Need Help Building An Audio Computer

Discussion in 'Computing' started by BarilkoLives, Jun 18, 2003.

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  1. BarilkoLives

    BarilkoLives Guest

    Hey guys!

    I'm starting to put together a list of components required for the new computer I want built and there are some things I'm not quite sure of. I'll give you a list of the things I want (or at least am pretty sure I want) and then ask a couple of questions:

    MOTHERBOARD: Dual Chip P4 2.5 GHz (if possible and logical)
    NO integrated Video & Audio RAM
    4 DIMMs (up to 2 Gb RAM @ 333 MHz
    At least 3 USB Ports

    VIDEO CARD: Dual Monitor Capable
    64 Mb Video RAM

    HARD DRIVE: ATA 100/133 7200 RPM
    Greater than or equal to 30 Gb

    AUDIO CARD (The crux of the issue)
    I want something that can output THX Cert. 5.1 (as I'm starting to get into film scoring) but also has more than a Mic and Line IN. 24/96 would be preferable as well, but budgetary concerns do play a role here. :confused:

    1. What are the options available, product-wise, that meet my criteria for the Audio hardware? I've looked at the Audiophile (M-Audio) but I'm not sure if that's the way to go.

    2. Regarding the P4, is the software that is currently available (ie. Cool Edit Pro, Cakewalk Pro Audio) written to take advantage of dual processor architectures, or would it be better (more economical, more logical) to go with a single P4 with Hyper-Threading?

    I feel as though I'm awash in a sea of technical blarney and I need a life preserver to survive. This machine needs to last me for at least 4 years if not longer, so any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001

    First, there are no Dual P4 systems...only dual Intel machines are the Dual Xeons and those are ridiculously expensive! Besides no application can take advantage of the dual Xeon hyperthreading systems. You need to disable the Hyperthreading in the BIOS!

    The reason being is that with Dual Xeons you get 2 physical processors and 2 virtual processors due to the hyperthreading! Applications crash or exhibit bad behaviour due to this.

    If anything you should look into the new P4's with the 800Mhz FSB with Hyperthreading! This way you get 2 processor activity! Very fast as well!

    Look at the Asus P4C800 or the Intel 875 chipset board.

    Video card, Matrox is the staple video card used these days for audio machines. The more memory you have on board the video card the more it can take away from your audio performance due to video drawback.

    Most audio systems you want about a 32MB video card tops. Matrox makes the G550 with a DVI output.

    Or you could use an ATI Radeon 9000 series where it has an SVDIDEO out so that you can output the signal to a TV!

    I recommend Matrox though.

    Most of the motherboards come with built on audio so there is no way around it...just simply disable it in the BIOS and you are good to go!

    Hard drives...Western Digital JB model drives..40GB for the OS and Applications and 80GB for the can't go wrong with these since they have the 8MB cache on them. The 8MB cache increases your performance two fold!

    Just about all applications support dual processing....whether they take advantage of hyperthreading is a different issue. Right now I know Nuendo 2.0 does and SX will soon as it's updated.

    Sound cards...that's a different story...for another time.

    Opus :D
  3. BarilkoLives

    BarilkoLives Guest

    Wow, great info Opus! :D I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! It's still a moderate distance away, but at least I can see it! ;)

    As far as sound cards go, I have a MOTU PCI-324 that's probably worth keeping around but I don't have any actual interfaces, so it's kind of useless to me right now. I'll double check, but I don't think it's 24/96 capable either - which is not absolutely required, but it sure is a priority. Does the Digi001 only work in ProTools software or can it be used with Cool Edit Pro?

    Anyhoo, great info once again and I look forward to your reply. :c:
  4. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    Whoa there's a general rule of thumb when looking into motherboards...


    Certain chipsets have in the past and current not been proven to be audio DAW friendly!

    There are right now on the Pentium side of things only one chipset that is trusted and recommended...INTEL!

    Stay away from Sis, Ali and Via based systems!! There basic rules to this game and this is due to the chipsets which truly follow the PCI Protocol and the Motorolla chip compatability.

    Intel is truly the only one who cares about such things! Trust me, I've been down that road and wouldn't want to put you through it as well!

    I'd rather have you be recording rather than troubleshooting...get my drift so far?!!

    Now, SATA is not worth it, we've been discussing this in the other thread about the seagate drives...don't go there's still early in the game plan for SATA.

    RAID is a redundant array of Indpendent(or inexpensive as it was firts introduced....that quickly was changed :D
  5. BarilkoLives

    BarilkoLives Guest


    Thanks for confirming the partitioning vs. dual HD thang for me.

    I guess I should ask a couple of more basic questions:

    1. Is SATA (with regard to MoBos) "Serial ATA?" What are the other more basic options if SATA and RAID are "no good" for me yet?

    2. I read you loud and clear on the Intel chipset...I have seen many a frustrated poster complain about the others. On the parts flyer I got from the company I'm going to have build this thing, the cheapest Asus P4S800 has serial ATA. Again, is this the same as SATA or am I completely turned around? :D

    Thanks again, Opus :c:
  6. MisterBlue

    MisterBlue Active Member

    Mar 15, 2003

    yes, SATA = Serial ATA. You alternative is to simply go with a regular ATA100 or ATA133 IDE hard disk. They are inexpensive and powerful enough for most applications and users.

    I am one of the people that usually recommend Seagate disk drives. They also come with 8MB buffers these days so why not go for the quiet ones? Yes, WD's are OK, but they are louder and noise adds up ... every little bit counts! I personally am now running a Zalman fan, an Enermax power supply and Seagate HD's. To my deaf ears the system is basically "inaudible" at this point :D .

    The Matrox G550 is a good and proven choice for a grafix card. The ATI Radeon VE is also a good alternative (two outputs, one being DVI). I have seen OEM versions of that card start at little over $30 on pricewatch!


  7. Zulu-TPF-

    Zulu-TPF- Guest

    Hey Opus,

    Can you explain or provide links your statement:
    I have a ATI 9700 Pro (128MB RAM) video card and have sucessfully ran 32 tracks of 24/48 audio on an AMD 2200/512MB DDR2700/ASUS A7V333 Motherboard (no latency, pops, clicks, etc..)

    Why doesn't 'video drawback' effect me?
  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

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