Helpful ReplyBuild you own?

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Maarkr
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2018/04/11 17:18:46 (permalink)

Build you own?

I've built my own computer since the 486.  Now that my current machine is 4 yrs old, it may be time to upgrade, but DIY prices are HIGH.  I've seen decent i7 machines on the shelf for $600, and a DIY proc, mobo, ram will cost that much.  Granted, I'll have the case, power supply, video card... Saw this article, so, how many are happy with a store-bought machine?  I'd want to use my current drives, so that throws a wrench into it, maybe.
 
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#1
fireberd
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Re: Build you own? 2018/04/11 17:52:36 (permalink)
I find most (all that I've checked) factory built machines have limitations.  Some only have a very few USB ports, some only have 1 or 2 slots for PCIe add on cards, some do not have a slot or maybe one extra slot for an add on hard or SSD drive,  some do not have CD/DVD drives or even slots to add them, power supplies can be proprietary in number of power leads, etc.  I've looked long and hard at factory built systems when I built my last PC.  If I were to buy a built system I would be talking to Jim Roseberry. 
 
 

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#2
abacab
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Re: Build you own? 2018/04/11 19:19:01 (permalink)
If your machine is only 4 years old, you can probably get a much better machine by spending that $600 on processor, mobo, and RAM.
 
Your case, power supply, and drives are probably still fine.
 
Or you could just wait until component prices slack off a bit...
 
The biggest point made in that article is the skyrocketing price of gaming GPU's, something that you do not need to be concerned with in a DAW build. That is something that the coin miners cannot seem to get enough of.
 
RAM may be higher too, but other than that you should be fine.

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#3
HeatherHaze
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Re: Build you own? 2018/04/11 19:51:02 (permalink)
I've always built my own computers.  That way you get exactly the best features and specs you want (or can afford).  Getting the good stuff will never be cheap, but it's worth it in the long run.  

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#4
Kev999
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Re: Build you own? 2018/04/12 00:53:23 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Drumafied 2018/04/16 01:29:59
Cheap off-the-shelf PCs tend to have smaller cases and therefore not much room for expansion. You are likely to want to add more HDDs for DAW use. And PCs with larger cases tend to be gaming machines with a 3d graphics card and are more expensive anyway. Stock PCs also come with unwanted software installed and too many unnecessary background services running. Audio production is a specialist use for a computer, so a dedicated specialist PC is preferable.

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#5
mettelus
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Re: Build you own? 2018/04/12 10:49:21 (permalink)
If you are not in need, it is good to take time and research. Many COTS items use the absolute minimum quality they can to slap a label (i7, z370, etc.) on the product, so be very wary of that. I came across CyberPowerPC when doing research on builds, since I started seeing pre-fabs being sold from them at retailers. They sell custom builds directly and also offer deals/upgrades to components, so using them was far cheaper (over 25%) than buying those components separately to build myself. It seems they also have a fairly stockpiled warehouse so they didn't get the GPU price spike that was going on at that time, and before I ordered with them I checked and found a 5% discount that took at checkout. They are worth signing up for newsletters from and customizing builds with, especially if you can leverage their deals. I ended up top-ending components I never intended to replace and nerfing things I would transfer (or "might" upgrade later on) and ended up with the same price as the default (including a free 256 NMVe M.2 OS drive for buying a $70 3TB HDD and free RAM upgrade). Even going in with the intent of "bare bones" I ended up leaving the old machine in tact from that (I did take the new SSD from the old one, but had the original SSD I threw back into it).
 
Again, be very wary of COTS stuff (make sure you get a detailed component list, including manufacturer), but you can find deals on occasion.

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#6
Jim Roseberry
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Re: Build you own? 2018/04/12 15:27:01 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Drumafied 2018/04/16 01:33:33
Go custom...
You'll get *exactly* what you want.
You'll get a motherboard that has all the features that you want... and the BIOS settings exposed that'll allow maximum DAW performance.

Best Regards,

Jim Roseberry
jim@studiocat.com
www.studiocat.com
#7
wst3
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Re: Build you own? 2018/04/14 17:17:27 (permalink)
Not that I "enjoy" building computers, but...

I think there are four options:
1) buy an off the shelf computer and customize it. As has been mentioned, sometimes things you want or need may be hidden, or missing. Computers have become something of a commodity, so price point is important to those who sell on a large scale. Personally I would avoid this, but it can work, and it saves you some of the "scarier" bits.
 
2) buy a custom build - my fantasy anyway! (I hate to sound like a fan-boy, but I'd get one from Jim Roseberry, great machines and a really great guy. But I digress<G>!) The benefit here is the machine will be EXACTLY what you need (want?). And there will be DAW specific support.

3) build it yourself, based on a consult with someone like Jim (I really don't mean to sound like a shill, just had great experiences working with him.) For not a lot of money he will spend time with you offering his recommendations. Worth every penny!

4) build it yourself based on your research. Still possible, but a lot more difficult than it was 10 years ago. There are so many options, so many seemingly minuscule differences. It is worth a few bucks to do a consult with someone that has already done all the legwork - at least I think so.

I'm about due to replace my now 4 year old DAW, or possibly supplement it. Heads up Jim<G>!



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#8
abacab
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Re: Build you own? 2018/04/15 18:53:09 (permalink)
You can also buy assembled bare bones systems.  That will save you the hassle of installing a power supply, motherboard, CPU, and RAM, etc., and cabling that all up.  And avoid the cheap components and bloatware on off the shelf systems.  Sort of a hybrid of custom and DIY.  But you do get custom assembly and testing.
 
Might be another way to go for a first timer thinking about building a DIY system...
 
You can go with just the case and motherboard, or add as many components to the configurator as you wish for them to add to the build for you. 
 
Not giving a personal recommendation here (I build my own), but this is one example of a bare bones seller. 
https://www.avadirect.com.ustom-barebones-desktops
 
And you have many options for each component, including the case.  There are hundreds to choose from, and not all are shiny gamer cases as shown in the thumbnail....
 

What’s the easiest way to build your own custom gaming PC? A barebones PC kit from AVADirect is one of the fastest and most affordable ways to start building and upgrading your own custom PC. Preconfigured with just the case and motherboard, you can finish the build, adding and upgrading your components as you go, whether it’s online with our easy-to-use configurators or on your own, over time.
 
If you’re looking for more of a DIY project and love to build your own rigs, then an AVADirect barebones PC is the way to go. If this is your first build, your barebones PC is backed by our unsurpassed lifetime technical support, so you can contact one of our knowledgeable sales associates to help you choose the best components to complete your build.
 
AVADirect offers a variety of high-end components, in every price range, should you be ready to customize your barebones PC. We’re partners with some of the top computer component manufacturers in the industry, in order to offer you all of the available parts on the market.
 
Are you a gamer looking for performance?? Customize one of our barebones gaming PCs, adding top-of-the-line Intel, AMD and Nvidia components to complete your rig. We offer the newest releases, available day one, so you don’t have to wait.
 
AVADirect offers a variety of handcrafted barebones PCs for you to customize and make your own. Start building your one-of-a-kind rig and get a solid piece of equipment built to last for years to come.{/quote]

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#9
TerraSin
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Re: Build you own? 2018/04/15 20:30:43 (permalink)
Prices right now are ridiculous. RAM and graphics cards are off the wall expensive thanks to crypto miners and server farms buying up all the stock so it's hard to keep prices low. Prefabs are a decent way to get some newer hardware without blowing a budget if you need an upgrade and then Frankenstein the parts you need for it into a new box which could save money on things like motherboards and RAM if you do the proper research before you start spending money then you can rip the CPU/GPU/RAM out of the prefab into your existing build with the motherboard of your choice and other components you might want.
 
I'm personally waiting on the next gen news. i9 was a bust with Intel's crappy modular system and Threadripper has some pretty crappy motherboards along with some other issues that AMD is looking into fixing with TR2 so not worth investing in either of those at the moment. We should be hearing news soon on the new processor families so I'm going to hold off.
 
There is also the issue of DDR5 making an appearance soon which will be double the speed of DDR4 but it's uncertain when we will actually see it being used on new systems. I've heard both 2018 and 2019 launch so I'm holding to see what happens with that as well before investing in another workstation.
#10
BobF
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Re: Build you own? 2018/04/16 00:21:26 (permalink)
FWIW, I bought a Dell XPS8900 from Costco last year.  I added SSD and took the memory from 16 to 32G for not a lot.  It hasn't let me down yet.
 
If I was doing this for a living, Jim would be my supplier for sure.

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#11
tlw
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Re: Build you own? 2018/04/16 12:14:36 (permalink)
I’ve always found “off the shelf” PCs to be far too noisy to be in the same room as a microphone, and they generally lack the internal space needed to fit large, efficient heatsinks and to replace the stock case fans with fewer large, slow ones. The video cards in them also tend to have very noisy high-speed fans.

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fireberd
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Re: Build you own? 2018/04/16 12:52:14 (permalink)
Fan noise is a common complaint on the Dell forum with the new XPS 89XX models.  However, I do part-time PC support and have found the opposite with the PC's I've worked on. I have clients with Dell's (older Inspiron models), HP's and one Acer.  None of these are "noisy" to me (and I'm critical about that).  
 
But, I agree on the other points. Small cases in many models, not enough room in case for much expansion (maybe one hard drive), not enough PCIe slots on motherboards, proprietary CPU coolers and in many cases no room for an aftermarket cooler, etc.  Most are not easily upgrade able (e.g. different motherboard) due to proprietary motherboards, front panel wiring, motherboard I/O shield (on many Dell's its made part of the case and not an insert).
 
 

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#13
Jim Roseberry
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Re: Build you own? 2018/04/16 12:55:45 (permalink)
Generally speaking, with Dell, HP, Acer, etc... you're not going to get Noctua (or similar) CPU coolers, power-supplies with "zero-dB" function, etc.

Best Regards,

Jim Roseberry
jim@studiocat.com
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#14
Starise
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Re: Build you own? 2018/04/16 17:47:47 (permalink)
Maarkr
I've built my own computer since the 486.  Now that my current machine is 4 yrs old, it may be time to upgrade, but DIY prices are HIGH.  I've seen decent i7 machines on the shelf for $600, and a DIY proc, mobo, ram will cost that much.  Granted, I'll have the case, power supply, video card... Saw this article, so, how many are happy with a store-bought machine?  I'd want to use my current drives, so that throws a wrench into it, maybe.
 
" />




I think it mainly depends on what you plan to do. It can be difficult to classify the home studio hobbyist because you may have one chap who does the rock band thing with drums, bass and he might play guitar himself...so for less than a dozen tracks he's happy and that can be done on a pretty basic setup. Or you might have a chap who like to run dozens of soft synths. Granted you can "freeze" those as you go and save a lot of computer horsepower.
 
But say you're doing huge track counts using unfrozen soft synths so you can keep everything in midi until the end. That means a fast cpu with 16gb memory or more and a second hard drive that's 7200 rpm old school or SSD .That can still be done at a minimal level with run of the mill hardware so long as you don't get too carried away with it.
I bought a 5820K. Overclocked it to 4.4 and it takes everything I throw at it The 5820K probably isn't a favorite compared to some others. 6 cores but shows 12 in CbB with hyperthreading.
 
The main thing to look out for in any new build or store bought consideration is bottlenecks. If the mobo has limited throughput, if the HDD is slow, if the cpu doesn't offer enough lanes, if you can't properly configure your interface because of connectivity issues or software/hardware issues then you'll loose some performance. To use a computer as a basic audio recorder though requires a very minimal setup. You probably won't know you're a power user until you tip the scale. If you're in group 1 you probably need not worry.
 
Most of us want to have enough "just in case". For many here enough is an i5 and a basic setup. I tend to go for a little overkill when I build. I don't often need it, but if I do it's there.

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#15
abacab
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Re: Build you own? 2018/04/17 02:03:12 (permalink)
An i3 with a fast clock speed can take a lot, until you load it up.  It just depends on what you plan to do with it.

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#16
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