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Topic: OT: Building a music PC...

  1. #1

    OT: Building a music PC...


    I cannot make my PC work for music, therefore I will buy a new one, ($$ [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img] $$) or at least upgrade my current one..

    I will use the computer to:
    -record in stereo using cubase or sonar
    -play vsti and/or dxi instruments
    -use gigs with gigastudio or halion

    I want enough power to be able to use gigs and vsi in the same project and still be able to record instruments (if it is possible).

    I think I will go with a p4 board and cpu, but is it a good idea to use sdram? I have 512 MB of sdram that I could use instead of buying 512 MB of DRR, and maybe buy 512 MB of sdram more instead?

    I have a soundcard (waveterminal 2496), 3x3 midi, two harddrives that i want to use, but what mainboard and cpu is the best choice? I have had many problems with my am/via computer witch I have never been able to solve, perhaps intel is a better choice?

    Any help is appreciated! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    ----I can\'t wait to create some music instead of banging my head against the pc-cabinet [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] -----

  2. #2

    Re: OT: Building a music PC...

    I just added new machines to the works myself, so I\'ve got lots of current prices in my head atm. Since I was adding pure GS machines, I wasn\'t concerned with DDR memory. Truth be told, I\'m not sure how much of a difference DDR actually makes in audio production. I know its considerably faster, but the price difference between DDR and standard SDRAM is big enough that I stuck with PC133 for now. I\'ve found this combination to be extremely stable, and speedy enough to handle anything I\'ve ever needed to throw at it:

    Asus P4B (3 Dimm SDRAM, up to 3GB) Works at a 400Mhz FSB for about $90.00

    P4 2.0b GHz CPU - 512K cache (the 2.0a is 256k). This seems to be sitting around $155-165 righ now.

    I prefer Corsair memory, but I\'ve also never had a single problem with PNY or Samsung PC133. The latter options are each about $35 for 512MB Dimm of PC133. (All three of those brands are work great with a p4b.)

    Insert Hard drives of your choice here. I\'ve got an affinity for Maxtor ATA133 drives, and I put a 40GB System Drive in for about $60, and an 80GB Data Drive in for about $85. Make sure whatever you use is at least 7200rpm, and if you\'re buying new and staying IDE, ATA133 is current.
    -note: the Asus P4b only supports up to ATA100, but you can purchase an IDE controller card if you really need the extra speed. (I\'ve never had a problem, but you might as well get the faster drive for the future use.)

    I\'ve found some really great prices for cases and power supplies. They range all over the place, but you can find something really solid for anywhere around $40-75. This would be for a certified P4 power supply and an ATX form factor case.

    I would recomend Sony RW drives, as I\'ve had much success with them in the past when other drives were failing to read something well, though this is just my preference. I recently tried a Toshiba CDRW-8x, CDR-16x, DVD-12x, CD-48x. It seems pretty solid, and was resonably priced, but I haven\'t fully put it through it\'s paces yet. This was about $50.

    You\'ll need a video card of some sort. For my additional giga machine, since it wasn\'t going to be doing any games or anything, I used an Asus V7100 Pro, Nvidia GeForce2 MX400 for $46.

    Sound card-wise, I like M-Audio, but that\'s probably one of the most personal choices. Regardless, I can vouch that a Delta 1010, 66, or even the AudioPhile 2496 are totally compatable with Cubase, Sonar, windows XP, and every component I\'ve listed so far.

    For my giga display, I went with a ViewSonic G90fb, 19\". Including shipping I got that for $246, but that was a local american company shipping within the U.S.

    You\'ll need a network card, as that is not integrated into the P4B unfortunatley, but they\'re cheap.

    Anyway, this is if nothing else, a very stable setup for under $1k, and the documentation is great. This is very easy to put together yourself. I\'ve got several of them and have had no trouble whatsoever (hence I stayed with P4B\'s.) Maybe not the fastest things out there, with the biggest draw-backs being PC133 ram instead of DDR, and the Drive\'s speed only being ATA100. For me, that\'s plenty fast enough, but for one primary system, maybe you\'ll wanna go faster.

    Good Luck!

  3. #3

    Re: OT: Building a music PC...


    Thanks for taking the time to write that, really helpful! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  4. #4

    Re: OT: Building a music PC...


    You may also be interested to note that you can buy super quiet fans for psu\'s cpus etc. Nothing worse that a noisy giga pc!

    Try http://www.quietpc.com/


  5. #5

    Re: OT: Building a music PC...

    No problem at all. I forgot to mention, these are www.pricewatch.com prices from various websites there. I\'m not sure if all of those prices are available from sites that ship globally, but I hope some of it helps.

  6. #6

    Re: OT: Building a music PC...

    I\'ve just built a Giga 2.5 machine that prices around 550 with an audio card.

    Duron 1.3
    Cheapie ECS Mobo
    512MB 133 RAM (actually this system is DDR now, but i\'ll check it with 133 soon)
    cheap 30gig Maxtor for apps, and 80 gig WD (8MB cache) for gigs
    all the rest is cheap parts

    I\'m getting 160 poly (I can hear the note stealing, and that causes pops depending on how many notes are stolen)

    It doesn\'t sound like an airplane, but it could be quiter.

    This machine is going to be stripped of the WD HD and DDR RAM and then fixed to give to my g/f, if I were to keep it I\'d go with quiet parts.

    I\'m looking at building sme Rackmount and quiet systems with possible CPU upgrade paths for the future (giga 3.0) for under 800 bucks

    It all really depends on what you are going to use the machine for. If its Audio mixing then I suggest a fast processor and fast RAM, it does make a difference in bufferinng speed needed.

    If its jsut for giga (2.5) then you dont need much anymore. I could even get it to under 500 bucks with a cheaper audio card and

  7. #7

    Re: OT: Building a music PC...


    I just built a DAW and have had a few problems. The power supplies from Quiet PC are excellent, very quiet. I recommend them highly.

    My problem was with the CPU fan. The Volcano9 from Thermaltake is touted as smart and silent. My experience was that it is neither. At full speed it kept the CPU cool, but sounded like a hair dryer. So I installed the 3 speed auto switch. This supposedly changes the fan speed according to the temperature of the CPU. I carefully followed the directions on the web site (I\'ve toasted a few Athlons before). I started the machine and heard it step up to medium speed. Within a half an hour I had a useless Athlon 2400+ and was out the about $200 it cost. An email to Thermaltake went unanswered.

    I\'ve since seen good reports on the Alpha PAL 8045 and that will probably be what I buy when I replace my late lamented Athlon 2400+.

    Steve Chandler
    aka Ettienne

  8. #8

    Re: OT: Building a music PC...

    Hi Pantonality

    May I ask, did you buy the 400w power supply? Also, can you recommend any of the Quiet PC CPU coolers?

    I\'ve just ordered a P2.4b with 1Gb and will need to put an order into quiet pc soon.

    All the best

  9. #9

    Re: OT: Building a music PC...

    I advise avoiding Thermaltake like the plague. I just lost a P4 1.5GHz motherboard and processor to it, that put me out a giga machine for a while and a little over $300 to replace both (with a small upgrade to a 2.0b).

    Their designs seem poor. Once a heatsink and fan are attatched to a cpu, there is pretty much NO replacing them if you are unhappy with the noise level, at risk of seriously damaging the processor. (as I found out)

    I\'ve also kinda given up on the whole \"quest for a quieter PC\" thing. They\'re all too loud (if they\'re safely cooled) and the differences I was finding between fans and various cases (with the exception of $500-600 cases) were pretty much neglebable. I\'m working on a design for a small, semi-portable, absorbant enclosure that can house 5 PC\'s with standard mid-tower cases with two very quiet, large fans to circulate air in and out. I\'ve seen these advertised before, but I\'m certain a comparable case can be built for many hundreds less than these \"pro\" ones cost. I\'m guessing $100-150 tops, instead of $800-1000 advertised.

  10. #10

    Re: OT: Building a music PC...

    Hi Jazzdad,

    I got the 300 watt power supply. My system will be pretty basic when it\'s working again. Just a graphics card, sound card and 2 hard drives. I haven\'t built a system yet which needed anything larger, not even my 1 gig Athlon with two drives a CD and a CD Burner. Actually that system has the 270 power supply from www.pcpowercooling.com. It\'s also very quiet.


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