Are you looking to purchase a new computer for music production? It is always troublesome to decide the components of a new PC from a wide range of choices. Either to choose AMD or Intel processors, which graphics card to choose, which motherboard to choose, and many more questions could be popping in your head now.
To guide you through buying the best possible PC in your budget, We have suggested some good computer build for music production which could be the best choice within your budget. Later, we have provided a guide to help you choose the finest components for a music producing computer.
What are the PC requirement for Music Production
Music Production is a CPU intensive process with little usage of the graphics card. The music producing software would be a memory eater when rendering. For most of them, the more ram the faster the rendering speed is. However, the speed of the processor matters more than the ram.
Here are the minimum requirements of a few of the popular music production software.
Ableton Minimum Requirements
FL Studio Minimum Requirements
FL Studio 20 works on Windows 7/8/10 (32-bit or 64-bit versions) or on macOS 10.13. FL Studio requires a 2 GHz AMD or Intel Pentium 3 CPU with full SSE1 support. It requires 2 GB of free disk space and 4 GB of RAM is recommended. The website states that “the more powerful your CPU, the more instruments and FX you can run.- Wikipedia
Low Budget Music Production Build Under $300
Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 65W AM4 Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-A320M-S2H
Ram: Patriot Viper Steel Series DDR4 8GB 3000MHz
Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80PLUS Certified ATX12V/EPS12V Power Supply
Storage: Kingston 240GB A400 SATA 3 2.5″ Internal SSD
Casing: Rosewill FBM-X2 Micro ATX Mini Tower Gaming PC Computer Case
This build can satisfy your need for music production if you are currently under budget. It is packed with AMD Ryzen 5 1600, a processor released in 2017, can still beat many newer models of processors around this budget. For most of the music producing software to run at a decent speed, It can provide enough power.
For motherboards, we do not have many choices in this budget. It has an AM4 socket and Gigabyte provides bios updates for this mobo regularly, which means you can upgrade to other Ryzen CPUs without changing the motherboard.
Patriot Viper steel series is a good ram for this budget build. We choose a 1x8GB ram stick of 3000 Mhz speed. If you want to get anything over this speed, you have to extend your budget. Whatever Few more hundred speeds would not make any visible effect on music production software.
Mid Budget Music Production Build Under 500$
Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core Processor
Motherboard: ASRock B450M PRO4 AM4 AMD Promontory B450 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Ram: Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB (1x8GB) DDR4 DRAM 3200MHz C16 Desktop Memory Kit – Black
Power Supply: Thermaltake Smart 500W 80+ White Certified PSU
Storage: Kingston 240GB A400 SATA 3 2.5″ Internal SSD + Western Digital 2TB WD Blue PC Hard Drive – 5400 RPM
Casing: Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L Micro-ATX Tower
This whole package can be purchased for around 500$ at the current price. It is a killer option if your main purpose of buying a computer is music production or making a workstation. However, if you want to play video games on weekends, it is not a good option.
Since music production is a CPU intensive process, we have chosen a powerful processor instead of a weaker processor and a graphics card. If you still want to play games, you can purchase a second-hand graphics card at a low price from eBay. A used RX570 could be a good choice with this build because it can run almost any game from CyberPunk 2077 to Fifa 21 at 1080p.
We prefer AMD processors over Intel processors because AMD is providing the best bang for the buck. According to cpubenchmark, Ryzen 5 3600 is 22% faster than Intel Core i5 – 10600k @4.10 GHz, whereas Ryzen’s price is about 25% lesser than Intel’s counterpart.
In the motherboard section, we chose AsRock B450M PRO4. It is an all-around good motherboard that fits well within our budget, which comprises all the essential features we need in a budget build. If you want to upgrade to the Ryzen 5000 series or any other models of the 3000 series in the future, you can still use this motherboard.
8GB Ram can go well for most of the music production software. However, some of the software could have a bottleneck if it is ram intensive. We suggest you add 8GB in the future if you are working with high ram consuming software.
We picked 240GB Kingston SSD and 2TB WD Blue HDD for the storage, which would be overall sufficient. You could install the windows in the SSD for a smooth and faster operation and store the other files in your HDD.
In place of 240Gb SSD+2TB HDD, you can get a 500GB Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD if a faster speed is more important to you.
How well can this perform for music production software
It can perform really well, thanks to the Ryzen 3600’s 6 cores power. According to the user Nosyte in Reddit, He tested and compared the performance of Ableton in different PC configurations. He ran the init patch in serum and cranked the volume to 16, then he duplicated this instance until the CPU usage is 100%. Here is his test result-
- Ryzen 3600 maxes out at 345 instances
- Ryzen 3700x maxes out at 450 instances
- intel i5-8250U maxes out at 167 instances
- i5-760 (Lynnfield) maxes out at 110 instances
Therefore, it is expected to provide a great speed in this budget. Moreover, It fulfills the minimum requirements of all popular music production software. So, you do not have to worry if any of the software will run or not.
In a DAW benchmark test, Ryzen 3600 performed better than Intel Core i5-9600k and it was neck to neck with Intel Core i7-9700k.
Higher-Mid Budget Music Production build under 1000$ (Best for Music Production and Gaming)
Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core, 16-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Motherboard: MSI Arsenal Gaming B450 TOMAHAWK Max
Ram: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 X 8GB) DDR4 3600
Graphics Card: ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 OC Edition Graphics Card
Power Supply: EVGA 750 N1, 750W Power Supply
Storage: Western Digital 500GB WD Blue 3D NAND Internal PC SSD
Casing: Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L Micro-ATX Tower
Suggestion: Buy a used RX570 graphics card from eBay instead of buying a new GTX1650. Then, use the extra bucks to purchase Ryzen 7 3900x processor and extra storage. If you have a motive to use CPU intensive works for a more extended period of time, you can go for a good CPU cooler.
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X is a beast in this budget with 8 cores and 16 threads. With a $230 lesser price, it can give an equivalent performance of Intel’s Core i9-10900x. Not only will it save you money when purchasing, but also it will save a lot of electricity bills in the long run with its max TDP of only 65W. Therefore, it was an easy decision to choose Ryzen 7 3700x.
The motherboard, MSI Townhawk max pairs well with the build. Its new bios will support all the processors from Ryzen 5000 series, which gives you an opportunity for future up-gradation. 16GB Ram is enough to make all the music production software run buttery smooth. We chose 3600 Mhz ram speed for this build. According to AMD, 3600Mhz ram is the sweet spot for Ryzen 3000 series processors.
Now comes the part of the graphics card. The prices of all the graphics cards have soared due to a shortage because of crypto mining. The price of GTX 1650 is currently double the price of MSRP. That’s why we had trouble choosing a graphics card for this build.
If your main focus is on music production and you have no intention to play video games, then you can buy the whole build without the graphics card.
On the other hand, you can also buy a used graphics card. We would suggest you do that because you could want to play video games, and if you come to find that no good games run on your pc, that would be disheartening.
Moreover, graphics cards can improve the performance of a few software.
750W power supply is more than enough with this configuration of the PC. Then, storage depends on your preference. If you need more space, you can add a 2TB hard disk drive.
Under $500, It is currently the high performing computer build for music production.
How well can It perform for Gaming
You can check the test done by Gpucheck with Ryzen 7 3700x and GTX1650.
It ran most of the games at a decent speed. It ran Valorant, Doom, Rainbow Six Siege at more than 100FPS.
Note that, the games are played in ultra settings. You can expect to get 60fps at 1080p in all the games at medium-high settings.
Finally, It is overall an excellent music production computer build for music production as well as gaming. It can run other non-music production software for photo editing, video editing, etc smoothly. In addition to that, you can play all the AAA games at 1080p.
Component buying guide for Music Production PC
The processor is the most important component for any workstation, either you run Ableton, photoshop, or premiere pro. By upgrading the processor, you can boost the performance more than upgrading any other component.
There was a post in the Ableton forum, where users participated in a test.
The participants copied a track and pasted it again and again until the audio is disrupted. Then, they noted the maximum number of playback tracks they were able to paste before the audio was disrupted.
Here is the result for intel core i7’s different generations.
|Processor Name||Cpu Benchmark Score||Number of tracks|
|i7 4800MQ 2.70 GHz||5944||112|
|Intel Core i5-8500B||9538||240|
|Intel i7 8700K||13908||352|
In these builds, the ram was 16GB for all. The better the CPU’s speed was, the better it performed.
Therefore, choose the fastest possible processor in your budget.
Quad-core vs 6-core vs 8 core vs 12 core for music production
You should look at the CPU’s benchmark speed rather than its clock speed or core count. You can check CPU benchmark speed and compare from here.
The better a processor’s benchmark is the better it will perform.
Here Ryzen 5 3600X with 6 cores, knocked out 8 Cores processor.
Music production software uses all the available cores unlike gaming, which uses only 2-4 cores.
For this reason, you should look for the benchmark score of all the cores altogether. Single-core performance would not matter a lot in your case.
Intel Vs AMD for Music Production
In this current market, AMD is the clear champion in terms of performance/price. They are providing the best value for money.
Intel’s processors are not bad either. They are providing high-quality processors, but at the same price, AMD is offering more.
After you have got the best possible Processor in your budget, it’s time to maximize the ram of your system.
How Much Ram needed for music production
Ram will not give you a huge boost on your processing speed unless it is bottlenecking. You should look for a minimum of 8GB ram. Anything less than that can cause hiccups when running music production software.
Our recommendation is to get at least 8GB for a lower-mid budget build and 16GB for a higher-mid budget build.
We also collected some data from the Ableton forum to check how much difference can ram size make. Here is the difference of Intel Core i9-9900K at different ram sizes.
|Processor||Ram||Number of Tracks|
|Intel Core i9-9900K @ 3,6GHz||16GB||400 Tracks @89% CPU speed|
|Intel Core i9-9900K @ 4.4 GHz(overclocked)||64GB||416 Tracks @80% CPU speed|
The performance gain the second PC got is mostly because of overclocking. In this test, Overclocking and four times memory size gave only a 10% boost in speed.
However, It will vary from software to software.
Does Ram Speed Matter for Music Production
Yes, Ram speed has impacts on the music producing software. According to a test by Scanproaudio, 3725 Mhz rams scored more than 3200 Mhz rams in the DAW Benchmark test. The difference increased as the buffer size increased.
You can go with any motherboard that supports your processor. It will not have any noticeable impact on your audio production.
Just look for the basic features like-
- The inbuilt-sound card
- M.2 slots for SSD
- The number of PCIe Slots
- Number of Display Ports
These are the features that will depend on your individual need.
Always go with reputable brands, so that you can get continuous support and updates for a longer period.
Best AMD motherboard for music-making-
- Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero- Best possible AM4 motherboard
- Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming – Best budget AMD motherboard
- GIGABYTE GA-A320M-S2H – Cheapest AMD motherboard
- MSI Creator TRX40 – Best AMD Ryzen Threadripper motherboard
For a music production workstation, you do not need a graphics card.
Graphics card is used for the processing of the images and visuals. It does not have any impact on audio production.
If you want to play Games with your music production workstation, then, a graphics card is a must.
In this soared GPU market, you have to spend almost double the MSRP for a graphics card. Therefore, It is currently not a good option for a budget PC build.
Will the internal GPU enough for Music production
Yes, You just need a little bit of graphical power to run the operating system. Most of the processors have enough of this.
If you intended to do video editing or 3d rendering with the same workstation, then, a GPU can boost the performance. However, they will still run without an external GPU.
When it comes to storage, it completely depends on your individual needs. If you need to store a lot of files, then buy TB of hard drives.
However, you must have SSD to run the operating system and the software. Loading speed in SSD is way faster than the Hard Disk.
SSD VS HDD for music production
SSD or HDD do not make much of a difference in production speed. However, SSD will drastically boost the loading time.
If you need to work with a lot of tracks at once, then, you should set your file’s default location in your SSD which will not put extra stress on the Hard disk.
After the production is done, transfer the files to the Hard disk.
Best SSD for Music Production
Here are a few of the best SSD’s in the market:-
- Samsung 970 Pro
- Toshiba OCZ RD400
- Samsung 860 Evo
When producing music, your system will not put a huge load on the power. However, You should be on the safe side. Get at least 100-200 extra watts power supply.
In my opinion, you should always buy a modular power supply. You can plug only the cables you need. It will not create a mass in your system with the unused cables. Thus, airflow in your PC will be better.
Buying power supplies from good and reputable brands will be a wise decision. They test and build their power supplies well so that they deliver the most solid possible product with all the safety measures. You do not want your system to catch fire suddenly.
You should also look at the efficiency of the processors. Here is the efficiency of 80+ power supplies. Titanium>Platinum>gold>silver>bronze.
Here is an illustrative version –
Choosing an efficient power supply will reduce the cost in the long run.
The processor should be your main priority. Spend your bulk of the budget to get a fast processor. Then, make sure that RAM does not bottleneck with your processor.
When it comes to the graphics card, motherboard, power supply, casing depends on your personal preference.