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Hardware

gurdonark
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permalink   Sun, Nov 2, 2008 @ 6:57 PM
This weekend appears to mark the near-demise of my current PC. It’s a long (and vaguely amusing) story of Service Pack 3 and irretrievable crashes, but the game is not worth the candle to set out the anecdote here.

So let’s daydream a bit. I am going to buy a new PC, because PC is the most compatible with the odd software I use. I long for the day when Linux supports my favorite software, but that day is not today.

My wish list is:
a. desktop;
b. enough memory to do mixes and songs;
c. enough processing speed to get the job done;
d. use of a USB hard drive if necessary to reduce the cost of the unit;
and the “real story”, of course:
e. I don’t ordinarily spend a lot of money on things which are basically ways to have fun.

I post this not for the Holy Grail to be identified, but to open a thread to solicit ruminations on what kind of PC traits to look for when one wants to make music and yet not spend like a Rockefeller.

[note to self: try in the newest computer to add the 7 things I actually use regularly rather than every audio, musical, animation pictorial and video freeware known to the internet parked on my computer].

Anyone in the mood to hold forth and teach?
teru
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permalink   Mon, Nov 3, 2008 @ 8:37 AM
One thing to keep in mind is most new PCs are sold with Vista now instead of XP. I have nothing against Vista but I found most older music software/drivers incompatible. So be aware of that or you may find yourself having to change operating systems.
 
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permalink   gurdonark Tue, Nov 4, 2008 @ 10:51 AM
Good point! Also, when I use XP, I almost always run out of memory—and Vista is supposed to take even more resources.
spinmeister
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permalink   Mon, Nov 3, 2008 @ 8:58 AM
if you are staying with the PC (rather than a Mac), then my number one recommendation would be to stay with Windows XP Pro. (the OEM edition is just a few dollars more than XP Home edition these days). If you have your computer built to spec by one of the many small independent local PC builders, you can get your dream machine for very low cost.

Suggestions for specs, which you can take to a local PC builder as a starting point):

CPU: Intel Core 2 duo 2.4 GHz (or faster) (NOTE: optionally spend an extra 50 bucks to replace the stock intel fan with a “quiet” CPU fan to make the system less noisy.)
RAM: 2GB (or more)
Disk: SATA II 7000 RPM 320GB (or more)
Video card: 256MB of dedicated video RAM, get one with a good heat sink and WITHOUT a fan (quieter). Get something inexensive, you don’t need a gaming class video card.
Motherboard: I have good experiences with ASUS motherboards, I’d get one with Ethernet and basic audio already on board the motherboard).

Don’t let the computer builder install “free” anti-virus, anti-spyware or other crap on your machine, you can get that for free afterward. Those tend to be bloated trial editions (3 months) by vendors wo pay kickbacks to computer builders to install their stuff. After you get your new machine download AVG anti-virus free edition.

Hope that helps. My number 1 recommendation is to avoid Vista, since it sucks away system performance for no good end user benefit, and you wont’ know if all of your older software (or hardware) works with it.

DISCLAIMER: Of course, all of those are just my opinions and won’t hold up in court ;-)
 
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permalink   essesq Mon, Nov 3, 2008 @ 11:43 AM
Well I wouldn’t ask any of the learned man and women of the bench for computing advice, but I sure as heck would ask Spinmeister. Whatever he says, do it. Although I wish to hell he had told me not to get my daughter a laptop with Vista on board because I can’t load Cubase onto it and then plug it into my digital piano … That being said the umpteen million other pieces of advice he has given me have all been spot on so be cautious but listen.

P.S. G - I hope you get a clean mouse with this one :-).
 
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permalink   John Pazdan Mon, Nov 3, 2008 @ 1:28 PM
on the Commodore 64..
oops, wrong millennium..

anyway, dear Spinny..no love for the dual core AMD? everything else I agree with in a way..but knowing my friend Big G, and following along in the Victor Stone School of “buy one off the shelf, no kiddin”..there’s lots of stores giving things away with similar specs to what you have (ok maybe add some cheap RAM)with XP Pro (though Home w/SP 3 works just find over here)..I wonder if it’s possible to even get XP anymore on an OEM..as in find a fairly older NOS one?

Mr G has to beware here too, because I know he uses some pretty old apps..though nothing like my Dr T’s sequencer .

And counselor..when you do get the new beige appliance..please be sure to give it a name like..Commodore 64.

see all of you at the Obama Victory ralley in Grant Park tomorrow night. I will be wearing the ccMizter hoodie..and blogging from my portable C 64.

might take a while to get back here though.
 
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permalink   spinmeister Mon, Nov 3, 2008 @ 2:47 PM
Sorry, I should have explicitly mentioned that: The XP Pro edition will allow a RAM upgrade to be actually useful (once the time comes in a couple of years) - while XP Home Edition tops out at 2GB of RAM. That’s the most discernible advantage for the hobbyist).

And AMD CPU is in principle fine, too - although in the ever going back and forth between Intel and AMD, right now the argument could be made that Intel has it’s nose slightly ahead (imho).
 
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permalink   gurdonark Tue, Nov 4, 2008 @ 10:53 AM
I still regret selling my Commodore 64 sx at a yard sale!
 
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permalink   gurdonark Tue, Nov 4, 2008 @ 10:52 AM
Great! Just what I was seeking.

I may go for a dual core with both a Windows and a Linux install, as maybe it’s time to go Linux.

I wish I knew how to easily find a local customizer.
 
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permalink   spinmeister Tue, Nov 4, 2008 @ 12:55 PM
make sure you install Windows before Linux, because Linux will respect your Windows installation, while the reverse can’t be said.
fourstones
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permalink   Tue, Nov 4, 2008 @ 3:00 AM
if you’re going to be recording at home I don’t know how you do that without one of these. I know there no memory issues, not sure about USB connectivity. Reverb unit built in (to your house).
 
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permalink   spinmeister Tue, Nov 4, 2008 @ 9:18 AM
but how would you interface that to one of these?
 
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permalink   Subliminal Tue, Nov 4, 2008 @ 10:15 AM
Well, maybe you could use one of these.
 
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permalink   essesq Tue, Nov 4, 2008 @ 2:05 PM
How dare you make fun of the venerable ENIAC? I had my first serious (and only serious) computer programming classes in the same building that houses that leviathan. I even used the first form of e-mail I ever used while in those classes. Wish I could’ve dealt with FORTRAN - might have become a patent lawyer by now…:-).
 
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permalink   gurdonark Tue, Nov 4, 2008 @ 10:55 AM
Thanks for a chuckle (or rather, three, as the two replies were also cool).

I was going to look up one of those elaborate tape things they used for musique concrete, but in fact my gear wish list, computer aside, probably starts and stops with a firestick, a form of electric dulcimer— http://www.smokeymountaindu...