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Computer Suggestions Please

 
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Andy
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:48 pm    Post subject: Computer Suggestions Please Reply with quote

I spent an exhausting, fruitless weekend trying to get a klunker of used computer to accept Netgear wireless technology. All to no avail. All this so my kid could have a starter computer.

Thinking now of buying a new studio computer and passing mine, which is pretty old, but will easily fit the needs of a twelve year old, on to my son.

Got my eye on an HP/Compaq Presario with an AMD Sempron 3000+, 512MB DDR/120GB HD set up with Win XP Home. All for the price of about $350.

Of course I could have a local company build me one with a Pentium IV, with 1 GB of RAM. $600. But do I need that much muscle to run Adobe Audition for voice work and commercial production?
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brianforrester
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Drew,

I'm by no means an authority on the right type of computer to use, but I can tell you my past experiences.

I ran Audition very succesfully on a 3.0Ghz Intel processor with 512mb of DDR RAM and Windows XP. The weakest part of my setup was the sound card, a Sound Blaster Audigy! I also used it as my primary work computer, invoicing, database, e-mail etc... which definately isn't recomended.

I'd probably recomend going with a bit more power, based on the fact the you never know when you're going to want to upgrade to Pro Tools or other CPU and RAM intensive piece of software.

Regardless, go with a minimum of 1 Gig or RAM, it will make your world much nicer and provide for significantly fewer crashes.

I've subsequently upgraded to Pro Tools 6.4 LE running on a Toshiba A70 Satellite laptop, 3.2Ghz processor 1 Gif of RAM... to be honest, the jury is still out. I'm learning the ropes with Pro Tools and have had some problems with I/O Playback conflicts, but I've also just downloaded a patch for Windows XP that should help to fix some of the issues.

As I get deeper and deeper into the recording realm, I'm beginning to lean towards a Mac (I'm a PC lover and said that I'd never own a Mac, so it takes a fair chunk of pride swallowing for me to even consider it).

I guess in reality my advice is this, processor speed will make your edits and live recording smoother, RAM will only improve this, a good quality sound card is essential!

Hope that helps.

Cheers
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brianforrester
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 3:28 pm    Post subject: I forgot 1 thing Reply with quote

Oh yeah, I forgot one thing...

My very strong personal opinion... stay with an Intel Processor. I've experienced fewer issues with Intel than other processors.

Cheers
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Andy
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, Intel's better. Interesting about your Creative soundcard. I'm running Soundblaster Live! With a Pentium II and a 100 GB of HD at my home studio. Generally, no problems...I just have to keep the computer freed up to make Cool Edit Pro work.

At work I'm running an AMD 2400+ with 480 MB RAM. CEP works pretty good giving me 65 GB of free space. I can get a similar box with a corporate deal we have with Tiger Direct. That's why I'm looking at that particular deal.
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brianforrester
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that the reality of what you're describing and the complexity of the projects you'll innevitably be working on, either option will do you just fine, but I would make sure you make the upgrade to at least a Gig of RAM. It's a safe investment regardless when buying a computer these days.

Regarding the Soundblaster card... I just found there was too much line noise. I tried a bunch of different mixers and pre's and the noise remained. However, as soon as I switched to the mbox... noise gone! So far I love it from that standpoint.

Professional gear for professional results.

Cheers,
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kgenus
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe in home brew. There's no reason to pay extra to have someone build it when it's as easy as sticking a working VHS tape into a working VCR. I'm on the last Intel chipset I'll buy, it's a great machine, but AMD chipsets are running faster and cooler these days and the plugins I do run are all native. I'll do what I can to get every last bit of efficiency out of the tool.

Kevin
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Chuck Davis
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm totally with Kevin on the home brew front. Once you've invested in a good case and power supply..the upgrade paths are as simple as a new motherboard and processor. Building a PC sounds intimidating but in reality it's about as simple as plugging stereo components together.

Another AMD fan here too. I'm running an Athlon 64 in preparation for 64 bit windows. With 2gb of ram, removable firewire drives so I can take the drives with me to Boston..and not two but 3 flat screens I was able to custom build a box that does exactly what I need it to do...and it's fast.
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Andy
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the son's klunker went in for a patch-up repair. After a board meeting with the family CFO it was decided that we couldn't swing a new box until after the first of the year.

Now, this concept of building your own box is loaded with intrigue. Truly a project I'd like to try. But me thinks it would also be something I could royally fork up resulting in stomping, pounding, cussin', and all such acts unbecoming in civil company. Any of you fellas wanna play coach?
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Chuck Davis
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure. Love to help.

First decide what recording/editing software you'll want to use. Some can be a little picky such as Pro-Tools.

A great resource is on your local newsstand...there's always "build your own PC" mags out there. Lots of How-To's on line as well...do a little Googling...
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brianforrester
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Andy,

Good choice in pursuing the home build option. It's the only way to ensure that you get exactly the computer you want. I personally have built 3 of my own computers over the few years, so I'd be more than happy to provide some advice as needed.

Chuck is bang on about the magazines and the net. There's more info out there than you care to imagine. Some of it great, some of it horrible and some of just plain doesn't make any sense to a simpleton like me, but plugging pieces into a board is pretty simple. Just be sure to check all of your compatiblities related to hardware and software.

Good luck with it and don't hesitate to ask with any questions you may have.

Cheers
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Andy
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, guys. I'll probably take that route. Might work with the CFO, too. Kinda like Radar shipping home a Jeep to Iowa from Korea. :lol: One piece at a time.
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Chuck Davis
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy,

Cool. First stop for shopping is newegg.com. Look into a "barebones" system. Thats a motherboard, processor and power supply. You should be able to recycle the optical (cd rom) drive and floppy drive from your sons rig.

AMD 64 2800+ is a great deal these day and plenty powerful to run editing software and the word proc, web browsing, ftp client kinda stuff you'll need.

Chuck D
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Andy
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Chuck. I'll start doing the research today.
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kgenus
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy, be sure to check out the DigiDesign User Conference (DUC) at www.digidesign.com. They've always got a parts list to build an "Audio Workstation." I there are usually two lists always going - "less than 600" and "less than 1000."
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