It's not luck.
Or just go to dell.com or hp.com.
Pick your PC and pay. Done.
Warranted. Simple. Easy.
Sorry Mac have to disagree with you there. People like Jim from https://studiocat.com
have been doing computers for audio for years. Friend got one and the no DPC spikes which are a killer for low latency Audio. Not saying you can't get lucky but if doing audio if your profession you can't beat people like Jim that research the best components to make a fantastic audio workstation
You can get advice online as to what to buy ... but there's no need to buy it and build it. You can just let Dell or HP build it. Or pick a local custom shop. (I tried that, but they couldn't match the price from Dell.)
It all depends what you’re doing with your PC.
I suspect if you’re running one or two VSTs at a time etc then the Dell or HP may well be fine for you.
But if you’re running a DAW, a ton of VST’s etc, a decent properly researched custom built PC will beat the likes of Dell (excluding Alienware) by a mile.
Just because two PCs appear to have the same spec, doesn’t mean they perform anywhere near the same.
Two PCs can have the same model cpu, same memory, same amount of storage etc, yet have completely different performance.
A sort of analogy, two cars, both have 2litre engines, both have 4 doors, both have sunroofs, both have air con etc. They appear to have similar specs but the reality is, they are completely different. Different performance, one cars air con is fully climate controlled, the other has an off/on button and a 4 position cold to hot knob etc.
Different make/model of the motherboard for example can make a huge difference. Same for hard drives and ssd’s.
Having seen a ton of HP and Dell PCs over the years, apart from Dells Alienware range, none come close to what I would call a good PC for Audio recording or Gaming.
That’s not to say that HP or Dell aren’t totally suitable what you are using yours for.
The BIOS on the Dell PCs I’ve come across (including my sons old Alienware laptop I’ve got next to me) are almost useless for custom configuration. While the Alienware BIOS appears to have has a fair bit of configuration, it falls very short of any motherboard I’ve used on my self built ones.
You also have the problem of all the unnecessary software these companies usually fill their PCs with.
Theres a reason dells Alienware range cost a fortune (in my opinion overpriced) compared to Dells normal range. Custom building a PC, you can get as good as Dells Alienware for a lot less.
It is true that many off the shelf PCs are totally fine for what most people use them for, but even for most of those, I could self build a better faster one for the same price.
I’ve lost count over the years of the amount of times I’ve been called to look at a friends pc or laptop and they complain it’s almost new yet running like a snail. If they insist on a laptop then there’s not a lot they can do (most decent ones being way out of their budget), but desktops are a different situation all together.
Don’t get me wrong, if you are happy with your Dell etc, then that’s all that really matters, but personally I wouldn’t be.
I last did a major update in 2013. I bought the following.
ASUS P9X79 motherboard £170
Intel i7 3820 s2011 CPU £244
32 GB RAM (good quality but very slow compared to what’s now available) £200.
That came to £614 six years ago.
With zero exceptions there’s not one person I know whose PC or Laptop bought from the likes of Dell or PCWorld comes anywhere near the performance of mine. I’ve got friends who have bought them in the past 6 months, have used my PC and can’t believe how quick it is (and that’s them just browsing the web).
In 2016 I spent about £240 on an AMD RX480 8GB graphics card and last year I replaced all of the hard drives with 500GB SSDs.
I do play games, but I don’t need 4K graphics, so far there’s not one game I play where I can’t have ultra settings, and many many people would laugh at my graphics card as it’s no where near high end.
By spending that £614 on researched good spec (not the best spec) 6 years ago, having no money to upgrade now is zero problem for me as I get zero slowdowns, lag etc. Theres no reason it won’t still be better than most store bought PCs for a fair few more years.
Of course 6 years ago my PC would be overkill for most users (and considered a joke by some of the ‘latest and greatest’ custom builders) but I prefer to spend a chunk of money on something that in 5 years time will still perform very very well and so far I’ve always done OK.
I have friends that buy laptops almost every year, I suspect they spend far more than I have over the years, yet they are never really happy. Mind you if you must have a laptop, you are limited by your budget.
At some point in the next 4 years I will have to buy a new MB, CPU and RAM, but when I get to that point, if I spend about the same and it lasts me just as long, then I reckon I’ve done OK. I don’t believe if I had bought a Dell in April 2013 I would be perfectly happy with it now (don’t think I’d have been happy then)
My PC case, external audio interface, monitors etc I can keep and reuse for as long as I like.
But I’ve been in IT most of my working life, electronics is one of my hobbies, and I enjoy tinkering. It’s not for everyone.
Personally if someone is looking for advice on using a PC for audio, I would recommend the custom route using a PC builder that specialises in Audio PCs such as Scan in the UK rather than Dell, HP etc.