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Specific DAW Questions - experienced users pls have a look

Discussion in 'Recording' started by DefBringa, May 21, 2005.

  1. DefBringa

    DefBringa Guest


    I have really been into the field of assembling my own DAWs but haven`t built one since more than 2years, since a lot has changed I would definitly need some advice.
    Here is my configuration for now.

    I halso have some specific questions afterwards...

    CPU: INTEL Pentium-4 540J S775 Prescott 3.2GHz, 800 FSB (Boxed)

    Mainboard: 19757 ASUS S775 P5P800, i865PE, DDR, AGP

    RAM: 4 x DIMM 512MB DDR PC-400 CL2.5 (Kingston)

    Grafic Card: I will continue using my previous dual head WinFast Leadtek 180DDR (or something like that) with 2x32MB AGP

    RAID Controller: Adaptec SATA RAID-1210SA (Master-Kit)

    Hard Disks:
    System: 1 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 ST380011A (80GB) 2MB Cahce Ultra ATA/100 8,5ms
    Audio Data Raid: 2 x Seagate Barracuda Serial ATA 7200.7 ST3200822AS (200GB) 8MB Cache Serial ATA 150 8,5ms

    CD/DVD Drive: LG GSA-4120B DVD+/-RW/RAM (black)

    CPU Cooling: CPU-Cooler Zalman CNPS7700-AlCu with copper core

    CASE: Midi-Chieftec Dragon DX-01 BD-U (black) Middle Tower

    ATX Middle-Tower case 522*205*473mm and Frontdoor.
    4 x 5.25", 2 x 3.5" Slots that are accessible form the frontside.
    4 x 3.5" Harddisk inside the case.
    Up to 1x12cm und 3x80*80mm additional cooling fans
    USB front connector (2.0) & 1 x IEEE 1394 Firewire port on the front
    Material: 1.0mm SECC

    Power Supply: be quiet Blackline Titanium 400W 2-Fan (BN015)

    Additional Cooling: 2 x be quiet! Silent Wings, 80x80mm Low Noise

    Quieting Kit for Chieftec DX

    I am using this DAW with an external RME Digiface that is connected to the RME AD Converter, to an additional DAW running a RME Digiface also and to a laptop running RME Multiface

    So thats the pieces the unit is supposed to consist of.

    I get it for 1450 USD here in austria, europe
    it includes professional assembling and it is set up with windows for testing purposes before its delivered and they also configure bios

    ...I am willing to improve here and there but i dont want the price to go up too much.

    Now I have several Questions concerning the individual parts:

    - Is the CPU the one you would recommend for Audio Purposes, do you think that dual CPU systems are worth the upgrade?

    - I wanted to go for a more expensive motherboard but was told that there wouldnt be any use of choosing a better one. True?

    Maybe I will change the ram to 2x 1GB pieces for better upgrade later

    - Could the older AGP grafics card be a resource hog compared to modern PCI express cards and stuff like that ?

    - Is the Raid controller a good one for DAWs?
    Is it recommandable to runa mirrored raid system in order to have all data backed up if a hard disk crashes?
    by now i have only backed up my audio hard disk now and then to an external one, my actual audio drive is an IDE one.

    any recommandations for maybe using the front hard drive slots for easy backing up and stuff like that ?

    - could I improve system performance by using a system hard drive with more cache memory?

    - I think I should go for a better CD/DVD drive for audio cd burning, should I?
    I also have an older outboard Yamaha CD RW 2x SCSI burner that I could also use for audio CD burning, i also have an adaptec SCSI Card.

    Phew, I know thats a lot of questions but if any of you guys who are experienced in this could take a few moments to answer my questions I could finally decide on what to choose.

    Thanks in advance for your help, daniel


    SONICA-X Guest

    Re: Specific DAW Questions - experienced users pls have a lo

  3. DefBringa

    DefBringa Guest

    hello guy !!!

    thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions.
    i already had a look at your website and your systems seem to be top notch.

    but i wont order my daw from another continent ;)

    i have read a lot in the RME newsgroups and stuff like that and the people from RME said that you can have a pretty hard time to get the new 955 boards with dual option to work properly.

    also i read a lot about the issues that people are having with the new nforce4 thing on the new xeon boards, where the older versions (nforce 3)had way better performance in any of the audio stress tests.
    also i dont really know what is meant with this nforce chipset, i connect nforce with graphics and i will not use onboard graphics.

    also there are only two types of 955 boards available here, that is the ASUS P5WD2 Premium, i955X (dual PC2-667 DDR2) and the Gigabyte GA-8I955X Pro, i955X (dual PC2-667 DDR2) and also the royal version.

    but these do not have agp ports as far as i understand, but i have a agp graphics card already. and as said, i read some bad things about PCIe graphics.

    also the pictures of the mobos mentioned do not show two sockets to insert two cpus, so thats not ment to host two individual cpus ?

    is there better audio streaming perfromance with an onboard raid controller ?

    the gigabyte royal board has different raid options - SATA2 RAID/SATA/PATA RAID

    anything special to go for and will i need special hard drives other than the ones i mentioned firstly ?

    also my system was planned to have a 80gb 7,2k rpm 2mb cahce segate barracude hard drive for the system, will i have better performance using a better one for the os only ?

    thanks for reading, daniel

    PS: dude, i just cant see the point where even specialists that are dealing with these matters on a daily basis can have so different opinions !!!???

    SONICA-X Guest

    My best.

    Guy Cefalu
    Sonica Audio Labs
  5. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Not that Guy needs my "back" :wink: , but I can also testify that the RME Multiface PCI card is working great with my Socket 775/915G/ICH6 Shuttle PC running Win XP-Home SP2 and DAW optimized. I'm very pleased.

  6. DefBringa

    DefBringa Guest

    again thanks so much for your help, guy...

    you and the guys at the RME newsgroup are helping me out big time !!!

    i am now thinking of a system like this...

    INTEL XEON S604 3.00 GHz, 800 FSB, 2048k (Boxed)
    (faster ones are too expensive)

    Gigabyte GA-8I955X Royal, i955X (dual PC2-667 DDR2)
    would you recommend this one

    2 x Infineon DIMM 1024MB PC2-533 ECC DDR2 CL4
    something like that

    2 x Western Digital Caviar Special Edition 16 250GB SATA II
    the 16MB Cahce ones dont have NCQ, the 8MB Cahce ones do have NCQ, whats better ?

    Seagate Barracuda Serial ATA 7200.7 NCQ (80GB)
    for windows system

    PCIe Graphics Card - Dual Output

    Plextor DVD +- RW

    will this system run hotter than my previous configuration ?
    i configured all the rest like the previous one, so one zalman cooler and two case coolers, all silent ones, also power supply with extra silent fans...

    this systems comes close to 2000 $ so your oofer of the X2 is really cheap, im sorry i cannot order yours...
    i wouldnt dare ordering my computer from the US

    thanks, daniel

    SONICA-X Guest

    Decide if you want to go XEON or P4 and the i'll tell you what to get.

  8. mick-itc

    mick-itc Guest

    I found this to be excellent re the CPU and other threads speak in length about Disks and other componenets.


  9. DefBringa

    DefBringa Guest

    hey guy,

    finally we decided to go P4 and not Xeon

    if i should choose the latest technology like the dual core xeon processors i would have to go latest technology in all components in order to really make sense...
    and the price really rises

    so i think i`ll buy a P4 system that shouldnt be way more expensive than the one i posted in the beginning...

    what do you recommend there, i guess you know what i am searching for...

    thanks, daniel
  10. zemlin

    zemlin Distinguished Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    If you want a quiet system, I would look at the ANTEC Sonata case, and the 380W power supply it comes with. All the hard disks grommet mounted on quick-release slides. They have ample space betweeen them and the filtered are coming into the case runs over the disks first. They run nice and cool. The case fans are 120mm, and with the addition of fanmate controllers can be made to run VERY quietly.

    I also put some dynamat-type sheeting on the large panels on the case to limit the case rumble. My system is very quiet and runs very cool.
  11. Operadragon

    Operadragon Guest

    Hey guys...sorry to intrude on this topic, but I saw an earlier post that mentioned the nForce3 chipset works well for DAWs, but the nForce4 chipset does not.

    What is the problem with the nForce4? Are there and head-to-head reviews or benchmarks I can see anywhere on the net?

    I say this because I was looking at getting a Shuttle SFF barebones box to build my DAW, and this gives me pause.

    Any help?
  12. DefBringa

    DefBringa Guest

    @ operadragon:


    this should help you out, it is not only relevant to rme users!
  13. Operadragon

    Operadragon Guest

    Thanks for the heads-up...

    Here's the part that intrigues me...
    "At present the NF4 single cpu chipset cannot be recommended for demanding pro DAW work. Multimedia users, recording hobbyists or semi-pro DAW users who use a limited combination of streamed audio tracks, samples and/or VSTis may not face the aforementioned limitations and performance may be as good as on any comparative platform."

    My use of the DAW is going to be 1 In/1 Out, voice-over ONLY, and minimal VST plugins running simultaneously.

    Since I won't be doing a whole lot of heavy mixing (just dealing with single tracks at a time), wouldn't I be OK with this chipset, or is it still too risky to get?

    I need some advise on this soon, because I'm looking very closely at the Shuttle barebones with the NF4 chipset.

  14. SONICA-X

    SONICA-X Guest

    Our experience with N4 has not been very good but the tests we ran where heavy.

    If I have some free time this weekend I will go back and see how it does with 2,4,8,16 and 24 track projects.

    What is you sampling rate?

    Guy Cefalu
  15. Operadragon

    Operadragon Guest

    Just 44.1, 16 bit mono.

    Thanks so much.

  16. DefBringa

    DefBringa Guest

    i already decided to go P4 because of the difference in price

    maybe you have anymore info on a setup you could recommend

    thanks, daniel
  17. DefBringa

    DefBringa Guest

    after having done a lot of additional research this is the system configuration that i have come up with by now...

    please comment and share your thoughts

    CPU: INTEL Pentium-4 540J S775 Prescott 3.2GHz, 800 FSB (Boxed)

    Mainboard: ASUS S775 P5AD2-E Premium, i925XE, DDR2, PCIe

    Ram Memory: DIMM 2048MB DDR2 PC-533 CL4 KIT Value Select (Corsair)

    Graphics Card: ASUS EAX300 SE/TD Radeon X300 SE DDR, PCIe, 128MB

    Audio Harddisk: 2 x Maxtor DiamondMax 10 - 6B300S0/6L300S0 (300GB)
    Serial-ATA/150 Harddisk with 300 GB, 7.200rpm and 16MB Cache,

    HDD Case: CoolerMaster HDD-Bracket (STB-3T4-E1) for Stacker

    System Harddisk: 2 x Samsung SpinPoint P80 SP0812N (80GB) 8MB
    3.5" Ultra-ATA/133 Harddisk with 80 GB, 8.9ms, 8 MB Cache and 7.200 RPM,
    NoiseGuard Technologie, S.M.A.R.T Compliant

    Cooler: CPU-Cooler Zalman CNPS7700-AlCu with Copper Core (478/775/754/939/940)

    CD / DVD Drive: Plextor PlexWriter PX-716A DVD+/-RW

    Case: Server-Tower Cooler Master Stacker STC-T01 "BTX"
    Extra Low Noise Case with 2 x 12cm Fans, 1 x 8cm Fan, incl. Dust Filter
    Direct Harddisk Case Cooling

    Power Supply: be quiet Blackline Titanium 450W 2-Fans

    Floppy Drive: ALPS DF-354 3,5"

    Thanks so much, Daniel
  18. SONICA-X

    SONICA-X Guest

    My best,

    Guy Cefalu
  19. SONICA-X

    SONICA-X Guest


    my apologies but I am afraid that eating and drinking took
    preference last Memorial Day weekend over testing platforms.


    1. For your requirements of just a few mono tracks any
    platform will do.

    2. If you are looking to get an N4 based on all the new
    features it has to offer then you can get those features on
    an Intel 955X based system without compromising audio

    My best.

    Guy Cefalu
  20. Operadragon

    Operadragon Guest


    I appreciate the response. Basically, I was looking at the N4 because I have become enamored of the "bang for the buck" factor of the Athlon 64 processor.

    But since I would be looking at a P4 now, what clock speed and socket would I be looking at (since I haven't been looking at Intel in quite a long time)?

    Also, I was looking at getting a Small Form Factor case. Do you or anyone else know of any of the SFF that have the Intel 955x northbridge?

    Thanks so much,
    Brad Venable

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