1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

Building a PC DAW ----Step Two

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Opus2000, Jan 8, 2002.

  1. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Distinguished Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    Ok..so now we know a little bit about Motherboards, processors and Chipsets..now we take it a little further!
    Obviously we've encountered different processor socket types, different motherboards and motherboard specs. Now we look at the overall shape, design and specs on them.
    When PC's first came out they motherboard style was the XT. Very large boards with a ISA bridge on them..a completely seperate slot on the board that held the interface slots. Made the system bulky and very hard to get into it and swap things around. Then came the AT style boards with more flexability on design and interfacing..soon after that comes the new standard..the ATX form factor..Systems have gotten more modular at this stage..USB, Parellel ports, Serial ports, Ps/2 Mouse and Keyboard...no more serial mice or AT keyboard connectors. Life has gotten good!!
    Now, we need to match these boards with the appropriate case..we need to know that when you buy a motherboard that it is either an AT or ATX style board! Very important to know because when you buy a case you want the board to fit into it and to be able to be installed properly.
    Most cases today are both AT and ATX style and have the appropriate markings for the screw holes for AT and ATX style mainboards!
    Now, we look into case design..here is another important factor. When installing the mainboard into the case you want to make sure that the board has plenty of room so that when you slide the CDROM(s) into it they dont hit teh mainboard(Trust me on this one!! I made that mistake a few years back and rammed a CDRW into the mainboard scraping off some of the filament resistors--price to pay,,,a new mainboard...doh!!!) So you want to look into how many slots it has for CDROM bays and Hard drive slots!!
    There are several designs for cases..sliding mainboard slots, stationary Mainboard slots, Modular hard drive slots along side the case or on top of the case..etc etc etc
    Which one is better for you? Well, depends on how many hard drives and or CDROM(s) you want to put in it. Typically 2 CDROM's and 2 Hard drives(plus the floppy drive!!)
    Now, on the mainboard you have three controllers...Primary IDE, Secondary IDE and Floppy Contoller! Primary IDE is for your Main OS drive and CDROM.... Secondary is for Stoarge drive and/or CDROM/RW
    Now, where do you put the components once you decide on a case!! Damn good question!!
    Well, the floppy disk has only one place it can go(actually some have two slots for it but I reccomend the top most slot)
    now..we get into CDROMs and Hard drives.
    Here's a good way to think about your design.
    One..the hard drives should be on the first conenction on the IDE cable..in other words the connection closest to the motherboard..why you ask? I'll tell you why..it's closer to the mainboard and doesnt have to go thru the CDROM!! Amazing isnt it?!! lol
    Now, Only ONE HARD DRIVE PER CABLE!! If you put more than one drive per cable you are effectively cutting your controller bus to half it's bandwidth!! So, ATA66 is now more like 33.5..that dont sound good dont it? Nope, not at all!! So, instead of bogging your system down..put only two hard drives in your system, one per IDE cable and both set as Masters on the first IDE connection(closest to mainboard!) Put the CDROM on the Primary IDE cable on the last IDE connection set as the Slave...put the CDRW on the Secondary IDE cable on the last IDE connection set as the Slave!
    Now, you may only have a CDRW or a CDROM...most people dont go with two different units. Some of you will only have a DVD/CDROM player...at that point I reccomend putting it on the Primary controller cable. This way it's easier for the BIOS to see the CDROM when booting from an OS disk!
    Now, If going with ATA100 drives make sure you have the 80 pin ATA100 cables!! most systems will come with at least one so I reccomend you make sure you have the correct cables before installing.
    When plugging the cables in you will need to make sure you have the cables going in the correct way. Most connectors nowadays can only go in one way due to the notch setup.
    But verify it..look on the IDE cable and you will see on one side a Red colored wire. That is Pin 1!!! Now, that Pin 1 must match the Pin 1 on teh mainboard and the hard drive. The hard drive Pin 1 is the side next to where the Molex power connection goes! Pin 1 on the mainboard should be indicated by a little "1" mark on the board next to the controller
    A little fact for ya...Most mainboards have a manual that goes thru the details of the baord for you..very very handy and a must keep!! DO NOT THROW THAT AWAY!!!
    Ok...so now we put the Hard drives in..making sure they are screwed down nice and snug and we start putting IDE cables on them..the IDE cables can go both ways,,it does not matter which end goes into the mainboard...this way you have more flexability to configure your system a little more to your liking...I like to put my drives nearest to the motherboard and then run the IDE cables in such a fashion that they conform to my design ideas..it's hard to explain in writing but once you start putting it together you will see what I mean.
    Now, Power!!! Power supplies usually come with the case or you can buy a better one(more wattage) and install it yourself..there's only one place that a PSU(Power Supply Unit) can go so you have no choice here!!
    Make sure if you buy your own PSU you make sure it's an ATX style PSU or an AT style PSU depending on your mainboard!!!
    There's three types of connectops on a PSU..Mainboard connector, Molex Connectors(two types)..Molex Connnectors are the power for the hard drives and the floppy drives as well as the CDROM..the smaller molex is only for the floppy and the larger molex are for the CDROM and hard drives...only one way to put them in so you cant screw that up!!!
    Voilla..you now have power
    Ok...here's the last and final step on this installment of PC DAW Building...
    Power LED, Hard drive LED, Reset Switch, Power Switch and so forth!!!
    Your case will have a few small little connectors running from the front inside and dangling inside. These will need to be attached to the Mainboard. This is where your manual will come in very handy!! Your manual will explain which slots are what and how you should connect it...look at the little connectors and you will notice on one side there is a little tiny arrow indented on it..that is the + or positive connection..this must match the connector position on the main board area...dont worry if you flip it around by mistake..it will not zap anything since it is millivolts we are talking about here!!
    Follow the manual and when you power the machine on verify all the lights and switches are working properly!!
    Ok...let the discussions begin..
    next step will be configuring the BIOS and installing the Operating system!!!!
  2. seven

    seven Active Member

    Dec 19, 2001
    Home Page:
    Would it be okay to use a 20gig IDE for the os and apps, and a 36.7 or so gig scuzzy for the audio?
  3. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Yeah, that's pretty ideal. Personally, I am getting two 18g SCSI drives instead of one 36, as the price is pretty much the same, and if I want to put together a RAID system later on, I can.

    Another thing- bigger drives are cool, but you're going to want to partition your drives into little pieces anyway. The larger the partition you are recording to, the more real estate your hard drive head has to cover to find all the tracks you're playing back. By partitioning into little chunks, you're restricting the area of the disk a particular project is going to get recorded on. This makes it easier for the drive to find and play back your information quickly, and can tend to reduce dropouts and increase track count a little. I have seen recommendations anywhere from 3 to 10gig partitions- I wouldn't go any bigger than that.

    Now, this is only useful information if you only use one partition of that drive at a time, i.e., you still should have your audio and OS/apps on separate drives.

    Originally posted by seven:
    Would it be okay to use a 20gig IDE for the os and apps, and a 36.7 or so gig scuzzy for the audio?

Share This Page