Best computer for audio recording/production/heavy doody stuff?

Looks like my laptop may have bitten the dust - after 5 years it appears to be unbootable due to knacked motherboard or processor.

So what do y’all recommend as a replacement? Might be tempted by desktop as I haven’t used it live for 3 years and seems unlikely I’ll do any more in the foreseeable.

I’m running Ableton Live 9, currently with only a Scarlett 2i2 as usb input but might be tempted to up that, possibly with firewire unless usb 3.0 is enough, and with plenty of vsts.

I rarely go any more than 16 tracks, but want minimum latency.

And I don’t want to spend any money at all if poss, so Apple is probably out.

But we’re probably talking i7 at least 6 core, at least 16Gb RAM, preferably with some SSD capacity for fast boot - that was the spec of my laptop which worked well until it didn’t any more.

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Id expect scan or ebuyer would sell you one of those in a basic case easily enough. Just avoid any targeted at gamers as you’ll pay a premium for fancy boxes and LEDs and the like.

In all honesty, if you want to save some money, I’d recommend building it yourself. The hardest part is selecting the right components, after that it’s pretty hard to fuck up in all honesty.

Whilst bling and LEDs aren’t going to be necessary, it’s still worth getting a good case, in particular because the better it is at cooling, the quieter the PC will be and the longer the components will last. There used to be a fantastic resource at but it looks like it’s not been updated in 2+ years.

I’ve just looked into building my own…
I happen to have my old PC, which has been retired due to constantly falling over (onboard graphics problem).
It just happens to have an enormous case, with 3 fans, room for 3 SATA drives, a 600W power supply and 6 PCI-E slots. I could salvage the hybrid 1Tb drive from my laptop (that works OK), plus the 2x8Gb Corsair DDR4 RAM, then pop over to Scan for an Asus Z370TUF motherboard, i7 7800X 6 core 4GHz processor, Coolermaster hypercooler and 2 more Corsair 8Gb RAM all for £869.
Then a mere 20 minutes of perfectly straight-forward assembly, with absolutely no swearing or wondering which multi-pin connector goes where or thinking about the use of percussive maintenance, and voila, a perfectly excellent new computer…


I’m running some HP Z600 workstations as vmware hosts:

2 x hex core Xeon 5675 CPU

£450 each from ebay.

with less RAM…

Lawks! How do the business processors compare to the i7 ones?
And do they have fiddle-ability so I can add Thunderbolt or other PCI-e stuff?

The Xeon is beefier than the i5/i7 and designed more for heavy processing tasks, it has double the L3 cache of the i5/i7 CPU’s which makes it much better for intensive applications like video or sound editing. The i7 series is good for overclockers or tweekers but if you want pure grunt the Xeon is better.

I use one of them to run network simulation software for my designs, it’s a Cisco virtual machine that can simulate an entire network with latency and throughput etc. It’s massively resource intensive and uses all 24x vCPUs and 46GB RAM but works really well in these machines.

Looks like it has a few PCI slots so you can chuck in some thundebolt cards etc

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Computer stuff depreciates massively - expect to pay a third of full price for nearly new. Corporates usually just buy everything the same for ease of support, so the used market gets flooded with decent stuff that has been refreshed out, as it were. It’s way cheaper to buy used than to build your own.

I have had a bunch of HP workstations from them at v good prices, z420, z440, z600 and recently a nice z820

Use them as either nice Win 10 x64 pro desktops or ESXi hosts.

Like @thebiglebowski said, get nice multicore Xeons :+1:

Further spanner in the works… Found a 32Gb refurb Mac Pro for £495!

Ooh, that would be very tempting. Is that an Apple refurb or through a third party?

Linky if more than one.