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DAW & Gaming PC. Please advise!

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December 21, 2008 6:25:11 AM

This rig will mainly be used as a a digital audio workstation (using Cubase SX3) but I'll also play some new games on it. Because of this I've tried to choose parts that emphasis stability and quiet operation but still have the performance I need.

I'll add my existing FireFace 400 to use as the audio interface as well as a second 1.5TB Seagate will all my samples on it. I'll also keep my existing monitor/keyboard/mouse.

Case: Cooler Master Cosmos 1000 ($295.00)
PSU: Zalman ZM750-HP ($206.95)
Motherboard: MSI P45 Platinum ($260.51)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 ($275.00)
CPU Heat Sink: Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme ($72.00)
CPU Heat Sink Fan: Scythe S-FLEX 120mm Fan 800rpm SFF21D ($27.00)
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Tracer PC2-6400 4GB Kit (2x 2GB) ($143.80)
Video: Gigabyte ATI HD4850 512MB ($256.00)
Video Heat Sink: Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 Rev. 2 ($45.30)
Optical Drive: Pioneer DVR-212 OEM ($37.00)
HDD: Seagate 1.5TB ST31500341AS ($280.70)
OS: Windows XP Home OEM System Builder ($115.00)

Total Cost: $2,014.26AUD

Please let me know what you think! Any suggestions or improvements you can think of would be greatly appreciated.

More about : daw gaming advise

December 21, 2008 6:59:25 AM

Your paying to much for the cosmos. It's a great case but newegg has it for like 190.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

I would also go with the asus maximus 2 over the msi platinum. Asus has better driver support.

Go quad core. q6600 easily O.C to 3.2ghz @ 1600mhz fsb. Your equipment more then capable of such a mild overclock

Go with 8 GB of memory w/ vista x64 if your DAW programs will allow it. Vista is much faster with newer hardware then XP. I advise this ram
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I don't know about the PSU just seems about bit much. corsair tx750 has gotten rave reviews.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 21, 2008 7:06:19 AM

PsyKhiqZero said:
Your paying to much for the cosmos. It's a great case but newegg has it for like 190.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

I would also go with the asus maximus 2 over the msi platinum. Asus has better driver support.

Go quad core. q6600 easily O.C to 3.2ghz @ 1600mhz fsb. Your equipment more then capable of such a mild overclock

Go with 8 GB of memory w/ vista x64 if your DAW programs will allow it. Vista is much faster with newer hardware then XP. I advise this ram
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I don't know about the PSU just seems about bit much. corsair tx750 has gotten rave reviews.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Thanks for your great reply! I'll look into all the parts you have recommended.

With the move to 64bit Vista, I'm really concerned about compatibility issues with my DAW software. I've heard some disaster stories, so I think I'd rather stick to XP for now. When the DAW software matures a little more, I'll upgrade then.

All the prices here are in Australian Dollars, so they're going to look fairly ridiculous to those in the US. Sadly they are the best prices I could find here.
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December 21, 2008 10:32:40 AM

I've known MSI equiptment to be a little more reliable than Asus, from my experience. And the Cosmos case is perfect if you're looking for noise reduction.

Unfortunately the ram suggested to you is a total waste of money. Go for something more reasonable like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Both are known for very good quality, and both have lifetime warranties.

I agree with the above poster about the PSU, but even his is a little overkill for your system. I would go with this instead.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Oh, and the quadcore is a great idea. Specially if you're working with digital audio. Overclocking it to 3.33Ghz is as simple as typing in 333 in the bios.
December 22, 2008 12:12:57 AM

curnel_D said:
I've known MSI equiptment to be a little more reliable than Asus, from my experience.


Yeah, I'm happy with the MSI. In this review < http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-p45-motherboa... > the MSI out performs the ASUS and the MSI costs almost $200AUD less.

curnel_D said:
And the Cosmos case is perfect if you're looking for noise reduction.


I agree, this case looks like it'll be great to work with.

curnel_D said:
Unfortunately the ram suggested to you is a total waste of money. Go for something more reasonable like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Both are known for very good quality, and both have lifetime warranties.


Do you think the $70AUD saving will be worth the performance hit?

curnel_D said:
I agree with the above poster about the PSU, but even his is a little overkill for your system. I would go with this instead.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


The reason I was going with the 750W PSU is because I want to be able to get a 2nd video card and possibly more HDDs in the future. That being said, perhaps ~650W will still be enough. I was strongly considering getting the Enermax Modu82+ 620W as it makes slightly less noise, is slightly more efficient and costs slightly less than then Zalman. However, I thought the extra $40AUD was worth it for the extra headroom.

Do you think a 620W PSU like the Enermax Modu82+ would be sufficient for these future upgrades, or am I better off sticking with the Zalman?

I couldn't find any substantial reviews for the 650W version of the Corsair PSU. However inferring from the HardOCP review of the 750W version, we can probably say that the Corsair is not as quiet or as efficient as the Enermax or the Zalman. Also, it costs slightly more than then Enermax.

PSU Reviews:

Enermax Modu82+ 625W:
< http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=558&type=expert&pi... >
< http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTQ4Miw5... >

Zalman ZM750-HP 750W:
< http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=592&type=expert&pi... >

Cooler Master Real Power Pro RS-750
< http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTM2Miw5...;

curnel_D said:
Oh, and the quadcore is a great idea. Specially if you're working with digital audio. Overclocking it to 3.33Ghz is as simple as typing in 333 in the bios.


I based my choice of a Dual Core on the only benchmarks I could find relating to the software I use < http://www.adkproaudio.com/benchmarks.cfm >.
Here are some of the findings..

Quote:
Little or no improvement is found with Quad core vs dual core.
A faster GHZ dual core will out do a slower quad core for samples playback. DDR3 1600 is better than DDR2 800.
Ideally when considering an overall picture of a project a fast GHz quad is best as the Quad cores do have a great effect on effects usage, overall project playback and high track counts @ high rez.


Based on this, I can get better performance for almost $200AUD less (Q9550 4x2.83GHz for $495 vs E8500 2x3.16GHz for $275). I could overclock a quad core with a lower stock speed. Then again, I could overclock a Dual Core with a higher stock speed and potentially get better results for substantially less money.

What're your thoughts?
!