Building a DAW for the first time: will these components work?


I'm planning to build a new DAW (audio computer) and would really like to hear what you guys think about my project. I've never put a computer together before, and I'm looking at this project as a tech challenge. The goal is to build a powerfull, silent and stable system. So this is what I'm thinking:

Asus P5E3 mother board
Intel Q6600 Quad core Antec Take 4 silent case w/ 650WPSU
WD 1 TB 7200 32MB cache hard drive
4 GB Corsair DDR3 1333 ram
GeForce 8400 Silent video card
standard cd/dvd-burner

I'm using a RME Fireface 800 interface and I'll run Cubase 4 on Windows XP SP3, and it's critical that the Fireface 800 and the computer communicates and likes each other.

I've googled and googled and tried to find out if the Q6600 will work smooth with the P5E3 in a DAW context. Didn't find much. So I've got some questions for you:

Do you think this combination of components will work smoothly in a DAW?
Whats important to think of when putting the components together?
When setting up the BIOS for a DAW, whats important to think of?
Is there anything I could do to make this system even better?

This computer will only be used in my studio for audio applications (and maybe a little lo-end video programming in Cycling74 Jitter). I'm not thinking of over clocking (yet).
Please give a newbie some advice.

9 answers Last reply
More about building time components work
  1. Link the case and PSU please?

    I don't see any need for a P5E3 here at all. That's a gamer's board designed for Crossfire.

    A P43 with firewire and eSATA ports would make more sense and cost less.
    Likewise, you would have no benefit at all from DDR3. None.

    DDR2 800Mhz is all you need.

    If you wanted, you could take some of the money you saved and get a faster quad, say a Q9550. That would be a good performance boost.

    I don't know what roll the PC plays in this setup of yours... isn't it just displaying levels and acting as a controller?

    If it's recording as well, perhaps you should look to a raid setup for faster write times.

    Here is some suggestions until someone more knowledgeable comes along:
  2. ^+1. Scrap DDR3, if this thing is only doing audio work exclusively you could go for onboard graphics (chose a board with a PCI-E slot though) and save a bit extra. RAID 1 for fast write times is not a bad idea either - just make sure you have a good backup system

    Cubase isn't a very demanding program, quads are going to give a huge amount of surplus power.

    You may be one of the few people who would benefit from a good quality sound card though.

  3. Thanks for the replies! I'm using a Fireface 800 ad/da converter. Cubase will be the main sequencer, and I'll mostly use the program for recording and editing audio. I'm also using a lot of different plug ins (compressors, reverbs, EQ, etc.) and those demand a bit of cpu.
  4. One thing is you'll likely have to get a FireWire 800 add-in board, because I don't think that I have seen a motherboard equipped with FireWire 800.
  5. techgeek said:
    One thing is you'll likely have to get a FireWire 800 add-in board, because I don't think that I have seen a motherboard equipped with FireWire 800.


    Hey I larned me sumtin' :whistle:
  6. Well that's assuming he needs the bandwidth provided by FireWire 800. If he doesn't the device should be backward compatible with FireWire 400 which is supplied on the motherboard. I don't know that much about audio production on PC's, so my initial thought that 400Mbps would be enough. I guess if there are mulitple channels of high bit-rate audio you could need more that 400Mbps though.
  7. Yep, I read a bit more and got confused. If you can find a firewired 800 card, you still might not get the speed because the buss it sits on won't go fast enough...

    There were a few boards that came with 800, but they seem to be gone or inappropriate.
  8. They have some at NewEgg. I included a link to one:
  9. I might not know a lot about gaming computers (hence all of my help topics), but i know a thing or two about audio.

    Firstly, how the hell did you afford a fireface? Lol.

    EDIT: (This is just what i would assume; i could be wrong, maybe the fireface performs perfectly well in a standard firewire port, but for the small price of firewire 800 why risk it?)
    Anyway, you're gonna want at least 1 firewire 800 port. Definitely. If you don't, you've wasted a lot of money buying this product, because you won't be able to multitrack as much as it says it can (28 tracks at the SAME TIME *head explosion*). It does have firewire 400 compatibility; but thats not really what you'd want from an interface like this. The item in the comment above me seems like a good buy.

    Also, the HARD DRIVE. The fireface was made a while ago, wasnt it? I think that back then, finding a fast enough hard drive was tough, but now pretty much all of them are 7200RPM. I'm surprised that the fireface doesn't list any hard drive system requirements (or anything else, for that matter).

    But really, hard drive speed is almost always a system requirement on firewire interfaces like this. If it were me (with a massive fireface 800), i would get a 10000RPM hard drive, for boot and with enough space for recording. Of course, it doesn't have to be big enough to hold all of your audio; once you are recording whatever project you are working on you can move it to your 1TB hard drive.

    Think about it. Your fireface may be able to output 28 tracks in data form at the same time, but can your computer record it that fast?

    Keep in mind i'm far from an expert and may be wrong, but it's something to consider.
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