Old 12-29-2008, 07:22 AM   #1
vinnie2k
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Default Quad vs Dual core

Hello,

I am doing my homework in order to build a DAW.

Since I can't play a lot of instruments myself (apartment with kids :-D) I do have a lot of virtual instruments (typically drums w/samples, bass w/samples, 1 or 2 keyboard-like) with MIDI. MIDI will be either recorded (piano, keyboards) or written in. I add acoustic guitars and voice as live recordings. I then like to add ReaComp, some Verb or Delay... I tried Strings and these seem to consume a lot of CPU...

My question is: is Reaper better off with a low-end Quad or high-end Duo? There's about a $150 difference from what I can see here in Switzerland.

For the record, here's what I have so far:
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS4 - Socket LGA775 for Intel - Chipset P45 - ATX
PNY Memory PC 2 x 1 Go DDR2 800 MHz DIMM PC6400 (KCDIMM2GBN/6400/2-BX)
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 - 500 Go - 7200RPM - 32 Mo - SATA-300
SPARKLE GeForce 9400 GT - 512 Mo DDR2 - PCI-Express 2.0
Antec Sonata III
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 - 2,5 GHz, cache L2 6 Mo Socket 775

Any advice appreciated.
Thanks!
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:27 AM   #2
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Definitely a quad. Since Reaper can utilize all of the cores equally good, you will get a little less than twice the power of a similar (same FSB/L2 cache etc) dual core. A hypothetic dual core with twice the power of a hypothetical low end dual core would cost you a lot. It's not easy to hit the roof even of a cheap Q6600.
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:56 AM   #3
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Check the overclocker sites and wikis for recommendations, those guys know their stuff when it comes to cool and reliable. Just make sure you get some quiet Samsung drives and a silent graphics card.
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:01 AM   #4
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People at TweakHeadz told me to stay away from Samsung and stick with either WD or Seagate :-)
Also, the graphics card is passively cooled which I thought was silent enough?

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out!
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:28 PM   #5
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Good to know about Samsung drives. When the newer drives came out last year they were very quiet and very fast so they got good reviews. Obviously time has proven them to be a bit unreliable or something. Mine's going fine though. Might backup soon, just in case.
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Old 12-30-2008, 01:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drillbit View Post
Check the overclocker sites and wikis for recommendations, those guys know their stuff when it comes to cool and reliable. Just make sure you get some quiet Samsung drives and a silent graphics card.
I think one great card is made from matrox and it's also fanless with passive old-style cooler, they also advertise it for use in DAWs.

Also you can gice alienware a try they build great PCs, but a little expensive.

If you are going to try lyquid cooling and your machine is complicated don;t try it yourself and get ready for trouble, those things some times go bad. I recomend ready solutions from alienware and such or invest in a remote system that carries away control signals like keyboard, mouse, usb, video and firewire again I found some of those from matrox.

Try that stuff.

A little pricy but it will save you from computer noise and you can keep them for later updates.

Cheers mate...:-)

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Old 12-30-2008, 02:06 AM   #7
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Another source for reliable info on PC hardware:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/
especially silent components!

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Old 12-30-2008, 04:41 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by helpdeskeddy View Post
Another source for reliable info on PC hardware:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/
especially silent components!

Eddy
I actually found them by chance but I must say that most of their comparisons are old... Check the drives comparison for example. I'm wondering if they're really updating all of their material.
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Old 12-30-2008, 01:36 PM   #9
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Default quad - good to go

I'm running Reaper from a 16G memory stick on a low-end quad. Haven't even hit the 20% CPU yet. Most of the time it runs at less than 5%.

DFI NF 680i LT SLI motherboard; 4G ram; 5.1 speaker setup from the on-board sound. Vistax64 (32 bit version of Reaper).

Dave

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Old 12-31-2008, 04:28 AM   #10
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I'm running Reaper from a 16G memory stick on a low-end quad. Haven't even hit the 20% CPU yet. Most of the time it runs at less than 5%.

DFI NF 680i LT SLI motherboard; 4G ram; 5.1 speaker setup from the on-board sound. Vistax64 (32 bit version of Reaper).

Dave
Excellent news. I'll stick to WinXP sp2 though :-)
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Old 12-31-2008, 05:07 AM   #11
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I'll throw in my 2 cents as system builder dork and an IT professional:

My last system was a Core2 Duo(early e6600 stepping), and my new system is a Phenom 9500, and I can definitely say that the Phenom is much better for audio(accounting for the obvious difference of 2-4cores). The on-chip memory controller makes for much better system bandwidth, which allows higher utilization, which makes it more powerful for real-time DSP processing, even if slightly slower clock-for-clock. Granted, the Core i7s now also have an integrated memory controller, but the motherboards and RAM are ridiculously expensive, not worth what they cost.

I'd say, wait for the AMD Phenom II to come out 8Jan, they are releasing a 2.8ghz quad and a 3ghz quad, AFAIK the pricing will be $200-$300US, and the early performance reviews look like they may have beaten Core i7 this go round, especially if you want to overclock your system. Also, a good AMD motherboard and DDR2 ram are piss cheap.
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Old 01-01-2009, 08:44 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by _Devin View Post
I'd say, wait for the AMD Phenom II to come out 8Jan, they are releasing a 2.8ghz quad and a 3ghz quad, AFAIK the pricing will be $200-$300US, and the early performance reviews look like they may have beaten Core i7 this go round, especially if you want to overclock your system. Also, a good AMD motherboard and DDR2 ram are piss cheap.
Interestingly enough, the guys and TweakHeadz are very heavily tilted towards Intel tech. There seem to be some kind of holy trinity of Intel/Gigabyte/Nvidia that brings the most stability and the least amount of problems.

My problem is that tech is becoming like Middle Ages religion wars :-P so I'll stick with the main stream and go with the Church :-D
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:27 AM   #13
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Default case and power supply

One more thing I forgot to mention that is important: get a good case and power supply.

I highly recommend a SilverStone case with the side vents. If you cover the inflow side vents with air-filtering foam and keep positive air pressure in the case, it will keep out almost all of the dust. The SilverStone case costs more but it is well worth the money.

I also suggest a power supply that is at least twice the minimum needed. My system uses 220W when not under load; I have a 800W power unit. Also, get one that allows you to use only the cables needed; helps improve air flow. Your componets will last longer with a well-filtered PS.

Good luck with your project,
Dave

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Old 01-02-2009, 02:19 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by merdave View Post
One more thing I forgot to mention that is important: get a good case and power supply.

I highly recommend a SilverStone case with the side vents. If you cover the inflow side vents with air-filtering foam and keep positive air pressure in the case, it will keep out almost all of the dust. The SilverStone case costs more but it is well worth the money.

I also suggest a power supply that is at least twice the minimum needed. My system uses 220W when not under load; I have a 800W power unit. Also, get one that allows you to use only the cables needed; helps improve air flow. Your componets will last longer with a well-filtered PS.

Good luck with your project,
Dave
Thanks, Dave.

I have set my sights on an Antec Sonata III, it's got an EarthWatts 500W power unit and is recommended by the folks over at TweakHeadz as a fairly cheap but good alternative (since I am on a budget).

Do you reckon it's good enough?
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:37 AM   #15
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Default Sonata III

The price is right:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...ords=(keywords)

but "It does not adequately discharge static electricity."
http://www.amazon.com/review/product...owViewpoints=1
If this is not a concern, then it is a good pick for a budget case and PS.
500W is OK if you don't add several hard drives and/or other electronic peripherals.

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Old 01-02-2009, 10:02 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by vinnie2k View Post
I have set my sights on an Antec Sonata III, it's got an EarthWatts 500W power unit and is recommended by the folks over at TweakHeadz as a fairly cheap but good alternative (since I am on a budget).
Is that the standard PS that ships with the Antec Sonata III? I had the PS that came with my Antec Sonata II finally bite the dust on me a couple of weeks ago. It was an Antec Smart Power (450w) and actually started giving me grief about 5 months ago when I could no longer use the front panel power switch to turn the computer on. I had to reach behind and manually rock the main power switch back & forth a couple of times to bring it to life until finally that did not even work anymore. It seems a lot of Antec Sonata II have had similar issues. The case was less than two years old. I ended up getting one of the more reliable & expensive PS's around (PC Power & Cooling Silencer 500w), just so I would not have to go through another PS exchange. It is actually quite a PITA with the way the Sonata II case is designed, as I had to practically take my DAW apart (removed CPU & fan and some hard drives) just to swap it out.
Definately avoid the Antec Smart Power PS's if possible. I've read of one reputable DAW builder that actually replaces the PS in every Sonata II case because the Antec PS's problems were getting quit common and affecting his business & reputation.
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:11 AM   #17
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I'd say, wait for the AMD Phenom II to come out 8Jan, they are releasing a 2.8ghz quad and a 3ghz quad, AFAIK the pricing will be $200-$300US, and the early performance reviews look like they may have beaten Core i7 this go round, especially if you want to overclock your system. Also, a good AMD motherboard and DDR2 ram are piss cheap.

Yup that'll be my next, a Phenom and an MSI board, and I might even keep my asus silent graphics card, but I'll prolly just sell the whole box and start again. Muchos Gustos and cheap as chips
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Old 01-02-2009, 04:08 PM   #18
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Interestingly enough, the guys and TweakHeadz are very heavily tilted towards Intel tech. There seem to be some kind of holy trinity of Intel/Gigabyte/Nvidia that brings the most stability and the least amount of problems.

My problem is that tech is becoming like Middle Ages religion wars :-P so I'll stick with the main stream and go with the Church :-D
LOL, worst answer ever, that's like saying: "I've not used a new AMD system, but I hang out on an Nvidia/Intel/Gigabyte fanboy forum full of people who also haven't used a new AMD system, so I'm going to discount the advice of the person who's used both extensively"

Ya know, AMD/ATI used to be the orthodoxy a few years ago, and ATI has already overtaken Nvidia last summer, quite a few people believe AMD's new chips out next week will overtake Intel's new chips. They've done it before.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:59 AM   #19
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LOL, worst answer ever, that's like saying: "I've not used a new AMD system, but I hang out on an Nvidia/Intel/Gigabyte fanboy forum full of people who also haven't used a new AMD system, so I'm going to discount the advice of the person who's used both extensively"
... and I'm not sure why you assume that the people I am talking about haven't used both and chose the NIG combination as a result of using both.

Or should I exclusively follow the advice here as opposed to the advice I get over there because... of what exactly? Your witty response maybe?
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:01 AM   #20
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Is that the standard PS that ships with the Antec Sonata III?
Yup:
http://www.antec.com/ec/productDetails.php?ProdID=08142

Are the problems you refer to with the Sonata II or the Sonata III?
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:55 AM   #21
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Yup:
http://www.antec.com/ec/productDetails.php?ProdID=08142

Are the problems you refer to with the Sonata II or the Sonata III?
The Sonata II
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Old 01-03-2009, 01:10 PM   #22
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... and I'm not sure why you assume that the people I am talking about haven't used both and chose the NIG combination as a result of using both.

Or should I exclusively follow the advice here as opposed to the advice I get over there because... of what exactly? Your witty response maybe?
Well, I would imagine that the website you're referencing is a gamer website, which is very different than DAWs. By all means, get whatever you think you should, but SRSLY, any quadcore ever made by either vendor is sufficient for producing audio. Gaming forums are more concerned with overclocking a $1000 CPU to 4ghz and SLIing 3 GTX 280s all while keeping the components 1degree below their melting point, audio is different, and is much more reliant on memory bandwidth and hdd bandwidth, since the introduction of quad-cores, CPU is not the bottleneck for producing audio.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:55 AM   #23
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Well, I would imagine that the website you're referencing is a gamer website, which is very different than DAWs. By all means, get whatever you think you should, but SRSLY, any quadcore ever made by either vendor is sufficient for producing audio. Gaming forums are more concerned with overclocking a $1000 CPU to 4ghz and SLIing 3 GTX 280s all while keeping the components 1degree below their melting point, audio is different, and is much more reliant on memory bandwidth and hdd bandwidth, since the introduction of quad-cores, CPU is not the bottleneck for producing audio.
Tweakheadz is an audio fan site with TONS of very useful material :-) Just googling the name I mentioned would have gotten you there:
http://www.google.com/search?q=tweak...L_frCH286CH287

Honestly, check it out. Both n00bs (like myself) and pros seem to hang out there.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:16 PM   #24
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Tweakheadz is an audio fan site with TONS of very useful material :-) Just googling the name I mentioned would have gotten you there:
http://www.google.com/search?q=tweak...L_frCH286CH287

Honestly, check it out. Both n00bs (like myself) and pros seem to hang out there.
Sorry, wasn't aware that it as audio-specific site. However, if I perceived your "Intel/Gigabyte/Nvidia" comment in the correct context, then I will stand by my "fanboy site" comment. I can say from abundant personal system building experience, that the above can't possibly be a consistent formula for success(unless you're a fanboy). Only the following can (more or less) be guaranteed as a formula for success, and it is not limited to the above vendors:

*CPU with a specific stepping
*Motherboard with specific revision WITH SPECIFIC northbridge and southbridge(with specific revisions), running specific BIOS.
*Specific Memory: even good quality name brand memory can just not work properly on certain mobos.
*Specific Video Card with specific driver revision


And the potential good systems from the above are not limited to Intel/Gigabyte/Nvidia as a magic formula is just ridiculous. I guarantee you with a little research(from low-rated products from the aforementioned vendors on newegg.com), I can assemble you an absolute nightmare of system from the magic formula vendors(especially with the problems Nvidia has been having this year).

If anything, I'd say that the AMD spider platform could be perceived as a magic formula for success, the spider platform consists of:

AMD Phenom CPU
AMD 700 series chipset motherboard
AMD/ATI 3000 or 4000 series graphics card

Obviously, all products coming from one vendor are of course going to be well integrated and designed for eachother. The only parts of that equation where something could go wrong is choosing an off-name motherboard, or, the above mentioned certain memory for certain vendors not working.
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