Building a new AMD system, thoughts?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by quixzika, Feb 11, 2002.

  1. quixzika

    quixzika Guest

    My old K6III 450/Mhz has given up its ghost. So I'm rebuilding with a DAW in mind. This is just for home recording projects at the moment. So the machine will run other stuff too (games, Office...) I'm looking at the new AMD chipset KT266A with an AthlonXP 1500 or 1800 processor. Guitar Center's techie recommended the Delta 44. I don't NEED 4 channels of audio, but it wouldn't hurt? But the Audiophile 2496 would be just fine too- I run through a Berhinger mixer/preamp. Anyone have thoughts on those cards and the AMD system? (sorry I rambled.) -Jeff
  2. jscott

    jscott Guest

    Most of your issues will revolve around the motherboard chipset. And right now there is reason to question the use of the VIA chipsets for DAW use see Darth Via Article. So I feel its better to go with a mobo based upon the AMD 761 chipset rather than the faster KT266A chipset, and in some respects, its just marginally faster, and you may even want to put your dollars into the 762 chipset and be dual processing ready? The VIA's have problems.

    There is no doubt that the current crop of VIA KT266A chipsets are among the fastest on the planet for use in a PC. But it is far wiser I think at this day to go with a motherboard that is proven to be rock stable and upgradeable, and that means the AMD 761 chipset. Manufacturers such as EPOX (EP-8K7A+ RAID), GIGABYTE (GA-7DXR), ABIT (KG7-RAID) and ASUS all make versions that are very good and stable.

    I feel its best to stay one or two steps away from leading edge tech stuff. The boards I listed (to name a few) also have the RAID option, which means 2 more channels for IDE devices, which can slove many a conflict.

    It would also be wiser I think to spend the money on memory, although I know you won;t be saving huge amounts going to the 761's.
  3. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    Sep 10, 2000're in the same boat as me! I have an AMD K6-300 that's on it's last leg, and I've been collecting components one by one to build a new tower. The only things that I still need are the CPU, cooler, mobo, and memory.
    Right now, the best deal on Athlon XPs is the 1800. The product line prices are in small increments up until the 1800, then they take a huge jump up to the 1900 and 2000. Remember to use Pricewatch for your best deal. Be careful to figure shipping into your total price when shopping for your best overall deal. Some online retailers have much cheaper shipping than others.
    I'm going with the iWill XP333-R mobo. Here's the link... products/spec.asp?ModelName=XP333-R&SupportID=
    This mobo has 3 memory slots, and supports DDR PC2700, 2100, and 1600, up to 3 Gigs. It has 5 PCI slots as well as the 1 AGP. It supports ATA133 (backward compatible), and the RAID function can do 1+0 (way kewl). The onboard audio is exceptional on this board, supporting 5.1, however, I have not been able to find a retailer selling the board with the "superaudio" option (which gives you SPDIF), but have been told that if I could find one it would probably be about $30 more. Two IDE cables and a floppy cable are included with the board. I'm going to put a Swiftech MCX-462 heatsink and a Delta 80x80x38 fan on it ... major cooling.
    The current "going price" on Pricewatch is $109 plus shipping, with many retailers selling at that price. The XP333 without RAID is going for about $10 less.
    Anywho...just my $'s an option for you.
  4. quixzika

    quixzika Guest

    Thanks gents. Hey SoS- how did you decide to use the iWIll mobo? Not familiar with that board/brand. Recommended to you by another, or found by you? Just want to get the facts before I make the buy. Thanks.
  5. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    Hey Guys....sorry I dont frequent this side of the RO planet these days but I've got my hands full over on the DAWworld side!!
    Anyhue, if you go to and to the user forums and on the Hardware forums you will see people posting about their setups and which boards have been working for them and so forth and so forth!
    Thats the real way to know which boards will be good! Let others be the guinea pigs and decide from their reults which ones are good or not!
    Also as stated the Via chips are a toss up..some work great but most of the time you need to patch this and patch that just to get normal operation.
    AMD 761 chipsets are great but what concerns me is that they usually have the Via southbridge chip on it as well!! I mean, C'mon!! why take a chance that another Via bug will be found that says the southbridge doesnt allow the full data transfer bandwidth and so forth! Arrrrgghhh!! I'm almost temoted to say the hell with Athalon but I know that those CPU's are faster and better for audio than the Intel's at this point which I need!!
    So, in a time of technology you got to love and hate computers!
  6. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Jan 18, 2002
    Hey Jeff - One other thing to watch out for - you mentioned "office" in the same breath with "music" - Don't even TRY to do music with ANYTHING by Micro-Slop on the machine, other than whichever version of Win-DOZE you settle on - I'm still un-initiated on 2k and XP other than reading, but one thing that works pretty well in 98 is "hardware profiles" and "user profiles" - you create a "hardware profile" just for music, dis-abling "in this profile" anything that likes to cut in sporadically, like NIC's, modems, and ANYTHING else that isn't needed for music. Also, create a "user" profile called Jeff's Music Machine, or whatever - do this first, before installing any "office" apps. Then, go back and log off "music machine" and log onto "Jeff's Jenn-Aire-ick" machine, and install Office apps THERE, not in the "music machine." This way, Office (if you were really referring to MicroSlop Office) won't be hogging crap you need un-cluttered for music. I know that was pretty generic, but it's been about two years since I set up a machine like that - all I know is that it worked without hiccups by having a "Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde" machine. Rotsa'ruck... Steve
  7. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    Sep 10, 2000
    J Ditty,
    The iWill KA266 was first introduced to me by a system builder here in Pahrump. Like Opus, he was always having probs with VIA chips on mobos. He built a system for someone who requested the KA 266. He told me basically the same thing as the reviews I've read: it's not as fast as some other mobos, by testing, but to the user the difference is unnoticeable. The great thing about the iWill/Ali boards is their stability. He now uses the XP333(R) boards with the same success. He likes them because once the machine leaves his shop, it doesn't come back with mobo-related probs. The last time I'd spoken with him , I asked him if he had built any towers with the mobo for audio apps, and he told me that 2 guys were using them for DAWs, but he hadn't gotten any feedback from regarding their performance. He said he assumes they haven't had any problems or he would have definately heard from
    I remember that a while back, Opus posted a link in one of his forums to a thread on the Nuendo site regarding the XP333, but I don't recall which thread it was in. Since Nuendo is a host-based system, you may want to find that thread/link and see what they have to say. Personally, I will be using my PC with Soundscape R.Ed (once I can afford it), so the mobo compatibility isn't really an issue since the puter is really only used for display purposes.
  8. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    Sos brings up a great point!! Indeed the Via has problems but it's indeed with certain useages! One of the main concerns with Via is PCI 2.1 compatability with motorolla baced chipsets.
    Also as wek now know the data transfer bug..well, which data tramsfer bug do you mean? Ugg you say..indeed..there are two issues with Via data transfer..
    One is the KT133 chip..when transfering files of over 100MB from one IDEcable to another you will get corrupt files!! My friend in Boston(me have friends :eek: ) just finally noticed his files were getting corrupt even tho I warned him about that bug when it was first found and he still got the chipset(right Mr Topher?!!)
    Now there's an issue with actual rate at which the files are's actually slower than it should be!! Arrgghh!! There's an unofficial patch for it from a programmer but I wouldnt go there just yet!
    So the whole point of this rambling information is that you need to be cautious and do your researching in regards to what your machine will be used for, how large of a file transfer will be used per drive..if you have the correct data transfer(ATA 100 controller card) and a compliant PCI card to match the Via's compliancy!!
  9. quixzika

    quixzika Guest

    This forum rules. I was putting it in perspective to corporate America. If I asked how to do it better based on your mistakes and research, I'd get laughed at. I really appreciate all the input.
    I've decided to steer clear of any Via chipset (except the Via southbridge that comes with the AMD 761 set) Seem that that is OK. I don't have much to contribute yet, but I thank ALL of you for letting me leech. Oh, and seeing "J Ditty" about made me pee my pants laughing. "Captain Caucasian" would be more appropriate. But PDitty Sean Combs got nuthing on me!
    Oh- Do any of you know about the MAudio Delta 66 vs the Delta 44? They both have 4 lines in/out! So why 4x4 and 6x6. To me thats....16 and 36?
  10. raize

    raize Guest

    unfortunately i don't have the time to go through every message in this thread, so i hope i provide some actual useful information rather than repeating something somebody's already said.

    speaking from my own experience (as you can track by some of my other messages here anyway) i decided to build an amd system and ended up grabbing the ASUS A7M-266D. it's their athlon multiprocessor board. a few audio programs make good use of multiprocessor environments.

    there's not a lot of room for expansion considering it only has 3 32-bit pci slots. but it also has 2 64-bit pci slots, so you're set for the future of audio recording should a 64-bit pci card come out, which i imagine it eventually will. either way, the board is rock solid with my RME hammerfall.

    i tried out a LOT of cards.

    here's what i wouldn't bother with:

    anything by motu. they hate windows pc's unless you're building your computer system around the card itself. i built the system first, then grabbed the card.

    what did work for me was:

    the frontier dakota
    the RME hammerfall

    i didn't bother with the delta stuff because for almost the same price i believe you can get the dakota, and it just seems to sound more "professional" than the delta. i guess the phrase YMMV applies there though.

    anyway, the bottom line though.. if you want a hassle free, awesome sounding pro audio card, grab whatever RME product falls in your price range. rock solid in windows xp with an amd processor/motherboard solution.. and they have (as far as i'm concerned) the best support for the pc/windows platform when it comes to drivers.

    i just woke up, and i haven't really eaten anything, so i've probably left a lot out. feel free to pump me for more information. i'm sure everyone here and their dog's seen what my beginner steps to an audio workstation were, and they were heavy footsteps indeed. it still isn't done yet, but it's miles ahead of what i started with.. and i started from scratch.

    amd athlon xp 1600 + asus a7m-266d dual processor board + IBM 60gb gxp + 512 DDR ram + rme hammerfall 9652 = sweet audio loving.
  11. I've helped alot of people set up systems for Digi001 on the Windows platform and I've read alot of info on the Nuendo site. Here is a system that is kicking butt right now with Digi001 and PTLE 5.1.1 and is popular with the Nuendo crowd as well.

    For the price, it is hard to beat the AMD761 chipset boards. The GA7DX or the A7M266 with a separate Promise ATA100 TX2 controller card or the GA7DXR that has onboard Promise controller.

    Not sure if the dual processor board is worth the extra change at this point given the fact that most Nuendo users are not seeing the big performance improvement that I would expect. I would just get a faster CPU XP1800+ or higher with the single processor motherboard.

    Here is a thread on the DUC that I started for building a high end DAW for under 900.00:

    I used the GA7DX as it is one of our top performers, and is the least expensive of the top performers. Add about 20.00 for the A7M266. This should get you 24 Audio tracks + 18 Aux. tracks with 5 plugins per track for a total of 210 plugins if tweeked correctly. That is 70-120% better performance than Mac G4 and P3 or P4 systems with rock solid stability. These are all top quality components proven to work with Digi001.

    BLACK EVERCASE E4252B005 ATX MID Tower Case 25.00

    Enermax Adjustable 8CM case cooling fan 8.00

    ENERMAX EG365P-VE (FCA) 350W PSU 73.00

    Volcano 7 Heatsink/Fan XP1800+ and higher, 27db noise 16.00

    Giga-Byte GA-7DX+ motherboard 69.00

    AMD XP 1800 138.00

    Micron 512MB PC2100 DDR SDRAM 135.00

    Matrox G450 Dual Video Card 48.00

    IBM 60GXP 40GB ATA100 7200rpm 2 @ 79.00 each = 158.00

    Promise ATA100 TX2 Controller Card 23.00

    Teac 1.44MB 3.5 Inch Floppy Drive # FD235HFB291 9.00

    PLEXTOR PX-W2410TA/SW 24x10x40 CDRW 131.00

    Total: $833.00 (not including shipping)

    Prices taken from and

    Don't forget to get some Artic Silver paste for applying between the heatsink and CPU. Remember to apply only a thin layer. Don't gob it on! Some heatsinks come with their own paste.

    Here is a step by step guide on building your own PC:

    Hope that helps out the newbies here and those looking to upgrade.

    Updated 2/17/02

    Allen :w:
  12. dropadrop

    dropadrop Guest

    That setup is pretty close to mine, and I have'nt had any problems with it. I smoke just about any p4 that my friends use. I must say something about the micron ram though... Micron ram and Crucial come from the same company. Crucial is alot better quality though. Micron comes with difreant brands of chips, and very varying quality, while crucial seems to be picked alot better.
    The best ddr out at the moment is Kingmax pc333. It also seems to be the only one using 5ns chips, vs. 7ns on all others. (including crucial)
  13. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    Allright dropadrop...lets do a battle between your Athalon and my P4 system!!! lol
    I'd like to see my machine be beat!! Ah ha ha ha ha ha!!!
    As MC Hammer says...Cant touch this!! Woo Woo Woo!
  14. dropadrop

    dropadrop Guest

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