Hardware recommendation

So intel GPU would be better for low latency then a high end GPU?

Yes, but intel is releasing a discrete GPU soon, so that doesn’t necessarily mean a built in graphics card if you opt for a quiet desktop route. If you need something mobile, you’re stuck with a built in graphics card.

I wonder how would the raspberry pi gpu would handle low latency. For my desktop Ubuntu 20.04 setup, I have a nvidia GPU but I don’t know if I’m running low latency or whatever. Isn’t that supported in the latest or recent Linux kernels. Also the only thing I remember doing was setting up a audio group via a Ubuntu studio audio connection app

Hi,Robin. Yes, I’m looking for a desktop, and my soundcard is a USB interface. I’m just an amateur musician trying to record my songs at home, and I get pretty overwhelmed with all this tech chatter. You all gave me some ideas. Since the sistem I have now is a Pentium Dual Core E5200, with a basic HDD and only a dismal 2 GB of RAM, any improvement will make a huge difference.
Any suggestions on non-expensive reliable motherboards?

The free “Nouveau” drivers don’t work well a high resolutions on some Nvidia cards. The proprietary Nvidia drivers solve that problem, but do not work with a “Real Time” kernel. They do work, though, on a 'low latency" kernel, and I and getting good results with that combination. The low latency kernel seems to perform as well as the RT kernel on my system. I’m not using MIDI and virtual instruments, though, and I don’t know how much difference that makes.

Do you have a Used computer reseller near you? For years now in our actual Studio we buy 2 or 3 year old machines that were leased to big companies by Dell, HP or Lenovo, after their lease contract is up they come on the reseller market. They are name brand and built like tanks with really good hardware (often Intel Graphics like x42 suggests) and the prices are very reasonable. As an example now a lot of Intel i5 and i7 4 and 8 core machines are on the market and they make terrific Linux Audio computers…

The only reason I bought the Threadripper was for 4K Video work and running multiple development VMs but for Audio and HD Video work these reseller machines are the bomb diggety!

As a local example here in Canada: HP EliteDesk 800 G2 SFF - PC Options
Obviously models and price will vary everywhere…

Depending upon how or where you acquire it, sometimes used hardware can be a bit of a lottery (or I’ve just been unlucky) - but the advantage of a reputable reseller is that they should always provide proper guarantees in the unlikely event of any issues.

Years ago I bought a recycled (or more correctly, second-hand) machine to use as a DAW, and finally, after I’d replaced the motherboard - and then the CPU (because new motherboard etc), the disk drive (because the new motherboard was incompatible, and also the bearings failed), the power supply (because the new board, CPU and disk combo then required more power), and the case (because the PSU was originally a non-standard part, which was then obsolete and the new one wouldn’t fit), it worked perfectly, and has been one of the most reliable machines I ever owned… though I’m not exactly sure how much of the original is or was actually left by the end :slight_smile:


Haha well there’s always a voice of dissent and your story is credible. The real secret is to get machines that were in the offices of CEO’s and upper management people, they were probably never turned on! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I can only share my own experience I’ve probably purchased 10+ of these machines for myself and family/friends and they have all been absolute ringers. Where I buy they usually come on pallets and I usually pick through and look for cases that have no visible wear on the power button or minimal nicks and scratches on the cases. These days the HDD usually gets replaced or augmented with an SSD anyway which eliminates one common wear item.

I have a similar experience as GMaq. I used to use a consumer grade Intel i3 ASUS laptop, and it produced xruns below a 256 buffer setting. I bought a refurbished workstation laptop that was even a few years older than the ASUS (Intel i7 Thinkpad X230, circa 2012), and it is reliable today down to a 64 buffer setting. I keep it in a dock and basically use it as a desktop, but I think the key is to look for a computer that is marketed as a workstation, and companies retire those after a few years all the time.

There is a Windows program I ran on both of them that checked if the machines were capable of low latency, and the Thinkpad passed while the ASUS failed. When using a USB interface, I think the motherboard design of the USB busses is one of the biggest factors, even more so than CPU speed or amount of RAM, and that is where consumer grade products skimp. As a lone, hobbyist musician low latency is important to me because I have to overdub instruments since I don’t have band mates.

If you are getting a desktop, you probably have less to worry about because you can add a USB card into an open PCIe slot if the built-in USB ports don’t get you good enough performance. I did this on an old desktop of mine and it made a big difference, but once it aged beyond use (32-bit processor), I switched to what I have now.

I have a setup similar to what Gunther T describes -a Lenovo X240 laptop with i5 Intel CPU and 8 Gb RAM. I’m running Ubuntu 20 and a Roland USB 2.0 external soundcard. Ardour is extremely stable in this setup with latency down to ~10 ms.

You can use


to install the Binary *.run Nvidia driver with a RT kernel. Used that for years without issues.

1 Like


I’ve have very good experience with the X-series as well. first a x60s, then a x250 and now a X1/Carbon. The internal hardware IRQ layout of those is very sane. There is at least one USB ports that doesn’t share IRQs with other devices. On the older models it was even configurable in the BIOS.

They’re not cheap, but you can also get some 2nd hand. I’d avoid the x240 though that doesn’t have physical mouse buttons. YMMV.

Lenovo also offers replacement parts, and you can even open the box without voiding warranty.

This topic was automatically closed 91 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.