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Which processor?

Member for

21 years 2 months
I am putting home studio together, but must be mindfull of budget. Have a good used computer dealer in town.I gave hI'm the specs common to most of the machines designed for DAW and he said the best match would be some old servers he has coming in, so here is the deep theoretical question. The choice is beetween a dual pentium 2.8ghz and a quad pentium which is only 740mhz.With latency the issue which is more important? frequency or redundancy. also what is the desired standard on hard disks(SCSI vs IDE)



Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 08/24/2006 - 21:26
i would just buy a new computer, or better yet, build it yourself. buy a motherboard/processor combo, a power supply, case, memory cards, hard drive or two, a drive or two, soundcard for recording (unless you wanna go the interface direction) and your done. of course, you'd need an OS (windows xp probably) which either costs extra or you can download it over bittorrent (illegally i might add). i just bought a computer from that was an emachines with AMD athlon 64 3500+ processor, 200 gb HD, 1gb RAM, dvd burner and cd-rom drive with windows xp media center for $400. it was refurbished and had a $100 mail-in rebate. pretty good deal because it was about the same cost the parts to build it were, plus it was already assembled and it came with software already loaded.

forget the old servers, you'll just run into tons of problems with old technology.

Member for

16 years 9 months

cfaalm Sat, 08/26/2006 - 17:29
That old server might be nice to noodle around with. How much will it cost you? Please know that you can't run the old server as it is. A DAW needs to be reliable and quiet, not just powerful. so you'll have to go modding and changing parts. Looking for HDDs you can hookup to that old motherboard etc. I wouldn't bother to try.

You can have workstation performance at desktop prices these days. I think a new PC will be much more satisfactory. Any dual core CPU will give you enough power for homestudio purposes. Make a setup and do the math.

Member for

19 years 11 months

B Callaway Sun, 08/27/2006 - 05:05
I made and modify my DAW PC myself. As such, my suggestions for one are:

- What A/D system will you use eg RME, MOTU, ECHO etc. This will be a major decision in regard to whether you need PCI or PCI express cards. Also some chipsets will not work with certain brands. For example, I use Echo Layla which will not work with VIA chipsets on Asus boards (I found out the hard way ). This is an important area to research and could save you a lot of pain.

- Look for a board with lots of PCI/PCI express slots. This always come in handy for those unexpected system additions

- CPU. Buy the most powerful CPU you can afford. AMD or Intel are both fine. AMD had the lead but the new Intels are seen as the best right now. However I read that AMD have a new model coming that is better again. In any case, late models CPUs are very good value and very powerful.

- Mainboards. I would recommend Intel, Asus and Gigabyte.

- HDD. SATA is good. I suggest a 10kRPM drive for recording active projects. 7.2K RPM drives will be fine for backup/storage and system folders. This will save you dollars.

- RAM. I use 2 gig. Make sure you buy matched RAM kits from a known brand eg Kingston. Avoid the cheap generic brand memory chips.

- You may need additional cooling or to lower the possible fan noise ie; the system is situated in the control room. There are a number of options that are worth considering but will cost more. FYI, I have a 10K RPM Raptor HDD for recording and it is very quiet unless I am doing a mixdown or transferring large files for system maintenance so it is not an issue. All the noise is from the CPU fan which is not that annoying but I would like zero noise.

- Buy a full tower case for cooling and expansion purposes. For example, adding more HDDs and greater front panel access. There are some pretty impressive silent cooling systems (ie no fan) that may be worth investigating if you have the cash! Zalman and Scythe come to mind.

- I would buy a 400 watt power supply or better.

- I don't know aboput the video card, someone else can chime in here. I would buy a base level video card which are pretty good nowadays anyhow and divert the dollars to a good large flat screen monitor.

Good luck...

Member for

16 years 9 months

cfaalm Mon, 08/28/2006 - 02:26
Make sure your mainboard and graphicscard have passive cooling for the chipset and GPU. You want to use as few (big) fans as possible but keep your components 8) all the same. The less heat the longer it'll live.

I use an NVIDIA nForce 6800 card with dual 17"TFT. One large screen might be more useful, but it is still more expensive. For basic dual screen operation anything from a nForce 6200 or ATI300SX will do as long as it has dual output (VGA+VGA or DVI+VGA). I'd go with a dual 19" setup if I had to buy again.

Be picky on your PSU. Never go with a no-brand. It also has to be reliable, quiet, stable, high efficiency (>80%) etc. You can google on the brand and type and find reviews all over the place. If you want a minimum number of components I'd suggest a modular PSU to keep cable clutter to a minimum as well (for good airflow).