Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by ShaneSelby, Jul 23, 2003.

  1. ShaneSelby

    ShaneSelby Guest

    Hello all!

    I am getting ready to build a PC for audio. I have been doing some research and here is what I have decided on. Please take a look and tell me if you see any problems with this design or anything I am missing or should consider.

    Asus P4PE/L Motherboard
    P4 2.4B GHZ Northwood Processor
    512MB Kingston HyperX PC2700 DDR333 Memory
    WD 80GB JB Series Hard Drive (audio)
    WD 40GB JB Series Hard Drive (OS)
    Lite-On 52x24x52CDRW
    Lite-On 52x CD-Rom
    Matrox G450 Dual Head Video Card
    Samsung Floppy Drive
    Maxtop 350W Mid-Tower Case
    Windows XP Pro

    What is the best way to configure the CD Drives and the Hard Drives? I figured I would put the HD's on one IDE 1 and the CD's on IDE 2.

    Another question. I have never installed 2 hard drives in a system at once. How to I go about selecting, upon set-up, which drive I am working with. I thought it might make sense to just install the OS drive first and get the system up and running and then install the audio drive. What is the standard for this?

    Thanks in advance for you help!

  2. MisterBlue

    MisterBlue Member

    Mar 15, 2003

    please do a search in this subgroup - you will find a whole load of threads that have discussed this pretty extensively.

    There is really no harm in installing all drives right away rather than adding them one by one. It's actually good to have all devices present when you install the OS.
    The best performance in your situation is probably achieved when making the two HD's the Master devices on both the primary and secondary IDE channel. Configure the CD's as slave devices.

    Hope this helps,

  3. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    Woodbridge, Va
    Home Page:
    Hey Shane, Your setup looks to be ok for audio recording. Now to setup your CD drives & HD's you'll need to take the CD roms & do a master/slave ( preferably master the CD/RW then slave the CD-rom ) between the two on IDE-2. Do the same for the Hard Drives ( drive with the OS should connect as the master & etc ) on IDE-1. When it's time to setup the OS, the software will reconize how you have everything setup. First before you install the OS, partition your HD's then setup the OS. This should get most of the basics going. Then install your MB drivers and the rest should be gravy. Peace :cool:
  4. ShaneSelby

    ShaneSelby Guest

    Ahhh... conflicting viewpoints! I need another to tip the scale. :D

    Could you please expand on this comment. I have only ever installed Maxtor HD's which give you the maxblast software that does all this for you. How should I setup the partition.

    Thanks again!
  5. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    Woodbridge, Va
    Home Page:
    That's it. I'm also a user of 2 maxtor drives & a scsi HD. Now this is just my preference as to partitioning your drives. I do it because it makes do for better drive maintenance ( this is just my opinion ). I usually do dual or three part partitions. My setup has been working like this for some time now. I been using the maxblast s/w on other HD's for partitioning. But like you, lets see if there's another opinion on this.
  6. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    Personally I think having two optical drives is a waste of space for a DAW system. Why do you need a CDROM and a CDR/W? Isn't that a bit redundant?

    If only to do CD to CD copying then you're taking the chance on making coasters that way.

    Because of buffer under runs to the hard drive from the CDROM then to the CDR/W this may cause a mis fire on a bit.

    The best way to safely copy a CD is to make an image of it first then burn it to the disc.

    Otherwise it's best to have just a CDR/W salve to the OS IDE drive as master on the Primary IDE controller. This leaves your Secondary IDE completely to it's own bandwidth plus the ability to have two IDE drives on it.

    That's the way I've been doing it for a long time now and it's absolutely flawless.

    I'm going to be doing some bench mark testing at some point in the near future and will post these results.

    Until then stay away from using multiple optical drives. It makes absolutely no sense at all to me.

    SCSI isn't needed anymore to be honest. The 8MB cached drives are the way to go IMHO.

    I'm doing 60+ track songs plus VST and Rewire from Reason with tons of Waves plug ins all on one IDE WD JB model drive and getting steller performance.

    Also make sure you get yourself an 8MB cached drive for your OS as well..this truly boosts your throughput performance as well.

    Opus :D
  7. MisterBlue

    MisterBlue Member

    Mar 15, 2003
    I second Opus advice. Forget the second CD drive, put your first on as a slave on the primary IDE (in line with my previous advice) and leave the secondary IDE entirely for HD's (e.g. one main audio disk and a "backup disk" that is only use after the sessions to copy your data to a second place.

  8. jscott

    jscott Guest

    I agree with Opus and MisterBlue as well, but do not agree with the second hard drive configuration information you received and I'll explain why as well. So I will post something I've posted elsewhere, that based upon feedback will yield very good results. For your consideration:

    Windows XP - How to attach, recognize and configure drives for a DAW:

    The simple answer is, with your computer powered down, attach devices as follows (read all text below before beginning)

    • <font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Primary IDE Channel Master = Prgrams and applications - drive jumper set to MASTER
    • <font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Primary IDE Channel Slave position = CD-RW - for recording CD's from the Audio Drive
    • <font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Secondary IDE Channel Master = Audio data, etc - drive jumper set to MASTER
    • <font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Secondary IDE Channel Slave = CD that is to be used infrequently, and never during a recording of audio data - drive jumper set to SLAVE (if you are using a 2nd one)
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">
    Reboot the computer and the BIOS should recognize the drive being attached.

    Start XP logged as having ADMINISTRATIVE rights. Go to Start/Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Computer Managment/Disk Managment. In the right window you will see all disk drives recognized by XP. Disk 0 will be labeled as the "C" drive or the Primary MASTER channel drive. This is the device that is recognized as the Boot device and should have WINDOWS and applications on it (probably your original HDisk drive). Below should now be another "DISK" with a number 1, which should be your new drive.

    If not showing, then its possible you need to enter your bios and make sure the setting for IDE Secondary Master is set to "Auto" detect the drive. If you haven't messed with it, it is usually set that way. Its also possible your BIOS would need to be updated to detect a newer drive, specifically one thats over 80GB in size, or you have a bad cable, or jumpered wrong, etc.

    To format that drive go over and click on the "white" space and then right click and follow the options.

    See important information and further explanation to follow:

    The IDE/ATA specification states that any device attached to the controller must be able to operate at its maximum speed, which it does.

    However, there are two channels for the IDE controller on the typical motherboard, and each utilizes an interrupt. They are 14 and 15 respectivley (usually). Channel 1 is referred to as the Primary channel and Channel 2 is referred to as the Secondary channel. Each channel can have a Master and a Slave device, for a total of 4 devices (note some motherboards w/RAID have more possibilities).

    The PC always considers what is connected to the Master position first, the slave second on each channel. The PC addresses the Primary channel first, then the secondary, etc. People think with an IDE/ATA controller, the attachment of a slower device will cause all devices to slow to the slower speed, which factually isn’t true.

    What does happen is that if the system is transferring data from a fast hard drive to a slower hard drive on the same channel, the slower device is going to dictate the speed. This is much the same as if a fast drive was on one channel and the slower driver is on the other channel. However, if both are on the same channel, then not only do you have the slower device; you have the interrupt kicking in more often to control flow, or inhibit it as the case may be.

    Simple things can unknowingly degrade performance. Things to avoid are placing an optical drive as the Master device on any channel that has a hard disk on it as well. Although known to work in almost all instances, it’s not an officially sanctioned event in the IDE/ATA specifications and can cause problems.

    Attaching one device to the middle connector without something on the drive end connector is not a sanctioned event either and the best practice is to make sure you attach a single device to the end connector (this can actually make a speed difference. Each device should be jumpred so as to designate it as either the Master or Slave device. When one device is on a channel, it should not be a slave. No cable should have 2 Masters either. Although a rare event, you should also recognize that many times there can be electrical conflicts when using two different manufacturers’ drives on 1 channel or when using 1 older spec drive with a new spec drive, such as ATA 33 with ATA 100 drives. It’s actually best to keep a ATA33/66 drive on its own channel with the older style 40 conductor cables and the newer ATA100/133 drives on their own channel with the color coded black/grey/blue connector 80 conductor cable.

    Blue: attaches to motherboard or controller.

    Gray: In the middle of the cable, and goes to any slave device if present on the channel.

    Black: At the opposite end from the host connector goes to the master drive, or a single drive if only one is used.

    And then finally with respect to cables, while they are made in increments over 18”, the length of 18” is the official maximum IDE/ATA specified length to avoid data corruption issues.

    In the typical DAW, Channel 1 Master is the drive used to house programs. Channel 2 Master is used for Audio. Partitioning does imporve performance by limiting head movement and decreasing defrag times, etc., but it is not a substitute for the performance gains offered by 2 hard drives.

    Also with respect to physical size, larger hard drives offer a geometrical speed advantage as the outer 40% of the disk typically way outperforms the inner 60%. So by partitioning a larger hard drive of say 120GB into 2-60GB patitions, the outer or first partition will provide much better internal transfer rates than will a single 60GB HD.
  9. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001

    I have to disagree here with the recommendation of two optical drives and the cable positioning.

    In no way shape or form does it matter where the drive is on the cable. As long as the jumper is set correctly it works. Plain and simple. Beend doing this for years with no problems and an easier way to configure systems as well.

    Not every motherboard has RAID on it. So you may be limited to just the two IDE controllers.

    You put some good facts up here but they seem to be all outdated in the long run.

    The ATA cables do matter as which end goes to the motherboard but that's about it.

    Well, I need my coffee before I truly get into this but I have to say that some of this is mis information...sorry

    Opus :D
  10. jscott

    jscott Guest

    Well, that makes two of us doing it for a long time then. :D

    I did not recommend two optical drives. I recommended where an optical drive should be located based upon use and explained why.

    And try as I might, I did not recommend RAID or state every motherboard has RAID on it. In fact, the term "RAID" never appears anywhere in my responce or elsewhere in this thread until your post. Maybe your reading gets better after coffee? :D

    And, I guess we can just disagree, because I have had several people reconfigure problem systems like this and in every case performance got better. Admittedly, most of them LOGIC users, when LOGIC was a good PC program, some SONAR, a few on CueBase and I think 1 or 2 on ProTools? There were people in forums asking for help on the configuration and stated after the fact that the info "fixed" their problem.

    I really do not mean disrespect here because I know you're a hero here to many patrons and generally have good advice, but you can't just bump in and say "wrong" then go to coffee. In this case I think your comments to be very misleading and off-base. I can handle knowing in what respect you think I may have passed on something improper, but do not accept it in the manner you decided to limit yourself to. The oddity here is, I actually agreed with your comment about drives in my first line which went right over your head - apparently?

    In the last 2 years and prior to the recent batch of WD 8MB drives, and now Maxtor 8MB drives, I've had 3 systems where the WD drives (not 8MB drives) failed to boot and be recognized when placed in the SLAVE position yet jumpered as MASTER, even when the jumper for Single drive was used. I've also had occassions where older 5400 rpm MAXTOR drives once placed on a cable in the SLAVE position configured as MASTER failed to boot when paired with newer JB series WD drives configured as SLAVE in the MASTER position. And, I've also had at least 1 occassion I can remember where a MAXTOR drive simply would not ever be recognized as a MASTER device when plugged into a ATA100 cable in the SLAVE position. Hence the reason for my research and passing on the comment. There have also been occassions where the data streaming increased substantially, noticably by simply putting the Audio data drives a s the Secondary Master in the Master position rather than the Slave position jumpered as a MASTER. So the info IMHO is relevent.

    Yes, I've also had many systems work the other way, but it "can" matter and that WAS the point - its not mis information. Maybe some of your configs would get better too if you followed the convention? Just a thought? :D

    In fairness, I don't drink coffee. :D
  11. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    I do apologize for my morning brain lack of good response...indeed the non coffee mentality in the morning throws me off.

    Here's the reason you may be seeing or have seen the cable positioning issues in the past or present.

    There are indeed older style ATA66 cables that when used in conjunction with older drives and newer drives would not work in certain scenarios.

    Newer ATA100 cables rarely are affected especially since newer systems are using newer drives and CDR/W devices. So this should not be an issue much more. Hopefully everyone who builds or upgrades their systems takes this into account.

    The WD drives when are to be the master device should have "no" jumper on them! That's the way they need to be configured. As soon as you remove the jumper everything is A OK!

    I can't see how performance is changed via the position of the drive on the cable. Data goes in and data comes's voltages..a minor distance between the two can not vary the differential device ID performance IMHO.

    RAID isn't such a bad thing in the long run on newer style motherboards, especially with the new 875 and 865 chipsets. The new ICH is truly nice.

    I built a system for a sound designer in Vegas where he usually does 100+ tracks and the system was friggen flawless using the onboard RAID and two 80GB WD drives.

    it's perfect for those scenarios. Otherwise if you're a home user than indeed staying with the IDE drives of the 8MB cache level is sufficient enough.

    By the way, it's good to see you back here again man! Where the hell have you been hiding?!! :D

    Opus :w:
  12. jscott

    jscott Guest

    Lets focus here for a minute:

    I understand, but again, my attempt here is to try and pass on advice which I feel gets as close as possible to a problem free configuration. I took acception to the use of your term "mis information", which it technically isn't. Its actually correct info, but true, if everything is brand newq, the chances of failure are less. But my view is, why not just plug them in in the right place to begin with?

    People may want to read this Storage Review Cable Article in support of my claims/description.
  13. kinetic

    kinetic Guest

    While everyone's been discussing the drives, no-ones said anything about the RAM. 512Meg for a DAW is not going to go very far these days. You should at least double this and buy a reputable brand like Crucial, Kingmax etc etc. Again a search on DAW system configurations in this and other forums will give lots of useful info.
  14. mike toti

    mike toti Guest

    To jscott and opus,

    Recently i upgraded to round ATA cables in my system and to preserve space i cut the end of one cable which attached to my winxp hd,such that the middle connector became the end connector. It's the only hd on the channel and now it's set to slave, but im sure originally it was set to master. Jscott u mentioned somethin about performance and all this time i haven't noticed any drop in performance, but now that u mention it??
    Anyway my question is, if i change the jumper on the hd to somehow get it back to master will it compromise my winxp? Btw i used the Intel Application Accelerator app to tell me that it's set to slave.
  15. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001

    First of all it's highly recommended to NOT use the only makes you not able to change certain features of the drive and actually does lower your speed in the write and read times.

    Rounde IDE cables were actually found to cause some serious problems in the case where it would change your UDMA mode on you. Sometimes even switching it to PIO mode!!

    Unfortunately getting rid of the IAA means re installing the OS! It's a PITA to get rid of!

    Not necessarily the case here. 512 is indeed a minimum but you can get by with that amount very easily. If you are running lots of VSTi's yes, I could possibly see that but if you are just simply doing audio more memory is not going to give you higher track counts or more plug in capabilities.

    I'm runnin with 512MB ram right now and do 60+ tracks with 40+ waves plug ins as well as many UAD plug ins as the card allows me and I'm only at 45% cpu tops!

    Opus :D
  16. kinetic

    kinetic Guest

    Yes you are right Opus2000, more RAM will not necessarily have a great impact on tracking, but will have an immediate impact on the number of VSTis and plugins you can run, especially VSTis like Triligy and Giga. But this thread began with a system ShaneSelby was contemplating building. It would be silly to build a system with 'just enough RAM' first up, especially if Win XP was going to be the Op System. Many people have reported problems with upgrading RAM after the fact, mainly because it is highly preferable to match RAM sticks by manufacturer and spec (steering completely clear of the dual RAM configurations for the moment). I stand by my comments and I hope ShaneSelby takes heed!

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