Anyone out there with a Dell based DAW?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by Sklathill, Feb 10, 2003.

  1. Sklathill

    Sklathill Guest

    Saw some great deals on Dell, and I'm about to call them up about some more technical stuff (motherboard, expansion possibilities) but I'm wondering if anyone has recently built a DAW around a Dell, and if so, what'd they put into it?

  2. Blutone

    Blutone Guest

    Whoahoa Dellie! Ya might wanna re-think using a Dell for a DAW. I'm not knocking Dell. They make great affordable boxes, but I know some of the stuff they throw in there IS proprietary(which limits upgrade capabilities). Opus can probably toss out some specifics. He should chime in shortly. IIRC, this subject has been touch on before.
  3. Sklathill

    Sklathill Guest

    Well, I think the power supply is not quite ATX. But besides that, P4 procs on 845-based boards, 4 seems okay. built in sound, but it's hard to avoid that these days on any board... they're really discounting their LCD panels in computer packages sold on their small business site, which is why I'm really interested...

    Just as a quick aside, I'm pretty experienced with building my own boxes, but I'm kind of tired at the moment, after having fixed up friends' boxes for a good while. I'm really kind of looking for inadequacies. Things like "the power supply sucks if you want to put some Aardvarks with preamps in there" or "inability to access the bios keeps the user from addressing possible compatibility issues" or things like that...
  4. Sklathill

    Sklathill Guest

    After talking to some Dell guys, the most I could get out of them was this...

    The motherboard is based on an 845PE, and features integrated NIC and sound, 4 PCI slots, all open assuming I don't get a modem or whatnot, and 6 USB 2.0 ports, no firewire...
  5. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    I personally would not go for a Dell for a DAW as most pre made systems are not configured for audio in any way. You'll have to change the way it's set up which may not work well on their systems. Also Dell machines are notorious for video card driver problems while moving the mouse. You get crackling in the audio as you move it! Haven't found a workaround for it yet!
  6. Sklathill

    Sklathill Guest

    Well, this sounds fun. :) I just ordered the system, actually, and once it comes, Sonar 2 XL, Cubase 5, Sibelius, a Delta Audiophile, and a midisport are going to find home in there. If it doesn't work...well...I'll just wipe my current system of games, move them onto the Dell, and I'm good to go. :D

    When you say not configured for audio...what do you mean? The physical components aren't good? The drivers and programs that Dell puts on there are not up to par? If it's a matter of software...wouldn't a wipe of the system do the trick? That's definitely an option at my disposal which I am considering for my work in turning it into the music system. If you're talking hardware problems...well...hrm. Oh well...I'll figure it out once I get it. ^^

  7. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Active Member

    Mar 19, 2001
    New Milford, CT USA
    Home Page:

    > When you say not configured for audio...what do you mean? <

    First, rest assured a modern Dell can be fabulous for audio work. My current and previous computers are Dells, and I never had a moment's trouble. It is true that none of the major vendors sell computers that are optimized for audio right out of the box. But the only way to get that is to pay a lot extra to a DAW specialty shop. It's not terribly difficult to set up a PC for audio, and it sounds like you're pretty familiar with PCs and Windows anyway.

    Optimizing a computer for audio involves a few things, but is mostly a matter of telling Windows not to run unnecessary programs in the background. If you're recording eight tracks at once, which taxes the hard drive, and then Windows decides this is a good time to index your Word doc files, recording can be interrupted. This is a simplification and only one of several things that can happen, but you get the idea. My recent three-part series in Keyboard magazine explains these topics in detail, and I know Opus has plenty to offer as well.

    > If it's a matter of software...wouldn't a wipe of the system do the trick? <

    Yes, and that's exactly what I always do first. When I got my current Dell, drive C: had 8 GB in use by all the installed nonsense. I uninstalled almost everything, then cleaned the registry as best I could, and that reduced the usage to 6 GB. After a format and reinstall only 2 GB was used!

  8. Sklathill

    Sklathill Guest

    Cool...this sounds promising then. Hopefully, things will be smooth sailing when I install stuff next week...but if not, I at least know where to go. :)
  9. gambit

    gambit Active Member

    Dec 14, 2000
    Bristol, UK
    Home Page:
    Me! Me!

    Dell Optiplex (P4 2.0GHz) with all Intel chipset and motherboard, that I bought through their UK Outlet site.

    Great bargain, added some more memory, removed the floppy drive and added another HD - totally wiped the pre-configured install and started again. Win 2k, with Standard PC install (not power mngmnt). I disabled onboard sound and nic in the Bios and recently added an M-Audio Delta 44 interface. Running Cubase SX with lots of plugins and VST instruments. It rocks.

    Let me know if you want specs etc.
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