Audio PC build (July '18)

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by JudoLudo, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. JudoLudo

    JudoLudo Ultrasonic

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    Hello. I'm building a new PC for audio. This is my situation:

    Cubase user, writing many MIDI tracks with VSTi's (I use: Superior Drummer 3, MODO Bass, Keyscape, The Legend, VB3 II, U-NO-LX, Amplitube 4, small use of Kontakt libs and guitar audio tracks) and a few audio tracks. Actually there's not so many tracks, the heaviest project I got was around 25/30 tracks, let's say 20 instrument and 5 audio tracks.
    Focusrite Scarlett 6i6. I'm a keyboardist, so I'm sadly pretentious about latency, or about VSTi's playability more in general.

    Here's the options:

    CPU

    AMD Ryzen 5 2600 ~ 200€
    Intel Core i5 8400 ~ 190€

    MoBo

    for AMD:
    USB C - Asus Prime X370-PRO ~ 135€
    no USB C - Asus Prime B350-PLUS ~ 93€

    for Intel:
    USB C - Asus TUF Z370-PLUS ~ 137€
    Asus Prime H270-PRO ~ 91€
    no USB C - Asus PRIME B360-PLUS ~ 98€

    RAM

    Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 X 8 GB), DDR4, 3000 MHz, C15 XMP 2.0 ~ 158€

    POWER

    EVGA 600W ~ 57€

    STORAGE

    SSD: Samsung or Crucial - 256GB ~ 60/65€
    (or something M.2 or similar, even less space but faster)
    HDD: WD Blu or Seagate Barracuda - 1TB @7200RPM ~35/40€

    CASE

    Zalman R1 ~ 55€

    GPU

    Sapphire Radeon RX-550 ~ 126€

    Now some questions:

    - I like the new Ryzen; wich of them do you think it's better for audio and why?
    - Do you think USB C will be a good investment for audio? The only use for now is Thunderbolt 3, which is only present on UAD Arrow interface. TB3 storage is even less useable/cheap. Do you think it's worth to have a futureproof MoBo?
    - Is it worth to buy a M2 SSD or PCIe, over a normal SATA?
    - I'd like to save some money on the GPU, which would you recommend? I thought about beginning without it, but not all of the CPU I choosed has integrated VGA. So I'm in doubt.
    - This is not a question, just a thought: why does RAM's got sooooooo expensive as fuck? lol

    So, thank you to every one will help me, and thank you to who won't help me too.
    Cheers :bow:

    JL
     
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  3. NicoDPS

    NicoDPS Platinum Record

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    I think it's better to buy a bigger SSD sata, than a faster M2 with less capacity storage.
    I think that, ram, and GPU, are so expensive atm "because" of people who build machine to mine cryptocurrency.

    I cannot help you for the other question. ;)

    EDIT: There should be an integrated graphic chipset on the mother board, but I don't know if it's enough for you usage.
     
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  4. phloopy

    phloopy Audiosexual

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    Very usefull JudoLudo!

    :wink:
     
  5. Seckkksee

    Seckkksee Ultrasonic

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    Deffo get the M.2 SSD, 256 is fine, but if you can get a 480 or 512, its not much more cash, and you'll be happier in the long run. Also get a bigger HDD while you're at it. 1 TB is anemic these days. USB C (Thunderbolt)for audio is pretty much hype, USB 3 does the job VERY good, if your projects run 25-30 tracks, you're beyond golden. Both the 8400 and 2600 do excellent, youll get more than a hundred tracks easily provided you're not 4x oversampling your plugins. Ive got the Ryzen 5 1600 with 16 gigs, and Im never going beyond 20-30% running Ableton, my current project has 25 tracks, all full of plugs. And I multitask, browser open, usually porn runnign in the background, youtube... at the same damn time. I never finish tracks but I'm well entertained!
     
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  6. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    I've heard that M.2 is worse for audio production (but can't remember where I heard/read it).
    256GB SSD, could be too less (depends on your libs), 1TB HD is probably too less.

    You forgot a BACKUP drive!
     
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  7. JudoLudo

    JudoLudo Ultrasonic

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    thank you all. btw I don't mind arguing about 256 or 512, 1TB or 2TB, I was just wondering about the differences between SATA and M2 or PCIe SSDs :) 256 is just enough for me, I don't have to put libraries on it, just system and a programs (on my laptop I got 256GB SSD, I put on it system, programs and libs, and I still have 90GB free... so it really is not a problem), I was thinking to 128GB but I can't find many SSD this little.

    I'm interested in the M2 issue, for audio production, as @No Avenger was saying. someone knows?

    ty!
     
  8. saltwater

    saltwater Rock Star

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    while for a mid range system 8400 is fine, Audio is a total different story.
    since we have more cores now they lower the clock significantly (2,8 GHz),
    depending what you have, you could end up with the same performance as your current system,
    or even worse :guru:

    for low latency and still be able to run demanding plugins real time

    imo you have to get the 8600K, the base clock increase is dramatic over the 8400
    this makes night and day difference in a DAW and is totally worth the investment,
    just a wonderful CPU in all regards, still very affordable.
    i guess it needs a Z370 chipset which brings even more benefits to the table
    it comes without a cooler, aftermarket coolers are way, way better anyway,
    a decent one is dead silent and will not break your bank account

    RAM:
    expensive for many reasons, Crypto is not one of them.
    your selection is fine

    SSD:

    i recommend 500 GB at least, m2 is probably worth it in your case
    Samsung is King there

    HDD:
    for sample storage, Steinberg strongly suggests one with a big Cache, WD is good, 5400 rpm is enough, less noisier and lives longer.

    gpu:
    fine but save the money and get the 8600k and use his internal GPU, if not happy you can always put in a real GPU later

    case:
    this designs tend to restrict airflow, in case you have temp problems just remove the front panel, probably will just work without issues.

    PS:
    600w is fine if you get usb-c, otherwise a lower wattage is enough.

    usb-c/thunderbolt is meant to connect everything with one cable, one port can handle over a billion usb devices :rofl:
    and charge up to 100w
    not really needed but i guess its included if you go z370

    CPU should be your main focus, this is the most important, you will not regret that, promise.
     
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  9. playtime

    playtime Kapellmeister

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    As for the cases, my best reccomendation is Fractal Design Define R6. I just upgraded from version R3 and it's absolutely lovely. Built like a tank.
    With Noctua fans it's dead silent, cool and airflow is amazing as cable routing is superb.
     
  10. saltwater

    saltwater Rock Star

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    nice case but probably not fitting this budget build :winker:
     
  11. playtime

    playtime Kapellmeister

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    Oops! My bad... didn't see the budget above :woot:
     
  12. Talmi

    Talmi Audiosexual

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    Yep I've got this one, I can confirm it's a solid option with the noctua for both silent and heat control.

    To op, if you want better latency, changing your computer setup is a big step, but your audio interface isn't that great either.
     
  13. Willum

    Willum Rock Star

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    The new B450 motherboards for Ryzen are being released at the moment and are a better match for what you will want than an x370 or a b350.

    There is a cheaper Fractal design case, the R4. I have 2 that i use and they are good for me.
     
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  14. junh1024

    junh1024 Platinum Record

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    i Have i3-530 2.9ghz/dc on 3.8GM of ram. 20-30 is about my project size too. Though for your situation, a slightly more current/upgraded build & 8GB might be ideal since i don't use that many VSTis.

    iGPU should be fine. Or a cheaper GPU.

    But it is a question. DDR4 prices are artificially raised high atm. If you get a DDR3 build RAM should be (much) cheaper.

    None, unless the plugs you use & DAW is heavily MTd. Audio usually isn't that MT since all the audio has to go through a single master bus eventually.\



    Also, get a SSD + ST Ironwolf 2.7TB. Those run at 5k4. Sure, it's slower, but it'll hopefully last longer than 7k2 drives.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  15. bluerover

    bluerover Audiosexual

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    AMD Ryzen - has been known for a little more latency for audio

    Intel - fast latency performance.

    It's how the bits are routed to the 2 types of CPU archetecture that determines this. Try googling this issue. You'll find it.

    The 8̶6̶0̶0̶k̶ (oops...) 8700k is the way to go. I don't think it would be a problem to install M.2 for OS drive.

    Get a way bigger mechanical drive than 1 TB. I like WD Black.

    If you have 100 tracks playing, use an SSD drive for recording and playback.

    Noctua cooler for medium overclocking with air.

    Make sure that your MOBO choice has the right number of options in the bios that you'll need. I like that ASUS HERO X MAXIMUS mobo

    Look at the MOBO's "RAM vendor" list to make sure that the ram that you'll purchase for the mobo is compatible with the mobo itself.

    If you get that huge Noctua "double heat-sink and fan combo", You'll need a big case and low-profile ram too.

    Install WIN 10 LTSB N Enterprise, and you're good to go.

    Save up for the good stuff!!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
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  16. JudoLudo

    JudoLudo Ultrasonic

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    Thank you. I'm surprised that nobody suggested an i7. Is it for budget or because an i5 is more that enough?

    So intel is still a choice over AMD... Is it so?

    Btw budget... I'd like to gravitate around 800€, but if there's a need, I can raise it a bit.

    Just please, I can't buy a 300€ mobo lol

    The goal for me is not to overcome by far my needs: I mean, in the near future I'll have this way of working, this type of projects. I'm sure I'm not going to have 100s tracks projects in the near future (maybe I'll be eunder 50), so beside ram and storage (I know what I need for these), my doubt was: will a Ryzen 5 2600 or a i5 8400 be limiting my way of work? And, how much I can benefit from a 8600 (or 8600K)? I know it's more futureproof, but I'm talking of the next 5 years, or less. If it's not needed, I wouldn't buy it.

    Thank you again to everybody :)
     
  17. tzzsmk

    tzzsmk Platinum Record

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    few cents from me,
    1) Ryzen is weaker than Intel in per-core performance, and most audio processing is still heavily relies on it, 6 cores is even a slight overkill in my opinion (but hey the price is fine so why not), these AMD chips can't even surpass 4.2GHz in most cases (which even my 5-year-old i7-3770K could do without a hiccup till 4.5GHz)
    2) usb C and thunderbolt 3 have same physical connector but the bus/controller is entirely different thing - you will never get TB3 from USB 3.1 controller
    3) for effective virtual instruments workflow, you need to understand what to bounce and what's not needed, then lots of ram (16GB as absolute minimum, 32GB as worthy, definitely in kits consisting of 8GB modules for better futureproofing) and seriously good audio interface (with seriously good drivers) for "realtime" playalong recording
    4) SSD for system+programs is a must, on the other hand basic SATAIII will do just fine, worth considering having another SSD just for instruments, will save you time which is worth it in the long run (I just checked today, 1TB 860 EVO costs about same as 500GB 850 EVO years back)
    5) integrated graphics will suffice (though it will eat few 100'MB's of ram), let's be honest here, you can save PCIex slot which you can populate with some serious PCIex audio interface such as RME HDSPe AIO and you will never ever have problems with latency and audio performance (and price isn't crazy high)
    6) seeing the mobo choices, if you don't plan to buy overclockable cpu, you don't need overclocking-capable chipsets, still you may consider some decent aftermarket cpu cooler for more efficient less loud cooling (I'm running i7-5820K at 4.3GHz on all 12 threads with NH-U14S cooler sitting at 300rpm most of the time), thoroughly explore the offered ports and user reviews, there's nothing bad about picking literally cheapest mobo which matches your needs
    7) usb 2.0 is capable of handling roughly up to 70 audio channels, all the marketing bullshit promoting usb 3, thunderbolt and stuff is a nonsense which in fact in case of usb 3.0/3.1 introduces slightly more latency/overhead compared to usb 2.0, I'm running Fireface UFX recording and playing realtime with full band, onboard processing and even with plugins rehearsing "realtime", no hiccups noticed
    8) speaking of futureproofing, I bought my rig (signature info) roughly 3 years ago, wasn't even that expensive when I look back, and haven't had to replace/buy anything except adding two 4TB drives, and replacing gpu as I wanted video-rendering capabilities but simultaneously zero-fan-speed operation when not under heavy load, biggest "improvement" was change of DAW and OS (Win7+Sonar -> MacOS+Reaper) #HackintoshFTW :wink:
     
  18. saltwater

    saltwater Rock Star

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    its not about the amount of tracks, if you are just recording and a few fx plugs here and there the 8400 will handle 300 tracks easy.
    this will bottleneck by storage speeds earlier.
    but if only 1 track goes over one of the cores capabilities the game is over, and this gets worse very, very fast if you want low latency.
    8600k is just the best choice, for 60 bucks more you get the right thing.

    yes 6 cores are overkill but thats whats available now, thus you need to go 8600k at least.


    you could get a used 7700k setup, even better for your latency needs.
     
  19. loCurnus

    loCurnus Ultrasonic

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    hardware is actually 30%

    rest is well working os and rest of your software. think first tricky library, installing tools the right way. optimise your (WIN7 custom for audio is the only workstation than makes sense these years.) to have the most performance you can have for this price.

    m2 is really nice, but its getting really hot if you are working with audio.
    20-30 tracks should not be the problem, i calculate a littlte bit, and normally wif your setup you can do 50 tracks with 9 plugins each without any latancy you do not want :)
    actually for my own daw i calculated 130tracks with 32 plug each track min. that should work for the future, and for the rest of all futures to me.
    but its not about me. :)

    remember with your software ... always less is more... so here. plan what you really need to do music, be4 installing !!

    if you got bottle necks wif notation software, or playing keyboard (nordlead3 etc) than you can use a simple second soundcard (maybe maya XTC) to throhhh second degree audioprocesses to it, to precalc be4 cubase...

    but this is just advanced. you did everything right investing fast ssd (m2) and a good cpu (watch out to take the right for having 100%precalc advanced) get 32 gig ram... you do not actually need it to do music (but yes, for broardcast stuff if you do that) but i think, with the new wav64 format whats coming after wav in the futute you will need the ram then.

    if you have coding skills (or beeing a wizard class hacker), than on win7 you can simply build tools for your custom sys so set up ram /precalc turn around etc.. also you can build your own type of drivers for it. all that you can simple do. if not having this skillz, then just have a look to some level1 optimisation in os, and doing a lot of regedit stuff. :)

    finally do not underestimate your overall temperature, if its too hot, sometimes ubs slots have some problems, or your ram is flickering, or is doing wiered things.)
    finally always check your TaskManager to eleminate not used tasks.


    finally block all telemetry to win7-8 https://www.ghacks.net/2017/02/11/blocking-telemetry-in-windows-7-and-8-1/

    i hope you will build your machine, and maybe release some fotos of it. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  20. nobodyspecial

    nobodyspecial Producer

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  21. JudoLudo

    JudoLudo Ultrasonic

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    are you comparing i5 8400 and ryzen 5 2600? because I see that 2600 is faster than 8400. or am I wrong? if you are comparing 2600 to 8600K, so I think it's quite not fair, I can buy 8600K at 272€, with 2600 at only 186€, and 8400 at 188€. They are two different prices.
    Which one is faster in single core performance, Ryzen 5 2600 or i5 8400? If the truth is in what has been written, so I'd say Ryzen. Putting 8600K apart, which between the two?
    which audio interface has great drivers and why?
    too much money buying 600€ of RME now, I can't. are integrated VGA so bad on CPU?
    same as above: IMHO the 8600K is not comparable to Ryzen 5 2600. can you tell me the AMD equivalent to 8600K? I'm considering the 8600K though, but would like to have alternatives

    thank you so much. :bow:
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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