The RME Reference PCs
Hardware recommendations - Overview

»Technical Information Index


RME receives daily requests, which configuration and hardware may be best suited for audio editing and processing with a PC. We therefore decided to dedicate an own Tech Info page to this topic. Instead of discussing numerous hardware lists and (im-) possible configurations, we restrict to showing exemplary completed systems of which the single components will be described in detail. The assembling of the systems was based on the following criteria:

  • Reasonable price point of all components
  • Amazing performance
  • The highest compatibility possible
  • Optimized for audio operation
  • No taking-into-account of upgrade possibilities

The last item is nothing new to experienced PC users. It doesn't matter what you buy today, tomorrow it will be outdated. Even worse: you can't increase the performance substantially by exchanging some components (such as the CPU), you have to exchange the whole system in order to achieve a significant gain in processing power. We don't worry about upgrade CPUs or DIY mainboard modifications. Those modifications often cost a lot of time and nerves while leading to small performance improvements in comparison to a new system which really makes the difference.

Detailed information for optimal configuration of Windows 9x can be found in the Tech Info Tuning Tips for Low Latency operation. Fortunately Windows 2000 and XP run perfectly right out of the box, the only tweak necessary is to change them to background operation.

The RME Reference PCs 2003

The computer systems described below have been assembled by our partner Ticomsys and are in daily use by many costumers - each time with great success. The computers are built for highest compatibility, nevertheless offer an amazing performance.

Although all our tips and recommendations are kept general, we can of course guarantee best performance only with RME's digital audio cards :-))

Because even older PCs have an absolutely sufficient performance for many users, you will find also older Ref-PC Tech Info documents further down. This way, there is a useful source of information when buying used computers.

The RME Reference PCs 2002

In 2002, for several reasons we did not feel comfortable to present an AMD-based computer as Reference PC. This had a number of reasons: lasting problems and bugs with almost every chipset for AMD processors, alternative chipsets were still too new, and some motherboards had unexplained incompatibilities or quality problems. And besides any performance advantages of the AMD processors, they were only marginally less expensive.

This changed at the end of 2002. The positive experiences with AMD systems were documented by Anders Fahlén in the Tech Info The Big RME/AMD Survey: User reports on Athlon/RME-based audio workstation.

Reference PCs 2001

Reference PCs 2000

Our comment on the first Reference PCs:

...Already our first Hammerfall-equipped Reference PC was able to play back 24 tracks of audio (16bit, 44.1kHz) in Cubase VST from the hard disk, while a couple of MIDI tracks were triggering a Model-E realtime synthesizer (entire sound generation by CPU), AND playing the Native Instruments Pro-5 using a MIDI keyboard (demoed at Frankfurt Musik Messe 2000.) All this at an unbelievable 3ms latency...

Copyright © Matthias Carstens, 2000-2003.

All entries in this Tech Infopaper have been thoroughly checked, however no guarantee for correctness can be given. RME cannot be held responsible for any misleading or incorrect information provided throughout this manual. Lending or copying any part or the complete document or its contents is only possible with the written permission from RME.


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