Recommendations for components for a DAW Build using Windows 7 Professional (192 GB RAM upper limit)


I am building a new DAW for studio recording. I plan to use Windows 7 64 Professional as the OS as it will hold up to 192 GB ram.

I currently am working with 12 GB ram and running Windows Vista Home Premium.

Chipset is an Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU 920 @ 2.67GHz, 2668 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 8 Logical Processor(s). I use an M-Audio Mobile Pre as my audio device.

Not bad, but time for an upgrade. I would like to increase my RAM to as high as possible, to make use of WIndows 7 64 Professional 192GB upper limit, in order to increase speed to the highest chipset possible.

If there are additional ways to enhance audio quality, I am very open to ideas.

The questions are:

1) Which motherboards hold the largest amount of RAM as of Dec. 2013? (And other otherwise recommended in terms of quality);

2) What are the fastest chipsets currently available? These would need to be compatible with the high-capacity RAM motherboards above;

3) I plan to install 3 internal hard drives (No SSD): 1 for the OS, one for the sample libraries and programs, one for initial recordings, backed up with an external and a cloud drive, as I plan it now.
There may be a better, faster, more technologically sound way of setting this up. Open to suggestions.

4) Are there any considerations that need to be taken into account in the spec of the hard drives given the RAM/Chipset/Motherboard configuration?

6) What cooling device and power supply would you recommend for a DAW that can have a long reliable life with the above specs (and little noise);

7) USB 2 or 3? Quiet case?

8) Firewire? Is there something else out there now that I need to be aware of? Versions?

9) Recommendations on Audio Device. Looking for a what will provide highest quality sound, the least complications, best value, at least 4 inputs by 4 outputs.

10) What am I missing here that could:

a) Increase audio quality and provide options in refining audio quality;
b) Components that may assist in function, ease of use
c) Anything new that might boost audio quality, ease of use.

My philosophy has always tended to be that there are components that will do the same job for the same cost available in most circumstances, given that there is a crowded field for most items, so, of course, I would like to obtain these specs at the highest quality for the lowest cost.

Sometimes not possible, I know, but if you happen to be aware of such components, I would be grateful if you let me know.

I'm sure that there is plenty that I am missing here, as this will be my first attempt to build a full machine from scratch (although I have done a good deal of swapping out, and so forth--my skills, I would say are intermediate but I will learn in order to build this).

I appreciate the knowledge and experience that you have and can provide.

Many Thanks.



Dr. Alan Lipman
Washington, DC
2 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about recommendations components daw build windows professional 192 ram upper limit
  1. I'll take a shot at a couple of these.

    1, 2) Large RAM motherboard/chipset:
    There are some server motherboards that support 256GB or more, and maybe that's what you need, but I doubt it. Socket 2011 based "workstation" motherboards built around the Intel X79 chipset that support 64 GB are pretty common and well supported. Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge-E processors are supported by these motherboards.

    4) The motherboards will have some combination of SATA II and SATA III ports. The hard drives will have either a SATA II or a SATA III interface. SATA III is faster, but they are cross-compatible. Generally SATA II for slower devices like Optical drives, and SATA III for SSDs and faster hard drives.

    Can you tell us more abut the requirements of a DAW workstation?

    Good Luck.
  2. Best answer
    Intels socket 2011 is probably your choice for consumer motherboards and processors .
    A build like this is about as cpu and RAM intensive as you can buy in consumer channels .

    I deliberately did not include extra storage , or a sound card . The sound card particularly is not an item I know enoughl about for your usage .

    Yes you want USB 3 . Firewire is a dead end technology and hard to find at all . Some devices support "thunderbolt"but its rare and may or may not catch on since USB is just as fast as current implementations and improving all the time

    EDIT : use this cpu cooler instead . It will help cool the motherboard and RAM and is very quiet
    For some reason I could not find it listed on the pcpartpciker site
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