Advice regarding computer-choice

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leon.a
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Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:19 pm

Advice regarding computer-choice

Post by leon.a » Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:37 pm

Hi guys!
After trying Ableton out on trial on my old Macbook Pro from 2012 I have decided to buy the full version.
Although, my Macbook feels quite worn-out with the fan not working properly etc, so I'm looking for a new computer that will work smoothly together with Ableton.

I'm looking for a PC (due to more affordable price) and found a Lenovo with the following components. Am I on the right track?

CPU: Intel i5-7200U 2.5 GHz
Memory: 8 GB DDR4 RAM
256 SSD

I just want to get started with my music and be finished with the searching for a computer! My budget stretches to max 900 USD.

Thanks a lot for the feedback.

Leon

mikb
Posts: 373
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:53 pm

Re: Advice regarding computer-choice

Post by mikb » Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:15 pm

leon.a wrote:Hi guys!
After trying Ableton out on trial on my old Macbook Pro from 2012 I have decided to buy the full version.
Although, my Macbook feels quite worn-out with the fan not working properly etc, so I'm looking for a new computer that will work smoothly together with Ableton.

I'm looking for a PC (due to more affordable price) and found a Lenovo with the following components. Am I on the right track?

CPU: Intel i5-7200U 2.5 GHz
Memory: 8 GB DDR4 RAM
256 SSD

I just want to get started with my music and be finished with the searching for a computer! My budget stretches to max 900 USD.

Thanks a lot for the feedback.

Leon
I think many would suggest that four core i7s is minimum these days. And there are some interesting six core i7 laptops as well, even though these tend to cost more, so with that budget four cores will likely be possible.
Basic gear info: Macbook Pro with macOS 10.12, Ableton Live Suite version 9 (64bit) with Ozone, Push and APC20 as controllers.

jestermgee
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Re: Advice regarding computer-choice

Post by jestermgee » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:58 pm

Do you need a laptop?

A desktop pc would offer better performance for the cost. Any modern i7 with 8gb ram or more, SSD and an audio interface.

Kevin Hamler
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Re: Advice regarding computer-choice

Post by Kevin Hamler » Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:16 am

It all depends on your workflow. I'm 95% MIDI with very little audio and no plug-ins, so it's not that demanding. But if you're audio-heavy, or use lots of CPU-demanding plug-ins, soft synths, etc, you will obviously benefit from more horsepower.

I upgraded my aging Macbook Pro for a Dell laptop, which has been superb.

i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD: https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-la ... cwdar0012s
(The artist formerly known as hambone1)

leon.a
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Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:19 pm

Re: Advice regarding computer-choice

Post by leon.a » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:02 am

Kevin Hamler wrote:It all depends on your workflow. I'm 95% MIDI with very little audio and no plug-ins, so it's not that demanding. But if you're audio-heavy, or use lots of CPU-demanding plug-ins, soft synths, etc, you will obviously benefit from more horsepower.

I upgraded my aging Macbook Pro for a Dell laptop, which has been superb.

i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD: https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-la ... cwdar0012s
I will use lots of VSTs and plug-ins.
Do you think an Intel i5-8250U Processor (6MB Cache, 1.6Ghz, turboboost 3.4GHz) would do the work?
https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/cty/pdp ... ncwlb3403h

jestermgee wrote:Do you need a laptop?

A desktop pc would offer better performance for the cost. Any modern i7 with 8gb ram or more, SSD and an audio interface.
Yes, I need to be mobile.

fishmonkey
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Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Advice regarding computer-choice

Post by fishmonkey » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:57 am

leon.a wrote: I will use lots of VSTs and plug-ins.
Do you think an Intel i5-8250U Processor (6MB Cache, 1.6Ghz, turboboost 3.4GHz) would do the work?
both the i5 CPUs you have mentioned are relatively weak by today's standards, they are aimed at lower-power, long battery life laptops.

"lots of VSTs and plug-ins" is pretty vague, but as someone mentioned above, a quad-core i7 is a good idea.
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

leon.a
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Re: Advice regarding computer-choice

Post by leon.a » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:29 am

fishmonkey wrote:
leon.a wrote: I will use lots of VSTs and plug-ins.
Do you think an Intel i5-8250U Processor (6MB Cache, 1.6Ghz, turboboost 3.4GHz) would do the work?
both the i5 CPUs you have mentioned are relatively weak by today's standards, they are aimed at lower-power, long battery life laptops.

"lots of VSTs and plug-ins" is pretty vague, but as someone mentioned above, a quad-core i7 is a good idea.

Haha yes, I know that was pretty vague but it's because I still don't know how much yet or what exact plug-ins I will use, but I know I will use some synths like Nexus, Sylenth1 etc.

Okey. From my understanding is that a laptop in the 800-900$ range won't be able to handle a much stronger CPU like the i7s and up. Then the price range is rather something like 1500$ and up, from what I've found, and thats too much for my wallet.

My demand is not that Ableton needs to run 100 % smooth; but it should run and not with too much lagging. Do you think the CPUs I've listed is too weak even for that?

fishmonkey
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Re: Advice regarding computer-choice

Post by fishmonkey » Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:13 pm

with less processing power you will have to compromise more, and do things like bouncing down to audio if you want to use processor-heavy virtual instruments and effects.

however, the bottom line is that you can make great music with any currently available computer.
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

leon.a
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Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:19 pm

Re: Advice regarding computer-choice

Post by leon.a » Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:05 pm

fishmonkey wrote:with less processing power you will have to compromise more, and do things like bouncing down to audio if you want to use processor-heavy virtual instruments and effects.

however, the bottom line is that you can make great music with any currently available computer.

Thanks! That was uplifting to hear :)

An alternative would be to go with my MBP 2012 (https://everymac.com/systems/apple/macb ... specs.html)

Although I need to fix my fan that there is some problem with now. Specs are:
Ivy Bridge 2.9 GHz Intel "Core i7 processor 3520M
8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
750 GB SATA HDD
8 GB RAM 1600 MHz DDR3


What do you think would be the best option? To fix the fan and upgrade my MBP with a SSD, or go with a new computer like the one's linked earlier?

jestermgee
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Re: Advice regarding computer-choice

Post by jestermgee » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:32 pm

I think you will be disappointed and out of pocket if you don't spend a "decent" amount on a laptop, especially without some idea on how your projects are constructed typically and how many tracks/instances you like to use.

With a desktop you can afford to make some sacrifices with some things (different Ram, a different GPU etc) and get a far better performance to cost ratio than an equivalent Mac desktop but with a laptop, unless you are buying one to suit a specific need that you KNOW the specs will suit, you really need to look at the best you can afford.

If you need to use something like high powered plugins for a DAW then you want as many cores and as faster a processor (that is not designed for power saving) that you can get. i7 4-6 core is what you really need to be focused on. If you don't need gaming capabilities then you can look for laptops that skimp on that side of things and with RAM, 8GB would be enough if it helps shave the cost down a bit and RAM speed is almost a non issue for the tasks at hand. You can't really upgrade much on a laptop and like a car, they lose their value as soon as you buy one so sometimes it can pay to wait and save a bit longer.

leon.a
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Re: Advice regarding computer-choice

Post by leon.a » Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:57 pm

jestermgee: Thanks for the answer.
Being mobile is important for me.

I've found this second-hand Dell XPS 15 probably from 2017 for around 1000$ with the following specs:
Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 Ghz (probably 6th gen)
32 GB ram
500 GB ssd
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 2gb

I'm from Sweden so a new one from this year new would cost twice the price! It's probably cheaper in the U.S.

Is it a good call? I could probably get the price down a bit too.

mikb
Posts: 373
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Re: Advice regarding computer-choice

Post by mikb » Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:04 pm

leon.a wrote: I've found this second-hand Dell XPS 15 probably from 2017 for around 1000$ with the following specs:
Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 Ghz (probably 6th gen)
32 GB ram
500 GB ssd
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 2gb
I know nothing about the quality of Dell, but that's a quadcore with hyperthreading and decent operation speed. For the money you could probably also find a used MacBook Pro with very similar figures, like for example the late 2016 model like this one at ebay. It's from France so likely you can get it without VAT on top, just the freight. Of course, you might prefer the Dell.
Basic gear info: Macbook Pro with macOS 10.12, Ableton Live Suite version 9 (64bit) with Ozone, Push and APC20 as controllers.

leon.a
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Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:19 pm

Re: Advice regarding computer-choice

Post by leon.a » Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:56 pm

mikb wrote:
leon.a wrote: I've found this second-hand Dell XPS 15 probably from 2017 for around 1000$ with the following specs:
Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 Ghz (probably 6th gen)
32 GB ram
500 GB ssd
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 2gb
I know nothing about the quality of Dell, but that's a quadcore with hyperthreading and decent operation speed. For the money you could probably also find a used MacBook Pro with very similar figures, like for example the late 2016 model like this one at ebay. It's from France so likely you can get it without VAT on top, just the freight. Of course, you might prefer the Dell.
Doesn't need to be a pc. Actually, a Mac would be preferable, only looked to PCs because of the price tag! Do you think that MacBook beats the Dell I linked?

mikb
Posts: 373
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Re: Advice regarding computer-choice

Post by mikb » Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:41 pm

leon.a wrote:Do you think that MacBook beats the Dell I linked?
No, they are likely very similar, but as I said I'm not familiar with Dell build quality and can't judge their hardware. You'd have to compare the CPUs in more performance detail. I don't think the 16gb of extra RAM in the Dell makes a big difference, but it's twice the memory.

Actually I found it puzzling I couldn't' find the exact model listed for that ad on ebay, so I'd be careful with that one. Talk to sellers before bidding. Make sure you pay with Paypal protected only, which is standard at ebay but you need to check.

One alternative tip is to purchase used machines from businesses that have upgraded, as these want to move these out fast and set attractive prices. Places that sell machines from now defunct companies have good machines once in a while, sometimes newer. You just need to find them and get their listings and follow these.
Basic gear info: Macbook Pro with macOS 10.12, Ableton Live Suite version 9 (64bit) with Ozone, Push and APC20 as controllers.

ian_halsall
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Re: Advice regarding computer-choice

Post by ian_halsall » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:17 pm

leon.a wrote:Hi guys!
After trying Ableton out on trial on my old Macbook Pro from 2012 I have decided to buy the full version.
Although, my Macbook feels quite worn-out with the fan not working properly etc, so I'm looking for a new computer that will work smoothly together with Ableton.

I'm looking for a PC (due to more affordable price) and found a Lenovo with the following components. Am I on the right track?

CPU: Intel i5-7200U 2.5 GHz
Memory: 8 GB DDR4 RAM
256 SSD

I just want to get started with my music and be finished with the searching for a computer! My budget stretches to max 900 USD.

Thanks a lot for the feedback.

Leon
dont' use a laptop unless you have to - they are useless (small keyboard, screen, battery etc)

i have your spec on my desktop - but go for 500 gb or 1tb hd - 250 is too low and it costs nothing...

I run all soft synths and no out board - you won't even register on your task manager running ableton live with i5 and 8gb and good mother board

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