Looking to cheaply build a future-proof desktop

Author
mesayre
Max Output Level: -87 dBFS
  • Total Posts : 195
  • Joined: 2012/07/07 09:29:57
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Status: offline
2017/08/01 19:26:55 (permalink)

Looking to cheaply build a future-proof desktop

Hey all,
   My old laptop is showing its age, performance-wise, and probably about to suffer some hardware failures. I think I need to bite the bullet and invest in a new machine. The trouble is...I'm kinda broke
 
I'm looking to switch to a desktop setup that is as cheap as possible right now (<$1000 for sure), but that leaves room for expansions/upgrades when things are...greener. I am willing to self-assemble, so I'm surfing the DIY sections over at NewEgg. I've done plenty of upgrades and under-the-hood maintenance, but this will be my first full build. I am open to suggestions, recommended configurations, or cautionary tales. I work mostly as a composer, and I'm not using tons of plug-ins generally, but I do use Kontakt heavily. I use a regular-old focusrite Saffire 6 USB interface that I will likely upgrade to a MOTU when I have the cash. There's some chance this upgrade will nuke that interface, but it's a risk I'll take.
 
My goals right now are getting adequate processing power and adequate sample storage/performance, and not locking myself into something I can't upgrade later at a reasonable price. One of the machines I'm looking at is this combo, which I would then upgrade with another drive I have lying around more memory, and a Win10 license. Hopefully walk away with a working system for < $800.
 
Someday I'll add SSD's. I doubt I'll need a PCI audio interface in the near term, but it would be nice if I weren't locked out of that option. A USB interface is fine for now. I mostly use DP, sometimes Pro Tools and Sonar, on Windows 10.
 
A couple of questions for y'all.
  • Reading through the specs they provide for that build, it appears that I could use on-board graphics and not need a graphics card. Does that seem correct?
  • My old laptop has an i7-2630QM, and benchmarks seem to indicate that even an i5 of the newest generation would be a substantial performance boost. This package has an i5-7500 on a Gigabyte motherboard with LGA-1151. Anyone running an i5 and getting satisfactory performance? I know it's not best-of-the-best, but will it do for now?
  • Am I overlooking something obvious that will bite me later? The MOBO looks modern and as future-proof as can be expected.
 
Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.
 
 
 
 

Mike Sayre
Composer, Horn Player
 
Sonar Platinum, Win10x64
 
My new album, Music for Icebergs, is now on iTunes
#1

5 Replies Related Threads

    Sanderxpander
    Max Output Level: -36.5 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 3873
    • Joined: 2013/09/30 10:08:24
    • Status: offline
    Re: Looking to cheaply build a future-proof desktop 2017/08/01 22:33:23 (permalink)
    If you have reasonable parts you can scavenge from an old system (DVD drive, large data drive, case, PSU, graphics card, monitor?) you can save lots and get a really good system for well under 1000. If you have to do EVERYTHING it will get a little tight here and there. I would still suggest building a strong core so take a modern i7 capable motherboard with four memory slots. I don't think the basic i7 7700 is incredibly expensive, and 16GB RAM should be plenty for the near future, leaving at least two slots free for a large upgrade if necessary.
    Build everything around that. I would recommend an SSD for the OS and programs at least. 250GB is plenty for that. If you really need to save, get a regular HDD for data.

    The rest is flavoring, the mobo will already have graphics that'll be plenty for audio production and general multimedia. Get whatever screen size you can afford.

    Rough estimate;

    Case 100 bucks
    PSU 80
    Mobo 150
    CPU 300
    RAM 200
    SSD 120
    Data drive 100

    Lands you at 950 but I'm pretty sure there's room for improvement in those figures.
    #2
    abacab
    Max Output Level: -30.5 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 4464
    • Joined: 2014/12/31 19:34:07
    • Status: offline
    Re: Looking to cheaply build a future-proof desktop 2017/08/02 00:48:05 (permalink)
    This is the best worksheet around to configure compatible parts and estimate costs:
     
    https://pcpartpicker.com/list/

    DAW: CbB; Sonar Platinum, and others ... 
    #3
    abacab
    Max Output Level: -30.5 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 4464
    • Joined: 2014/12/31 19:34:07
    • Status: offline
    Re: Looking to cheaply build a future-proof desktop 2017/08/02 01:02:06 (permalink)
    Integrated graphics works great for DAWs.  I'm running two monitors with Intel HD 2500, without any issues.
     
    i5 is a quad-core, and should be fine.  Look for one with the highest clock speed you can fit in the budget.
     
    SSD for use as a boot and applications drive is a good suggestion.  You will appreciate the speed boost and responsiveness in booting and launching applications and projects.  250GB SSD drives aren't that expensive.  Get a 1TB+ HDD for your data drive.
     
    For audio interfaces on PCs, it seems that the modern standard is USB2 or USB3, so don't worry about PCI.  You can get a UAD Apollo USB3 interface someday, when your budget allows, for ultra low latency monitoring.
    http://www.uaudio.com/audio-interfaces/apollo-twin-usb.html
     
    Thunderbolt on PC is something you need to jump through several hoops to get working.  Jim Roseberry has made a few good posts on these forums about that topic.  The reality is that Thunderbolt 3 on PC is basically the same as using PCIe for audio.  So a high end USB interface is the easy answer.
     

    DAW: CbB; Sonar Platinum, and others ... 
    #4
    mesayre
    Max Output Level: -87 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 195
    • Joined: 2012/07/07 09:29:57
    • Location: New York, NY
    • Status: offline
    Re: Looking to cheaply build a future-proof desktop 2017/08/02 02:14:19 (permalink)
    Thanks for the thoughtful responses.
     
    The integrated graphics bit is a relief. 
     
    I did find another extra 7200 RPM drive laying around, which means with the one that's included in that package I'd have 3. A little light on capacity but sufficient to get up and running.
     
    On second look, I'm also seeing some refurb machines that could cut the mustard with a RAM upgrade, with the bonus being I wouldn't need to buy the OS. 
     
    So many choices!

    Mike Sayre
    Composer, Horn Player
     
    Sonar Platinum, Win10x64
     
    My new album, Music for Icebergs, is now on iTunes
    #5
    mesayre
    Max Output Level: -87 dBFS
    • Total Posts : 195
    • Joined: 2012/07/07 09:29:57
    • Location: New York, NY
    • Status: offline
    Re: Looking to cheaply build a future-proof desktop 2017/08/02 02:38:23 (permalink)
    For anybody following along, I just stumbled on this treasure trove of a chart. Breaks down lots of compatible options at graduated price points. Amazing!
     
    http://www.logicalincrements.com/

    Mike Sayre
    Composer, Horn Player
     
    Sonar Platinum, Win10x64
     
    My new album, Music for Icebergs, is now on iTunes
    #6
    Jump to:
    © 2022 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.1