Building a Dream Machine for VD2.5 and Sibelius

Hey all,
I am going to have a ";dream machine"; built specifically for running VDL2.5 with Sibelius5.  I am a PC user, which I know wont seem like a ";dream"; to you Mac users out there... but it is the system I am most proficient with.
So my question for the forum is:
What should this machine include to run VDL2.5 and Sibelius5 flawlessly? 
Should I even bother getting an incredible video card?
What do the creators of VDL2.5 recommend as far as hardware (besides the minimum system requirements stated on the site)?
Please let me know soon before technology jumps ahead again and I have to upgrade!
Thanks!
Jeremy
Jeremy - the main things I'd encourage you to focus on are:

1 - Fast CPU - get the fastest currently available if possible and you'll get more life from your new machine.

2 - Nice chunk of RAM. If you're going for a ";dream machine"; don't go with less than 2GB. If it's not a huge price difference, I'd feel more comfortable with 3 or 4gigs. More is better, however, don't get caught in the trap of slapping more memory in your machine than your apps will use.

3 - Upgraded sound card. The M-Audio cards are reasonably priced and perform well for most people. Just be sure to use an ASIO-compatible soundcard. This is where many PC users get hung up when using the cheapo audio interfaces that come in many windows boxes, and can't keep up with virtual instruments.

4 - Fast hard drive. Be sure your drive spins at at least 7200RPM. If you can afford a second internal drive, it's handy to stream samples from secondary drive, while the main drive essentially runs your machine.

There's all sorts of upgrades I'm sure you could look at as well, but the above items are the main things to focus on for what you're describing. Also, there are lots of very knowledgeable people here on the forum that may have further advice. There have been some other topics regarding this, so you may find more interesting info by doing some searching.

Good luck!
Might be worth a look to check out this thread here...

https://www.tapspace.com/forums/index.php?topic=2244.0
The biggest decision you can make up front, I think, is what OS you want to run.  Unfortunately, that will drive a lot of your decisions.  If you go 32-bit, don't buy more than 3g of ram.  If you go 64-bit, make sure that the soundcard you get has drivers for 64.  Also, be aware that many other software programs aren't 64-bit ready, so don't build a 64-bit if you aren't ready to do that.

As much as it pains me to do so, your best option as of today is probably a mac, since you can run windows on it.  It may be an equal value prop to switch right now, so look at that carefully, too.

In any case, if you build a box by hand, do your homework!  Jim's advice is spot-on.  Finally, Vista SP1 will be out soon.  You may want to pay attention to how that is received before you make a call.

If only Mr Jobs would release his Leopard on non-apple hardware....  :(
Drumcat,

off topic--sorry...........

I use both windows and mac. i have been wanting to upgrade my RAM in my PC that runs windows XP home. it has been tweaked for music performance by sweetwater sound.  is there a quick way to know whether my version of XP is 32 or 64?  i could probably figure it out if i looked, but right now i am feeling too lazy! :-) thanks in advance for any info!
Chris
I'm 99% sure you'd already know if it was 64.  I'd bet my truck you have 32.

But to be sure, here's lazy for ya...

Windows-Key + Pause Key.

If it says XP, it's 32.  If it says XP 64-bit bla blah...  there ya go.
J-Rock51,

If you are going the PC route then you owe it to yourself to check out the Creation Station Series of music PCs built and sold by Sweetwater Sound. ��www.sweetwater.com ��.............I ��have had mine for 3 years now and for a PC it is great. ��(mine is dedicated to music and never goes online) Sweetwater provides some of the very best customer service that i have ever experienced. ��In the months following my purchase i got at least 4 follow up calls to make sure that everything was good with the machine. ��one of those calls was from the actual person who physically built my computer. ��
before you you make any decisions check them out.
Chris
�� ��
thanks drumcat--that was kinda what i was thinking!
I've said it before... I have to completely disagree with the sweetwater creation station.  It's a very expensive computer that has absolutely no audio features above a standard PC.  It is also a generation behind in current tech.  It is marketed to musicians and they literally double the price without offering any special hardware.  You would still want to add a good soundcard, which is silly considering it's supposed to be an audio workstation.  About the only bonus feature is the sound dampening, which is debatable considering a lot of new PCs come with silent/quiet cooling. 

A similarly configured Dell would be half the price, and their customer service is good (with my experience.)  For example, I complained that my laptop battery wasn't holding a charge, and one was overnighted to me.  Another laptop had a few dead pixels after almost three years, and they came to my house the next day and swapped screens- this is something where most manufacturers won't replace unless there are 8+ dead pixels.  I highly recommend a Dell, HP, Gateway, etc. over the Sweetwater stuff.  Having a company ";tweak"; your system for music creation isn't worth $1,000 when you can get tips here for free.

XP or Vista 64-bit is usually something you have to buy yourself.  I can't recall seeing it as an option on any site, unless it's a ";workstation"; level computer.    Driver support is not complete, so be aware that some soundcards, MIDI devices, and printers/scanners might not work yet.  95% of things will though.

..and if you can afford it, get a Mac :)   
[quote author=J Mattson link=topic=2286.msg12035#msg12035 date=1202335728]
I've said it before... I have to completely disagree with the sweetwater creation station.  It's a very expensive computer that has absolutely no audio features above a standard PC.  It is also a generation behind in current tech.  It is marketed to musicians and they literally double the price without offering any special hardware.  You would still want to add a good soundcard, which is silly considering it's supposed to be an audio workstation.  About the only bonus feature is the sound dampening, which is debatable considering a lot of new PCs come with silent/quiet cooling. 

A similarly configured Dell would be half the price, and their customer service is good (with my experience.)  For example, I complained that my laptop battery wasn't holding a charge, and one was overnighted to me.  Another laptop had a few dead pixels after almost three years, and they came to my house the next day and swapped screens- this is something where most manufacturers won't replace unless there are 8+ dead pixels.  I highly recommend a Dell, HP, Gateway, etc. over the Sweetwater stuff.  Having a company ";tweak"; your system for music creation isn't worth $1,000 when you can get tips here for free.

XP or Vista 64-bit is usually something you have to buy yourself.  I can't recall seeing it as an option on any site, unless it's a ";workstation"; level computer.    Driver support is not complete, so be aware that some soundcards, MIDI devices, and printers/scanners might not work yet.  95% of things will though.

..and if you can afford it, get a Mac :)   
[/quote]

Totally agree.  If you want to get fancy, buy a Dell, and swap the fans out.  If you feel better, check the price with the top-notch warranty versus the SW.

BTW, anyone can use Dell Small Business.  Just enter your name as the name of the business.  There is no problem doing that; Dell is totally fine with it.  Check the home & biz price and package, as they often differ.

And ya, if anyone wants to trade me or buy my absolutely whompin' system, valued around $5000 so I can buy a $~3000 mac, pm me.  ;)

Not to totally bag SW...  I'm sure they're good, and they're in the USA...  and their techs don't have thick accents, etc.  That said, do what's right for you -- and if you've got the $ for sweetwater...  more power to you.  It'll be solid.  As solid as any other I guess.
well dang......nice to look like the stupid guy on the block now ;-) .............sweetwater has a three year bumper to bumper warranty on the CS. they will even pay for you to ship the whole case to them if it becomes necessary...............sorry guys--i guess that's all i had left.........i feel like the kid who thought his toy was cool and all the other kids made fun of it..........
[quote author=cmac76 link=topic=2286.msg12038#msg12038 date=1202355261]
well dang......nice to look like the stupid guy on the block now ;-) .............sweetwater has a three year bumper to bumper warranty on the CS. they will even pay for you to ship the whole case to them if it becomes necessary...............sorry guys--i guess that's all i had left.........i feel like the kid who thought his toy was cool and all the other kids made fun of it..........
[/quote]

No no, don't feel that way.  When someone reads this, either position might help.  We just presented two separate paths.  That's a good thing.  My apologies if I sounded harsh towards ya.  No intention at all.  And you aren't stupid.  It's forums like these that people run into SW and such.

For people that have no inclination into hardware, it might be just the answer.
Sweetwater's an excellent site to buy audio stuff from, the customer service is some of the best I've dealt with anywhere.  I buy most of my stuff through them.

However, as others have said, avoid their computers.  They're OK computers, just that they'll cost you a lot more over building your own or going through another place.  The warranty is nice though if you want that security blanket, or have the extra $$$ that you don't mind spending.
I agree on Sweetwater. For a huge retailer, they are very service oriented, friendly, knowledgeable, and have great prices.

I bought one of their audio workstations a few years ago, and am not terribly happy with it. It had some issues with the motherboard which required sending it back to swap out the board, and for all the noise reduction they claim, it's not a particularly quiet machine. Things happen, and I probably had a bout with Murphy's law, but I would not buy one of their machines again.

So don't worry Cmac - I thought I bought the same cool toy you did. :)
Jim:
not sure what went wrong with the one you got, but mine has been great.  3 years and kickin--would I buy it again?  no way.  reason?  when i bought it--i had not yet become the mac geek that i am now.  but you can bet when the time comes to replace it, that it will be replaced with a mac.  i am slowly phasing windows out of my life.....i haven't even been on a machine that has vista.............so when this one bites the dust i will transform away from the dark side completely........
chris
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