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New i7 build advice for Audio PC

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May 12, 2009 7:31:21 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP

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

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

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

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Not important

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.

JPR

More about : build advice audio

May 12, 2009 8:17:27 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99 Free Shipping*
Antec NSK6580B Black 0.8mm cold-rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 430 Watts 80 PLUS Power Supply - Retail

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GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $279.99 Free Shipping*
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $204.00 Free Shipping*
CORSAIR XMS3 12GB (6 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory - Retail
Compatible with Intel Core i7 series CPU for Intel X58 motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $24.99 Free Shipping*
LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X (CAV) DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM

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Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM

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Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Discount: -$20.00 Combo Price: $149.98
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM

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XFX PVT96OSDFH GeForce 9600 GSO 768MB 192-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

Total: $1,204.92 | $1,164.92 w/mail in rebates
May 12, 2009 8:20:19 AM

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.
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May 12, 2009 8:42:54 AM

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.

JPR
May 12, 2009 11:46:29 AM

I am wondering why you think you need an i7 just to stream audio.
May 12, 2009 6:15:00 PM

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.

JPR
May 13, 2009 5:34:53 AM

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

JPR
May 13, 2009 6:22:22 AM

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.
May 14, 2009 12:17:31 AM

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)

JPR
May 14, 2009 4:49:46 AM

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

Otherwise it looks good.
May 14, 2009 6:42:48 AM

thanks for the advice, ill look into those drives. Anyone out there tried the windows 7 beta?

JPR
May 14, 2009 7:13:06 AM

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