Looking for a Desktop, ~$1,200 Budget

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by SenorDingDong, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    The main thing about these DAW specialist PCs is that someone has done the rigorous testing, you pay about $300 extra for that which I don't feel uncomfortable to do, it beats having to troubleshoot say GPU blue screen of death after your 2nd Windows 10 forced update...or like WIn10 "creators edition" killed my Firewire port in my laptop.
     
  2. SenorDingDong

    SenorDingDong Smeller of Smells

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    I'm not opposed to building, I'm just nervous that my potential fuck ups can eat into my budget. If I screw up a $300 part, I now have to rebuy it, which is a $600 drop for one component.


    I'll have to think on it. I definitely don't trust that laptop running closed face, though. It has way too much going on and touching the screen when closed to feel safe.
     
  3. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I have doubts that this is how those machines are put together. It's more likely that it's just spec'd a particular way to check off the "it's a good workstation" checklist, and maybe they've gone through the trouble of pre-installing some things and making sure there aren't any missing drivers. But a Windows update is just as likely to screw up a driver for a pre-made machine as it is for something you put together yourself. In both cases you're equally at the mercy of MS and whoever makes the drivers for whatever parts were picked out.

    If anything, a pre-made machine would make me more leary of less-commonly used parts being involved (maybe because they could get a good price on them per volume or something), making it harder to find a solution when something does happen.
     
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  4. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    Well these are the machines that they usually sell to name producers, entertainment companies, etc. I know at least Carillon are serious about testing them before making a production PC. They are UK/EU unfortunately for US:
    https://www.carillonac1.com/
     
  5. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    SSD should be essential on ANY modern computer, period.

    My 2013 MacBook Pro with SSD has read and write speeds of 600MB/s+. The new version can hit more than 3,000MB/s. The fastest spinning HDDs used to get read speeds of maybe 200MB/s if you were lucky.

    It's not just playback (for audio, CPU will probably be a limiting factor anyway if you have samples etc). But think of the difference in boot time, loading apps, loading your sample libraries, WAV files etc.

    And no, this worry about lifetime is unfounded in any modern drive. You'd have to have crazy heavy usage to ever run into that issue. And you have to compare to the alternative - an HDD with platters spinning at 7200rpm, which are much more likely to break and lose data.
     
  6. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I still run a spinning drive in my laptop, and it's fine. :shrug:
    I'm used to SSDs, so I understand the difference, but IMO it's sort of a luxury if you don't really need the time savings. In a professional/production environment, sure, but just for any ol' PC.... meh.
     
  7. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    That's what I thought until I owned a couple of laptops with SSDs. I had been using a tablet for live backtracks because my (really nice) laptop with a standard HDD could not deal with vibrations on stage of a full-volume band. If you have any use for a computer in a live setup I wouldn't use anything WITHOUT an SSD. With a 1TB EVO drive available for ~$150 its hardly a luxury anymore.
     
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  8. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Battery life is also much improved with an SSD. On my old Gateway netbook, I saw noticeable, significant improvement. And the responsiveness was enough for me to never boot from a magnetic drive on any of my computers again.

    They are also lighter, which in a laptop is a nice-to-have.
     
  9. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I'm not denying that an SSD is better in most cases - and vibrations in a live setting would be a very real concern - just that in just everyday computing tasks, it's not that big a deal.
     
  10. Frostbite

    Frostbite Periphery Shill

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    I'm going to just outright disagree with this. An SSD literally makes a computer go from feeling ancient to modern. Every day computing tasks are where it shines because opening programs like excel, word or even a web browser 9or a DAW and running plugins in this case) can be PAINFUL on a hard drive, especially later on in it's life span. I honestly believe at this point that anything outside of mass storage you should go SSD
     
  11. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    :shrug: To each their own I guess.
     
  12. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Like I said, use one and you'll immediately understand why everyone says to put SSD in any computer you can.
     
  13. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I'm using one as we speak! I have an SSD in both my work PC and my home desktop. Spinning drive in my laptop. I'm not just guessing.
     
  14. drgamble

    drgamble SS.org Regular

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    I have to second the opinion to just build a PC for recording use. The PC that I have now is the first one that I bought. I looked up machine that are pre-built and the $1500 I paid to build my machine would have cost me $3500 if I bought from a builder. Just doing a quick search on Newegg, you could build a system with i7 8700K, ASUS Prime MB, 16G ram, Fractal Full Tower case, 550W power supply, water cooling, and Windows 10 Pro for about $1238. A similar spec build from Sweetwater will run you over $2300. You do have to add hard drives, but you should definitely spend on the processor now instead of later. A HDD will probably set you back another $150, so the build is a little above your budget. I can tell you though that I have the same system, but with 32G of ram and this thing laughs at DAWs.
     
  15. Breakdown

    Breakdown SS.org Regular

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    Build one dude. Its honestly not that hard. I built a somewhat high spec one 3 years ago still going strong with no Issues. I had 0 experience bulding/fixing computers before then. 1200 will get you a great machine especially if you dont care much about gpus or gaming type peripherals.
     
  16. KingAenarion

    KingAenarion Resident Studio Nerd

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    Not saying you should go Mac, but honestly I hear this argument when I start teaching my classes on Logic, and by the end of the course it's gone. It's like jumping any OS if you're not using it regularly, it takes time, but once you get used to it it's fine.

    Honestly, as much as there are some annoying little system management things in OSX without the command line, and the usual gripes, the trade off is Core Audio, which is in every aspect just vastly superior for audio.

    Otherwise, if you're going Windows and you want a stable system where someone has researched and tested the parts, a really good place to check out is the Hackintosh forums, because they've already tested machines a shitload for hardware to work together.
     
  17. KingAenarion

    KingAenarion Resident Studio Nerd

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    That's unfortunate, because the statistics show you're more likely to have issues with disk drives. Also the new m2 stuff is just insanely fast and super stable. Eliminating sata makes a world of difference.

    Never buy Seagate for this reason. At 36 months you've only got a 73% chance your drive is going to be alright.
     
  18. noise in my mind

    noise in my mind SS.org Regular

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    I would say build your own. It's just like putting a lego kit together when you were a kid. Once you trouble shoot all the stuff (BSOD, updates etc.), it pretty smooth sailing. I built my current recording computer back in the beginning of 2013 and it's still running great. I have SSD's for virtual instruments and regular 7200 HD's for mass storage and plugins.
     
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  19. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    I’ll definitely never buy another Seagate drive. I’ve had two that I’ve had to rehouse the drives because the connector hardware failed in the last year. I bought them because they were on sale and I needed to make a backup fast (left for a show without a disc image/backup, like a dumbass). Luckily the drives still work in a dock, so far. I refurbish computers at work at is say probably 70% of the drives that fail during nuking/testing are Seagate.
     
  20. GatherTheArsenal

    GatherTheArsenal SF2 > Everything

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    It sounds like you're pretty set on a new build, but I thought I'd chime in with my :2c: since we're both relatively on same boat.

    I also have a behemoth of a gaming laptop which I'm using for my home studio.

    ASUS ROG G701Vi (the fully loaded XS72K model)
    Quick Specs for reference:
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    i7-7820HK 2.9 GHz (8M cache, up to 3.9 GHz)
    GTX 1080 (8 GB DDR5)
    32 GB DDR4 2800 MHz
    9 lbs in weight (11.5 w/charger)

    What some here suggested is totally doable. Our laptops are comparable and my home studio setup works with no issues on my end. Pics below (it's still a WPI)

    I got my laptop on a different desk altogether to make room for everything else.
    [​IMG]

    It's propped up on one of those cooling fan stands you can find online so it doesn't get hot sitting on the desk. Also I find they're necessary in the summer if your room gets hot what with all the hardware turned on. My laptop is actually powered on in the pic below but when I connect it via HDMI to my monitor it auto shuts off the screen to save power and no screen burn. Your laptop probably has the same function, in either case just keep the screen open at all times, wouldn't hurt.

    [​IMG]

    With just 2 USB hubs I have all my other peripherals plugged and good to go (2 mouses, keyboard, mouse pad, audio interface, midi keyboard, external bluray drive... can't remember what else :scratch:) but i know I still have 4 empty USB3.0 spots if I need them. You could always go this and it's not expensive.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As far as back up, just get a large external HDD. I have a 5TB type-c external and another 8TB USB3.1 which I backup once a week and no issues.

    All this to say that it's doable, in my opinion I had no need for a new build and you may not need it either. You could do all the above and spend less than $1200, I would probably upgrade your RAM in any case.
     

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