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  #1  
Old 06-25-2022, 07:04 AM
mgwynne mgwynne is offline
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Default Need advice on new HP Workstation

New to ProTools Studio, learning it at school and want to get started with a new home system.

Considering an HP Workstation and have reviewed the Pro Tools system requirements.

Here is one Workstation that I've come across:

https://www.howardcomputers.com/acce...m?id=S26470201

Do you have any advice or input on this configuration?
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  #2  
Old 06-25-2022, 08:49 AM
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albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Need advice on new HP Workstation

Hmm, Personally, I think that cpu speed is too slow. At that price, you might also consider the new Mac Studio. Some cheaper options(if you don't mind used) would be the HP z620 or z820 with the fastest cpu you can get(at least 3GHz) and 32-64GB of RAM. I was completely happy with the 12 core(3.5GHz) z820 I bought 4 years ago for $1100 used.
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  #3  
Old 06-25-2022, 08:59 AM
mgwynne mgwynne is offline
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Default Re: Need advice on new HP Workstation

Hi Dave: I'm not a Mac fan, but thanks for the suggestions about a used system.
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  #4  
Old 06-25-2022, 10:30 AM
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Default Re: Need advice on new HP Workstation

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Originally Posted by mgwynne View Post
Hi Dave: I'm not a Mac fan, but thanks for the suggestions about a used system.
But they say the "Fan" in the Mac Studio are actually pretty quiet

I agree with albee that seems like a lot of money for marginal CPU speed.
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  #5  
Old 06-25-2022, 06:42 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: Need advice on new HP Workstation

Hi Welcome to DUC.

Wait, somebody looked at the system requirements and is thinking and asking questions before buying stuff. Oh I'm feeling dizzy, and going to have to have a lay down

You may get more useful help if you describe what you want to do with the computer.

I get you prefer a PC, and the usual advice is you should use whatever platform you are most comfortable with. PCs or Macs can both work great with Pro Tools. But still maybe worth a few checks/questions....

What audio area are you studying in school? and what are you planning to do with Pro Tools on this computer? e.g. singer/songwriter tracking and mixing your own vocals and a guitar? tracking and mixing a small rock band including live drums? Spoken word/audiobook editing? Bringing in mixing work from ...? Video post production (describe the kind of work)? Composition with heavy use of virtual instruments?.. there can be an order of magnitude or more difference in the system needs/costs depending on what you are doing.

Is the school teaching on PC or Mac? It might make sense to use the same... or maybe use the opposite to learn more.
Are you studying music or post/video? The school is teaching on Studio not Ultimate? So they are not doing video/film post? e.g. reason for asking is much of post is going to be on Mac, including Dolby Atmos is Mac only for Pro Tools today.

What audio interface(s) do you have? You need a interface with ASIO driver support on Windows.

Avid just does not quality a very useful number of computers, while the HP Z Series has some nice computers they are often overpriced for what you get and it's a bit embarrassing for Avid they only qualify HP workstations. And some of the Avid documented systems requirements are useful, but others not or are out of date, maybe the worst being the implication you should use separate audio/session and VI sample drives... that is nonsense if using fast NVMe/PCIe SSD drives, and unfortunately results in users configuring underperforming systems (and any new system today should use those drives). So it's a matter of knowing what specs to cherry pick as important, or more usefully folks having a gut feel for the systems needed for different workloads, and maybe knowing problematic things to avoid (luckily getting much less than in the pasts, where certain chipsets were known/suspected problems).

Even if Avid were just pushing the high-end corporate focused workstations I'd prefer to see some of Lenovo workstations qualified on the list. If you are a corporate purchaser and want the comfort of dealing with HP or a channel reseller they can really make sense, maybe less so maybe for a home purchaser, but do what you want, you may also find some Z series systems used on eBay etc.

Lots of people build their own Pro Tools PCs or have others build them to spec, a very useful source of info, even if you don't' actually build your own PC, is this thread:
http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=238426, Companies also build targeted PCs, especially https://www.pro-tools-pc.com. And to be clear, it's not all Intel, modern AMD based systems can be very compelling, AMD are kicking Intels ass in multiple different ways. (e.g. wide availability of PCIe 4, better packaging, better ECC memory support, better thermals, etc.).

If you can afford to it's nice to err on the side of spending more money and getting a system that is robust and hopefully more likely to works great, but there is always money to spend on other stuff, better interfaces, microphones, monitors, headphones, room treatment, more guitars, .... and we have no idea where you are at with that stuff, things like setting up a room properly, room treatments, good monitors, maybe monitor controllers, etc. often come with sticker shock--but it's usually money well spent.

As for this actual Z-series PC,

A significant fraction of the cost of that PC, something around $1,000-$1,200 will be the RTX A4000 GPU. While a modern NVIDI GPU can still be a good thing, a built in Intel GPU can often be enough. Depends on what you are doing, how many displays and what resolution. I suspect some of that money is better spent on memory or SSD. 12 cores is probably enough for many users, but again tell us what you are doing. But with this Xeon processor has no inbuilt GPU, so you would have to ad a low-end GPU card.

This Z-series PC has one M.2/PCIe boot SSD and an empty slot for second M.2 SSD. Being Intel and HP that technology is lagging at only PCIe 3 x4 in each M.2 slot and who knows how good the M.2 card is HP installs as the boot drive... I would buy this with the smallest/cheapest M.2 drive and probably install two Samsung 980 Pro or WD Black SN850 SSDs, one in each motherboard slot. Make sure you are budgeting multiple (ideally removable) SSD and/or HDD for archive/backup (use HDD for archival)

Presumably you are sorted out USB or whatever connection for your interface, but if you are looking at or want future compatibility for Thunderbolt interfaces, you'll need a HP PCIe Thunderbolt card.
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  #6  
Old 06-26-2022, 04:07 AM
dominicperry dominicperry is offline
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Default Re: Need advice on new HP Workstation

I don't think you need or want a Xeon processor. I know the Mac Pro 7.1 has a Xeon and they are widely used for PT, but Xeons are expensive and power hungry. A modern i7 or i9 Intel CPU will provide better performance for the same money or the same performance for less money. Single core clock speeds (which are important in some DAW usage) are also generally higher on the best i7 and i9 chips.
The primary advantage of Xeon chips is better stability by using ECC RAM, which is also more expensive. This is why they are used in business-critical servers. It's obviously your choice as to what you go for, but if I was buying a PC for Pro Tools, I wouldn't bother with a Xeon.

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  #7  
Old 06-26-2022, 09:27 AM
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albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Need advice on new HP Workstation

Quote:
Originally Posted by dominicperry View Post
I don't think you need or want a Xeon processor. I know the Mac Pro 7.1 has a Xeon and they are widely used for PT, but Xeons are expensive and power hungry. A modern i7 or i9 Intel CPU will provide better performance for the same money or the same performance for less money. Single core clock speeds (which are important in some DAW usage) are also generally higher on the best i7 and i9 chips.
The primary advantage of Xeon chips is better stability by using ECC RAM, which is also more expensive. This is why they are used in business-critical servers. It's obviously your choice as to what you go for, but if I was buying a PC for Pro Tools, I wouldn't bother with a Xeon.

Dominic
I'm going to disagree with this. If you review Avid's approved systems, you DO want Xeon. From my own experience, I had a very nice custom PC with an i7 6-core, an X99 mobo, 32GB Ram, nice nVidia graphics...the whole 9 yards. I had endless issues with it. After wrestling with it for months, I bought the z820, put my HDN card in the recommended slot, loaded up my software and spent the next 18 months tracking full bands almost daily. My tracking session template was about 48 audio tracks, 3 instrument tracks and a dozen aux tracks. Plenty of plugins(all low-latency types), 5 reverbs, DB-33, MiniGrand and Louinge Lizard Wurly. All this included 7 sends on every track for headphone mixes. 64 buffer setting, no complaints about HP latency and almost zero issues.

Sadly, when I sold the studio to(semi) retire, it stayed there(and is still in use). I sure do miss it, but am currently content with an older i7/X79 system that was the studio backup machine(it actually works much better than the X99 rig ever did)
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  #8  
Old 06-26-2022, 10:26 AM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: Need advice on new HP Workstation

Or get a lower cost AMD based system with ECC memory if you want that. Intel's artificial division of the market around ECC is obnoxious and thankfully they have great competition in AMD. While it would be nice for every Pro Tools system to have ECC it is far from necessary. Practical systems stability issues are much more likely to be caused by things other than having ECC or not and I expect that happened with your build vs. a Z-serues. If you want to claim/show ECC makes or breaks a good Pro Tools system then.... produce the Windows Event log showing ECC corrected errors or the log from the old system with memory errors.

And remember many low-end Xeon, like the one in this system, are binned i7/i9 silicon with a few features like ECC turned on.

And again, its provably a waste of time trying to offer too much advice on a system, where we have *no clue* about the workload, or if other gear is in place, etc.

Last edited by Darryl Ramm; 06-26-2022 at 11:33 AM.
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  #9  
Old 06-28-2022, 07:06 PM
mgwynne mgwynne is offline
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Default Re: Need advice on new HP Workstation

Hello Darryl:
Thanks for the detailed response.
My son is the student, and we are collaborating on this decision.
He is currently mixing multiple instruments from various performers, individually or simultaneously. No video production is involved.
The school uses Macs, but he is more comfortable with Windows.
We like the idea of reaching out to someone that can build for us. Thanks for the referral.
We appreciate your time and advice.
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  #10  
Old 06-29-2022, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: Need advice on new HP Workstation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
... Lots of people build their own Pro Tools PC...
Consider building. It's fun, you'll learn a few things, you can maintain or upgrade it yourself, and it'll be super powerful for Pro Tools on Windows. Choose the CPU first. If I was building today, I'd go with Intel i9-12900k or i7-12700k. Next pick a compatible motherboard, and then ram. Search YouTube for 2022 gaming PC builds. Just take your time and ask for help as needed; it's not rocket science. You'll have a fast rig that will last for years.
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