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Upgraded my PC, absolutely amazed at DAW performance increase.
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Upgraded my PC, absolutely amazed at DAW performance increase.

Apologies up front for long post, TL;DR I upgraded my PC and I'm really blown away with the results, and think ironically maybe the PC build gets overlooked sometimes in discussions about digital and hybrid setups.

I've put off upgrading my PC for a few years because the processor I had (Core i7-4790) was high end when I put it in, and on paper still comparable with processors in the current market.

But I use it for work too and I've owed myself an upgrade for a while. Plus lately I've been bumping up against processor spikes and dropouts in Studio One. I really like Studio One and although I've found processsor usage to be an issue, I decided to try throwing some CPU power at it to see if that solved my issues.

I worked out a "bang-for-buck" upgrade build using my existing SSD drives and case, and got a lot of help from this thread over at Gearslutz. Highly recommended, there's a few people there who live and breathe audio PC builds, previously when I've done a new build I've had to go with the "gaming build but don't worry about the graphics card so much" philosopy. Advice there is much more targeted and backed up with data.

Ended up going with a Ryzen 3600X, 32 GB of AMD optimised 3600mhz RAM, a new 500GB NVME system drive and MSI B450M-A PRO MAX motherboard.

Now I've got this thing running, I have been completely blown away with the performance.

I have a very processor intensive creative style, I tend to throw a lot of VSTs on everything and use some processor intensive VSTIs. Very often towards the end of developing a track I hit processor issues and get dropouts, pops and crackles, stuttering. I was hoping I could get rid of these.

With this build not only do I get completely smooth playback of these same projects, but I'm getting it with low latency. Like play bass guitar direct with amp sims and effects low latency.

All with processor usage sitting steadily around 30%.

This is something I've never experienced before in years of digital music production, and it's a complete revelation for me.

It now means in my hybrid setup I can incorporate VSTs in real time with outboard sequenced synths.

The reason I thought I'd post about it here is that latency issues are a huge barrier for hybrid setups, and for people feeling comfortable with DAW production in general. I've offered advice here myself that latency is just something you have to learn to live with. Also when advising on audio interfaces latency is always a hot topic, but my experience here indicates very usable low latency performance with USB 2 entry/mid range interfaces like my Scarlett 18i20 is absolutely possible, IF the PC is up to it.

I think this may be a shift due to increased affordable processing power that has only occurred in the last few years, and I think it makes DAW based production even more attractive and powerful than it already was.

submitted by /u/Robotecho
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