Time for a new computer

Discussion in 'Computing' started by roirat, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. roirat

    roirat Guest

    After four years, my presario is starting to show its age. Nothing I probably couldn't upgrade or fix, but I screw it, I finally have an excuse to fix myself up with a dedicated recording desktop.

    I'm looking for a basic desktop with no frills:

    1 gig of RAM
    =>3GHz processor
    800MHz FSB
    =>2 PCI slots
    USB or Firewire (for external drives)
    CD-RW (for backup)

    Things I don't need:

    Network card
    wireless modem
    anti-virus software
    6 months free AOL
    fancy wiz-bang graphics
    and all that other crap they tend to give away that I'll never use and will clog up my system tray/processor load.

    My question:

    Anyone have a favorite company they're dealt with that can get this specific? If you've ever had a custom system built, and they let you specify a lot about it, I'd like to hear how it went.

    I'm getting to the point where it's going to make more sense technically (if not economically) to just build my own computer, but I guess I'd rather have a professional do it if they'll let me get really specific about every aspect of the build and software.

    Thanks for you input!

  2. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    For parts, I LOVE Newegg.com. They have great service, quick shipping, and their prices will always be within 5% or so of the lowest price. One stop shopping. I built 2 PC's and upgraded 2 others all from NewEgg.

  3. DaveRunyan

    DaveRunyan Active Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    I was going to build my own last fall and ran into this company. This guy built me a killer PC. I use it everyday all day pretty much. No problems. http://www.musicalcomputers.com/ He even installed my motu 24/ IO that I supplied and tested it for two days for me at no charge. Nothing on it but the OS and the drivers it needed. Nice guy too.
  4. roirat

    roirat Guest

    Wow, that newegg is pretty cool. Here's what I got so far. I found http://www.pugetsystems.com, and put together the following system for about $1225:


    Then I checked out newegg and put together a slightly better system for just under a grand:

    RAIDMAX Virgo "Silence" Mid-Tower Case with 420W Power Supply, Model "811PP"
    SONY Black 52x32x52 Internal IDE CD-RW Drive W/ CD Maker Software, Model CRX230ED-B2
    Masscool 70mm Cooling CPU Fan For Pentium4 3.2GHz, Model "9T370B1M3"
    Seagate 120GB 7200RPM IDE Hard Drive, Model ST3120026A
    SAMSUNG 80GB 7200RPM IDE Hard Drive, Model SP0802N
    Logitech Cordless MX Duo USB/ PS/2 104keys
    Mushkin Basic Green 184 Pin 512MB DDR PC-2700
    ASUS "P4P800 SE" i865PE Chipset Motherboard for Intel Socket 478 CPU
    Intel Pentium 4/ 3.0E GHz 800MHz FSB, 1MB L2 Cache, Hyper Threading Technology
    Microsoft Windows XP Professional With Service Pack 2
    SAPPHIRE ATI RADEON 7000(RADEON VE) Video Card, 64MB DDR, 64-bit, TV-Out, 4X AGP

    http://www.musicalcomputers.com looks cool, but as an electronics tech I guess I'm willing to risk putting it together myself for a pretty decent improvement in price. Just gotta do some reseach now on compatability (anyone see anything glaring in the above, let me know)...

    Thanks for your input! I'll post back when I get this final...

  5. roirat

    roirat Guest

    I should add that I'm actually getting three of the 512 sticks, for 1.5 gigs, and that I already have an EMU 1212.

    can't wait...
  6. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    Quakertown PA
    My only issue with your list is that Samsung HDD. I would ditch it and go with either Maxtor, Seagate or Western Digital. Those are the only 3 I recommend for serious work. It should be a very nice machine when you're done, nice job.
  7. BladeSG

    BladeSG Guest

    I'd change the memory from PC2700 to PC3200 or DDR400. This is only fractionally more expensive than the DDR333 memory but will fulfill the full potential of the Intel Pentium 4's 800Mhz FSB in dual channel mode.
  8. roirat

    roirat Guest

    Yeah, I did some more research (>20 hours!) online and asking a couple of friends and I decided to go with the WD HD and the PC3200. I almost went with a motherboard with built in video, but I like the idea of the flexibility of the AGP slot... Here's probably pretty close to my final list:

    ROUND, 12-Inch, True ATA133/100, IDE Cable, 2-Head ( BLUE )
    COOLMAX Floppy 12" Round Cable Transparent Yellow -RETAIL
    ANTEC Life Style Series Black Case With 380W Power Supply, Model "SONATA"
    Sony Internal 16X DVD+/-RW / Double Layer Drive Black, Model DW-D22A-B2, OEM
    SONY Black 1.44MB 3.5inch Floppy Disk Drive, Model MPF920, OEM
    Western Digital 200GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive, Model WD2000JD, OEM Drive Only
    Logitech Cordless Comfort Duo BLACK USB/ PS/2 105keys -RETAIL
    2 X Mushkin 184 Pin 512MB DDR PC-3200 - Retail
    NESO PIXO A700 17" LCD Monitor with Speakers -RETAIL
    ASUS "P4P800 SE" i865PE Chipset Motherboard for Intel Socket 478 CPU -RETAIL
    TRIPPLITE 10 outlets Surge suppressor, Model "TLP1008TEL" -RETAIL
    Intel Pentium 4/ 3.0E GHz 800MHz FSB, 1MB L2 Cache, Hyper Threading Technology - Retail
    Microsoft Windows XP Professional With Service Pack 2 -OEM
    SAPPHIRE ATI RADEON 7000(RADEON VE) Video Card, 64MB DDR, 64-bit, TV-Out, 4X AGP -BULK

    This all for 1205.47 total (no shipping). I priced similar systems at Dell and that Puget place (see above) and they both came out right around 1650-1700! Plus, they throw all sorts of crap on there I don't need, like WiFi and 6 mo free AOhelL and chit. Build your own, it's the way to go :) Now I just have to not screw this up... Where's that static wriststrap....

  9. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    Quakertown PA
    The only thing I would suggest is to drop the XP Pro and go with XP Home. You'll save $100 and you can put that into another SATA hard drive (small like 80 GB) for your DAW software and keep the 200 GB drive for storing your music. Your system will perform better with 2 drives and you'll get more mileage out of the 200.

    Everything else looks great, Have fun with it!
  10. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Looks like a good system there, roirat. Big_D and Blade pointed you in the right direction! You'll have a screamer when you are done!

    One thing - You may want the future expandability of using 2 CRT monitors as an "Extended Desktop" - Maybe something like this: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-240-001&depa=1 . I have an older Radeon 9200 Pro 128MB with a VGA and an S-Video out (no DVI - just like the one you are looking at), and the S-Video out is so low-res, you really can't use it for anything but maybe some large meters. You can't read the computer text on the S-Video out, but it is OK for watching DVD's on a TV, etc.

    Just something that I wish I considered when I bought my video card. Extended Desktop is a HUGE benefit for Audio Apps IMO (but only if you can read the graphics on the 2nd monitor!).

  11. roirat

    roirat Guest

    yeah, like a console view on one and a track view on the other? I've used multiple desktops before with unix, but not windows. can you display two views of the same app on different screens? For instance, there is a console view in cakewalk homestudio that is useful, and of course the track view. Is it possible to display both at the same time on different screens with only one iteration of the application running? Or maybe you can only display the interfaces of different aps/plugs, one screen per program? Not sure how this works, but it does sound useful. Think I'll go with the Matrox G450, that one seems popular and has what I need for not too much more cash. Don't think I'll be needing the digital outputs of the G550...

    Anyone ever heard of a switch that would let me go from one computer to the other for one monitor so I can use one for my old "everything else" PC?

    Thanks for all the input guys.

  12. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    The Extended Desktop usually allows one application to span the entire width of both monitors. You can have the console view on one screen, and the track view on the other - or whatever you want.

    The Matrox should be fine for your application.

    A "KVM" switch is what you want for using a central Keyboard VGA and Mouse with 2 or more computers. There are all kinds and all prices ranges out there...

    I bet you can't wait to get this booger, and put it together :D :D :D. PS - Get some GOOD thermal compound for your CPU Heatsink. I LOVE Arctic Silver 5. It really does drop CPU temps quite a bit (drastically in my case). Look into "Lapping" your heatsink as well. The mating surface of the heatsink will always have machining marks leftover, and wet-sanding these out with 1000 / 1500 / 2000 grit wet/dry makes another few degrees of difference. With these hot Prescott .90nm cores, we need all the cooling help we can get! This (in conjunction with the SLK-910 heatsink) also allowed me to run the CPU fan at 75% with 38*C idle temps on a 2.8E running at 3.01GHz (215MHz/860FSB overclock)!!!! NEVER gets above 50*C at full load and barely audible fanage (that is a full 20*C below its max rated temp and with a mild overclock!). This P4 should live a long, happy life :). Proper Case Ventillation is also critical - as is the "Fresh Air Tunnel" for the P4's Fan. OK - Enough about cooling already! :roll:

  13. roirat

    roirat Guest

    yeah, i'm gonna hork some of the thermal paste from my work. that's a good idea about trueing up the surface of the heatsink. the thinner the layer of the compound, the better.

    i can't wait, you're right! but the only shipping service here is USPS priority mail, and that takes three weeks or more :( Guess I better grip up and get out the credit card tonight!

  14. bossa

    bossa Active Member

    Dec 27, 2004
    I have been going through the exact same process ie, trying to find a PC builder I liked, and in the end building my own. The only thing I notice about your system is that I've heard P4s are still a bit unstable with protools (although many pro builders use it...I suspect it's about the $$$ but I could be wrong). I used AMD athlon 2500+ and an Asus A7V600-x mobo with a Zalman 700 cu cooler. Haven't quite got it running yet, but I'm sure as hell having fun! Installed in the sonata case...very good choice! :D The whole system cost me about $950 and here it is!

    2 x 80G WD IDE drives
    CDRW 52x
    2x 512 Kingston ram
    Adaptec fireconnect 4300
    Rosewill radeon 9200se v/card
    The rest listed above.

    Best of luck. Email me if you want to know how it comes out!!

  15. roirat

    roirat Guest

    Ah, all my stuff's finally here. I can't wait to put it together when I get home from work. Newegg ships fast, it even seems as though they managed to accelerate the military mail system out here, tho it was probably just lucky timing. Only problem was that the CD for my matrox vid card was smashed... they have downloadable drivers on their website, tho.

    Now the only thing I'm waiting for is a new driver CD from E-mu. It seems I may have thrown out my 1212 driver CD thinking they had drivers available on their website, which turned out to be a mistake, as only PATCHES are available on their website. I called em tho, and they were cool, new CD with all the extra goodies on it for five bucks... But until it gets here I can't install my 1212... that's what I get for being a dumbass and throwing that CD away.

    This is that jumping off point, rolling up the sleaves, "tab A into slot B" and hit the power button... sure hope I can turn this (rather expensive) pile of parts into a DAW.

    Oh, yeah, and I splurged on Sonar (found it fer less than 250) and a pair of oktava mk012's...

    "put... the credit card... DOWN!"

  16. roirat

    roirat Guest

    It's Alive!!!!!

    Okay, just to finish the story...

    This thing went together no problem. Not a single error message or anthing! Doing the research pays off.

    The only hiccup I had was when installing my E-mu 1212m. I had to try a second PCI slot because Patchmix couldn't find the card at first and then the mouse pointer quit moving. Moved to a different slot, re-installed, probem solved.

    E-mu, by the way was great on the phone when I discovered I couldn't find my driver CD. They sent a new one to me right away for just five bucks or so. I just wish they had the drivers available for download on their website...

    Now I'm just waiting for my KRKs and my copy of Sonar to get here, then I can really get started... until then, it's still homestudio and my little shelf stereo...

  17. Someday

    Someday Guest

    Time for a new computer, time for an OSX based one.
    Exit the troubles, exit the money loss, data loss, virus attacks and time loss.
    Enter the professional circle, enter Apple.

    This seems a spam, but it's the truth.
  18. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    well nothing like being a little one sided.

    Fact: OSX is more bloated than XP
    Fact: OSX has issues with firewire (mac's own baby)
    Fact: 2 drive limit imternally
    Fact: Dual G5 has issues with UAD's
    Fact: extreemly limited PCI slots
    Fact: Nuendo /cubase runs better on a PC
    Fact: Apple charges for every update to the OS to fix whats wrong
    Fact: OSX crashes just as much as XP
    Fact: they both get the job done
    Fact: MAC costs more $ for less performance and limited upgrade ability.

    but hey your right we should all be on OSX LOL

  19. Someday

    Someday Guest

    Another spamer paid by Bill Gates

  20. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    i dont listen to M$ but yes i do sell it.

    i listen in forums. particularly nuendo.
    of those people who have owned both, still own both ,use both
    is what i base my facts on.
    ya know the non biased people.
    what they post or tell me.

    have you owned and used both side by side in a studio, on a daily basis?

    guess what my windows systems i have here dont crash either.
    unless you count a dead motherboard this week.

    cant tell you how many people have called me back to say thank you for the increased power and workflow that i have now that i have switched.
    speaking of video systems
    read the next Video Systems mag next month. little article in there by Gary Eskow
    former mac user

    on doing just that! and how much better post work is on a dual opteron, vs mac.

    fact is they both work, both get the job done and they both can have issues.
    you pay more and get less
    i pay less and get more.


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