Upgrading a 7 year old pc, how to proceed ?


I was in the wrong forum before and so I’d like to repost here:

I think it’s about time to upgrade my DAW. It’s been 7 years and although i’ve experienced a few performance boosts with buying new ram, upgrading to cubase versions 8/9, I think i’m getting my limits again, as I like to include many harmonic distortion plugins from waves to beef up the sound, like nls, limiters, vitamin, etc. Plus I’m loading loads of libraries at the same time. When I’m making a complex song, this is getting a bit taxing, and I have to run my audiocard at 1024ms latency to make it all work without freezing, even when freezing I’d have to run heavy projects like that, otherwise there’ll be clicks and stutters and pops inside the frozen tracks.

I really would like the best cpu, does cubase benefit from xeon ? Is it worth the price ? Are SSD’s reliable nowadays ? As I understand they sometimes suffer from massive data defragmentation… Should I use an ssd system drive ? I think if I take 32gb memory I’ll be good right ? Which ssd’s are good for sample/library/data storage ?

I load everything from d:\sample-plugins rightnow. and my project data from d:\audio. THis keeps everything nicely organized. Could I maybe swap that to other drives so that project data is loaded from D and libraries from E ?

Would it benefit performance if I also buy a pci/e hammerfall card ? I’m having my eyes on aio. or can I keep my old hdsp ?

Thx in advance.

I think xeons are somewhat overpriced. And speaking of CPUs there is a new batch coming out within the next two-three months. One update from Intel, and a new CPU from AMD. Regardless of what you end up with it’ll for sure be cheaper once that’s stuff is out and people have had a chance to check them out. So if I were you I’d probably hold off a bit.

On the other hand, if you know already what level of performance you need you might find something useful with the current chips that are out. The one thing to watch out for - and I don’t know this - is if the current Intel chips will sit in sockets/motherboards that are essentially the last generation. If that’s the case you could be ‘stuck’ with a motherboard in which no new CPUs will fit. So if you buy an x99 motherboard for current Intel CPUs you wouldn’t really see any better CPUs for that socket next year, because Intel is already moving to x299 this year. So, there might be a good case for going for an AMD Ryzen CPU if you need something sooner than say August/September.

For my next build I’ll put my OS on an SSD. I have that now on my very old machine. I will get an m.2 drive using NVME (PCIe) and use that for audio projects (and video if I get into that). Samples and sound effects will continue to live on a large spinning hard drive, and so will backup. To me that makes the most sense. The fastest solution is the “work drive” where all the audio that needs to be streamed back and forth lives. For libraries volume and cheap storage makes sense to me. Of course, I don’t load huge sample libraries, so for some maybe SSDs are a better but expensive choice.

As far as I know SSDs are reliable. I don’t think there’s ever been much of an issue with them in terms of them crashing or anything. I’ve had far more problems with spinners. Just check reviews and see what people use. For recording it’s probably more crucial to have a solid fast SSD than for the OS etc.

I recommend you tell everyone what computer components you have now, and just how large your current projects are, and include how many audio tracks you’re playing back, how many plugins you’re using and how ‘heavy’ they are, and VSTi etc. And then tell people how much more on top of that you need.

Just for reference: For the Ryzen chips, from everything I’ve read, they’re an outstanding value for someone like me who is in post production and does mostly mixing/processing. For people who need super-low latency AND a huge amount of plugins while recording Intel is currently better. From what I can tell anyway.



the cpu is a i7 960 , so very old:) , 10gb ddr2 ram. and a hdsp9652

I never use much audio tracks because I use vsti’s almost exclusively to make music. They can get from 10 to 20. Then some audiotracks for selfmade effects and breaks or what not, but never more than 5

the “cpu spikes” problem usually comes in when I want to start using harmonic distortion (channels, nls, vitamin, compressors etc) plugins from waves on all channels, and use d16’s toraverb alot.

If my project has 20+ instrument channels, that will ofcourse create a huger load than 10 channels.

So for what I do, it’s usually good enough. That’s why I ended up spending 7 years with this pc. But now, because I want to use more processors on each channel, and I am using more intense kontakt/ewql play instruments, projects are getting JUST a bit too strong.

I really think I can benefit from a decent new PC with ssd’s en would like a pretty high performance cpu, because I’d like to have my latency as low as possible, that’s why I’m also thinking about a new RME card.

I read Steinberg actually recommends to ask RMA’s which chipset to use ? Because that seems to be an issue as well. Which would be the best ? I really would like to wait for the i9 series, or is that a bit too aggressive ?

I’m not someone who’s using 60 audio track and a gazilion others, I’m pretty minimalistic in my use but I do like to benefit from all the “let’s sound analog” plugins. Combined with all my tracks.

° You could buy some SSD’s beforhand and migrate the entire system to the new medium without having to reinstall everything. This gives you a situation where you can plan things step by step and a big chunck of performance improvement without getting in to trouble. :slight_smile:
° In a period of 7 years a lot of things have changed:

  • only 64 bit with latest cubase versions
  • a new operating system might be at hand
  • new connections and old ones that do not exist anymore (firewire vs usb3 e.g.)
  • new type of connectors for displays etc…
  • different hardware always give a risk of lower realtime performance if not checked properly beforhand

It looks like you are someone who is relying on his gear, so i wouldn’t jump in to the unknown without a proper preparation.
It can get bad very quickly, but it might give you no issues at all also.
Imho i wouldn’t go for the latest/most expensive since you will probably not need it and you never know where you will end up since you are often a Guinea pig.
I would take in to account a bit lesser performance and a more silent and stable system but with reliable components but this FWIW.
If you never go over 50 vsts’s you just don’t need the power of the latest and fastest processors.

kind regards,

I DO have windows 10 and the monitor is like… the white one before hdmi, (that came after vga).

It’s because I’m now only using 64bit plugins in windows 9, I have experienced 1/3th more performance boost. There’s projects from 2010 that I can now run in real time, wheras with the same pc, i had to freeze several parts in cubase 6 or something.

And so yeah, I would like to upgrade to ssd, and I definitely need a new cpu for the reasons I stated before, then I’ll be good. btw, as gear, I only have the virus snow, and an M audio master keyboard, and behringer ADA8000 adat DA. That’s hwy I could better use a AIO audiocard, it’s simple, has one ADAT io, and that’s actually all I need., plus it’s PCIe, whereas the old HDSP I already have for 11 years, is pci. I guess that also adds to the performance, also I’d like to have some overhead, so I can stream music making on twitch if I want.

This isnt possible with this pc, because for once the HDSP doesn’t have an internal loopback for audio, it doesn’t have a “stereomix item”. in the sound options. I would like to resove that.

I use more and more sample libraries, so an SSD is desired. So yeah, perhaps not “the newest of the newest” is needed but since I still didn’t buy anything. I’d like to go for what is now considered “high end”.

I’m not the guy who needs an orchestral strings server or something like that, My pieces are pretty modest in term of orchestration, but often, I need to be able to load patches that have different characteristics allongside eachother , for example, tremolo strings alongside sordino’s, because there’s not always a patch that combines both. I need enough ram to accomodate the redundant nature of managing articulations. As I said before, these things and the “compression on all channel” cause the bottleneck in my system now. If I can resovle that in a satisfying way, and get the ability to stream cubase to twitch, that would be cool.

I already bought acronis true image to move all my files over with incremental changes to a hdd, which one I’ll just pull the files from (not the image itself in it’s entirely) on the new pc.

fwiw: something like this ?


It is a very respected company that talks to you (by Phone and mail) before they deliver.
They go from medium to the most high end you can imagine.
Prices are great, service is correct, but be aware that it is an american company so customs will add to the bill if you are not living in america.

affordable, very powerfull, great for music production, high quality and loads of expansion options
explain them that it is a music workstation.
they do this often and have quite an impressive list of customers, so they have knowledge of what is working and what is not.


There are loads of other brands and companiers i know, but i bought something their twice and that was fine, so just fwiw

I would avoid to step along with someone who says he knows how to make a music computer but has never proven it.
I’ve seen quite a few guys here on the forum who bought an expensive and fast computer just realizing that they have bougth an underperformer in terms of realtime-performance, and yeah… money has been spent…
Give the seller a complete picture of your setup so he can take everything in to account.
If you don’t feel comfortable… drop him or her.

kind regards,

BTW a cheap easy upgrade that will get you about 50% more bandwidth is just to get a I7 970.