New i7 build advice for Audio PC


SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Streaming audio, nothing else but has to be rock solid

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: High-end video card, monitor, soundcard, keyboard, mouse


PARTS PREFERENCES: i7 920, 12 GB RAM (possibility to upgrade to 24 would be nice, speed isn't really important), 2 dedicated SATA 7200 drives for sample streaming, Gigabit ethernet, vanilla DVD drive, 64 bit OS




I'm an audio professional who works on a mac but I'm finding a few bottlenecks even on a pretty decked out Mac pro so I was thinking about offloading one of my main sample libraries that is cross platform and a huge resource pig to a dedicated PC. I'm pretty comfortable digging around the inside of a computer case and doing RAM installs, drive replacements, etc. but I'm by no means an expert. I'm wondering if anyone has a general idea on the price tag and degree of difficulty for building a machine like this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  2. Currently, there aren't any 4gb memory modules for the i7, only 2gb modules and the maximum number of slots on motherboards is going to be 6. So upgrading the ram to 24gb means tossing out the old sticks of ram, for very expensive 4gb modules, when they hit the market, and I don't know when that will be.

    But for the other components you are looking at something like this:

    Motherboard: Asus P6T $250
    i7 920 CPU: $280
    12gb DDR3 $150
    Hard drives: 2x WD3200AAKS $110
    GPU: HD 4350 $36
    Case: Any cheap ATX, $30-50
    PSU: Corsair 400CX $50
    OS: $100
    Optical Drive: $25

    Putting a PC together isn't that hard, and if you are comfortable plugging in power cables ect then you should be fine doing it yourself, and you will save a lot of money if you don't go with an off the shelf system, as well as being able to cater it to your specific needs.
  3. Thanks for the quick replies. Thats a pretty doable price point for me.

    The ability to upgrade the RAM is a WAY down the line consideration, 12 GB will give me plenty of headroom for a while so I'm not worried about filling all six ram slots.

  4. I am wondering why you think you need an i7 just to stream audio.
  5. This isn't typical audio streaming, its for a high end orchestral sample library/engine and the head engineer over at the company is recommending i7 for any new builds. Its surprisingly easy to exhaust the polyphony even on high end machines, if I could afford it right now I'd build two.

  6. Thanks for the advice, is a 400W PSU gonna give me enough overhead?

  7. It should be fine as long as you don't get a powerful graphics card to go in your PC, but if you wanted to be sure you could go with a Corsair 450vx or 550vx. The 400CX should be adequate though.
  8. So here's what I've come up with, any advice or red flags would be much appreciated.

    i7 920
    Asus P6T
    2 Kingston 6GB (3x2) 1066 Triple Channel kits
    3 500GB WD Caviar 7200 SATA drives
    Corsair 550W PSU
    Asus HD 4350 PCI Express 2.0 x16 video card
    Sony Optiarc 24x SATA CD/DVD drive
    Cooler Master Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Case
    Vista Home Premium 64 (maybe windows 7 64 beta)

  9. 500GB drives tend to be slower than 640GB or 1TB drives. I would get three WD6401AALS drives or a WD1001FALS.

    Otherwise it looks good.
  10. thanks for the advice, ill look into those drives. Anyone out there tried the windows 7 beta?

  11. thanks but I dont need a soundcard, all audio and MIDI goes from the slave to the master over ethernet
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