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Hello DAW folks,

Firstly great forum and some quality posts.

As a new visitor I could really do with some kind factual cautions and encouragment.

I have been considering taking a perverse root to making a very compact and virtually silent DAW from a new Shuttle barebones SS51 system base
A Review of the system base is on anandtech and pitches the ASUS P4B533-V (Intel 845G - DDR333)
against the Shuttle SS51 (SiS 651 - DDR333)in performance tests, see it here:-

for those not familiar with this format it is a very small form factor case with a FlexATX motherboard (Shuttle FS51) and sports these surprising features.

SIS 651/962L Chipset
Intel Pentium 4 Socket478 CPU
2 DDR200/266/333 un-buffer DDR SDRAM,
4 USB2.0 Ports,
3 IEEE1394 Ports
S-Video/TV-Out Function
Integrated SIS 651 Graphic engine
AC '97 v2.2 (supports 5.1 channel) Onboard, Digital SPDIF In/Out
Onboard 10/100 Fast Ethernet LAN
ATA 33/66/100/133 IDE interface
Dimensions: (L)300mm x(W)200mm x(H)185mm
Chassis: All aluminum
Bay Definition: 5.25 x1/ 3.5 x2
Slot: 1 4XAGP slots, 1 PCI slots

My additions to this would be:-

A Intel Pentium 4 2.26Ghz 533FSB CPU
A recycled trusty Matrox G400MAX Dual-head AGP card (1.5v AGP compatable version)
a recycled Yamaha 8/8/24 CD-RW drive
That Western digital WD1200JB 8mb cache 120gig drive
1GB in two modules of Crucial PC2700 DDR memory
And a high quality creamware LunaII or M-Audio Omnistudio sound I/O card.
3 recycled 19inch Sony flat Trinitron monitors (Hardly compact I admit but addictive!)

Now Aside from that SIS chipset and having scrutinised a lot of posts here that looks like a pretty standard setup to me but I do not know if:-

1/ these new SIS chipsets are workable for audio
2/ I can drive all three monitors if I run the on-board graphics port + dual head AGP slot matrox adapter under XP.
3/all those integrated features are safe to work with.

I am using Windows XP, Cubase SX 1.01, Waves Platinum Bundle, Halion,The Grand,B4,Virtual guitarist etc. for a recreational jotter in a domestic project studio.

I know that if it all goes bad I can drop the lot on an ASUS P4B533 and sit pretty but I thought I might reach for something different than rebuilding my quality but "puffin" Supermicro 760A full tower Macho-box and still get performance, but .. really small and .. really quiet.

I would appreciate members experience and views and hope to inspire a "little" "Quiet" discussion thread..

Topic Tags


Opus2000 Tue, 07/30/2002 - 09:45

Well, remember this...the smaller the case the more heat builds up, less air movement so that means better air flow which in turns means noiser system due to more fan activity! So, smaller isn't always the way to go here! The better the air flow the cooler it aluminum cases are better for cooler systems...
now I know a lot of people read anandtech...I personally do not agree with a lot of what he says...that's just opinion tho..since he really doesn't base it on audio applications which is a whole different ballgame as we all know!
Yes, I agree that a secondary drive is very for your OS and applications and one for your data drive..
As far as motherboards go...Asus all the way. Don't compromise anything especially quality. Asus are tried, true and tested to be reliable boards for our applications.
That's my $.02 worth

anonymous Tue, 07/30/2002 - 16:16

Thanks folks for the comments,

I think I will give the SS51 a spin (irrational, cute, mold-breaking factor) and let you know the limitations then if it flunks transplant the whole component-set on to a new ASUS board. It really depends on that SIS chipset

More information and questions in return though, I do not wish to appear self-indulgent so hopefully the replies will prove generally informative to other members.

Opus - My professional experience is with Large clustered Sun servers but I built up two dual Intel CPU development workstations (enterprise management applications)and agree that Anandtech sometimes has off-beam reviews, I chose to link to that one because it went head to head with the vaunted Asus board over a fairly broad range of applications (sans audio), so I thought that element would be informative on this little board. I take your point on the thermal properties and noise level although checking the thermal performance of the drives on storage review suggests they run very cool.

Blutone - I have a pair of old Maxtor plus 7200 20GB UDMA66 52049U4 drives here supporting this posting - er.. is there something I should know?

I am also the victim of what must be a classic scenario of two non-technical old friends wanting me to "knock up" a DAW system to replace dying desk-mulitrack and Roland VS setups so I also came here to learn the affordable sweet spot. However, my own current PC system is a server so this is in many ways a departure with some transferable experience

As an aside, I am as yet unconvinced about low-cost raid solutions and intend to use a network drive to syncronise backups in the small hours - is this "snobby" or a common working practise in pro-audio? If a smaller system is not true high-availability I just find myself needing to quickly rebuild and Bare-Metal-Restore servers at work often and have got into the practise of using a low-cost network data mirror and OS/Application image.

Burning Questions:-
Probably "old-chestnuts" but still hanging.

-I am going DDR(cost), If I play safe is the Asus P4B533-V with the "G" chipset the current 333 way to go? I can gather from posts this is a bit up in the air.

Drive units
-Considering myself and these other guys will use the systems for sequential creative composition Are those blazing western digital WD1200JB drives quality units or do the smaller cached fluid-bearing noise damped Seagates give good enough near-silent performance for most folks?

Filesystem Layout and performance
-Using OS and Data Partitions seems both economical and attractive does anyone have positive or negative experiences of actual I/O contention issues with this route over independant drives?

-19 inch 4U rack mount cases - Any known-good solid case suggestion for fitting into a flight box(depth) whilst not breaking the bank. (example here:-
I know these usually pick up a price premium but somebody must be turning out workable half decent "prosumer" units by now, who is the Known retail supplier?

Internet Information resources
-Other than this gold-seam of a forum Where are the sacred formulae and recipes for success in current (2002) DAW hardware builds It is apparent that Opus is "wizard" status and sticks to his guns through hard won experience. Where else do peers share hard experience born facts? Maybe one of them has had a secret brief affair with an SIS 651/962L Chipset during this Intel chipset debacle.

thank you all again for you time.

garysjo Tue, 07/30/2002 - 18:43

Patchbay, I have a friend who just built a system with that kit and he is successfully running Nuendo to his liking. He's using the Hammerfall card, which i believe does not seem to have any problems with the SIS shipset. Opus, did I hear that from you or someone else. I know you had quite a go around with the SIS chipset in the ASUS board several months back! he also is using the 160gig (or is it 120? ya know the one with the 8MB cache) Western Digital HD. I beleieve he is going to go with a 7200 RPM external firewire drive to do the separate audio drive thing! Cool connectivity on the front panel. Does that mobo have an AGP slot? I thought it only had two PCI slots, which leaves you quite limited if you wanted to add a UAD or two :)


Opus2000 Tue, 07/30/2002 - 19:20

Ummm...errr...where do I start? :D
It does not make a drive into two or more physical drives, it only makes one drive work harder thus decreasing it's life span! Also I have benchmarked a partitioned drive and then un partitioned the drive and ran the same benchmark..the partitioned test was slower!!!! Do I make myself clear here? M'kay? :p
So...onto the hard drives...those western digital JB model drives are DA BOMB! Chit man! lol They are quiet, fast and super efficient(I"m super thanks for asking..I couldn't be better, because I'm gay..I'm super...thanks for asking :p )
Need I say more about those drives?!!!!
Rackmount cases....I get mine directly from Multiwave(

Gary....yes, it turns out that Echo cards do not like Sis chipsets in the least bit!! RME is a safe bet all around!

anonymous Fri, 08/02/2002 - 09:58

Just thought I would let you all know I appreciate the advice. I am researching bits and bobs and er.. thinking.

Opus - I can see that the Maxtor has great read performance so I guess that is why you opt for it as a OS/APPS drive.

two quickies:

1/ why specifically the 20MB version? less platters= less air resistance = better thermals?

2/ (related) do you store sample sets on the audio drive eg. "The Grand" sample files.

Oh yes - what is the origin of "Anus"?


Opus2000 Fri, 08/02/2002 - 13:20

Well, the reason why I chose Maxtor is indeed it's performance.
The reason I choose or say to use 20GB is that a larger OS disk, say over 20GB takes longer for reading since the mechanism needs to do more work at that point..the less work it has to do the better...
Yes, I store all samples on that disk as well..for example I store all my reason samples and Sample Tank instruments there..then I set Write Caching off for that drive so that the read performance is greatly increased as samples are read only..thus you get a better pull of those samples and a faster load time!!
I did some benchmarking and found that the Maxtor drives are far better for this type of application than any other drives...
ANUS=Asus Northwood Users coined by our good buddy Audiohead!!
Since most of us all jumped on this setup it seemed alkmost too good to pass up that name!! Catchy aint it!! Yes, all the puns you could think of have been said and done so least a good portion of em!! lmao!