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Topic: Dell PC for Giga. Urgent!!!

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  1. #1

    Dell PC for Giga. Urgent!!!

    I\'ve cross posted the following on the Tascam forum. Hope this is OK.

    I was intending to replace my Emu Ultras with a couple of PCs running Gigastudio in two months. However, I\'ve just noticed a fantastic offer on the Dell UK website that looks too good to miss. The catch is that I have to order by tomorrow (15/7/02) so I need advice urgently

    This system is as follows:
    Dell Dimension 8200
    Pentium 4 2Ghz
    Intel 850E Chipset
    Phoenix Bios 4Mbit Flash
    256Mb RDRAM upgradable to 2 Ghz
    80Gb Hard drive (7200 rpm)
    CD-RW
    16Mb ATA Rage Ultra 4x AGP video card
    4x PCI slots
    AD1885 Integrated audio (upgradable to Soundblaster Live)
    Windows XP
    Free upgrade to 15\" LCD display!!!

    UK price is 705 pounds (just under 1100 dollars) for all of the above. This is hundreds of pounds off the usual price but as I say, I have to order before tomorrow to get this deal.

    I\'m interseted in the Dell systems because I don\'t want to buy from a specialist audio PC retailer here in the UK if I can avoid it There seems to be a ridiculously hefty mark up for these systems. Also I want to avoid building my own PC because (a) I\'ve never done it before and haven\'t got the time and (b) It would be more expensive to buy the parts than buy the Dell system above! My colleague has just bought a Dell 8200 and it is very quiet for a PC which is a big plus for me as is the 15\" LCD screen in my real estate challenged studio.

    Is this PC going to be suitable for running Gigastudio and getting close to 160 voices? I have read Dave Casey\'s excellent PDFs on the Tsacam site for configuring PCs for audio and would reformat the hard drives and reinstall/configure as per this advice. I will only be running Gigastudio and NOTHING else will be installed (I do sequencing on a Mac.) The system won\'t have a modem or network card etc.

    I\'ve read that Gigastudio likes Intel chipsets but is the Intel 850E chipset in the Dell system suitable?

    Will the AD1885 integrated audio be a problem or can this be disabled in the BIOS or something? I will obviously be adding a GSIF compatible soundcards although I\'m not sure which one yet. I know I will need a second hard drive for Giga Libraries but if the Dell system above is suitable I can add that later.

    Sorry for all the questions, I\'ve got lots more on suitable GSIF cards, MIDI interfaces, hard drives (ATA/SCSI/RAID?) Giga libraries etc. but I\'ll leave them for now!

    As I said I have to order by the 15th to get the Dell systems at this price so an early reply really would be appreciated.

    TIA
    Dave Marsden
    http://www.gameaudio.com
    UK

  2. #2

    Re: Dell PC for Giga. Urgent!!!

    You\'re talking about this?:
    http://www.euro.dell.com/countries/uk/enu/bsd/default.htm

    It\'s a bit of overkill for a GS system, but for your requirements is a pretty decent deal. Most likely the 80GB hard drive is an IBM, Maxtor, Seagate, or Western Digital, all of which will do fine with GS. The only concern is the RAM which, because the motherboard is an 850E chipset, you\'re going to be stuck with RDRAM. This is more expensive than DDR RAM. You\'ll want to have at least 512MB in each machine too if you\'re running Windows XP, but see if you can find a better place to buy other than Dell. £109 is a bit high for an additional 256MB of RAM. Check both http://www.pricewatch.co.uk and http://www.pcindex.co.uk for the best deals.

    If you want recommendations on audio cards, MIDIMAN/M-Audio make an excellent line of low cost, GSIF compatible cards. Their Audiophile model can be found for around £150, has audio and S/PDIF out, and a MIDI port.

    Hope some of this helps.

  3. #3

    Re: Dell PC for Giga. Urgent!!!

    I agree a 2.0 GHz P4 is overkill for Giga. You don\'t need to get a special audio PC deal either. In the US there are plenty of white box clone builders that would be happy to make a 1 GHz Athlon for pretty cheap. I\'m sure they\'d build an Athlon XP system with a GB of RAM for less than what you\'ve suggested here.

    As an example I went to http://www.ditcorp.com and configured an Athlon XP1800+ system with 512 MB, 80 GB hard drive, and a bunch of other stuff (much of it you don\'t need) assembled with a 1 year warranty for $805. There must be places like that in the UK. Wouldn\'t that be under 600 UK Pounds? I\'m sure you\'d rather spend money on sample libraries than hardware. Good luck.

    Steve Chandler

  4. #4

    Re: Dell PC for Giga. Urgent!!!

    Originally posted by killerbobjr:
    You\'re talking about this?:
    http://www.euro.dell.com/countries/uk/enu/bsd/default.htm

    It\'s a bit of overkill for a GS system, but for your requirements is a pretty decent deal.
    Most likely the 80GB hard drive is an IBM, Maxtor, Seagate, or Western Digital, all of which will do fine with GS. The only concern is the RAM which, because the motherboard is an 850E chipset, you\'re going to be stuck with RDRAM. This is more expensive than DDR RAM. You\'ll want to have at least 512MB in each machine too if you\'re running Windows XP, but see if you can find a better place to buy other than Dell. £109 is a bit high for an additional 256MB of RAM. Check both http://www.pricewatch.co.uk and http://www.pcindex.co.uk for the best deals.

    If you want recommendations on audio cards, MIDIMAN/M-Audio make an excellent line of low cost, GSIF compatible cards. Their Audiophile model can be found for around £150, has audio and S/PDIF out, and a MIDI port.

    Hope some of this helps.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Hi Killerbob

    Thanks for your reply and yes the link above is the system I was looking at. In fact I just ordered it. I spoke with Dave Casey at Tascam US and he said the Dell would run Gigastudio great once set up properly.

    It struck me that the system was a little overspeced for Giga but when I tried to build a similar system from the cheaper 4500 range the price came out slightly more than the 8200 offer!!! I was also hoping to \"future proof\" myself a little. Glad to hear the 850E chipset is OK for Giga.

    I just looked and I see what you mean about the price of RDRAM.... Ouch! I assume this price will come down soon though. When my friend bought his Dell 8200 3 weeks ago a 256Mb add on was £70 more than it is today! The RAM on the Dell is also expandable to 2 Gb. Might that come in handy at some point? Will 512Mb do me for now?

    I need at least 8 individual outs for each Gigastudio PC. I was looking at the M-Audio Delta 410, 1010LT and 1010 or maybe the Echo Gina 24 which seemed a good deal considering it has balanced +4dB outs and my studio runs balanced. Are all these cards OK with Giga in terms of latency and stability? I know they all have GSIF drivers.

    Thanks again for the reply. Those links will come in handy!

    Dave Marsden
    http://www.gameaudio.com
    UK

  5. #5

    Re: Dell PC for Giga. Urgent!!!

    Originally posted by pantonality:
    I agree a 2.0 GHz P4 is overkill for Giga. You don\'t need to get a special audio PC deal either. In the US there are plenty of white box clone builders that would be happy to make a 1 GHz Athlon for pretty cheap. I\'m sure they\'d build an Athlon XP system with a GB of RAM for less than what you\'ve suggested here.

    As an example I went to http://www.ditcorp.com and configured an Athlon XP1800+ system with 512 MB, 80 GB hard drive, and a bunch of other stuff (much of it you don\'t need) assembled with a 1 year warranty for $805. There must be places like that in the UK. Wouldn\'t that be under 600 UK Pounds? I\'m sure you\'d rather spend money on sample libraries than hardware. Good luck.

    Steve Chandler
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Hi Steve

    Thanks for your reply. I haven\'t found anywhere in the UK that can get close to the Dell deal especially since it includes the LCD monitor as a free upgrade.I have no space for more CRTs in my studio. When I priced similar parts to build my own system it STILL came out more than the Dell after online order discounts and a mail in rebate.

    You\'re right I do want to spend more money on sample libraries! That\'s why I didn\'t want to go to an audio PC specialist and pay their mark up.

    As I say in a reply above, I spoke to Dave Casey about the Dell machine and it\'s up to
    the job so I\'ve placed an order. I did take on board what you said though and looked into alternatives this morning.

    Thanks again.
    Dave Marsden
    http://www.gameaudio.com

  6. #6

    Re: Dell PC for Giga. Urgent!!!

    Dave, please be careful with any audio cards from M-Audio.

    In my experiance they have been very tempermental and finnicky (pops and clicks)
    .
    Also, the latency kind of sucks.

    The best I believe you would get is 7ms, I can only get 11ms on my rig.

    When it comes to playing your samples that latency can be very...very...very annoying!!!

    Please consider the Creamware cards.

    I think they get between 1 and 3ms rock solid I have heard.

    Ps. a friend just bought a Pc (specifically for Giga) and even with optimizing his PC he stills get the occasional pop or click.

    Good luck, please let us know how you make out and what you buy for a card.

    brian -

  7. #7

    Re: Dell PC for Giga. Urgent!!!

    also, the RME Hammerfall cards are supposed to wail on M-Audio Cards

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