PC question

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popbaby
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PC question

Post by popbaby » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:03 pm

I've been using mixcraft over the past few months and it's been my favorite DAW thus far. As a singer/songwriter, it enables me to record ideas without technology getting in the way. I've read information online regarding what kind of PC to get for recording, and while I take my music seriously, I'm not running a studio, nor do I have any plans to.

With Mixcraft 7 coming down the pipeline here in a few months, I'm no longer going to be limited to my current 4gb ram that my 5 year old laptop has. I'm excited to be able to run EZdrummer2 and 10+tracks with plugins, without freezing anything to wav. So what kind of laptop do I need? I've been able to find some pretty good deals (under $700), that I imagine will only get better as the holiday season approaches. Bare in mind that my current computer (4gb ram/intel duo core) has been up to the task, but does get bogged down once I start adding up the plugins.

The laptop I'm looking at has an AMD10 processor, 16gbs ram, and 1TB 5400rpm HD. I've heard a lot about it being NECESSARY to have at least a 7200rpm HD or SSD, but I'm not recording any more than 1 or two tracks at a time with my focusrite 2i2. I'm also not running any synths or kontakt, nor do I really have plans to. I will be using EZdrummer2 and will be running amp modeling through something like amplitube. I'll also be using a lot of waves plugins including the CLA series, JJP, and mastering software like Ozone.

I want to plan ahead for the future, but also don't want to drop a ton of coin on something I don't need. Thoughts? Thanks!

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chibear
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Re: PC question

Post by chibear » Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:13 pm

First of all, do you REALLY need a laptop?? Desktops are easier to configure, run cooler, are easier to upgrade, are generally cheaper, and usually last longer.

If you do need a laptop, you can opt for an external 7200RPM drive or SSD (connected via USB3 or eSATA port). The Mixcraft program should run fine off a 5400RPM drive. It's when you start streaming audio samples that drive speed becomes an issue. My suggestion would be then to configure your laptop to have Mixcraft on the 5400RPM drive and have all library, temp files, and project files on the external drive. You can then backup projects to the internal 5400RPM drive.
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outteh
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Re: PC question

Post by outteh » Wed Oct 29, 2014 5:45 am

Everything in your spec for the laptop is fine except for the 5400 rpm drive. See if you can get your system configured with a faster, 7200 rpm drive.

popbaby
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Re: PC question

Post by popbaby » Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:57 am

Thanks a bunch for the responses! How imperative is it that I get a 7200rpm hard drive? Where will I notice a difference the most? I was under the impression that RAM would make the biggest difference. I don't ever see playing more than 30 tracks, plus EZdrummer2 (multi out with plugins). Would I just be better off with an internal SSD and an external HD for back up? Thanks

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outteh
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Re: PC question

Post by outteh » Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:06 am

The 7200 rpm drive provides faster access for audio and reduces potential cracks and pops. An SSD drive is ideal but can be pricey for larger GB drives. If you go with an external drive , you may introduce some latency and crackle as it has to go through a USB or FireWire bus which is not the same as direct access to the motherboard. So it,s not so much the number of tracks, it's the ability to access the drive quickly and efficiently.

popbaby
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Re: PC question

Post by popbaby » Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:51 am

Thank you! Would you suggest a 250gb internal solid state drive over a 1tb 7200rpm internal drive?

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chibear
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Re: PC question

Post by chibear » Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:19 am

If you are going to have a SINGLE drive, I would suggest the 7200RPM drive. I have several SSDs in my main DAW, One for OS and the rest for storage of libraries. There has been a lot of discussion concerning the deterioration of SSDs over time as there are a limited number of read-write cycles that a drive can do before it starts burning out. THIS post kind of alleviated my fears a bit, but my DAW's OS drive will be a good test as it runs <> 60 hrs a week.
If you go with an external drive , you may introduce some latency and crackle as it has to go through a USB or FireWire bus which is not the same as direct access to the motherboard.
I searched the forums quoted above, which are utilized by a lot of people in the industry. Many use external drives with laptops via USB3 (not USB2!), eSATA, and Firewire connections and I don't ever recall a post complaining about latency or artifacts because of the chosen interface. I'm about to add another drive to my DAW and am considering an external drive (using either USB3 or eSATA) so that I would have some portability for the libraries i put on it using the my laptop
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outteh
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Re: PC question

Post by outteh » Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:55 am

The SSD will wear out, but as Chibear pointed out, it's going to take a while. The choice of setup is yours. The 7200 rpm drive will do fine. Whether you put your OS on an SSD or use it for recording is also up to you. FireWire and USB 3 are the fastest for external connections so just make sure your configured for either one.

popbaby
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Re: PC question

Post by popbaby » Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:40 am

Thanks again! The new PC I'm looking at has AMD A6-5350M Dual Core Processor (1M Cache, 2.90GHz - 3.50GHz) Is that much worse than the AMD10? Thanks

http://www.amazon.com/ThinkPad-20B20011 ... 359&sr=1-4

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outteh
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Re: PC question

Post by outteh » Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:19 am

I'm not a fan of the thinkpad line, just a personal taste issue. Take a look at the ASUS line. Tiger Direct has some great deals going on right now. I also favor Intel over AMD but AMD is a great price point for performance.




http://www.tigerdirect.com/

popbaby
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Re: PC question

Post by popbaby » Thu Oct 30, 2014 3:03 pm

Unless something comes along cheaper/better I think I'm gonna end up with my gut purchase which is this $600 HP from Costco. I'll just add an external 7200 rpm HD via USB 3.0 for under $100.

http://www.costco.com/HP-Pavilion-15z-L ... 38744.html

Ianpb
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Re: PC question

Post by Ianpb » Thu Oct 30, 2014 4:38 pm

popbaby wrote:Thanks again! The new PC I'm looking at has AMD A6-5350M Dual Core Processor (1M Cache, 2.90GHz - 3.50GHz) Is that much worse than the AMD10? Thanks

http://www.amazon.com/ThinkPad-20B20011 ... 359&sr=1-4
Don't expect to do large numbers of tracks with a dual core processor. In my opinion, dual-core is a poor investment for music production. I had one in my PC when I started music production, but within a couple of months I was forced to look for a quad-core upgrade.

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Mark Bliss
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Re: PC question

Post by Mark Bliss » Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:40 pm

In light of the previously mentioned 30 track target etc...... Have to agree. Dual core is very likely to come up short there. Not that you cant do great work with a dual core, but the parameters you described arent matching up too well.
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gypsy101
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Re: PC question

Post by gypsy101 » Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:32 am

here is a "basic" music production computer.
you can build one w/ these specs for a bit less.
http://pcaudiolabs.com/rok-box-mc-5x/

popbaby
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Re: PC question

Post by popbaby » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:45 pm

In light of some new sales that have and probably will arise, I'm debating whether or not an i7 processor is worth the extra coin over an amd10. For example there's an Acer for $150 more than the HP laptop I was eyeing but the specs are the same (16gb ram) besides the processor being an i7 and the screen size being about 2 inches larger. Basically I'm debating between these two or something similar. I will be getting an external 7200rpm or SSD regardless. Thoughts? Thanks!

http://www.costco.com/Acer-Aspire-E5-La ... 28238.html

http://www.costco.com/HP-Pavilion-15z-L ... 38744.html

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