Building a new desktop PC to run Cubase 9

My old Core 2 Quad Core Q6600 PC is starting to get a bit long in the tooth to run HALion 6 competently!

Are ASUS motherboards still up there with the best for reliability? Any recommendations - need plenty of USB connectivity and to be able to hold plenty of fast RAM.

i5 or i7?

Recommended graphics cards? Would like to be able to play the latest games too.

Solid state hard drive vs IDE?

It also needs to be quiet - no noisy fans!

Thanks in advance.

Stick one of these in your Q6600 mobo, clock it to 3.6Ghz and get very good performance out of your existing kit. It’s what I do, and it works very well on my Asus P5K mobo of 10 years of age.

or this one in the UK

I run this with 8GB DDR2 RAM, triple SSD drives, and 4 monitors connected to an nVidia GTX 780Ti, and it all works beautifully, and I use some big VST’s

The Q9650 will give you around i5 performance when clocked. Many later CPU’s are not so much faster than this chip, they just use less electric. The Q9650 was an expensive processor in it’s day.

Yes a clocked i5/i7 will be faster, but will also cost you a lot more and won’t be magnitudes better.

So this is a good route if you are on a tight budget.

Compare this unclocked:[]=1038&cmp[]=1050

At 3.6Ghz the Q9650 is producing around 5000 on that scale.

Then compare that 5000 with the i5 numbers here.

Just be very aware that there is a huge difference between i5 and i7 performance across the range, and you could buy one which is not actually any faster than a Q9650, yet you will have spent a fortune as you will need a new mobo and ram to go with your i5/i7 CPU.

People have bought these later chips and been very disappointed with them and still not got good Cubase performance if they don’t choose carefully. Some of them are targetted at electrical efficiency, rather than computing power.

And to answer your opening question, yes definitely stick with a quality mobo manufacturer such as ASUS or Gigabyte. The tend to work better and be better supported as the years go by on later OS’s etc.

Thanks for the reply. I was wondering the same - whether it is worth the upheaval. I have a P5B mobo by the way.

A decent graphics card can make more of a difference to games than the CPU. Samplers are more about physical RAM - I have 8GB of Crucial Ram installed (the maximum my P5B will take) and the system is beginning to struggle in that department.

WIndows can get funny if you swap CPUs can it not. You end up having to go through a reinstall or is there a workaround?

No it doesnt… cpus are hot swappable… no need to reinstall anything

I highly doubt there is a pci-e 3.0 on that mainboard for a modern ‘decent graphics card’ to be fully functional.
Besides that an oldschool quad-core cant deliver enough work for a modern gpu, it would be a massive bottleneck.
Most games releasing lately require at least a 3rd gen i5.

The question is, what’s your budget?

I would say at least
i7 7th gen
GTX1060 (for the quiet part, some brands the fans wont spin on idle or little load… just read some benchmarks)
SSD, at least for OS and installations, plus it has no spinning disc as a mechanical harddrive has which makes noise.
Also IDE is an interface, not a type of harddrive.

My existing drives are SATA II

You clearly haven’t used windows 10!

I’m using Windows 10.1 64 bit! Too late I’ve ordered the CPU!

If after installing the CPU windows decides it’s not authorised anymore, phone microsoft help directly and say your cpu failed and only had this replacement, the licencing model has completely changed for w10 - you no longer own a product. At the moment Microsoft will usually just reactive your system as long as it appears to be the same physical machine, but they are under no obligation to do so.

Providing it will allow me into Windows that is! It’s a conspiracy!

I thought Windows 10 would bind to either UEFI or harddrive.?? Somewhat like a soft-elicense.
And if not, you will have 30 days I think. Windows 10 Pro licenses are available starting from €8 on Ebay.

Swapping hardware on Win10 is now officially supported by registering your Win10 license on a Microsoft account. You can then use this to reactivate your license on anything from a CPU swap to a complete system swap.

Full instructions here:


CPU installation went well. No authorisation complaints.

I have just (over the weekend) replaced my old 1TB 7200 rpm SATA C drive with a WD 500GB SSD drive (I cloned my old drive to it first).

Everything seems to be working well (booting takes less than a minute).

However, a work colleague says I would be advised to reinstall Windows 10 - The thought of doing this pains me - I’ve had literally sleepless nights in the past doing this! Surely if it ain’t broke and all that… The guy says it’s like buying a new car and not changing the oil!

What are your thoughts. I have gone from an Intel Core 2 Duo Quad Q6600 to a Q9650

I hardly ever reinstall my OS. I have a Cubase setup which runs to almost 300GB with all my samplers, and another major app of the same size. Installing that lot takes ages, so I try to avoid it.

If you are careful not to fill your machine with unnecessary crap, and work tidy OS wise, then you should be fine.

I have seen people spend ages reinstalling the whole lot to try and eliminate a problem, and after the reinstall, have exactly the same problem. Much better to learn how the machine works, and learn to fault-find and eliminate problems without continuously reinstalling stuff.

Maybe in the past, with older OS’s there was some merit in the occasional reinstall, but I have yet to find a need to do that with Windows 10.

Unless you are having a problem you simply cannot fault-find in situ, I would not reinstall.

I agree… This advice to reinstall is outdated.

Thanks guys - does anyone else agree/disagree?

The only reason I’d consider reinstalling the OS (assuming it worked fine before) is if I changed motherboards and the existing installation wouldn’t boot on the new one. Changing CPU won’t matter, Windows will pick up the new CPU and use it.


Since Cubase SL 2 I’ve probably reinstalled windows 98, ME, thru Win 7 over 20 times as the yrs went on. I can already visualize your sleepless nights. I did however live peacefully for the last 6-7 years with Win 7 and a 2600k CPU and ASUS motherboard. Ive only successfully updated the CPU once. Bootup typically discovered busses and connections over and over again and kept me up questioning whether or not I was covering all bases in getting the best performance out of what I was running and that thinking destroyed me.

Particularly, issues with the computer issues, with Cubase updates from 4 and it’s updates, 5 and those updates, 6,7,8, etc. Thankfully, C 9.0.10 runs very well on my i7700 and my knowledge of using it has grown a tiny bit in 12 years so I can engage the CPU and ram even more. I’ve discovered the 32gb of ram make a very nice improvement for me. Never had gone above 8 before.

As mentioned, keeping the crap out is a challenge…good luck ! Now that it’s been a week or so, did it match your expectations?

It did indeed - I had to reinstall one or two hardware drivers and the odd game but that’s it so far. Don’t forget to change the drive letters in Computer Management.