So, I am buying a new Studio Computer and Thunderbolt Audio Interface

And I am trying to get the most bang for my buck, of course.

My current i5 laptop system is dated, slow and unable to process more than 5 plugins simultaneously.

My current USB3 based TASCAM US20x20 interface should be better than this, and I will try to use it with the new computer system before I commit to buying the Thunderbolt device. A computer upgrade might unleash the TASCAM unit and improve overall system throughput.

I decided it should have a nice i9 processor and a Thunderbolt-ready motherboard with mucho RAM and SSD space, and around $2500

This is where I stand: I really don’t know much about the latest cooling stuff, for instance, or details of the various i9 processor configurations … I just picked what I thought was best for the money


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Specs for your PC look good, if I can add a tip, grab your self
a dedicated video card, Nvidia and a dedicated sound card with multiple outs.
any 7.1 soundcard should give you 3 stereo (or 6 mono ) outs and also kills
the CPU noise intergrated audio has.

up the PSU to atleast 750w. make sure
PSU has the connecters for the video card power.
550w for a 16 core might be a bit under rated.

IMO, intergrated audio and video for any desktop is bad news,
I’ve never believed in intergrated anything for a PC mobo.
I’m a little “old skool” in my thoughts and far as PC building goes.
In that respect my win 98 system is still running after 23 years :smiley:

I missed the part about audio interface, ignore my soundcard idea.

Hi Laura,

Thanks for the replies … No problem about the internal sound card. I disable my current internal laptop sound and I would do the same in this case.

I haven’t built my own system in a decade or more, so I am not current on the accessories like CPU coolers … I am going to have a little learning curve, but that’s why I’m here.

Tell me; What is the benefit to using an external video card? I have a version of GeForce GTX950 on my laptop, but I have never seen any benefit when using it. No improvement of processor availability was noted when I tried it. If an external video card actually relieves the loading of the main processor, that would be significant. I need to investigate that further.

I am also realizing that SATA 6gb/S may be underpowered compared to other PCIe x16 based SSD options. As usual, computer shopping is a complex challenge. Thanks for your help

Adding a video card and larger PS added $260 … I’ll need to make sure the PS can run the whole system as configured - I may need to change that … It’s still close enough to my target cost

For a desktop PC, a dedicated video card
relieves the CPU of most of the graphics processing
4gb nvidia should be good or even 6gb dependes on how hardcore you want to go.

the major reason I suggested addon Video card is,
should the video card die in the future, you only need to replace the video
card (or the caps if they blew) and not the whole motherboard, and often replacing
the motherboard as you know means replacing the ram, CPU and cooler if there are
any significant changes in hardware since the purchase of the original mother board,
then having to reinstall windows and software all over again.

A long way of saying redundancy :slight_smile:

When you putting the cooler on the CPU chuck the stock thermal past out
and using something like Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste. or MX4 thermal paste

Definitly consider SSD drives, super fast load times you’ll be able to stream
samples straight from the disk. the Nv disks (i forget the name of them)
would be better again.

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So, I pulled the trigger and spent some money

These prices aren’t exactly what I paid … I found that NewEgg had better deals on that day, and I scored a few unexpected discounts … However, I did spend just under $3000

Preassembled systems at that price point had 32GB RAM and 2TB SSDs on i7 uP, or even SSD/HDD combos … This system has 64GB DDR5 RAM and 4TB SSDs (2x2) with an i9 uP on a 690 MB … It’s going to kick ass

I did NOT get a video card just yet (also not buying a thunderbolt interface, yet) … I am going to give the onboard Intel UHD 770 graphics a try … I spent the Video Card money on fast RAM and SSD, so I don’t mind using system RAM, per se … I will add a video card in the future, if necessary. The 770 graphics system is supposedly capable of driving 8k/60hz video, and I will be driving half that

This is a screenshot of Intel i9 UHD 770 graphics specs … If it degrades performance, I’ll get a discrete card, but I’m really kinda intrigued to test the onboard stuff … The specs are impressive

I’m super stoked … This is my first computer system build in 15 years, and it will definitely improve studio software performance … Hopefully more than the 5 plugin CRASH limit I seem to have now


All looks good! WD blacks are the only drives that should be in use :smile:
(my preference …)
This amount of oompf could comfortably run BBCSO for example :smiley:

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If you do decide to get another interface, I’ve been extremely happy with the quantum 2626. I’m also a guitar player using amp sims and one of the main reasons I got this was for the extremely low latency, which is outstanding. It also just sounds simply great, transparent highs and detail.
Enjoy your new toy!

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Hi Twaw,

I am just getting around to testing the setup for processing headroom, using Cakewalk, in this case

I created a software instrument track, along with a short MIDI pattern. I then stacked 4 plugin effects on each audio track; modulation, reverb, EQ and a compressor, for a total of 5 plug ins per track.

I then doubled to 2 tracks/10 plugins, then 4/20, then 8/40, where it finally stuttered and complained.

I removed the last instance (now 7/35 plugins), and it played under the limit, which will be a good estimate as to how many tracks/plugins I can use before clogging the system.

Previously, I was limited to about 8-10 total tracks/plugins using an i5 based laptop with USB3.0, so it’s definitely upped my ability to fully suss out compositions without getting blocked out by the system process limitations. I started optimizing using Brad’s excellent GlitchFree instruction, but I haven’t completed that process yet, so I may see more gains later.

Overall, I am pleased with the system. I am keeping an eye on certain interfaces, and the Quantum 2626 has popped up on my radar. I am also intrigued by the AVB/Dante/SoundGrid/etc type interfaces I have seen. It may pay to use a combination of devices in daisy chain on an AVB type backbone, which has blazingly fast data transfers and extremely low latencies.

Intel i9 Core 12900K Processor 3.2<>5.2 GHz Clock
MSI MEG Z690 ACE MB with PCIe Gen 5.0/x16 and Thunderbolt 4
64GB RAM - G.Skill Trident Z5 RGB DDR5-5600
2 x 2TB SSD - WD Black SN850 M.2 NvME 2280 (PCIe Gen 4/x4)
MSI Radeon RX 6600 MECH 2X 8G Graphics Card
DeepCool Castle 360EX AIO Water Cooler
Phanteks Case & Fans

Just over $3230 … I was planning on $2500 … Close enough !

BTW … It took me two full days to reload all the software

Hours of staring at screens, pressing buttons … It’s always the same

I saved a backup disc image when I was done so I won’t have to do THAT again

I think I have too much music software, perhaps …

Hi Guy, I’ve been tied up with moving for the last few months, while also trying to keep up with the gigs. Your computer should be a monster, that I-9 has even faster specs than the rack PC I had custom built a couple years ago. Still happy with my quantum, been gigging all summer with it, never an issue. Enjoy!

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Hey Tom,

I’ve also been busy with other stuff, including refurnishing my studio with a new desk and stools, and essentially reconfiguring my setup

The computer is a dream machine … I believe I’ve indicated earlier; I did a quick stress test, and was able to get 38 total plugins running before it balked and hiccuped, and I was really pleased with that result.

I also discovered I can run 3 guitars straight into the audio interface inputs, and use software plugins for effects instead of my multi effects pedals I had been using

It’s super clean and so easy to use … I put the guitar pedals AND amp stacks into storage for the moment. I like the minimalist approach.

I had bought a new 1000W PA System (500W subwoofer), and the overall sound is incredible … the synth basses are powerful and distinct, and the satellite arrays are clear as a bell … it’s really the best sound I’ve ever had … I’m pleased with the behavior of the Tascam Celesonic US20x20 USB3 interface so far. I’m keeping my eyes on the marketplace for new Thunderbolt Interfaces … none available for TB4 as of yet … the TB3 interfaces are available (like your 2626), but I think I’ll wait until my interface limits my progress, and I haven’t reached that point yet.

I started working on my first piece since rebuilding all this, and the process has been smooth and satisfying. I’m really stoked with the results so far.

I should note that prices started dropping after I had bought most the hardware, so what cost $3230 a few months ago is now closer to $3000, but that doesn’t bother me.

I needed it, I bought it, and I’m happy with it

Happy Sailing, sir