New intel 11th gen CPUs are out and their audio performance seem to be worst than previous gen as their bigger cores command higher latencies (read more on Anandtech); meanwhile, GPUs are nowhere to be found, and AMD CPUs are selling higher than MSRP due to high demand and 7nm shortage.
Therefore, we will look ath the 10900 (non K) or 10850K as the heart of our system as their price/performance is similar to their AMD counterparts, and we can rely on the iGpu to drive our screens, saving money and energy. Get the cheapest avaiable out of these two, as their stock performance is the same and overclocking needs too much power for a very slim benefit: Intel is already running the 14nm process at the verge of stability.
A good cooler is needed even at the default frequencies, in europe SilentiumPC sells a superb value 140mm for 35 euros – TIP: do not overspend on Noctua or similar branded stuff, look at the size / price ratio first.
Our motherboard of choiche for audio production is the MS Z490I Unify : amazing VRM for stable and efficient operation, integrated Thunderbolt 3, dual NVMe – running at less than 250euros right now. This is by far the best intel board we ever used.
The board has 1 DisplayPort and 1 HDMI supporting up to a single 4k60hz and single 2k display running at the same time. A third display up to 4k60hz can be run through the Thunderbolt connector with adapters.
If you want to go Hackintosh, z490itx/ac by asrock is the safest choice as there are plenty of builds based on it to be found on forums and github. With the latest itlw intel wireless driver, you do not need to swap the integrated module anymore.
1 TB NVMe SSD best value seem to be the Kingston A2000 , even though we usually buy (slightly slower) P2s for our systems as we have a very good experience with Crucial’s reliability – transfer rates are not bottleneck on audio production tasks.
32 Gb of ram is the sweet post in value for money on ram; speed is not crucial, while a good tuning of every timing (such as trfc) can provide gains in realtime performance.
Gettin dual channel (2×16) will provide better bandwith, smoother system graphics, but going 1×32 can leave room for cheap upgrade in the future.
A 80 platinium model is our choiche for the PSU, as the higher efficiency means lower heat output inside the case, resulting in less noise and stress on the components and lower power bills. Choose the cheapest between SIlverstone and Seasonic ;
For sale now on Amazon at 92 euros is also a nice TX650M – though it’s Gold rated only.
As the case, looks are subjective, we like the Sylent 5 – a sound-dampened fractal clone – just make sure to run the front fans at 5v by inverting the molex orientation.
With good low-profile coolers ITX cases can also be used. Using a lower TDP profile even console size is possible