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Tips for Selecting Your Hauptwerk Computer

2015-01-26 - Hauptwerk Technical

Probably the most frequent questions I get asked by customers are questions relating to which computer they should buy for Hauptwerk.

Part of the problem in answering that in a general way is that I could point you to a particular model today and that model likely won't exist in a couple of months; almost certainly it will disappear within 6 months to a year.

So, I thought I'd lay out some guidelines to selecting a computer and some things to be considered before making a purchase.

"Hello. I'm a Mac... And I'm a PC"

The first question asked is whether to go with a Mac or with a PC.  The real question is "do you want to purchase something and do a lot of tweeking to save some money or do you want to purchase something that works out-of-the-box and pay a premium to do so?" Ask yourself this and have an answer. If you're up for tweeking, then get a PC. If you like stuff that "just works", get a Mac.

Having said this, if your budget expressly forbids you getting a Mac, there are a few professionals out there who can help you tweek a PC into something you can live with. Email us for recommendations for those people in your area.

Should I Stay or Should I Grow?

The second question for you to answer is "do you want to purchase a computer that will just accommodate your needs for the moment or do you want one that is expandable enough to grow with you over the next 4-5 years?" 

If you want a computer that will do only for your current needs, then you need to know what Hauptwerk instruments (sample sets) you wish to use, which sound card you plan to use and what you plan to do about multi-channeled audio. The sample set impacts on the RAM. The sound card impacts on the ports you need. The multi-channelling impacts on the processor needed.

Once you have established these things, you can go about comparing their specs against the specs of your prospective computer. Note that if you're shopping for a Mac, that the operating system wants 30 percent of the RAM free at any given time for caching purposes. So, for example, if your sample set needs 12GB to run, ideally, the computer will want 18GB or more of RAM. This is not a hard and fast requirement. However, it's something you should plan for if you're getting a Mac.

Perpetual Motion Machine

By far the easiest thing to do is to get a machine that has the maximum number of the latest processors, got a cool 64GB RAM with room for more, and a couple terabytes of solid state hard drive. If you are able to go that route, do it. No need to think more about it.

However, if you want a framework that will allow you to do a lot with the potential to do more in the future, get something like this:

  • 6-12 cores in processing. Anything 6-cores or more should be able to handle whatever you want to throw at it from Hauptwerk unless your multi-channelling plans go beyond 10 channels.
  • Motherboard has the ability to handle more than 32GB RAM (whether or not you decide to put that much in now). Putting 16GB in is kind of a minimum for me. 32GB is better.
  • Video card should support 2 monitors but otherwise be nothing special. Hauptwerk is not graphics intensive at all. - PC only
  • A Firewire card with Texas Instruments firewire chip in it if you are choosing a Firewire sound card - PC only
  • Minimum 7200 rpm hard drive. Get a terabyte or two. A solid state drive is better if you can afford it. This just speeds up loading by a lot.
  • Windows Professional or whatever version allows you to access unlimited RAM at the moment. - PC only


Mirabilis (2015-03-21) Log in to Reply
Another well written article - succinct and to the point. I just purchased my PC. A MAC would be great, but with my IT background, I think I can make it work. 6-way processor, 48GB RAM (128GB possible), plenty of ports Firewire and USB for external attachments. Next step is to get it built. Is the standard Windows OS (8.1-64bit) okay or do you suggest a Server OS? I have both and can run either. I may well up the RAM to 64GB. Since Fukushima, memory prices have gone through the roof!

Next step will be the keyboards, etc. and the MIDI stuff.

organwerk (2015-03-23) Edited Log in to Reply
Hi Bob.

To my knowledge, you have to run Hauptwerk on a consumer/business version of Windows. I don't think you can run it on a server version. Your standard 8.1 - 64-bit OS is fine. See here

Also see the tutorial for optimizing Windows for Audio Applications here
162_Ranks (2015-01-30) Log in to Reply
Funny, I was just thinking about this. I was hoping to go with my current iMac with a 32GB upgrade, but it is "only" a quad-core i&. Do you think 4 cores is enough for the larger sample sets with a home setup with 6 (5+1) channels?

Or should I really jump up to 6 cores, which means a Mac Pro and $$$?
organwerk (2015-03-23) Log in to Reply

Sorry. I just saw this now. 4 cores should be fine for what you've described. You already own the hardware. So, use it to the max until it can't keep up. Only upgrade your processor at that point. Until then, just add more RAM and you should be fine for a while.
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