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I want a reliable PC!!!!!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by therecordingart, Jul 2, 2005.

  1. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Right now I have:

    eMachines computer
    1.8GHZ AMD Athlon
    1.2 Gig RAM
    60gig Western Digital HD for apps
    80gig Seagate HD for storage
    VIA Chipset
    Windows XP Home
    UAD-1
    Unknown PCI based firewire card
    NVidia GForce 5200 FX
    Tascam FW-1884
    Cubase SX 2.2.0

    Ok...this computer is less than stable! I have so many problems from latency, freeze ups, random noises when starting Cubase. 50% of the time when I open a session....it plays back all distorted and choppy so I have to close and restart the program many times until it works. I can hardly run any plugins without Cubase sputtering like hell. I've "optimized" Windows, and have even scrubbed my hard drive, started from scratch, and the same issues. I don't run any "hot" software...so I don't know what the issue is.

    I'm a my wits end with this P.O.S. and it's now screwing up sessions!

    Does anyone have any suggestions on a stable, affordable, yet powerful system that I can build?

    I'm not extremely knowledgeable so I'm not sure what chipsets or socket types I should use. Also I have no clue about the differences in hard drives (SATA, ATA...etc) or what I should use.

    Can you guys get me on the right track?
     
  2. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    It all starts with a good motherboard. Are you wanting to use the same CPU, or are you looking at a bigger upgrade than that.

    Also, the only thing I'll plug a computer into is a UPS. Even if you don't see power problems, they can be there.
     
  3. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Art, Most of your system looks okay but a few concerns are.

    1. The Mobo. VIA chipsets are not the best for audio. I would suggest getting a new Mobo and processor while your at it. This could all but eliminate your issues with latency, freze ups etc. AMD socket 939's are a great value and are the best non dual core solutions available.

    My choice for 939 Mobo is,

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813128263

    The starting processor for this Mobo is, but if you afford more by all means get the fastest you can.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103537

    Since this Mobo supports dual channel RAM I would suggest this,

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145450

    This is the best RAM on the market and one hell of a deal at that price.

    My other concerns are the RAM and that PCI 1394 card. Budget RAM can sometimes lead to the lockups your seeing and I've also seen budget PCI cards (firewire in your case) cause issues with noise the PCI bus. Both of these issues would also be solved with the new Mobo and memory as the new mobo has firewire on board and you'll never have issues with Corsair RAM.

    Your video card and hard drives look fine. I can't comment on your case as I don't know what form factor Emachines uses but you can get a nice case for under $100 if it's needed.

    That's $364 for a smoking system (not including case). I don't think you can go wrong with this setup. If it's beyond your budget let me know, I'm sure we can find something for you.

    Good Luck!
     
  4. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    $364 is half of what I paid for this chunk of ass. That is a great price! Thank you!
     
  5. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    It doesn't look like that mobo has on board firewire.
     
  6. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    I agree with most of what Big D said although I've not had problems with a VIA chipset before or Kingston RAM. Corsair RAM does Rock though for sure. And I'm an AMD fan.

    I'm mostly commenting here though to second his recommendation on newegg. I've ordered thousands of dollars in product from newegg and never had a days trouble with them or what they've shipped me. Great service, great prices.
     
  7. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    It does Art, that's what 1394 is. As a matter of fact it's 2 ports of FW 800 and is backward compatible with your FW 400.

    Pretty cool huh!
     
  8. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Thanks....sweet!
     
  9. axel

    axel Guest

    hi, the recording art,

    why don't you make it easy on yourself and by a M... you know making and recording music instead of wasting time searching and building and re-building and re-configuring, blah blah on the search of a stable system, but enough now! i don't want to start this endless discussion again, just wondering!!, just simply wondering, oh and i see you saved money having to buy cards and the like once again... (including the wasted recording and editing time :)) LOL

    8)
     
  10. shredz

    shredz Active Member

    what was the link to the memory?
     
  11. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Oooops, :oops: Sorry about that guys. I fixed the link above but here it is again.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145450
     
  12. shredz

    shredz Active Member

    hey big D...
    do u think its really a big deal to have CAS 2 over 2.5 or 3 for audio?
     
  13. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    I'm not D, but I say get the best RAM you can afford (with the best timings). Your memory bandwidth will increase with lower CAS latency, therefore more overall power (P4's are usually starved by the memory bandwidth IIRC) - so every bit helps.

    The 2-3-3-6 RAM D linked to is a fantastic compromise opposed to spending $$$ for 2-2-2-x type RAM IMO. I run simular Geil DDR400 DC RAM, and it even OC's to 480MHz with relaxed timings (I stay at 430MHz @ 2.5-3-3-6 for stability).

    :cool:
     
  14. Murdock

    Murdock Guest

    Sorry for the irony; buy a Mac!

    It's simple...

    Regards
     
  15. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    I'd suggest that before you do anything, you go out and find updates, download and install them. You'd be surprised by how many problems and issues get cleared up that are specific to audio performance. Update drivers/firmware/patches for your BIOS, VIA chipset, SX2, video, FW chipset, Tascam unit, ect...

    Clean up and defrag your hard disk often? Is you PC optimized for audio? See Tuning Tips at http://www.musicxp.net
     
  16. Groff

    Groff Active Member

    WD Raptor's 74 GB, fastes SATA, (I have two) make noticeable difference to my can.
     
  17. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Oh give me a friggin break!! :-? (Not being a butt, just goofing)

    But... I'm tired of Mac people saying how much better and more stable they are for audio. One thing's for sure - they're a hell of a lot more expensive. The only problem with PCs is that -
    1. PCs are geared for 60 year old women who don't know how to operate a PC AND Microsoft and the PC manufacturers have to make a buck - SSOOOO, they load down PCs with CRAP software such as AOL access, crappy games, and tweak it so that it runs just fine for these apps.
    2. There is such a diversity in users of PCs that there's no way to offer good configurations for all of them.

    Personally, I would take the PC any day over Macs (and I get to use both) because I get to choose my processor and my board to make sure I get the best benefit of both.

    And, I use my PC, which I built personally to record on-location classical music. I've recorded 20 tracks of 24/96 simultaneously for 108 continuous, non-stop minutes. (Do the math - that's one HUGE file, er a, set of files).

    I've NEVER had my audio pc freeze - ever.

    D. -

    Could you elaborate on the advantages of dual channel RAM? I think it would do some folks well to understand it and why/when to use it.

    Thanks!

    J 8)
     
  18. Norville

    Norville Guest

    Thanks for the info guys, i'm starting to look at building a dedicated DAW myself, and i think it will be my first AMD machine. I have seen comments posted elsewhere that Intel were far better for audio work, but i trust the opinion of the experts here on RO who are building dedicated audio machines more than the gamers who want to rip a few CDs in the background.

    It seems the real pitfall which has not been discussed directly so far, is the chipset of the mobo. I did some research this afternoon, and it looks as if the nForce4 chipset is a big headache for audio machines. Here's a couple of threads that provide some interesting reading on that topic...
    http://www.cubase.net/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=17509
    http://www.nforcershq.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=57659&start=30

    In short, the nForce4 is a bad choice at the moment. Probably the best choice would be nForce3, which means you miss out on PCIe which may be a big part of the problem anyway, and of course it will therefore have AGP graphics as well, which is fine for a DAW. And this chipset will work with dual-core CPUs, which provides a good upgrade path for when those chips become affordable.

    Another option is the VIA K8T800pro, which also supports X2 (dual-core) CPUs.

    Apparently the K8T890 chipset does NOT support the X2, so that may be worth avoiding as well.

    So yes, thanks Don, it looks as if that Gigabyte GA-K8NS Ultra-939 would be a good choice (it is nForce3).

    As far as the Mac vs PC choice is concerned, i think most people have already made that decision when they start a thread like this.
    If i ask for advice on what guitar to buy, i don't need people telling me the piano is a better instrument. They may be right, but it's not what i want. :p
     
  19. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    That has got to be one of the most wise and true statements regarding this age-old debate. I'm going to quote you often (or just steal the line... :wink: )

    J.
     
  20. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    I sure will but it will have to wait until tomorrow. I just finished my new DAW and all's well except Cubase won't recognize the security dongle so it won't launch. I'M PISSED!!!!!!!!!!!!! :evil:

    I've got to get this fixed quick or move to software that doesn't use that F@#$ing little dongle. Does current Sonar use it?
     

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