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need detailed cpu/mobo sugestions for an audio pc upgrade

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March 10, 2006 2:40:05 AM

----my keyboard has taken a turn for the worse. please excuse any poor formatting---------

hey dudes and dudettes,

i've finally come to the point where my system has become too weak to make music the way i'd like to.

i'm constantly running out of juice to power 2 waves reverbs, 3 soft synths and a small quicktime. raw audio tracks are never a problem. i usually end up with 6-20 at most. i usually work in 48k /16 bit


---discovery---

the last time i jumped head on into pc building world was a little over 2 years ago. i spent a good 2.5 weeks reading comparison reviews and made what i am certain was the best buy of the time for dollaz to processing. i got an amd athalon 1.47ghz and an asus a7v8x.

so now entering the new world before me i see lots of stuff on 64bit processing and tons of different socket choices as well as intel not being so far behind in processing vs dough as it was during the summer of 2003.

i have read a bunch of buyers guides and reviews but im still so lost as to what's best for me.

in fact, i dont fully understand where the market has gone or what cpu's are just hitting the markets and what sockets/architectures are almost at their end.

if only there was a primer. :roll:

most importantly, i'm a member of the dollar to processing church. i've always felt that the best buy for me is the cpu that performs the best in cycles per $ as well as the hard drive that offers the cheapest amount per gig. and also, the guitar that offers the best tone for the money.

proof: ask me about my 80's japanese squire strat. a steal at 200 bucks. i get 3 great distinct sounds! also, i got a 68 fender bassman with a cab for $300. with a mod that overdrives those tubes so nice like. another steal. (i'm into good deals, can you tell?)

I LOVE REBATES and PRICE BREAKS

---parts list---

here's a list of stuff i have and stuff i need.

i have now:

amd athalon xp 1.47 ghz
asus a7v8x
512 mb in 2 sticks of ram - same manufacturer - pc2700

i have an older machine with mismatched brands of 1 gb of pc2700 ram that will end up in the new machine IF SUGGESTED OR NOT

ati raedon 9000 agp - 128mb i think... it's been so long. but not that important. i rarely game.

a few ata100 drives that will probably be replaced

an aardvark 24/96 pci sound card - (i spent weeks researching this one)

antec sonata case - the first version with an 380 watt pwr supply

---

i want to upgrade my mobo and cpu and use my old ram

i am open to suggestions on a cpu upgrade only if my MOBO can still hack it

get 2 new 250/300 gb drives most likely sata (unless i'm suggested otherwise) from tiger direct with REBATES.

----

optional stuff

ram upgrades if it's worth the dough. it all boils down to buying new ram only if it's worth the money

video card: i barely game. this card and cpu was good enough to run need for speed 2 underground for the 2 weeks that that game held my interest

software environment:

i'm a composer and i often write to video. but its usually a 320x240 quick time. while it does take cycles away from my current cpu im usually far along enough in a project that disabling video late in the creative stage allows me to finalize my mixes with out a problem.

i usually use acid 5.0. lately i have started using more softsynths.

i will probably move on to another platform, sonar 5 and saw are being considered

i plan to use my old mobo for a machine running gigasampler as well as use fxteleport to do vst/dx plugins over lan to the second machine if needed.

----

conclusion

so my budget is around $200 bucks. but i am willing to work outside of that if it's a good investment. in other words, the new configuration has to last another 2 years or so. but most importantly i need more power!

tiger direct has some great mobo combos.

from my research my power supply should be able to power most new boards with out a problem

i have no problem going OEM with cpus. a quiet cpu cooler suggestion is appreciated and NEEDED.

my pc is in the same room where i record.

i live in an old building so the power isn't the cleanest it could be. ground hum is not only an issue, it's a a way of life.

i have read tons of stuff on overclocking the cpu i have when i bought it but never got it to function well. cooling was always an issue.

so it must be said while i am a tweaker in life i have never adopted that mentality to my PC.

im not adverse to it. i just need the worlds most super detailed instruction on how to do so.

so let's clean this up a bit.

tell me if it's worth spending what kinda dough to gain how many more cpu intensive processes like reverbs, soft synths and the like.

my main use for this machine in audio and nothing else.


thanks, in advance, to all of you for your general knowledge and input. and if i can be of service i do know what certain pro audio gear is worth as well as guitars. i can offer this advice in appreciation.
March 10, 2006 4:35:39 AM

$200 is a pretty tight budget.

Your RAM is worth reusing. I believe that most Athlon 64's (the older, cheaper revisions) clock the memory down to 333MHz anyways when you populate all four DIMMs with 512MB sticks.

You can find a good cheap AGP mobo to reuse your video card as well. I would recommend going socket 939 and getting at least an Athlon 64 3200+. However it would be worth the price jump to get an Athlon 64 X2 3800+. Those are both very overclockable with stock cooling.

As far as an actual audio recording sound card is concerned, I have no idea what is best. Something with a high Signal-to-noise ratio with gold-plated connectors? Don't ask me I'm not an audiophile.
March 10, 2006 2:07:34 PM

thanks for your response.

what mobo would you reccomend with these cpus you suggested

how much power can i expect to get out of each?

like i said $200 is my goal but im looking to most importanly to get the most amount of processing per buck so i am flexable.

i do not need an audio interface. my aardvark works wonderfully.
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March 10, 2006 2:36:46 PM

The cheapest socket 939 mobo you can find with 4 RAM slots and AGP.

The ASUS A8V mainboard is a good example. 4 memory slots and good overclocking features.

You would be jumping from single channel 1GB to dual channel 2GB with lower memory latency and much faster processor architecture. The difference would be significant.

If you like to edit more than one audio file at once, or work smoothly while you do encoding in the background, dual core is the way to go.
March 10, 2006 4:11:10 PM

I like the Gigabyte K8ns - cheap, reliable and will use your ram just fine, and comes in both 754 and 939 varieties. I would also try to get a 90 nm A64 instead of a 130 nm.
March 10, 2006 4:18:03 PM

DFI is also a good choice
March 10, 2006 5:07:33 PM

"If you like to edit more than one audio file at once, or work smoothly while you do encoding in the background, dual core is the way to go."


so going with a dual core seems pointless to me right now as i dont render stuff while i'm making music.

i dont think as of now win xp can smartly distribute vst/dx plugins to certain processors.

am i right?

"I would also try to get a 90 nm A64 instead of a 130 nm."

those are die sizes right? can you name actual cpus so i can do some googling? whats the difference anway

DFI: is that a mobo manufacturer?
March 11, 2006 2:22:10 AM

is it just me or is no one fully reading my post?

i made it so detailed in the hope that folks would understand the amount of detail i need in suggestions.

i'm certainly appreciative of the advice offered but it's extremly subpar to what is needed.

so folks let's wise up here. suggesting mobo manufacterors is great and so are die cuts but i'm new to whats around so actual product names are most suggested.

thanks to all for their posts.

but let's keep it real.

just so you know in my daily life i am that guy that all of my friends turn to for questions on media creation, guitar setups, vintage gear prices, free media downloads (private and leet) and general states of human debauchery cataloged in a video format.

i spend everyday sharing information.

i was hoping to get the same from here.

so let's step up kids and teach me!

i am willing to learn and share my knowledge!
March 11, 2006 2:55:57 AM

I work with Adobe Audition and digitalize old 33's and tapes, among other things. I love cheap and good, so here's my recommendation:
Motherboard
Retail processor
Talk about obsolete. 754,939, on up to Socket F. Being obsolete is it's charm because this system will beat the pants of a Dell equivelent. You can use your old memory to good advantage, and being the thin .90 nanometer chip it will run extremely cool and quiet. The onboard video surprises everyone it's so capable. The Venice core CPU in the same section on Newegg is what I would pick for even better bang for the buck and correspondingly pricer.

I like your soundcard choice but the Sonata is overpriced. Get a cheap case and some case insulation(online) and one of those real quiet 120mm fans and that's all you will need to beat the Sonata's specs.
!