My computing setup for music production, video production, and gaming as of February 2017.
Over the last few weeks I been getting lots of questions from readers asking what is my computing setup for YouTube, music, and gaming. Rather than answer each individually, I’ll list all of it here.
I have many computers in my home (too many to admit). Most of them are used for software development and testing.
Everything is networked together for workflow. I tend to stay away from Wi-fi because it is too slow, especially for transferring large video files from machine to machine. Instead, I have fast Ethernet running throughout. If you really want faster Internet connections and get things done faster, go hire someone to drop Ethernet cable through all the rooms in your house where your computers are. Connect it to a fast Ethernet switch and run all the cabling from there to each room. It will cost about $100 per outlet or you can go and do it yourself. Warning though, you have to do a lot of crawling under the house and punch out parts of the wall to run cabling through (let someone else do it, trust me).
This system I put together in 2015 with off the shelf parts. I like building my own computers because I know exactly what’s in it to serve my needs. Prices have fallen by about 30% since I bought all the parts. I did an Amazon search for all of this and the prices reflected below are from February 2017.
This a multipurpose PC that I use for specific reasons:
- YouTube video production
- Video Gaming Capture for my gaming console boxes and PC
- Ableton Live music production
The AMD FX 8310 is fast enough for this type of work. Its perfectly fine for Ableton Live music production and video game capture. Its fast enough when using Adobe Premiere Pro rendering YouTube videos. To give you a sense, it takes about 15-20 minutes to render a 20 minute YouTube video. If you go to Passmark, you will see it ends up around the middle of the pack for high end CPUs.
As of memory, 32GB is good enough. There is no need to go any higher for music production and video game capture. For Adobe Premiere Pro/YouTube video creation, if you are doing small length videos, its fine. Premiere Pro along with a good graphics card is money better spent.
Which leads me to the GPU. I went with a Nvidia GTX 1060 card to cut down price over the currently more pricier GTX 1080. I just couldn’t justify the cost of spending another $300 more. The GTX 1060 3GB is good enough for PC gaming.
Internal storage, I break things up into four hard disk drives. I do this to avoid putting everything on one hard drive and risking the drive failing and losing all my work. Instead, I dedicate one hard drive to Windows boot, the other hard drives to resource types (images, video, music). All drives are high performance 7200 RPM black drives from Western Digital. If you want an even faster setup, you can replace the Windows boot drive with an SSD.
For monitors, I have three 24″ HDMI screens. You can get way more done and work more faster with having three screens up than one.
- AMD FX 8310 $150
- ASUS Motherboard M5A78L-M/USB3 $60
- Cougar Mid Tower Case/800W PS $150
- 32GB RAM DDR3 $200
- 3 Western Digital Black 2TB $360
- 1 Western Digital Black 1TB $80
- EVGA Nvidia GTX 1060 3GB $200
- 3 HP V242H 24″ monitors $480
- LG Electronics DVD R/W $40
- USB and HDMI Cables $50
- HooToo 9-port USB 3.0 Hub $35
- Logitech C920 WebCam $65
- Logitech Trackman Marble Mouse $25
- Logitech G213 Prodigy Keyboard $70
- Windows Home 10 64-bit USB Flash Drive $100
- Adobe Creative Cloud $600/year
Total Computer System: $2665
For those who wanted to know my music production setup, here’s the breakdown:
- Novation LaunchKey 61 key $250
- Novation LaunchPad $150
- Akai MPK Mini Mk2 $100
- Blue Bluebird Condensor Microphone $300
- Pyle PMKSH01 Mic Stand $20
- Ableton 9 Live Suite $750
- PreSonus Notation 6 $150
- Mackie ProFx8 Mixer $230
- FocusRite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen Audio Interface $150
- M-Audio AV-40 Studio Monitors $150
- Sennheiser HD 202 $40
- Audio Technica ATH-M50x $150
- Sony Ear Buds $30
- Various VST Plugins $500
- USB/TRS Cables $50
- Atlas stand (for holding music books and sheets) $80
Total Music Production: $2950
I’m not a hard core gamer. However I do enjoy playing.
- Razr NAGA Epic Chroma Mouse $130
- Elgato HD 60 Video Capture + 64GB SDHC $190
- AverMedia Live Gamer Portable $150
- Sony PS3 500GB $185
- Sony PS4 500GB $400
- Microsoft XBox One 500GB $400
- DreamGear Universal Elite headset $50
- SnagIt Video and Screen Capture PC $50
- Games? Way too many to list
Total Gaming Components: $1555
That’s my computer setup for gaming, video and music production as of February 2017. For now, it meets my needs. I don’t expect DAW software for music production to be any more demanding in the near future. Nor will video gaming hardware as software requirements will remain the same. Unless I create longer videos for YouTube, there’s no need to increase CPU performance or memory either.
With the exception of the CPU and motherboard, all the equipment I have will last for a long time. So plan ahead by buying the parts with that in mind. You don’t always have to buy the newest stuff and pay top price for it. Save yourself some money and stay a step or two behind and let price come in to you, rather than chasing.