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Building a computer vs buying a pre-built tower
Old 29th January 2013
Here for the gear
🎧 5 years
Building a computer vs buying a pre-built tower

Hey people.
This is my first post here. I'm looking to be moving out of my parents house (finally) in the next few months, but I figured before I move out and start having to pay rent somewhere else, I'd get my recording rig bought so that when I get moved in, I can set it up no issue.

I'm starting at the very beginning. All I've got is a couple of Shure SM86 mics, and my guitars and my amps.

My question is. What are the pros and cons to building your own computer, versus buying one that has already been put together? Would it make much of a difference either way? I understand I need lots of RAM and a good-sized harddrive. And I also want something with Windows 7 in it, as opposed to Windows 8 for compatibility reasons. Does anyone have any insights?

My father told me I should go pre-built because the warranty is good.

Thanks for your helps, guys.
Old 29th January 2013
Gear Addict
Tha Govna's Avatar
🎧 10 years
I say build your own.

Maybe one of those machines built specifically for audio, but even then, you can build yourself and save a lot of coin.

There will be warranties on the individual components (MOBO, CPU, RAM, etc.) most likely.

Advantages to building your own:

1. Your choice of components. This may or may not be important to you.

For example, I use Protools with a modded 002R. My firewire card has to have a certain chipset to play nice with my interface and so DAW. There are other pieces of PC hardware Protools doesn't like. So, my machine is built to specifically run with Protools. This is a good thing, for me, since Protools is such a whiner when it comes to this stuff. Other DAW's may not need this level of PC dedication to run smoothly and consistently.

2. No bloatware. The only thing that gets installed on the machine is what YOU want on the machine. A lot of pre-built machines come with largely useless programs that do nothing but eat up resources.

3. Money. You can get a lot of power for around half the cost (maybe less depending on where you buy and if a sale is going on) of a prebuilt machine with the same specs by building it yourself.
Old 29th January 2013
DAW PLUS's Avatar
🎧 10 years
In this order, you will be satisfied the most:
1. good prebuild: harder to find, more expensive
2. self built: need to do a lot of homework if you have no experience building a system *for audio*. This forum is a very good start though. Check the stickies.
3. bad prebuilt: easy to get, price varies. Headaches all over.

PS: you don't need lots of RAM for recording and mixing. Software samplers/libraries require much RAM.
Old 29th January 2013
Lives for gear
Lenzo's Avatar
6 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
If you know how to build and if you know what type of daw you are going to use, then you can do a little homework and build one to the software developers specs. You will save a lot of cash, probably learn something along the way and have a machine that has the proper mb and chipset to run your software and hardware. It's not that hard to do a build if you haven't done one. There is plenty of info on the net to get you through it.
Old 30th January 2013
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
1) Support
2) Support for audio
3) Support for your software
4) Suport for your interface
5) warranty
6) guaranteed to work

all in 1 place

or you can build your own and hope for the best with no support
Old 30th January 2013
Here for the gear
🎧 5 years
Well, after reading everything here, plus what I've been told from people I've talked to outside of here, I'm leaning towards building my own.
I went to the local reputable computer store, and they gave me a paper with the packages they are currently offering. They actually offer a 5 year warranty with their computers and all parts in them, so that will help me out a lot.

I'm still trying to decide between an Intel and an AMD processor. The people at the store said theyd lean towards the AMD for music production, but they aren't experts at music production, so I figured I'd ask you all here for your input.

There are 4 different packages they offer:

The "intermediate" packages are as follows:
4D Intel Executive
-Intel i3 3220
-Integrated VID
-Gigabit NIC
-Windows 7 Pro
And they offer upgrades to intel i5 and i7, as well as upgrades to Solid State drives with varying capacities.

The "intermediate" AMD
-AMD AM3+ FX-6300
-Everything else is the same as the intel
And they offer upgrades on this to FX-8320 and FX-8350, as well as the same upgrades to the harddrive as the Intel.

The "Pro" packages are as follows:
-Intel i5 3570k
-240gb SSD
-DVD +/- RW
-GTX 660 2 GB
-Integrated Sound
-Windows 7 pro
and I can upgrade to i7 if I want.

AMD "Pro"
-AMD AM3+ FX-8830
and all of the other stuff is the same as the intel pro.

I guess my main questions are:
1) Which would be better? AMD or intel?
2) And would the "intermediate" packages be suitable for what I want to do? or would I need to upgrade to the "Pro"?

I am still not sure what DAW I'm gonna use. I'm leaning towards REAPER because I hear all of this amazing stuff about it. But I can be persuaded otherwise if there's something that would benefit me more. I'm only planning on recording guitars. bass, drums, vocals, and maybe some piano/keyboard stuff at the moment. I'm not really into electronic music production or hip hop or anything like that.

I know this is a lot of info. But I'm a pretty big noob when it comes to computers.

Thanks for being patient with me. >_<
Old 30th January 2013
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
I'll add my opinion here as this is what I live by.

This is 2013. Computers are like toasters. Don't stress it.

1. Find someone selling "last year's" model of whatever on Craigslist. Buy it cheap for a hundred or two... believe me... when people are ready to dump computers, they're VERY motivated to accept low offers.

2. Take the computer home, format the hard drive and then install your own retail windows 7 or 8 or xp or whatever you have around in a retail package..... then grab the new windows 8 for $40 so at least you have that at a dirt cheap price for later if you want it (the $40 price stops in the next day or two)

3. Go to the HP site (or whatever brand) and download any drivers you may want/need... or better yet.. grab em from the maker's websites (Realtek, Nvidia etc etc).

4. Once you install your os, ghost the system and then build out your new super fast daw that you bought at a great price and only spent a day getting it together.

5. Next year, grab another computer at a great price so that you then have two... a daw farm is a very powerful thing to build up over time.

As I say, computers are toasters. No need to overthink them. Whatever you buy will be powerful if it's halfway recent.

The last time I found myself actually having to put any thought into a computer configuration was 1998.
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