Are you thinking of buying a computer for music production?
The decision-making process before getting a new computer might not be an easy one if you don’t know what to look for. There are countless options to choose from, which can sometimes be overwhelming.
You don’t have to go through that process alone. In this article, we’ve provided some things to look for which will help you narrow down those choices so that you can find a computer that will meet your needs.
Portability and Expandability
The first factor to consider is portability. If you want to have a mobile music production setup a laptop is a must. However, most laptops are not easy to upgrade and some parts are not easy to replace.
On the other hand, you can build a mega-powerful workstation with a desktop machine due to ease of expandability. But you sacrifice mobility by getting a desktop.
Most personal studios can run on a mid to high-end laptop though. So that’s something to be aware of. A great place to start your search for a laptop is the type of top 10 post we’ve seen on gadgetspage.com.
Operating System (OS) & DAW Compatibility
Next, you need to be aware of the DAW you plan to use. Some DAWs run exclusively on one OS. For instance, Logic Pro only runs on Mac.
You can buy a Mac machine and run Windows applications using Boot Camp. However, running the Mac OS on a PC is not as straight-forward. If you plan on using Linux, you are pretty much capable of using either Mac or PC hardware. However, it’s always best to check on the Distro’s website just to be on the safe side.
Your DAW has recommended hardware requirements. You need to pay close attention before choosing your computer.
Try to get a machine which exceeds the minimum requirements, because your system usage will increase once you start loading VSTs, software instruments and sound libraries into your DAW. A computer which meets the bare minimum requirements will probably not hold up well.
The main hardware specifications you need to be mindful of when buying a computer are:
- Memory (RAM): try getting at least 8GB minimum, though more is better.
- CPU: an i7 is better, but an i5 machine can also do the trick depending on the
plugins you use.
- Storage: an SSD is better since it’s faster than an HDD. You can use an HDD
- Ports: get a machine with as many USB/FireWire ports as possible. More
ports equal more expandability.
Given the requirements of all-powerful computers for music production, a refurbished computer is the most affordable way to go. You save money and get a machine that can handle your needs. Find a reliable supplier of refurbished computers to ensure you get a quality unit and other services, such as a warranty and a money-back guarantee.
You should buy a machine with specs that are considerably higher than the minimum requirements of the software you run. This will help you get longevity out of your computer because chances are you will be able to run newer, more demanding versions of your DAW when they’re released.
Your computer is the centerpiece of your studio, so you need to think long-term when deciding which one to buy.