Seeking Advice On DAW Computer Build or Purchase


Sep 7, 2011
*Warning long post intro*


My name is James and I joined just a week or so ago.

I'm very new to this site, and glad I found it.

Sorry for the redundancy as I have a feeling that this has been asked a 1000 times before, but.......................

I've been searching for info regarding my next rig which would be used solely as a dedicated DAW computer.

And although I have found some posts on the subject here, many of them seem outdated, as far back as 2008 & beyond. The majority also seem to be for & about gaming.

Obviously things have changed since 2008, being right on the verge of the AMD Bulldozer/Zambezi release.

Now I don't think I need to wait for that for what I need, but it does invite other options using what's already out at some good prices.

I have also seen some pre-builds, but just read 'DO NOT' buy one of those, by the Moderator, which really does make most sense overall.

Having said that, I've just seen a Dell XPS with an AMD Phenom X6 II 1090T + 6 Gigs DDR3 1333 Ram including a 23" Monitor, Win 7-64 Bit and a few other goodies all for $914.00, 1 year warranty, plus free shipping - very tempting.

And most likely plenty of 'snot' to run what I need, which is just a DAW - only.

What it may not have is enough to run my dual monitors, but I'm sure that can be addressed.

I am also comfortable building my own, but would like some advice first, as it would be my first build.

I've been studying like crazy the last 2 weeks, reading as much as possible, including here on this site.

Where I'm torn is between the i7-2600k and the AMD Phenom X6 II 1090-1100T.

Ram seems cheap enough these days, and I will go up to at least 6, even up to 16 Gigs.

Where I need the most help is deciding on 2 things:

1. The plethora of Motherboards out there;

2. Graphics cards, [although it has been suggested that I may be able to run 2 monitors directly from certain MOBO's] - only needed to display my DAW and VST plugins - no gaming.

Also, I already have a Nvidia GeForce 5200 Dual Monitor Card, although I suspect that it is not enough at only 256mb.

Why I chose that one was,

A] that it had 2 VGA connectors on it, which is all my monitors have;
B] lack of education on my part.

I don't do any gaming, so I don't need a system to go to the moon and back.

I just want to run a 64 Bit DAW with a nominal amount of VST plugins, recording just myself at usually 1-2 tracks at a time with maybe a MIDI sequencer timing track.

Would I be better off with the Phenom X6 II 1090,1095, or 1100T 6 core line, or the i5-2300 - i7-2600K 4 core line.

Again, really confused with so many choices of MOBO's.

The main difference I can spot from the outset is the addition of extra PCIe 16 slots as the MOBO prices go up.

Thanks for your valuable insight and help.



When you take gaming out of the equation things get simple pretty fast.

i7 2600 or 2600k is pretty much the fastest CPU out there, if you want fast and you do things that require many threads and lots of processing power, it's the CPU to go for.

Memory yeah, it's cheap, if your appliations need tons of memory by all means get 16GB, only costs about $100.
2 kits of 2x4GB 1.5V CAS9 1600Mhz

1. Motherboards: You might need to have some expansion cards for your DAW stuff in it, so maybe not go H61/H67 level but rather stay in the low end P67/Z68 mobo's.
Asrock Z68 Extreme 3 for example is nice for about $125 and allows you to overclock if you get a i7 2600k.

2. I would recommend a low end graphics card something like Radeon 5670 or 6570. ~$50-60