Sonic Labs this week unveiled one heckuva dream machine PC tower, tweaked for pro audio: dual-core 64-bit 3.7GHz Pentium D965 Extremes, Presler chipset, high-performance everything, a graphics card that’s ready for four-monitor output, and 48 lbs. of PC performance. There are some details I really like, notably the mobile drives, which could let you pair this machine in the studio with a performance machine on the go. US$3750 is the price, but there really are very few compromises on this machine, and items like the extra, high-speed hard drives are clearly geared for audio use.
Sonic Labs tests all their machines with a range of audio software, but it’s worth noting that Cakewalk’s DAW Labs likes their machines, too, particularly the “ready-to-record” design and low noise. I think some “audio” computers have overstated the degree to which they’re unique from other PCs, but when it comes to parts like Sonic Lab’s “Custom Ultra-Quiet Heat Pipe cooling system” made in Germany, unless you really know what you’re doing building your own machines, the custom PCs have a lot of appeal. Managing heat and noise is not for newbies, and, at least on paper (and according to the folks at Cakewalk), it looks like they’ve done a great job.
Meanwhile, on the “other platform”, if you are waiting anxiously for a new Intel Mac tower (which will probably be called the Mac Pro), you should skip the Mac rumor sites and start reading PC specs like these. It’s not hard to imagine some of these sorts of features and Intel chipsets in an Apple-branded case within the coming months. I’m sure Apple is anxious to start selling those machines, too, because the Power Mac line has traditionally had the highest profit margins of any of Apple’s machines. You won’t get the upgradeability of the PCs, but the Apple OS could make it worth it.