How hard is it to get a great but old prebuilt computer upgraded?

Hi -

I have an ADK system built in 2014. It is great, “optimized for audio”, but I found I can’t update it to W11, and that makes me think it’s days are numbered.

Specs are here:

|Processor|Intel(R) Core™ i5-4570 CPU @ 3.20GHz 3.20 GHz|
|Installed RAM|16.0 GB|
|Device ID|D3EAC655-BC25-4091-88D8-D556F78F18AF|
|Product ID|00330-80000-00000-AA038|
|System type|64-bit operating system, x64-based processor|
|Pen and touch|No pen or touch input is available for this display|

Also, I have two SSDs, one that has the operating system and other programs, and one for samples.

I’d sure like to avoid having to buy another pre-built computer, and as you can tell by reading this I am not a “let’s build our own” kind of guy.

Any starter suggestions on how to/if a computer system can be upgraded? Could it be as simple as replacing the motherboard with a more modern and powerful one? Or is the rest of the system too old and that wouldn’t really be all that useful?

(I’ve added RAM to a computer, so I know I can do that physically).

Thanks for any thoughts!

I got a few more years out of my old i7 computer built around 2009. It had a i7 920 cpu and 6 gig of memory. I researched what cpu the motherboard supported and the type of memory and then looked on eBay. I managed to get a i7 960 cpu and 12gig of memory (mine was hard to get triple memory) the new cpu ran at 3.2ghz and I then had 18gig memory. I also overclocked to 4ghz since I had a decent cooler. This pc is still being used with Cubase 12ai by my son along with sd3. I used it for another 2 years before passing it on to him and buying another designed for audio pc last year.

By the way the cpu and ram only came to about £50 plus a tube of paste for coupling the new cpu.

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My PC is 15 years old (Core2duo quad Q6600).
I made an OC at 3,6 ghz + 2 SSD + 8GO RAM and I can run decently my projects with Cubase 12 (around 50 tracks with several VSTi ).

Unless you use very heavy projects, I think your config is enough for Cubase !

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This will be because Windows 11 requires a particular “security” chip on the mainboard, which can’t be retro-fitted. At minimum this would require a new motherboard, which would require a new CPU, which would require new DRAM … you see where this is going.

One thing you could do is contact ADK for advice – especially if you’re not into DIY. As the builder, ADK might be able to offer the best option to re-use existing parts such as the case and power supply. If you just want a little more power, depending on the motherboard, perhaps it’s just a matter of popping in an i7 from the same family, such as the i7-4770.

Unless there’s some pressing reason to upgrade this machine to Windows 11 (and I can’t think of any), then the most environmentally friendly option is to do nothing, as that rig is perfectly capable of running Cubase and Windows 10 will still be supported until October 2025.

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It’s easy enough to put win 11 on any machine. I did it on an unsupported pc with no tpm chip and unsupported cpu. Probably no point though as win 10 will be supported for a few more years yet.

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My vote is just to forget about win11 and stick with win10 for another decade, or at least until you have a very compelling reason to switch to win11, I mean something that will refuse to work on win10.
Changing a computer is such a waste of time (and I’m an IT pro!), and win11 is not worth it, especially if your focus is on making music, not IT.

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You guys are great, thank you!

I was only thinking of upgrading because i thought the writing was on the wall that Cubase and plug ins would soon be unsupported or worse on W10. Sounds like the consensus is not , so i have no burning desire to get to W11 as long as it doesn’t as a barrier to my one of my favorite pastimes!

I have contacted ADK for advice, or rather Chris Ludwig who ran ADK and now runs https://www.fundamentalav.com/, just waiting to hear back.

Yes thanks for that advice @MrSoundman and @mkok , I’ve been thinking about doing that, without messing up what i have now … but that’s for a different thread!

This processor line has been discontinued for about 5 years and it is unlikely to produce a noticeable difference with such a minor CPU upgrade, at the risk of damaging the mobo/socket.

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Course you can. I got a 960 really cheap on eBay. Swapping a cpu is easy

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Microsoft claims that you will be unable to download updates if you (successfilly) install Win 11 on unsupported hardware.

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If you decide to upgrade your processor, I would look for a i7-4790K.

Note: Windows 10 21H2 will be supported through 2015

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It updates just fine. They may stop in the future though. I wasn’t saying he should install but stating that it is possible and quite easy. I have three PCs and used one to test it out first before putting it on my main pc which does support win 11. I don’t recommend anyone puts win 11 on at all. I dual booted my main PCs between win 10 and win 11. If you have one pc I would recommend this as you can set up win 11 at leisure and bin it if it doesn’t work with your gear or programs.

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Any new CPU that you can fit into the motherboard isn’t going to be a massive upgrade in performance, and it won’t solve the Windows 11 upgrade problem, which requires a more modern motherboard.

Once you upgrade the motherboard, you need to also upgrade the CPU and the memory, because those connections have moved on, so the minimum you’d need to upgrade is motherboard, CPU, RAM.

If you’re lucky, your current power supply is good enough to power a more modern computer. And if you’re OK with your current hard drive you can probably keep that, too. And the case – as long as you can still fit new motherboard and CPU and cooler, you can keep that.

However, you’ll want to stick with CPU kinds that don’t draw too much power, so the highest-end many-core monsters are unlikely to fit in your current system.

So, find a motherboard that fits the same size as you already have (or a mini-ITX, that generally fits anything,) and a CPU to go with it, and RAM to go with THAT, and that’s your possible upgrade. If you don’t want to do it yourself, it’s possible you can find a computer parts store that can do it for you, for a fee. (Around here, the chain “Central Computers” can do that kind of thing, if you ask nicely, and pay the fee. I’m sure something similar exists wherever you live.)

You’ll probably need to re-install a bunch of drivers part of Windows when you first boot it up with the new CPU, and may or may not have to re-authorize Windows, depending on which version it is. Some original computers will ship with versions of Windows that are locked to the old motherboard, in which case you need to purchase a new Windows serial number as well. I highly recommend doing this in steps:

  1. Replace hardware
  2. Make sure it boots and has drivers
  3. Make sure Windows license is good
  4. Only then, when everything is “back to normal,” consider the Windows 11 upgrade
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OK folks, time for a thorough scientific evaluation, based on personal experience:

Windows 95 :clap:
Windows Millenium :scream:
Windows XP :+1:
Windows Vista :face_vomiting:
Windows 7 :partying_face:
Windows 8 :crazy_face:
Windows 10 :heart_eyes:
Windows 11 :thinking: … just sayin’.

I’ll get my coat.

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Thank you folks.

Thinking about:

  • Having to know if i have enough power and cooling to support a more powerful CPU,
    -Making sure everything i buy will physically fit into the slots,
    -Not to mention having to reauthorize all the programs that think they are being used in a new and therefore “unauthorized” computer,
    -Plus other potential speed bumps or worse not even mentioned above …

Is -more- than enough to keep me where i am now, even though i wish i did have a more powerful computer.

Thanks again for your advices!

I didn’t have to re authorise anything when I replaced a cpu and added memory and it definitely was worth it. I think everyone got sidetracked with win 11 when that was not really your concern.

It was cheap and easy and my m/b supported it. However you may need to update your bios if you have not done so while you’ve had the pc. It sounds like you’re not comfortable with changing a cpu so probably best you don’t.

I’ve gone back to Win 10 after having latency spikes every where.
For Win 11 in the future ill buy another motherboard and cpu etc.
I think you can get away from the fact your recording music.
I looked at a windows forums and the same thing as mine kept cropping up.
Answer install Windows 10 version 1809. From Windows 10 version 1903 onwards the DAW troubles began for certain machines.
I’ve just done this and my machine is running along fine.

My approach too, and I’m not going to start thinking about it until at least the year after next, by which time I expect there will be even more hardware choice (and maybe even Windows 12 to worry about :wink:).

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Yeh. Doing a fresh install with Windows 10 Version 1809 was the game changer for me.

This is the crucial bit – most of the “you changed your computer!” software, get “the computer” from configuration parts of the motherboard/BIOS. If you don’t change the motherboard, you don’t change “the computer.”

But if the computer is old, it’s unlikely there will be a significantly more modern CPU available for that old motherboard.

(Personally, I would try Windows 11, except I can’t put the taskbar on the side. Given that monitors are much wider than they are tall, locking up the bottom with a taskbar has never seemed right to me (since forever ago,) so I’m staying with Windows 10 and taskbar-side until they fix that in 11. And if 10 becomes unsupported and 11 still hasn’t fixed it, I will upgrade, and look for registry hacks to kind-of sort-of still put the taskbar on the side …)