Buying a capable production PC on a budget


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Jun 7, 2010
I'm sure there's been 100 different threads on this subject but can anyone point me in the right direction as to where I should be looking for a decent PC?

I'm looking for something capable of running Cubase with a lot of tracks open at once, maybe up to 50, mostly working with audio tracks and with say 5 VST's open at the same time.

The specs that I've been recommended are:

Quadcore processor (what kind of speed should I be looking for?)
16gb RAM
SSD if I can afford one
A big capacity 7200 rpm HDD
Anything that works will be fine for graphics - only one monitor is needed

I can probably go up to about £500 budget, only looking at Windows Desktop PC's. What do you reckon peeps?

I have read somewhere that most DAWs will benefit the most from high speed single core ( that doesn´t mean that you should get one :D ), so I would be looking for strong i3/i5/i7 with as much singlecore speed as you can get.
But anyway.... whatever PC in the config you are aiming for will be enough.
I have i5, 16gb rams, ssd and I haven´t met any troubles since I started... I think you should be allright.
Hello, just to add to the above, I think it's also important which VSTs you will be using. Some synth draw a lot of CPU. Serum for example, excellent sound but very CPU heavy. I use a 2015 HP ENVY i7 duo core 2.4 with 16 GB RAM, 2-3 instances of serum running in a tune with say 20 tracks total (most of them have some effect plugins on) does kill my system already. What I hear is quad core processors are way more capable running multiple modern VSTs at the same time. I know this doesn't help you finding your best system on £500 budget, just trying to reflect from a different angle ...
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What I did was buying a +1000€ worth pc secondhand for 550€. Just look out for it on secondhand websites, and take some one with you who has the knowledge of pc's. Mine has an i7 processor, 16g ram and 1tb hdd. And a very nice video card aswell (although i don't need that for producing) No ssd tho, but I'm fine with it, I can use my daw + serveral highly cpu consuming vst's...
AMD just released their new chip, which so far looks pretty comparable with Intel's desktop line and cheaper. It will be interesting to see how Intel reacts in the next month or so.

AMD vs Intel

I went for AMD. Don't make the same mistake I did.
I've now realised 500 won't really get me anywhere so I'm gonna save and build a computer maybe next year instead, for now i'm grab some monitors
AMD vs Intel

I went for AMD. Don't make the same mistake I did.

AMD hadn't been anywhere near Intel for a while, but the Ryzen chip they just released so far seems competitive. At the least it might cause Intel to lower prices or release something they've been sitting on. I'd still wait for more real reviews though.
Just a quick update:

I'm gonna build an i5 system, with 16gb ram, a beefy hard drive and an SSD (for the operating system and daw) for around £600 (excluding monitor and operating system).

I will save money over the usual gaming builds by using integrated graphics (rather than a dedicated GPU) which should be enough for me and I might use that extra cash to get some kind of after market CPU cooler or extra fans to keep everything silent.

If you're looking for help or advice on PC builds then I can't recommend enough. The guys on there are really helpful and there's a section of the forum where they will piece together a computer for you, based upon the specs that you need.
pcspecialist is worth a look, i bought mine roughly 3 years ago, at the time was quite a high end i& 4770 or 4790k can't remember with some high performance RAM SSD and HD for about 600. I didn't need a monitor and went for integrated graphics like yourself. You also get the warranty and doesnt mean having to take out separate PC parts one by one until you work out what has failed (if this happens).

Worth checking :)
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