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When choosing or upgrading your PC/Mac with music recording/production in mind, in what order should CPU (speed, cores)/Memory/Disk/other be prioritised? Even in something like Garageband you might easily have a dozen tracks each with EQ, FX modelling, etc which must be able to playback perfectly when producing or recording and of course when it comes to render a mix every second is a pain.

Specific recommendations are off-topic but I think it's reasonable to ask what is a sensible minimum, or where to splash the extra $$$?

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RAM and read/write speed are the most important factors. Rendering a recording is not dependent on clock speed for smooth recording, just fast output. If you can throw more CPU cores, that's better, but if you're composing and making recordings, you'll be spend more time figuring out what you want to do next than rendering out files. For instant response - live playing - you can daisy chain multiple machines in VST to create processing power.

As far as rendering and creating demos, a midgrade quad core i7 and 16gb RAM is faster than I am, but I only have a last-gen dual core brain.

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Simple. You want everything ;)

Large track count needs fast drive access - eg a second internal SSD

High plugin count needs high core count.

Once you have both lots of tracks & lots of plugins, you then need high clock speed to keep it all running smoothly.
Skimp on any one of them & you will bottleneck the machine.

Oh… you can skimp on the graphics card.

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  • ha. I was interested if say 8 vs 4 cores would make a huge difference - lots of software it doesn't but one would assume multi-track is a perfect case for this? You didn't mention RAM but again: lots? LIke crazy amounts, or just a decent amount?
    – Mr. Boy
    Nov 13 '20 at 9:45
  • Same as anything, you can never have a computer that's too fast. Same applies to RAM. I actually run an old Mac Pro, 12-core [+HT] dual Xeon, 3.46GHz, 64GB RAM, 2 1TB SSDs, 4 4TB HDs. I can still run out of power if I'm trying to do a full orchestra of sample playback, live. 'Simple' recorded audio plus plugins, I've often had well over 100 tracks running with no issues.
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 13 '20 at 9:58
  • Speaking of graphics card, for efficient workflow one may want to consider using several large, high resolution monitors. But otherwise indeed, as of today audio software doesn't use GPUs for sound processing. Nov 18 '20 at 7:29
  • @Mr.Boy I think primary benefit from large RAM is when you use many sample-based virtual instruments. For simple recording, or instruments based on algorithms it may not matter so much. Nov 18 '20 at 7:33

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