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Topic: yet another hardware thread...

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  1. #1

    yet another hardware thread...

    hey guys -- I know much of my question is covered in other threads, but some are fairly old and there's new stuff on the market in recent weeks...

    I am gonna build a new rig. Today.

    Is there a definitive answer re: Dual Core and GS3?

    Can someone give me a rock-solid mobo/cpu pairing that is known to be stable?

    I am trying to find a mobo with a bunch of SATA connections (6) (+raid 0) - at least 2 ATA ports. Definitely a few PCI slots. Maybe PCI-e for video (AGP would be ok). Built in gigabit ethernet.

    Anyone have a pairing that is known to be good?

    CPU: Intel Pentium D 830 Smithfield 800MHz FSB LGA 775 Dual Core, EM64T ? Yes?

    This mobo looks like it meets my specs: Intel BOXD945PSNLK

    Your up-to-the moment expertise is appreciated.

    PS -- this machine will be for GS3 only -- possibly load a small rack of VSTi's -- I already own a RME HDSP 9652. I already own a 16x DVD+R; I already own a bunch of high-capacity SATA and IDE drives. I already own (2) WinXP pro licenses... so I'll be buying a case, mobo, CPU and appropriate ram (probably 2gigs right now). Your suggestions are appreciated.

    Thanks!

    Jeremy

  2. #2

    Re: yet another hardware thread...

    update: I just spoke with ******* at Tascam tech support - he told me that they are seeing great results with AMD dual core processors and that's what they use for their in-house and demo machines.

    Is there any reason why I should be focusing on Intel?

    He also said that Intel Pentium D dual core processors are fine with 3.12 - with or without HT.

    So now I am even more confused... I really need to buy something right away... my search continues.

  3. #3

    Re: yet another hardware thread...

    I spoke with some friends who seem to know their stuff -- this is what we came up with:

    ASUS A8N-SLI Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard $122.00
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Toledo 1GHz FSB Socket 939 Dual Core Processor Model ADA4400CDBOX $497.00
    SAPPHIRE 100118L-RD Radeon X550 128MB DDR PCI Express x16 Video Card $66.00
    Antec Solution SLK3000-B Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $49.00
    ENERMAX Noisetaker EG495P-VE SFMA ATX 485W Power Supply $86.00
    (2) Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200KS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s $155.50
    ZALMAN CNPS7000B-CU 92mm 2 Ball Cooling Fan/Heatsink - on sale at Amazon for $30, free delivery.

    I alredy have:

    WD80 gig ATA/133 for system drive
    WinXP pro
    DVD recorder 16x
    and i bought a maxtor 300gig 16mb buffer this morning at CompUSA for $80 after rebates.

    So, my cost of parts: about $1600

    I know I can get a cheaper case, but this power supply is highly rated (and quiet).

    Looks like this rig is gonna rock...

    Comments? I hit the BUY button at 11am, EST thursday.

    Why is it so much work to configure a PC? When I bought my Mac G5... only decision was the hard drives and ram.

    Thanks to all for the private emails.

    Jeremy

  4. #4

    Re: yet another hardware thread...

    Jeremy,

    The parts you've chosen look absolutely great. I'm an AMD guy from way back, as well as an Asus fan and quiet PC person. I can't find fault with anything you've chosen.

    My system's about a year old. I chose the Thermalright XP-120, but the Zalman should be very nice - especially at that price. I trust that you've verified that it fits that mobo.

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article30-page1.html

    For the PS, take a glance at Seasonic. I have an older model that is amazingly quiet. It doesn't move much air though, so I keep my case cracked a bit to keep the drives cool. Enermax rates well too.

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article28-page6.html

    For hard drives, things are near parity, but it looks to me like Hitachi has a slight lead in low temp and fast read times these days.

    http://www.anandtech.com/storage/sho...spx?i=2628&p=3
    http://www.anandtech.com/storage/sho...px?i=2628&p=10

    I didn't see RAM listed in your post. I bought OCZ Platinum Rev 2 a year ago. It has 2-2-2-5 timing. There's probably better/bigger/cheaper now.

    Everything you mention is at or near the top of the list. If the price, availability and delivery are good, go for it!

    Best of luck during assembly, first boot and config - always an exciting experience!

    -JF

  5. #5

    Re: yet another hardware thread...

    Jon,

    I am so relieved that I have your blessing. I've been reading your posts for quite some time and I know I have alot to learn when it comes to PCs.

    I am a mac guru and protools geek, so this PC stuff is like a fish at a slaughterhouse - I never had to spec a power supply. With Apple, we just get what we get - sometimes it's state of the f-ing art, and sometime it's a "Mirrored Drive Door hurricane emulation device"

    So -- to followup...

    1. RAM -- I already have a bunch of Corsair DDR 400 (PC3200) from a G5. It is highly rated and I've never had a problem with it. I am only using 2 sticks in this rig. I could add two more.

    2. Power supply. I have an IsoRax - so noise is not critical... I want good stable power and reasonably good airflow. I'm going to save the $25 since the low-noise issue is not important (and it's not that the enermax is "loud")

    3. hard drives... I don't know.... I never know. FYI, Hitachi is not yet shipping any 16mb cache (the WD drives are 16meg). I was always a fan of IBM drives (now hitachi). I wish they'd make a 10k SATA drive. I have been using seagate drives in my Tivo (2 x 120gigs) and they spin 24/7. I have a bunch of maxtor drives on my mac. I also have a bunch of WD drives... i find it hard to tell them apart anymore... they are all making better products every passing year... competition is good. I'll sleep on the hard drive choice.

    My head is spinning.

    I'm gonna order it all in the morn.

    Thanks for your blessing. Hope it all plays nicely together.

  6. #6

    Re: yet another hardware thread...

    Ok - my rig is working.

    It took a few days to get it right.

    <RANT>

    How to buy and configure a computer for music production:

    MAC:
    1. Go to the Apple Store.
    2. Buy the fastest desktop they make.
    3. Load it up with RAM
    4. Install large, fast hard drives.
    5. Install audio card.
    5. Turn it on.
    6. Install music software.
    7. Plug in iLok

    WINDOWS
    1. Research a gazillion options. Spend 2 days asking questions on compato;
    2. Spec a motherboard
    3. Spec a processor
    4. Spec a power supply
    5. Spec a video card
    6. Spec RAM
    7. Spec optical drive
    8. Spec a CPU fan
    9. Spec a case
    10. Spec a 120mm case fan
    11. Deal with shipping from multiple vendors
    12. Put it together - in some cases without clear documentation (case manufacturer only puts docs on the web - but it's not documented anywhere)
    13. Configure motherboard BIOS. Determine that your BIOS are not up to date - so upgrade...
    14. Install Operating System. Activate software - but you can't, since your internet connection doesn't work yet...
    15. Install device drivers for everything
    16. Install music software. Register... but you can't, since program will not generate a reg #; uninstall - re-install, etc...
    17. Determine that device drivers from motherboard are not compatible with anything (BSOD). Read hundreds of web pages from users advising against using device drivers from motherboard manufacturer, rather use 3rd party drivers...
    16. Reformat your hard drive, start from scratch, with knowledge of best way to proceed.
    17. Install OS, install correct device drivers (excluding most of the drivers provided by mobo manufacturer), install music software, deal with registration...
    18. Turn it on... troubleshoot some weird incompatibility.
    19. Eventually, make music.

    I'm an experienced technical guy... I've built and torn apart countless machines for the past 20 years - but the variables have complicated things to the extreme. On the mac side -- you have no choice but to buy whatever they make, and the OS that's on the machine. Done... One side of me appreciates the options available -- but it's really out of hand. On the other hand, My rig (without audio card) came in at about $1500. A comparably equipped Mac would have cost twice that. But then it took me a day of research to spec it and 2+ days to build and configure it. So, it's a wash. Would I have paid $3000 for a pre-configured, pre-specced rig? Yes. But nobody keeps these machines in stock.

    Oh, I forgot:

    20. restore data from backups and installer DVDs (add 20 hours)
    21. update 200 gigs of .gig files with .art updaters
    22. Why do windows installers make assumptions on where you want to put things? The GS3 installer sucks. SIMPLIFY IT!

    </RANT>

    So, my Giga rig is working great. I can easily hit 450+ voices without a hiccup (running 64 sample hardware buffer in the RME HDSP 9652 - I'm sure if I selected a higher value, I could get more power if needed). I have also not explored an overclocking -- and the ASUS mobo is very OC friendly... but that can be another time, when I'm not on deadline. I have the rig setup for 2 ports of midi, 16 adat outs and it meets my expectations 100%.

    I still have about 2 hours of data restore - and then back to mixing this album... what a way to spend new year's weekend!

    Thanks to all for posts, private emails and your encouragement.

    PS -- it's not the quietest rig, due to the 4 hard drives... but the cpu fan and power supply are VERY quiet. If the 2 SATA drives and the additional IDE drive were not present, this rig would be almost silent. I am very pleased with the case, the power supply and all components. I will be happy to discuss the specifics of the hardware with anyone who's interested.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    St. John's NL
    Posts
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    Re: yet another hardware thread...

    Jeremy,

    Glad you're up and running: Was this MAC talk hypothetical? I ask 'cause Giga is PC only (to my knowlege).

    450 voices!!!!! Tell me how! Are the drives faster than 7200 rpm? How much ram in the system/How much available for giga? How fast is the processor??

    Belbin

  8. #8

    Re: yet another hardware thread...

    mac talk is not hypothetical. I'm a veteran mac user as well... I bought a G5 dual 2.7 in August - upgrade from G4/867.

    My point is that Apple doesn't give you any choices. They have a great case. A great power supply. There is no mobo choice. You can upgrade the video, but stock is pretty f-ing great. Adding a 2nd or 3rd hard drive is a simple as plugging it in. No BIOS, no device drivers. No IRQs to disable.

    Here's my new rig (100% dedicated to Giga):

    ASUS A8N-SLI Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Toledo 1GHz FSB Socket 939 Dual Core
    2 Gigs (2x1gb) Corsair DDR 400 (PC3200) RAM
    SAPPHIRE 100118L-RD Radeon X550 128MB DDR PCI Express x16 Video
    Antec Solution SLK3000-B Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Case
    ENERMAX Noisetaker EG495P-VE SFMA ATX 485W Power Supply
    WD80 gig ATA/133 for system drive
    Maxtor 300gig 16mb buffer IDE (misc storage)
    (2) Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200KS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s [configured as 600 gig RAID 0]
    ZALMAN CNPS7000B-CU 92mm 2 Ball Cooling Fan/Heatsink
    NEC DVD+R 16x
    RME HDSP 9652 (clocked to external word clock)
    WinXP pro
    GS3 3.12

    One more thing -- for lots of Asus mobo help - I found THIS SITE - very smart people with too much time on their hands. But I'm glad they're there.

  9. #9

    Re: yet another hardware thread...

    you should have asked a professional audio pc builder like me.
    the nforce 4 is a bad chaoice because its gives you a bad latency. on other boards you can get 1.5ms up to 95% cpu when using rme cards.

    to buy a good pc is easy as buying a mac you just have to find the right pro audio pc assembler

    btw. the apple powersupply really sux!!!
    Digital AudionetworX

    ______________________________
    http://www.digital-audionetworx.de
    mac - pc - gigastudio
    berlin - germany

  10. #10

    Re: yet another hardware thread...

    Quote Originally Posted by Digital AudionetworX
    you should have asked a professional audio pc builder like me.
    the nforce 4 is a bad chaoice because its gives you a bad latency. on other boards you can get 1.5ms up to 95% cpu when using rme cards.

    to buy a good pc is easy as buying a mac you just have to find the right pro audio pc assembler

    btw. the apple powersupply really sux!!!
    I asked the forum - and many people responded. I also asked Tascam support. Tascam support told me that the Asus mobo with the AMD dual core was the way to go. So far, I am very happy.

    I have my RME set at 1.5ms and all is fine.

    I will have to disagree with you re: mac G5 power supplies. They are quiet, and rock-sold reliable.

    Some of the reported problems with the nforce 4 is if you use nvidia IDE drivers. Don't. Also, don't install their audio system. And DO NOT even think of the firewall. But you can use the RAID -- works great.

    Let's revisit this thread in a few weeks after I finish mixing this album... we'll see if it performs.

    My point about the ease of selecting a Mac are still valid... you have no choices, so it's easy! Some people don't like that -- after building a few PCs, I can't see why anyone would want to, when they could buy off-the shelf (but the catch is -- it must be configured full featured, and most mass-produced models are not -- so there's the double edged sword. Apple charges and you get stuff for the money. PC vendors try to compete on price, and they strip them down. Regardless, the cost is the same when you configure both comprarably.)

    Where were you last week? I was looking for a pre-built computer in NYC. Couldn't find one.

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