PC Workstation for cubase 8.5 and VSTs.

Iv’e decided to hold back and get a bit more cash together than I intended to spend, for my PC upgrade. Was hoping to get something in the £400/500 range but…

Currently running through a laptop (intel i3, 6GB RAM) which will do basics but struggles with VST’s, so pretty obvious I need to upgrade, so been doing a bit of research into what I need.

Anyway I have been recommended a HP Z620 Workstation with the following spec…

· Intel Xeon e5-2655 2.40GHz Octa-Core PCU (8 cores, 16 threads)

· 128GB SSD



· nVidia Quadro 4000 – Professional Graphics card allows you to run two large monitors which makes sequencing much easier

· Windows 7 Professional Preinstalled

Just wondered if any of you guys have had any experience with these, and think a refurbished model at £780 inc. VAT was a good idea/value. Bear in mind I am hoping to dive right into the world of VST’s (Annoyingly I downloaded 30-day trial versions of Halion Sonic 2, Halion 5 and Groove Agent 4 a couple of weeks ago, but can’t really get the best out of them, should have waited…).

Got 2 cheap but fully working monitors today, so eliminates extra cost.

Also is it easy to reinstall Cubase and updates to a new machine? I started by purchasing 7.5 Artist, but in stages got to Pro 8.5, should I just reinstall the CD and move over the updates?

Thoughts appreciated.

Thank you.


I wouldn’t recommend NVidia graphics card, and I would recommend you to use Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.

Thank you, Martin. Would you mind briefly explaining why (for both the graphics card and windows 7).

Is there another model you might recommend?

This old Xeon isn’t any better performer than a newer i5 or i7 and was really expensive.

The graphics card is massively overkill for DAW use…and it has a fan which adds to noise…and is expensive.
Any puny card nowadays will run 2 monitors for DAW use.
Nvidia seems to cause lots of issues with Cubase but otoh plenty of people are also using them successfully.

It’s very unlikely you will use anywhere near 48Gb of memory unless you own huge orchestral sample libraries and build big scoring templates.

W7 was great but developers will be concentrating on testing with newer o/s now so maybe best to bite the bullet and go with W10 now…I still don’t really trust it as I had to reset my DAW and internet PC once each already since updating/building from new, but if you have a solid backup regime and keep a usb bootable handy you can be back running in an hour!
That aside it’s been performing very well for me.

You don’t mention any audio interface…this is also critical for performance. What do you have??

If you’re feeling brave and aren’t completely clueless with tech, you could purchase the components and build a much better machine for this money.

Thank you for your time responding. I am certainly
no computer expert.

I am using a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8, I intend to run a fair few VSTs and effects through future products, so of course want everything to run smoothly. Budget is an issue so want the best deal without compromising too much.

Just looking online and wondered if you thought this more suitable…


Thoughts appreciated.

Edited… Apologies just saw the reply above was from another forum member. Thank you again.

Welllll…The 6700 i7 in that PC is a great performer.

But the problem with this or any other off the shelf PC is the unknown components in the rest of the build. Is the mobo going to be reliable and stable…is the power supply up to the job, will the cooler keep it cool enough without sounding like a jet engine. Will the case have have decent airflow to keep it cool while dampening noise?
These are the places the big manufacturers may cut corners to keep costs low…you may get lucky and find one that is quiet and stable but it’s far from guaranteed and the manufacturer or retailer will have zero interest in helping you and certainly won’t have the knowledge to help when you have audio specific problems.
Unless someone already owns the exact model you are looking at and can tell you it works brilliantly with Cubase and is nice and quiet you are taking a gamble.

Ideally you would buy a computer specced specifically for audio and from a retailer that can advise you if you have problems. I have used Scan (3xs) in the UK for pre built in the past (and recently for the components for my own build) and they are often recommended here and on other forums.

For their cheapest i7 6700 option with both an SSD for o/s and 1TB HD for audio/samples you’d need to pay around £840 or you can get an i5 with the same build starting from £716.

The 128GB SSD is probably a bit tight for the OS. When my current DAW was built I went for the same size. But after awhile I had to frequently go in and clean up as I’d get close to maxing it out (only had OS & installed progs. on it, no user files). Eventually I swapped it out for 256GB.

Thanks again for your replies guys, I’ve been researching and saving some cash, got some stuff on eBay, my local computer dealer (Computerbase Plymouth) has offered my a desktop with the following specs. I’d like to know if you think I am overspending, or if I should tweak/upgrade anything. Is certainly more than I was planning to spend, but I want to get it right so I can focus on the music.

Midi Tower case

Intel i7-6700 Processor

Intel Heatsink & Fan

700W 80+Bronze PSU

Gigabyte ATX H170-HD3 Mainboard

32gb DDR4 2400Mhz

240gb SSD 530/520 Read/Write

GTX950 2gb Graphics

1TB 7200 HD

Win 10 Pro


Wireless N PCIE Adapter

Free 2yr Warranty

Free 1Yr AVG Internet Security

Configured / Assembled / Tested and QC

£1111 inc vat

+£35 to upgrade to 2TB

+£59 for water cooling on the processor (more efficient cooling and although still has 1 fan its not as fast so is quieter)

Thanks for any responses.

I’d recommend using someplace that specializes in building PCs for DAWs rather than just a local PC builder (although there can be overlap between the two). The specialist will generally have tested the different components they use to confirm they don’t have issues with the common audio applications - they understand the subtle gottchas. It’s the difference between knowing that the parts used will create a great PC vs. creating a great audio PC.

Thanks, been looking at Scan as recommended by many, just was hoping to save a couple hundred quid or so…, I understand your point, any other recommendations (UK)?