Hi - firstly, I apologise for probably making some schoolboy errors below. Just getting back into home recording, and I’m speccing a DAW to run Cubase on. I’ve done a fair bit of research and lurked around here for a long while, but it’s much easier to answer these questions when you’re on the other side having done it. Any help therefore greatly appreciated.
Cubase was my software of choice, since I still have a copy of Pro-24 and an Atari 1040STE in my attic. It might still run, I have no idea. I’m a PC guy. I have nothing against Macs, but I’m used to PCs. Currently looking at the UR824 as an audio interface (simply because of some of the deals on the “Ultimate Recording Pack”, but still considering RME.
My requirements are for a machine to suit a home studio with everything in the same location (sound-proofed and fairly dead room that doubles as a home theatre). I’m guessing I’ll be running a few samples and effects together with drums, bass, guitar, vocals, horns, etc. I’m a keys player, and I’m currently thinking that most of my keys will be going through VST sounds. I therefore want something fairly powerful but quiet. Ideally I don’t want to over-spec, but then anything that saves a year or so off upgrading is ideal. The budget is fairly loose - if it costs a bit more to get a good and lasting job done, I’ll hold out for a month or so. In short, the usual.
I’ve been looking at the Skylake processors over the Haswells and wondering whether they’d be ideal for the job. You can currently get 6-core Haswells, with the Skylake’s topping off at 4. However, the Skylake’s run at a lower TDM and support faster speeds for booting off an M.2 drive. Can’t help thinking that in a year’s time it’d be a no-brainer, but it seems to be a bit of a transition time right now.
Currently looking at…
- Asus Z170-A motherboard (a bit basic, but seems to tick all the boxes for a DAW, without too much extra)
- Intel Core i7 6700 CPU (considering the overclock version, but thinking about keeping heat down and reliability up)
- 32GB (4x8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 Black 2400Mhz (is 32GB too much? Also looking at 2x16GB to keep 2 slots spare. Opted for 2400Mhz to be more reliable?)
- Samsung SM951 256GB M.2 OS and App drive (enough to put samples on here too, or have separate SSD drive - or second M.2 for libraries?)
- Western Digital Blue WD10EZEX 1TB data drive (I have several TB of storage elsewhere in the house that would be ideal for backing up/archiving, so I’m half thinking about using an SSD for data and not having any spinning discs)
The rest I’m still thinking about. Maybe a Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 case - maybe a 4U rackmount one if I can get it quiet enough. CPU cooler and PSU I’m currently looking at the Nofans, but I’m not tied to them if putting fans in would have a negligible change on noise but a better impact on cooling.
Apologies for the long post - in short…
- Am I on the right lines?
- Does anybody use M.2 drives to boot/run Cubase on? And would 256GB be enough for that (and libraries)?
- Is 32GB enough RAM? Too much?
- Should I look at conservative overclocking and could I still keep it cool and quiet?
- Do the Skylake chips offer a good advantage over the Haswells for DAWs? Speed-wise, they’re a little uninspiring (although they might already be plenty good enough), but the other things that come with them (GPU, DDR4 support, much faster M.2) seem to make for a lower power, faster and simpler system (albeit with fewer cores).