Your computer is part of an all-important system along with your DAW, console, audio interface and ultimately your monitors. There are various things to consider when purchasing or upgrading your hardware in terms of processing components, storage space and RAM for improved functionality and processing speed/quality.
A large part of what makes a computer able to run audio programs comes down to these three things; processor, storage space and RAM.
Having a computing device with high RAM (Random Access Memory) is like having elbow room, thus speeding up current or live processes such as retrieving audio files from across folders and directories. Low RAM will cause systems to be “bogged-down” as you don’t have as much work space to use, therefore slowing systems down and potentially causing disk read errors due to the slow speed at which audio is retrieved and processed. Latency issues may arise from low RAM speeds.
Storage space is just as important for computers to run audio programs as files are created, recorded, consolidated and flattened all the time during production. It is crucial to your computers performance to have some available space constantly present on hard drives. Typically, it is recommended to have at least 10% free space upon your hard drive which you are working from not only as a vacant space for new audio files but also as part of a buffer to keep things running smoothly and interruption-free.
Between several computers, the processing components can vary drastically depending on what the computer is designed to achieve. Extensive research is necessary to understand what is needed based upon required tasks. There are no grounding rules but there can be minimum requirements by a DAW and general audio productions performance. This is a very subjective process as computers are all designed to operate different based upon work load.
The graphics card on a computer is the last thing to consider. Of course, should you be working on video editing and/or graphic design, the graphics processor should be equally as important as the storage space, RAM and computer processing components.
Often, music producers will link an external SSD or HD to optimize a computers performance allowing users to almost ignore the storage space and RAM of the computer alone. Working off an external drive will ultimately improve speed and processing quality as “head-room” can be achieved with larger external hard drives than the one contained within the computer itself.
RAM is increased as well as the extent of free hard drive space that cause systems to slow down when compromised.