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#3067307 10/24/20 06:20 PM
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No, not the Next Computer that spawned OSX.

What's going to be your next computer? Obviously no need to answer if you are not pining for a new one. Kudos to you if your machine is doing everything it's supposed to right now.

I am using an Gen 8 i7 Windows machine with SSDs and 32 gigs of RAM, and I'm just running Reason, Live, and about half a million VSTs. smile I'm coming up against the limits of this machine.

I certainly understand that I could print tracks and do many other things to optimize my workflow. But I don't want to do that. I want to build an optimal system that will accommodate my current workflow but costs under 2500.00. I've done endless research around benchmarks. i7/i9/R9 and Threadripper variants have been scrutinized. And I've narrowed it down to either an i9 or Ryzen 9 and 64-96 gigs of RAM.

But I wanted to ask folks here if they've done the same thing recently. Have you either done recent research or purchased (or built) a new PC recently for mega-DAW work? If you have could you share your system or your research? Any motherboard preferences? There are just so many, and the articles and videos about them in terms of audio are woefully inaccurate or purely anecdotal. I prefer anecdotal from people I know here. So what say you?


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I could really use a new computer, because I'm doing more and more video work, and the visual effects chew up processing power.

But when I have the bucks I'll take the easy route, and since PC Audio Labs did such a great job on my current computer, I'll ask them to put something modern together. Frankly it's as much about the support as the expertise. Jim Roseberry at studiocat.com also has excellent computers and support. I haven't checked out Sweetwater's Creation Stations but I assume they're in the same league.

Going to a systems integrator for my Windows computer was one of my better decisions, down time has been next to nothing because issues can be resolved and I can get on with my life smile I like having someone else take responsibility for my computer's operation.

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Originally Posted by Anderton
Going to a systems integrator for my Windows computer was one of my better decisions, down time has been next to nothing because issues can be resolved and I can get on with my life smile I like having someone else take responsibility for my computer's operation.

I 100% agree. I’ve built my last three, but I’m done with that. I’m willing to pay for someone to have already done the labor. I will check out the two you recommend. Thanks.

Oh, and I did check with Sweetwater...they used to do a lot of customized builds, but they’ve really narrowed the options.

Last edited by zeronyne; 10/24/20 07:09 PM.

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I built a lot of computers in the early days, but quit building from scratch in 2001, when I found I could by a state-of-art (then) HP XW4100 Workstation already assembled with OS for approximately $50 more than I could build an equivalent system. It had a 3 year 8x5 (Mon-Fri 0800-1700) full warranty where they would come to the site if needed to fix it. In fact, on a later system (XW4550) that I purchased as an HP refurb, they DID come to my home to fix it once.
One of the nicer things about the XW4100 is that I didn't have a single cut, scrape, or other injury on either hand or arm; like I usually wound up with on the DIY ones.

My present primary desktop is an HPZ220 workstation, which I bought as HP Refurb, I have done some mods to it, exchanging the 8GB RAM for 32GB, the 1TB HD for a 1TB SSD (and adding another for image backups). It has a quad core i7 processor. There is a similar current machine now, which can have an i9 and up to 128GB of RAM. Only thing: mine is fully paid for, and has somewhere around 90% of the power of the new one.

Similar, my notebook is HP Zbook 17 Gen 2, quad i7, 32GB RAM, 128GB NVME SSD, 1TB SATA SSD, and 1TB HD (for image backups). I bought it used early this year on eBay for $400, the original cost for this one (with all the bells and whistles on it) was around $4395. Also have the docking station. The current model is slimmer. much harder to change battery, etc. but can be a quad i9 with 128GB RAM.

All of the above machines are in their Pro Workstation like (which does get up into $20k+ machines on the high end). I'd rather have a 5 year old one of them than a brand new consumer market machine. Getting my clients to purchase business or scientific grade computers isn't always easy, but they find it worthwhile, just plain built better with better components.

On the Mac side, I have a 2011 MacBook Pro that I bought on eBay several years ago for $700. It has quad i7, 16GB RAM, and 1TB SSD. Running High Sierra, which is the last OS it will run. Also running Parallels on it for 3 Win 10 VMs (each for a different purpose) and Mint Cinnamon 20.0 Linux VM). It is clunkier, but has a good keyboard, and I can change the battery, memory, and drive myself.

All of these are used for personal stuff, and for making $$ in my computer business.

I'd love to have a fully maxed out current Mac Pro, but can't even think about the $60k plus needed to buy it (and don't really have anything at all that would even remotely justify it.


Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's
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I've stayed in the Mac camp for years, largely because Logic saved me from DAW Madness with a previous sequencer from Hell. While I have just a precious few 3rd-party instruments I'll retain, at my next leap, it'll be primarily ample SSD space and Omnisphere. My retirement plan is to be found dead at the Mac, having only reviewed up to sound #7,566 in the preset library. Say what you like, but after the miles of tape I've threaded (and had snarl up suddenly), that'll be an honorable death. cheers


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I've been looking for a replacement for my Windows "netbook" that has a slightly larger screen, but the only new ones I can find have either a 15-17 inch screen or are "convertibles" that fold into a tablet. I don't mind buying used, but it's hard to find a 12-13" screen laptop these days, and who knows who you can trust when you find one for sale?

It doesn't need to be very powerful. It's for travel work (if I ever get a reason to travel again - I've been looking since I was traveling) and it doesn't need to be really powerful. If I use it for audio at all, it'll be simple 2-channel recording and editing. Otherwise it's for e-mail, web access, and writing/word processing.

I've been thinking about replacing the Core 2 Duo Windows computers that I use for audio in the studio, probably will get a used Pentium i5 one of these days. I don't like to spend a lot of money on computers even though I find I can continue to use them long after most other users would upgrade. My requirements are modest.

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Mike:
Sometime ago, I bought a used HP Elitebook 2570p notebook, dual core i7 processor, holds up to 8GB RAM, replaced the HD with a 500Gb SSD. It has a 12" screen. Very good performance, and can be purchased at a low price (if anyone has for sale). I used it for years as a primary PC to carry on service calls, and it always served me well.
This February, I got a good deal on a used HP Zbook 17 portable workstation. Quad core i7, 32GB RAM, 256GB NVME, 1TB SATA SSD, and 1TB HD. Beautiful 17" screen. Much heavier to carry around, but the eyesight isn't what it was at one time. I was still using the little HP, but connecting a 19" monitor to it (which worked well, but defeated the purpose of the light weight/small screen).
I gave the little HP to my brother, who needed a way to access Internet other than his phone, so it is still in use.
12" notebooks have gone out of favor today (and the Netbooks aren't even available any more - I had one of those too, used it for a long time, but the little 32bit Atom processor just didn't keep up with the increasing demand for performance just to stand still.


Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's
HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2
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Thanks for the HP recommendations. Amazon has the Elitebook 2570p refurbished for $300, which is about double what I had hoped to spend, given that this computer won't get a lot of use. I bought a refurbished HP (forgot the model number) from my local used computer store that was the right size and weight, and even had an accessory card slot and Firewire port. Unfortunately it failed twice - first time it worked for a month or so, then failed again. The second time around the shop couldn't fix it and they gave me a refund. I haven't looked very hard since the lockdown, but with the scramble for computers to keep the kids in school, bargains will be difficult to find.

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I will continue to build my own. It is now so easy - it maybe takes 2-3 hours - and I get EXACTLY what I want. At this point, it is just new motherboard, CPU and RAM most of the time. I have a great case holding all the drives already. I'm looking at the new Ryzen 3950. That would double the cores of my i9 9900k, I could double my RAM to 128GB and get rid of the extra sample servers for the orchestral template. The Ryzen architecture has finally matured, and they addressed the IPC issues that had me stick with Intel last time. 16 cores will also scream for rendering 4k video in Premiere...

The pre-built machine I want would be one of the Mass-Core machines Merging makes loaded with Pyramix 12.... They make a fully passive version that makes NO NOISE. Lovely.


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