everyone’s got slightly different demands on an audio computer so obviously there can’t be a general formula to fit all needs at once. Building a machine yourself, research can get extensive if you want to know what components work well with each other.
I did that recently and found good hints in this forum and others and wished for more lists with ‘working setups’ that precisely name the stuff in detail.
So here’s ‘my’ list of components that’s working out very well:
(please note: not the latest greatest but at a good performance/price ratio)
- Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 mainboard
- Intel i7 2600k
- 8GB (2x 4096MB) Corsair XMS3 DDR3-1600
- 120GB OCZ Agility 3 2.5" (6.4cm) SATA III (system drive)
- 2000GB Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 SATA III (audio data)
- 1 TB Seagate Drive SATA II (taken over from previous machine - backups/misc data)
- 512MB Asus EN210 Silent (passive gpu)
- Samsung DVD±R/RW/DL/RAM SATA (standard dvd drive)
- Silentmaxx ST11 Pro V2 Tower
- Silentmaxx Fanless Platinum PSU
- Silentmaxx Ice Block (CPU cooler)
- Silentmaxx HD-Silencer (2)
The essential points for me were:
works perfect with my RME Fireface 800 (FW can be tricky sometimes)works perfect with UAD2 cardsworks at very little/no noise levelfast drives + usb3/e-sata-ports (backing up complete project folders in less time etc.).
Not so essential to me:
*super huge amount of RAM (sparse VSTi use)*thunderbolt (maybe next time, some years ahead)*megalomaniac graphics (no gaming/graphic design etc.).
I run Windows 7 64 bit, Cubase 6.5, Wavelab 7 (both 32 bit - still waiting for 64 bit UAD drivers ).
Most of my projects contain primarily audio files (usually 44.1/24 or 32fp), just a view or no midi/instrument/VSTi-tracks, heavy load of UAD plugins, plenty multiple-instance-plugs like Slate VCC.
Feels quick and tight, has passed real-life stress tests without issues/dropouts/anomalies and should serve my needs well for some years (my last Q6600-built did for almost 5 years!). The price tag is really ok at around 900 Euros + some hours for putting it all together.
Die hard users of sample based VSTis would add more RAM + fast HDDs or SSDs for samples.