I’ve been searching the web for recommendations about what hardware to choose for a desktop PC. After reading many forums and (old) posts within the Ardour forum, consulting some local technicians without enough luck, I think I need some kind of advice based on experience and I believe you can give me a hand. The Ardour manual gives great information about how to understand/evaluate things (here). Also, the video linked over there, is a great piece of advice. However I’m somehow lost between available and affordable hardware in my country and free software compatibilities, especially related to real-time performance for audio work.
After that introduction, the very question is: which pieces of hardware have you tested so far that you can recommend me to assemble my own desktop machine? I mean something around 350 USD (excluding monitor, mouse, keyboard, soundcard, etc). Motherboard, CPU, RAMs, SSD… Running GNU/Linux OS (It could be Debian or AVLinux). For the time being, with an external USB 2.0 soundcard.
I would want to mix around 20 tracks and perform a recording without much use of plugins. By now I can manage latency problems by Direct Monitor, but I would like to monitor from software; perhaps, some vocals with a delay or reverb included and some tracks playing back with no plugins.
Probably, it could sound like an old machine to some of you, that’s why I think you can help based on your own experience. Or you might know where I could find more information in order to make a practical choice (balance hardware, reduce bottleneck issues, have free software compatibility).
Just in case, I have a PC with a liveCD on a pendrive because my HDD is almost dead and so might be the motherboard or power supply, that’s why I’m focused on a new PC instead of anything else. You may say —why don’t you ask around?—; the trouble is that every person I know that works with audio, uses Windows and non-libre DAWs; and technicians want to offer what they have in stock not necessarily what you need (least what works with GNU/Linux).