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Building a Daw

Discussion in 'Recording' started by llatht, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. llatht

    llatht Active Member

    Hey guys,

    My old DAW PC was a Dell Dimension 8300, and it worked great and lasted me 6 years. So I decided that when it was time for me to upgrade, I would go with them again. Big mistake! It's totally incompatible with my interface (MR816x). The interface works perfectly on my old Dell, so I know the problem lies in the new PC. I've tweaked it until there's no tomorrow, and disabled every single restraint that I can find in the BIOS. I've also spent 2 days on the phone with tech support. It's just not gonna work, period. The problem is I keep getting dropouts that have nothing to do with CPU power. I can have the buffer set at 2048 and this still happens. On my old PC, with just a regular Pentium 4, I can set the buffer down to 128 and it works beautifully.
    Anyway, it's too late to send it back, so I'm just going to sell it to a gamer (that's what it's meant for) and try my hat at building one (since this is all my budget will allow now). I'm usually pretty good at figuring stuff out, so I think that with a little help, I'll be ok.
    I want to stick with an Intel processor, and I hear that Gigabyte and Asus work best for the mobo. Other than that, I'm not sure yet. But here's my understanding so far of everything else I'll need.

    Case (whatever it's called)
    Video Card
    I already have a 1394 FW PCIe card w/TI chipset
    Cd/DVD writer (Plextor?)
    Hard Drive (Seagate)
    I already have an OS (64 bit)

    Am I missing anything?
     
  2. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    Building a computer is VERY easy. All the plugs essentially only go into one place, so it's very hard to mess up. I had never done it before, was very careful, and took me about 2 hours to do with a friend. It's so nice booting up a computer with a clean OS and none of that other crap. I built this computer to handle games, so recording stuff is a breeze for it. I use fruity loops as my program, and Firepod as my interface, can record at 2ms no problem.

    Case - if you're not planning on moving it around a lot, get a bigger one. Better air circulation and you can be sure all your parts will fit. (some graphics cards are big)
    Video Card - you can get anything if all it is for is music. I still prefer Nvidia over ATI though.
    RAM - Seems like 4 gigs is about the standard now. I think when I bought it DDR3 or something what the best, not sure now. (that's a type, not a brand)
    HD - Seagate and Western Digital I have had good experiences with... I can't wait till the prices of Solid State HD's comes down. 500gb of flash memory? YES PLEASE! I would suggest 2 smaller hard drives than 1 big one, say 2 500gb opposed to 1 terabyte.
    CD writer - not really sure, mine sucks, but I got it really cheap. Try to get a halfway decent one if you will be using CDs.
    Power Supply - you will need one if your computer case doesn't come with one.
    Extra fans - If you have room, stick em wherever you have a place for them to go.
    Thermal paste - for the processor, apparently helps to keep it much cooler. I also upgraded my processor fan.
    Mobo - Great experience with Asus. Make sure your parts will work with it. I'm not sure how you make sure, but maybe call up newegg or wherever you order from and maybe see?
    Processor - I like intel as well. Not sure what they are at now... mine is a duo core and does just fine. But whatever your budget can handle I'd try to get in between budget and gamer.

    Hope it helps somewhat lol
     
  3. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Just to cover all bases. You are using the 64 bit drivers right? There is also a firmware update for Windows 7.
     
  4. Lukedrummer

    Lukedrummer Guest

    First make sure you mobo supports raid 1+0
    This may be a little extra money but buy 4 500 GB hard drives and put them in a raid 1+0 array. This will essentially combine the hard drives to work as one. This will result in them running about 50% faster or more and also if one fails your data is automatically backed up. The extra speed will makes projects load faster and run smoother, also the extra data protection will save you tons of headaches in the long run. :D
     
  5. llatht

    llatht Active Member

    This is good to hear. Thanks for the confidence booster!

    Yes, I have all 64-bit drivers installed. Everything is as it should be on that side of things. I was on the Steinberg forums 2 days ago, and apparently, others that have bought a Dell Studio XPS 8100 have had similar issues with the MR816. Has something to do with the lack of actual control you have over the BIOS. I'm not getting rid of the MR though. When I had it hooked up to my old PC, I did a test run on the preamps and fell in love. It made my previous interface (Tascam FW1884) sound like a toy.

    Sounds like I have some homework to do.

    Thanks alot for the replies guys!
     
  6. llatht

    llatht Active Member

    Just something I was thinking of....If the problem with my system is the mobo (isn't that what decides what bios features are available?) could I just get a new, better one, and a new case to fit? And then wipe the hard drive clean, do a fresh install of Windows and be done with it?
    It's got an i7, 6 gig's of RAM, and a graphics card right there. I assume that it would be the same as buying these pieces brand new. I mean....call me stupid for asking this....but there's no way that Dell could've modified those parts is there?
     
  7. Lukedrummer

    Lukedrummer Guest

    That should work just fine.
     
  8. llatht

    llatht Active Member

    I ordered a mobo (Asus P7P55D Pro) and case to go with it and a 600w power supply. Hope this does the trick. Thanks guys!
     
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Cubase.net .:::. View topic - MR816X Newbie Day One

    Have you updated the FW on the MR816x?
     
  10. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Elite Bastards - ASUS P7P55D motherboard review - Test setup, CPU and memory testing

    It pays to google your selection. Also, if it were me I'd get a rackmount case.
     
  11. llatht

    llatht Active Member

    Thanks for the posts John. Yes, I updated the firmware and everything else. I also spent 2 solid days on the phone with Yamaha tech support. It's funny, when I started doing my homework on the Steinberg forums, I noticed that more than infrequenly, when someone was having problems with the MR, they had a Dell XPS.
    As far as the mobo, I saw that a few people on the Steinberg forums were using this ASUS mobo with the MR, so I figured it was a safe bet. One fellow stated that he was able to take his sample buffer down to 32 with no problems. I believe he was using an i5 in his setup. If I can get close to that kind of performance, I'll be happy.
     
  12. llatht

    llatht Active Member

    I just read the review...looks like it's a pretty solid piece of equipment, and the reviewer gave it a lot of praise. At first I saw that the other motherboard was outperforming it, but like they mentioned in the review, it also had a faster processor to work with.
    I would love to have a rackmount case...Never thought about that.
    Next time, I guess.
     
  13. llatht

    llatht Active Member

    I'm putting the system together tomorrow, and I was planning on getting another hard drive just for audio files. I wanted to get either WD or Seagate and I just found out that the one I currently have is made by Samsung. Does it matter if I mix brands? I was just reading through the manual for my mobo, and it said that in RAID 0 configuration, I should use 2 identical hard drives.
     
  14. Lukedrummer

    Lukedrummer Guest

    For a RAID 0 configuration you will need two identically sized hard drives. Also it will work better if the drives are the same make/model, this will ensure the smoothest, fastest operation you can achieve with the drives you using. Also remember to have a large drive to back all your data up on to!!! I have a friend whos hard drive crash and they spent a couple hundred dollars getting the data back because they didn't back the hard drive up onto another separate one. I would suggest if you have another internal HDD slot to place a HDD as big as all your others combined to back everything up onto. Internal backing up is much faster then external because the USB interface is pretty slow and inefficient for hard drive use. Plus internal drives are cheaper :)
     
  15. llatht

    llatht Active Member

    Thanks Luke! I do have an external usb HD already, so I'll be using that for backing up. I checked up on that RAID 10 configuration you were talking about on your other reply, and my mobo does support it. I just don't have the fundage to buy 3 more drives right now.
    So you're saying that my best bet is to get another Samsung drive for now?
     
  16. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    If you have hard drives in a redundant array then you wouldn't necessarily need yet another large single drive for backup. The RAID array by definition is a backup which is why they are used in server storage etc. I have used RAID arrays with miss matched brands (not size) but by and large it is BEST PRACTICE to use identical drives right down to the model firmware. ie Seagate 500gig 7200.11 with a 16mb cache.

    Now that said, I'm huge on redundancy. If you've ever lost a session folder for whatever reason you know that you feel like you're in a space capsule watching the O2 tank deplete and no way home.
     
  17. llatht

    llatht Active Member

    So actually, I don't really need to set them up in RAID 0 format? I just use one for the OS, and keep all the audio files in the other? And then of course back everything up on the external.
     
  18. Lukedrummer

    Lukedrummer Guest

    I think Jack is talking about a RAID 1 array, that takes two HDD's and makes them both do the same exact thing. What this means is everything that is done on the one HDD is mirrored to the other so if one crashes all your data will be there on the HDD that didn't crash. A RAID 0 array combines to two drives in a way that splices each file into separate parts on each drive. This way loading times a saving times will be almost doubled, and thats very nice for recording and should decrease any audio lagging that is happening. RAID 1+0 combines these two so that there are two RAID 0 arrays that are mirrored. As long as you already have a backup drive I'd go for the RAID 0. Your computer will perform much faster.
     
  19. llatht

    llatht Active Member

    I got my new computer built on Sunday, and everything has worked great since then. No more issues whatsoever with the MR816. It's really a great unit and the preamps are amazing! It seriously does make my Tascam FW1884 sound like a toy! It's just a shame that Yamaha designed drivers that are so picky. I guess the problem with the drivers is that if there is any kind of conflict for resources, the MR starts dropping out. So basically, in the bios, Speedstep, C-State tech, and C1E all must be disabled. And the firewire input must be on it's own IRQ. If you're in the hunt for a new interface, and you can manage all those requirements, I highly recommend this unit!!
     
  20. tstoneman

    tstoneman Active Member

    Just curious why no one mentions using actual workstation components like Tyan MBs, Xeon/Opteron CPUs, or NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards. These components are so much stronger, better tested, have fewer compatiblity issues (always), and are tested with intense applications like DAWs. DAWs are so much different from games that even an uber gaming system may come crashing down easily with DAW depending on what you're doing. In most other industries that use intense apps (digital content creation, design) they almost always specify actual workstations over consumer machines. I know they cost a bit more but for anyone doing this for a living it is so much better - first hand experience here.
     
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