Building a computer for Cubase 7. Specs?

I have purchased Cubase 7. I would like to build a powerful PC to run it but I am finding it hard to get precise information. I will be running 96k 32bit audio tracks, and I expect to use a lot of virtual synths and effects.
i7 quad core I suppose…? Socket? Motherboard? RAM? SSD drives?
I am trying to keep the cost down but I need the computer to be solid. (Apple is just too pricey for me)
Thanks in advance for your suggestions!!

Based on info like this:

Made for each other: Cubase and HP

Finest software requires finest hardware. That’s why our best software specialists rely on the world’s leading PC hardware manufacturer. Cubase 7 is quality-tested with HP’s professional Z series workstation computers, ensuring highest performance and maximum reliability packed in a rock-solid chassis. Carefully selected components optimized for recording, editing and mixing allow for efficient audio data transfer rates throughout the whole system. Be it the industry-proven Intel XEON processors or the ultra-fast SSD drives, HP Z machines squeeze the best out of Cubase, speeding up your entire studio software environment

Test Spec
HP Z800 workstation with dual Intel Xeon X5690 processors, 48GB memory and Nvidia Quadro 6000 graphics, running Windows 7 SP1. (Note: with the release of Cubase 7, Steinberg have officially "quality tested” their software for use on HP’s Z-series workstations.)

I got a smokin’ deal on a used Z800 on EBay. (So I expect Cubase to perform flawlessly!)

Xeon’s are kind of a waste when you use them with a DAW. I strongly recommend an i7 4770k. The performance is almost on a par with a Xeon but for MUCH LESS money. And then you can overclock it pretty safely (as long as you have a good cooling system) and with OC on it will easily beat the Xeon in many relevant benchmarks.

As for the mobo, I’ve always used ASUS and never experienced a single issue. Other people swear by other brands, but I’m pretty loyal to ASUS after building a dozen machines with no problems at all.

Depending on your use, 32gb of RAM should be plenty. But if you do a lot of orchestral work and only work on one computer, then you may want to consider bumping to 64gb. Personally, I prefer a Vienna Ensemble Pro 5 network (main i7 4770k/32g, slaves 2x i7 3770k/16g) for the ultimate in computing power (no single machine can match my system.)

PSU: get a good one, I can never stress enough how important is to have a reliable PSU. You don’t need high wattage if you don’t have a beefy GPU and lots of drives. Go for quality rather than wattage.

I use an nVidia GTX 780ti on my main system, because it drives 3 monitors (once you try that, you’ll never go back to anything less… :slight_smile: ) and I do a lot of video editing. If you don’t do video editing and gaming, you may consider much cheaper video cards or none at all (Intel’s latest integrated video is pretty decent for generic/business use. And, of course, DAW use, since it doesn’t require 3D grfx or any other sophisticated graphic feature.)

In my humble opinion, SSD’s are indispensable as OS drives and audio drives. Buying a really large one (or, even worse, more than one…) just to load samples slightly faster is a terrible waste of money that you can use to better advantage.

Get an Antec Sonata III case. A tad expensive but totally worth it, considering it’s the best to reduce fan/drive noise. I have five internal drives (3 of them mechanical) in my master machine and I would have to put my ear directly to case to hear them.

BTW, Apple doesn’t offer any sensible desktop solution for DAW use as of now. The new MacPro is a video editing machine that needs all external drives (noisy!) Not only very inconvenient to use in a studio (noise, lots of cables etc.), but you’d end up paying (a lot!) for things that you would never ever use (like the twin high-end GPU.) Also consider that 3 full i7 4770k systems will cost you much LESS than a single MacPro and offer you more than twice the power.

I guess that you have to go back and check your fact a little better. There are the iMacs, if you must have an i7 processor.

That the the i7 processor is more powerful the a Xeon processor isn’t completely true. It’s true that they often are rated for higher clock frequencies and shows higher performances in belch-tests. The problem with most bench-test is that they measure short-time performance. The i7 is designed for home computers and the performance drops considerably over time as the processor heats up. The Xeon processor, on the other hand, is designed for servers. Computers that stays turned on 24/7 and are expected to deliver over time. In bench-tests that measure long-term (hours) use, the Xeon is “more powerful” than the i7. If it weren’t i7’s would be used in servers, they aren’t.

The MacPro is not only a videoediting computer. It’s also an excellent DAW computer. (Technically, it’s actually a server.) I assure you that my Xeon based computer will still tick on, long after your i7 based has run into overload.

There is no easy answer, to which processor type to buy. It all depends on how your system is going to be used. A rough guideline could be this: If you intend to use for hobby purposes (maybe a couple of hours a day), for all means, buy an i7 based computer. It will probably serve you well. On the other hand, if you intend to build a “professional” system that will run for 10-15 hours a day and employ tons of plug-ins, and Xeon based system is clearly the way to go.

As for you claim that external hard-drives are noise. I have 5 hard-drives (4 internal and one external). The quietest one is actually the external! So much for that claim.

Some general advice.

Widows PC’s are cheaper than Macs, Macs are well regarded, but PC’s can do just as much. I don’t know about macs never had one.

If you want a PC, then build it yourself is the best option (if you can do it) as the custom ones are often over priced.

Get a good motherboard with all the ins and outs that you need. I like Asus boards for quality.A Core i7 will deliver all the umph you need. Get a lot of RAM, but don’t go bonkers, I use 12 gig and find this is enough. Obviously Cubase should run 64 bit. If you can use bit VSTs, if you need a 32 bit one bridge it with Jbridge, don’t rely on Steinberg.
No need for a heavy duty graphics card, something mid range will do. Consider dual monitors, they are a god send. Get a decent power supply.

Get the best sound device you can afford, mine cost more than my PC.

Check out Tom’s Hardware for decent advice re specs

You don’t need the absolute best, but don’t buy an off the shelf budget PC for offices.


this core i7 processor seems a good bet

iMacs are nowhere nearly as customizable as PC’s. Plus, you keep them on 24/7 and you have a good chance of frying them. Do you seriously think Apple can defy the laws of physics? Do you even know what kind of silly PSU every iMac has? Why would anyone pay twice as much for a machine that can’t have internal drives, a serious PSU and a serious cooling system? Right, I forgot, when it comes to Apple, every rational argument goes out of the window and it’s replaced by the usual stereotypes: “it just works!”, “Apple is secure!” (yeah, ask Jennifer Lawrence…)

That the the i7 processor is more powerful the a Xeon processor isn’t completely true.

Yeah, but it’s not what I said. If you want to quote me, do it verbatim.

The MacPro is > not > only a videoediting computer. It’s also an excellent DAW computer.

Based on what? An excellent DAW machine has room for several internal drives, it’s fully customizable and you can use it without a GPU. Also an excellent DAW machine is housed in a noise-abating case. Like I said, you can buy three i7 4770k systems for the price of your MacPro, and together they will simply crush it.

As for you claim that external hard-drives are noise. I have 5 hard-drives (4 internal and one external). The quietest one is actually the > external> ! So much for that claim.

Then you must have a really lousy case. Oh wait, macs don’t have noise-abating cases… Never had, never will. So, you literally don’t know what you’re talking about.

This is an old truth that has more or less turned into a myth these days. A year ago, when I needed to replace my old computer, I took a hard look at what I needed to build a PC that was comparable to the Mac. I was also under the illusion that Macs were much more expensive than PC. However, when I tallied the sums together, I found that there was not much difference between buying a Mac or building a comparable PC.

So, the short story is; Use the OS that you’re completable with. I’ve been using Mac for over twenty years, and will continue to do so. On the other hand I’ve got friends that have used Windows for ages and have no intention of switching. The most amazing ting is that, believe it or not, we still manage to be good friends. :wink:

This boring mudpieing between Mac and Windows fanatics is just a waste of energy. Energy that could be put to much better use. For example making music.

  • I suppose you mean Wi_n_dows, don’t you? :wink:

Indigo. Here we go with the useless Mac bashing again. Why don’t you do something more useful with you energy?

Sounds like FUD you picked up on “Cult Of Mac.”

Let’s INVESTIGATE and find out if what you said is actually true, shall we? I’m sure it’s something you would never EVER do, so I will do it for you:


i7 3.5GHz
512 GB SSD
GTX780M 4GB (crappy GPU, really a “lite” version, since the iMac has a small PSU or else it would catch fire…)
8TB storage (Thunderbolt box with 2x 4TB)

grand total: $4,248.95

(as per


i7 3.5Ghz $299 (4770k, better than Apple’s 4770s, which is not overclockable)
850W CPU (Corsair or similar) $100 (way better than the TINY PSU in the iMac)
decent mobo (the iMac mobo is nothing special) $150
super-duper copper cooler (way better than Apple’s. iMacs are always so hot…) $80
32 GB RAM (Corsair Vengeance, better than what Apple uses) $325
512 GB SSD $220
GTX780 4GB (the REAL THING, not the crappy mobile version) $500
8 TB internal storage (2x 4TB) $400
Sonata III case (soundproof) $150
27" LG screen $250
Windows 8.1 $69.99
Keyboard + mouse (Logitech or other top brand, you can spend way less, of course): $70

grand total: $2,613.99

And with even BETTER components (as shown in the comments.) And without the GPU (which you don’t need for DAW work), it would be even less at $2,113.99. Can you ask Apple to omit the GPU and let you use the 4770’s built-in graphics? Of course not. Like I said before, flexibility is key…and Apple will NEVER offer you that.

I know that no amount of hard evidence will ever convince you. And I know, to you telling the factual truth is tantamount to “Apple bashing”… So, instead of even trying to argue my point and my evidence, you will once again deflect and go ad hominem.

Use the OS that you’re completable with

Completable? LOL, pretty ironic for someone who just harped on my typo…

I hope people are having FUN :slight_smile:

I spent weeks, in collaboration with a friend who has years of experience building Windows PC’s, to get the facts right. How long did you spend researching, whipping together your list?

You’re sooo wrong!! “Hard evidance” can certainly convince me. The ignorant rantings of a troll who thinks he knows everything about everything, sure won’t! You seem incapable of mentioning an Apple product, without telling everyone how “crappy” it is. You’d make an excellent politician, I guess.

The big difference being that I made a friendly remark. As shown by my smiley.

You, on the other hand couldn’t resist the urge to make a personal insult of yours.

You hate Apple! You hate anyone who uses anything made by Apple! You hate and insult those who dare contradict you! The proof is in your post, in your own words. This is a textbook example of a toll:

Let’s get back to discussing the facts and refrain from slander and evangelism. There are other forums for that purpose.

Its a box.

Once again, I posted EVIDENCE of my claims. You posted nothing. You didn’t even try (because you obviously can’t challenge FACTS.) And instead of trying to challenge my facts, you went ballistic and accused me of “hating”, being a “troll” etc. Someone could easily say that you totally lost the argument. Because that’s what people do when they have no argument: deflect and insult.

If, as you claim, you know this matter better than me (riiiiight, have you EVER built a PC? My guess is no…FYI I’ve built a dozen and helped friends build several more), then why aren’t you even trying to disprove me? Is it maybe because you can’t and what I posted is FACTUAL?

Again, it’s my evidence against your word. And it’s you who goes ad hominem, because you have no way to debate me with any degree of success. To you anyone who proves you wrong and proves that myths spread by Apple fanboys are just…myths is a “hater.” Instead of trying to prove your case, you just try to discredit the person who just proved you posted pure unadulterated FUD.

“Hard evidance” (…)
This is a textbook example of a toll

I suppose you mean evidence and troll, right? :wink: <-- see how easy it is? There was nothing “friendly” in your harping on a typo. Don’t even try that.

And speaking of textbook trolling, this wonderful tidbit of yours (that started this whole incident) definitely takes the cake:

“I guess that you have to go back and check your fact a little better.”

The irony being that I never said anything non-factual and you never even tried to disprove me.

Let’s get back to discussing the facts and refrain from slander and evangelism.

Yeah, try and disprove my figures and my case, if you can. I’M CHALLENGING YOU. Refrain from your usual ad hominem and Apple evangelism. Of course if you can’t what you’re doing (your silly attempt to slander me) is your only way to retort…

You hate and insult those who dare contradict you!

Reality check: these are YOUR words:

“The ignorant rantings of a troll who thinks he knows everything about everything”

Sounds like hatred and insults to me. Projecting much? BTW, never said I know everything about everything, but I know the prices of components. You clearly don’t, because you don’t build PC’s (you’ve never done that and you never will, and the truth is, you wouldn’t be caught dead using anything other than Apple products…) and you made the hilarious claim that an iMac doesn’t cost more than a DIY PC. Without bothering to post the tiniest shred of evidence, of course… Because you simply can’t prove a lie. So, keep insulting me, because that’s the only thing you can do.

Indigo. You are apparently incapable of respecting this simple request. It’s unfortunate that you seem hell-bent on having this discussion closed aswell by the moderators.

No, it’s you who’s trying to get this discussion closed (and I’m sure you have already emailed the moderators requesting that they do that ASAP…) Because you can’t sustain your argument with anything other than your word.

Again, I challenge you to prove your argument. I’m waiting. You have to prove that a similarly-configured iMac doesn’t cost more than a DIY PC. I totally proved the opposite is true. You didn’t even try. Because you can’t. So, keep deflecting, call the moderators, have the thread closed, try to get me banned (lots of Apple fanboys among the Steinberg guys, you may actually succeed…) But you will NEVER EVER heed your own advice. Because you know too well you have no facts to discuss. Just myths that have never been proven and never will be.