Advice Needed - PC build, Switching from Mac

Hey all,

Its that time of year, when tax reasons and an old system are pressuring me to get a new DAW. I previously had a Mid 2010 Mac Pro 2.66 12 Core (2x 2.66 6 core) with 64g of ram [See sig]. The machine served me well for many years, but it starting to show its age.

I had 2 options, upgrade to the Trash-can Mac or Build a PC (or - Have a PC built by PCAUDIOLabs or the like.) I looked into upgrading to the 8core trashcan, but was looking at a 5.5-6k price tag. So I’m researching PC builds. Suffice it to say, I feel I’m a little out of my depth here. So I have a few questions:

1.I will mostly be using the DAW for composition with Cubase and sample triggering and playback, not recording digital audio (except for an occasional vocalist or guitarist or maybe…at most a string quartet). I need power for real-time effects such as alti-verb and amp-sims and surround. What is the best processor architecture you’d recommend for this, server or desktop, and why? What are the differences between say, getting an i7 or a Xeon Server processor (or multiple server processors?).

  1. That having been decided, which processor in that category has the best performance for my needs (samples, real time effects.)

  2. Which processor is the best bang for the buck? How much of a performance hit would I suffer if I went with that?

  3. How would a DAW based on the above processors compare to an 8 core trashcan mac or even a 12core trashcan.

  4. Windows, which OS would y’all recommend? I know its gotta be 64bit, but don’t know whether to go with 7,8 or 10.

  5. Most of my samples are currently on an eSata based Raid (OWC Mercury/formatted in hfs+),connected to a Sonnet PCI-e card how would I get the PC to read these or will I need to transfer all that data to new drives?


  6. Finally, I’d really like to avoid building and troubleshooting the thing myself, so which DAW builders would y’all recommend?

I really appreciate any help y’all can give a fellow traveller.


If you search in google “professional DAW builder”, you will find a list of companies that are building DAW’s. They offer quality but that comes at a price.
Personally i had a good experience with the guys from TITANUS computers.

Very professional, very good service, and good pricing. Once you go this type of machinery you will quickly notice that a MAC is nothing more then a very mediocre and a very expensive machine compared to the real stuff being build on PC’s. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

But beware: verify if you need that amount of power. It depends on what you need to do.
Your pricing indication points to the top end of the market, so we’re talking lot’s of cores here.
I would not go for the fastest rocket on the planet since you will probably never need it, but a decent 2 core Xeon machine is something a lot of people have in their rig here. You can spend the rest of the budget on several decent SSD’s to work with.

Again, FWIW,
kind regards and merry christmas,


I’m still stuck on the Processor question:

Macs use the Xeon e5 processors. Would getting a Xeon e5 (one of them) be better/more efficient/powerful than say a Haswell or Skylake?