Old 12-12-2011, 03:45 PM   #1
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Default Choosing a motherboard for a new daw

Hi,
Didn't know if this thread would better fit in the lounge or in the compatibility forum... so I post here, hoping to have even more views.

Tomorow I'm ordering parts for a new computer. I checked the asus site and diferent online shops. I'm totally overwhelmed mobo-wise:

Just looking at Asus, I see many many different models. All I understand is that they have differents socket for different processors. But the pletoria of models indicate that there's more to it. I'd like to make informed decision, not just by looking at the price.

If anybody has any advice I would highly appreciate it(for the mobo or something else also). I understand it would be easier for you if I gave you a price but I only know the price I can give for the whole machine.

Many thanks again
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Old 12-13-2011, 04:41 AM   #2
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Hi,
Not tryin to be arrogant, but does it mean that nobody knows ?
(Oh, and bump, by the way )
Thank you!
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Old 12-13-2011, 04:50 AM   #3
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Actually it seems like a statistical fluke that a thread asking about motherboards for a new daw would go 12+ hours without a single reply.

I know nothing about the subject (other than that... I think...TI chipsets are preferred) so can't really help you.

But here's a bump.

I need a new comp too and so I'm reluctantly watching threads like this.
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Old 12-13-2011, 05:11 AM   #4
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Ok, so how much do you have to spend, its a good place to start.

What parts do you need, is it a complete new system or do you have any bits already that you can use?

Is it just for a standalone daw machine or for general use as well?

A bit more info would help, not sure i can actually give exact advice on particular boards, cpu's etc since i stopped building my own machines about 3 years ago.

The last one i built still manages to handle everything i throw at it except have just ordered a new graphics card though as the old one cant really handle my new 25" monitor.

Have you looked online at any of the prebuilt daw machines that you can get nowadays, that should tell you what types of cpu, and hence what kind of motherboard you need.
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:13 AM   #5
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HI, thank you for your answers.

I'm starting a computer from scratch. All parts will be assembled by the shop I buy the computer from. I think I'll try to have the whole thing for 1200 euros. I think a little bit more than half of it will be devoted to Mobo+Cpu.

I have this so far:
Cpu: Intel 1155 i7-2600
Mobo: Asus Maximus IV Extreme( Z or B3 or...? that's confusing me)
Ssd: Ocz Vertex3 60Gb
Some whatever Graphic card, dvd burner. Wonder a little bit about ram, though

I already have a monitor and several big hard drives.

So a nice little config. But see! Even if I settle on a Asus Maximus Extreme, I have ( I think ) 4 different choices! And if I look at their whole catalog, I'm simply lost! They all seem to have nice options that the ohers don't seem to have... Of course I could see clearer if I could remove the marketing layer that's above the products description, but I can't...

I indeed looked at the specs of prebuilt daw. I can see some swear by Xeon processors, but in the end I couldn't see anything constant( apart from the Intel-Asus combo).

So do you know if they are some guidelines (apart from the price) to help you choose your parts? I know I 'll have fun with the config written above, but if I can benefit from some free knowledge here, I'm all ears!

Any advice or experience more than welcome. Have a nice day

Eric
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -R- View Post
HI, thank you for your answers.

I'm starting a computer from scratch. All parts will be assembled by the shop I buy the computer from. I think I'll try to have the whole thing for 1200 euros. I think a little bit more than half of it will be devoted to Mobo+Cpu.

I have this so far:
Cpu: Intel 1155 i7-2600
Mobo: Asus Maximus IV Extreme( Z or B3 or...? that's confusing me)
Ssd: Ocz Vertex3 60Gb
Some whatever Graphic card, dvd burner. Wonder a little bit about ram, though

I already have a monitor and several big hard drives.

So a nice little config. But see! Even if I settle on a Asus Maximus Extreme, I have ( I think ) 4 different choices! And if I look at their whole catalog, I'm simply lost! They all seem to have nice options that the ohers don't seem to have... Of course I could see clearer if I could remove the marketing layer that's above the products description, but I can't...

I indeed looked at the specs of prebuilt daw. I can see some swear by Xeon processors, but in the end I couldn't see anything constant( apart from the Intel-Asus combo).

So do you know if they are some guidelines (apart from the price) to help you choose your parts? I know I 'll have fun with the config written above, but if I can benefit from some free knowledge here, I'm all ears!

Any advice or experience more than welcome. Have a nice day

Eric

Sorry for asking but ain't that mobo major overkill? A P6Z68-V Pro would more than enough and costs much MUCH less.

Unless you tell me you want to do major overclocking, forgot to include a water cooling pump in your build and are a avid gamer that will be spending at least 800$ on the GPU only...you're going to do weekly groceries with a ShortCourse Racing Truck.

But in the end, it's your money.
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:46 AM   #7
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No, it's okay, tell me! I'm coming from a pentium4 so I don't know up to where to jump ( sorry for my english, here) , in order to be safe. I'm really not in a position where I want to waste money!

I will use it for very heavy midi ( THE big orchestral library) and mixing ( convolution reverbs,synths, preamp emulations, all kind of plugs..)

The shop I'm gonna shop from has some p8z68 that are indeed cheaper. Maybe you made save some bucks, thank you!

Now I don't want to put doubt on this nice help offered by Vassago, but do you guys think that the extra power offered by mobo like the maximus extreme is only good for gamers ?
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:03 AM   #8
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I'd advise against building your own unless you understand the options. Although not a pro builder (they are on these forums though and have been very helpful), I consider myself reasonably knowledgeable. I've only built two and each one seemed to take weeks to stabilize. There's always something overlooked, which means ordering more parts, which means more time, more troubleshooting, more posts, etc.

But if you're determined and have the time it is an awesome and rewarding learning experience.

I thought I remembered the DUC having a sticky that included people posting their builds and performance data (do "we" have a sticky like that?). That's where I'd start -- see what others have done first. You'll get farther than trying to surf through specs not knowing what you're looking for.

My last experience ended up driving me to buy a new audio interface. Didn't see that coming!
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:41 AM   #9
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Default Personally...

I think that the computer gaming "ethos" has really influenced the general market on what to "expect" when upgrading to a new computer. Frankly, several of the things that matter to a gaming build simply don't help with DAW duties at all.

Save some money on the motherboard - that was a great suggestion by vassago. And don't worry too much about the video card. The integrated graphics on current boards are MORE than enough to run a two monitor setup for a DAW with no issues or hangups whatsoever - so even when buying a discreet card you can be quite thrifty and the DAW purpose of your machine won't be hampered at all.

Overclocking discussions get heated on the forums - but I will proffer that this is because quite a few folks who actually pitch into these discussions also use their computers to game and do other things. I don't think you'll find many professional studio engineers overclocking their machines at all - so in that vein, buy the best CPU, enough good RAM, and the fastest hard drive you can. These things DO matter to your audio input as well as the ability to run tons of plugins and virtual instruments. If you buy the best you can afford, you won't worry about the overclocking argument at all and concentrate on making music.

Just some thoughts...

Oh - good point above about building your own. I've built 6 this year alone - 3 of which were DAW machines. While I'm very familiar, at least two of those builds were plagued by issues during the build - due to some defective new parts that took hours of troubleshooting and diagnosis to identify. Count the cost of time, effort, etc. before diving into the DIY side of computer building.
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:53 AM   #10
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Kelp and vicenzajay speak the truth. There is a lot more to building your own PC than putting the pieces together. It's fun, my opinion, but ones need to understand that the learning curve is steep and you will spend many hours getting up to speed. A new build is a hit it miss, some pieces don't like each other and only research will tell you. OR you could ask nicely

If you are not lucky, you get a bad part (or more!) and you sink in a whole weekend pinpointing the problem(s).

The current rock solid build I actually put together for myself last month is the following:
-P6Z68-V Pro
-Intel 2600k 3.4ghz
-Aftermarket CPU cooler, a must, the intel ones are pure CRAP!
-AMD Radeon HD6950, you don't need so much power for a DAW, but the Nvidia have had too many harware problems for the past year...reading the forums is scary...the ATI/AMD drivers have their ups and downs a but at least the hardware is not failing, buy yourself a decent AMD GPU, onboard ones eat up CPU cycles and you get a decent basic GPU for 100$ that will be WAY better than any onboard. If you don't game, you'll never upgrade it.
-Seasonic PSU, don't even shop around, SEASONIC, nothing else. I am yet to see one die after almost 3 years of putting this in the PCs I build...NOT ONE!!! Voltage wise, the readings are boring as hell...flat line...could not be more stable.
-G.Skill RAM, by far the more compatible and stable with the P6Z68-V Pro, it's even recommended and endorsed by Asus.
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:20 AM   #11
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Y'all know I'm gonna say GO GIGABYTE!

Go nVidia because of CUDA/OpenCL. If you use Nebula, you're gonna be grateful
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Old 12-13-2011, 02:07 PM   #12
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Thank you for the input, gentlement, I begin to feel much better!

Kelp, you're right about building, I usually don't have luck with these kind of things. All parts will be assembled by the seller, so no problem.

vicenzajay, anybody with a Zachary bass as avatar is always right whatever he says anyway, but still, thank you for your input.

vassago, just to be sure, do you mean that an Intel processor is sold with its cooler, and that this cooler is generally crap?

ED, it is always a pleasure to get help from you, but I don't get it.. Why is Gygabyte so obvious to you? What's CUDA/OpenCL ? ( went to their site it reads like abstract technical litterature to me)

Thanks Reaperites, I'm getting close to serenity
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Old 12-13-2011, 02:50 PM   #13
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Go to NewEgg.com and check out the buyer's reviews. Organized in a very usable manner. For example, the ASUS P8Z68 mobo looks good. Get a really good PSU. Get DDR3 ram. How about a SSD for your big library?

In the reviews look at the computer setups listed at the bottom of the review. It will give you an idea of what is already working for the buyer. Look luck.
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Old 12-13-2011, 02:54 PM   #14
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I too have found Intel coolers to be inadequate. Each time I've tried one I get very frightening thermal results. Getting a decent cooler with good thermal paste can shave 40C in some cases. A must.
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Old 12-13-2011, 03:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -R- View Post
ED, it is always a pleasure to get help from you, but I don't get it.. Why is Gygabyte so obvious to you? What's CUDA/OpenCL ? ( went to their site it reads like abstract technical litterature to me)
For some weird reason, everybody around me has had terrible experience with ASUS motherboards, and pretty much everyone else has Gigabyte's, working flawlessly. So why should I differ? It's been working for me and lots of my friends, so I see no reason not to recommend them. And they're cool blue!

CUDA/OpenCL is the basis for GPGPU (General Purpose GPU), which means that you can utilize your graphics card to do other highly parallelized operations apart from just graphics. Nebula VST uses CUDA to do convolution of extremely high quality, without taxing the main CPU. There's potential for some other high quality plugins (u-he Diva, for example) to utilize this kind of processing in due time. I say it's best to be prepared

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Old 12-13-2011, 05:20 PM   #16
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For some weird reason, everybody around me has had terrible experience with ASUS motherboards, and pretty much everyone else has Gigabyte's, working flawlessly. So why should I differ? It's been working for me and lots of my friends, so I see no reason not to recommend them. And they're cool blue!
For me - Gigabyte motherboard arrived defective just this past month....I lost a good 6-8 hours of my life that I'll never see again troubleshooting the build - to include multiple off-board diagnostics for memory, CPU and hard drive.

Not saying anything negative about Gigabyte - but ASUS has been fairly solid for me in the builds I've done. That being said, my main mixing machine is actually built on a very nice MSI motherboard that has been rock solid now since March...go figure.

probably worth less than .02, but there you have it...

Oh - LOVE the Zachary bass, by the way....thanks for noticing it!
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Old 12-13-2011, 05:26 PM   #17
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My feeling, in any case, is that unless you're SURE about buying, don't set a date. You're gonna be married to this hardware for a long time, so shop around.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:10 PM   #18
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Many great suggestions given in this thread. As a general rule, do not forget one of the most important factors in producing pop/click free audio; it’s the motherboard’s handling of DPC (Deferred Procedure Calls) You can buy the most expensive MB/PC and still end up with very poor audio performance (large latencies, clicks, etc) because of these DPC issues.

DPC affects all processing tasks on a computer, but while a gamer/CAD designer/Video editor will never notice DPC delays of say 3 ms , a DAW’s program buffers processing “real time” audio at low latencies definitely will, and you’ll end up with pop & clicks.

DPC delays are usually the result of bad firmware design from the MB manufacturer. On that subject, Asus and Gigabytes are often recommended, with a slight edge to Gigabytes. Sorry that I can't be more specific with MB model numbers since I’ve just recently started looking to upgrade my main PC and I still haven’t decided which MB I will get.

One thing to do if you shop around for a pre-build computer in stores such as Best Buy, is to bring on a USB stick a program to test DPC. Run the program while opening/closing windows, going on internet, etc. If the DPC consistently stays low, there's a very good chance this PC will work fine at low latencies.

DPC checker:
http://www.thesycon.de/eng/latency_check.shtml
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:09 PM   #19
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Thank you for the input, gentlement, I begin to feel much better!

vassago, just to be sure, do you mean that an Intel processor is sold with its cooler, and that this cooler is generally crap?

ED, it is always a pleasure to get help from you, but I don't get it.. Why is Gygabyte so obvious to you? What's CUDA/OpenCL ? ( went to their site it reads like abstract technical litterature to me)

Thanks Reaperites, I'm getting close to serenity
Yep. Intel CPUs have fans, they move round and make noise but move no air...which should be their main purpose...not make background noise I don't know why they bother including them. They don't fail per say...they just don't do very well what they are supposed to be doing and with more noise than 100times more efficient fan cooler from Thermaltake for example. And you don't need to spend 200$ on one, the Thermaltake at 30$ is very very good and very silent.

CUDA/OpenCL is Nvidia's response to AMD/ATI integration. Unused GPU cycles are used for CPU processing. Cool concept, but Nvidia card fry...just google "Nvidia gtx problems"...and sit down while doing it...as I said...scary.

Gygabytes are not bad, far from it, they make very good mobos. I do have a grunge against their RMA service...Asus is slow, 2 months turn around usually with shipping...but Gygabytes is a creepy crawly, on occasions I have waited 3 to 4 months for an RMA in the past...crazy stuff. To be fair, I very rarely need to RMA anything from Asus or Gygabyte if you look at the mid to high end mobos...the lower ends are just that and with high failure rates, regardless of brands.
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:10 PM   #20
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Here's some advice:

Processor:

Go for the intel i5 2500k or i7 2600k as they are the latest and greatest.

The motherboard has to be Socket 1155 to be compatible with these 2 processors

also the chipsets and meanings:

P67 = overclocking and no onboard GPU (no built in graphics card)

H67 = onboard GPU with fast video coding ( built in graphics card )

Z68 = both of the above features

RAM:

Go for 6 or 8GB RAM

The CL on the ram stands for CAS Latency = lower the number the better
Higher the Mhz = Faster


If you don't play games, do graphics design etc, theres no point in getting a top end graphics card, either don't get one and use the onboard GPU or get a cheap one and save the money for a decent sound card as this would be more important for music production. Also decent speakers or headphones are important for music production aswell.

The website should only let you choose what's compatible if they build it for you.


best thing to do is look at reviews of the parts your looking at.

Heres a good website I use for computer component reviews http://www.anandtech.com/

If you have any other questions I'll be happy to try and help you.
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:25 PM   #21
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If I could redo my build from about six months ago the only thing I would do is get a different video card from the ATI. Hate their drivers and interfaces especially with multi-monitor setups.

Seriously dont worry about it too much. I was coming from a low end pentium and got an i5 2500k overclocked to 4.3 gHz (with the stock intel fan that vassago hates) no problem. An aftermarket cooler would be nice, and I will probably put one in eventually, but it's not a necessity.

It will be a TOTAL BEAST compared to what you are coming from. Im about to upgrade from 4GB to 8 GB of RAM for XMAS is all....
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:27 PM   #22
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I was just thinking how few people ask about this these days.

Probably just overkilling right now, but for me, the type/amount of pci/pcie slots was important. It's been two years since I built this so it's pointless for me to say what board it is, but I needed at least two PCI slots and then having a couple of PCIe slots was also important.

What I see with a bunch of MOBO's these days is the emphasis on dual graphic cards which for my needs is USELESS. I no longer know if that extra slot is compatible with non VGA components or not.

I did not actually put this computer together. I had fry's do it (even though I didn't buy all the parts from them) Why? Because the last couple I've built have been nearly impossible to troubleshoot if there is an issue. It was worth paying the money and knowing all the power came on and such.

ymmv
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:37 PM   #23
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All new graphics cards for the past few years are pcie so that slot is just a normal pcie slot but yeah designed for graphics cards

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Old 12-13-2011, 08:42 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisharbin View Post

I did not actually put this computer together. I had fry's do it (even though I didn't buy all the parts from them)
Interesting option. How does that work?

Did they understand -- i mean, really understand - that you were doing audio work and all that entails?

What kind of support do you get, post-build.

Thanks!
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Old 12-13-2011, 11:14 PM   #25
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Interesting option. How does that work?

Did they understand -- i mean, really understand - that you were doing audio work and all that entails?

What kind of support do you get, post-build.

Thanks!
I think it was kinda pricey. Near 100 bucks (shock) but I ordered a bunch of stuff from newegg and a few things from frys and when everything arrived I had it checked in, took to their service center and let them do all the construction. They put windows on too. They did a good job with the wiring and such. They didn't do any tweaking, that's my job They just put all the hardware together.

No support.
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Old 12-14-2011, 12:35 PM   #26
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Thank you everyone, you sure taught me a lot of good things,

I did my homework and learn a little bit more. I'll probably go for the p8z68 mobo ( Pro is 20 euros more, don't know why),
and a i7 2600.( K serie is 15 euros more, but I don't know why).

For the graphic card, I'll probably buy something. I hope to make music for games in a not-so-distant-future, so better if I can play.

For the cooler, I plan on having the thermal paste being applied by the seller. Since Intel coolers are crap, should I buy another cooler for the processor directly, so it can still be done by the seller ?

Something quite IMPORTANT for me: I'll be using my firewire audio interface for a while so I see 2 possibilities;
- get the p8z68 DELUXE, which for 50 euros above the PRO(70 above normal), has a firewire por,t 2 more usb (8) and a ps/2 port.
- Put a pci adapter ? Possible? What about performances??

We had some talk about power supply, which leads me to discuss the case:
I'm targeting two Antec cases.
-One is the Sonata IV (built with silence in mind), which is sold with its power supply ( Neo Eco 620 ), and a TriCool 3-speed switch control exhaust fan.
-The Other is a Performance One, no power supply, but four fans and a little bit more xpensive.
Any thought? Does the sonata has a good power supply ( I mean excellent power supply, I want a DEAD silent computer)? Do I need 4 fans? What would you do?

I thank you again, and if something comes to your mind, don't hesitate. Ok, enough internet for a while..Have a good evening
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:47 PM   #27
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The k means its unlocked for overclocking and is why it costs more.
More fans you have the more louder your pc will be, due to the gaps in the case for the fans but also in theory your system would be cooler. Which leads me to if you buy a decent after market cooler for your cpu it should reduce the sound and keep the system cooler than the stock one. So it depends on if you want your system cool or silent. Since you'll be gaming you have to take that into account aswell as your system will get very hot.

I had a look at them and I would get the performance one myself. As it would suit gaming more but probably won't be as quiet as the sonata.
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Old 12-14-2011, 06:19 PM   #28
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Ok, a couple of more things:

@fans: Yeah, this is a biggy. One thing though, if you can control them from the bios or a computer thing (I have a control thingy on the desktop) you generally can have them set much lower than full speed with plenty of airflow. This is including the CPU. If you can have it ramp up as needed, that's cool too. There are several really good after market fans that are quiet if you can afford it. I have all stock, my inside temp never gets above about 40c. Though not the best you can get, that is more than acceptable.

@case: DO NOT GET A GAMER CASE (especially coolermaster) metal, clangy, bangy, vibration amplifier from HELL!

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Old 12-16-2011, 11:29 AM   #29
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Ok, a couple of more things:


@case: DO NOT GET A GAMER CASE (especially coolermaster) metal, clangy, bangy, vibration amplifier from HELL!

Huh? I have a Sniper from Coolermaster and I still can't hear a thing even with my ear at less than 10 cm from the case side panel ... only a slight windy breeze sound...

Whatever the brand, if you buy a "low end" gamer case or do not do your homework before purchase...yes you can end up with a clangy vibration fest.

Most mid to high end cases are dead silent...most of the noise comes from cheap components like the intel oem cpu fan or fans from cheap PSU.

The key to silence without problems is simple, BIG quiet fans with a very well ventilated case so you can run those huge fans at very low speed and still keep everything cool.
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Old 12-17-2011, 03:44 PM   #30
-R-
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Thank you again,

I was not sure I would get more answers since the post was moved. Still thinking about the case. If I had to choose between cool and silent, I would take silent. Music production is really the goal of this computer. I would not game that much, so I will probably buy the Sonata, and maybe add more fans in the future if needed.

Thinking about Ram, what is the CAS latency I should expect? I tried finding ram unit of 8Gb runing at 2200 Mhz ( since the targeted mobo allows it)but without success. The goal would be to reach 32Gb later in the year. I feel that would allow me to do any orchestral stuff without thinking about ressources.

Anyway it's great, I'm getting close to conclusion. Will probably be ordering very soon!!
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Old 12-17-2011, 05:07 PM   #31
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Huh? I have a Sniper from Coolermaster and I still can't hear a thing even with my ear at less than 10 cm from the case side panel ... only a slight windy breeze sound...

Whatever the brand, if you buy a "low end" gamer case or do not do your homework before purchase...yes you can end up with a clangy vibration fest.

Most mid to high end cases are dead silent...most of the noise comes from cheap components like the intel oem cpu fan or fans from cheap PSU.

The key to silence without problems is simple, BIG quiet fans with a very well ventilated case so you can run those huge fans at very low speed and still keep everything cool.
the long story short:

The one I have is a 922. In fact, it's the worst case I could have gotten. The have it and many others on display at frys (of course I didn't do this before) and if you tap on them, this one is REALLY REALLY loud and rattly compared to the others.

However, all of the metal "gamer" cases are loud and clanky. There are so many good quiet cases it's just best to go in that directions.

Yes, considering how good my computer is it's a tragedy that I fell for looks (the only weak link) but I'd hope that others don't fare the same
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Old 12-18-2011, 09:36 AM   #32
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Regarding Firewire,
I saw pci cards providing 3 firewire euros. any idea if it could affect audio work?
I can't see myself spending 70 euros more for another motherboard just to use a 300 euros interface that will be replaced when I can afford better...
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:36 PM   #33
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The only thing I can say is you need a TI chipset fw card or interface. It's not worth the risk to get anything else.
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:12 PM   #34
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HI, thank you for your answers.

I'm starting a computer from scratch. All parts will be assembled by the shop I buy the computer from. I think I'll try to have the whole thing for 1200 euros. I think a little bit more than half of it will be devoted to Mobo+Cpu.

I have this so far:
Cpu: Intel 1155 i7-2600
Mobo: Asus Maximus IV Extreme( Z or B3 or...? that's confusing me)
Ssd: Ocz Vertex3 60Gb
Some whatever Graphic card, dvd burner. Wonder a little bit about ram, though

I already have a monitor and several big hard drives.

So a nice little config. But see! Even if I settle on a Asus Maximus Extreme, I have ( I think ) 4 different choices! And if I look at their whole catalog, I'm simply lost! They all seem to have nice options that the ohers don't seem to have... Of course I could see clearer if I could remove the marketing layer that's above the products description, but I can't...

I indeed looked at the specs of prebuilt daw. I can see some swear by Xeon processors, but in the end I couldn't see anything constant( apart from the Intel-Asus combo).

So do you know if they are some guidelines (apart from the price) to help you choose your parts? I know I 'll have fun with the config written above, but if I can benefit from some free knowledge here, I'm all ears!

Any advice or experience more than welcome. Have a nice day

Eric
Get gigabyte ga-z68x-ud3h-b3 very good mobo,and have all your needs
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