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Is a "Home Recording" System Similar to a Gaming System?

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February 14, 2009 5:19:37 AM

Hi. I'm planning out my next PC build.

I notice a lot of "gaming" PC configurations here which have video capabilities probably beyond what I need as I do home audio recording. My question is: Should I just copy the specs of one of the gaming PC's and just use a much cheaper video card?

My issue is that I require:

1. Firewire Capability
2. 2 IDE connections (I have several hard drives which I'd like to hook up)


FYI...I already have all my recording interface/software but my PC is nearly 6 years old. It is currently have:

SAPPHIRE Radeon 9200SE 128M Radeon 9200SE 128MB 64-bit DDR AGP 4X/8X Video Card - OEM
Item #: N82E16814102306

AMD Athlon XP 2500+ Barton 1.833GHz Socket A Processor Model AXDA2500DKV4D - OEM
Item #: N82E16819103378

ZALMAN CNPS7000A-AlCu 65mm 2 Ball Cooling Fan - Retail
Item #: N82E16835118108

Antec Performance II SX630II Beige 1mm SECC Steel ATX Mini Tower Computer Case 300W Power Supply - Retail
Item #: N82E16811129118

ASUS A7N8X Deluxe 462(A) NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813131436

CORSAIR ValueSelect 512MB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Desktop Memory Model VS512MB400 - Retail
Item #: N82E16820145026

CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Desktop Memory Model VS1GB400C3 - Retail
Item #: N82E16820145505 (2 of these, I believe)
February 14, 2009 5:27:55 AM

Do you know if the software can make use of more than one core? Does it like a lot of RAM?

Are there any hardware restrictions? (I couldn't run Pro Tools on a computer due to an incompatible chipset).
a b 4 Gaming
February 14, 2009 5:29:33 AM

computational power is computational power and whether its driving a gfx card or encoding its all amounts to the same thing .

you are correct in thinking dropping out a high end gaming card can make you a powerful system .

I would be concerned about noise and heat in a system for a user like you .

Samsung hard drives have a reputation for quiet operation
unless you do lots of video encoding then dont bother with a high end cpu. Something like an e7300/ e7400 C2D might be all you need and they are cool and quiet compared to a quad core
add 4 gigs of ram and a basic gfx card and you will have 3 times the power you are used to .

Theres no chance of finding a motherboard with 2 ide connectors these days . It might be possible to find an add in pci card that allows for more .
Related resources
February 14, 2009 5:59:08 AM

Outlander_04 said:

Theres no chance of finding a motherboard with 2 ide connectors these days .


Newegg has 9...although I probably wouldn't recommend any of them.
February 14, 2009 6:25:20 AM

To answer the questions so far:

1. I use Cakewalk software for recording which is very PC-friendly. I wouldn't worry so much about the chipset compatibility.
2. As for noise and heat, I'm more concerned about noise as with acoustic recording, it's an issue with my PC now (a bit). I am concerned about the Coolermaster cases with huge side fans, etc. The Zalman I have now (or something in my current PC is very noisy although I'm surviving).
3. As for the IDE/mobo issue, I really would like to have 2 IDE connections (with 2 per ribbon) coming from the mobo. None of these boards are recommended?

Thanks thus far...

LouLoomis
a b 4 Gaming
February 14, 2009 9:59:04 AM

Bite the bullet and get new SATA drives. They are so much larger, and much faster than the old IDE drives....there just is no comparison really. If you are working with video, or working with large files, the speed of these drives makes a huge difference.
Remember, in a modern PC, the harddrive is the slowest/biggest bottleneck in the whole system, even a recording or studio PC can benefit greatly by moving from IDE to SATA drives. And did I mention how much more storage you will have?
February 14, 2009 10:39:00 AM

I agree with jitpublisher. You can get a 320GB SATA hard drive online for $50.
February 14, 2009 4:41:17 PM

So what would the parts list be given that I require:

1. No high end graphics card
2. FireWire
3. An IDE connection (x2)
4. A quiet case
5. 3 Full size PCI Slots
6. 5 dedicated internal hard drive bays

Can someone offer some suggestions?

Thanks.

LouLoomis
February 14, 2009 7:13:45 PM

Many years ago I used to do home recording, and I have since come to appreciate quiet pcs, so I would make that a priority. So if I were building a new home recording pc I would pick the following:

2 x Samsung Spinpoint 1TB 7200RPM SATA300 16MB 2 x £70.09

AMD Phenom II X4 920 2.8GHZ 6MB £160.98

Gigabyte AM2+ AMD RS780 DDR2 MATX Audio Lan VGA FSB1066
GA MA78GM-S2H £67.98

OCZ Technology 2X2GBKIT REAPER 240PIN PC2-6400 DDR2 800MHZ CL4
OCZ2RPR800C44GK £55.17

Antec NSK 4480 mini ATX 380w black £69.56

LG Electronics 22 x DVDRW SATA blackbare + sw £15.39

Artic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro Heatpipe Cooler £15

My main reason for going quad core is because I think a lot of effects/virtual instruments, sampling is common these days, so more cores is better. Also 2 x 1TB hard drives should provide lots of storage at a good price (samsungs are reckoned to be among the quietest). The RAM is highish bandwidth and very low latency, very important if you are recording on a pc as you need a very low audio latency. I am a fan of antec cases as they are excellent value and in my experience very easy to build and have the well regarded earthwatts power supply. The motherboard above includes quite good onboard graphics (more than you should need), but if you have additional monitors I would recommend another passively cooled (ATI) card. The final thing on the list is a aftermarket cooler to ensure very quiet operation.

The only problem is only having two PCI slots on the MB, rather than 3. It seems these days that 3 PCI slots is hard to come by...

Anyway all that comes to around £500 or $900 depending on which side of the pond you are on, and should be a huge improvement over your current rig. The last thing to mention is which OS you want to run (I found my old hardware really didnt like vista) although if yours has a driver then vista 64 is the way to go.





February 14, 2009 8:26:51 PM

louloomis said:
So what would the parts list be given that I require:

1. No high end graphics card
2. FireWire
3. An IDE connection (x2)
4. A quiet case
5. 3 Full size PCI Slots
6. 5 dedicated internal hard drive bays

Can someone offer some suggestions?

Thanks.

LouLoomis


Case: Antec P182 Gun Metal Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $130
PSU: SeaSonic S12 II SS-330GB 330W ATX12V V2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail $50
Mobo & CPU combo: SUPERMICRO MBD-C2SBA+-O LGA 775 Intel G33 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail + Q9550 $371
HSF: XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail $37
RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail $45
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $95

And a PCI-Express FireWire Card.
February 15, 2009 2:13:44 PM

^+1.

Only thing I would is change PSU to a Corsair 400CX ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) it's $40 after MIR.

The SuperMicro boards are well built (at least their server boards are) but there arn't many OCing options. Imo, I would get a Gigabyte or ASUS board to keep the OCing option open for the future where you might need more power. I also suggest adding a cheap, passively cooled GPU such as: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ATI 3450 ($20 after MIR) so the it doesn't eat up system RAM and you'll be able to run Vista/Win 7 better than the IGP. If going with 4GB RAM get a x64 OS.

For very quiet fans take a look in to Yate Loon and Scythe. Newegg doesn't have Yate Loon fans, but jabtech has them: http://www.jab-tech.com/YATE-LOON-120mm-Case-Fan-D12SL-...

If OP really needs IDE drives he can get IDE to SATA converter (~$10-20). OP might also want to consider high quality sound cards and speakers depending on what he dose.
May 8, 2009 6:20:31 PM

just get a pci tv tuner card with a hardware encoder/decoder. requires way less cpu. thats really all you need. oh, and a touch more ram couldnt hurt.
May 8, 2009 6:52:31 PM

Of course the noise discussion becomes a moot point if you have a well set up studio. If you have a seperate area to do your recording then who cares, really. Also, your computor is going to make noise no matter how hard you try to stop it. if you want really good quality recordings without background noise and your studio is not set up such that you can seperate the good noise from the bad, you will need to use a background noise reduction function on your software, which is almost easier to do if you have a higher level of background noise to cut out.
!