Helpful ReplyAnother New Computer questions thread!

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craigb
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2016/08/24 02:47:49 (permalink)

Another New Computer questions thread!

Ok, [insert LONG list of crap I'm dealing with on my current PC after installing Windows 10 here].
 
Basically, I may have to upgrade my personal/alternate work PC before going for the Ultimate DAW (hope you heard those angels all going "Ahh!" in the background - I do).  
 
So I'm curious about a couple of things since it's been a while.  Now that computers are much faster, parts are much cheaper than they used to be, dual boots work better and virtualization has matured I'm not sure exactly what approach to use.  In the past I always had separate machines for each purpose (a DAW server box, a gaming machine and a personal machine that I also did work on - sometimes even the work machine was separate).
 
While I haven't had time to game lately, it doesn't mean I won't want to when my free time expands so speed and high-end graphics would be needed (I would also use them for work stuff as well).  I'd love to do some music stuff, but if I have to settle for just using programs like Reason for now so be it.  Although I may not be able to get one immediately, I do see myself going for a large 4K TV as a monitor so a graphics solution that lets me use a huge area (not 1920x1280 expanded) and perhaps allows me to create windows for multiple machines would be awesome.
 
I envision having two 250GB SSD's in a raid for the OS and two 4TB (or 6TB if cheap enough) drives in a raid for data.  USB3 (or USB-c?) and whatever is the fastest network would be great for backups and other devices.
 
I'm thinking at least 16GB RAM (I'm also getting back into development so creating a quick VM to test things - or even develop in needs extra RAM!).
 
Now, back to the "it's been a while" part.  I'm trying to come up with a ballpark of cost so I can start budgeting for it now (since I FINALLY got a new IT job!).  I know I can go on sites like the ADK Pro Audio Digital Audio workstations site and play around with individual components (my dream DAW appears to cost about $5k there - *Sigh...*), but are there any other sites that do this for a non-DAW?  I was surprised that I couldn't do this on Newegg (at least I couldn't figure out how)...
 
So much still to research...  Any pro / con comments or questions welcome!

 
Time for all of you to head over to Beyond My DAW!
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mettelus
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Re: Another New Computer questions thread! 2016/08/24 07:59:12 (permalink)
Long list of items there, but basically "gaming" comes down to "dedicated GPU" and enough CPU/RAM to drive it. I have never used RAID and consider it overkill, so it really boils down to MB/CPU/RAM/GPU. 16GB is a good start choice for RAM (also a MB that can run over clocked RAM).

Also realize you can upgrade components easily. I have actually cut the storage in my machine down, and only back up data files religiously. Sample libraries and video are the prime consumers of storage, but 4TB is still hard to fill.

ASUS ROG Maximus X Hero (Wi-Fi AC), i7-8700k, 16GB RAM, GTX-1070Ti, Win 10 Pro, Saffire PRO 24 DSP, A-300 PRO, plus numerous gadgets and gizmos that make or manipulate sound in some way.
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robert_e_bone
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Re: Another New Computer questions thread! 2016/08/31 06:14:37 (permalink)
I too have never bothered with setting up a RAID configuration - I also believe it not necessary. 
 
I would suggest a configuration with:
 
1) Primary Drive: A solid-state drive, to contain the OS, all applications (including plugins), with the Windows User Folders relocated to a different drive, so as not to fill up the SSD.  
 
2) Data drives: at least 1 data drive, or if possible 2 or more data drives, that would contain Cakewalk Projects, Cakewalk Content, the relocated User Folders (Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos, Downloads, etc), and Sample Libraries. When Possible, house Cakewalk Projects, Cakewalk Content, and User Folders on 1 data drive, and then put the Sample Libraries on 1 or more additional data drives - depending on your budget.  (My system has 1 primary drive that is a 240 GB solid-state, and 3 additional 2 TB data drives.  That 3rd drive is used as an incremental backup location for my User Folders and for Cakewalk Projects that were worked on during the week.  I have a 6 TB external USB 3 drive for full backups).
 
For whatever the worth, if possible you want to split data that is likely to be concurrently accessed, across multiple drives, to improve performance for reading and writing.  Many motherboards come with 6 SATA connectors, so if you use 1 connector for the primary drive and another for the optical drive (CD/DVD), then you would be able to connect up to 4 additional drives without having to add an expansion card for additional SATA connectors.
 
With my system as configured above, I have no performance bottlenecks.  The 240 GB solid-state drive was around $100-$120 at the time of purchase, and they are currently a bit less than that, if memory serves.  Each 2 TB data drive ran me around $70-$80 at the time, maybe a little more.  The 6 TB external USB 3 backup drive ran me around $180 at the time.
 
Backup your data files faithfully, or at some point you WILL get bit by the combination of a drive failure and either no data to restore, or non-current data available for restore.  IF backups are done faithfully and properly, in MY opinion there is no need for a RAID setup.
 
So, for my system the drives and content are:
 
1) C: 240 GB solid-state drive.  This is my primary drive. It contains Windows, and all applications, including plugins.
2) D: 2 TB data drive.  It contains: Cakewalk Projects, Cakewalk Content (including Cakewalk Command Center download files), and User Folders.
3) E: 2 TB data drive.  This drive contains Sample Libraries from Native Instruments Komplete 8 Ultimate, and additional Kontakt libraries that include commercial paid libraries and freeware Kontakt libraries.
4) F: 2 TB data drive.  This drive contains the full download Sample Library content from my subscription to the EastWest Composer Cloud.  
5) G: 2 TB backup drive.  I make copies of Cakewalk Projects that were worked on during a given week, just to have a fast means of recovering one or all projec(s) as needed.  This data gets wiped out after I do a full backup of my user folders and the Cakewalk Projects folder every week.  I also backup my User Folders weekly, as well as the hidden AppData folder.
6) H: Optical drive - (CD/DVD)
7) I: 6 TB external USB 3.0 backup drive, for full backups.
 
Bob Bone
 
 
 

Wisdom is a giant accumulation of "DOH!"
 
Sonar: Platinum (x64), X3 (x64) 
Audio Interfaces: AudioBox 1818VSL, Steinberg UR-22
Computers: 1) i7-2600 k, 32 GB RAM, Windows 8.1 Pro x64 & 2) AMD A-10 7850 32 GB RAM Windows 10 Pro x64
Soft Synths: NI Komplete 8 Ultimate, Arturia V Collection, many others
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#3
Mesh
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Re: Another New Computer questions thread! 2016/08/31 10:16:42 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby abacab 2016/09/06 10:15:25
Craig, check out this site........pretty good with helping/budgeting a build: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/ 

Platinum Gaming DAW: AsRock Z77 Overclock Formula
I7 3770k @ 4.5GHz : 16GB RAM G.Skill Ripjaws X
250GB OS SSD : 3TB HDD : 1TB Sample HDD
Win 10 Pro x 64 : NH-D14 CPU Cooler 
HIS IceQ  2GB HD 7870
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
The_Forum_Monkeys
#4
SF_Green
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Re: Another New Computer questions thread! 2016/09/01 15:30:37 (permalink)
craigb
 
  I know I can go on sites like the ADK Pro Audio Digital Audio workstations site and play around with individual components (my dream DAW appears to cost about $5k there - *Sigh...*), but are there any other sites that do this for a non-DAW?  I was surprised that I couldn't do this on Newegg (at least I couldn't figure out how)...
 
So much still to research...  Any pro / con comments or questions welcome!



Hey Craig - congrats on the job! 
 
I've been building my own for a long time and I always go here to see what the latest and greatest parts are then go somewhere else to buy the components cheap!  Granted it a game-centric machine, but it will help you check the build price like you're looking for.  You can surf around to find a more economical series but the Mach V has always been their top-of-the-line box.
 
https://www.falcon-nw.com/desktops/mach-v/design
 

AMD FX-8370, Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3,  Win7x64 SP1, 16Gb CorsairDDR3-1600, GeForce GTX 950 (390.65), SSD 525Gb (OS), SATA 3 & 1.5Tb, MOTU microlite, RME FireFace 800 (D 3.124, fw 2.77), UAD-2Q, Adam A7X, A-800 PRO, CC121
Cubase Pro 10.0.5, SonarPt-2017.10 (x64), Reason10.2, Live 10.0.5 Suite, Wavelab Elements 9.5.40, Komplete10Ult, POD Farm2.5, Omnisphere2.5, BFD3, Alesis QS7.1, Arturia BeatStep Pro, POD HD500, Alesis ControlPad, ARP Omni, many things with strings. GrSltz My Studio
#5
craigb
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Re: Another New Computer questions thread! 2016/09/05 04:21:41 (permalink)
Wow, talk about new job overload!  I completely forgot I started this thread until today.  Thanks for the replies!
 
Ironically, the other employee (besides me) who also happens to be the cousin of the owner has quit and will now be working at a company with the brother of the owner I still work for. (Confused yet?)  That means lots more work for me (a good thing), but less free time (oh well).  It also means a better car will have to come before musical toys because I now have to visit customer locations more (bleh, I HATE the traffic around here!).
 
I'll definitely be checking out the links and considering lots of options.
 
As for the RAID ideas, the concept behind that has to do mostly with SSD drives (which I will have for the OS).  SSD's don't "start to fail" they just die.  Fast.  Like immediately.  Even with regular backups you're going to lose something.  With a simple RAID you won't.  Maybe I don't need it for the larger data drives since I seriously doubt I could afford two 4TB SSD drives (about $2,800 total!).  But using one drive for my data and a second for sampling is not only doable, but what I have done for years anyway.
 
Maybe it IS best to just keep working and get more than one new computer... Heh...

 
Time for all of you to head over to Beyond My DAW!
#6
DrLumen
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Re: Another New Computer questions thread! 2016/09/05 05:50:31 (permalink)
I use mine for almost everything and it is definitely not 'tuned' as a DAW. The issues I have ran across is that a system for gaming usually has some really noisy graphics cards. Those may be good for gaming or video editing but not good if you plan to record in the same room. Even in a separate fan cooled cabinet, it is still loud by some peoples standard. Mine is used for pretty much everything though.
 
You can get a fairly high-end system for about $1500 as a DIY. High-end is a relative term. I find trying to chase the bleeding edge and staying with it is just throwing money away unless you really need that extra power right now for paying jobs. Since the bleeding edge only last a few months, you take a serious hit in the pants considering depreciation. Plus, like some games and apps, they might not even support the bleeding edge systems since they usually cater to the ~lowest common denominator. Also, would a bump of a 5% increase in graphic clock speed be worth another $300 to you? Personally, I can wait some months and get the same card much cheaper and with better driver and app support.
 
I don't use RAID either. Like others have said, it is just more trouble than it is worth to me.
 
When I'm looking to build a system from scratch, I start with the motherboard. I make sure it has all the connections I need (SATA, PCI-e, etc), supports intel processors and then I start looking at the specs, benchmarks that may have been done, support issues that may be listed in reviews or on forums. When I'm happy with the board selection, it then dictates everything else. Again, I don't buy the highest priced ones but I'm also not going to risk putting $1k of parts on a $39 FlyByNight branded motherboard.
 
As to drives, that is a personal choice. I use a 500GB SSD for system, apps, plugins and vst's so all those are easy to back up. I use a 250GB SSD for the swap files, various temp file storage for apps and as a temp workspace. Then I have 10TB of HDD's for everything else. Admittedly I have an obsession with storage and files. I have some files that are 25+ years old. I guess I could be called a file hoarder - I just can't throw any of them away...

-When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

Sonar Platinum / Intel i7-4790K / AsRock Z97 / 32GB RAM / Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB / Behringer FCA610 / M-Audio Sport 2x4 / Win7 x64 Pro / WDC Black HDD's / EVO 850 SSD's / Alesis Q88 / Boss DS-330 / Korg nanoKontrol / Novation Launch Control / 14.5" Lava Lamp
#7
craigb
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Re: Another New Computer questions thread! 2016/09/05 20:04:15 (permalink)
Heh, I have well over 10TB's of storage as well - most of it music, then training and other videos and finally lots of pictures.  I also keep things LONG after they should be tossed (like programs I wrote back in the 80's - why???  LOL!).
 
I definitely agree on your starting point, I've always considered the MB to be the most important aspect (even more than the CPU or memory).  
 
I'm also wondering about how much I need to prepare for the future, I just ran into my first laptops (albeit Apples) that ONLY had a USB-C port...  Personally, I think the concept of one type of port for everything is great but, until everyone catches up, there's going to have to be a LOT of conversion cables and USB-C hubs.
 
I wonder when the bulk of manufacturers will come out with USB-C equipped gear?

 
Time for all of you to head over to Beyond My DAW!
#8
abacab
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Re: Another New Computer questions thread! 2016/09/05 21:26:22 (permalink)
craigb
Ok, [insert LONG list of crap I'm dealing with on my current PC after installing Windows 10 here].
 
Basically, I may have to upgrade my personal/alternate work PC before going for the Ultimate DAW (hope you heard those angels all going "Ahh!" in the background - I do).  
 
So I'm curious about a couple of things since it's been a while.  Now that computers are much faster, parts are much cheaper than they used to be, dual boots work better and virtualization has matured I'm not sure exactly what approach to use.  In the past I always had separate machines for each purpose (a DAW server box, a gaming machine and a personal machine that I also did work on - sometimes even the work machine was separate).



 
Hey Craigb, happy hunting on the new PC!!!
 
Others have made some good suggestions, especially Bob!
 
Regarding RAID, my observations are that it is mostly used in a server environment.  If you know any sysadmins, you may inquire about RAID needs with them.  I have never had a WD 7200 RPM HDD drive fail (knock on wood), and I have been sticking them in PC's for over 15 years.  So I guess it's just a matter of whether it's worth the trouble to set it up.  I personally use regular disk imaging to external USB drives to prevent data loss.
 
Regarding dual boot vs virtualization, I have to say that I love VM's now.  Most modern CPU's support hardware virtualization.  I discovered them a couple of years ago while taking an online class that required downloading a virtual appliance (a VM pre-loaded with all of the class apps, etc). Using either VMWare Player or Oracle VirtualBox (my favorite), it is the best way to get free virtual hard drives to set up an alternate OS. 
 
The limitation of virtualization is that the Hypervisor host software (i.e. VMware, VirtualBox, etc.) must abstract the PC hardware and present a generic version to the guest operating system (i.e. the "VM").  This presents performance issues if your VM apps will require direct access to the system hardware, such as audio interfaces or graphics cards.  If you need direct access to graphics or audio hardware, then you had best stick with dual boot for high performance.
 
On the other hand, if you do not need direct access to high performance hardware, VM's are a true blessing.  You can set up pass thru for low speed USB devices, DVD/CDROMs, etc.  You can also enable two-way clipboard, drag & drop, and shared folders.  This is much more convenient than dual boot, if it meets your needs.  The best part is that when you enable "seamless" windows, you can run windows from the guest OS apps side by side with your main OS simultaneously on the same screen.  Very cool indeed!!!  And making a backup is a snap, you can clone the VM or just copy the folders to a backup drive. 
 
The best strategy here is to run your most demanding OS on the "bare metal" host, and your other stuff on the VM's .
 
Hope that helps!
 
 

DAW: CbB; Sonar Platinum, and others ... 
#9
craigb
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Re: Another New Computer questions thread! 2016/09/06 04:20:49 (permalink)
Virtualization and server maintenance is my current job, so I am familiar.  Maybe that will be the way to go, not sure yet.  

 
Time for all of you to head over to Beyond My DAW!
#10
abacab
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Re: Another New Computer questions thread! 2016/09/06 11:25:08 (permalink)
craigb
Virtualization and server maintenance is my current job, so I am familiar.  Maybe that will be the way to go, not sure yet.  




I don't think that I would attempt running any audio programs within a guest VM, due to latency issues.  So the DAW would definitely be one standalone PC build, or 1/2 of a dual boot config.
 
I have a Windows XP VM that I set up to run old graphics programs (ancient Photoshop & CorelDraw) that will not install or run correctly on Windows 10.  Also got Doom 3 to run decently there.  So an XP VM comes in handy.  One foot in the past, one in the future.  No need to pay for upgrades to software I only use occasionally, but no need now to discard them.
 
If gaming is a consideration, that is probably another standalone PC build, or the other 1/2 of a dual boot.
 
Anything else you wish to mess with, such as old Windows builds, development IDE's, server builds, or Linux toys, etc. is easily put on VM's without risking your main host PC's configuration. 
 
There are even websites where you can download VM's with pre-installed OS guests to run in your host. 
 
Microsoft has released VirtualBox, VMWare, HyperV, and Parallels copies of Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. Intended for web developers, these fully functional copies of Windows are available to anyone and everyone.
Direct your web browser here: https://developer.microso...rosoft-edge/tools/vms/
Please note that these virtual machines expire after 90 days. We recommend setting a snapshot when you first install the virtual machine which you can roll back to later.
 
For Linux guest VM's: 
https://virtualboxes.org/images/
https://www.turnkeylinux.org/lampstack
 
Personally, I never cared for dual booting.  I built my DAW PC to use for home office and most everything except gaming.  Since music is not a moneymaker for me, this works fine.  Also built a home theater PC, with a gaming graphics adapter for multimedia and playing around on.
 
If running a studio is the day job, or just for die-hard audio engineers, I can definitely understand the needs for a robust standalone studio machine.
 
Otherwise, multipurpose hardware use can save the hobbyist a few bucks.  Also by using a VM, you can experiment without crapping up the PC you rely on.  Just dying to look at some new freeware from a dodgy looking source? There you go! No sandboxing necessary :-)

DAW: CbB; Sonar Platinum, and others ... 
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