Building a computer? pci express?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by, Jun 28, 2003.

  1. Active Member

    Mar 6, 2002
    Tampa, Fl
    Ok Hi all I'm looking to get a new computer for audio recording and mixing. I know this topic has been done and i have read the posts and im still uncertain. First of all what places are there that will build and test your system for you that are actually reputable and not amazingly expensive? I know of but are there more? every place i find is not a fully custom place and have very limited options.

    Also Im not sure how the whole mother board chipset thing works? I have heard only use intel chip sets but people recomend Asus boards so im guessing were talking seperate things. what board is best to get now as far as expansion and ready for pci express and stability and what chipset? I'm a little lost in all the options.
    Some one help me build a new system complete from case to PSU please. I would go by the month or so old posts already up but alot can change in a month. and im sure people have new opinions thanks!
    Still liking the WD 8 mb drives or are the new maxtors the way to go? also why are we caring about the noise of them are we talking about noise they genertate onto the audio data or just a little noise in the room with you mixing? sorry if these seem studio but its life and death to me.
    btw i use sampltude and cubase sx if that helps thanks!! :w:
  2. MisterBlue

    MisterBlue Active Member

    Mar 15, 2003

    building your own computer is not that hard, but if you have not done it before you will likely encounter a number of tough questions and a few little problems. I am sure that people here will not hesitate to help and guide you through it, maybe Opus knows "How-to" manuals on the web or a good place that does it for you.

    There are no clear rules for the chipset. Intel ones appear to be a safe bet with Intel processors but there are also a lot of other solutions out there that will work equally well, usually for a lot less money. There are a lot of posts on this and other forums that point out stable solutions.
    I am personally using AMD Athlon XP processors on ECS K7S5A MoBo's, which are using an SiS chipset and it works great. It's also a very inexpensive solution. Heck, the 2400+ CPU plus MoBo is on sales at Fry's in our area for $89.99 this weekend ... a very powerful machine for very little money :D .

    When we are talking about noise we refer to the "real acoustic" noise that the fans of the CPU, the Power Supply and the motors inside the HD's generate. This is an issue if you have your computer next to your "listening area". You will simply not hear fine details in your mix if there is a hairdryer blowing next to your chair :D . This problem can be easily avoided, but the measures need to be considered right from the start to avoid upgrade expenses. Key elements of a really quiet machine:
    1. Quiet CPU fan (e.g. Zalman, $35)
    2. Quiet Power Supply (e.g. Enermax, $50-100)
    3. Quiet HD's (Seagates are quietest, $100 for 80GB, also available with 8MB).
    4. Grafix card with NO fan (e.g. Matrox G550)

    In general, there is no real need to go for the hottest and fastest components, the mainstream will do just fine and save you lots of money. As discussed on other threads before, I would personally stay away from Serial-ATA and PCI-Express for now, these things MIGHT give you additional headroom that you may never need while making you the guinea pig to solve initial bugs and driver issues with these technologies.

    Here again is the list of things to pay attention to:

    - MoBo, CPU and a quiet fan (see above)
    - quiet Powersupply (ditto)
    - min. 512MB quality DDR-RAM
    - 2 hard disks, one for the OS, the other for data (pick quiet ATA100/133 ones, larger buffers are better)
    - an "audio compatible" Grafix card (Matrox G550 or ATI Radeon VE are known to work well)
    - Operating System: WinXP (Home or Pro are OK)

    Finally, get of course a decent audio card, otherwise this whole thing doesn't make much sense ... :D .

    All other PC components are more or less uncritical (Case, CD Writer, Floppy, Keyboard, Mouse, ...)

    Hope this helps,

  3. Active Member

    Mar 6, 2002
    Tampa, Fl
    Thanks for the info MisterBlue much appreciated! :tu: .. well hmm I can get a very good deal on a computer based on the Asus p4p800 VM... the VM is the only part that worries me.. It has an intergrated video card built into the board. Now is this a good thing or a terrible thing. Part of me would thing that having it imbedded as such would free up alot of bandwidth and not stress the pci bus. But I really have no idea on this topic and im just kinda guessing.

    Also It has the serial ATA I believe but It also suports the 100/133 drives so should i be ok if i just use those drives and bypass the technology?
    Any one have any thoughts on this? thanks
  4. MisterBlue

    MisterBlue Active Member

    Mar 15, 2003
    In general, the built in video systems don't really cut the mustard ... you get what you pay for and yes, it's basically free :D .
    On the other hand, you can simply try it out and see how well it works. If it's not a viable solution just disable it and go with an external video card like the Matrox or ATI I mentioned - no harm done. To the best of my knowledge there are no substantial bandwidth savings by going with the internal solution. The video data has to be transferred no matter what. As a side remark, once you are really getting going you will truly appreciate having two screens (e.g. one for the arrangement and one for the mixer). At that point you will need a dual head video card anyway.

    Re. the S-ATA you should be fine. There is no harm done in just using the regular ATA connectors. In addition there are S-ATA to ATA converters. I have to admit that I don't know whether you can use those in addition or instead, though. In any case, you should be safe.

  5. Active Member

    Mar 6, 2002
    Tampa, Fl
    Hey I kinda jumped the gun and got the system I could get before the deal passed me by.. heres what I ordered

    *Asus p4p800 Delux
    *Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHZ 800FSB 512K RETAIL BOX Hyperthreading Technology
    *512mb PC-3200 DDR 400 Samsung Memory (lifetime warranty)
    *1.44mb Mitsumi Floppy Drive
    *Lite On 52x24x52 CDRW Drive w/ Burnproof Technology
    *Matrox 450
    *2 X 80 GB WD 8 Mb buffer Ata 133
    *Powmax 400W ATX Mid-Tower Deluxe case, Side window 2.0/USB
    * quiet fans round ide cables.

    I had the do the Hard drive configuration and Cd writer like Opus2000 recomended on other posts.
    Might be a tad noisy but my new desk has a pc enclosure so it will be silent in here anyway.

    All for $976 Shipped to my door. I think i did pretty well any thoughts??
  6. MisterBlue

    MisterBlue Active Member

    Mar 15, 2003
    The proof is in the pudding, so install your audio hard- and software and let us know if everything works well ... :D

    Anyway, sounds like you have a system that should work just fine.

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