Best computer for Cubase?

Hello fellow Cubase users,

I’ve been a long time Cubase user but have had about a 4 year break since starting my own business (not music related). I sold all my gear but now I want to get back into music production. I recently updated to Cubase 8.5 and bought a NI Komplete Kontrol S61 MIDI keyboard. The next thing I need is a computer. Currently using a MacBook Pro 13 inch but really need a desktop computer. I was wondering, would you recommend a PC over a Mac? I love the Mac OS but in reality if Cubase runs better on windows, I’m happy to do that. But then the question is, what hardware do I go for? I’m willing to spend up to $4,000. I was thinking 27 inch Retina iMac with upgraded i7 processor and to add a SSD and more RAM. But if I go PC, I need some guidance as to what processor, etc to put in it.

Any information is much appreciated. I used to practically live on this forum. Cheers :slight_smile:


Hey Daniel,

You can build a powerful PC with your budget. The question is will it perform better than the i7 upgraded iMac? Unfortunately I cannot answer that, neither the cubase on win or mac question.

But If you decide to build your own PC there are several parts other than the processor you need to check. For example the motherboard, or the graphics card etc. Always make a good research on every single part you pick. And have in mind that the more expensive/powerful = the better is NOT ALWAYS the case. Of course there are some companies specialized in building PCs for audio production which is a safer way.

If you really love iOS would you consider a hackintosh maybe?

In my opinion do not buy Apple computers - they aren’t worth any $. Better buy good PC Workstation on Xeon like HP Z640 or something and you will get serious stability and performance.

Thanks for your reply guys. I might have to suss out some computer stores to see what they can do for me. I wouldn’t trust myself if I was to buy all the parts separately and then have someone build it for me. But I still really would prefer to get a Mac because it will play nice with my current MacBook Pro and iPhone, etc. Plus that 27 inch Retina display looks mega. I also have a lot of software for Mac and if I get a PC I won’t be able to use a lot of it. It’s hard being an Apple fanboy. But I see what you’re saying moondancer. Apple are over priced, but they make it so easy to buy a computer. Whereas with a PC, there’s so much out there it gets so confusing.

GeorgeV, I’ve heard of a hackintosh but never really considered it. Is that like the best of both worlds?

About the Hackintosh: more like the worst of both worlds. It’s non-trivial to get it working on the level of a real Mac(with handsoff and continuity etc), plus you have to be even more careful about parts/software updates.

Only an option for really computer savvy people with a constrained budget who like to tinker.

An iMac quadcore i7 with a 5k screen is a pretty good deal, I think. Or otherwise get a a PC built by a company that specializes in DAW’s.

I was looking at the HP Z640 and wow. I didn’t expect it to be so pricey. But then again that’s probably the equivalent of buying a Mac Pro. But it would be more up to date.

In all seriousness I’m trying to sell myself a PC but it just ain’t working. I know I love the Mac and I’m sure the i7 with a SSD will be quite efficient. The only thing I’m going to miss is that PCIe flash drive. But you can’t have it all I guess.

I might wait a little longer to see if Apple release a new model over the coming months. Cheers guys.


Problem with Apple in my eyes, are their yearly OS (insert funny name … ) updates, each year with new things that are changed /enforced. So DAW and 3-d party plugin developers need to set aside time & cost to make their products work again for the new OS. Time and costs that could be used on make better products / features / stability (insert your wishes … :bulb: )

Bottom line … vote with your wallet … discourage Apples practises and buy a dedicated windows DAW. :ugeek:

I built a Hackintosh. Took a few days to get everything working 100%, but saved about 65% of the cost of comparable Mac Pro. Most powerful and stable set up I’ve ever had!

Hey Steve,

You playing at Luminosity this year? I watched you (online) last year. Awesome set!

My budget was $5000 and Ive got a dual screen+3.8GHz+64GB RAM DDR4+1.2TB SSD with ASUS X99 Motherboard.
If your going with mac, save up bit more and get a mac pro (IMO)

remember in electronics, save $1 now – spend $2 later

Steve, who I really admire has a stable hackintosh. Others say it’s a great hassle and you shouldn’t bother.
It’s up to you and the projects you’ll be working on. It does worth a try to find someone who can build a hackintosh

Sure am!

Mac, if really want to work on Logic, otherwise no point in this.

The age old debate :laughing:

This is an old myth, often used by disciples of Micro$oft. Yes, there are plenty of cheap PC’s around, but they are made with inferior components. I’ve actually calculated what it would cost to build a PC with the same specs as an equivalent Mac Pro. The factory-built Mac would cost 10-15 percent more than a self-built PC.

This was only taking the cost of the hardware components into consideration. Add to this that with the Mac, you only unpack it and start using it. With the self-built PC you first need to assemble all the parts and then cross your fingers and hope that they work together and with the Windows OS. Apple has done all this testing for you. Add to that that you get a lot of free software with your Mac, that you don’t with the PC. Of cause you could buy a factory-built PC, but that would cost just as much (or maybe even more) than a Mac.

Mac’s are expensive: Yes, but so are PC’s of equivalent specs.
Mac’s are overpriced: Maybe, but in that case, so are PC’s of equivalent specs.

I guess that the old addict is true; “you get what you pay for”.

To your question if you use Windows 10:
I recently had a motherboard failure so I replaced my I-7 3770k computer last week with a HP i7-6700K 4GHz 16G DDR4 RAM 512G SSD, NVidia GTX960 graphics, space for 2 additional or 3 total HD slots. WIN10. Once I turned off the (unnecessary on a DAW) “services” and threw in my two 2TB Seagate 7200 drives, old Logitech kb and my old MS 5000 mouse this machine is very good. I think it it’s called -HP ENVY Phoenix 860st. $1445.

Config: Windows 10 and Cubase 8.5 RME USB; w/dual 27" HP monitors.
Building a machine is not an option by choice. Order and get it in a week.

Since shopping around for a Windows workstation, I have come to realise that they are damn expensive too! All you see in comments on YouTube videos is negative talk about Apple and how over priced they are. Seems like the iMac is actually best bang for your buck considering you get a 5k display with it. Only thing is you can’t really expand it apart from external hard drives, SSDs, etc.

The HP machine I described above that I bought recently for $1445 has a very powerful Intel processor relatively speaking and a NVidia graphic card. You could buy a very good HP machine for half that price that would run Cubase but it depends on your need such as the amount and type of plugins/instruments etc. 5k display is not needed for Cubase. Dual monitors are nice.
'I don’t know Apple products so I just looked at their all in one computers sometimes referred to as iMac at their site and what you get for the cost isn’t much. Not much at all. But if you don’t need much…and like paying more…
To compare apples to apples I don’t even see a “all in one” Apple with a i7 Intel processor.

This debate pops up from time to time on this forum. I can remember at least 10 times during my membership time. Here on the forum you will find die hard fans of both the PC’s and the MAC. I have tried out 7 PC and two MACs (MAC PRO - not the MACBook PRO) in my studio. I have used all from windows XP to Windows 10 on the PC and all from Snow Leopard to Mavericks on the MAC. When it comes to choosing I am not fan of either, or the other way around; a fan of both, depending on the task they are going to be working on.

I do all my dayly work as an organization consultants on PC (as office has a better GUI on PC than MAC) and I currently own 7 of them. I do all my studio work on MAC and I own two of them. I even have one MAC and one PC set up working together.

The reason for running the studio on a MAC, and not on the more (for me) familiar PC, is that it was like going from hell to heaven when it comes to installing SW instruments and plugins and operational stability.

Mind you that is my experience, and only mine. I have understood through the referred previous forum discussions that for some people it is the other way around. Among my friends and aquaintancies there are both MACs and PCs. I get less questions on technical issues from the MAC users, however too few friends to have any significant statistical value.

My advice would be to get a computer that looks nice and can be upgraded memory wise and where you can add more disc capacity, either inside or outside the computer. And a fairly fast one. If you are going to have the computer in the same room as your mic is, go fo the most silent ones. Get a black one or a grey one. A green one or a yellow one. You see there are many other aspects other than wheather it is a MAC or a PC. For the same kind of perfomance they cost about the same. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Except facts speak for themselves.