First PC Build: For music production

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First PC Build: For music production

Post by JacobChristopher » Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:13 pm

I will be producing music with FL Studio 11 and occasionally, Reason 8.
I'd like to spend the least amount of money possible at the moment, but I'd like the build to be upgradeable.
I'm pretty dead set on the CPU, but that's about it. Since this will be for music production, I'd like to have this run as silent as possible.
I'm fine with starting with 8 GB of ram for now, but will soon upgrade to 16 GB and if I ever need to, I'd like the option to upgrade to 32 GB.
I will be running the operating system on the main drive as well as the production software. For now, I'll be saving files and such on that drive until
I add a 2nd drive. But I'm not sure how necessary it is to have a ssd over a 7200rpm?

Is there anything I can do here to get the price down for now?

Also, on pcpartpicker, it was saying that there's no guarantee that the cpu cooler and the case are compatible. I tried different coolers, but it kept saying that.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($298.93 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($67.87 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI Z87-G45 Gaming ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($127.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($82.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Intel 530 Series 240GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($139.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($165.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.99 @ Micro Center)
Power Supply: Corsair RM 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional (32/64-bit) ($170.99 @ Adorama)
Total: $1254.72
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-10-06 19:50 EDT-0400

If I can get this between $800-$1000, that'd be awesome! Any help is appreciated, thanks!

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Re: First PC Build: For music production

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:07 pm

Welcome to SPCR.

Here's some thoughts.

CPU cooler: Scythe Kotetsu is ~$20 cheaper.
Mobo: You could go with an H97 motherboard and save $'s
Memory: Step away from tall heatspreader RAM - it adds no value. There's faster/cheaper/coolerrunning RAM out there. Note that running 1 slot of RAM rather than dual slot will limit memory BW.
Storage: Crucial MX100 is $20-30 cheaper and about the same speed - but you lose Intel's nice s/w toolset
Video card: Unless you are editing videos or if your DAW s/w needs GPGPU horsepower, you can delete the video card and use the integrated gpu.
Case: ok.
PSU: Your stressed load w/o the gfx card is ~125W and <100W when recording/editing. With the gfx card it's 270W and a likely gaming load of 220W. So, you can drop this down to something like the RM 450 and still be silent when recording/editing.
OS: Are there features you need with the Professional version of Windows? As you are building a system, you can get the OEM version instead of the more expensive retail.

Are you planning to run orchestral levels of VSTs or just a handful? If the latter, you won't load the i7 at all and it will run very cool...or you could get an i5 and save $100.

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Re: First PC Build: For music production

Post by JacobChristopher » Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:25 pm

Thanks for the quick reply!

I can't find the Kotetsu on pcpartspicker, but is this definitely compatible with everything else?
And there's a few H97's I'm seeing, ASRock, Asus, MSI. Could you be more specific?

As far as using the integrated gpu, is there a way to run a second monitor off of that? If not, that's fine for now,
I can always upgrade to a decent graphics card later on.

Everything else makes sense and saves some money!

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Re: First PC Build: For music production

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:41 pm

Kotetsu at Amazon. Check out the SPCR review.

Monitor: Haswell iGP can drive multiple monitors...unless they are crazy high resolution. What have you got?

Also, does your DAW s/w make use of hyperthreading? If not, there's no benefit of an i7 over an i5.

If you like MSI, there's a handful of 4 RAM slot boards. Newegg is the best site for comparing the board features if you don't just go to MSI's site. Look for a 4 ram slot board with a couple of digital video outputs....again, need to know what your monitors are. MSI is nice as the fan control can be done in the UEFI firmware and you don't need to run their s/w. Same with Asrock boards.

Will you have any PCI/PCIe plug in boards?

Will you running an external audio board? Which? Is it USB? or?

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Re: First PC Build: For music production

Post by JacobChristopher » Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:52 pm

Awesome, I'll go with the Kotetsu!

The monitor I'll be borrowing for now is an Acer p191w. So it's not the best
I eventually want 2 larger monitors. Probably around the 22"-24" size with both being 1080p.

The DAWs definitely do make use of hyperthreading which is a huge reason I wanted to stick with the i7.
I produce electronic music and use a lot of plugins so the CPU is the most important to me.

I don't think I'll have any PCI/PCIe boards anytime soon.

And yes, I'm running an Avid Mbox audio interface. It's usb.

Thanks again! I'll keep browsing the motherboards then!

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Re: First PC Build: For music production

Post by Abula » Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:37 pm

If you want MSI and H97 there are some options like

MSI ATX DDR3 2600 LGA 1150 Motherboards H97 GAMING 3
MSI ATX DDR3 2400 LGA 1150 Motherboards H97 GUARD-PRO
MSI ATX DDR3 2400 LGA 1150 Motherboards H97 PC MATE

I agree with steve, unless you using the GPU for some encoding or rendering, i think you should be fine with Intel iGPU HD4600 that comes with your cpu, even multiple screens its fine, as long as the motherboard you chose have the outs you need (HDMI, Displayport, DVI, Dual DVI, VGA).

For memory i like Crucial Ballistix Sport Very Low Profile 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3-1600 1.35V UDIMM 240-Pin Memory Modules BLS2C4G3D1609ES2LX0, crosscheck you editing don't benefit from more memory there are also 16gb kits.

For the SSD, i like more Crucial MX100 out of better price and good performance.

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Re: First PC Build: For music production

Post by bonestonne » Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:50 pm

For the size, you're itching for 1080P monitors, but why not more? You could easily go with 1920x1200 or even 2560x1440. Even the integrated GPU should be capable of doing this. I have a NUC computer at work with the i3, and it's driving dual 1080p displays with no trouble at all.

As has already been said, integrated GPUs today are plenty capable of everything you need the computer to do from a graphics standpoint.

I have the same Intel 530 Series 240gb SSD. I have zero complaints about it. Mine is about a year old, and has never once given me trouble. I don't use my machine every day anymore, but for school I was using it on a daily basis for DAW work in Avid Pro Tools for sometimes a few dozen tracks at once. Projects were always on a separate hard drive, but regardless, the Intel 530 Series had a better warranty from my perspective. Down to initial cost or performance, yes, there are cheaper drives that you can get and not notice a difference between the two. The appeal of a 5 year warranty on the SSD appealed to me at the time I bought it.

Overall though, your build will be fine. Again, as others have pointed out, you can go with a cheaper cooler for the CPU with at least equal results overall.

Other than that, I see you're using an M-Box. I have no reason to say that you'll have trouble with it in Windows 8 or 8.1. I have several Avid units myself, and did tech support for them for a couple years. If you do notice any trouble using the MBox, I would suggest trying a different USB port first. My only USB interface from Avid is the C400, and I've never had a problem with it. The ProFire 2626 is what I use currently, and it has always worked in Windows 8 and 8.1, despite a lack of official support in the beginning.

From a cost perspective, buy as much RAM as you can afford to now. I made the mistake of waiting to upgrade from 16gb to 32gb, and prices were much higher when I went to upgrade. I could have bought 48gb for the price I paid in the end. Just a thought to consider.

Finally, what are you going to use for your secondary/long term storage? I have 2 WD Black drives, and 1 WD Blue for my projects, samples, and personal files to keep them separated. I'm guessing you might already have these drives lying around, since you haven't mentioned it.

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