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Topic: Help with new pc rig..

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  1. #1
    Senior Member musicmad's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
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    Help with new pc rig..

    Hi could anyone help,
    i'm customizing my own PC for music production basically from the ground up, would be looking to have the best of this / that etc, decent memory moduals, decent PCI soundcard, decent graphics card etc. the processor will be intels core 2 duo, not the quad, the core is good enough for my needs, will also be looking at 3 hard drives, 120 gigs for each drive, giving me 360 gigs of ram, should be good enough for the DAW and all those plugins / stored data etc. finally, would want a decent cooling solution, would'nt want the console over heating etc, i'm assuming the CPU fan will come bundled with the processor itself, if not would need a decent CPU fan also. my chosen platform of choice would be W-XP-SP2-32bit, finally a decent mobo, considering all the above, what motherboard would be compatible for all of this, i'm a solo composer working with one instrument an VST plugins.. budget not an issue

    Cheers
    Musicmad

  2. #2

    Re: Help with new pc rig..

    Here's a couple of first impressions:

    Go with the quad processor. You say budget isn't an issue, and even if you don't need all the power right now, you can consider it as future-proofing for when you do need the extra oomph

    Why only 120gb HD's? Much more space is available for not that much more money, and as you acquire more libraries and/or start recording more and more audio, you'll use up that extra space in a hurry.

    Next, 3 x 120gb HD's does NOT equal 360GB of RAM. HD's are storage space. RAM is a totally separate component. I compare it to a kitchen where your HD's are the pantry and the amount of RAM is your countertop space. I'd go ahead and put in 4gb of RAM and utilize the Large Address Aware switch to take as much advantage of it as possible.

    For cooling, I've always had good experiences with Zalman products. Very effective and very quiet.

    For a soundcard, it seems to me that PCI is always the safest route, but there are plenty of good USB and Firewire solutions available, too. If you just need a single MIDI i/o and a single audio i/o the M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 will fill the bill. I need some more connectivity and an SPDIF port so I use an Emu 1212M.

    For motherboards, I've had excellent success with both Asus and Gigabyte products.
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA
    www.bakersjazzandmore.com

  3. #3

    Re: Help with new pc rig..

    I suggest that you invest in a book- I used one called "Upgrading and Repairing pc's". Read it before you start. The error you made with mistaking hard disk space with RAM is fundamental and if you don't understand what you're doing it can get very expensive.
    Do you have the right tools ? Do you understand about the effects of static on components, do you know how to overcome this?
    There are plenty of these sort of books available, they're not cheap but they could save you a lot of money and especially wasted time.

  4. #4
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    Re: Help with new pc rig..

    Make sure you put in quiet fans! Corsair makes very quiet and efficient power supplies. The Zalman CPU fans work fine. The newer CPU's put out less heat than most of the older Pentium 4's. Get a video card that is fanless. There are many that are around $100. Video card fans are usually noisy.

    Definitely put in decent size sample hard drives - 300 GB drives are under $100 and worth the extra space.

    I would recommend setting up your OS drive to be able to dual boot. It won't be long when many apps are x64. Believe me, the extra memory is great for loading sample libraries. The 32 bit version of Windows XP is limited to 3 GB using the /3GB switch.

    Jim

  5. #5

    Re: Help with new pc rig..

    I donlt know why you would bother with drives smaller than 750GB or 1TB(1000GB). The price difference is minimal.

    360GB RAM - Drool!!

    Now that would be something!

    Speaking of RAM, you need to decide whether you are running 32bit operating system of 64 bit. 32 bit is definitely more standard but 64 bit is emerging and is the future, but beware of available drivers (the software that drives the hardware - supplied by the operating system or the hardware vendor).

    32Bit can only address slightly more than 3GB RAM, so 4GB is a limit. 64Bit can address much more. RAM is analogous to your (physical) desktop, whereas hard disk space is analogous to your filing cabinet: the bigger the desk, hte more things you can be working on at the same time without sticking them back in the filing cabinet.

    More RAM = Good

  6. #6

    Re: Help with new pc rig..

    Quote Originally Posted by jjloving View Post
    trying to steal my thunder, I see!!

    jon
    We must have been typing at the same time. Like you, I felt it was important to clear up a very fundamental misunderstanding as soon as possible.
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA
    www.bakersjazzandmore.com

  7. #7

    Re: Help with new pc rig..

    Have you considered having a custom DAW built for you?

    This is not that much more expensive than building it yourself and you will end up with a lean, mean music machine built by someone with considerably more experience.

    I can come up with three or four names I often see mentioned in various music forums. Jim Roseberry is one such name (www.studiocat.com). People in the Cakewalk/Sonar forum have nothing but good things to say about his systems. [Note: Except for having received a quote on a system, I have no connection to him or his business.]

    Which ever way you go, I wish you good luck!

    - k
    "An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have, but that he - for some reason - thinks it would be a good idea to give them."

    - Andy Warhol

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Re: Help with new pc rig..

    Hi

    A few things to consider.

    1) When considering Ram, go for Ram with the Highest FSB possible. FSB is the speed at which data is transferred between memory and CPU. This has a huge impact in playback performance, especially with Garritan which is memory based, rather than disk based. You are at an unfortunate juncture at the moment, where DDR3 ram (the new standard) is still very expensive. If budget is really of no importance, then go for DDR3. If the budget does have some bearing, you may wish to go for a DDR2 Memory/ Motherboard combo, and upgrade in a year or two when the price of DDR3 memory comes down. (The CPU should be transportable between the two). Someone here has mentioned Corsair, which do have very good products. I feel that they're overpriced. Kingston has performance Ram (their HyperX modules are good http://www.kingston.com/hyperx/default.asp) The memory they offer is of similar quality to Corsair, but is less expensive, and still offer a lifetime warranty.

    2) Looking at Motherboards, I like using the Asus motherboards. The main reason is that there is a 3 year manufacturer warranty on the motherboard, which seems to be better than other vendors. For DDR3 boards, look at either the P5E3 or the P5E. The main difference between the two is the number and type of hard disks supported. Both offer ESATA, to easily add additional external SATA hard disks. A boon if you need to transfer large amounts of data between computers, or just need to expand you hard disk capacity, have no more space inside your computer and do not want to suffer a performance drop.

    3) Similarly with Asus video cards, 3 years manufacturer warranty. With Video, there are some High end cards by other manufacturers (OCZ) that offer lifetime warranties, but they seem to be limited to top of the line, enthusiast cards. Having said that, you would like to go for a card with a bit of grunt. Asus EN8600GT Silent works OK, and is remarkably cool given that it uses passive cooling. My system has a quiet fan placed over the card for additional cooling when I'm relaxing (gaming)

    4) Case. Look for a case with features such as good airflow, quiet cooling, noise damping and ease of accessibility. Antec puts out a couple of good cases. I have the Sonata II, though that has become quite cramped with newer motherboard designs that have PCI slots right at the edge of the board. A lot of cases will come with spaces for additional fans. Get the extra fans, they assist in moving air around the case. While you end up with more fans, the end result is actually a quieter computer. each fan can be set to its lowest setting, which is substantially quieter then a single fan running at full throttle. A decent looking case is the Antec P182 http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=81820

    5) Power supply. If you go for a case without a power supply (such as the Antec P182), go for a power supply that offers high wattage (600W +) and good cooling features. I use a Thermaltake ToughPower. The power supply has an intelligent fan which is reasonably quiet, but which also speeds up as the situation demands.

    6) CPU Cooling. With the Case/Fan combo that I have at home, I've not yet needed to go for additional/3rd party cooling on my CPU. The Core 2 Duo is a relatively Cool CPU. However, as someone pointed out, Zalman makes some good cooling solutions. The Termalright Ultra 120 (add a 120mm Fan) also comes highly recommended. http://www.anandtech.com/casecooling...oc.aspx?i=2943

    7) Like others, I feel that you're constraining yourself unnecessarily with your intended hard disk setup. The price difference between 160Gb and 500 Gb is minimal. The thing to look at here is the rotation speed of the drives. a good speed/noise/price ratio is a 7200 RPM drive. Go for a couple/few 500 Mb hard disks in a raid array. something like this: http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.js...&reqPage=Model
    If you're looking for all out performance, a 10,000 RPM drive is the way to go, but they start getting expensive, noisy and usually require either a Fibre or SCSI controller.

    Have fun building your computer.


    Cheers...

    Daz :0)

  9. #9

    Re: Help with new pc rig..

    Quote Originally Posted by jjloving View Post
    that's why i said what I did...I certainly wasn't' being serious! But if you want to look at another way...at exactly 3:36pm EST two fantastic minds were hard at work

    jon

    Well, when you put it that way........
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA
    www.bakersjazzandmore.com

  10. #10
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    Re: Help with new pc rig..

    Personally I don't think DDR3 memory is worth the cost. The performance gain is small in the reviews I've read. You can by 4 GB (2x2GB) of memory for under $100 for DDR2 at this time. I don't seem to have any limitiations running DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) except not having enough memory. Kontakt actually runs out of voices at it's top setting. 7200 RPM SATA2 drives work great and I have no issues streaming that many voices as well as about 50 stereo audio tracks. I have samples on one drive and have my projects on another drive.

    Jim

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