Sorry if this comes across as another one of those dumb questions that are already answered. However, I haven’t really found what I’m looking for after extensive research on the web and was hoping to get some first hand experiences from folks here.
I currently use an older Dell Dimension 4600 with 4GB Ram, a Pentium 4 with 2.4 Ghz and two fast hard drives. For Cubase LE4 its hooked up to a Lexicon Lambda. Recording is mostly some midi instruments, guitars through an old POD (feeding into the Lambda), microphones going into the Lambda and drum tracks from EZ drummer.
I get about 10ms latency with this but have to be careful not to have too many and too long tracks with complex effects etc.
In short: it kind of works and I can also use if for my Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom needs for photography. None of it is great . Not painfully slow but you can feel the limitations despite the RAM upgrade (of which probably only 3GB are usable). All of this is on Windows XP professional 32bit.
The problem now is that I can’t really figure out what I need to buy and how much I need to spend minimum to see a significant improvement while being able to keep the general idea of the setup including the Lexicon Lambda (which is USB of course).
I have a budget of between $500 to $1000 but would really prefer to stay at the lower end of that (say, 600 to 700). No new monitor at this point but bare minimum graphic card for CS5 without causing a Cubase conflict needs to be part of the equation.
What are the most important factors to improve the 10ms latency (which is not horrible, I know) and allow for more headroom on number of tracks, length, effects, etc? Is it the processor speed (i3, i5, i7?)? 6-8GB of RAM? Do hard drives play a role? Any other parts that cause a bottle neck with Cubase LE4 (or if I want to upgrade to Cubase Elements 6)?
Is it better to stick to XP or is Windows 7 64 bit actually improving things (which I’m told it would for my photo editing needs…)? What about the difference between Win 7 home vs pro? It should play nicely on a network with other XP machines.
Or is there a risk that I’ll spend $700 on a new Dell/HP/anything without seeing a significant difference with my Lexicon Lambda hooked up? This is all for a desktop PC. Not interested in anything Apple.
Hope these are not too many questions at once but I thought I’ll give you an overview of the situation.
Thanks a lot