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Need Feedback on Upgrade for Home Music Studio


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#1
deadkings

deadkings

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Hi everyone,

I am hesitating on which of two desktops to upgrade for my home recording studio, and am looking for some feedback into the two solutions I am contemplating. The two main uses I need the upgrade to address are: 1) virtual instruments, which use huge sound libraries and audio samples (example, BFD Drums and Vienna Symphonic), and 2) audio effect inserts like reverb, which are cumulatively quite taxing on CPU.

My options are:
1)
Dell Dimension 8250
Pentium 4, 2.8GHz
Upgrade to 1.5GB PC1066 RDRAM
Cost: app. $340

or 2)
Dell Optiplex GX 260
Pentium 4, 1.8GHz
Upgrade to 2GB of DDR333 PC2700 SDRAM
Cost: app. $130

Both computers are on Windows XP Pro, and both would be dedicated to music recording (primarily pro tools 6.4)

I have seen a lot of reviews online about how RDRAM was disappointing, but what makes me hesitate is that currently both machines, having been wiped and reinstalled in very similar ways, are running with 512MB of RAM, but the Dimension is noticeably faster, even with the most basic applications. In addition, I have already been recording on the Dimension and it performs very well in spite of the relatively small amount of memory it currently has.

Therefore, somehow I feel like the combination of 2.8GHz and RDRAM is worth more than the extra 512MB of SDRAM I could get on the Optiplex with a 1.8GHz CPU, in spite of saving $200.. Does that make sense?

I could also upgrade the Dimension to 2GB of RDRAM, but that would be getting too costly for what it is -- for that price I might as well purchase a new system entirely. Given my budget, the 1.5 upgrade seems optimal to me at least for the medium term. Any thoughts, insights or suggestions?

Many thanks,

DM
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#2
SRX660

SRX660

    motto - Just get-er-done

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Neither of these computers are worth the effort. RDRam is dead and you can't find any more to add to it. If you already have the 2.8 system, start there and look into buying a quad core CPU and MB with memory for around $400 that will fit into the case. Everything will be much faster then.

SRX660
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#3
deadkings

deadkings

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hi srx,

thanks for the reply!

this is interesting -- are you saying that i should be able to keep the motherboard, and just replace the P4 processor and the RDRAM and replace them with newer components? or would I have to replace the motherboard entirely?

thanks again,

dm
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#4
deadkings

deadkings

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Also, a quick follow-up question -- will a quad core make a big difference for recording music purposes? I am not really multi-tasking in the sense of running completely separate applications, but i will be running plugins for virtual instruments (lots of sound samples), as well as effects.. so i am wondering whether, as far as processors are concerned, i am better off getting a faster 2-core, rather than a 4-core.. i just don't know how the app CPU usage is allocated, will it make full use of 4-core? any thoughts on that?
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#5
SRX660

SRX660

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You will need to replace the motherboard along with the CPU and Memory. As the dell case is fitted with a standard miniATX motherboard, any new miniATX MB will fit. It is NOT that a quad core processor is really super fast compared to a older Intel 3.0 CPU( but it is noticeably faster). What is really faster is the "Front Side Bus" of 1066 or 1333 speed, rather than the old Hyperthreaded 800 fsb. That and the fact that you can run 2 to 4 gigs of memory on a new motherboard makes this a much more desirable computer than a old RDram type computer, which is limited to around 1 gig of memory. Why would you want to start out with a crippled computer and have to try working with it, when for only a few dollars more you can start with a system that is up to the job.

I choose the 4 core simply because soon even the core 2 duo processors( will these be the new Celeron's?) will be discontinued while the quad core seems like its going to be around for a good while. Why obsolete your computer before even building it. It always seems that software is behind by about 2 years in development compared to Processors.

SRX660
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