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DAW - Is this the recognized list of components?

Is this really the best group of components to make a great DAW? I decided to take a stab at putting it all together in one place for everyone to criticize!

Taking into account cost, performance and stability, the basic Foundation is a reasonable case that allows good cooling, with a special emphasis on power supply, noise (where possible) & memory quality.


  • Case - Something decent w/o PSU, figure about $22.00
  • PSU - ENERMAX EG365P-VE( FC ). 350W - $57.00
  • Hard Drives - MAXTOR or Seagate with thenew liquid cooled bearings, need 2, one for apps, 1 for Audio, 40GB 7200RPM figure $88.00 ea.
  • CD-RW - PLEXTOR PX-W2410TA-BPS 24x10x40 CD-RW – $128.00
  • Floppy - $9.00
  • Memory (min 256Mb PC2100 DDR SDRAM CAS 222 $109.00
  • Video - MATROX G450/550 32MB DDR 4X AGP - $80.00
  • Windows 2Kpro - $140.00class="xf-ul">The CAS rating of the memory is also of significant importance. A CAS rating of 2-2-2 can increase performance as much as 4-10% over a 2.5-3-3. Quality is important for stability.
    Boards with on-board RAID appear to be the trend not so much for the RAID ability, but due to the added channels they can provide which can eliminate or lessen IRQ conflicts.

    AMD proponents argue that the Floating Point Unit (FPU) is superior to the Pentium 4 processors. Pentium's with the "A" designation are vastly improved in this area. AMD still has the price edge in most cases. So depending upon your preferance, the reality is, you will get compelling arguments either way. But it would now appear the feild has been leveled, and problems will be more related to your choice of chipset, and thusly, the motherboard.

    If you go AMD, it is suggested staying with boards w/761 chipset only because of the known and ongoing debate about the VIA chipset combinations. The 761 chipset has no real known issues as of this date so long as you refrain from installing Creative Labs Soundblaster Live cards, which appear to be the cause of the data corruption that can occur with the VIA 686B Southbridge chipset.

    Motherboards for AMD

  • MB - GigaByte GA-7DXR+, AMD761,USB 2.0, DDR, RAID, ATA133 $126.00
  • EPOX EP-8K7A+ AMD-761 + VIA 686B, HPT370X RAID - $95.00class="xf-ul">AMD CPU Stay 266 FSB Athlon XP PROCESSORS due to lower power consumption and less heat, 1.6 OEM - $107.00
    Cooler[=""]Zalman CNPS-3000Plus[/]=""]Zalman CNPS-3000Plus[/] - $22.00

    P4 based boardsStay with SiS 645/961, Intel 845 for sutting edge and stability. These systems will perform.

  • MB - EPOX EP-4SDA+ SiS645 P4 DDR IDE RAID ATA/133 400MHz Socket 478 - $99.00, or
  • Asus SiS 645 Chipset ATX Motherboard Model P4S333 - $104.00
  • Asus P4B266-C Intel 845D chipset ATX Motherboard NO AUDIO or LAN - $117.00
  • GigaByte GA-8IRXP,i845 chip 6P1A3D USB 2.0 ATA133 RAID - $158.00class="xf-ul">Intel Pentium 4 The 1.6A GHz 512K Socket 478 Processor 400MHz (or higher "A" designation) - $135.00 and up. The "A" versions runs much cooler which consumes less power and floating point unit has been vastly imporved over non "A" versions.
    Cooler – [[url=http://=""]ZALMAN CNPS-6500A ALCU[/]=""]ZALMAN CNPS-6500A ALCU[/] - $46.00.

    Motherboard Alternatives:
    nForce 420 chipset solution for those willing to tread new ground see [[url=http://[/URL]=""]Nforce-Yes[/]=""]Nforce-Yes[/]:

  • MSI K7N420 PRO (MS-6373 6373-020) nForce - $142.00
  • ASUS A7N266-E NVIDIA nFORCE 420D CHIPSET ULTRA ATA100 - $165.00class="xf-ul">Operating System: Win98se works in almost every case, but still crashes, even with every tweak and patch. Many manufacturers have listed their drivers as XP compatible but you only get partial functionality. XP Pro is very stable, but you may have driver problems for the next several months from some manufacturers, check out the driver side real well. The most stabile platform as of this date is Windows 2000 Pro.
    VIA chipset issues:This is the short version of what’s been posted out there on the NET:

    Various users started experiencing data corruption problems as well as system instability when transferring files, listening to music, or anything that utilized the PCI bus. Most incidents involved were users with a KT133A chipset, 686B Southbridge and a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live sound card. Users who had an Apollo Pro 266 + 686B and KT133 + 686B combo rarely experienced the problem.

    Patches have been developed by VIA, however, the problem still occurs with motherboards that have the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live sound card installed. Further, with this and other VIA combinations, there still are occasional data corruption issues even with other soundcards installed and where large file transfers occur.

    When moving to a KT266 or i815 platform, data corruption goes away but audio skipping still occurs. This problem is mostly experienced when using WDM drivers. Creative should be able to fix the skipping problem because the WDM drivers built into Windows XP don’t have any audio problems at the sacrifice of EAX and most hardware features.

    When the same testing routine was used on the other sound cards, no data corruption or audio skipping occurred, which isn’t much of a surprise since most users were able to rectify the problem by upgrading to other sound cards.

    So again, the focus of the problem is closely related to Sound Blaster Live cards. However, there have also been ongoing data corruption issues with other VIA chipsets.

    Most of this information is readily available by going to http:// and typing is “VIA 686B South”, "VIA Bug", etc.

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