About 5 years ago I built a Pentium 4 system for Digital Audio recording. Over the years I made a few upgrades and for audio recording purposes it worked great.
The latest config was:
P-IV MSI 865 Neo Motherboard
P-IV 3.0 GHz Intel
2GB- PC2700 RAM
1- Seagate Drive 120GB (Primary)
1- Seagate Drive 250GB (Recording)
1 Maxtor Drive 320GB (Storing Samples)
1 NVIDA 7800 Video Card
1 Audiophile 24/96 Recording card
1-Wireless G Network Adapter
1-450 watt Antec Power Supply
Windows XP Pro
Recently I built a house and had my PC offline for many months. I've been slaving away at rebuilding a home studio... replaced my dual CRT monitors with a 24" LCD, new wireless keyboards and mouse. I was excited to get this system up and running during my time off on New Year's holiday. When I plugged in my system... dead, no pulse.
Fearing the power supply I jimmied over to Best Buy (a 30 minute drive) and picked up a cheap 500 watt BFG. Slapped it in... grounded to the MOBO.... no power. So now I'm left to guess it's the MOBO.
I'm in a bind... in a new house, after xmas, job is shaky. I have a tight budget. So I'm looking to just replace the MOBO and make some upgrades as cheaply as possible. I imagine I'll get a new case, pwr supply combo at either Tiger Direct or through New Egg. My question is the platform. Should I try AMD Dual core or invest in Core 2 Duo w/ Intel. Obviously performance is an issue (or desire) however anything I buy or upgrade too will be light years ahead of my old Pent 4. However this will not be a gaming PC nor will I be surfing the web regularly. This will strictly be for audio recording only.
My budget is $400... and I can salvage the following things... 3 drives, NVIDA card, M-Audio recording card, wireless G card, keyboard, mouse and monitor.
All three drives have more than 60% space avail. Next Fall I'm looking at buying a performance tuned DAW... but they start at $1500. Right now I just need to get over the hump with this one.
BTW, I suggested Q6600 and not E8500 because some audio processing programs work well with quads. That is, if you use smart software, you'd be more productive on a quad (Q6600) than on a higher-clocked dual-core that costs about the same (E8500). Even if your favorite software doesn't use 4 cores now, it might get a patch for it this year or next year. I'm assuming you will keep this new CPU for a few years just like you did with the P4.
One more thing: if you go with my suggestions, don't be alarmed if you only see 3.25 or 3.5 GB of RAM. It's normal with XP 32-bit. It is 32-bit, right?
$243 buys you a Phenom 9850 Black Edition and a motherboard with two slots for video cards. You get the same speed as with the Q6600/GA-EP45-DS3L, you pay a little less, and you have the option to add a second video card later if you want to use 3 or 4 monitors. There's a $23 8400GS at newegg for example.