I’ve been planning to get a dedicated PC to make music on for a while–mainly so that I can have my office (I work from home) as a totally separate space from where I make music. I decided to keep the computer I already have for work/gaming/video editing/etc., and then build a new one for music making.
I sort of already ordered it, but I’m still curious what you guys think and thought maybe it could spur a discussion about what’s most important when building a machine to make music on. Here are the things I had in mind when I was shopping around:
- Quiet as possible
- Powerful enough to run my plugins/virtual instruments (within reason)
- Under $1,000
I used a few resources. One was this guide by the makers of FL Studio which had a lot of useful information in it. I don’t use FL Studio but I think it should apply pretty well to most DAWs.
I also used https://silentpc.com/ just to scope out what parts they’re using in their builds. I kind of used this computer as a sort of a base model: https://silentpc.com/powerhouse-pcs/coffee-lake-tower-pc
And then just general googling for reviews, comparisons, advice, etc.
CPU: Intel i5-8400. I knew I wanted Intel, and might as well get the latest generation. The reason I chose this over the faster i7-8700 was because it was cheaper, and it also runs quite a bit cooler (65W TDP vs 95W.) And I feel like the cooler I can keep my components, the quieter the PC will be overall.
CPU fan: Noctua NH-U9S. Noctua had killer reviews overall. The one recommended on silentPC was so expensive that I looked at other options, and this seemed to be a good one for my CPU/case.
Motherboard: Asus Prime Z370-A. Just picked this right off of the silentPC build I was looking at. shrug
RAM: (2 x 8GB) CORSAIR Vengeance LPX 288-Pin DDR4 2666. I might be okay with 8GB, but I feel better about having 16. It costs a little more than the CPU though.
PSU: EVGA BQ 500W. The PSU seems to be an important factor in overall noise. I found this component for sale on quietPC.com or something, and it had good reviews and was on sale ($40!) so… I hope it works out well. I don’t even need nearly that much power, but wanted to have the option to add a small video card later on if I need it for more/bigger monitors or something.
Storage Drives: I went with 3 SSDs: One for my OS/programs, one to record onto and store my recording sessions, and one for my samples. Since they are SSDs they won’t make any noise. For my OS and recording drive I got a couple of Kingston A400 120GB SSDs. These were cheap and should be fast enough and have enough space. I have an external drive that I can keep old recording sessions on if need be. The last one is a 250GB Samsung 960 EVO. It plugs right into the motherboard. That’s for my samples. I hope they’ll load quick!
Case: Corsair 330R Quiet Tower Case. Pulled it off of the silentPC build. Looks nice enough.
With taxes and shipping it came to about $950. So yeah, for any fellow PC nerds out there, how’d I do? There’s still time to cancel my orders if I made a serious goof! Haha.