How to set up a new system for audio production AND general PC use

Configure and optimize you computer for Audio.
ataribravo
KVRer
10 posts since 12 Feb, 2020

Post Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:00 pm

I just built a new PC (i9-9900k, Aorus Ultra MB, 16GB Corsair RAM, 1TB Samsung EVO+ M.2 drive) and want to create a dual boot solution where I can, at startup, select Audio Production or General PC usage. The AP boot would route audio through my Focusrite Scarlett 2/2 to my monitors and disable the internet connection, while the GPC boot would route audio to my onboard sound to my PC speakers and enable the internet. Perhaps there is an easier way to accomplish this than by dual booting? All advice is welcome... Thanks!

ataribravo
KVRer
10 posts since 12 Feb, 2020

Re: How to set up a new system for audio production AND general PC use

Post Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:09 pm

Anyone?

Meffy
Skunk Mod
20893 posts since 10 Jun, 2004 from Pony Pasture

Re: How to set up a new system for audio production AND general PC use

Post Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:14 pm

Hi and welcome. If you do go the dual-boot route I can't imagine you'd run into problems. I've not done it so can't offer any guidance there.

Your system should be plenty powerful enough to run music software and ordinary computing stuff either together or separately. My music computers aren't dual-boot, but if I bothered it might squeeze out a few percent better sound / speed / etc. But aside from the minor inconvenience it couldn't hurt to dual-boot.

The only weak area I can see is storage. If you use samples you'll probably want another terabyte (SSD) or more (SSD or HDD) of storage for them.

Caveat: I'm a PC and Mac user, but not a computer-building or -configuring maven. KVR has plenty of them, and if one or more say I'm wrong about anything, you should probably take their word for it.

ataribravo
KVRer
10 posts since 12 Feb, 2020

Re: How to set up a new system for audio production AND general PC use

Post Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:42 pm

Thank you for the response! I neglected to mention an additional drive: Samsung QVO 2TB SSD for samples. :-)

Meffy
Skunk Mod
20893 posts since 10 Jun, 2004 from Pony Pasture

Re: How to set up a new system for audio production AND general PC use

Post Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:02 pm

There ya go. *thumbs up*

robotmonkey
KVRAF
2375 posts since 20 Jun, 2012

Re: How to set up a new system for audio production AND general PC use

Post Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:24 am

ataribravo wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:09 pm
Anyone?
Don't mess with Dual Boot, not worth it. Install Virtualbox and do all your general computing, internet and testing stuff in a virtual machine.

That way you can keep your DAW and gaming stuff clean from the rest.

I have been doing it this way for ever and it has worked great. Before switching to Win 10 recently my Win 7 install was running at least 5 years, maybe more, without any problems and it was as clean and stable as it was when I installed it.
No signature here!

ataribravo
KVRer
10 posts since 12 Feb, 2020

Re: How to set up a new system for audio production AND general PC use

Post Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:37 am

Thank you RobotMonkey! I was hoping an alternative method would be proposed. Great idea! :-)

ataribravo
KVRer
10 posts since 12 Feb, 2020

Re: How to set up a new system for audio production AND general PC use

Post Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:55 am

@robotmonkey,
I watched a video on VirtualBox. A couple of quick questions since you are familiar with it: 1) Is this a permanent solution (e.g. when you turn off your PC and back on again, is the VM still there or do you have to set it up each time)? 2) Can the VM use the same OS if you are not using a different OS (e.g. Linux) or do you need two instances of Win10? 3) Can you switch between the VM and "real" PC or is a reboot required? 4) Is it possible to run both at the same time (e.g. play a YouTube video on VM while working in your DAW)? Obviously I'll look up the details on my own, but these answers will help determine if this it the correct route for me. Thank you for your time!

Meffy
Skunk Mod
20893 posts since 10 Jun, 2004 from Pony Pasture

Re: How to set up a new system for audio production AND general PC use

Post Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:04 am

Virtual Box is excellent stuff. I use it to run Linux on the same hardware as Win10. It's provided by big, evil Oracle Corporation, which I don't much like, but it's hard to complain too much about something they give away for free.

A couple of caveats — programs running in Virtual Box will run slightly slower than in the main OS. With the specs you posted that's likely not going to be much of an issue. You also might not be able to access every device in your system, though that's less of a problem these days than in years past. Getting the full power of a fancy gaming display card might be difficult or impossible, depending on circumstances. You could always install the demanding games in the "real" machine rather than in a virtual machine.

Also, you might find that some software that's licensed only for one, two, however many systems consider the virtual machine to be a separate system. This probably won't be much of an issue since you'll be putting different software on each "system", but something to keep in mind.

One very big advantage to VB is that it's sandbox-like, meaning what happens in VB stays in VB. With the exception of shared drives, nothing you do there can damage your non-virtual main system. I wouldn't recommend using dodgy software that might contain malware, but even if you delete your Windows directory in the virtual machine, you could delete that VM, make a new one, and continue where you left off.

As with any computer, keeping regular backups will protect you from a multitude of potential disasters.

Good luck!

Meffy
Skunk Mod
20893 posts since 10 Jun, 2004 from Pony Pasture

Re: How to set up a new system for audio production AND general PC use

Post Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:08 am

I can answer some of your questions to robotmonkey.

The virtual machine maintains its contents from one session to the next. Assuming you properly shut down the virtual machine rather than just killing the task, when you reopen the VM, files will be the same as they were when you left.

I don't know whether you can use the same copy of, say, Win10 in a VM and on the real PC. Might take two licenses. Haven't tried it.

It's no problem to run a virtual machine at the same time as you work on the real machine. You can go full-screen and use hotkeys to switch, or run the virtual machine in a window. I sometimes put a Linux VM on one display while Win10 gets the other.

ataribravo
KVRer
10 posts since 12 Feb, 2020

Re: How to set up a new system for audio production AND general PC use

Post Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:21 am

Thank you Meffy... good info!

robotmonkey
KVRAF
2375 posts since 20 Jun, 2012

Re: How to set up a new system for audio production AND general PC use

Post Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:23 am

ataribravo wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:55 am
@robotmonkey,
I watched a video on VirtualBox. A couple of quick questions since you are familiar with it: 1) Is this a permanent solution (e.g. when you turn off your PC and back on again, is the VM still there or do you have to set it up each time)? 2) Can the VM use the same OS if you are not using a different OS (e.g. Linux) or do you need two instances of Win10? 3) Can you switch between the VM and "real" PC or is a reboot required? 4) Is it possible to run both at the same time (e.g. play a YouTube video on VM while working in your DAW)? Obviously I'll look up the details on my own, but these answers will help determine if this it the correct route for me. Thank you for your time!
Some good answers from Meffy above already.
1) Yes, virtual machine behaves exactly as a regular machine. As a bonus you'll get the ability to take snapshots of the machine. That means you can save a state of a machine in a certain point of time and then easily go back to this state with a click of a mouse. Good for testing out stuff - if you screw anything up, then just revert to previous snapshot.
2) VM can run the same OS as the host machine (the physical machine) or a different one (like Linux etc). You can run different virtual machines at the same time without any problem. I often work in a Win 10 VM and a Linux VM at the same time. Often I even run 5 or more machines at the same time when learning and testing stuff.
3) Virtual Machines run like other programs - in their own windows. You can make them full screen or run windowed. It's up to you and it's easy to switch. You can also easily copy files between your VM's and host machine.
4) Yes. I often do this. I might have a DAW or graphics software open while also surfing the net, downloading stuff and watching videos in a VM.
No signature here!

Meffy
Skunk Mod
20893 posts since 10 Jun, 2004 from Pony Pasture

Re: How to set up a new system for audio production AND general PC use

Post Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:25 am

robotmonkey wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:23 am
Some good answers from Meffy above already.
Thanks — never hurts to have more than one viewpoint. I've got things wrong in the past and will do so again, I'm sure!

ataribravo
KVRer
10 posts since 12 Feb, 2020

Re: How to set up a new system for audio production AND general PC use

Post Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:37 am

Well... sounds like a silver bullet! Are there any negatives to be considered? Windows 10 Pro is supposed to have a built-in VM, would using that have any benefits over a 3rd party?

codec_spurt
KVRAF
4045 posts since 21 Sep, 2005

Re: How to set up a new system for audio production AND general PC use

Post Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:40 am

this is what dislikes can do
Last edited by codec_spurt on Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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