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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Upgrading A Computer

Hey, Folks.

I have a old eMachines W2828 computer that I am going to gut out soon and use the case for a new build. Now I am very new at this and had only a few classes at school in regards to computer hardware.

I just want to get the computer to where it can handle programs like Pro Tools. What sort of specs should I get? I am planning on getting a Intel core I7 and a 2TB hard drive.


Hard Drive
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...u=TSD-2000EARS


Core Processor -
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...u=TSD-2000EARS

Other specs I am not aware of at this time. Feel free to shout out any suggestions.

Also, what are the odds of installing the new Mac OS on this PC? I know they're capable of doing that but I'm not how to do that. I'll read up on it as it gets closer. Right now, I'm just pricing everything.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 04:21 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Re: Upgrading A Computer

The first and foremost question will be, what are you going to do with this computer? If it's strictly going to be a recording machine, you are already way above spec for what you would need in terms of processor speed. Most DAW's, unless you plan on doing video editing, really won't need that much. Also, what are you going to use for an interface, your bottleneck will be the transfer and write speed to your harddrive from the interface much more often than it will be your processor. If you're looking to use it as an everyday computer or for gaming, that will change the kinds of things you "need."
As for creating a Hackintosh, there are plenty of tutorials on the web but components matter for that, so you'd need to see what sorts of specs it would require. What's your budget and timeline to build?
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 04:44 PM
 
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Re: Upgrading A Computer

Have a look at the Pro Tools site, they have a couple of threads that may assist you better with this question. Do your RESEARCH, CHECK, CHECK the CHECK again. If the system is not built properly, as I am sure you are aware, with appropriate components then you will have issue after issue and have to spend a lot more cash and time trying to fix the problem that you will never get any recording done.

-Wolfram
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 11:58 AM
 
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Re: Upgrading A Computer

Right, i'd consider myself to be quite educated with computers, constantly upgrading mine. First off, don't waste your money on an I7, if it's going to used for recording, Just don't do it. I am a sound engineer myself, and I'm getting along just fine with my old Core 2 quad Q6600, it's overclocked a little bit, but still. My advice would be to go with an AMD 6 core, preferably the 1090T. As for hackintosh, don't waste your time with it, really not worth it. There are so manny compatability issues, just go with Windows and ignore what people say about Mac's being so much superior when it comes to audio engineering. As for the hard drive, really that's down to you obviously, but really, how much space would you need? I'm an audio engineer, gamer, and college student, and i'd be happy even with just 500gb to be honest. But just a heads up, don't get a Western digital green whatever you do, they are really slow because they are only 5400rpm. You want a 7200rpm drive atleast. Hope this helps
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 04:34 PM
 
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Re: Upgrading A Computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by mystro View Post
But just a heads up, don't get a Western digital green whatever you do, they are really slow because they are only 5400rpm. You want a 7200rpm drive atleast. Hope this helps
I agree. I use WD Caviar Blacks and have had no issues running PTs. Don't forget to get two: one for the OS, and one Recording Audio.

-Wolfram
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 11:58 PM
 
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Location: Chicago, IL
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Re: Upgrading A Computer

I would go with one of the 2nd gen i7 processors. They have graphics built in so you won't need a dedicated graphics card. Also, like said above, go with a 7200 rpm hard drive.

I'd also like to comment on mystro's post. Given the i7 might not be necessary today, wouldn't you rather future proof your computer a little. Spend a little more now, and the computer will last you much longer.

How much RAM do you plan on putting in? More RAM = more tracks and plugins. I have 6gb in my machine and never come close to using it all.

Also, I'd say go with more name brand stuff, especially with the motherboard. Better components means less headaches with freezing and bsod. I built my computer about 2 years ago and have yet to have a single blue screen (besides when pushing my overclock of course) or freezing issues or anything.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2011, 03:40 AM
 
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Re: Upgrading A Computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by mystro View Post
Right, i'd consider myself to be quite educated with computers, constantly upgrading mine. First off, don't waste your money on an I7, if it's going to used for recording, Just don't do it. I am a sound engineer myself, and I'm getting along just fine with my old Core 2 quad Q6600, it's overclocked a little bit, but still. My advice would be to go with an AMD 6 core, preferably the 1090T. As for hackintosh, don't waste your time with it, really not worth it. There are so manny compatability issues, just go with Windows and ignore what people say about Mac's being so much superior when it comes to audio engineering. As for the hard drive, really that's down to you obviously, but really, how much space would you need? I'm an audio engineer, gamer, and college student, and i'd be happy even with just 500gb to be honest. But just a heads up, don't get a Western digital green whatever you do, they are really slow because they are only 5400rpm. You want a 7200rpm drive atleast. Hope this helps
I have a terabyte Western Digital green and it does recording absolutley fine, it's only a little slow at loading games. (they are also NOT 5400rpm, they're 7200rpm).

My machine is:
CPU: i7 920
RAM: 6GB DDR3 1600MHz
HDD: 1TB WD Carviar Green
Mobo: Gigabyte EX58-UD3R
GFX: ATi 5890

It is overkill for recording, but back when i made it, i designed it for gaming and then i bought my Presonus Firestudio Project and it works perfectly for recording too (3ms latency i think).

I'd mainly be looking at plenty of RAM, a WD black and 64bit windows and DAW (to utilise all that RAM). If i were you, i'd probably look at something like this.

CPU: Core2duo/Intel i5 (duo=no HT and DDR2 RAM, i5= HT and DDR3)
RAM: 6GB 800-1600MHz DDR2/3 (depends on the CPU you get)
HDD: 500GB WD Black SATA3

And maybe just a little graphics card.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2011, 05:05 AM
 
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Re: Upgrading A Computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by julzius View Post
I have a terabyte Western Digital green and it does recording absolutley fine, it's only a little slow at loading games. (they are also NOT 5400rpm, they're 7200rpm).
Is this in use with a Pro Tools system (hardware and software)? If so you must be lucky. I have used a WD Caviar Green with a Pro Tools 003 setup and there were buffer issues.

Additionally, I believe that you are only partially correct regarding the WD Caviar Green HD. The WD Caviar Green Hard drive idles at 5400 and may go up to 7200rpm. A quick search shows this - apparently even WD were forced to acknowledge this. Impoved reliablity is also assured with the WD Caviar Black drives.

-Wolfram

Last edited by Wolfram; 08-31-2011 at 08:49 AM.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2011, 07:33 AM
 
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Re: Upgrading A Computer

If you want to run ProTools, buy a Mac.
If you want to run anything else, build a Windows based PC.

ProTools is, to my experience, extremely picky when it comes to hardware. For me it stopped working because of a non compatible bridge on the motherboard - I don't even know what that is...
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 03:52 AM
 
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Re: Upgrading A Computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfram View Post
Is this in use with a Pro Tools system (hardware and software)? If so you must be lucky. I have used a WD Caviar Green with a Pro Tools 003 setup and there were buffer issues.

Additionally, I believe that you are only partially correct regarding the WD Caviar Green HD. The WD Caviar Green Hard drive idles at 5400 and may go up to 7200rpm. A quick search shows this - apparently even WD were forced to acknowledge this. Impoved reliablity is also assured with the WD Caviar Black drives.

-Wolfram
I'm using cubase 5, if pro tools is really picky with what hardware it can utilise, it doesn't sound like a very good program to use to me, but i've never tried it.

If my drive does indeed run at 5400rpm, and i have very minimal latency, then i don't see a problem with using 5400rpm drives. You'll even have less noise and less power usage which would be nice bonuses, especially if your recording at home with the computer in the same room as the mics.

I've seen cubase 5 run on some really old hardware (Pentium 4 3GHz HT, 4GB RAM DDR2 667/800Mhz) and still had no problems and low latency.

But i really think that it's all up to your sound interface. I can recommend the Presonus Firestudio Project as it's what i use and it's been wonderful for me. I get extremely low latency, even with all 8 mics recording at once.

So unless you've been officially taught with pro tools, i would give cubase a look over, as it seems to behave better.

Toodles, Julz.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 04:39 AM
 
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Re: Upgrading A Computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by julzius View Post
If my drive does indeed run at 5400rpm, and i have very minimal latency, then i don't see a problem with using 5400rpm drives. You'll even have less noise and less power usage which would be nice bonuses, especially if your recording at home with the computer in the same room as the mics.
The speed of the hard drive isn't going to affect latency. Let's me see how clearly I can explain why.

Any audio that Pro Tools is using will be loaded into your RAM. So Pro Tools is only reading and writing (recording) to RAM first. When recording, it will be copied (saved) to the hard drive right after. Also, when you open up a saved session, all the audio will be loaded into RAM (from the hard drive) before you're able to work on it.

So, you're benefits of having a faster hard drive will make opening of sessions of faster. Importing audio will be faster. Also, most people will have Pro Tools automatically save every so many minutes. A faster hard drive will make this less noticeable.

Besides recording, everything on your computer will just run a little faster. Windows will start up faster, programs will start faster, there really isn't a downside.

EDIT:
Just to add, I use Cakewalk SONAR for recording. It's a good stable program. You'll be able to do anything you can do with Pro Tools in it. Unless you need Pro Tools for any specific reason, this would also be a good (cheaper) choice.

Free trial available here:
http://www.cakewalk.com/products/sonar/web-trial.aspx
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 04:47 AM
 
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Re: Upgrading A Computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by julzius View Post
I'm using cubase 5, if pro tools is really picky with what hardware it can utilise, it doesn't sound like a very good program to use to me, but i've never tried it.
There must be some reason why it's regarded as an industry standard

-Wolfram
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 05:34 AM
 
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Re: Upgrading A Computer

PT is picky because it was written for Mac, then converted (sloppily?) to Windows based PC. Windows PC can use heaps of different hardware, Mac is Mac, that has been the strong point for Mac. Not too easy to upgrade, nor cheap, but if you had a specific model Mac everybody knew which components was in it - and all the programs written for it worked. I'm not a Mac guy, but even the program that came with my mouse refuse to work on my Windows PC. In a perfect world, that's not how it should be.

That said. If you are good with Win PC, there's nothing that stops you from building a great one that works just as well as a Mac.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 07:22 PM
 
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Re: Upgrading A Computer

I use CuBase 5 as well with great results........ I built my machine with versatility AND value in mind.

I think the first thing that has to be decided on BEFORE any hardware is what operating system you plan to use AND what recording software??

I found that CuBase runs the most efficient on Win XP Pro so I dedicated one hard drive (WD 150g VelociRaptor) for nothing but Win XP and all my recording software (cubase, plugins, vst's)

Another VERY important part is to match you soundcard with your interface..... I use a Lexicon Omega interface....AWESOME interface, but it requires a soundcard that is ASIO 2.0 compliant....... I bought a Creative Soundblaster X-Fi titanium Pro...... I have near Zero latencies with it.

Are you planning on going all SATA?? (I hope so) then you will have to choose a motherboard that is either Sata3.0 or 6.0....your choice.

in a nutshell, my system works flawlessly for recording, gaming, and browsing. It was VERY economical because many of the components are out dated now......

My System specs:

MB- EVGA N-Force 750i SLI FTW (4 internal sata 3.0 ports....lame, but enough)
CPU- Intel QX9650 core2quad extreme (they're cheap now)
Ram- 4x2G Patriot Viper DDR2 PC2-8500 (1066mhz fsb)
HDD's- (3) WD VelociRaptors 150G each (Win XP pro, Win7pro, Win7 pro)
GFX- (2) EVGA GTX260 in SLI
AUD- Creative "Sound Blaster" X-Fi titanium pro (needed for the asio drivers)
PS- Corsair TX-750 750w single 12v rail

and a CoolerMaster HAF932 case...just because it looked cool
I'm also running a ThermalTake V-8 cpu cooler, 3-230mm fans, 3-140mm fans and 2-80mm fans

Here's a pic:


Last edited by RGTFanatic; 09-03-2011 at 05:18 PM.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 11:44 PM
 
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Re: Upgrading A Computer

Nice computer (EVGA FTW!!!), but you're missing the watercooling. Here's mine:



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