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Old 12-21-2008, 05:09 PM   #1
tjobrien21
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Default Picking a motherboard and chipset - I need some assistance and advice please

Hi all, I'm kind of new to this board but I've been reading and learning what I can. Please be patient with me, I'm trying! I've 'inverted' this post - relevant info at the top, details, history, etc at the bottom. I will be very grateful to whoever can lead me in the right direction as my last attempt at buying hardware sidelined me.

First, here's the stuff I already have and would like to keep, unless there's a technical reason to replace something:

WD 36Gb Raptor 10K rpm SATA drive (system)
WD 150Gb Raptor 10K rpm SATA drive (data)
Antec TruePower power supply (430 watt)
M-Audio Delta 44 card
CDRW and DVDRW drives (TDK and Asus respectively)
I plan to re-install/recycle XP pro with sp3 for DAW and will probably dual boot Vista on its own partition for GP use.

I have about $400 to work with for a CPU, motherboard, and memory (I'd like to do 4GB of RAM if I can). I'm leaning toward Intel, since the current AMD/Nforce rig has let me down so badly. However, if there's a known reliable AMD setup, I'm open to whatever will work. Video-wise, I don't care much about it - onboard is fine for starters, but I'd like to upgrade later. I'm not a pro and my projects aren't that big. I just want stability and the capability to work with 16 to 24 tracks, and only a few plugins here and there.

The main reason for this change is I currently have an Asus A7N8X with an Athlon XP2000. It's OK for general purpose, but terrible for audio. Click and pop city. I'm a programmer by trade and an EE by degree, and have tried the technical fixes.. Getting cards on their own IRQs, PCI latency timing, and so on. Regardless, I get clicks, pops, distortion. All related to hard disk activity. Googled that, learned the SATA controller on my board is junk (Sil3112). Hmm, that also explains the very occasional data corruption (the drives tested fine on another machine, and the Sil3112 is known for this problem).

I did some DAW work back in 2000-2002, but picking hardware was easier then: Intel had 2 chipsets and you didn't want AMD. And there were far fewer processor variants to choose from. I had a P200, then a PIII 450 and successfully made music with both of them.

Unfortunately for me, the world of hardware has expanded into an overwhelming number of choices. The last time it turned out I chose my hardware poorly, so this time I'm seeking help to get a better system.

Thanks again to anyone willing to help!
Tim
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:08 AM   #2
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I just bought a Q6600 system for around 400 dollars, with a P5Q-E motherboard, and 4 GB OCZ Reaper ram. Great system, overclocked it to 3.0ghz easily with the stock HSF.
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:11 PM   #3
tjobrien21
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Thanks for the reply. I've spent most of today researching this stuff and that's one setup I'm considering - the P45 chipset and a quad core CPU. Glad to see it's working for someone already.
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Old 12-26-2008, 03:14 PM   #4
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Well, after talking to a few others, I went with the Q6600 and an Intel P45 chipset. We'll see how it goes!
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Old 12-26-2008, 06:29 PM   #5
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The P45 is a great chipset. In fact, its just about every bit as good as the X48 with the exception of the dual x16 PCIe channels.... unless you're going with a SLI video card configuration (which will sound like a jet engine in your studio), the P45 is just as good.
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:05 PM   #6
tjobrien21
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I see threads like this all the time that never have that last post - the one that kinda sums things up. So here's that post.

After some time using the hardware I described above, all I can say is wow.. What a huge improvement over my old system! I thought I'd try Vista Ultimate and see how it worked - I mean, what the heck.. If it didn't I could always go back to XP.

Results? Songs with many tracks, no problem. Plugins? No sweat. Everything seems to run really, really well. Things that would bring the old setup to its knees, are now no challenge whatsoever. Overall, this setup really works great!

If you're considering a value-priced DAW setup, this might do it. It's certainly working for me!
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