Computer Specification

Want to talk about music hardware or software that doesn't include Reason?
epichouse
Posts: 6
Joined: 25 Aug 2019

Post 18 Jul 2021

Hi all.

I used to do quite a lot of music making just for my own amusement, along with Dj'ing and 3D CAD design work.

Over the last 10 years that has dropped quite significantly for various reasons.

I did by Reason 10 when it came out in an effort to try and revive things, but its been sat pretty much unused ever since.

I'd say depression has been the main problem, but the inability of my laptop to cope has also been a factor, along with some annoying dead keys on my Quasimidi Sirius synthesiser, which was my midi input device, making it extremely annoying to try and play anything.

I've been thinking of picking it up again and getting a new laptop or small form factor desktop.

Things have probably changed a lot since I got my HP Envy Dv7 laptop around 10 years ago.

This has the intel core i7 3600M, with 4 cores, 2.3ghz base freq, running 16gb of DDR3 ram.

I was told a few years ago that this was still plenty enough for Reason and I didn't need a new computer , but, my experience is that it can't cope with a medium level of complexity track with more than four or five VSTi's, without jittering, stumbling, sluggishness and latency issues, despite tweaking the ASIO to a "fruity loop" variant of some kind, which did help, but not enough.

I have been trying to learn about new chips, but its a minefield, I'm very out of touch.

So far, I think I'd need an i7-10700K, i7-11700K, i7-9700F, or quite confusingly an i5-11600K, which has the same kinds of clock speeds but only 6 core instead of 8. Xeon E2288G/M, E2286G/M E2278G/M also look decent, but I think I'd rather stick to the "Core" range.

I suppose an i9 would be even better, but I'm not too sure its worth the extra.

I am also thinking of a MOTU M4 Audio Interface, after narrowing it down from some of the competition.

When it comes to the Quasimidi Sirius, I suppose I'd have to find a specialist to fix it here in the UK. It's too important a machine to just leave in this state and gathering dust.

Yet, at the same time, I suspect I could get a neat controller keyboard of some sort (no idea what's around or possible at the moment) with more Reason functionality for about the same it may cost to get the keyboard taken somewhere and fixed.

My question would be:

1) Is it worth the layout for a new computer, or are the specs of my old laptop actually not that bad and something else is wrong?
2) If my current specs ought to be fine, would the addition of an MOTU M4 do anything to improve performance, is it a soundcard issue?
3) If it is worth getting a new computer, am I on the right lines for the chips?

The chips I have looked at are about 3.0Ghz base to around 5.0 Ghz when boosted. This is also good for CAD work.

I'm thinking of about 16GB Ram again if I get a new one, assuming a new chip, 4 more cores and a later DDR model of RAM and a SSD type hard-drive will make it considerably faster than the one I already have (and be somewhat future-proof for another decade or so).

What do you all think about this?

Cheers for any tips.

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orthodox
RE Developer
Posts: 1659
Joined: 22 Jan 2015

Post 18 Jul 2021

I'd upgrade to a new processor of 10/11th generation (and I did, it does make a huge difference to what I had before). The clocks don't matter for me, the number of cores does. I'm against any overclocking as it violates the specifications and leads to early failures. DDR4 was cheap enough when I bought it (again, I chose the compliant one without overclocking), so I got 32GB.
Active Reason+ subscriber with the attested early R12 access
Reason 11 Suite gathering dust on the shelf

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avasopht
Posts: 2433
Joined: 16 Jan 2015

Post 18 Jul 2021

I had a machine with a similar spec that had no trouble whatsoever with Reason 10.

Only difference was it has an SSD, and I excluded many folders and processes from Windows AV.

For the SSD, you'll get much faster performance if it's NVMe than SATA.
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guitfnky
Posts: 3640
Joined: 19 Jan 2015

Post 18 Jul 2021

are you ruling out AMD processors? they’re pretty damn good and I think generally outdo Intel for the money. I recently built a new PC with a Ryzen 3900x and it crushes anything I throw at it.

the biggest concern for any new build is probably going to be dedicated GPU. prices have been super high due to bitcoin mining (though I’ve heard they’re starting to finally come down). I ended up moving the graphics card from my old PC into the new one and saved myself a whole bunch of headache (and wallet ache)—I’d try to go that route if you’ve already got a usable GPU. if you do need one, you shouldn’t need anything too crazy to run audio software, but I’m guessing you might need something fairly beefy for CAD these days.

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avasopht
Posts: 2433
Joined: 16 Jan 2015

Post 18 Jul 2021

guitfnky wrote:
18 Jul 2021
are you ruling out AMD processors? they’re pretty damn good and I think generally outdo Intel for the money. I recently built a new PC with a Ryzen 3900x and it crushes anything I throw at it.

the biggest concern for any new build is probably going to be dedicated GPU. prices have been super high due to bitcoin mining (though I’ve heard they’re starting to finally come down). I ended up moving the graphics card from my old PC into the new one and saved myself a whole bunch of headache (and wallet ache)—I’d try to go that route if you’ve already got a usable GPU. if you do need one, you shouldn’t need anything too crazy to run audio software, but I’m guessing you might need something fairly beefy for CAD these days.
Yes, you're right about AMD processors. Right now they seem to be the best bet.

For my GPU, I just bought a new desktop from Dell. Based on the spec and price, it looks like I paid close to the RRP of the RTX 3060 Ti (around $400).
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epichouse
Posts: 6
Joined: 25 Aug 2019

Post 18 Jul 2021

Thanks for all the quick responses!

I'm not really into computer specifications these days, I kind of lost touch about 12 to 15 years ago. I'm kind of hoping that it all comes down to "new generations" making the needed difference, as I do already have an "i7" quad core and 16GB of RAM.

I could make a dance track on it, to some degree, but it was pushing it and not always smooth. Add in just that one extra VSTi and it'd get terrible. When things are just not working right, it really tends to throw off any enthusiasm I have, and before I know it, I've just parked another part-finished tune never to be completed.

I don't really know what the magic difference is between my generation 3 chip and say a generation 10 or 11, but if I'm going to fork out somewhere in the region of £1000 - £1200 for a new machine, I really expect it to be kicking some ass and not really blink at all my previous tune efforts.

I wouldn't be overclocking anything, as I'm not competent enough to do it and I am wary of causing some damage later.

When it comes to RAM, I was hoping 16gb would be enough if the chip has 8 cores, but 32 would be better, depending on the costs of everything.

At this stage, I an trying to suss out what kind of thing I'd need....then with that shortlist, go shopping for a machine, either Laptop or Small Form Factor.

I have tended to rule out the AMD chips at the moment. I used to be a bit of a die-hard AMD fan in the 90s and early 2000s before they fell behind Intel a bit too much, but the thing is, I'm not confident in them for being suitable for the 3d CAD design. I need to make sure I can cover all the bases and I just think Intel and their Core range are more likely to do this.

I could be persuaded otherwise, if the evidence is there about the CAD, which would be Autodesk Inventor and McNeel Rhino3d.

In terms of graphics card, I've been learning about these a bit. Inventor in theory requires a Quadro.....but it turns out that this isn't the case and they only recommend Quadro and certify Inventor for Quadro because they know customers can go to nVidia with any problems and because nVidia want people to buy their top range graphics chips for the industrial sector.

It turns out that a G-Force card, like a 1060 or 1070 will be fine at a potential fraction of the cost of a Quadro. I have seen them pass all the official benchmarks to qualify for authorised status, but Autodesk just don't do it because they are in a contract deal with Quadro's.

From what I have seen and heard so far, CAD tends to run on a single core the most, so a high clock speed is recommended there - but Reason seems to be multi-core and would make more use of an 8 core chip. That's how I see it being at the moment.

I'm very fortunate in that I have enough money to throw at a new machine to that kind of budget, but I don't want to completely waste my money.

I may get slightly ripped off with a HP z2 Mini or a HP high-end laptop, but I have had HP products for years and they've always been reliable and quite smart. I'm prepared to take a bit of a hit there if the actual internals are worth it.

My current preference is probably a laptop, smaller, quieter, portable if need be. But a Mini could be okay if it ends up much less. I may be in for a shock and may have to adjust my budget by the time I look for a machine with the right spec!

(I've never hear of NVMe, so I will look into that, cheers)

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Burton
Posts: 24
Joined: 15 Mar 2021

Post 20 Jul 2021

I would advise you to take a good cooling system. In the heat of summer, powerful computers get very hot. I myself installed an additional Noctua NH-U14S cooler, because additional cooling will not hurt.

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guitfnky
Posts: 3640
Joined: 19 Jan 2015

Post 20 Jul 2021

doesn’t CAD work more off a GPU than CPU? I see single core is more important in the CPU, but if that’s only like 5% of the story, and the GPU is the other 95%, you wouldn’t be sacrificing much, if anything, prioritizing cores over single clock speed. (obviously this is a total guess.)

I went from Intel to AMD, and while I don’t really have experience with the most recent Intel stuff, I can say the price for performance is significantly better with AMD, for stuff that benefits from multiple cores. ended up with 12 cores for around $450 (including tax). most importantly, the thing absolutely stomps.

but ultimately it might depend on which you do more—audio or CAD. but you’ll probably be very happy no matter which way you go. lot of good options out there on both sides.

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