Ready to splash the cash.......Advice needed.

Ok, I’m ready to splash the cash and need some advice.
I have a Dual Xeon 5560 HP Z800 computer with 64Gb RAM. The sample libraries are all on external SSD operating via a USB3 PCI card. With the template I’ve built (about 20Gb loaded of sample library) Dorico often has to think about it before doing things. I’ve learned to have ‘Task Manager’ open sometimes to monitor what’s happening. It often responds with Dorico ‘not responding’…during which I wait and the message goes away and Dorico does what I’ve asked of it. I presume this is because of running 2020 software on a 2010 machine? I have four monitors, two above the keyboard and two above the mixer. The monitors are 21.5inch (real size 18 x 10 …why do manufacturers measure diagonally …we don’t see diagonally) which really with my failing eyesight (almost 57 years old) are too small to display the score even if I rotate one of them. I could rotate both of them, possibly, but was wondering if there’s a more elegant solution.
What is everybody using these days?

I have been using a 4K 42"* screen so I can see tabloid pages at actual size in landscape mode. I am happy with it.

  • 42" diagonal–and I too wish screens were measured differently, especially now that some wide screens are not as tall as traditionally proportioned ones were.

Because marketing. Big numbers sell stuff better than small numbers.

FWIW when this “convention” was started, all screens had a 4:3 aspect ratio, so the horizontal and vertical picture dimensions were (exactly) 4/5 and 3/5 of the diagonal, and from a technical point of view specifying the diagonal conveyed all the image size information in one number rather than two.

I just found this out the hard way… size is less important than resolution, if you have a monitor arm. I have a 32" 4K monitor made by LG, and I’m very happy with it.

I bought a 43" monitor and immediately returned it. It was far too big for me. When I want a “larger” monitor, I just adjust the monitor arm to move my current monitor closer to me!

For my home office I recently purchased an ASUS VG289 28" 4K display, which was more or less the least expensive IPS 4K display I was able to find. But despite its modest price, I find it to be excellent; my only complaint is that it’s not quite as bright as the exceptionally bright display on my work MacBook Pro.

I would endorse all Dan’s advice here - a modest size 4K monitor on a monitor arm is an excellent setup as you can change the viewing distance to suit the task you are undertaking.

I am not going to recommend the monitor I use as it’s a colour accurate 10 bit display for photography and video use that costs around £1500. You certainly do not need one of these for music uses. 27 or 28 inch is big enough IMHO if the monitor is on an arm - with the advantage that the monitor takes less space in your work area.

If you can find a monitor with a USB-C port, that is worth having with an eye to the future, as this opens up the option of single cable docking with one USB-C cable carrying video, USB connectivity and potentially also charging your computer or tablet. However, USB-C support is still relatively uncommon.

Thanks for those thoughts guys. The monitors I’m using have a 1920 resolution, and at a distance of about 500mm away from me (on arms). I can up the ‘Zoom’ on them but then clarity is lost. As I get older maybe I’ll just have to accept that I either work at a certain size without glasses or put a pair on. The all-in-one Lenovo PC that I’m typing this on is a 23" and only marginally bigger than the ASUS ones I’m using, but much clearer, so I’m wondering whether it’s a monitor problem or a video card problem. I’ve found that having a separate laptop (or this all-in-one) next to my setup has been invaluable in being able to watch instructional videos or post online, much better than even having a window open on the same PC. It also means I can keep the studio PC disconnected from the internet and Mr. Gates’ enforced updating …

I might be ready to move to a Mac after being PC all my life. I saw the recommendations for a MacBook on the other thread and Daniel mentioned maybe a Mac mini. For those of you savvy with these things, how does this one spec up and what would be your top bid? Thanks Al

You really want to go quad-core if you can; that machine’s only dual-core.

If you do go down the route of wearing glasses, make sure your optician understands exactly what you want them for.

Like most people, I have become more long-sighted as a get older, though my long-distance vision is still pretty much 20/20. I have a pair of glasses which are optimised for the distance to the monitors in my setup, which is about 1 meter (two 23 inch 1920x1080 monitors) not 500mm. “Reading glasses” that were optimised for a closer distance didn’t work for me - things 1 meter away were looking more blurred than with no glasses at all.

Having never worn glasses before, I made the mistake of just saying I wanted them “for reading and using a computer.” The glasses were changed for free when it was clear they weren’t useful, but getting them changed took a couple of weeks to arrange another consultation with the optician, etc.

Thanks for all those suggestions guys.

Just been looking at

3.2GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz)
8GB 2666MHz DDR4
Intel UHD Graphics 630
512GB SSD storage
Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet using RJ-45 connector)
Accessory Kit


Photos, iMovie, GarageBand
Pages, Numbers, Keynote

A 2018 Mac mini there with i7 processor is £1300 … does that sound about right?
I think this one has a Benchmark score of around 25000 if I’ve watched the right review. My HP PC with dual Xeon 5560 has one of I think around 6000. Does that mean this Mac mini is going to fly compared to what I’ve got? Also, does it mean I could expect good performance audio wise out of it for at least 3-4 years? I’ve only spec’d it for 8Gb since I’d probably upgrade it myself to either 32 or 64Gb … which I think would be about another £350. Just looking for some reassurance as I’ve never bought a Mac (other than iPads and a small MacBook for my daughter).
Al give Dual X5560s a score of 7,185, and the i7 8700B gets 12,128.

But the 6-core i7 will indeed, fly. It outperforms most Xeon-based Macs from earlier years.

If you’ve got two of those CPUs, then at the very least, you’re going to save on your electricity bill! Plus get all the newer connections, e.g. USB-C, HDMI 2.0. And you’ll recover a lot of desk space. :laughing:

I have the middle CPU, the 6-core i5, and Dorico’s needs are a trifle to it. You’ll definitely need more than 8 GB of RAM: taking it to bits and getting it back together is “somewhat difficult”, and you need various funny screwheads.

Macs do have a long useful life - and a strong secondhand value, too, when you trade up for the next one. I usually upgrade every 6 years.

Thanks benwiggy.