The CPU is the most important part of any audio production workstation. Based on Orbital’s in-house testing, the ideal audio-editing PC needs to exhibit a solid mix of both single and multi-threaded performance. Most DAWs scale reasonably well with the number of CPU cores for certain tasks like rendering, but they still require a high operating frequency (value given in GHz) for maximum performance. In our testing, we found the 10 core 5.3GHz 10900K on the Silenced C2000 to be the top of the line option, even compared to CPUs like the AMD 3950X 16 core and Intel 10980XE 18 core. Even though the 10900K has fewer cores, the extremely high operating frequency gives the 10900K the edge over more expensive options. The 8 Core 5.1 GHz 10700K provides nearly the same performance as the 10900K at several hundred dollars cheaper. Intel CPUs also carry the benefit of being the industry standard technology that audio production software is built on, possessing the utmost reliability and compatibility possible (which can be important as some users report compatibility issues with certain plug-ins on non-Intel CPUs).
The main benefits of having a strong, reliable CPU like the Intel Core i7-10700K come in performance improvements in real-time playback and from exporting work to an audio file, such as a WAV or MP3. If the CPU is not strong enough, some shortcuts may be necessary for certain tasks to compensate for the weak CPU, such as the “bounce in place” function (similar to “freezing” in some other DAWs). These shortcuts can add extra steps that can break creative flow or that focus on the perfect sound. Using a strong CPU also means “the sky’s the limit” on as many processing intensive plug-ins, synthesizers, EQs, compressors or effects as desired. For audio producers who tend to run very processing heavy workflows, the best upgrade option is the Intel Core i9-10900K.
All of our workstations come installed with at least 16GB of RAM which is more than enough to meet the 8GB+ recommendations from most DAW developers. We recommend 16GB for most of our users, however 32GB may be a good upgrade in a heavily sample-focused production environment where there are many large samples being loaded into the RAM all at once. All Orbital Computers Workstations are also designed to be easily user expandable with non-proprietary memory modules, should the need arise. All RAM used by Orbital comes with a manufacturer's lifetime warranty on parts.
For our graphics card recommendation, we’ve selected the Nvidia Quadro P400. The Quadro line is a very reliable card from the most reputable name in the GPU business. The Quadro P400 will happily run up to 3x 4K monitors, allowing an audio production professional to have plenty of space for their workflow. Audio production typically has very little graphics demands and the P400 is an excellent, cost effective choice that we are happy to recommend for this application
A fast solid state drive (SSD) is included by default on all Orbital workstations. Fast drives will help improve file loading, saving, and transferring times. For Audio Production workstations, we recommend at least a 500GB solid state drive for the operating system and all programs, as well as a traditional hard drive as needed for long-term storage of spare data. The Orbital Silenced C2000 includes an unbelievably fast Samsung 970 Evo Plus PCI-e NVMe SSD which operates at speeds nearly 5-6 times faster than normal SSDs for maximum storage performance. A typical DAW user will want at least 1 TB of additional space for high quality storage of projects and large plug-ins or sound libraries. Power users may even require anywhere from 3-6 TB depending on the plug-ins and sound libraries they plan on using.
Our system recommendation for Audio Production pros using DAWs like Reason, Avid Pro Tools, Ableton, and Adobe Audition is the Orbital Silenced C2000, a system designed from the ground up to meet the demanding needs of heavy audio production, providing a maximum combination of high core count, top of the line single-thread performance, all in a silent package. The C2000 is built in one of the quietest PC cases on the market, the Fractal Define C, packed with extensive sound-deadening foam without sacrificing airflow or cooling capabilities. The Silenced C2000 also makes use of a top-of-the-line whisper quiet Noctua NH-U12S Silent CPU cooler, Noctua Silent case fans, as well as a Corsair RM series power supply which, unlike some power supplies, has no electrical whine and can turn off its fan in low-power mode for even less noise..
Orbital Computers has been a leading professional workstation computer builder for over 7 years. We only build with the highest quality components, providing maximum performance, unbeatable reliability, and industry-leading in-house tech support, free for life. All Orbital Computers Workstations are built and supported in the USA.