Looking for the Best Computer for Music Production in 2023?

by | Apr 11, 2023

Best computer for music production

Are you searching for the best computer for music production? A reliable computer is an essential piece of music production equipment that can either enhance or hinder your work flow. When a computer lags and feels sluggish, it can interrupt your creativity and be frustrating when you are learning how to make a song.

In this article, I will walk you through the key components to consider when choosing a computer for music production. Additionally, I will provide recommendations for the best computer for music production to make sure your music-making experience is enjoyable and hassle free. 



This post may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase through the links, I may get a commission at no cost to you.

What Components Should You Focus on When Shopping for a Computer for Music Production?

Whether you’re a Mac or PC user, there are a few components to focus on when choosing the best computer for music production. These components include the central processing unit (CPU), random access memory (RAM), and hard drive storage space, all of which can impact the performance of a computer as you create music.

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

When it comes to finding the best computer for music production, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. There are several factors that make certain computers the ideal choice depending on your specific needs and preferences. Budget, performance expectations, and desired features are factors that should be carefully considered.

Computer CPU
A Computer CPU

When shopping for the best computer for music production, make sure to prioritize the CPU, RAM, and hard drive storage space to ensure a smooth and enjoyable music production experience.

For general PC users, there are several CPU options made by Intel and AMD. Intel offers Core i3, i5, i7, and i9 processors, while AMD offers Ryzen 3, 5, 7, and 9 processors. Higher numbers indicate more powerful processors.

As a recommendation, the best computer for music production should at a minimum have a Core i5 or Ryzen 5 processor. Avoid anything lower than those recommended CPUs to ensure the computer has sufficient performance.

It is important to consider your intended use of the computer when choosing a processor. If you’ll be multitasking with the computer or performing other processor-intensive tasks such as gaming or editing photos and videos, then investing in a more powerful CPU will be beneficial. 

However, if the computer will be strictly used for music production, the minimum processors recommended above should be sufficient.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

When it comes to RAM, it’s important to have a sufficient amount so the computer performs smoothly when the DAW is running with multiple tracks and plugins.

RAM Chips

A typical amount of RAM is currently 8 GB, but a computer with that minimal amount will experience performance issues when running a DAW with multiple tracks. A computer that does not have enough available RAM will constantly swap data between RAM and virtual memory using the hard drive, which is called “thrashing” and the computer becomes very slow. 

Based on my experience, I recommend a minimum of 16GB of RAM to avoid significant performance issues. That recommendation should be considered if you plan to use your computer for other tasks simultaneously, such as reading or watching tutorials online while you are producing music. 

As an example, I ran Ableton Live 10 using a PC with 16GB of RAM and an Intel Core i7 processor. After shutting down unnecessary applications, the Windows 10 Task Manager showed the computer used up 7 GB of RAM by running these 4 applications: (1) Windows 10, (2) Ableton Live 10 with a 16-track remix loaded with no plugins, (3) one web browser window, and (4) antivirus software that was only monitoring.

Amount of RAM used by Ableton Live 10 loaded with a 16-track song and no plugins

If the computer only had 8GB or RAM, 87.5% of it would have been used up. Loading anything else such as a single webpage would easily cause thrashing and cause the computer to slow down dramatically. This is an example why the best computer for music production must have a minimum of 16GB of RAM. Anything less than that amount will make running a DAW a time killer and test of patience.

Hard Drive Storage

Storage space is an important consideration for a computer used in music production. When it comes to storage options, there are two common types: HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) and SSDs (Solid State Drives). While both serve the same purpose of storing data, they differ significantly in their technology and performance.

HDDs are the traditional storage option that uses spinning disks to read and write data. They are slower in terms of data transfer speed compared to SSDs because they rely on mechanical parts that need to physically move to access data. HDDs are also more prone to failure due to their mechanical nature, which may result in data loss.

Inside of a hard disk drive

SSDs are a newer type of storage that use flash memory to store data. SSDs do not have any moving parts, making them faster, more reliable, and durable compared to HDDs. They are more expensive, but offer faster data transfer speeds, quicker boot times, and improved performance.

NVMe solid state drive

Although 256 GB is a standard amount of hard drive storage, it’s important to recognize that DAWs can use up a significant amount of storage space.

When using a DAW, audio samples, recordings, plugins, and synthesizer presets can quickly accumulate and take up a large portion of your storage space.

A full hard drive will impact the speed of your computer as it will not be able to cache files efficiently or at all. This will result in slower performance and hinder your workflow.

If a computer for music production is dedicated solely to music production, 256 GB of storage space may be sufficient to start.

However, a 512 GB hard drive is necessary if you will be running other productivity software or store media files on it. It is crucial to ensure there is enough storage for DAW projects, audio files, and plugins without running into capacity limitations.


What is the Best Computer for Music Production?

Now that you know what to look for in the best computer for music production, let’s explore some that are currently available.

1. MacBook Pro (Best MacBook for Music Production)

CPU:M2 Pro or M2 Max
RAM:16GB
Storage:512GB or 1TB SSD
Screen:16.2 inches
Apple MacBook Pro Specifications

The MacBook Pro is a popular choice for music production, and other processor-intensive projects, because of its powerful performance, portability, and high-quality screen. 

The latest MacBook Pro models come with a choice of the M2 Pro or M2 Max CPU, 16GB of RAM, and an SSD with 512GB or 1TB or storage space. It also features a stunning 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display, providing excellent visual clarity for music production tasks.

If you prefer a more compact option or are looking for a more budget-friendly choice, Apple also offers the MacBook Pro with a 14.2-inch screen or 13.3-inch screen. These options provides a lighter and smaller form factor while still offering powerful performance for music production.

2. Apple Mac Mini Desktop (Best Mac for Music Production)

CPU:M2 Pro
RAM:16GB
Storage:512GB SSD
Screen:Not included
Apple Mac Mini Specifications

The Apple Mac Mini is a great desktop option for music production, offering powerful performance in a compact form factor. It comes with an M2 Pro CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD, specifications that meet minimum recommendations.

The Mac Mini also includes 4 Thunderbolt ports and 2 USB-A ports, providing ample support for connecting external hardware. This provides flexibility in connecting music production components such as a MIDI controller, audio interface, and external studio microphone.

The components included with the Mac Mini make it suitable for any music production task. It’s worth nothing, a monitor is not included and one should factored into your budget.

If you require more power for other processor-intensive software or want to buy a computer that will last into the future, and you have a large budget, the Mac Studio will be a better option. That computer has specifications that exceed DAW requirements and will last long into the future.

3. HP Envy 17t-cr00 Laptop (Best Laptop for Music Production)

CPU:Intel Core i7 – 12th Generation
RAM:32GB
Storage:1TB SSD
Screen:17.3 inches
HP Envy 17t-cr00 Specifications

For those who prefer a PC laptop, the HP Envy is easily considered the best computer for music production based on its powerful components. It offers powerful specifications including a 12th generation Core i7 CPU with clock speeds up to 4.7Ghz, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD.

One of the standout features of this laptop is its 17.3-inch screen, which provides a better than average workspace that will make it much easier to work with DAWs. The larger screen size allows for better visibility, which will enhance workflow and productivity.

Additionally, the 32GB of RAM is a generous amount that will ensure excellent multitasking and efficient performance when working on complex music projects. The amount of memory is one of the main reasons the HP Envy deserves consideration as the best computer for music production, especially for the reasonable cost.

For basic users, storage space will not be an issue. The HP Envy includes a 1TB SSD, which is ample space for storage of audio samples, recordings, plugins, and other music production files.

Overall, the HP Envy laptop is a powerful and portable option with a large screen. It offers top-of-the-line specifications that are more than sufficient for running any DAW and processor-hungry applications.

4. HP 15.6″ Premium Laptop (Best Value Laptop for Music Production)

CPU:AMD Ryzen 5500U
RAM:16GB
Storage:512GB or 1TB SSD
Screen:15.6 inches
HP 15.6″ Premium Laptop Specifications

If you are looking for excellent value, the HP 15.6″ Premium laptop meets that requirement. It is best computer for music production that is budget-friendly PC laptop with its cost. It offers an AMD Ryzen 5 with clock speeds up to 4.0Ghz that has processing power close in performance of a Ryzen 7 CPU that has more cores and cache.

With 16GB of RAM, this laptop provides sufficient memory for smooth multitasking and efficient performance when running a DAW and working with music production software. The storage options of a 512GB or 1TB SSD allow for ample storage of audio samples, recordings, and plugins, ensuring that you have enough space for your music production projects.

It is a great deal for the specifications, and will run any DAW without any issues. This HP laptop is worthy of being considered the best computer for music production based on the cost for the performance offered.

5. Dell XPS 8950 Desktop (Best Desktop for Music Production)

CPU:Intel Core i9 – 12th Generation
RAM:32GB
Storage:512GB SSD & 1TB HDD
Screen:Not included
Dell XPS 8950 Desktop Specifications

The Dell XPS 8950 desktop is a powerhouse computer that offers incredible specifications. It is impossible to deny that this desktop should be considered the best computer for music production.

This computer is equipped with the 12th generation Intel Core i9 processor with clock speeds up to 5.2GHz, which is one of the most powerful consumer CPUs. It delivers exceptional processing power for handling resource-intensive tasks with ease.

The 32GB of RAM included is a significant amount of memory that allows producing music without experiencing choppy performance or computer lag. You can run multiple applications simultaneously without any issues so this is a productivity powerhouse.

The Dell XPS 8950 desktop also includes two separate hard drives. One is a high performance 512GB SSD to quickly retrieve applications and data and a 7200 RPM 1TB hard drive for additional storage. 

Overall, the Dell XPS 8950 desktop is a top-performing computer with impressive specifications, making it the best computer for music production in terms of performance. Whether you’re working on recording, editing, mixing, or mastering music, this desktop has the processing power, memory, and storage capacity that will last for many years.

6. HP Envy Desktop (Best Value Desktop for Music Production)

CPU:Intel Core i7 – 12th Generation
RAM:16GB
Storage:512GB SSD
Screen:27 inches
HP Envy Desktop Specifications

If you are looking for value in a desktop, the HP Envy desktop is a great option for music production. This computer offers powerful performance at an affordable price point making it the best computer for music production in terms of value.

With a 12th generation Core i7 processor that has a clock speed up to 4.9Ghz, this desktop provides ample processing power for the cost, making it an excellent value.

Like the other more expensive computers, this desktop also features 16GB of RAM allowing you to run a DAW and other applications simultaneously without a problem. 

Additionally, the 512GB SSD is enough for storing your music projects and other DAW-related files for producing music. 

A great part of this desktop is the 27-inch full HD display included. It provides a good amount of visual workspace for editing and monitoring your music projects and can even be rotated 90 degrees.

The HP Envy Desktop is a great value option since it offers powerful performance, a good amount of memory and storage, and a large display, all at an affordable price point. It is an ideal choice for those who are seeking a budget-friendly desktop without compromising on performance and features.


Conclusion

When it comes to finding the best computer for music production, there is no one-size-fits-all winner. However, there are several options that can be the best choice depending on your specific needs and preferences. Factors such as budget, performance requirements, and desired features should be carefully considered.

When shopping for the best computer for music production, make sure to prioritize the RAM, CPU and storage space to ensure a smooth and enjoyable music production experience.

About the Author

Jon Chen
Jon is a lawyer with more than 15 years of experience practicing law. His passion for music began when he was a child, which led him to learn how to play the piano, saxophone, trombone, and guitar. He enjoys analyzing music and helping others succeed and live a better life.