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Connecting the recording world together...

Hi there.

I'm new to this forum and am pretty excited i found it, 'cause i'm planning to build a new DAW for a small project studio i'm setting up at my place.

While reading some threads, I realised that lots of people have similar questions concerning their DAWs. So I'm coming up with such a question, again... :D

I'm not quite sure what system will be the best for my purposes.
I made up two possible configurations. It would be great if someone could tell me what they think would make a better DAW.
I'll only use it for Audio applications, none other.

Solution 1:
- Mobo: ASUS P5LD2 S775, i945 chipset
- CPU: Intel P4 650 (3.4GHz)
(Should I go with a dual core CPU? Is there a big difference to single core CPUs?)
- RAM: Corsair DDR2 TWINX1024-5400C4 2 X 512MB
- Graphics: HIS Excalibur Radeon X700 (PCI-E) 256MB
- System HD: Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 40GB SATA
- Data (Audio) HD: Samsung SpinPoint P120 250GB SATA
- Optical: Plextor 740A IDE

Solution 2:
- Case: Chieftec Uni Tower w/ Raptoxx 550W PS
- Mobo: ASUS A8V Deluxe S939, Via K8T800 chipset (this seems to be quite famous around here! :) )
- CPU: AMD 64 X2 4200+
- RAM: Corsair DDR 3200XL 2 x 512MB
- Graphics: ASUS Radeon 9550 (AGP)
- System HD: Samsung SpinPoint P80 40GB IDE
- Data (Audio) HD: Maxtor DiamondMax 10, 200GB SATA
- Optical: same as Solution 1

Maybe you don't know some of the stuff I listed here, since I live overseas (Switzerland) and perhaps some components that are available here are not were you live (and vice versa).

I hope someone can help me... Any comments would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Regards, Guido


xian Wed, 11/16/2005 - 08:51

You're gonna hear this from somebody, so I may as well say it. Figure out which software you will be using and then check the requirements. Start with the software, it will determine what hardware you need.

This is what I would spend my money on:

Focus on RAM and a fast HDD. A 10k RPM SATA HDD should be plenty fast, and RAM, you can never have too much, go with 2GB DDR2 if it doesn't break the bank for you. Processor speed doesn't matter as much as you'd think. You can easily get away with a 2.0 GHz P4. Also, make sure you get a MB with a Firewire connection (although, not entirely neccissary as you can get PCI Firewire cards very readily) as most of the new interfaces being built have firewire capabilities. A dual CPU system is not neccissary and IMO would be a waste of money.

Graphics card, mobo, case, monitor, etc, does not matter. Unless you want an nice big workspace, then get a graphics card with dual/multi monitor support.

You cannot go wrong with a beefy powersupply though - 400W will be lots - but I would get a silent one if your DAW is going to be in the same room as your mics. Also, look into liquid cooled cases (if you've got the money), I have no experience with them but I hear they are much quieter.

There are other things you can do to greatly improve performance. Tweaking Windows XP Pro, Slipstreaming your XP Pro installation with the updates you need, partitioning your windows hard drive. Google those three topics and you will find a wealth of info. Remember to keep a bare minimum amount of 'extra' software on your system. I wouldn't load any anitvirus software or the likes because they like to run constantly, just be careful where you go on the internet and you should be fine.

You don't have to spend a ton of cash to get a decent DAW, you just gotta know where you can cut corners and what's gonna help you and what's gonna be a "bell and whistle".

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anonymous Wed, 11/16/2005 - 10:44


go dual core no matter what, intel or AMD.
both motherboards are good!

the AMD is faster. particularly for sampling.

i would get Nvidia Graphics over ATI.
minimum 450w power. do not buy a case with included power supply unless its antec. or replace it with a good power suply
get IDE OS
the Maxtor 16meg cache drives are as fast as the 10k drives for less money and more storage. so dont waste your money.

all (audio)software than runs on a PC is faster on AMD than intel.


xian Wed, 11/16/2005 - 10:54

ADK audio wrote: ...the Maxtor 16meg cache drives are as fast as the 10k drives for less money and more storage...

That I didn't know, good tip. I'm in the market for an external HDD and I think you just swayed my opinion a whole bunch... :)

Aaahh, except that the transfer speed is going to be limited to 400Mbits/s anyway through a firewire (or usb) connection.

Does anyone know if the speed of the hard drive would even make a difference in this case?

Too much to think about :?

c7inch Thu, 11/17/2005 - 00:12

Thanks a lot for the info, Christian and Scott!

I'm not gonna use that PC to surf on the internet. In fact, it won't be online at all, since I have another computer for that. I'll only use it for audio purposes. I'm going to work with Nuendo. Mostly Audio tracks with a few VSTi's and some plugins, so I gotta have enough performance to do that.

I'm using an RME Digiface with the matching PCI-Firewire card, so I guess FW won't be a problem here...

The thought about CPU speed and RAM is interesting. What is more important in terms of a good performance? Shall I aim at a fast CPU or is a bigger amount of RAM going to make the difference? (I know that having both would be great, but that'll burst my budget, I guess... :? ) What kind of RAM would you suggest? DDR or DDR2. As far as I know, DDR2 is faster, but does that make a big difference?

Anyways, thanks again for your time.


c7inch Thu, 11/17/2005 - 05:50

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that, sorry... :)

I'm planning to go with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 now. I read some articles about it and it seems like it should work nice for my purposes...

How about DDR400 3200C2-Mem? I think that would be a pretty good option.