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PC suitability for DAW


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#1 MoonBassAlpha

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 11:09 AM

I've acquired an old one from work, spec is: It's a core 2 duo E8400 @3GHz 64bit with 2 Gig ram currently. It's better than I thought, and small form too. Running W7 enterprise. It was free!

I doubt I'll be using more than 16 tracks ever, nor loads of plugins either.Will intend to use my Zoom R24 as the audio interface. Does the collective wisdom think this will run something like Reaper or Sonar ok (may need more ram, I suspect)
Thanks in advance for your thoughts....
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#2 xgsjx

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 12:28 PM

It should be fine. My last PC had a much lower spec & ran Cubase 5 (though that was over a decade ago & it was high spec'd at the time).

#3 Dad3353

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 12:31 PM

View PostMoonBassAlpha, on 05 August 2017 - 11:09 AM, said:

...
Thanks in advance for your thoughts....

It'll work; I've used much lower spec than that (remember Pentiums..?), but will be quite throttled for lack of RAM, as you suggest. If the OS supports over 4 Gb (64-bit...), I'd recommend adding 8 Gb at least; no point going mad, though, as it'll never rival the i7 stuff. A Good Deal, especially for its price..! Run it into the ground, then upgrade later to a more powerful system. It'll definitely run Reaper et al, if you keep the reverb Vsts to a minimum. B)

Edited by Dad3353, 05 August 2017 - 12:32 PM.

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#4 bazztard

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 01:05 PM

Reaper is so good I reckon it would run on my Commodore 64 lol....if only I can find a way to use the cassette input system hehe
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#5 Sibob

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 07:08 PM

I agree with the above point on RAM, I'd also say 8gb at the very least And if you're looking to really go to town on the 16 channels of audio you mention (i.e. lots of processing and plugins etc.....you might not think you will now, but it's a slippery slope), then 16gb plus!

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#6 Dad3353

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 07:14 PM

View PostSibob, on 06 August 2017 - 07:08 PM, said:

...then 16gb plus!...

Start out with 8Gb; add more if you run out..? ;)
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#7 MoonBassAlpha

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 12:06 PM

looks like I will be starting out with 4 gb when I actually get set up.
thanks for the help so far, there will be a lot more to come!
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#8 charic

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 12:36 PM

Drop in a SSD if you can too :) just for your C drive

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#9 MoonBassAlpha

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 06:38 PM

Ok, got w10 on it and 4G ram. I have 2 drives now. System is on c:, d is presently empty 200 G. Should I put Reaper on C: and store audio on d: or put Reaper on d: too, or doesn't it make much difference?
Additionally, would adding an old graphics card take a bit of load off the processor, bearing in mind the processor and ram ain't all that.
Thanks for your thoughts.
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#10 Dad3353

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 07:05 PM

View PostMoonBassAlpha, on 12 August 2017 - 06:38 PM, said:

...
Thanks for your thoughts.

Not a lot in it, so either install 'default' (simplest...) or leave 'C' for System only, and put all your stuff on the 'D'. I don't think a graphics card is worth the bother of installing; it won't help (or hinder...). Sooner or later (Six months..? A year..? More..? :o ) you'll be looking to upgrade; till then, just get on with recording, mixing, creating... You'll know when it's time. ;)

Edited by Dad3353, 12 August 2017 - 07:06 PM.

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#11 MoonBassAlpha

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 09:45 PM

Cheers Douglas, I see what you're saying.
I could easily go out and get a whizz bang p c and all the attendant gubbins, but as brx has said in another thread, Spending the dough doesn't guarantee results, and it can be more of a learning experience when you work under constraints. We'll see about that!
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#12 Dad3353

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:24 PM

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#13 MoonBassAlpha

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 12:26 PM

Off to a slow start, but at least I can see the tunnel, if not any light emanating therefrom.
Got W10 on PC, fresh install. My office PC used to run this fast. Ages ago.... !
Loaded Reaper (evaluation)
Loaded drivers for Zoom R24
Recorded 4 drum tracks, bd sn, ohl, ohr

Could I get any sound back out? Turns out that the little volume control that sets the click level in stand alone mode acts as a volume for the DAW when used as an audio interface. That took a while!

NOW the real learning begins! Wish me luck, I may be gone for some time....
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#14 Dad3353

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 12:46 PM

View PostMoonBassAlpha, on 14 August 2017 - 12:26 PM, said:

...
Could I get any sound back out? Turns out that the little volume control that sets the click level in stand alone mode acts as a volume for the DAW when used as an audio interface. ..

Not strictly true; it's a 'Balance' control between listening to the interface direct input and listening to the DAW. When playing an instrument, you may want to not listen to the DAW (there could be a delay due to latency, for instance...), in which case you'd dial anti-clockwise to 'Direct'. To hear the result of your input including any DAW treatment or tracks playing, you'd dial to 'DAW'. Anywhere in between is admissible, of course.
Just sayin'; hope this helps.
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#15 paul_5

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 01:36 PM

SSD for both drives. Uber big improvements. I run a 2011 MacBook with protools that was choking up using impulse reverbs then I put a solid state drive in. Bingo!
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#16 BigRedX

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 01:57 PM

View Postpaul_5, on 14 August 2017 - 01:36 PM, said:

SSD for both drives. Uber big improvements. I run a 2011 MacBook with protools that was choking up using impulse reverbs then I put a solid state drive in. Bingo!

How many instances of the Impulse reverbs were you using? Unless you are using it as special effect all you tracks should exist in the same acoustic space so you just need the one instance signed to a bus and all the tracks that want reverb on them sent to that bus using a bus send control.

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#17 prowla

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 02:55 PM

FYI, RAM is typically in GB (gigabytes), not Gb (gigabits - that's usually network speeds) and definitely not gb (there's no such thing as a gram-bit!)

E8400 machines tend to support 8 GB, but if it's a small form-factor (SFF) PC, it may only have two slots and 4 GB PC2-6400 SIMMs are quite hard to get hold of.

The SFF PCs may also be limited on the card slots; they may have one half-height one, so check that before buying an i/o card.

#18 MoonBassAlpha

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 05:19 PM

Thanks for bringing my slack capitalisation to my attention. I'll try not to let it happen again!
Good info on the memory too, it does have 4 memory slots, so 4x 2GB would be doable in the future. All the I.T. spods at work are also agreeing that ssd will make a lot of difference in performance. I'll see how I get on for the time being, I suspect big upgrades would be better spent on a higher level starting point.
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#19 MoonBassAlpha

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 05:27 PM

View PostDad3353, on 14 August 2017 - 12:46 PM, said:



Not strictly true; it's a 'Balance' control between listening to the interface direct input and listening to the DAW. When playing an instrument, you may want to not listen to the DAW (there could be a delay due to latency, for instance...), in which case you'd dial anti-clockwise to 'Direct'. To hear the result of your input including any DAW treatment or tracks playing, you'd dial to 'DAW'. Anywhere in between is admissible, of course.
Just sayin'; hope this helps.
Thanks Douglas, I see that now, it was just something I had never paid attention to before, not having a DAW to play with.
U.S. Masters EP42 trans blue-- U.S. Masters EP42 lacewood fretless-- Sei Flamboyant headless 4
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My feedback Music by Charms Against The Evil Eye: https://soundcloud.com/the-new-moon
For sale: Celestion Greenbacks
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