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Home Studio DAW/moderate gaming pc config

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Last response: in Components
February 27, 2009 11:13:05 PM

ive been looking at the over priced studio pc's with ultra levels of quiet n all that crap...but i notice the components are not even what i want to put in my future system...the system requirements of programs like reason and sonar are beyond met...for ex. the recommended req. for the processor in sonar is Intel® Pentium® 4 2.8 GHz [EM64T]
AMD Athlon™ XP 2800+ or higher...1 gb of ram
The mainstream now is dual cores and vista demands 2 gb of ram...anyway enough of stating the obvious...

seems like i can pick up any ol' dell, gateway, etc. for $700-$900 and i'd be good to go...i also wanna do a lil gamin, i used 2 be a major quake 3 head back in the day...

now to the point...

what can i get for around $800-$900(no monitor) with a decent case with usb, FW ports in front(preferably with a window) great but not to expensive motherboard, decent vid card...

for my monitor im getting somethin in the 22-24", $200-$300 range...not quite sure yet but looking at the ASUS VH242H Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD

advice also welcome on whether i should go with dual, quad, or i7 core

i plan on putting it together my self...i never built a system but ive installed ram, replaced hd's, rom drives, n pci cards...ive also watched several videos on you tube on building systems and i feel up to the task...i'd buy one already assembled but i feel like they place100-200 extra on the price tag just to build it and i could juss put that toward better parts

if u use any of the programs mentioned above or any other synth/sequencer and have a somewhat up to date system and use rewire with a breeze your welcome to post your specs

my current specs are p4 1.8 ghz gf4 ti 4400 1.25 gb pc2100 ram and my progs run i can only imagine with the new system

please, no comments on how long ago i should have upgraded

More about : home studio daw moderate gaming config

February 28, 2009 4:30:49 AM

what interface are you looking at using?
I am in the process of building a similar project.

I am designing my system around the MOTU 2408Mk3 with the PCI-424.
my mixer is the Ashly MX-508 (cross grade from the Mackie 16x8)

according to the MOTU website
the PCI-424 does not handle a dual core or dual processor system very well.

so i down graded my pc to a dell GX280 (circa 2004) 3.20ghz and 4 gig ram.
I trashed the case and am currently shoehorning the MOBO into a 3U rack mount

and it fits, sort of..

i had to keep the Dell MOBO on the OEM sled
I merely screwed the dell sled to the chassis factory sled.
The black strips are gaffers tape isolating and dampening the Dells sled and MOBO.
I and guessing that the natural rubber in the gaffers tape will act like a cushion.

i literally had to drill a hole in the motherboard to secure the sled to the chassis, it was impossible not to.

The computer boots up fine. and with a clean install of XP professional, it screams.

I am using sonar 5 producer and adobe CS2 products like audition and premiere.

the PCI-424 installed without a hiccup...

I intend to mount the PC in an ATA flight case above a 1000 watt QSC Pl4 power amplifier.

so what you should do is build a system that matches your interface's system and software requirements.

I have found that DDR2 800 ram is 10 bucks a gig, I maxed out my ram for 40 bucks.

I cant wait to

February 28, 2009 4:52:02 AM

final upgrades will be to replace the noisy hard drive with 2 Solid State Drives of the SLC type. one will be for the system and files. a 32 GB SSD SLC SATA drive sould work well. they seem to be going for 100 bucks or so on ebay.

That black fan sitting on top of the heat sink cooling assembly is the OEM Dell fan, it has a 5 pin Molex plug that it fits into. and causes all sorts of alarms when it is not plugged in so i have it there temporary until i find a better solution. (it just needs to dissapear), that fan on the graphics driver needs to go too. I can fit a bigger after market passive heat sink on it to help make it quiet too.

as it stands the system is about 40~45 db (unacceptable but fixable)

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February 28, 2009 4:59:26 AM

cost so far

2408 mk3 system 3 years ago purchased it used on ebay for 500 bucks
Ashly mixer used $300 ebay
dell GX280 Craigslist 25 bucks
new memory and heat sink microcenter 80 bucks.
geforce 9400 graphics card from microcenter 40 bucks
ATA case (i cant remember it has been a while but i do remember they came from guitar center, i have 2 of them, a big 9U one for amplifiers and a smaller 6U one for other gear.
I need to add wheels to the big ATA case because it is gonna get heavy.

February 28, 2009 10:56:47 AM

ill be using the interface i have now, the m audio fw 410... and the optiplex looks tempting, but u also wanna do some gaming and i doubt ill be able to play crysis on that....but for the price heck ill get one anyway just to chop up samples and other stuff on the go.

and i saw the screw in the mobo, i almost passed out...i'd never dream of doing anything like that lol but it seems u know what ur doing cause its still workin!

now im thinkin if i should just get a cheap daw and buy a xbox 360 instead...ahhh more choices more confusion...

as for the ssd's, not my choice for now...i have over 100 gigs of samples ranging from reason banks to regular wav's and the ssd's with enough room are just to damn expensive...maybe ill go ur route and for the system hd use the 32gb version and a 500gb sata for the other stuff...

its just insane, the amount of variation out creates a mass of confusion but its great on ur pocket in the end lol
February 28, 2009 2:36:42 PM

the M audio fire wire is a good device.
since you are not using a PCI based interface, then i seriously doubt any CPU/MOBO combination will be a factor.

check out

it basically comes down to what you are willing to spend on your project.
if you are gaming, then it is in your best interest to get most powerful system you want.

I am not a gamer, the systems i build are designed primarily for multi-track high resolution field recording and editing.

I would prefer a dual or quad core system for video editing but in all honesty premiere (audio only) recordings can be handled exceedingly well and are done very quickly with modern single core systems.

the main rules of thumb when designing a system for recording is to have maximum available onboard RAM memory and multiple hard drives (min 2)

I always suggest designing systems with 2 or more .
A main system drive where your OS and applications reside, (32 GB is about perfect, I am researching the use of SSD SLC drives for OS and applications).
A secondary drive as a scratch drive for processing and recording samples.
And a third drive (removable) for storing samples and projects.

this eliminates the possibility of the OS accessing the hard drive while you are making your recording as a seek in the middle of a recording will cause a data error in the sample.

A DAW simply will not perform well with a single hard drive.

It is also advisable to have a multicard reader installed for reading CF and other flash based media.

hope this helps.
April 20, 2009 4:46:35 AM

hi sabianq and all,i read your posts and it was great, but can i ask you this please.............

I have built a daw/video editing pc (i wont bore you with the hardware!), but say i had four drives,

you say os and applications on 1,

would you say vst's on 2 maybe video editing program too,

samples on 3,

saved work from music and video on 4?

Does that sound sensible, i have come so far and just want to get it going sweet.
Would you say 4 drives are too many, do they consume lots of power that may put pressure on the cpu?

If so, how would you do a 3 hdd set up, and would you use partitions?

I'd be greatful for any help and a breakdown of why, as i'd like to know and learn the reasons for your conclusions?

Yours scraping the surface, benji