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The Phonographist

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Hello all.

My PC is a bit too stoned nowadays and I thought it was time to put the old boy in a retirement home. He been coughing and spluttering for a while now and is really struggling when I use rewire.

I use my PC mainly for music, Logic/Reason/CoolEdit are the three primary programs I'd like to be able to run all at once, but I also use it for graphics aswell (nothing fancy just lots of photoshop stuff).

What I want to know is, what is the minimum spec you'de think I'd be able to get away with ?

Also, having no actual money to buy the thing in the first place, if you know anywhere thats does decent HP deals. (0%apr preferably!).


Cheers !
 

FlameBoy

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The Phonographist said:
Hello all.

My PC is a bit too stoned nowadays and I thought it was time to put the old boy in a retirement home. He been coughing and spluttering for a while now and is really struggling when I use rewire.

I use my PC mainly for music, Logic/Reason/CoolEdit are the three primary programs I'd like to be able to run all at once, but I also use it for graphics aswell (nothing fancy just lots of photoshop stuff).

What I want to know is, what is the minimum spec you'de think I'd be able to get away with ?

Also, having no actual money to buy the thing in the first place, if you know anywhere thats does decent HP deals. (0%apr preferably!).
This place is good for cheap (often refurbished) PCs, all come with a warranty:
http://www.morgancomputers.co.uk/shop/products2.asp?CategoryID=142

As for minimum spec., don't got for a Celeron-based machine, the lack og on-board cache cripples these machines for music production, other than that any Pentium 4 over 2Ghz is probably going to be fast enough for what you want to do, though obviously the faster the better. As for RAM, I would say 512Mb minimum, though 1Gb or more is better. You might also want to consider a faster harddrive (i.e. 7200rpm) if you do much stuff with samples or have lots of tracks in Logic. You can buy third party ones v.cheap these days

Alternatively, if you want to run the latest version of Logic (PC development stopped at Logic 5.5), you could always buy a Mac <duck>
The new G5s are very nice (or even the new G5 iMac)
You might be able to get one cheap through the Apple Refurbished store - a weird online store Apple do, that only opens on Wednesdays: http://promo.euro.apple.com/promo/refurb/uk/

[I managed to get the current model Apple 15" aluminium 1.5Ghz G4 Powerbook for 25% off (i.e. £1310 instead of £1749) through this]
It came with a full one year warranty from Apple, and it runs perfectly and there wasn't a single scratch on it when I bought it, looked brand new in fact]

hope this helps

Paul
 

The Phonographist

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Cheers Paul!

Im avoiding Macs for the moment. Much as I'd like one (I dont have the money at the moment. )

Look forward to meeting you tommorow! (hope you've read your bible :Wink3: :lol: )



Jon
 

JPsychodelicacy

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The Phonographist said:
Much as I'd like one (I dont have the money at the moment. )
I'd *really* like to know what everyone thinks is so great about them? They aren't any easier to use, their operating system is just as buggy as Windows, they're more expensive, slower clock-for-clock and if Steve Jobs had his way, we'd be paying £3,000 for a low-end model.

On the other hand, they look really pretty on a desk. :rolleyes:

I dunno - I guess I'm the only one who thinks that Apple should be boycotted for what they did with eMagic rather than supported. If Microsoft had done it, and locked development to Windows-only, I'd be absolutely up in arms about it, and I'm sure that the Apple users would be even more so.

*sigh* - I guess I'm either badly in need of a shag, or 2 hours on a drumkit... not having a good day.

J.
 

soliptic

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I'd say

at least 2Ghz cpu (preferably more, obviously)
at least 1GB ram
at least a proper soundcard (ie not Creative; something made for musical use; with ASIO/etc drivers; preferably 24/96)

motherboard + cache are probably important in some ways but i dont really know enough to give details these days. if you're buying something with a 2.4Ghz chip and a gig of ram they'll probably be plugged into something appropriate. if you're fussed, take a look at what audio pc vendors (carillon, digital etc) are building with and then buy that :Smile3:

hard drives are important. get fast ones. and big ones. preferably several. depends how much audio you're fond of using tho really.

video card is almost irrelevant. it is possible to get video cards sufficiently bad its detrimental to your producing (my mates have one atm) but thats 4-5 year old stuff. if you buy it today, then even if its the cheapest one, it should be cushty

after that its down to the usual bits and bobs - cd drives, modems, monitors etc
 

The Phonographist

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What about a 2 hr shag on a drumkit ? (Thats not an offer you'll be pleased to hear)

The only reason I'd prefer a Mac is for the Logic thing. (And possibly pro-tools at a later stage), as Im miles off affording either, I'll stick to my budget PC and cracked software (for the moment).

Plus they look cool :Wink3:
 

FlameBoy

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The Phonographist said:
Cheers Paul!

Im avoiding Macs for the moment. Much as I'd like one (I dont have the money at the moment. )
Thats what those 0% credit card deals are for... at least thats what I did! :Grin:

The Phonographist said:
Look forward to meeting you tommorow! (hope you've read your bible :Wink3: :lol: )
I have indeed! :Grin:

FlameBoy aka Paul
 

Continuum

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I can totally recommend www.inta-audio.com and I think they've started doing credit terms too.
Agree with Soliptic about the minimum spec. For a decent quality cheap as chips soundcard, I've got an audiophile 2496 and never had a moments trouble or a single complaint with it...
 

FlameBoy

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The Phonographist said:
The only reason I'd prefer a Mac is for the Logic thing
I've just (well, a few days ago) ordered Logic Express 7. Because I work for a University it only cost me £99 :jump:

FB
 

The Phonographist

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Cool , thanks everyone. I've already got a Echo Audio soundcard that does me for the moment, so thats one less thing.
 

JPsychodelicacy

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The Phonographist said:
Cool , thanks everyone. I've already got a Echo Audio soundcard that does me for the moment, so thats one less thing.
For my first positive tech post of the day :Wink3: - I heartily endorse Echo gear... crisp, but not brittle, warm but not boomy... just the way I like it. :Grin:

Oh, and the drivers are solid as a rock - and they support them for, like, ever.

J.
 

ichabod

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The cheapest solution is to build it yourself - then you don't end up forking out loads for useless extras - camers printers decent graphics cards etc etc. You might also be able to salvage some parts from your old PC - case, CD, hard disk(?), monitor,peripherals etc. to save some cash.. leaving more cash to spend on raw power :Smile3: You can then upgrade these bits over time as you get more cash. The cheapest possible starting point would be to buy just a new motherboard, CPU and memory.

If you are looking for a P4 around the 2GHz mark you might be able to pick all of these up 2nd hand.

Use the corpse of your old model to build a Frankencomputer :wizard1:

It's also worth bearing noise in mind when you build/buy it. Go for a low end graphics card with no fan.. look for a quiet hard disk (After a fair bit of research I went for a Seagate Barracuda - supposed to be one of the quietest). Also you can get quiet PSUs, CPU fans and chipset coolers. Well worth spending a few quid extra in the long run IMO.
 

Warwick Bassmonkey

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Ichabod said:
The cheapest possible starting point would be to buy just a new motherboard, CPU and memory.
Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe...... £60.55
AMD 3200+ ....... £105.00
2 x 512MB PC3200 ..... £120.00

And it'll bloody fly. :bananada:

Allow maybe another 30 quid for a good heatsink like a Zalmann.
 

ichabod

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I'd be tempted to go with a P4 rather than the AMD though. I can't remember very well but I heard that the floating point calcs are faster on the P4 (which is what is going to count for music making). Have to check this out on the web though... there is probably loads of info.

If you really wanted to do it cheaply you could prob. pick up a 2nd hand (or even new) 2GHz P4 + mboard for peanuts. ALternatively go a bit more high end with new 3GHz +
 

JPsychodelicacy

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Trust me, the P4 offers no real advantage over the AMD - certainly in terms of price/performance ratio.

Plus, when the move to 64-bit kicks into gear, we should see a significant leap in performance from existing AMD hardware.

J.
 

JPsychodelicacy

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Intel still only have a performance edge if you're willing to pay *significantly* over the odds - plus even that's debatable - even in 32-bit mode the Athlon 64 is a much more refined design than its predecessor (and a *shatload* more elegantly designed than the P4 Prescott).

J.
 

ChrisCabbage

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When AMD go multi-core, that's when I'll start to get really interested.

Hyperthreading has been *really* good on my system.

Proper multi-core will be brilliant (Intel and AMD are going down this path).
 

norty303

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Also, if you're running Logic a 64 bit system is NEVER going to be any use to you so save the money. Buy up one of the old Barton core AMD XP's if you can find one, the 3000 and 3200XP's are in demand as they've downgraded the chips to the Sempron range to make way for the (flagship) 64 bit ones. Also, if you're going to get 64 bit, get the Socket 939 one, the other one is more a stop gap processor in the development chain.

Some people say that P4's are quieter but actually the current state of play is that the P4's run hotter than the equivalent AMD and so require better cooling. An AMD chip on a retail heatsink/fan will do just fine and not be overly noisy. I can also recommend the Seagate Barracuda's, the 80gb+ 7.7200 large cache disks are superb, i've been using them in builds foir the last few years with no failures.

Don't spend huge money on graphics, unless you're doing 3d work or newish games you'll never need more than 32mb onboard ram EVER, in fact 16mb will usually do depending on display resolution.

I've got to build a couple of base units for other people for xmas so if you don't fancy tackling it yourself, i don't mind adding it to the build list for a small consideration :Wink3: PM me if you like...
 
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