really fast so I would go with a 1TB.
The price difference is only $20 for 1TB but I will list both drives for the cheap skates
Seagate 500GB 7200rpm: $79.99
Newegg.com - Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Seagate 1TB 7200rpm: $99.99
Newegg.com - Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
5. Power Supply
Cooler Master 450w PSU 80 Plus Bronze $44.99
This power supply will be enough to run all components efficiently plus any upgrades you want to make later on such as more hard drives, graphics cards, pci cards, etc.
6. DVD/CD Burner
Asus DVD/CD Burner $17.99
Newegg.com - ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - CD / DVD Burners
Awesome optical drive!
With all these parts you’re going to need something sleek and sexy to hold it all together.
Fractel Design 1000 Case: $39.99
Newegg.com - Fractal Design Core 1000 Micro ATX Computer Case w/ 1 x 120mm fan
This is an awesome case for the price. It also looks really nice compared to most lower priced cases and it is all black inside and out. MURDERED OUT!
8. Total Costs: $398.93
Intel Core i3 3.3 GHz: $127.99
ASRock Motherboard: $64.99
Corsair Memory 4GB: $22.99
Seagate 500gb HDD: $79.99
Cooler Master 450w PSU: $44.99
Asus DVD/CD Burner: $17.99
Fractel Design Case: $39.99
In total this system comes out to be $398.93. Just under $400 for an up to date and upgradeable system.
If you went with the 1TB drive and 8GBs of memory, (recommended) the total would come out to $441.92. Keep in mind that you can buy these parts one piece at a time if you don’t want to blow your check and sacrifice your dinner for you and your girl.
Any feedback is welcomed so post your PC specs of your current music production PC and what you have been using it for to help others know what will work for them.
My PC Specs:
CPU: Intel Core i7 2600k @ 4.4Ghz
Mobo: Asus P8Z68-V Pro/Gen 3
GPU: Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850
SSD: Patriot Pyre SE 120GB
HDDs: Seagate 3TB 7200rpm
Western Digital Green 1TB 5900rpm
Ram: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB)
PSU: Cooler Master 850w Silent Pro
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912
---------- Post added at 11:25 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:17 PM ----------
Firewire card: $11.99
Newegg.com - SYBA PCI to Firewire 1394a 3+1 ports controller card Model SD-NEC-4F
That will be for any devices you need to connect through Firewire ports.
CPU Heat Sink Fan: $26.99
Newegg.com - COOLER MASTER Vortex Plus RR-VTPS-28PK-R1 92mm Long life sleeve CPU Cooler
This will be listed for any of you that are worried about your system running too hot or live in higher temperature areas. The stock fan that is included wth the Intel Core i3 will be good enough for most but this heat sink will keep it running cooler and more stable.
Video Cards (GPU):
Totally optional, but for those that will be doing more graphic intensive applications on their system such as light video editing and Photoshop etc.
Basic cards will run less intensive video applications such as HD video, blu-ray playback, light video encoding, photoshop, etc.
Mid-range cards will offer more performance than the basic cards and allow for gaming.
High-end cards will be overkill for most and are meant for gaming and lots of HD video editing where the limits are being pushed.
Basic Video Cards:
Power Color Radeon HD 5450 $29.99
Newegg.com - PowerColor Go! Green AX5450 512MK3-SH Radeon HD 5450 (Cedar) 512MB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
Asus Nvidia GT 210 $39.99
MSI Radeon HD 6570 $62.99
This card is for those that want a bit more graphical performance for light gaming.
Newegg.com - MSI R6570-MD1G/LP Radeon HD 6570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card
XFX Radeon HD 6670 $79.99
This card is an awesome bargain for gaming under $100 and out performs the 6570 I listed above.
Wi-FI Network Devices:
Asus USB Wi-Fi Device: $22.99
Newegg.com - ASUS USB-N13 Wireless Adapter IEEE 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0 Up to 300Mbps Wireless Data Rates
Rosewill PCI Wi-Fi Card: $16.99