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Topic: Picking the right motherboard and other parts for a VSL GIGA PC

  1. #1

    Picking the right motherboard and other parts for a VSL GIGA PC

    Like many here I am building a new giga system for VSL. What are the main hang ups which stop a giga system from working properly?? I\'m worried about getting the wrong motherboard, or processor etc. I have a hammerfall digi 9652 in my current giga system and would like to get another one for this new system. I\'ve read there are some issues with hammerfall and XP. I will probably go with faster ram, even though giga can\'t currently access more than a gig - who knows, maybe I\'ll be running giga 3 (or Kontakt) on this machine in a few months. I\'m not interested in running windows 98 at this point. I\'d rather troubleshoot XP.

    Mainly I\'m looking for PITFALLS to avoid. Certain motherboards, CPU to stay away from. Better yet, if anyone has a killer system running VSL - LIST YOUR COMPONENTS and save us all a lot of time and research.



  2. #2

    Re: Picking the right motherboard and other parts for a VSL GIGA PC

    We had lots of success with most motherboards, but for Giga I find it best to go with an Intel Branded motherboard with Intel chipsets. These do not have the bells and whistles of the boards like ASUS or MSI and cost more but are rock solid.

    We also like Plextor CD ROM drives. We have built a ton of systems with lots of different parts but have the best luck with Intel.

    Other things like video cards are not important in a dedicated Giga system, we do not run other programs or games on these systems.

    We also use PC Power & Cooling power supplies and fans. Their Silencer line is quieter than our Mac G4s and can be used inside a studio. Not dead silent but pretty good.

    We are now experimenting with a Shuttle XPC system which is real small with built in Firewire and USB2.0. Get the one with the Intel Chipset. Very nice, quiet and works well with a single PCI sound card. We use Delta 1010s and Laylas with no problems.

    Hope this helps.


  3. #3

    Re: Picking the right motherboard and other parts for a VSL GIGA PC

    I\'ve always loved the Apple Cube from the first moment I saw it, and I hated when it went graveish.

    The Shuttle system you\'re mentioning would be a nice (if not design-wise) successor to theCube.

    Will the performance be worse than desktop pcs?

    Will it be quiter (the Cube had convection cooling (no fans))?

    How many PCI slots does it support? For a dedicated Audio system I would assume one PCI slot for the Audio card and one AGP slot should be enough.

    Will it be much more expensive than desktop systems?

    I hope Firewire (2.0?) and USB 2.0 are standards on the M/B you\'re planning on using? Bluetooth for wireless keyboards/mouse would also be great in a studio. Not sure about the radio-transmitter interfering with delicate studio-equipment though...

    Many questions. I hope you can answer some of them when you\'ve tested the system. It would be lovely to exchange my hulking towers for a couple of nice GIGA-ready cubes in my studio.

    Yours cincerely

  4. #4

    Re: Picking the right motherboard and other parts for a VSL GIGA PC

    We like the Shuttle system. This is the newer system with the Intel 845 chipset and not the older version with the SIS.

    It uses the faster DDR RAM which cost more. No need for an AGP Video card as it has pretty good on board video. We use it essentially for Giga so on board high performance video card was never needed. We also chose to use an el cheapo CD ROM drive since all we needed was to install the OS and Gig Files. You can remove the CD Drive after you install all the software or use an external Firewire CD of DVD (for VSL) drive to install you Giga sounds.

    The construction is excellent and rivals aluminum cases like the Lian Li or CoolerMaster. Very hip looking but larger than the original Apple Cube.

    There are two USB2 port but I think the firewire port is only firewire 1. Still sufficient for adding audio firewire drives, like the ones by Granite Digital. We use one internal 7300 rpm 80GB Western Digital drive wit hthe system. Not ideal but so far so good with little or no latency.

    Right now we use the sole PCI slot with a Layla card and interface. I think other cards will be compatible as well, but would not comment as I do not have experience with them. The RME card is interesting, especially when you can run ADAT outs into the MOTU 2408 which we use with our Mac seqencing rigs. We are not running it that way now though.

    So far very stable. We use a Pentium 4 1.8 which is the cheapest one at this point, prices on 2.5 P4s are still reasonable as well. We run 512 RAM two chips on two DIMMS.

    We are still testing but things are OK for now. Hoping others will try and share their experiences.

    Very happy . . . running Win 98 though but I do not think XP will be a problem. The nice surprise was how quiet the system is. The small size was nice since we could stack as much as four of these Shuttle PC systems in the space of one PC.

    With VSL and EWQLSO requiring multiple PCs this seems to be the ideal solution to fit a whole Orchestral Giga rig in a small space. They stack beautifully.

    Do a search on the web and you will get several rave reviews on the system. Go to www.us.shuttle.com and check out the SB51G.

    Current issue of Maximum PC did a story on the Athlon version, though we found the P4 to be more stable . . .

    Put the whole system together for under $800, the case + mobo combo alone costs $345 (from NewEgg.com), but you save on video card, Firewire and Ethernet card. Certainly competitive with full size case + Mobo combinations. It also looks very cool.

    Hope this helps!


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