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help with new computer (system specs)

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My computer is quite old and I need a new one (or upgrade this one), but I don't really know much of what I need in terms of system specifications, video and audio cards.

What I wanted to do with it:


- record and mix music  (not heavy recordings, around 16 tracks or less) 

- video edit (around 10 tracks or less)

- run latest versions of GZDoom (currently it doesn't run anything past GZDoom 1.9)

- run games like Dark Souls


I'm aware lots of people use mac for audio and video edition, but I owned a mac and really didn't like it. So if you guys work with some good audio and video editing programs for windows, Id like recommendations of those, too.


actual system:

processor: Intel core Duo Cpu @2.93 Ghz


Operational System  64 bits



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That CPU you have is limited in what it can do. I would recommend at least a quad core CPU for the stuff you're wanting to do and another 4GB of memory would make things smoother. What about your graphics? Do you have onboard or a separate GPU?

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PCPartPicker is pretty damn good for something like this. Besides letting you pick out parts suited to your needs, they've got some example build guides in case you really don't know what you want or what to go for. You're not really going to be able to upgrade a Core 2 system - those are way obsolete (12+ years old at this point), so you're basically looking at a from-scratch system. I mean, they use DDR2 memory, and we're currently on DDR4... so you really don't have a choice.


Given what you've said, though, anything music or video-related is definitely going to eat up the RAM - I'd say 16 GB is what you should go for if you can. You can get by with 8 GB, but newer games are consuming more RAM, so 16 GB is probably about the base minimum. If you've got deep pockets, go for 32.


Processors, quadcores are cheap now, and some CPUs have even more cores/threads than that. AMD is generally better on multithreaded stuff (so it would likely do your video rendering better); however, Intel generally still has the edge in raw horsepower, and will perform a bit better in games. Both are very competitive processors now though.


I'd still say stick with nVidia GPUs. AMD has capable hardware... the problem is their driver support isn't nearly as great. Wait a month or two, if you can - nVidia is about to release the GeForce 3000 series in the next few months; you can either get the latest and greatest and have considerable performance as good as the upper-end stuff today, or go a generation lower and get last-gen tech for cheaper than right now.


Consider a gumstick SSD for a boot drive.

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If you are really on a budget see if you can score an older Dell OptiPlex with an i7 processor it. Older common office desktops like that can give you decent performance on the cheap if you shop around. 

That's a condensed version of homeboy Linus's video:



As far DAW software for Windows, REAPER is an amazing value on the cheap. You can pick up a full perpetual license for $69. Tonnes of free tutorials, features, customizability, and free plugins. Just grab a cheapo USB audio interface or free vst soft synths and away you go.



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The things I use my computer for seem to be the exact same things you’re looking to do, so I’ll put my specs up as a minimum benchmark - I still get occasional hangs and stutters even with a clean machine, so you might want to g a step up from what I have.


Intel i7 @ 3.6 GHz


video card is an nVidia.. something or other (not at PC atm..)

Make sure you have a damn good video card. Mine isnt cutting it and will occasionally just lock up and stop responding in the middle of any given process, and if it’s in a particularly sour mood it won’t come back, leaving me with no display and an unresponsive machine that needs to be rebooted. Moral of the story is, get something that’s damn good, or else it will just choke repeatedly and occasionally cause you to lose progress..

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Around how much do you wanna spend @Darch?


The reason I ask is the norm is to spend about 1/3 of your budget on a GPU for a good gaming machine but If your only hoping to spend a couple hundred or don’t need a super pimped out gaming machine then might be better off putting extra into the CPU etc.


Userbenchmarks is a really good site for mixing and matching PC parts to work out the best bang for your buck :-) 

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At this point, you're going to want to go with 16GB RAM. That's the best advice I have. My system is getting pretty old, got it back in 2014. but with some upgrades it still does pretty damn well.

I7-4770 at 3.4ghz, 16GB DDR3 RAM. I upgraded to a Samsung 1TB SSD for my primary drive, with a 1TB Rosewill HDD for storage and for games and things that don't require a fast disc drive. I recently upgraded from a GTX 760 TI to a GTX 1660 Super, got it from Best Buy a few months ago for $180 as it was the last one in stock. Had to get a new PSU as well, but that was back in 2014 when I upgraded from the default card the computer came with. Went from getting 30-55 FPS in Doom 2016 to 200 FPS, Eternal gets around 150 to 170 with pretty much all settings on Ultra. I can't say I do much audio or video editing, but you should be able to find something that'll work. 


I wouldn't bother upgrading if you're running a dual core though, because you'll probably have to get a new motherboard, and CPU, and you'll want a new video card, and an SSD. By that point you're basically just building a new computer using the same case. Assuming the case will accommodate the new MB and all the bells and whistles. I suppose at this point I've spent enough on upgrades to it that I could've just bought a new computer, but I like this thing. It's got plenty of space inside it, and it's still running tickety-boo. Which is longer than I've ever had a computer running in good working order.

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Oh just had another thought, if you’re not particularly keen on dropping a whole heap of cash on new components, you can always go with older generation hardware (as some above have mentioned) and overclock the pants off it :-)


You’d be surprised at just how much extra you can push out sometimes! For example, I used to have an old 1050Ti and could happily push it to near 1070 levels with it still being stable in 99% of games :-)


Figured I’d just throw OCing out there as an option for you to look into more :-)

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My personal method when building / buying computers is to always buy the maximum I can afford; operating this way I've had builds that have handled stuff like video editing, streaming, higher end gaming etc which are able to play current titles for a fair few years after purchase. If you're comfortable with building your own computer you can save a decent chunk of money on a like-for-like machine to pre-built computers. For this, I would follow Dark Pulse's advice of using PCPartPicker, I've used them for the last two builds I've done for myself, and four additional builds for my friends. Building computers is really easy, it just takes a little patience. There's numerous video guides online and a high chance there's a video covering any components you may select.


Since video / music is a focus point for you, I would recommend trying to a decent amount of ram at a high speed as this is often a 'hang point' for these applications. Naturally that would want to be backed up with a decent CPU & GPU. Without knowing what your budget is like, it's hard to present options; however we could easily build a machine with double the performance vs your current rig for a relatively low price.


I've done a lot of video editing for my job as of late and my current build hasn't had a single hitch when using Adobe After Effects / Adobe Premiere Pro. My system spec is below, though it might be a little overkill for just hobbyist work.




I also placed my previous computer's 1TB SSD drive in there for a total of 2TB storage.



Picture of the completed build, if you're interested. If budget is a concern, avoid all the fancy-schmancy RGB lighting, heh.




Regarding brands of various components, I wouldn't worry too much as long as it's a big name; I used to say AMD were bad based on an experience with them over 10 years ago, but decided to go for an AMD Ryzen CPU in my latest build and can say I fully recommend it. 


I'd personally push to get at least DDR4 3600MHz ram, 32GB if your budget allows for it (something like this perhaps: https://pcpartpicker.com/product/Yg3mP6/corsair-vengeance-lpx-32-gb-2-x-16-gb-ddr4-3600-memory-cmk32gx4m2d3600c18)


Hope this helps in any way, shape or form!

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On 8/16/2020 at 3:55 PM, Darch said:

record and mix music

Do you have a good soundcard meant for audio recording? If not I would definitely factor this into your budget. Depending on what you want to be recording it will probably run you from $100-$200, though if you do any kind of music production I'm sure you know that there's no upper limit to how much you can spend on audio equipment.

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