Building a New DAW

Discussion in 'Computing' started by mikezfx, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. mikezfx

    mikezfx Guest

    Hey everyone -

    Lookin for some quick help to make sure I;m not making a glaring error- building a new DAW in the 700 dollar range. I record 16 tracks at the same time at 24/96, and looking for a machine to mix them on effectively, without huge latencies.

    PC platform, building around 2 Delta 1010's as my soundcards.

    My basic specs will be:
    P4 800MHz FSB, ~3 GHz
    1Gb of DDR RAM, whatever speed my MoBo takes
    SATA drives; 80GB OS drive, 200GB audio drive
    basic video card

    1.) Case recommendations for a minitower?
    2.) Should I invest in more RAM?
    3.) What are some good power supplies and case fans for fairly quiet operation?
    4.) Are there an hard drives that are better than the rest?

    Thanks guys -
    Let me know if there are any things you wish you had done on your DAW that I can fix from the get-go on mine.

    Take care,
  2. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2003
    I've probably been through 200 hard drives in my other job (design agency) and the only brand that never went down on me was Western Digital - Seagate, Maxtor, Fujitsu and all the hifi manufacturers rebrands have all died at some point.

    Just my .02 - there could be a million explanations for this, all my fault, but there ya go.

    Buy branded memory, Kingston and Crucial are expensive for a reason, if you do this, 1Gb should be ample.

    Remember to follow instructions which are downloadable somewhere here I am sure, and perform a proper, clean, minimised install of your OS, run everything else in a seperate OS, preferably running from a 3rd hard drive, ideally in a completely different computer.

    No point havin' the hardware right if the software is wasting resources.

    I have no idea about quiet power supplies / fans, don't need 'em. Most solid manufacturers quote a dB output though.

    Have you considered a UPS unit built in? Might be noisy. Might save your life one day. Up to you,


  3. mikezfx

    mikezfx Guest


    I picked out all my parts - thanks for the Western Digital tip.

    Any tips on quiet fans, I need quiet case fans, a quiet power supply and a Socket 478 fan. Is it really necessary to get all three?

    Thanks - Mike
  4. mikezfx

    mikezfx Guest

    Minimum OS Deployment

    Jeemy -

    Could you detail how to install WinXP in such a manner? At what point in the installtion do you make these decisions?

  5. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    There are a few guides around. There are quite a few steps that are done once you install the OS and all the essential Drivers. Some BIOS tweaks and Service Disabling are included. Essentially, you kill ANYTHING you don't absloutely need, and optimize what's left for Audio.

    About the Fans - I recommend running as many fans as you can - this way you can have slower and quieter fans doing the same work as fewer fans running at full tilt. You can get a fan speed controller to slow them down, or build your own. Some MoBo's already have temperature-proportional fan speed built-in (adjustable within BIOS).

    LARGER fans move more air at full speed, or run a large fan at slow speed and get the same air as a smaller fan with much less noise. 120mm fans make good case fans if you can fit them properly.

    For a KILLER 478 HeatSink / Fan - Check out ThermalTake's SLK-947U or newer equivalent. Add a 90mm fan, and good to go! KILLER cooling ability.

    My Enermax 460Watt PS is VERY quiet, and uses 2 fans at inaudible speeds to help suck air from the case out the back of the PS (lessening the need for extreme case cooling, too). Here is a link (I LOVE 2 Complete Systems and counting!)

  6. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    Here's my humble opinion:

    It is my experience that WinXP is pretty good from the get-go if you do a fresh install. The stuff that mucks it up is unneccessary programs (and unneccessary double consonants?), and internet junk. If you need to sqeeze every bit of juice out of your CPU, has some well laid out instructions on tweaking.

    For cases/PS, Antec makes some pretty good stuff. I have one of their True430 power supplies w/2 fans and it, well, powers stuff. The only problem I had was that I had to mangle my stupid Dell Dimension 8300 case to fit it in. The metal housing was made to only hold the Dell-supplied PS apparantly, so I had to do some cuttin'. Sucked! :D Oh, and I can barely shut the stupid case now because of all the extra cables(which is a good thing) from the PS for powering an unreasonable amount of drives, fans, etc.

    If you can afford more Ram, can't hurt. Or you can always upgrade later. I don't have the fancy RAM, but I have no problems to complain about.

    Hard Drives with 8MB cache are recommended. I have a WD and a Seagate w/ no problems.
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