Computer requirements

Can some of you experienced users please enlighten me? I finally upgraded to C6 from C4 and am using Win XP. Unfortunately, my system will not open Halion Sonic SE. It seems most everything else is available though. Tech support wont help me get Sonic SE working because of the XP system not being supported.

I guess it’s time for an upgrade and I’m wondering if the specs on the computer below will allow me to run C6 comfortably. I can see that a RAM and hard drive upgrade would be beneficial, but would the system work otherwise?

Dell OptiPlex 755 Core 2 Duo E8200 2.66 GHz Small Form Factor

General Features:
Small form factor system
Black and Gray Small Form Factor design
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium pre-installed w/CoA and reinstallation partition
Intel Core 2 Duo E8200 2.66 GHz Dual Core processor
6 MB L2 cache, 1333 MHz bus speed
Intel Q35 Express chipset
2 GB of DDR2 RAM
80 GB Serial ATA Hard Drive
No floppy disk drive
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100
ADI 1984 High Definition Audio
Intel 82566DM Gigabit 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN
Kensington security slot
Can be setup vertically or horizontally
280W power supply

Motherboard Features:
Four (4) DDR2 DIMM sockets (two occupied)
Two (2) SATA connectors (occupied)
One (1) PCI Express x16 slot, supports Low-Profile (occupied by expansion bracket)
One (1) PCI slot supports Low-Profile

Front I/O Ports:
Two (2) USB 2.0 ports
One (1) 3.5 mm Microphone in jack
One (1) 3.5 mm Headphone out jack

Rear I/O Ports:
No PS/2 ports
Six (6) USB 2.0 ports
One (1) RJ-45 Ethernet jack
One (1) 15-pin VGA
One (1) S-Video
One (1) 9-pin Serial port
One (1) 25-pin Parallel port
One (1) 3.5 mm Line-in/Microphone jack
One (1) 3.5 mm Line-out jack

Case Features:
One (1) Slimline external optical drive slot (occupied)
One (1) 3.5-inch external bay
One (1) 3.5-inch internal drive bay (occupied)

Power Specifications:
100-240V ~ 47/63Hz, 6.0A/3.0A

Thanks in advance to all you highly intelligent recording wizards. :slight_smile:

The reality of recording music is that “more is better”.
That 2gb of ram looks pretty not-enough-ish. If you can get it up to 4gb you’ll have a better go of it, assuming you’re using the 32bit version of Win7. Still, I’m finding that 24Gb of ram is just about the right amount in the 64bit version.

The 80meg hd is gonna be an issue pretty quickly. Might consider saving that for just the OS and getting another drive for your music files…and another for your drum sample app…and probably another for your general sampler…

Probably not going to want to use the onboard audio or I/O stuff. Some nice table-top I/O devices out there.

While I’m personally not a fan of Windows “home” versions, it’ll work. The “pro” version is more robust and tweakable.

Generally, I like Dell and have a few. But those miniature biz machines are not great for music. Not saying it won’t work; if it’s all you got, go for it.

Other than the ram and hd quantity thing, which will for sure lessen the awesomeness of your recording experience, you might as well give’r a go.

But get Process Explorer (free), and turn off EVERYTHING that you aren’t using for recording. That’ll at least clear up some power for you.



The truth is, you can run fine with 4GB. Once you start adding samples (Kontakt, HALion, EZDrummer, Trilian, etc), well, you need as many GBs as you need GBs.

Most will get by on 8GB and running a decent amount samples. If you are doing large scores, then, you know, get more.

That processor is fairly middle-of-the-road for a modern DAW. Not bad, but it really depends on the number and type of plug-ins you expect to run. Many good plug-ins are not CPU hogs, others are. If you can get a good deal on it and its sort of at the limit of your budget, go for it, but I would expect to put 2 extra sticks in for 4GB (at least) taking you up to 6GB RAM total. Might be more cost-effective to just bite the bullet and put in 8GB, bringing you up to 10, especially if you have many samples.

Other things to factor in…does it have enough room for all the internal hard drives you need. I like to have at least 3…one for OS, one for audio projects, and a third for samples. You can get by adding external drives as well, but USB can be a bit of a bottleneck compared to SATA drives.

Also, I like to have firewire on my DAW, but you can add in a PCI or PCIe card with firewire, as long as you have the available slots.

Thanks for the replys.

I certainly am expecting to add more ram and larger hard drives. I have a nice Hitachi and WD 500 gb drives sitting on my desk. I was expecting to go to 8gb of ram for sure.

The reason I asked is because I haven’t had a new computer for about 7 years and was unfamiliar with what specs C6 would take to work properly. If this machine will do it then great. If not, then I probably should consider something else. I’m open to all kinds of advice.

I’m using a Lexicon Omega for my interface.

This is seriously outdated budget computer spec and even when new represented bad value vis a vis the AMD alternatives, the problematic areas are as above the Intel Q35 Express chipset (outdated and crippled) DDR2 ram, slow by today’s standards and by now almost twice as expensive as the faster DDR3 and will from now on go up in price not down, the 280W power supply will not support any processor or graphic card upgrades, both SATA connectors are already used and you will only be able to replace hard drives not add more to the system, there are only 2 expansion slots and one of them is unusable leaving you with only 1 PCI slot for an audio card if you wanted to throw in a new one never mind a graphics card, most Audio cards these days are PCie.

The primary problem areas are the motherboard and power supply, You should have a minimum of 4 SATA connectors, that would allow you to have 3 hard drives, and the power supply should be 500w at the least if you decide to add hard drives or replace the processor. The other problem is the video card, video processors that use shared memory with the processor like this cause a problem with RT audio apps, even turning off the shared memory and replacing it with an old PCIe one you found in the shed or the cheapest one you will find in shops is an improvement, this is an architectural issue as is mentioned in the Cubase manual, not a parts performance issue but an upgrade is not possible on this computer even though the connector is there, furthermore the Q35 chipset only allows for a max of 8Gb of memory, the equivalent budget chipsets from other manufacturers address 16 at the least.

Note that many of the intel technologies often touted in reviews and sales brochures like hyper-threading are actually something you would disable on a music PC, Win7 is much more fussy about this than XP used to be, the list you get from DSP soundcard manufacturers of thing you should turn off in the BIOS of intel based motherboards to help improve latency and timing in Win7 is getting a bit long.

Simply put, if yo are on the lookout for a budget PC for use in audio you have for the last 15 years or so been recommended to buy AMD, this has nothing to do with the processor per se, but that since 1998 Intel has only shipped crippled versions of their bigger chipsets as budget parts, this did not matter as much when you could get alternatives from Via, SiS, Ali and Nvidia, but these day you can only get intel and you end up with un-expandable computers like this, fine for the office a bit hopeless for Audio

You should be able to do much better than this for the same price regardless of if you are buying new or second hand, get Win7 64bits and 4Gb of memory is an absolute minimum, 8 is highly recommended but not strictly needed if you not use big sample sets, DDR3 memory is dirt cheap these days so no excuse to load the unit up