10 Best Computers for Music Production 2018 – Desktop PC and Mac

Best Computers for Music Production This YearIn this buyer’s guide we’ll take a look at the 10 best computers for music production in 2018.

If you’re planning on producing music, or you want to upgrade your current computer to a better computer for your studio or workflow, your next computer may be in this list.

Quick Answer: the Apple iMac Pro 27″ is the king of music production computers. But if you’re on a budget, take a look at the Dell Inspiron i5459-7020SLV and the Acer Aspire Desktop as great value options.

The rest of this post will go into detail on the full list of music production computers, with individual overviews, specs, and a buying guide to help you make the best decision if you’re stuck. This guide will apply to you if you do, or plan to get into: producing music, film-scoring and composer, beat-making, recording and arranging, songwriting, mixing and mastering.

Let’s take a closer look 🙂

Table of Contents

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Best Computers for Music Production – At a Glance

Computer Model Best Choices Form Factor Processor RAM Storage OS
1 Acer Aspire Desktop                                  (check price @ Amazon) (overview) Acer Aspire Desktop Tower case 3.0 GHz 4-Core Intel Core i5 12 GB DDR4 2 TB HDD Windows 10 Home
2 Dell Inspiron i5459-7020SLV                      (check price @ Amazon) (overview) Dell Inspiron i5459-7020SLV All-in-one 2.8 GHz 4-Core Intel Core i7 12 GB DDR3L 1 TB HDD Windows 10 Home
3 Apple iMac Pro 27″                                    (check price @ Amazon) (overview) Apple iMac Pro 27 inches All-in-one 3.2 GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon W 32 GB DDR4 1 TB SSD OS High Sierra
4 Apple iMac Pro 21.5″                                  (check price @ Amazon) (overview) Apple iMac 21.5 All-in-one 3.0 GHz Single-Core Intel Core i5 8 GB DDR4 1 TB HDD Mac OS X
5 HP Pavilion 27″                                          (check price @ Amazon) (overview) HP Pavilion 27-inch All-in-one 2.4 GHz 4-Core Intel Core i5 12 GB DDR4 1 TB HDD Windows 10 Home
6 Dell Inspiron i3650-0635SVL                        (check price @ Amazon) (overview) DELL Inspiron i3650 – 0635slv Tower case 2.8 GHz 4-Core Intel Core i5 8 GB DDR3L 1 TB HDD Windows 10 Home
7 Apple Mac Pro 8                                        (check price @ Amazon) (overview) Apple Mac Pro 8-Core Tower case 3.0 GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon E5 16GB DDR3 256 GB PCIe SSD OS X
8 CORSAIR ONE PRO                                  (check price @ Amazon) (overview) CORSAIR ONE PRO Tower case 4.2 GHz 4-Core Intel Core i7 32 GB DDR4 2 TB Windows 10 Home
9 Adamant Gen7                                            (check price @ Amazon) (overview) ADAMANT GEN7 Tower case 4.2 GHz 4-Core Intel Core i7 32 GB DDR4 5 TB HDD + 480 GB SSD Windows 10 Professional
10 Sweetwater CS250 2u                                (check price @ Sweetwater) (overview) Sweetwater Custom Computing CS250 2u Desktop case 3.0 GHz 4-Core Intel Core i5 8GB DDR4 240GB SSD + 1 TB Windows 10 Home

Music Production Desktop Computers - Overview

If you need help making a decision, take a look at the buyer's guide section of this post.

Looking for a laptop instead? Go here.

Acer Aspire Desktop

Acer Aspire Desktop

The Acer Aspire Desktop is one of the cheaper desktop PCs on in this guide, which has more power and more storage than some of the others we mention. However, the cheapest computer on this list, the Aspire has, I think, one of the best value for money of many any of the other computers on this list. Let's see why.

First, Acer is a fairly new company. One will notice in forums from various parts of the web that some people are clearly not as familiar with it, especially if you grew up around Dell or Compaq. But personally speaking, Acer has really proven themselves, as a company of budget computers, really setting the bar for what it means for getting the most value for your money. And if you're a music producer, you know that you'll need to get a good amount of gear. You can't skimp on your speaker monitors, headphones, or microphones. But you can get by with a computer system if it meets the basic requirements. So when it comes to that, we put this at the top of the list (even though it's at the bottom of this list for price).

The appeal is in the form factor. So if you know that a computer with a form factor that lends itself to being upgradeable over time, such as switching out internal components, then this is for you. You can also change out displays, DVD trays, hard drives, etc., whenever you want to. The only possible downside is that it is quite large. It is 17.43 inches long, 15.67 inches tall, and almost 7 inches wide. If you get this, you might need to clear out some room.

In terms of specs, the Aspire has a 3 GHz Intel Core i5 processor. It's a quad core processor, meaning seamless multitasking for all your plugins. On top of that, it has a 12 GB worth of RAM. This sufficient for running your music production software. And when it comes to your libraries and samples, the 2 TB hard drive will give you enough space to load all your files. Space won't be an issue for a while. It also has its own DVD read/writer tray so you can burn your mixes straight to disk when you're ready. You also get the standard HDMI, ethernet, aux plugs, and you can plug 7 USB devices into the tower. Four of the USB ports are standard USB 2.0 ports, and the other 3 are high speed USB 3.0 ports.

Bottom-line, if you want a great desktop for a low cost to produce music, this is the computer to get. It more than meets the base requirement. There are many other tower PCs on the market with the same kinds of specs as these that a lot more. If you plan on using Windows 10, and on a budget, you should get the Acer Aspire Desktop.

Read customer reviews @ Amazon

Acer Aspire Desktop Specifications
  • Form Factor: Tower PC
  • Screen Size: N/A
  • Max Screen Resolution: --
  • Processor: 3 GHz Intel Core i5, quad core
  • RAM: 12 GB DDR4
  • Storage: 2000 GB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • Connections: 3 USB 3.0,  4 x USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI
  • DVD RW drive: Yes
  • OS: Windows 10 Home

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Dell Inspiron i5459-7020SLV

Dell Inspiron i5459-7020SLV

The Dell Inspiron i5459-7020SLV is an all-in-one desktop Windows 10 PC. While it is smaller than some of the competition in the same league, the Inspiron has a pretty powerful processor, and all the USB ports you'd need. It also has a touch screen. So if you're liking the form factor of the all-in-one this is another option you can look into.

The Inspiron costs around thousand dollars (depending on where you buy it), but it still packs all the requirements you need to produce your own music. This computer is mostly suitable for home studios and bedroom producers who need the space. It's 24 inch monitor is not going to take up the whole room, and if necessary, you can mount the monitor on the wall. Personally, I like it because it looks professional, and not just an entertainment PC. Yet it can go between entertain you with video games and movies, to producing your next hit track.

Okay, so let's look at what's inside. We've already said it is fairly powerful, the reason why is because it comes with an Intel Core i7 processor that's 2.8 GHz fast. It's also quad core, meaning the Inspiron can handle fast multi-tasking between all your plugins and software devices. It is still below the benchmark 3.0 GHz, but it is closer to ideal than the Pavilion. Additionally, there is 12 GB of RAM installed in it. In all, it's this is pretty good.

You have sufficient space as well. The 1 TB hard drive will keep you from worrying about running out of space any time soon. And you can connect up to 6 USB devices on it for MIDI controllers, external hard drives, and so on. The included mouse and keyboard are wireless, so no need to worry about USB connections for those. Also, it has a tray load DVD drive for reading and writing disks. A good plus for a computer that you're planning to use to make music. And it also has an HDMI cable as well, if you ever need to hook it up to a big screen monitor or projector. It also comes with McAfee Live antivirus (for 12 months) to keep your files secure

Bottom-line, this is another great computer to get. It is essentially a home computer built for home office and entertainment. But it has all the juice needed to punch out beats and orchestra scores. And all the space to store your files. You get good value for money with the Inspiron. Great for home studios and bedroom producers, with an all-in-one factor design that makes it portable in case your setup needs a some amount of adjustment over time.

Read customer reviews @ Amazon.

Dell Inspiron i5459-7020SLV Specifications
  • Form Factor: All-in-one Desktop with touch screen
  • Screen Size: 23.8 inches
  • Max Screen Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Processor: 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7, quad core
  • RAM: 12 GB DDR3L
  • Storage: 1 TB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • Connections: 4 USB 3.0,  2 x USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI
  • DVD RW drive: Yes
  • OS: Windows 10 Home

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Apple iMac Pro 27"

Apple iMac Pro 27 inches

The Apple iMac Pro 27" is an all-in-one desktop computer. When it comes to Apple computers for music production, this is the best one you can get for the price (the alternative is the Mac Pro). Video and audio professionals tend to turn to the iMac Pro when looking for a professional all in one computer that can handle the processing tasks of their job. And so, this will undoubtedly be my first choice for not only best computer for music production, but the best Mac for music production.

Having all the components built in means that you don't have to do a lot of setting up. When the package arrives at your doorstep, just unpack it, plugin it in, register your computer online, and you're good to go. All you need to do is load it up with your DAW and professional VSTs.

This latter factor makes this desktop very appealing. If you've ever had to build a home studio, you know that there is a lot of setting up involved. At the very least, you need to connect your microphone and MIDI cables. But there is also the mixer, control surfaces, and so on. Having a professional all in one system like the Apple iMac Pro 27 that's plug and go is the ideal option I think when you've particularly a creative type more focused on composition and production. So as far as home studio workstation computers concerned, this is the best option.

The only possible downside? Well, the Apple iMac Pro 27", like all other Mac products, makes upgrading and customizing internal components restrictive. If you're a techy person that loves gear and love tinkering with the insides of things, this makes the iMac Pro 27" a non-ideal choice for you. Also, if you're a big PC gamer, and want a desktop that can potentially handle the necessities of gaming as well as music production, this wouldn't be your best option.

Now, more about what this computer is packing. It fits the basic requirements that we've listed. The processor is fast 3.2 GHz Intel Weon W processor. It comes with 8 cores, which is a lot of cores for seamless music production and processing.On top of that, it can be turbo boosted all the way up to 4.2 GHz.

In terms of space for saving your sound libraries and samples, it has a massive 1TB solid-state drive. This should be enough to last you for awhile, until you decide on getting an external hard drive. Plus the solid state drive will mean instantaneous startups of your computer and programs. Added to that will be 32 GB of RAM, which more than exceeds the requirements you'll need for seamless, uninhibiting, and instantaneous loading of samples, libraries, VSTs, and effects processing.

Finally, you have a massive 27-inch Retina display with 5K definition. A large display like this will offer a lot of flexibility to you when it comes to organizing your screen real estate: mixers, VSTs, and arranger windows won't be fighting for space. And even if you're scoring for games or video, you could run the video on a portion of the massive screen without the need of another monitor (although another monitor is beneficial for scoring for videos).

Bottom-line, this our choice for best desktop, Mac or PC. It's beautiful, big, has lots of space, and power to render it future proof for years to come. You should get this particularly if you're a creative, composer, songwriter, or producer, focused more on the creative side of things that on the technical side. When it come to plug-and-go, iMac Pro is the way to go.

Read customer reviews @ Amazon.

Apple iMac Pro 27" Specifications
  • Form Factor: All-in-one Desktop with Monitor
  • Screen Size: 27 inches
  • Max Screen Resolution: 5120x2880 pixels (Retina)
  • Processor: 3.2GHz 8-core Intel Xeon W
  • RAM: 32 GB DDR4
  • Storage: 1000GB Flash Memory Solid State
  • Connections: Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports, 10GB Ethernet
  • DVD RW drive: No
  • OS: Mac OS High Sierra

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Apple iMac 21.5"

Apple iMac 21.5

The Apple iMac 21.5 Inch is one of the cheaper iMacs that you can use for music production. It has all the basic requirements necessary for making music. Plus it is a Macintosh computer, which the industry standard for media production. It has an all-in-one form factor, just like the iMac Pro. Essentially, it's a plug-and-go computer. Just turn it on, and plug your devices into it.

Even though it is not the "Pro" version, don't let that fool you. You can still do all your music production on this computer. What makes the iMac appealing is that you don't have to shell out 5 large for an ultimate music production computer. It has a large screen, and its form factor means that it will have a relatively small space to take up your studio. There isn't a massive tower or desktop unit for you to find a space for. Everything is already built into the display. The thing about Macintosh computers that many producers like is that they are beautiful machines to look at, and to work with. If we were really set on getting a Mac, but couldn't afford the Pro, this would a suitable option for all that we require in a music production computer.

Again, the only possible downside (as you know we need to cover any negatives when deciding on purchasing an item) is that Apple makes it a challenge to upgrade and customize the internal components of any of their devices. Also, it's not a computer for hardcore PC gaming either. Another thing is that it doesn't come with it's own DVD burner. You'd have to purchase one separately. That said, the specs I'm about to show you does make it relatively future proof.

So what's inside this iMac? For starters, this is the 21.5 inch model. Smaller than the 27 inch model I mentioned, but still a large display for arranging your music production software windows. Plus it has a 4K Retina display, meaning you get fine details when working with the GUI of your DAW. It's powered by a 3.0 GHz Intel Core i5 processor that can turbo boost all the way to 3.5 Ghz. It's coupled with 8 GB of RAM memory, which is sufficient. Storage is a large 1TB hard drive disk. This should be large enough or your samples, libraries, VSTs, and songs. You can connection up to 6 devices in it. 2 of the ports are high speed Thunderbolt 3, and another 4 are USB 3.0.

Bottom-line, the Apple iMac 21.5 is a good computer for producing and making music. Even a professional can use it, and you can certain get professional results out of it, despite the fact that it doesn't have "Pro" in its name. It fits the base requirement that is needed in a media computer, and has an all-in-one form factor to minimize the need for you to do any additional setting up of displays. On top of that, it makes a great media computer for entertainment as well. If you want a Mac, but can't afford the Pro, the iMac 21.5 is the one you should get. There are more option also if you follow the link below.

Read customer reviews @ Amazon.

Apple iMac Pro 21.5 Specifications
  • Form Factor: All-in-one Desktop with Monitor
  • Screen Size: 21.5 inches
  • Max Screen Resolution: 4096 x 2304 pixels Retina
  • Processor: 3 GHz Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • Storage: 1000 GB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • Connections: 2 Thunderbolt 3,  2 x USB 3.0, Ethernet
  • DVD RW drive: No
  • OS: Mac OS X

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HP Pavilion 27"

HP Pavilion 27-inch

Do you want a Windows 10 PC that's a touchscreen, with 27 inches of display? And at a reasonable price? Here we found the HP Pavilion 27-inch. Making it a great value computer for music production. It has all the requirements you need to produce music. Plus it has an all-in-one form factor similar to the iMac and iMac Pro. If you liked that plug-and-go approach, but either don't have the money to spend on a Macintosh, or prefer a Windows PC for whatever reason, take a look at the the HP Pavilion 27-inch.

This Pavilion might cost around a thousand dollars depending on where you get it, but it has all the requires needed for producing music. The part about it that is most appealing is the touchscreen. I've only used touch screen on one laptop to mix tracks, but found it very useful and decided that I had to have touchscreen controls in my production. Even before touchscreen technology started to take off, at times it seemed to make more sense that one could touch use their finger to drag faders, MIDI notes, and sound files around the arranger window than relying on a mouse. It just makes more sense -- a more intuitive way to produce music. And seeing that in an all-in-one package makes this super appealing.

The downside? Well, it's an all-in-one computer. Meaning, if you need to change your computer, you'd have to go through the trouble of transferring your libraries and music production files from one computer to another. And while the Pavilion uses a High Definition display, it's only supported up to 1920 x 1080 pixels. We'd hope that such a massive 27 inch display would have up to 5K deep resolution, but we're talking about a music making machine, anyway, and not something to render super accurate graphics and video. So we can consider it sufficient.

Okay, so what's inside? The Pavilion is powered by a 7th generation Intel Core i5 processor. Four of its cores will propel this machine with its 2.4GHz worth of speed. This is below 3.0 GHz, which is ideal. But it has a quad core which an handle multi-tasking well. So we call call the processor sufficient to our needs. Additional to that, is a 12 GB RAM card that will make transfers swifts and help out the processor a lot. So all-in-all, it's pretty good in my opinion.

The hard drive is a massive 1 TB hard drive disk. Lots of space for all your sound files, songs, and libraries. It uses Windows 10 Home edition, and also comes with a keyboard and mouse, both of which are wireless. Finally, you can connect up to 5 devices in it, as it has 3 high speed USB 3.0 ports, and 2 USB 2.0 ports.

Bottom-line, the HP Pavilion 27 inch is really an entertainment PC for home and home office use. If you're an at home producer, and you want a computer for your home studio or bedroom studio, this is a great buy. The screen is massive, and is a touchscreen. And it has all the requirements to power your plugins and DAW. You're not going to run out of space for a while, and the all-in-one package means an ease set up for you.

HP Pavilion 27-inch All-in-One Computer Specifications
  • Form Factor: All-in-one Desktop with Touchscreen Monitor
  • Screen Size: 27 inches
  • Max Screen Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Processor: 7th generation Intel Core i5-7400T Processor, Quad-Core, 2.40GHz
  • RAM: 12 GB DDR4
  • Storage: 1 TB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • Connections: 3 USB 3.0,  2 x USB 2.0, Ethernet
  • DVD RW drive: Yes
  • OS: Windows 10 Home

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DELL Inspiron i3650

DELL Inspiron i3650 – 0635slv

If you want a computer for producing your own music, but you're on a budget, you have a couple of options. One being the Dell Inspiron i3650. It is a tower PC, a form factor suitable if you're interested in hooking up your own monitor. Also, like we mention in the buying guide, you'll have more options with a computer with this form factor -- you can always upgrade the internal components on the fly, as well as easily upgrade your tool chain. So it's a great cheap computer for music production that you can get started with, and that you can modify and upgrade over time as you will.

The appeal of the Inspiron is not only its form factor, it's made by a well known brand. I'm sure you've used a Dell before. They make pretty good computers for general purpose and personal customization. Many of us grew up on a Dell. Also, in addition to the form factor, you do receive a wired keyboard, wired mouse, power cord, and a quick start guide.

The only possible downside with this is that it might take some amount of setting up for it to get working. And you'll need to get the right display for the job. A typical monitor will work, though, but for this price, expect that you're not going to get super rich HD rendering from the graphics card on a high-res display. That should be fine, however, for your uses -- you're just making music, not making music videos or graphics. If, on the other hand, you want to upgrade the graphics card, the tower case is easy to get into to swap out components for later-on upgrades.

Okay, so what's in the tower? The manufacturer sneakily puts "up to 3.3 GHz Processor" in the description. Which is fine. But it's actually a 2.8 GHz processor that you can turbo boost to 3.3 GHz. 2.8 GHz is fine, as we've covered. Also being an Intel Core i5 processor with quad cores, it fits our base requirement for a music production desktop computer. It is running a Windows 10 Home edition, can fit HDMI, ethernet, 3 aux jacks, and one headphone jack. It also has bluetooth connection, for whenever you decide to change your wired keyboard and mouse for bluetooth instead. Finally, you can burn DVDs and CDs, which is good, and you can connect up to 6 USB devices in it, with 2 of those ports being high-speed USB 3.0 and the other four being standard USB 2.0. Oh, and the RAM size, a decent 8 GB (single channel, unfortunately), and a 1TB hard drive.

Bottom-line, this is a great music production computer if you're only planning on spending under 500. Like we covered, it is upgradeable as your studio expands and makes more money, so it makes and excellent start, in my opinion. Most people that use it, have good things to say about it. This is one of the more highly rated desktop towers for this price, and perhaps the first choice in a music production PC if you're on a budget.

Dell Inspiron i3650-0635SLV Specifications
  • Form Factor: Tower PC
  • Screen Size: N/A
  • Max Screen Resolution: --
  • Processor: 2.8 GHz Intel Core i5, quad core
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR3L
  • Storage: 1 TB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • Connections: 2 USB 3.0,  4 x USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI
  • DVD RW drive: Yes
  • OS: Windows 10 Home

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Apple Mac Pro 8-Core

Apple Mac Pro 8-Core

The Apple Mac Pro 8-Core is a professional tower workstation computer by Apple. Whereas the iMac Pro is an all-in-one computer that can be used by professionals and enthusiasts alike, the Mac Pro is designed as the professional choice for people working in film or audio production. So it's become the industry standard for media production professionals in audio and video for years now, and deserves a place in this list for the serious buyer.

The appeal of this computer is its compact and light design for a tower workstation. It weighs just 11 lbs, and is just under 10-inches tall and under 7-inch in diameter. It has a state of the art cooling system that benefits from the Mac Pro's cylindrical design.

Another benefit of this workstation computer is that you get more flexibility in your options in the studio. What the Mac Pro workstation provides you is a tremendous amount of processing power and speed to blast through whatever production jobs, audio as well as video, that you need to work on. In exchange for that, you get to choose whatever screen arrangement you want (multi monitors) as well as hooking up external hard drives for space. So in the event you need to change out your computer, you don't have to change an entire all-in-one system, you could simply change the workstation itself, and plug the rest of your system into it. You have more options this way.

The only possible downside? Again, like all Mac products, making any kind of personal customizations to the internal components difficult. Especially given the design, it is a fairly unique computer with a special design that benefits its power.

Now, more about what the Mac Pro is packing. It more than fills the basic requirements for all you could need in a music production computer. With this computer you get an 3.0 GHz 8 core processor for incredible multi-tasking. Couple that with 16 GB of RAM and you have instantaneous handling of all your files without a hitch. It also has Bluetooth connection for cases you need to connect a bluetooth controller. It can support up to 3 displays, each at 4k resolution for large screens or multi-screen arrangements. And finally, it has a 256 GB SSD storage for all your system files for instantaneous loading of your programs.

And for plugging in all your devices, the Mac Pro is great. You can plug up to 6 thunderbolt devices and 4 USB 3.0 devices into it. That gives you 10 data transfer ports! Enough for all your MIDI controller, audio interface, USB mixer, hard drives, and other gear.

Bottom-line, the Mac Pro is the industry standard when it comes to performance workstations for media professionals. It's compact, beautiful, has a powerful multi processor core, and even two, not one, but two, AMD FirePro workstation-class GPO, if you ever need to render video. This is a great option if you do a lot of mixing and mastering, since space is less of an issue to you, but accurate signal process, other the hand, is. Also, for the producer who wants more flexibility, and more device independence in his or her studio toolchain (meaning you can change your computer without having to touch your monitor, or go through the painful task of transferring files from your computer's hard drive to another).

Apple Mac Pro Specifications
  • Form Factor: Tower workstation
  • Screen Size: N/A
  • Max Screen Resolution: 4K
  • Processor: 3.0 GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon E5
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3 ECC
  • Storage: 256GB PCIe flash drive
  • Connections: 6 x Thunderbolt 2,  4 x USB 3.0, Ethernet
  • DVD RW drive: No
  • OS: Mac OS X (latest version installed or downloadable)

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The CORSAIR ONE PRO is a powerful compact PC with a tower form factor. It is the first Windows based system on this list, and so comes in at the top for more recommended music production Windows PC. It was created as gaming PC, which makes it an incredible buy -- not only if you want to produce music, but also if you plan of doing power gaming on your system.

So why did we include a gaming system for a music production workstation? If you look at the specs, as we will in a moment, you'll find that it more that surpasses the base requirement for what you need in your home studio for producing mixing, or recording music. Also, many producers, as you may be aware, are avid gamers. Since Mac isn't the ideal environment for gaming, that leaves producers in a position where they either have to get both a Mac and PC, or find a PC with enough juice to handle both professional music production and gaming. Also, if you're scoring for film and especially video games, getting quality video playback with your sequencing shouldn't be an issue.

Another benefit of this workstation is that it is ultra-quiet. In idle it's only 20 dBA. Why is silence important? It is obvious, you're in the business (or hobby) of making music. If your home studio setup is in your bedroom or small room, most likely your microphone is somewhere close-by. Some PCs are, unfortunately, just too loud. Between the internal cooling system and the hard drive, you'll probably end up with some unfortunate sounds bleeding into your high quality microphone. So the CORSAIR ONE PRO would keep the noise down for you to record.

Another appeal, again, is its form factor. As a tower unit, you get a powerful system with lots of space and power (more space than the Apple Mac Pro), so you have more gear independence in your toolchain for changing things when you'd like to. On top of that, as a PC gaming system, you can also get inside the unit to change components on the fly.

Now, about what's inside. The CORSAIR ONE PRO surpasses the base requirement of what you need in a music production PC to professional level specs you can find in a Mac Pro. You get an Intel Core i7 that is a blistering 4.2 GHz fast running 4 cores for multi-tasking. You also get a massive 2TB (that's 2,000 GB) worth of hard drive storage. It's not a solid state drive though, but a hard disk. But the 32 GB of RAM and super fast processor makes up for it. With a hard drive that size, you won't be worried about space for a long while. It also comes with Windows 10 Home. Finally, you can connect up to 6 USB 3.0 high speed ports, and 2 USB 2.0 ports. That's 8 ports for you to connect all your studio gear to.

Bottom-line, the CORSAIR ONE PRO is an ideal choice for music producers because of the speed, capacity, and power. It's also great because, you can push it as hard as you want, with all the plugins and VSTs you can load on it, knowing that the liquid cooled processor will be able to manage it. And if you happen to be a gamer, you don't need to look in any other direction when searching for a good laptop to produce music with.

CORSAIR ONE PRO Specifications
  • Form Factor: Tower PC
  • Screen Size: N/A
  • Max Screen Resolution: 4K
  • Processor: 4.2 GHz Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 32 GB DDR4
  • Storage: 2 TB
  • Connections: 6 x USB 3.0,  2 x USB 2.0, Ethernet
  • DVD RW drive: No
  • OS: Windows 10 Home

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The ADAMANT GEN7 is a powerful professional tower workstation computer that's built for the task for all kinds of media production. The computer is created by a company, Adamant Computers, that specializes in building custom made high performance computers. And we would encourage you to go to Amazon and check out the Adamant line of computers, starting with the Adamant Gen7. Because on top of building high performance workstation computers, they also offer FREE tech support, and warranty on the parts used to build their system.

Like the previous PC on this list, the Adamant Gen7 is a Windows 10 computer with a tower form factor. It's built using high quality components. It's expected to run very quietly, because of its ultra-quiet cooling fan. Speaking of cool, this PC also uses a liquid cooling system to keep the processor from overheating. You can also feel secured by the fact that its circuitry is protected by a heavy-duty circuit system (Over Current, Over Voltage, Under Voltage, Over Power and Short-Circuit protections). This is especially for those who like to tinker with overclocking their systems.

Unlike the previous PC on this list, it is not a "gaming PC." So if you're not particularly interested in gaming, but you want a Windows system that is made for professional media work, this would be your option. Additionally, it's running the Microsoft Windows 10 Professional OS.

Now, what's inside? When it comes to value for money, it's pretty much hard to beat the specs we're about look at. You get two storage drives with this unit. One massive 5 TB hard drive disk, and another 480 GB solid state drive. That's about 5.5 worth of library, samples, and music software for you for a long time time!

In terms of speed and power, The Gen7 uses an Intel Core i7-7700K 4.2 GHz Kaby Lake Processor. That is 4.2 GHz of speed for you. Which is blisteringly fast. Plus you also have 32 GB of RAM. So you get a solid state drive, massive storage, and super fast processor with a lot of RAM. Seamless producing is to be expected from this media workstation.

And connections are very much impressive. You have a total of 14 USB connections. 8 of them are USB 3.1, which are high-speed USB ports you'd want to use if you're want to play samples from your library on another drive. The other 6 are USB2.0. You also get a DVD drive which can burn CDs and DVDs. None of the previous computers have a DVD R/W built in, so if that is important to you, this is a great option.

Bottom-line, the Adamant Gen7 is a beast of a workstation computer for media. It's highly suitable for music production, and as far as value for money, probably the best option on this list. If you're home studio or professional studio requires a Windows 10 Professional PC with lots of power and massive storage to be the hub for your recording, tracking, producing, and mixing, this is the best option on this list. Particularly suite for professionals, or those who are going in the direction of being a professional.

ADAMANT GEN7 Specifications
  • Form Factor: Tower PC
  • Screen Size: N/A
  • Max Screen Resolution: --
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-7700K 4.2GHz Kaby Lake Processor
  • RAM: 32 GB DDR4
  • Storage: 5 TB HDD + 480 GB SSD
  • Connections: 8 x USB 3.1,  2 x USB 6.0, Ethernet
  • DVD RW drive: Yes
  • OS: Windows 10 Professional

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Sweetwater Custom Computing CS250 2u

Sweetwater Custom Computing CS250 2u

Wouldn't it be nice to buy a computer that comes with a DAW preinstalled on it? Well, that's what you can get with the Sweetwater Custom Computing CS250 2u. It's professional audio production workstation. It is manufactured by the pro audio supplier Sweetwater, a company that has been one of the recommended choices for audio by this website. It's form factor is unique because it is a rack mountable desktop computer. If your studio setup requires a rack for mounting audio interfaces, amplifiers, DA converters, and hardware plugins, you can save further space by using this computer on your rack instead of on, in, or next to your work desk

Whereas the previous two PCs on this list were specifically designed for gaming and general production, the CS250 2u was specifically designed music studios. It's already loaded with software packages in it that you'd likely want to, or going to use, at some point in your production. Installed on the CS250 2u is Audacity audio editor and recording software (the "free DAW" that all audio engineers use), and a free license of Studio One Artist. You also get LibreOffice software suite installed (the popular alternative to MS Office), so you might not need to worry about having to buy any office software. Naturally, it's compatible with all DAWs and is built to meet all DAW and music production software requirements. It even has the iLok manager already pre-installed (used for verifying copies of music production software).

What makes this so appealing for music producers is the amount of thought that went it this. Not only is it rackmountable (like pretty much any studio gear would be), it's designed to run ultra quiet so there is no interference with your microphone pick-ups. And if you prefer to place it on your desk instead, it has a set of four AcoustiFeet for sound and vibration isolation. If you're playing a lot of bass in your studio, you're not going to get any annoying rattling from this computer. It's design can built is also general acoustically treated to minimize any noise as much as possible.

So what's inside this audio workhorse? First the processor is a 7th generation Intel Core i5 processor with 3 GHz of speed that can be turbo boosted to 3.5GHz. This meets our requirements. Storage comes in two drives for two purposes. The system storage is a 240 GB SSD. The computer uses this for fast start up and loading of the OS and any software you install on the system. For audio, libraries, and samples, save them onto the 1 TB Seagate Barracuda drive that has a high transfer speed of 6 GB/s. I like this setup of  storing your libraries and sounds on separate drives. And I'm glad to see this approach in a system.

It has 8 GB or RAM, which seems surprisingly low for a music production computer. But recall that it already has a dedicated system drive of 240 GB, which is itself, a flash drive. So 8 GB should be more than sufficient for fast loading and transfer rates.

It comes with a DVD drive for burning and loading in CDs. You can connect up to 7 USB ports to it, as well as PCIe based gear like some professional audio interface. It also supports the ability to connection other ports and memory slots. The entire system runs a 64 bit version Windows 10 Home.

Bottom-line, the CS250 2u is an amazing package for music producers and sound engineers. It's nice to have a computer built strictly for the purpose of music production. With its own acoustic treatment, PCIe connection, 2 storage units built in, and more than sufficient power, you could run all your productions on this without worry. It even comes with two DAWs! On top of that, you get 2 years warranty and great support for Sweetwater. Certainly one of the best music production computers for music production out there.

Sweetwater Custom Computing CS250 2u Specifications
  • Form Factor: Rack Mountable PC
  • Screen Size: N/A
  • Max Screen Resolution: 4K
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-7400, 3.0GHz
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 (expandable to 64GB)
  • Storage: 240GB SSD + 1 TB Seagate Barracuda
  • Connections: 1 x USB 3.0 Type C, 2 x USB 3.0 Type A, 4 x USB 2.0 Type A; 2 PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1, 1 PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16, 1 PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16; ethernet
  • DVD RW drive: Yes
  • OS: Windows 10 Home 64 bit

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Music Production Desktop Computer Buying Guide

As you already know, a computer is essential if you want to do any production work. Particularly when it comes to music. Any music that you hear has, at some point, passed through someone's DAW on their computer. There are different kinds of computers though, and many of these computers have different kinds of specifications, some which won't be ideal for making music.

So in order to choose among the list of computers, we need to look into how to choose the best computer for music production.

How to choose

When it comes to computers, you actually have two choices. There is Mac, and then there is Windows.

The fact is, you can go with either Mac or Windows. Both systems are reliable enough to produce, mix, and master any kind of music. But not all Macs, nor not all PCs will be fit to do the job. They both will require a base set of specifications to make them an ideal or essential part of your production process, especially if your looking for a music production computer for professional use.

Mac Vs PC

PC or MacThe reason why you'd choose a Mac, is because it is the industry standard for media production. This is slowly changing, though, but for now, that is the case. So if you plan on working a professional industry studio, and know that you have to exchange a lot of files with their system, you'd most likely need a Mac. Also, some DAWs (like Logic and Pro Tools) were created to work on a Macintosh system (Pro Tools recently enabled Windows support, but Mac still works best for them).

When it comes to Windows, you'd want a Windows computer for a few reasons. Either you want a cheap computer, you want a computer for gaming, you want a computer where you can easily update its internal components, or you are familiar with Windows, and you know that working on a Windows will not impede your professional opportunities in the industry some way or another.

For example. If you plan on going to college to study sound engineering and music production, get a Mac. If you plan on taking some online courses and get into business for yourself, you can use a Windows.

Form Factor

Form factor refers to the shape and design of the physical system itself. There are a few form factors that you can choose from.

For the purposes of this guide, we'll look at 3 PC form factors: Tower PC, desktop PC, and all-in-one PC. Each has its own benefits and disadvantages. You can assess which is right for you based on the the pros and cons for each.

#1 - The Tower PC

Tower cases are built with a vertical chassis. They generally take up a small floor space, so they can fit in a tighter spot on your studio floor or desk. Also they a more spacious inside, making them easier to get into if you want to upgrade their internal components.

The main disadvantage of a tower case computer, is that they don't come with their own display unit. Also, you'd be giving up vertical space for the relatively narrow floor room they can fit in.

#2 - The Desktop PC

Like the name suggests, a desktop case is designed to be placed on your desk. Desktop computers are designed, then, with a horizontal chassis.

Just like a tower case, you'd find them beneficial for changing out internal components. Another great benefit of a desktop is the ability for it to be fit on your studio equipment rack.

The main disadvantage of a desktop is the amount of space they take up on a desk, as well as the lack of display unit.

#3 - The All-In-One PC

An all-in-one computer has everything built into one unit, which is designed around a monitor. The main advantage is that you get a monitor with your purchase. As a purchase, all-in-ones are the fastest and easiest to set up and get going right out of the box.

The main disadvantage is that an all-in-one computer makes changing internal components  difficult, as well as, if you have to change or upgrade something, you'd have to either ship the entire thing back to the manufacturer, leaving you without a computer, or get a brand new computer instead. This is because since everything is built into one unite. Hard drive, CPU, and monitor especially.

Basic requirements

In music production, there are some basic performance requirements needed to get the best out of your production experience. You're working with plugins and software that are going to require some amount of power to manage. So having the right processor and RAM will prevent you from having too many glitches that will just ruin your ability to produce high quality music.

Also, you want enough storage space to organise and store all your sound files, system files, and libraries. I can tell you right now, that you are going to need quite a bit of space if you plan on working on songs, especially high quality song files. Space runs out fast on a 500GB hard drive.

The basic specs that you want are:


A processor with a speed 2.5 GHz and up. Ideally 3 GHz. Having duo, quad, or octa core is best, since the processor will be able to handle more multitasking (especially if you have your sound files stored on the same disk as your OS and plugins).

Intel Core i5 or an AMD equivalent are you base options.


A hard drive with at least 500 GB is acceptable if you plan on only mixing and mastering. You have enough space to save all your music, and you don't have a large sample library to deal with if all you're doing is mixing and mastering fully produced songs.

However, my suggestion is 1 TB. This is especially if you do beat-making, composing for film or game, songwriting, or any similar production work. Your library will grow more and more over time. So you'll find that even 1 TB is not going to be enough. Telling you this from experience

You can also choose between a solid state drive and a hard drive disk. If you can, go for solid state drive (SSD). They are essentially flash drives with no moving parts. Meaning instantaneous loading of all your software and files.

Finally, in terms of storage, you have two options. You can have one hard drive for installing all your systems files plus music production content -- the same drive that your OS and other programs are installed. Or, you can have two seperate drives: one drive for system files, and another drive for your sound libraries, samples, and instruments.

Some of the computers on this list come with two hard drives with this arrangement. The benefit is that you get a fast load time or your software, since your computer doesn't have to do double duty searching for files on the hard drive to run the software, as well as load up samples and sound libraries from the same hard drive. This means a more streamlined PC performance.


A computer uses memory to quickly store and cache files so that it doesn't have to keep referring to the main hard drive. This is called random-access memory (or RAM). Think of this as "instant recall." The larger the memory, the better, especially when dealing with large libraries and sound files.

8 GB is your base requirement.

Ports & Drives

Since you're getting a computer to produce and mix music, it's pretty much essential your choice is one that has a DVD R/W drive.

A few options, unfortunately, won't give you that. Namely, the Macintosh computer. This means you'd need to get an external DVD drive.

In addition to the drives, are the connections and ports you'll need to have. Since you're plugging in MIDI devices into your computer, it goes without saying that having a good amount of USB ports will do you some good. Aim to at least 6 USB ports.

Computer noise

You may not realize this, but your computer makes a sound. The fan and hard drive produces sounds that can be loud or soft, or give subtle hum. If you are recording anything, and you have a simple studio set up with your microphone on your desk, you need an ultra quiet system.

Even when mixing music, the sound of your computer can interfere with what you're hearing.

All the computers in this list are considered either extremely quiet, or relatively quiet.


The final consideration is how much you are willing to spend. In the area of computers, you can be a little bit more flexible than with your other studio gear. A lot of computers can surprisingly handle the workload, even some basic consumer PCs. More professional PCs will cost you in the thousands of dollars, while you can get some budget machines for under 500.

The benefit of an advanced computer is simply storage and power. Instant loading of programs, files, and seamless production, with the ability to render high quality audio without a taxing your system.

A lower budget computer will struggle a little bit with loading softwares and plugins. And they may hang a little longer when you try to load a VST plugin into your DAW. If you know you work on a timely basis (such as with clients), this may eat a little into your studio time while waiting on patches to load. But if you're simply getting started and doing your own productions on your own time, the budget PC is the way to go.


How to optimize your computer for music production?

  • Optimize your computer for music production with these simple steps:-
  • Change the power option to high performance
  • Disable the system sounds; you don’t want any computer sounds interfering with the recordings
  • Change the processor scheduling to background service
  • Disable updates
  • Turn off animated windows
  • Disable Anti-Virus apps and Firewall apps
  • Update network adapter driver

How to set up my computer for music production?

Setting up your computer for music production is actually quite simple. Following are the basic essentials required for the setup:-

  • Headphones and Speakers - Invest in some high-quality speakers and headphones. Studio monitors (powered speakers) deliver a neutral sound to perfectly mix and accurately detect the quality of recording.
  • Stands and Cable - You’ll need a cable to connect the microphone to the audio interface along with some auxiliary cables to connect the audio interface to the speakers. A mic stand for microphone is a must for easy recording experience.
  • Audio Interface - One of the most important hardware items required as it’s the central unit that acts as an interface between the computer, the microphone and the speakers. You can purchase an audio interface depending on your recording requirements and budget. Find the right ones here.
  • Microphone - There are basically two options to connect the microphone with your computer. You can purchase a USB microphone, or record through an audio interface.
  • Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) / Recording Software - The type of software depends on the kind of recording you are planning to do. If it’s an undemanding record and edit, the Audacity Recording Software (free software) will do. An alternate software could be the Reaper (60 day free trial), which is the complete package when looking for a DAW. You can take a look at some of the other best options I recommend.
  • MIDI Keyboard Controller - If you make music straight through a mic, then the need for a MIDI Keyboard Controller doesn’t arise. However, if you wish to create your own music sheet and work with virtual instruments, then the controller is a must.  You can simply connect it to your computer via a USB cable. Take a look at the top choices.

How to upgrade your computer for music production?

Outdated hardware and software affects the performance of the desktop. Below are some tips to upgrade your computer by tweaking the software and hardware respectively

  • Opt for a Solid State Hard Drive
  • Get more RAM space
  • Get a 64-bit software (if you’re currently using a 32-bit)
  • Clear the clutter on a regular basis (games, movies, apps, etc.)
  • Upgrade the CPU (Hard drive and RAM)

Is a desktop or laptop better for music production?

Desktops - These are generally the popular choice among people who are producing music at home. This is because it offers a more reliable performance and value for money. Additionally, desktops are comparatively easy to upgrade, which is an important point to remember for future proofing your home studio.

Laptops - If you travel frequently for gigs, then a laptop is the ideal option for you. Some would say a laptop may not be able to match the performance levels of a desktop when it comes to music production. But many newer models are able to handle even the most strenuous music production tasks. Take a look at some of the ones recommended here.

Is a gaming computer good for music production?

PC’s that are specially built for intense gaming can actually be quite effective for music production. It is better to go for an i7 instead of an i5 processor because unlike gaming that mainly depends on the graphic card for a high end performance, all the major elements of a music production like plugins, VST instruments, libraries, etc. rely on the CPU for effective functioning.

What is the best computer processor for music production?

The processor for music production should be able to reduce spikes and protect the DAW from crashing. One of the best processors in the market today for music production is the Intel Core i7 5960x (scoring a notable 15991 on the cpubenchmark.net test). This processor offers a super smooth production experience with its 8 hyper-threaded cores along with a core speed of 3.0 GHz featuring 3.5 GHz turbo boost.

How to connect a studio microphone to a computer?

Typically all computers come with a microphone port that can connect a dynamic microphone using an appropriate jack. However, this method doesn’t deliver the sound quality that professional music recorders look for. For that high-quality professional recording experience, here are two effective ways to connect the studio microphone to your computer:-

USB Microphones: It is a high-quality microphone that directly plugs into the USB port, making it a simple and ideal option. Simply plug the USB cable of the microphone to the USB port on your desktop or laptop and the device is ready to use.

USB Audio Interface: If you require more than one microphone unit, you can opt for a USB Audio interface that is designed to connect multiple microphones along with other instruments. The audio interface comes equipped with the necessary softwares and preamps to offer a high-quality recording experience.

How do you connect studio monitors to computer?

One of the easiest ways to connect studio monitors to a computer is through an audio interface. However, it is important to note that you have the right cables; so look at the back of your studio monitor and the audio interface to match up the right cable. Here are three easy steps to connect your studio monitor to the computer via audio interface.

Take a look at this video for more info:

How to record studio-quality vocals on your computer?

To record studio-quality vocals on your computer, you need the following three basic equipments:-

  • An audio Interface that connects a microphone to the PC via USB, and powers it thorough 48v ‘phantom power’
  • A microphone, preferably a large diaphragm condenser mic
  • Music software or DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)

The next step is to ensure that all these elements are connected to your PC in a proper manner with correct wiring. Your system should be able to recognize your audio interface and you can tag your microphone from the “Audio Input” option in the “Preferences” menu. All that’s left to do is hit the “Record” button, and if everything is connected properly, you’ll able to see the software recording the sound going into the microphone. If there’s no sound, make sure that the phantom power is turned on and the gain volume is turned up. Lastly, check your program settings or preferences, and make sure the audio input is set to audio interface.

How to connect synthesizer to computer FL studio?

The best way to connect a synthesizer to a computer FL studio is via an audio interface. It is simple and effectively syncs your synthesizer with your desktop. Here’s how you can go about it:-

  • Connect the audio interface to the computer via USB cable
  • Again, connect the synthesizer and audio interface using a standard USB cable
  • Plug in one end of the TSR cable into the ‘line input’ of the synthesizer and the other end into the input of audio interface.
  • Now, go to FL studio, click on “Live”, and then select “Preference” and click on “Audio”.
  • In the Audio section, click on the “Audio Input Device” and select your audio interface.
  • Further click on the “Audio Output Device” below and again select your audio interface.
  • All your devices are now synced and ready to create music.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you would've found the best one for your studio 🙂

By the end of this guide, you not only would have found the perfect computer, you also would've learned how to choose the right computer. You may not have realized the several form factors that exist (even though I'm certain you were aware of them). But more importantly, you now learned how each form factor should influence your buying decision.

Not only that, you got an understanding of the basic requirements of a good music production computer. And because there are so many computers on the market, you now have a list of only ten to choose from.

How do you choose?

You simply figured out how much money you wanted to spend, if it was a Mac or PC, and what form factor was important for your setup. That's simply it!

What say you? What do you think is the best computer for music production? Do you have any suggestions? Or what computer do you use?

Leave a comment below for your thoughts, recommendations, and questions if you need more clarification.

Otherwise, please share this with your friends, or anyone you think would find this post useful.

And remember to check out my home studio equipment guide for more of the best gear to buy.

How we came to these resultsHow did I come to these results

This is the result of hours and days of searching through Amazon and other computer stores on the internet to find the computers on the market now that fit the above requirements. Our sources were mainly Amazon, other pro audio outlets, as well as forums such as Gearslutz.com to assess what producers consider the best requirements for a computer.

The choices for this list were factored based on specifications, design, brand reliability, and user reviews on Amazon. Also, being a producer myself, I utilized my own experience with computers over the years to make the choices I would make when I buy a new computer for music production, in whatever price bracket.

6 Comments on “10 Best Computers for Music Production 2018 – Desktop PC and Mac”

  1. This is an awesome article that really gets down to the nitty gritty which I love. I also enjoy the fact that while being factual, it’s easy enough to understand that anyone could comprehend it. I use to make music back in college but I stopped (partially so I could pass lmao) But you’ve kind of inspired me to startup again. Do you think a super powerful computer is needed to do just that, or would it be possible on a more standard one?

  2. Hi, Jasmere,

    Thanks for asking. Any computer that fits the basic requirements that I listed at the top of the guide should do. At the bottom of the list are a couple of great choices I found for under 500 dollars that I think would be excellent if that’s all you want to do. This guide is broadly for professionals and enthusiasts that truthfully want the ideal and the best and are not shy of spending the cash, as well as for hobbyist, beginners, and those on a budget that want a great computer for starting a home studio or getting into music production that can actually get the job done.

    I plan on doing a guide for people on a budget, though, but from my product research, the Dell and the Aspire I mentioned the way to go for budget buyers… with my recommendation being the Aspire for the greatest value that you can get for you money. They are both covered in this guide.


  3. Great article!!

    In regards to the Sweetwater Custom Computing CS250 2u, the article states that “It has 8 GB or RAM, which seems surprisingly low for a music production computer. But recall that it already has a dedicated system drive of 480 GB, which is itself, a flash drive. So 8 GB should be more than sufficient for fast loading and transfer rates.”

    I can find no reference to a 480GB system drive on the Sweetwater website. Only a 240 GB SSD and the 1 TB hard drive. Could you please clarify?

    Thank you

  4. Hello there!
    Thanks for spotting that. It was a typo… I corrected it. I had actually stated just a few lines above the original typo “The system storage is a 240 GB SSD. The computer uses this for fast start up and loading of the OS and any software you install on the system.”
    Thanks again for feedback. Take care!

  5. Thanks for the article.

    I’m currently trying to decide between the 27-inch i-Mac and the Mac Pro or i-Mac Pro. I’m curious as to how the 4.2GHz quad i-7 core, compares to the 3.5 GHz 6-core. The regular i-Mac seems to fulfil all my other requirements (64gb RAM and 1tb SSD) its just the i-7 that I’m not sure about as I know many other composers have 6 or more cores. I should mention that I’m and film composer and music producer, and often work with large sample libraries and/or lots of audio often reaching over 100 tracks. So is it worth spending the extra cash for 6-core, or is the i-7 quad enough?


  6. Hi there Jayden,

    The iMac Pro is a professional grade computer. I would go for that one. The 27 iMac is also suitable in my opinion, but it’s not as flexible to necessary changes you may need to make since it’s an all in one desktop. Plus the faster core is not the only thing you get with the iMac Pro, you get more Thunderbolt connections which is important.
    It’s overall a better computer. My reason for setting the 27 inch as a top choice was because it’s a great home studio computer for users both non-professionals and professionals.

    Hope that helps

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