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View Full Version : Nerds please help. Computer Desktop/Laptop purchasing assistance



Vexation
05-05-2011, 10:36 PM
Bonjour, or good morning, whatever.

I need somebody to hold my hand in regards to purchasing a new computer and or laptop. Here's the deal. I've got a budget of around two thousand pound sterling to upgrade and purchase some new music equipment, that also extends to purchasing a new desktop/laptop. I have £1000 set aside, £600 - for the desktop and the laptop - £400.

The desktop PC would be the main studio PC, it would have to be powerful enough to use various VST plug in's or processor hogging software/DAW's. The laptop would have to be able to run the same programs live, using usb controllers without latency issues (not sound card related) and be stable and dependable for live performances. I've seen Desktop offers ranging from around £500-£600 depending on spec and upgrades from Overclockers.co.uk, Pcspecialist.co.uk, inta-audio.com and dv247.com/synergy

Here's an Tech Spec Sheet from the PC Specialist machine so you have a reference for parts and machine performance I'm looking for.

STYLISH PIANO BLACK ENIGMA CASE + 2 FRONT USB
Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™i5-2400 Quad Core (3.10GHz, 6MB Cache) + HD Graphics
ASUS® P8H67-M LX SI (NEW REV 3.0): M-ATX, USB 2.0, SATA 6.0Gb/s, 2 x PCI
4GB SAMSUNG DDR3 DUAL-DDR3 1333MHz (2 X 2GB)
INTEGRATED INTEL HD GRAPHICS (HDMI, DVI, 1920 X 1200)
Memory - 1st Hard Disk
1TB WD CAVIAR GREEN WD10EARS, SATA 3 Gb/s, 64MB CACHE
1st DVD/BLU-RAY Drive
24x DUAL LAYER DVD WRITER ±R/±RW/RAM
INTERNAL 52 IN 1 CARD READER (XD, MS, CF, SD, etc) + 1 x USB 2.0
450W Quiet 80 PLUS Dual Rail PSU + 120mm Case Fan (£29)
SUPER QUIET 22dBA TRIPLE COPPER HEATPIPE CPU COOLER (£19)
ONBOARD 6 CHANNEL (5.1) HIGH DEF AUDIO (AS STANDARD)
ONBOARD 10/100/1000 GIGABIT LAN PORT - AS STANDARD ON ALL PCs
6 x USB 2.0 PORTS @ BACK PANEL (MIN 2 FRONT PORTS) AS STANDARD
3 Port IEEE 1394a Firewire PCI Card (£9)
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit - inc DVD & Licence (£79)
-£609.00

The Laptop would have to be able to run Ableton Live/Serato, an akai apc40 (When i get around to purchasing it) and possibly a second midi controller and external soundcard all at the same time if needed and I'm quite limited with £400 - An alternative option is purchase a Macbook Pro via a friend in the states with a student discount for around £700-£1000 depending on the model I choose. On the upside, I'd know that the same setup in the studio would also be attainable live but would mean I'd be using the machine for two tasks, possibly burning out it's use quicker... or something.

So my question(s) is/are:

What can I get for my money, what kind of performance power do I need to run everything I want comfortably and what can I expect for the money I'm prepared to spend on both the desktop and laptop? Are my budgets a correct pricing estimate? Am I better off purchasing both machines or a Macbook Pro? What are the advantages/disadvantages to switching to Mac? Will a Macbook Pro take heavy prolonged use, how long can I expect it to last? What would you recommend instead?

Cheers.

Golden Eel
05-05-2011, 10:55 PM
I suggest checking here (http://boards.4chan.org/g/). There are plenty of trolls, but you can get some good advice there.

Also, that desktop seems perfectly fine for what you're trying to do. Are you going to build it yourself? I'm not too sure about laptops though, haven't been keeping too up to date.

The Empirical Guy
05-06-2011, 01:53 AM
Personally, I have to recommend the Macbook Pro. I've been using one for a few years now, an excellent purchase. I've used it to run some pretty full-on ProTools sessions and I don't think it has ever crashed on me or had any problems handling it. Never used it live personally, but from the amount of people you see using them on stage to run Ableton or Reason, I assume it's more than up to the job.

jonfen
05-28-2011, 05:29 PM
I can offer no advice whatsoever regarding Macs, and their use in the music industry, I really have no history with them, but my general feel is that they usually tend to cost more, compared to a classic Windows running alternative, both offering the exact specs.

The desktop specs you just mentioned are rock solid, and 600 pounds isn't that much, actually. The only thing I have against it is the on-board graphics chipset, which generally translates to lower video performance, but you won't be needing that level of video support anyway, so it's just a rant :)

I would also recommend thinking about purchasing a SSD storage unit, generally from Intel. They're the latest shit in storage, and they have no moving parts, which equals to great lifetime. I don't know if you have looked into them or not, but having your applications + booting OS stored onto one of those (the general size for them, where it doesn't hurt your wallet like hell, is about 128 GB, and I'd say the priciest would be at around 250$), because it speeds up booting time, and lowers feedback time from your applications (it's basically non-volatile RAM, so it's fast as hell).

For the laptop bit, 400 pounds isn't exactly a fortune, but I guess it would get you pretty decent performance. If you're going to put it through a lot of work, I recommend an i5 as a processor, 4GB DDR3, and a general graphics unit. Anything with those first two elements should handle your processing needs expertly. Now, for the audio part, I really can't say, I'm not too experienced in that field.

Hope this helps, and thanks for this thread, I got a shiver talking about this stuff. It's like a drug.