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Offline mmadd29

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Building a new studio PC
« on: February 06, 2008, 10:10:40 AM »
Hi all,

I need some advice on building a new studio PC, I don't keep up on all the hardware changes so looking for some advice.

My new machine will be, by taking components from my current setup.

Windows XP
SATA Hard drives
4 GB memory
DVD Dual Layer burner

I will run Cool Edit, Wav Labs, plus office applications, Internet and such

What I'm after is advice on a motherboard/CPU combo my budget is not really limited, but I'm looking for speed/value/price combo.  I would like full ATX, not micro.

I'm also looking for advice on sound cards.  I would like at least one digital out, and a good analog input for guitar tracks and such.  I will at another time look at multiple input cards for studio work.

Any advice is appreciated.

I use an Iriver to record, so that works fine with USB transfers

Superlux CM-H8K > UA5 > iriver h120 > Wave Labs > EAC

Offline PH

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Re: Building a new studio PC
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2008, 10:45:38 AM »
There are lots of variations on this theme, but what has worked well  for me......

ASUS Motherboards, go with their flagship and buy a CPU that is just under the flagship.
Go for the all in one solutions to the firewire/usb/ethernet moboards.
Keep an eye on your options, you want to be able to have flexibility down the road.
Go all SATA on your burners and drives.

For audio interfaces, there are countless options.
I personally use a RME HSDP card and LOVE it, but you need something more in line for usabiltiy.
I would suggest one of the firewire type options that Presonus or Motu has.
Super easy to setup and use, plus you have tons of inputs/outputs with pretty good preamp/converters.
You could use it at home, or use it with the laptop in the field. They are pretty stable in my experiences with them.

Good luck, Phil

EDIT to add: Having used most every type of audio software at one time or another, I would ditch Cool Edit Pro and move
to a program like Nuendo. It can be rather expensive to purchase, but there are certainly "trial" versions out there.
Soundforge is another longtime favorite for 2 channel post production. I actually prefer the pre-sony version. 7.0
That's pretty much all I use there days. Nuendo and Soundforge. Can't think of anything else I need, except more plugins.

« Last Edit: February 06, 2008, 10:52:10 AM by nashphil »

Offline mmadd29

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Re: Building a new studio PC
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2008, 10:55:02 AM »
There are lots of variations on this theme, but what has worked well  for me......

ASUS Motherboards, go with their flagship and buy a CPU that is just under the flagship.
Go for the all in one solutions to the firewire/usb/ethernet moboards.
Keep an eye on your options, you want to be able to have flexibility down the road.
Go all SATA on your burners and drives.

For audio interfaces, there are countless options.
I personally use a RME HSDP card and LOVE it, but you need something more in line for usabiltiy.
I would suggest one of the firewire type options that Presonus or Motu has.
Super easy rto setup and use, plus you have tons of inputs/outputs with pretty good preamp/converters.
You could use it home, or use it in the field. They are pretty stable in my experiences with them.
 
Good luck, Phil


Thanks for the reply.

I have used ASUS motherboards in the past, and never had an issue with them.  I forgot to mention that I needed ethernet, but figured it was bundled with any motherboard.  I have a firewire card so that isn't really neded, but if it comes with it, one less card I need. 

I didn't mention is that I don't need built in graphics, but an AGP slot.

As for SATA, I would think at least 4 SATA connectors should do it.

This leads me to a question??

Can you chain SATA drives like IDE drives?, that is two drives on one cable?

Great input....=t  please keep them coming.
Superlux CM-H8K > UA5 > iriver h120 > Wave Labs > EAC

Offline OFOTD

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Re: Building a new studio PC
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2008, 01:02:29 PM »
I didn't mention is that I don't need built in graphics, but an AGP slot.

Most current motherbaords use PCI Express.   Consider making the switch.  Lesser quality PCIe cards generally outperform better AGP cards for general use.   Your ability to also buy a MUCH better performing mobo is better with PCIe as opposed to AGP.   You can find really inexpensive deals on PCIe cards.

As for SATA, I would think at least 4 SATA connectors should do it.

Most do have four SATA slots nowadays

This leads me to a question??

Can you chain SATA drives like IDE drives?, that is two drives on one cable?

No.  One drive one SATA connector.   Look at the Promise SATA cards.  I run a few of them that allow me to add 4 extra drives at a time.

On the soundcard front alot of newer mobo's come with an optical in/out for audio.  Most of the upper end of mobo's use bit perfect chips.  Consider using the onboard audio connector and save soundcard money for say a new video card.

As for a processor there was a good suggestion above.  I'd say stick with Intel.  The AMD chips a good and cheaper but for real intensive tasks I think the Intel chips outpreform the AMD but quite a bit.  Especially in video rendering.   Oh also stick with 32bit chips.  64bit is useless for what it sounds like you'll be doing.




Offline mmadd29

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Re: Building a new studio PC
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2008, 01:13:35 PM »


Most current motherbaords use PCI Express.   Consider making the switch.  Lesser quality PCIe cards generally outperform better AGP cards for general use.   Your ability to also buy a MUCH better performing mobo is better with PCIe as opposed to AGP.   You can find really inexpensive deals on PCIe cards.

I would imagine that a PCIe card wouldn't cost more than $100....which isn't a real big deal for the performance gain.

A quick look at NewEgg only showed PCIe card w/TV tuner.  Is there a link I could look at the different PCIe video only cards?


No.  One drive one SATA connector.   Look at the Promise SATA cards.  I run a few of them that allow me to add 4 extra drives at a time.

I thought this was the case.

On the soundcard front alot of newer mobo's come with an optical in/out for audio.  Most of the upper end of mobo's use bit perfect chips.  Consider using the onboard audio connector and save soundcard money for say a new video card.

Excellent idea!! Any board in paticular???     I do agree with the Intel chips, seems they have past AMD by.

Superlux CM-H8K > UA5 > iriver h120 > Wave Labs > EAC

Offline OFOTD

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Re: Building a new studio PC
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2008, 01:30:38 PM »


Most current motherbaords use PCI Express.   Consider making the switch.  Lesser quality PCIe cards generally outperform better AGP cards for general use.   Your ability to also buy a MUCH better performing mobo is better with PCIe as opposed to AGP.   You can find really inexpensive deals on PCIe cards.

I would imagine that a PCIe card wouldn't cost more than $100....which isn't a real big deal for the performance gain.

A quick look at NewEgg only showed PCIe card w/TV tuner.  Is there a link I could look at the different PCIe video only cards?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010380048+1069609641&name=PCI+Express+x16

There are a few hundred PCIe x16 cards for sale on newegg for under $100   See if the link above works for you.


No.  One drive one SATA connector.   Look at the Promise SATA cards.  I run a few of them that allow me to add 4 extra drives at a time.

I thought this was the case.

Again if you have more than 4 SATA devices check out Promise Technology.

This is one of the Promise cards I run:   http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816102062

On the soundcard front alot of newer mobo's come with an optical in/out for audio.  Most of the upper end of mobo's use bit perfect chips.  Consider using the onboard audio connector and save soundcard money for say a new video card.

Excellent idea!! Any board in paticular???     I do agree with the Intel chips, seems they have past AMD by.



Really depends on which processor you decide to buy.  As mentioned before the ASUS boards are all really nice.  Just don't skimp on a mobo.  Get a nice one.  The extra $$$ will be well worth it if for reliability if anything.

Offline mmadd29

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Re: Building a new studio PC
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2008, 02:07:41 PM »
Excellent.....looks like I have some research to do.

Thanks
Superlux CM-H8K > UA5 > iriver h120 > Wave Labs > EAC

Offline mmadd29

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Re: Building a new studio PC
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2008, 02:31:52 PM »
Thanks for all the suggestions....

I think I found my board:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131196

I love the fact it has Wifi, and it has an optical out, 6 SATA connections. 

It looks like a winner.

Superlux CM-H8K > UA5 > iriver h120 > Wave Labs > EAC

Offline Brian Skalinder

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Re: Building a new studio PC
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2008, 07:52:29 PM »
I think I found my board:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131196

One thing to be aware of:  some mobos provide lowish voltage to RAM, limiting options for higher quality, low latency RAM.  I'm guessing this Asus is just fine, but it's something with which I contended when trying to find a lower priced mobo.

Edit to add:  just found this in the NewEgg user reviews:

Quote
Pros: Has just about every option. great overclocker. Picky with ram voltage.

Cons: no PCIE 2.0, default ram voltage is 1.8v (too low) which can cause problems, read below there is a simple way to fix it.

Other Thoughts: If your ram will not boot at 1.8v then this system won't boot to solve this problem I bought some cheaper ram rated at 1.8v and booted adjusted the voltage to 2.2v in the bios then booted with my Lanfest Crucial Ballistix DDR8800. Now all is well in my system. You will know it is a ram voltage problem if all you get is a black screen, geen light, and spinning fans. problem

So, looks like using higher voltage, low latency RAM shouldn't pose a problem as long as you have lower voltage RAM from which to boot until you get the config tweaked.

Happy building and tweaking!
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Offline mmadd29

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Re: Building a new studio PC
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2008, 09:20:39 AM »
I think I found my board:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131196

One thing to be aware of:  some mobos provide lowish voltage to RAM, limiting options for higher quality, low latency RAM.  I'm guessing this Asus is just fine, but it's something with which I contended when trying to find a lower priced mobo.


When looking at motherboards I saw the same thing....thanks for the explanation.  I think the easiest way is just to buy a motherboard, CPU, memory combo that works together.....
Superlux CM-H8K > UA5 > iriver h120 > Wave Labs > EAC

Offline JWard

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Re: Building a new studio PC
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2008, 12:57:35 PM »
I built mine with either the P5K Premium or Deluxe and a 2.66 GHz Core 2 Quad, 2 GB RAM.  Have been very happy with it, except for a problem I had with some software that came with the graphics card.  I have been very happy with it.  Will probably add more RAM and fill up all 6 SATA slots with a couple more hard drives and a couple more dvd burners.
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Re: Building a new studio PC
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2008, 03:49:42 PM »
abit, gigabyte, & asus are all the names to go with for the mobo.  each of those have very comparable models in p35 chipsets.  just pick the one that has the features (i/o) you want.  personally, i'd stay away from any other brands. 

i'm using the Q6600 on an abit IP35 Pro and like it.

abit IP35 Pro
gigabyte DS4 Rev. 2.0
asus P5K premium wifi

are all nice choices
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Offline alpine85

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Re: Building a new studio PC
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2008, 08:33:35 PM »
Good thread!  I'm thinking about upgrading soon, so these tips have been helpful.

One thing I would add - if you have 2 SATA drives, I would consider a RAID setup.  Are they the same brand/size/speed?  Mine are, but I'm not sure if they need to be for RAID.

I had 2 HD's in a regular setup and one crashed about a year ago.  Completely froze up and died - I lost a lot of data I was really pissed about losing (but not enough to spend 1K or more for a data recovery specialist). 

I had those 2 drives replaced 2 SATA drives in a RAID configuration (Adaptec RAID card was under $100), and it's been rock solid.  The peace of mind is worth every penny and a helluva lot more.



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