PC build suggestions for Cubase

Hi, I need to build a workstation for music composition, main software used on this will be Cubase along with vst plugins

For now I have came up with this config, and need suggestions/recommendation for the same.

Please suggest If there’s any need for additional hardware and do I need liquid cooling ?

Intel Core i7-11700K
Gigabyte Z590 Vison G
2 x Crucial Ballistix 3200 MHz DDR4 16gb
2 x Seagate Barracuda 4 TB
Samsung 980 1TB
Zotac GTX 1650 OC 4GB

Thank you

audio interface?

I wouldn’t use Barracudas, even for bulk storage. Spinning rust is dead; 4 and 8 TB SSDs are a thing one can afford now.
I’m assuming the Samsung 980 is an M.2 device – good choice!

32 GB of RAM is okay but not phenomenal. If your motherboard has 4 DIMM slots, you can always add another 32 GB later if you find that you run out, though. And you might not – unless you do lots of symphonic scoring together with large video edit projects, AND keep a copy of Chrome open at the same time… :slight_smile:

I’d go with a Threadripper of some sort, or a Ryzen 5950X. For VST/cubase, “more cores is more better” much more so than the absolute peak CPU frequency. The main drawback is you do need a custom water cooling loop for those; the standard all-in-one coolers don’t have a big enough “cold plate” and thus won’t be able to cool all parts of the CPU, and then CPU may throttle itself to avoid overheating. I think someone’s come out with a Threadripper-specific All-in-one cooler, with a bigger cold plate, though, so that might be sufficient if you can find it.

Then, which interface, and what desktop monitors, and what MIDI controller/s? MOTU Ultra-Lite Mk5 is getting good reviews; I’m stuck on an old Steinberg UR-22 but if I were to upgrade today, I’d go for the mk5. If you have the desk space, the 61 or 88 key Native Instrument Kontrol keyboards are very nice, especially if you buy the Komplete package of instruments/samples. And of course as fancy monitors as you can afford – Mackie HRs, or Gelelecs, are both good choices. These will probably be with you for 25 years, as opposed to the PC, which will be replaced in 5 years, so it’s worth putting the money there.

Fully agreed on using SSD instead of mechanical drives!

If you plan on doing any microphone works in the same room that this PC will go, you should put more focus on making it silent. Starting with generating less heat.

The GPU card for ex. is OK for gaming, but overkill for a music workstation and will cause fan noise for no useful reason.
You might be interested in this thread:

Depending on what you meant by " for music composition ", your CPU selection might very well be also an overkill already. And it’s definitely not always the case that having more cores is beneficial.
The Ryzen 5950X is quite a beast, but twice the $$$ and harder (=noise) to cool. The performance gain is unlikely to make any valuable difference in “real-life” usage, unless you run ultra-heavy projects pushing the laws of physics! Not saying it’s a bad CPU, but I would not put my money there first. Esp. not without knowing more about the intended usage.

Beware also of liquid cooling!
It can be really cool… but also annoyingly noisy if not done right! (and messy…)
Get 1st-hand expert advise, or don’t go there.
Liquid cooling is not a miracle solution… you will need fans to cool that liquid anyway, and a pump, etc.

In a nutshell: an optimal machine for gaming is not the same as an optimal machine for music composition, and definitely not for recording in the same room.
Not knowing if it’s the case here, I’m just saying be cautious about noise/heat, if applicable to your expected usage. (recording)

You might also want to read this related track from only 30 days ago:

This is very good advice. The first time I built a watercool loop, a friend on a message board was crucial to help me make everything “click.”
The cooler I have for my Threadripper (now 4 years old!) runs quite silent, because I added more radiators and fewer fans.

Also agree on the GPU as a main noise source – you’ll want a fanless GPU of some sort.

And also agree on “what do you actually want?” I’m assuming big, heavy, plugin-laden projects, but that may be totally wrong. You may get away with a totally fanless Intel NUC, add a couple of SSDs, and then spend all the money on a good controller keyboard and an 11.4 Genelec The Ones set of monitors. And room treatment! If you’re going to listen/record in a room don’t forget room treatment.

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