What PC to buy

originalrocker wrote on 7/27/2002, 7:27 AM
I have a HP 733 Celeron and will be buying a new computer within the next week or so. I only have around $1400.00 to spend max. What would be a good choice to run my music files without any problems. I'm working on a solo project and normally use a bunch of tracks mostly keyboard and guitar, just a couple of electronic drum tracks. I was thinking maybe 80 GB hard drive, how much SDRAM would be good, P4 machine?
What is the most important thing to cover to get good performance?

Computer challenged.


Vocalpoint wrote on 7/27/2002, 10:57 AM
Couple of questions:

1. Are you looking at a "prebuilt" box? Or building it yourself?
2. What sort of soundcard do you have now or is a soundcard purchase part of this $1400.00?


Cuzin B
originalrocker wrote on 7/27/2002, 3:26 PM
Cuzin, due to my lack of computer knowlege, I need a complete CPU. I'm not sure what sound card to get. The one in my HP is a Crystal WDN audio Codec I think, (not sure?)
Anyway it works great going from A Yamaha keyboard into a digital 8 track, "just for a pre/mix" then to the imput of the computer sound card. Everything records clear, even vocals. I think a 80 Gig hard drive would be good and a large SDRAM, that's about the end of my computer knowlege. The problem I have with my Celeron HP is after 20 some tracks or so, the system slows down on edit playback.
Vocalpoint wrote on 7/28/2002, 8:28 AM

I will give you a top level look at this - I usually find that if a person is not confident in their computer ability, they will usually just buy a prepackaged model to save the sweat and nervousness of diving into a machine to see how it works. This route can be the most expensive and you rarely have the proper amount of say in what goes into the box. This is very important in the audio world. HP, Dell, Micron make decent office type boxes but the parts selection doesn't come close for the kind of work to be done in recording.

Again - ask yourself - what it is you want to do and how serious you are about it. If you are regularly getting into 20 tracks and mixing and generally diving right in, then I say you have more than just a slight interest in this.

I went through this exact same thing about 3 years ago - you know, visited a few forums...got stars in my eyes...tried to get my Dell Dimension XPS200 to record something...of course it died trying and I learned my first lesson about off the shelf PCs...so then I did some research (a lot actually) and started slow...buying one part here and one part there. Nice thing is that you can still acquire all your parts and if you are still not comfy putting it together, there are places who will do this for you...For me - when I finally got everything on the workbench, I decided that I was going to build this thing myself and it was the best thing I could have ever tried. When I started this, I didn't know a CDROM drive from Mulholland Drive but it all worked out in the end. And I ended up with a great audio machine for about 1/8 of what a new Dell would have cost. Still using it in my secondary studio today.

So best advise I can offer is - if you are lacking in the computer knowledge area, that's okay, you will get better with time - just don't drop your cash on the first HP box that you see in the window. Examine your options, ask questions about "parting" out your box and you will be surprised how far that 1400 will go and what kind of box you will have in the end.


Cuzin B
Spirit wrote on 7/28/2002, 10:29 AM
Some links here might help. Although specifically talking about Creamware DSP soundcards, the basic specs still apply to any DAW:

Hard drives:

More PC info:
originalrocker wrote on 7/28/2002, 7:08 PM
Thanks CuzinB, sounds good, I do have a person that works for me that can build a system. Sounds like a great idea!

originalrocker wrote on 7/28/2002, 7:09 PM
Thanks Spirit.
JoeD wrote on 7/31/2002, 10:53 PM
Bang for the buck system:

P4 1.6A (about $130)
abit BG7 (about $130)
samsung true ddr 2700
arctic silver 3 HSF grease (of course, before you put it together, take off the black thermal pad thoroughly on the stock HSF that comes with the CPU)

(buy these EXACT suggested items at newegg.com)

Also: get a decent mid-tower or larger with at least a 350-400watt P4 ready power supply.

This core setup will oc to 2.1-2.4 ghz with safety (DAW safety - I'm pretty strict about suggesting OC's - only ones that are tried and true and allow for all stability). Plus it allows for PCI/AGP lock.
This BG7 is one abit board not to be too wary of.

You set the vcore to 1.60, 1.625, or 1.650 (avoid anything higher than 1.7 vcore though - make that your rule).
setup the FSB to 150 mhz
strapping to 1:1
leave agp settings alone
set the PCI and AGP to lock at 33/66 (yes!!! - nice feature).

add a great soundcard from the $ you saved.

Bamm, you got yourself a 2.4ghz p4 with smoking performance and tested enough for a DAW scenario (mem throughput and total performance increase now that you are up to 150 fsb :)

I've got this setup (on a epox 4BDA though) and it's prefect.
It'll last you long time and runs a hell of a lot cooler than an amd oc

a shout from the bleachers.