Originally Posted by baddmann28
I want to start getting into the realm of digital recording more as a hobby, nothing professional. I need a PC that can handle the software, probably cakewalk, and also do the office work from home, burn discs of the kids, etc. I'm looking at a Dell Dimension 4700, 800Mhz pentium 4, 512mb ram, 80gb harddrive with a cd/dvd burner. Using their standard sound card for now anyway. Any of you using a similar system or know of something with more bang for the buck? I'm trying to keep the PC cost under $750 as I'm on a budget.
You can usually build custom systems under that kind of budget. You should be able to get something fairly nice but still consumer grade. I would recommend a MUCH faster CPU for recording (that will do for the basics, but if you ever want more...); besides the fact that 800Mhz is really fucking slow by today's standards (but still completely useable). I might also recommend a larger HD though I haven't filled mine up yet. I am also a big advocate of getting as much memory as possible, at the expense of CPU speed if necessary.
You can get more bang for you buck by buying AMD instead of Intel. AMD actually outperformes Intel in almost every area now (has for a long time) and comes in at 1/2 or less the price. I recently built my uncle a computer with a 3Ghz processor, 1G of ram, 150G HD, monster DVD burner, and a pretty decent video card for $850 as I recall; but this didn't include a monitor or anything (those are cheap anyway) and I gave him a bootleg copy of win2k. I had him buy all of the parts at http://www.newegg.com
and put it together for him. IMHO you really get ripped off by branded package computers like Dell or Gateway.
The only thing those guys have going for them is the ability to hand out software like candy. Some come with MS Office included (but not most actually) and 99.999999% have some version of Windows on them (Stay the fuck away from Windows ME). You can get Windows XP Pro at the local computer shop for $100 or so with the purchase of a $5 mouse. You can get OpenOffice off of the internet and it does almost everything that Office does (unless you need the DB stuff or Outlook specifically). The "free" virus scanners come with most motherboards (they are free but you still have to pay for the virus updates - same as with a new computer). So really they are not offering a whole lot more than you can get yourself when they lay out those long lists of software includes. Most of the time that stuff is just garbage you don't even want on your computer anyway.
You should be able to pick up a used 800 for about $200 or less. Unless that thing comes with a 21 inch monitor, top of the line printer, and one hell of a blow job... it is overpriced. In fact I was recently GIVEN an 800Mhz computer with a monitor and all that. We installed it at the Dojo and it became my friend's when I left. You are looking at top dollar for something that is already becomming "obsolete"...people are throwing those away.
Keep in mind that this is but one person's proffessional opinion (yes, this is how I make money) and there are other opinions out there.
I should add that yes, that will do what you claim to want from your computer. However, I would be worried about the CPU and RAM if you ever get into heavy mixing of several tracks. You could run into problems in that area. Simple recording should be fine. I still think it is overpriced but it will do what you want now, what you will want later is a totally different story. I wouldn't bet on it being very upgradable.