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Building an Audio Workstation PC

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September 21, 2013 1:28:09 PM

Hello. This is me, again, "the guy who's using a s478 Celeron" :D 

So, I'm here, because I'm building a silent and cool Audio Workstation for my dad. Now he's working with P4 3.2GHz lga775, Asus P5GD2-X, Asus Radeon 512MB *some numbers that I don't remember*, 500W PSU and two Creamware (aka Sonic Core) audio cards: Pulsar and Luna, which uses two PCI slots.

I need your advice, for what CPU to choose: LGA2011 Hexa, LGA1155 3770k, or the new Haswell 4770k; for what GPU to choose: Nvidia or Radeon; for what RAM to choose: what MHz would perform great, and etc.; for what PSU to choose and etc. I didn't found a ASUS LGA2011 motherboard with 2 PCI slots, I'm not even sure, that there are that kind of boards (Sonic Core reccomends ASUS mobos)

I posted this on Gearslutz.com yesterday, but nobody answered yet. :( 

I have some parts that I found, and I think that these would work, but again, I'm asking for your opinion, because you're professionals in here. ;) 

CPU:
Intel Core i7-3770k
or
Intel Core i7-4770k

MB:
ASUS P8Z77-V LK
or
ASUS Z87-K

Cooler:
be quiet! Dark Rock 2
or
Noctua NH-U12P-SE2

GPU:
Not sure on this one! :)  What would be better? Need a very silent one. :) 

RAM:
Not sure on this one too.. :)  I saw that Linus Sebastian (LinusTechTips) uses Corsair Dominator as well as Corsair Vengeance, not sure if that's good, or not

PSU:
be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 550W or 650W

Case:
Fractal Design Define R4 White, non windowed

Storage:
Samsung 840 Pro 128GB
or even a Hybrid drive (SSHD) with other HDDs from that PC that he's using now

ODD:
Pioneer DVR-110D from the PC that he's using now

So, I'll be waiting for your answers. :) 

__
Sorry for bad English, Lithuanian guy here ;) 




September 21, 2013 3:11:27 PM

RedWarrior,

This kind of audio workstation is a complicated equation and needs to be considered from the software/ hardware perspective.

1. CPU > The first priority is how many cores are useful. The system requirements for the interface mentions "1 to 4 cores" and then recommends various software, some of which can utilize mutiple cores, others don't. So > we would need to know the ability to use multiple cores. A six core CPU is a waste if the software can't use all 12 threads- it would be better- and less expensive- to have a quad core at a higher clock rate for example.

2. Motherboard > I like LGA 2011 CPU's because they have a wider memory bandwidth- 52 GB/s as compared to 25 for LGa 1150, and support more PCIe lanes and a workstation like this one may have several cards.

3. RAM > If there is a lot of effects processing, I'd recommend a Xeon and at least 16GB ECC RAM. Seemingly simple effects like reverb can go wrong easily and errors produce artifacts and crashes.

4. GPU > The GPU needs to have a very high 2D performance to follow waveforms and present them in high resolution. Also, it is typical that several applications are running at once, with all those waveforms and tiny menus, slider, and etc. so dual monitors are useful. actually the Intel 4600 integrated graphics is very good, but it subtracts CPU and RAM from the system so a good dedicated card is recommended.

5. Drives > SSD's are a pleasant luxury for starting the OS, loading applications, and large file transfers, but in my view not strictly necessary. For storage, lean towards large enterprise rated drives and consider a RAID 1 that backs everything up. I once lost 300GB of sound files to a drive failure for which I had no backup other than a few test CD's.

That said, and without a budget, follows is an idea for a good audio workstation. The prices are from an online store in Greece,

http://www.e-shop.gr/default.phtml

> hoping they will be similar to Lithiuania.

I tried a Xeon E5, ECC, Quadro system but it was quite expensive- about 1,800 €.

BambiBoom AcoustaCannon Blastosonarific iWork Blazorama VII ®£©™®$™_ 9.21.13

1. Intel Core i7-3820 (3.60GHz, 10MB Cache) s2011, BX80619I73820 > 270.88 €

2. CPU Cooler > Be quiet! Dark Rock 2 73.55 €

2. ASUS P9X79 > 223.00 €

3. Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3 Non ECC CL10 1600MHz (CMZ16GX3M2A1600C10) (Kit 2 x 8192) 142,93 €

4. nVidia Gigabyte GTX 650 2GB OC( GV-N650OC-2GI )> 122,20 €

5. (2) Western Digital 2TB Caviar Black WD1002FAEX SATA III 7200rpm 64MB > 160€ (79,91 € each)

6. Inter-Tech SY-120 Midi Tower > 43,62 €

7. Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro P10 80Pus Modular 550W > 174.27 €

8. Pioneer Blu-Ray Recorder BDR-208DBK > 79.09 € This is Blu-ray to be able to make 24-bit disks
_________________________________________________
TOTAL = 1,090 €

Again,, this was done without a budget, but trying to have the appropriate level for each component. The 2GB GTX 650 cost only 8€ more than the 1GB. However, the PSU at 174 € is more than 3X as expensive as an ordinary Corsair of that output (53,00 €).

If you can suggest online stores in Lithuania, this would be easier to refine.

Cheers,

BambiBoom

[ Dell Precision T5400 > 2X Xeon X5460 quad core @3.16GHz > 16 GB ECC 667> Quadro FX 4800 (1.5GB) > WD RE4 / Segt Brcda 500GB > Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit > HP 2711x 27" 1920 x 1080 > AutoCad, Revit, Solidworks, Sketchup Pro, Corel Technical Designer, Adobe CS MC, WordP Office, MS Office > architecture, industrial design, graphic design, rendering, writing ]

Sound Computer > [HP ELite m9426f > Core 2 quad Q6600 @2.4GHz > 8GB 1066 RAM > Radeon 4650 > Seagate Barracuda 1TB > EMU 0404 > Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit > Dell 17" LCD > Cakewalk Home Studio 2 XL> Hauptwerk 4 (virtual pipe organ), Garritan Steinway (virtual piano), 2X Neumann KM184 > Peavey VMP-2 vacuum tube mic pre (Yamaha S90, Steinway A 1923, harpsichord, clavichord ]
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September 22, 2013 5:28:14 AM

Greetings! ;) 
He uses Cubase 7, Nuendo 6 or 7 and Wavelab 6 all x64. :) 
Online stores in Lithuania, which has good prices and lots of stuff: www.varle.lt; www.skytech.lt; www.1a.lt; www.fortakas.lt
And his two audio cards require two PCI slots (not PCIe) :) 
And how silent is the Gigabyte GTX 650 GB OC'ed? ;) 
And can the BDR-208DBK write and read CDs at 4x or lower speeds?
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September 22, 2013 9:23:36 AM

RedWarrior said:
Greetings! ;) 
He uses Cubase 7, Nuendo 6 or 7 and Wavelab 6 all x64. :) 
Online stores in Lithuania, which has good prices and lots of stuff: www.varle.lt; www.skytech.lt; www.1a.lt; www.fortakas.lt
And his two audio cards require two PCI slots (not PCIe) :) 
And how silent is the Gigabyte GTX 650 GB OC'ed? ;) 
And can the BDR-208DBK write and read CDs at 4x or lower speeds?


RedWarrior,

I misunderstood, thinking that it was somehow a double height PCI one card twice as tall. It is difficult to find a motherboard with two PCI slots, and the only one I see is >

ASUS Z9PA-U8

http://www.asus.com/Commercial_Servers_Workstations/Z9P...

> This is a very good board, using the Intel C602 chipset, and would be an excellent basis for the audio system. But, as far as I can see, the CPU must be Xeon E5 16XX or 26XX. I looked through several of the online sites in Lithuania you list, but can not find listings for Xeon E5 CPU's except when part of a complete system. Can you find a source for Xeon E5-1620? that is a very fast- 3.6/ 3.8GHz 4-core and in the US, only $300.

I don't think any GTX is extremely quiet because they are high performance and have enthusiastic fans. I use a quite low end Radeon in my sound computer, as they are quieter. So, the thing to use might be something like this >

ASUS GT630-DCSL-2GD3 GeForce GT 630 2GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 HDCP Ready Video Card > $75 in the US

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Notice that this is a 128-bit, 2GB card that has no fan- only a heatsink. so no noise at all. I think this is a very good idea!

I believe that any DVD or Blu Ray will read and write at low speeds. I checked on my Dell Precision and the Sony Optiarc DVD writer will read and write DVD's at 4X. I usually write CD's and DVD's at least two steps below the maximum.

Let me know is you can find the Xeon E5-1620 or I can look a bit more for multiple PCI motherboards. I believe that only server MB's will have that feature today. So many audio peripherals are USB and some Firewire. I just received yesterday a new soundcard for the new HP z420 (Xeon E5-1620, 24GB RAM, Firepro V4900) and this is an M-Audio US41750 24 /192 with MIDI and SPDIF- and will fit the single PCI slot.

Also, it would help to know your budget- maximum price- for the new system.

Geriausi linkėjimai Jums ir Jūsų šeimai,

BambiBoom


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September 22, 2013 10:31:13 AM

bambiboom said:

Geriausi linkėjimai Jums ir Jūsų šeimai,

BambiBoom


You too, BambiBoom :) 

I found it here, but there aren't any info or anything.

I said it wrong about these cards. This is how it goes: first card goes in one PCI (not express) slot and the second card goes into another PCI (not express) slot and they are connected together by a cable, that looks like a crossfire or SLI bridge. It doesn't require to be one after another PCI slot, but it would be better that the PCI slot wouldn't go right after the PCI-E x16 (GPU) slot, because the audio cards are quite big and long. These cards are Pulsar I (http://www.midi-classics.com/i/p12707b.gif) and Luna II (http://www.futurestyle.org/archives/images/c/creamware/...). When bridged it should look like this (upper card is Luna II, the lower - Pulsar I). The cable supports three cards, so it can be in order on the MB like that: Pulsar > empty slot > Luna, or even Pulsar > empty slot> empty slot > Luna, I think. However, It would be better that the cards would be together, but it could be Pulsar > empty slot > Luna.

The GPU would be great, and Sonic Core reccomends passive or very silent GPU. It costs 99 dollars in Lithuania (250 Litas). :) 

How about Asus P8Z77-V PRO? Do Cubase, Nuendo and WaveLab use all 12 threads?

The max price would be 2500Litas - 980 dollars, 610 pounds or 725 euros. :) 

___
Jonas

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September 22, 2013 7:50:14 PM

Sveiki Jonas!

I apologize. I looked again at the ASUS Z9PA-U8 and it does have only one PCI slot. One of the features of LGA 2011 processors is that they support more PCIe lanes and because they are able- the motherboards have more PCIe slots but only one PCI. Anyway, probably the Xeon E5-1620 is too expensive- see more comments below.

However, LGA 1155 and LGA 1150 support less PCIe so the motherboards have more PCI- sometimes as many as three. The Asus P8Z77-V PRO is an example, having 2 PCI slots and these appear to be arranged so that the bridge / connection between the two cards would work.

I was thinking that, given your cost limit that it may impractical to have an LGA 2011 CPU. With a price of 1011 Litas , the E5-1620 is almost half the entire 2500 Litas. My last system idea cost 1100 euros (Greece) and that is 50% more than your limit of 725 euros.

Perhaps it would be perhaps be worth a look at LGA 1155 and LGA 1150 CPU's- for cost and PCI slot reasons, perhaps based on>

XEON E3-1230V3 > 830.00 Lt - very fast, quad core- and yes Cubase 7 can use multiple cores.

http://www.neostore.lt/item/EC-00710514

ASRock E3C224 ATX Server Motherboard LGA 1150 Intel C224 DDR3 1600/1333 >$136 US

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and which has two PCI slots together and 6X SATA III (6 GB/s)-but this particular one is not sold at Neostore.lt - I don't think. It seems LGA 1155 often does not support SATA III but LGA 1150 does.

Also a better one > SUPERMICRO MBD-X10SAE-O ATX Server Motherboard LGA 1150 Intel C226 DDR3 1600 > $216. - but again not at Neostore

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LGA 1155 will have more PCI slots, the Xeon E3 is hyperthreading but the i5 is not hyperthreading. Also the i7 3770 costs the same as the Xeon E5-1620. > Difficult!

What do you think?

Cepelinai visiems!

BambiBoom

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September 23, 2013 5:12:33 AM

Hello!

I thaught that Xeons are Server CPUs, but I didn't knew that they're as good as i7. That's a good idea for the Xeon, but I need ASUS board. Would the Z87-K do the bussiness?

>I found XEON E3-1230V3 on a site http://www.pigiaunerasi.lt/katalogas/computing/pc-compo... . It costs 759Litas (220 Euros) and its arriving to the shop at 2013-10-07. It would be great if the components would be on www.varle.lt, www.skytech.lt, www.fortakas.lt or on www.1a.lt because they have great shipping, or I could just go to their closest shop (I live in Mazeikiai, shops are in Siauliai or in Klaipeda) and I take it. But these internet shops such as neoshop.lt or pigiaunerasi.lt they're not so good, their shops are only on the internet. But in my mentioned shops (varle.lt, skytech.lt ...) they have free shipping to their shops, you just arrive and take it.

>I will try to search for an ASUS board with two or more PCI slots on z87 chip and, maybe 6 SATA3 ports.

>The computer will be building on christmas. Then it will be lower prices. I'm going to build it myself, like somebody in Youtube comments mentioned on Dave Dugdale's video Monster Video PC Build "it's just like lego for adults". Even if I'm not an adult, I'm a computer freak. I love tech, love watching LinusTechTips videos, I learned almost everything from him and Paul from Newegg TV.

*Zeppelins are very delicious. You should try it if you'll be in Lithuania. They are our traditional dish :) 

Edit:
> On every ASUS board it says *Intel Xeon Processor Family is designed for servers. Some features may not support when installed on 8 series chipsets. For more details, refer to ASUS support site at http://support.asus.com.* This is bad? What will be bad with this?
EDIT 2: Guys from net says that the i7 or even i5 overtakes the Xeons. I don't know what to choose now..
EDIT 3: I've found out that Z87-C or Z87-PLUS would do the job. Would you advice what of these two to choose? :) 
_
Jonas
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Best solution

September 23, 2013 6:43:29 AM

Sveiki Jonas!

The i3 / i5 / i7 and Xeon have a different emphasis in the use. The Core "i"- series are better for games and general business use- and Xeons are better for work and content creation- graphics, video and sound processing, engineering. The Core i's are made for speed and the Xeons for precision. For special uses that need more than one CPU, there are Xeons that may be used with as many as eight CPU's in one system (Xeon E7 10-core). There are versions of each too- there are Xeons and i3, i5, i7's. For the audio computer, it appears to be more in the category of work than play, so Xeons seem better.

But, an i7-4770 >

https://www.varle.lt/procesoriai/procesorius-intel-core...

> on the ASUS P8Z77 would also work very well and the ASUS board has the correct PCI slots and so on. The ASUS P8Z77, however does not accept Xeon CPU's.

The best CPU for this kind of use I believe is an LGA 2011, but is probably too expensive and it's very difficult to find an LGA 2011 motherboard with two PCI slots. I don't like the i5 for this use.

My concern is the total cost of the system. I've not made an addition of the costs in gražus Lietuva, but as the I7-4770 costs 980 Lt, I believe the total could be expensive. If, however the cost is O.K., then, yes, the system that you mentioned in your first post here would be a good one, perhaps using the ASUS GT630-DCSL-2GD3 without the fan.

The ASUS note concerning Xeons and servers has to do with features when running a server OS. That is to say, that board will run with a Xeon, but if that board were used for a server instead of a workstation, then some features are not guaranteed to function. Those features are probably involving disk management.

I have had computers since 1993, and have only built one in 1995. It is sometimes complicated in detail but very satisfying when it works. Building a system also help to understand computers and be able to repair and upgrade. Of course, when you build, you have the exact pieces needed too, and the cost for high performance can be much less.

Aš padariau Mazeikia kelionė naudojant "Google Earth". Nemačiau jokių senus pastatus. Atrodo, kad labai švarus ir ramus. Tai labai skiriasi nuo mano mieste Los Angeles-purvinas, smurtinio, ir Toom daug automobilių! Jis yra malonus, turėti pretekstą pamatyti vietas, kad aš ne aplankė. Aš niekada nebuvo į rytus nuo Budapešto, nei į vakarus nuo Havajų.

Cheers,

BambiBoom










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September 23, 2013 7:41:03 AM

I'm glad to hear that you like Lithuania. :) 

>So this is what I think:

Xeon E3-1230V3 (that BambiBoom suggested)

ASUS Z87-C

be quiet! Dark Rock 2 >>> Noctua NH-U12P SE2

Corsair Vengeance 16GB 1600MHz

Asus GeForce 630 2GB DirectCU Silent

Fractal Design Define R4

be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 550W or 650W >> Instead of this, I'm going with Seasonic SSR-650RM 650W

Samsung 840 PRO 128GB SSD maybe?

And maybe a Pioneer Bluray drive.

What do you think about it, BambiBoom? :) 
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