I've taken a look at the Best Value CPU Chart (On Sale)
on cpubenchmark.net and found that the i3-4150
is the best value i3 processor as well as one of the highest performing i3's, and uses the Haswell architecture, so I've been looking at other motherboards (although for some reason in my search I missed the first one I suggested here, so thanks for pointing that out Phaelax). Interestingly this particular CPU is about 8% cheaper than the one I was looking at, yet gets a PassMark score of ~5000 compared to ~4500 the other one had. And of course being much newer it probably has better features.
One of my problems is that I'm a little unsure how big the sound card will be, since I can't seem to get the proper dimensions of any. I'm considering the Maya44
for example but the product dimensions listed there are 24.8 x 20.2 x 4.4 cm, and I'm pretty sure the card isn't that ridiculously huge. I don't want to get a Mini-ITX case only for the card not to fit. I'm probably being silly and the card won't be any bigger than any other standard PCI card, but I'm not sure.
So I've found 4 candidate motherboards of different prices (P&P included) and form factors:
Mod 1150 ASRock H81M-ITX WiFi (mITX)
) - 74.63€
ASRock B85M-ITX (mITX)
) - 71.90€
Asus H81M-2 (mATX)
) - 45.78€
Gigabyte B85M-HD3 (mATX)
) - 57.16€
All support the i3-5140 processor, and DR3-1600, USB 3, PCI-E, and SATA Gb/s, which are some nice things to have. So right now I'm trying to decide whether I want mATX or M-ITX. The former has cheaper motherboards but the latter has a wider range of potential cases to chose from.
Quote: "And if the software is as cpu intensive as you say, I'd go for an i5 if one fits your budget. But that's just my preference, I use an i7 in both desktop and laptop."
If money weren't an issue I'd probably try an i5 or i7, but still I think a high-end i3 should be sufficient. I can always upgrade in the future, I guess.
Quote: "Is 60gb drive going to be enough space?"
Should be. It'll literally be just the OS (Windows 7 probably), the sampler software, and the samples. Some of the sample packs can be 2-3GB but it's unlikely I'll have many installed at any one time.