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Topic: taking the plunge/ building pc

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  1. #1

    taking the plunge/ building pc

    I\'m a Mac guy who could use the advice of you pc experts out there.
    I am considering building my own pc. Here are the components I am
    considering:

    Antec Sonata case
    Asus P4P 800se mobo
    P4 2.8 800 fsb
    1 gig Kingston PC 3200 memory
    2 Seagate sata drives
    XP home
    Lite on DVD

    So, is this everything I need and are the components up to par for a
    reasonably fast pc to run Giga 3 should it ever be released.
    Only thing I\'m not sure about is cooling. Is the case fan and cpu cooler
    enought to do the job?
    Thanks for any advice.

    Steve Fawcett

  2. #2

    Re: taking the plunge/ building pc

    I just wanted to add a question to LEE and others regarding the best set up for harddrives.

    LEE you mentioned that Giga3 will support RAID. This is cool.

    On a typical system to get the best performance how do you allocate storage? I guess what I am asking is that I read here you need a IDE drive let say for your OS and applications etc. Then you need another fast drive for sreaming the samples. What I would like to know is where is the best place to put the AUDIO as its being recorded?

    For instance let say I am running Cubase and I put Cubase on the main harddrive, then I want to use let say EWQLSO SIlver and other samples. Based on your decription they should reside on a seperate drive so they can stream better, but what about the audio that is being recorded into the Sequencer while those samples are streaming? Where should the audio go for best performance? This is what I wish to know.

    Second Question:
    What about the new Athlon 64? Its getting great reviews and it support SSE that Gigastudio 3 likes. Anyone wish to comment?

  3. #3

    Re: taking the plunge/ building pc

    Question,

    Exactly what increases would you observe for example on a Pentium IV 2.8ghz compared to an Athlon XP 2800+, dealing with music software and performance. You can also easily overclock a 2800+ to a 3400+ without any cooling issues. That\'s a 3.4ghz Pentium 4 equivalent! If you go Intel, you\'re gonna pay the bucks, like buying Oakley sunglasses. They\'re good quality, but a lot of price is in the name.

    Personally, for that price, I\'d go Athlon 64 and get the N-Force 3 chip mobos. Asus is a good choice though. I\'d personally probably go that route for my next computer. Other good mobo brands are MSI (I own two nforce 2 boards), and Gigabyte, and some people like Abit a lot.

    Chipsets to look at (64-bit processors):
    N-Force 3
    KT800

    Price compare and performance difference:
    Pentium 4
    Athlon XP
    Athlon 64

    The RAM you selected is definitely a good brand, but I\'ve noticed that Kingston is rather high for the most part. You may want to look at others that are just as good.

    RAM:
    Corsair
    Crucial
    Samsung (if you can find any)

    Does your case come with a power supply? Antec is definitely a good brand. Have you checked out their \"isolution\" cases? They\'re around $60, and come with an Antec 300W power supply. I think they\'re steel cases, which makes them heavier, but it\'s up to you. They have a lot of expansion bays, and are rock solid. I don\'t own one, but I\'ve seen someone else\'s. If you buy a separate power supply, I HIGHLY recommend the Antec TRUE power supplies. They supply constant power output, rather than peak output like cheaper models and brands. They\'re very sturdy, and quiet. I bought a 430watt True power, and couldn\'t be happier. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    The hardrives you chose are good. I\'d recommend Western Digital or Seagate to anyone. SATA is the latest and greatest these days, although I have heard you don\'t see much performance improvement, but the price is so marginal, definitely a smart thing to do.

    For cooling your case, standard 80mm fans would get the job done. I run 4 in my case, as well as my heatsink fan, and power supply. You will want a fan controller to keep your case quiet, because without it, it\'ll be loud as hell. You can get a good one for around $20. I HIGHLY recommend the Sunbeam Rheobus fan controller. It\'s got 4 nobs, supplies a strong 12v output to the fans, and has no problems. Any review on the internet will recommend this model.

    Sites I recommend (and shop at):
    www.newegg.com
    www.svc.com
    www.plycon.com
    www.zipzoomfly.com

    I know this post consists of a lot of opinions, and you may be able to tell I\'m bit of an AMD fan (considering the bang for buck factor), but I AM trying to save you money while still getting one kickass system. The comp you have already planned WOULD be a good PC, but is it worth it for the price? It\'s up to you, and if you\'re wealthy, then go ahead. Just keep in mind, there are equivalents out there that are just as high of quality and power for a fraction of the price. Hope everything works out. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  4. #4
    hv
    Guest

    Re: taking the plunge/ building pc

    Steve:

    I recently put together a machine with that motherboard. I like it. Went with a pair of Seagate 120 gig satas. Also added a kingwin removable drive bay connected to the other onboard ultra ata controller so I could easily move stuff from my older 1 ghz machine. Haven\'t ever tried ide/raid... I usually do raid5 with no fewer than 4 scsi drives. I\'d be uncomfortable with raid1 and not sure how much of a performance increase there\'d be over 2 independent drives.

    My only caution is to think long and hard over how much memory to put in. You might outgrow 1 gig pretty quickly. I did. So I bought another gig and filled up the 4 memoty slots. Now I\'m maxed out unless I sell it and go to 1 gig sticks for a max of 4 gigs. I\'m wishing I started out with a pair of 1 gig sticks. They\'re faster, by the way, in pairs.

    Also, you might consider a DVD writer like the Pioneer A06 or the Sony unit. Burns CD\'s fine. Also lets me dabble with DVD-R which, even if I don\'t ever get into video or DVD-A, is a god-send for archiving multitrack audio mixes.

    Howard

  5. #5

    Re: taking the plunge/ building pc

    First, I need to preface this with the fact that i\'m just starting to research a GigaStudio setup, so I\'m not familiar with what most people tend to use it for. But I have some experience with PCs and computers in general, so I thought I\'d add a few cents\' worth:

    [ QUOTE ]

    Exactly what increases would you observe for example on a Pentium IV 2.8ghz compared to an Athlon XP 2800+, dealing with music software and performance. You can also easily overclock a 2800+ to a 3400+ without any cooling issues. That\'s a 3.4ghz Pentium 4 equivalent! If you go Intel, you\'re gonna pay the bucks, like buying Oakley sunglasses. They\'re good quality, but a lot of price is in the name.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    While this is true, unless you\'re doing a lot of real-time effects you\'re going to be limited by your hard drive speed, not your CPU speed, and therefore you\'d see little performance gain in overclocking your CPU. The flipside of this argument is that you might be able to do just fine with an Athlon XP without the overclocking, and save yourself a few bucks (however note that they require different motherboards and I believe some of the lower-end Athlons don\'t support 800 Mhz FSB, but it\'s been a few months since I checked).

    And unless you know exactly what you\'re doing with overclocking, I\'d caution people away from it. Overclocking also generates excess heat, which generates more problems, which can introduce hardware stability issues. If you want to do it later as a hobby, it\'s kinda fun, but as your first foray into PC-building, forget it even exists as an option.

    [ QUOTE ]

    Personally, for that price, I\'d go Athlon 64 and get the N-Force 3 chip mobos.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    It seems like jumping to a 64-bit architecture at this point isn\'t necessary and would only introduce another potential source of problems. Also, at this point you will be paying a premium for any 64-bit hardware since it\'s new and shiny; the predominant target market for 64-bit processors is high-performance business servers, which is where the chip companies make the fattest margins.

    Additionally, if you end up with problems there\'s a lot fewer people that can help you troubleshoot since very relatively few people are running 64-bit processors. Again, likely you\'re I/O limited, not CPU-limited with today\'s processors.

    There\'s a lot to be said for individuality, but in the case of putting together your own PC, you\'re better off researching configurations that other people have tried and tested -- you have more support and experience to draw from. It\'s never best to be the early adopter of any technology; better off to be a fast follower....

    For a nice overview of current price trends, Anandtech.com publishes monthly price guides following CPU, motherboard, memory trends, as well as performance benchmarks:

    http://www.anandtech.com/

    Another option is ordering one of Dell\'s cheap server configuration (specifically the Poweredge 400SC). For instance, right now you can get a P4 2.8 Ghz, 128 MB ram, 40 GB IDE (7200rpm), 1 year parts/labor onsite warranty and free shipping for $324 after rebate. Pretty good deal considering the processor and drive alone will run you about $240. That way you skip the hassle of putting the hardware together (though you\'d obviously need to add more parts), and move right into tangling with Windows instead [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img].

    hope this helps somewhat,
    -j.

  6. #6

    Re: taking the plunge/ building pc

    Can someone tell me what the advantages of RAID are? My understanding was it was another fancy means for duplexing?

    Also, I am considering moving my Giga machine to a shuttle.com configuration, so I can take it on the road. Any comments or laptop suggestions?

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Winsted, CT
    Posts
    1,338

    Re: taking the plunge/ building pc

    I read recently (I think it was in SoundOnSound) that XP home has the same limited number of MIDI ports that saddles Win2000. You might want to go with XP Pro.

  8. #8
    hv
    Guest

    Re: taking the plunge/ building pc

    [ QUOTE ]
    Can someone tell me what the advantages of RAID are? My understanding was it was another fancy means for duplexing?


    [/ QUOTE ]

    Raid 1 is also known as duplexing... writes to 2 drives sumultaneously with the same exact data in case one of them drops dead in the middle of the write operation. No performance gain but failure protection without performance penalty. Recommended for recording.

    Raid 0 spreads it\'s writes accross multiple disks with no redundancy. Gives a performance gain because more heads are reading and writing a larger buffer at the same time. But no failure protection. In fact, twice the risk. Either disk fails and you typically lose it all. Backup is recommended unless only used for playing back samples you can reload from CD if necessary.

    Raid 5 is the best of both worlds. Spreads writes accross multiple disks and, if you use a 4-disk set, can suffer the loss of one disk, do a hot swap, and rebuild, all without shutting down or missing a beat. Performance and capacity tend to increase as the set size increases. Very popular with the video folks. With a 3-disk set, you can lose a drive but rebuilds have to be done off-line. 3 disks are the minimum for raid 5 and are usually seen as scsi arrays. I\'ve seen 4-drive ide raid controllers but I don\'t think I\'ve seen anything like that on a mobo yet. Probably won\'t be long.

    There\'s a Raid 0+1 mobo option on my P4P800 Deluxe though. Looks like it works with 2 ide drives and has a little redundancy thrown in at the expense of capacity and performance.

    Howard

  9. #9

    Re: taking the plunge/ building pc

    I see...so it\'s good for doing audio recording as its can spread I/O across multiple controllers, but not necessarily give you gains on Giga streaming I take it?

  10. #10

    Re: taking the plunge/ building pc

    My understanding (may be wrong) is that RAID will give you more THROUGHPUT because you are not trying to get all instruments from the one Hard Disk.

    Ben H

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