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Budget DAW

PostBudget DAW by RubberJonny

A friend has requested help spec'ing a machine specifically for music production and editing videos on a budget of £400 - give or take (OS and peripherals not included).

I originally thought the affordable AMD 6-8 core CPUs would be the only choice for this type of machine and, indeed, every forum post i've read has said as much but despite this all professional benchmarks have shown that it is not nearly that one sided (example: Intel i3-4130 performs closely to the much more expensive AMD FX-8350 8 core behemoth for Video Encoding).
I include this for two reason: 1) It is very interesting and 2) To deter user from posting "more cores are better, get AMD" without evidence to support this claim.

The applications he uses are:
Cubase
Reason
Sony Vegas
Adobe Photoshop

So with all this in mind my current build idea is as follows:
Intel Core i3 4330 3.50GHz
Corsair 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 RAM (8GBx2)
2TB Western Digital Black HDD
Corsair 430W V2 CX Series PSU
(Kingston 120GB SSDNow V300 boot drive if i can coerce him in to spending a little extra)

My choice for the i3 is not only backed by - admittedly limited - benchmarks but because it also allows for a significant upgrade to an i7 CPU.

The motherboard is yet to be determined as i am unsure of his needs in this regard but i am currently looking for one with a decent integrated gpu. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

I have not included a dedicated graphics card because i have read specifically on the Sony Vegas website it was not necessary. If you are certain that a lot can be gained from a discrete GPU please include advise on the pertinent specs.

If any one has any experience with this type of software your feedback and any advice would be appreciated.

Peace Out!
Jonny!
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» Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:57 am «Top

PostRe: Budget DAW by Roosell

From my knowledge you're right about the GFX card, you don't really need anything in there as rendering is all CPU/RAM heavy. Make sure whichever CPU you suggest is good at multithreaded stuff - and I like the idea of going for an i3 to start (£400 isn't a lot of dosh) with the option to whack a i7 in there when it starts to hang.

Also doubt an i7 is really necessary unless he is doing 3D models - HD video edits will work fine on that kit.

Essentially - build the kit around what is good for Vegas. The other 3 programs are not resource heavy in the slightest. So probably prioritize RAM.
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» Fri Feb 13, 2015 4:34 pm «Top

PostRe: Budget DAW by RubberJonny

Roosell wrote:Essentially - build the kit around what is good for Vegas. The other 3 programs are not resource heavy in the slightest. So probably prioritize RAM.
Thank you for your help.

In your experience how important is the HDD RPM? Would a higher storage capacity be an acceptable trade off?

Similarly, is 1600MHz CL10 adequate or can a lot be gained from RAM with higher frequency and/or lower latency?

Thank you for your time.
- Jonny
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» Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:16 pm «Top

PostRe: Budget DAW by Roosell

I don't think high HDD drive speed is important. High transfer speeds will only really be desirable for transferring rushes - and usually that's off a SD card or USB3 drive. So I guess make sure the Motherboard has lots of USB3 ports and go for a nice chunky 2TB drive.

I have no idea about RAM frequencies - Runner might know?
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» Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:20 pm «Top

PostRe: Budget DAW by RubberJonny

Roosell wrote:I don't think high HDD drive speed is important. High transfer speeds will only really be desirable for transferring rushes - and usually that's off a SD card or USB3 drive. So I guess make sure the Motherboard has lots of USB3 ports and go for a nice chunky 2TB drive.

I have no idea about RAM frequencies - Runner might know?
You've been a great help. Thank you <3
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» Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:27 am «Top

PostRe: Budget DAW by Runner

don't get a 5400rpm drive, I had that on my first macbook and I couldn't capture DV footage because the drive wouldn't write quick enough. TBH log and capture is not something that really happens anymore as its all cards instead of tapes but I still believe all 5400rpm drives should be gathered into a large pile and burned.

I have no knowledge of RAM frequency, in terms of GB just do what the budget can musta, I went from 6gb to 12 and didn't notice a huge transformation on PC, but on the iMac at work the 32gb does seem to get things done.

hope any of the above is useful
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» Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:13 am «Top

PostRe: Budget DAW by RubberJonny

Runner wrote:Hope any of the above is useful.
Very useful, thank you.
Roosell wrote:... go for a nice chunky 2TB drive.
WD Black 2TB HDD meets all the requirements listed and fits in to the budget : )

The music software uses a lot of RAM but from what i've read a single 8GB stick will suffice for now and can be easily added to as needed. Doing this will allow me to upgrade the CPU to an i5 quad core but do either of you believe that it's worth holding out for an i7? Is performance increase worth the cost?

Thank you for your time.
- Jonny
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» Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:56 pm «Top

PostRe: Budget DAW by Runner

I haven't used a computer (for a meaningful period of time) that hasn't had an i7 so I have no benchmark of comparison in personal experience.

I know premiere is supossed to use multi threading but after that no idea XD
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» Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:49 pm «Top