If you’re becoming bored inside due to the coronavirus pandemic, one way to kill a bunch of time and learn a new skill is to build a music production PC. While some enthusiasts might tell you to purchase a Macbook Pro or laptop, many will argue a desktop computer provides better value. There’s a massive choice when it comes to the components and customizing your PC.

We have put together 4 different computer builds at different price points that we feel might be appropriate for electronic music production. Besides the computer build below, don’t forget that you will also need an OS (like Windows 10), your DAW software or peripherals like keyboard, mouse and screen.

As reference points, we will look at the requirements of popular DAW software Ableton Live 10 and Cubase Pro 10, which both require at least an Intel i5 CPU, 4GB RAM (8GB RAM recommended) and Windows 10.

For Windows 10, head to eBay and purchase a license key from a seller. They often go for way less than retail – often between $10 to $20 for a license key (vs $100+)

If you prefer, we have also recommended a bunch of pre-built music production computers that you can purchase without the hassle of building yourself.

What all these builds do feature – quality components, best bang-for-buck, fast storage and a fully modular power supply for convenience. They should exceed the minimum of any DAW you use.

Beginner Audio Production Build (under $550)

This beginner audio PC build is the perfect solution for students and people who are just looking for an introduction into the world of music production. For under $550, this is a steal for the power you get.

It’s a capable’computer that will be able to do most things. It’s got audio editing capabilities and fast, big storage for holding your projects. There’s also room to upgrade components down the line. It’s missing a dedicated graphics card, but the onboard should be sufficient for starters.

TypeItemPrice
CPUAMD Ryzen 5 3400G 3.7 GHz Quad-Core ProcessorAmazon
Motherboard Gigabyte B450M DS3H Micro ATX AM4 MotherboardAmazon
MemoryCorsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 MemoryAmazon
StoragePatriot Burst SSD 480 GB Burst, 2.5” Solid State DriveAmazon
Storage Seagate Barracuda Compute 2 TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive Amazon
CaseCorsair 100R Silent ATX Mid Tower CaseAmazon
PSUThermaltake Smart 500W 80+ White Certified PSUAmazon
 OSWindows 10  Ebay
 AccessoriesMicrosoft Wired Ergonomic MouseAmazon

Home Pro Audio Production Build (under $1500)

This Home Pro Audio Production build is intended for being a fast at-home professional studio PC. It’s got fantastic performance thanks to the 8-core, 16-thread AMD Ryzen 7 3700X CPU.

With a 1TB M.2 SSD as a primary drive and 2TB SSHD as a secondary drive, you’ll have enough space to store audio files and access them quickly. The computer case has also been upgraded to a full tower and there’s a dedicated graphics card (RTX 1650 Super).

TypeItemPrice
CPUAMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core, 16-Thread UnlockedAmazon
CPU CoolerNoctua NH-D15Amazon
MotherboardMSI X570-A PRO ATX AM4 MotherboardAmazon
MemoryG.Skill Ripjaws V Series 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-3200 MemoryAmazon
StorageSamsung 970 Evo 1TB M.2 Solid State DriveAmazon
StorageSeagate FireCuda 2TB SSHDAmazon
Video CardMSI GeForce GTX 1650 Super 128-Bit HDMI/DP 4GB GDRR6Amazon
CaseCorsair 750D Airflow Edition ATX Full Tower CaseAmazon
PSUEVGA SuperNOVA G3 850W 80+ Gold Certified Modular ATX PSUAmazon
 OSWindows 10  Ebay
 Accessories Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse Amazon

The AMD Gold Audio Workstation Build (around $3000)

If you’ve got an extra bit of dough lying around or take your music production career seriously, this build will be able to do just about anything you ask it to. It’s a high-performance, professional build that will rival even some of the most expensive Mac builds.

The AMD Ryzen 9 3950X is currently the best CPU on the market. The GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER might seem overkill, but some plugins like VCV Rack renders its GUI in OpenGL. This build also includes 1TB SSD + 2TB SSHD storage, a full tower case with watercooling and 64GB of DDR4 RAM.

In our DAWBench test, the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X performed superbly, in fact much better than their Intel counterparts which cost much more. Later this year AMD’s 4000 series will be released, which is also something to consider.

TypeItemPrice
CPUAMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16-Core, 32-Thread Unlocked Desktop ProcessorAmazon
CPU CoolerCorsair H150i PRO 47.3 CFM Liquid CPU CoolerAmazon
MotherboardASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero X570 ATX MotherboardAmazon
MemoryG.SKILL Trident Z Neo (for AMD Ryzen) Series 64GB (4x16GB)Amazon
StorageSamsung 970 PRO SSD 1TB – M.2 NVMeAmazon
StorageSeagate FireCuda 2TB SSHDAmazon
Video CardASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER Advanced Overclocked 8G GDDR6Amazon
CaseCorsair 760T Black ATX Full Tower CaseAmazon
PSUEVGA SuperNOVA G3 1000W 80+ Gold Certified Modular ATX PSUAmazon
OSWindows 10Ebay
AccessoriesLogitech MX Master 3 Wireless Mouse Amazon

The Intel Gold Audio Workstation Build (around $3000)

With the recent launch of the 10th Generation Comet Lake-S chips, most noticeably the Intel Core i9-10900X, which boasts 10 physical cores with 20 threads plus a boost clock speed of up to 5.3GHz, we have also added this Gold Audio Workstation Build with an Intel CPU and slightly different components. However, in our DAWBench tests, the i9-10900X fell behind the Ryzen 9 9350X.

Just like the AMD build, this Intel Gold Audio Workstation Build includes a 1TB SSD + 2TB SSHD for storage, RTX 2070 Super Graphics Card, Z490 chipset (high-end) motherboard, a full tower case with watercooling and 64GB of DDR4 RAM for around $3000.

TypeItemPrice
CPUIntel Core i9-10900X Desktop Processor 10 Cores up to 4.7GHzAmazon
CPU CoolerCorsair H150i PRO 47.3 CFM Liquid CPU CoolerAmazon
MotherboardROG Maximus XII Formula (WiFi 6) Z490 LGA 1200Amazon
MemoryCorsair Vengeance RGB Pro 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3200Amazon
StorageSamsung 970 PRO SSD 1TB – M.2 NVMeAmazon
StorageSeagate FireCuda 2 TB 2.5″ 5400RPM Hybrid Internal Hard DriveAmazon
Video CardGigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8 GB WINDFORCE OC 3X Video CardAmazon
CaseLian Li PC-O11 Dynamic ATX Full Tower CaseAmazon
PSUEVGA SuperNOVA G3 1000W 80+ Gold Certified Modular ATX PSUAmazon
 OSWindows 10  Ebay
 AccessoriesLogitech MX Master 3 Wireless MouseAmazon

In conclusion, these are just 4 computer builds that are a starting point at three different price points. There might be other components such as a different computer case and mouse that you have a preference for. Please do your own research, check the DAW recommended hardware and good luck with your build!

Music Production PC

How much RAM do I need for music production?

At the very minimum, your music production PC should have 8GB of RAM. If you have a flexible budget, rather go bigger with 16GB or 32GB of RAM.

Do you need a good computer for music production?

If you’re a music producer and take your hobby or career seriously, then you will definitely need a decent computer or laptop for music production. Saying that, it’s not impossible to get away with something that you already have or on a tight budget.

Do you need a good graphics card for music production?

A graphics card does not matter much in terms of a music production PC. In some instances, an onboard graphics card will be sufficient. However, it is possible for a graphics cards to solve non-graphic tasks, which reduces strain on the CPU.

Is Mac or Windows better suited for music production?

Today, a Mac or Windows computer will be suitable for music production. However, with a PC, you might receive better value for money, as Apple Macs tend to become costly.

What is the fastest Intel CPU?

In May 2020, Intel released the i9-10900K CPU, which they claim to have 31% better overall system performance versus a three-year-old PC.

What is the fastest AMD CPU?

The AMD Ryzen 9 3950X features 16 cores and 32 threads, making it excellent for heavily threaded computer work. However, the bigger brother, Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX features an insane 32-cores and 64-threads –plus a boost clock of 4.2GHz.

Do you need a graphics card in a music production PC?

If you’ve got the budget, a dedicated graphics card is highly recommended in a music production PC. This will allow your CPU to act independently and perform tasks on its own.

Is Intel or AMD better for music production?

The gap has closed quite a bit. AMD currently provides better value-for-money, which is why we’ve based 3 of the builds above with them. However, there’s nothing wrong with Intel, especially their latest 10th-generation lineup.

Are gaming computers good for music production?

Most likely! Since gaming requires a fast CPU, a large amount of storage and lots of RAM, it’s most likely it will be good as a music production PC.