What PC for recording?

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AnalogousGumdropDecoder
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What PC for recording?

Post by AnalogousGumdropDecoder » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:35 am

I'm about to purchase a PC for recording, but I'm not knowledgable about computer hardware and I need some advice.

I have a MOTU 828mkII, so I know I'm going to need a firewire port. I've heard that it needs to be a Texas Instruments 1394 chipset for the firewire? Don't know what that means, but I read it somewhere. I know it needs to run quietly.

I have no idea who to go to for this. The people at Dell and Samsung haven't been helpful at all.

I'm open to purchasing something from a manufacturer or having it custom build. I just don't have a lot of cash to spend. $1000-ish?

EDIT:

P.S - I live in Nashville, and this is for a home studio for my personal recordings, not a pro studio. Thanks.
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digitaldrummer
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Post by digitaldrummer » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:17 am

I have the predecessor to this:

http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-660/pd

Mine is the Inspiron 560. I have 6GB RAM and a quad-core CPU. the one above already kicks mine's butt in the cpu benchmarks even though it's only a dual core (and mine is quad - but mine is a couple years old now).

anyway, I have no problems with my system. I run Pro Tools 9.06 and Windows 7. I run the OS on one hard disk and put my sessions on a second internal disk (then I bounce mixes to the first disk). I never run out of CPU or disk power.

I did have to source a TI firewire card separately but that's pretty easy to find. Dell even has one:

http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/prod ... noteSearch

oh, and its quiet too.

Mike

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Post by kslight » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:55 am

I would pretty much assume that any computer you buy is not going to have a TI firewire chipset (if one at all) so spec a computer based on your needs and budget, then buy a separate firewire card. I was able to find a card for my Mac Pro (needed more Firewire) and an expresscard recently, and both have worked well, and not terribly expensive. I'm personally not a big fan of prebuilt PCs regardless of brand (manufacturers always cutting corners on critical components, race to the bottom marketing at its worst...when I build a PC I do not short change anything critical and thats' what I like building my own, so I know exactly whats in it), the only computers I've not built are my laptop and my Mac...but the rule of thumb is to buy the most computer you can afford...since ideally you'll want it to last several years... If I were going to buy a PC today for audio I'd be looking at a Quad Core i7 with lots of memory and at least 2 internal hard drives, then do some Avid suggested tweaks for setting up your computer (Windows settings...regardless of whether or not you will run Pro Tools, this will help you get the most out of the system you buy). Most computers these days run pretty quiet, but check user reviews I guess before buying to be sure...

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AnalogousGumdropDecoder
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Post by AnalogousGumdropDecoder » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:07 pm

So I should probably just look at getting the best desktop (not laptop?) for the money and adding a firewire card to it?

EDIT:

Is there a laptop solution also?
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Post by kslight » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:43 pm

AnalogousGumdropDecoder wrote:
Is there a laptop solution also?
Well its hard to tell... I went to the Dell website and they don't really give as much specs and configurable options on laptops as they used to...you'll probably have to call them to get details, but if you get a laptop with an express card slot (for adding firewire) and dedicated graphics (as opposed to "shared graphics memory") in addition to considering the performance specs, you should be ok. I have a Dell Vostro 1500 that I bought maybe 4 years ago for around $700, and its held up pretty well considering, I use it for live recordings.

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digitaldrummer
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Post by digitaldrummer » Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:04 pm

if you are not going to move your stuff around, then I'd still recommend a desktop. its much easier to add a firewire card, maybe an additional graphics card (I have dual monitors) or extra ports for backup hard drives, etc.

but if you plan to do live recordings, or drag your "studio" to someone else's place, then laptops are much more portable. I'm not seeing as many laptops with firewire ports anymore and some don't have the card slots either. One other thing to watch out for is that many lower cost laptops come with 5400 RPM hard drives inside and they are not fast enough to do more than a few tracks on (although I'll admit I was able to get 12 simultaneous tracks to record on an older laptop with a 5400 rpm drive once) and if you start editing, it will be even harder for it to keep up.

Mike

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PC Audio Labs

Post by mrclean » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:58 pm

I started a thread the other day with this same basic question

http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewtopic.php?t=81775

I ended up ordering from PC Aaudio Labs... it will be at least another week until I get it.

http://www.pcaudiolabs.com/rokbox_i3.asp

I needed a firewire card too. Dell was useless - they have no systems with firewire out of the box - you'd need to get a card and install.
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Post by mrc » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:20 pm

Lenovo T series laptops are good. Be sure to get one with at least an express card slot. Put something like a Crucial M4 128 gig or larger init, max out the ram, fastest that works in that machine, google search for that, and you can get a hard drive caddy to slide in and out of the dvd ultra bay. You can put another SSD in there when you need it, or just plug in a portable Usb drive, ssd or 7200 usb 2 or 3 (with a card), and drop in the fastest upgrade cpu you can find. I have a T61p I've done this with. 8 gigs o ram on the way from newegg, pcmica firewire card, Startech TI chipset card and express card usb 3 card with a usb3 WD My Book 1 Terabyte external drive. Cruical M4 128 for C and currently a patriot Torx2 32gb ssd for testing...had it on hand. This one came with A T8300 core 2 Duo cpu, and can take a T9300, but am still researching to see if that's the limit. It's just for mobile tracking.
My main box is an Asus Sabertooth 990FX with a Phenom II X4 980, soon to be an 8350, with 8 gigs o 12800 ram, UAD2 Duo, TI firewire card, parallel port card for the mtpav open slot for a future UAD card, plus video card. After seeing the gains with the m4, this box will be moving to ssd's as well :wink: and the files are dumped to this box for mixing.
Good Luck! Running win 7 32 & 64 on different drives, using bios switching for boot control.
The T61 was 279.00 @ newegg, plus the upgrades :shock:

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Post by thunderboy » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:51 am

mrc wrote:I have a T61p I've done this with. 8 gigs o ram on the way from newegg, pcmica firewire card, Startech TI chipset card and express card usb 3 card with a usb3 WD My Book 1 Terabyte external drive. Cruical M4 128 for C and currently a patriot Torx2 32gb ssd for testing...had it on hand. This one came with A T8300 core 2 Duo cpu, and can take a T9300, but am still researching to see if that's the limit. It's just for mobile tracking.
Your T61p should take up to a T9500, but those Core 2 CPUs seem far too expensive for the performance nowadays. Not sure if it would be a worthwhile upgrade for you. My T61 has a T9300 and 4Gb RAM (still on 32-bit), with a Crucial M 256Gb SSD, 1Tb WD Passport and a Siig Firewire 400 expresscard. It's my bestie!
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Post by mrc » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:38 pm

I agree, not to sure .1 or .2 Ghz amount to squat. Running win 7 64.

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SafeandSoundMastering
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Post by SafeandSoundMastering » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:30 am

I have build a few PC's and whilst researching the best/most likely components to work have been fairly lucky. Despite research there can still be gremlins and annoyances.

Last time I opted for a ready built solution from a specialist Music PC builder. It was an extra ?200.00 on the price of doing it myself for an i7 machine and I have zero regrets. I saved time and headaches got good advice and a machine that has worked faultlessly for a year now. That is worth paying for sometimes and sometimes not I guess. If you have time and inclination more so than money you could try a DIY job but be prepared for a few unexpected headaches unless you do very in depth research.

I will definitely make my next computer a ready built by experts one.

cheers

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roscoenyc
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Post by roscoenyc » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:43 am

If you want to record music and not have your head in the box tinkering........

Any computer but a PC.

(Mac)

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Post by Nick Sevilla » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:18 am

Sure,

I recommend this:

http://www.apple.com/macpro/

Cheers
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