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Moderate Budget Digital Audio System

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January 13, 2010 7:06:27 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week
BUDGET RANGE: At most a bit above 1.1K.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Digital audio work, gaming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: KB, Monitor, OS, Mouse, Optical drive

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States

PARTS PREFERENCES:
What I currently have picked out is here.

ECS X58B-A2 + i7 920 - $433
G.Skill 3x2GB 10666 7-7-7-18 kit x 2 - $150 x 2
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache - $90
XFX 9800GT - $105
Creative X-Fi Titanium - $100
Total: $1028

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION:1920x1200

Does this look like a viable build? Are there any compatibility issues, alternatives, or what not? The memory wasn't listed under the motherboard manual as a tested module, but I saw another build (fourth review down) with the same board, and 12GB of G.Skill's CL9 12800. Am I going to need any cooling besides stock CPU/case fans? Would this case be sufficient?
January 13, 2010 7:35:53 AM

^ Have you check out the i7 860 ? They are faster than the 920 and offer slightly better performance than the 920...
and for such a system, I wouldn't want to take chances with the Tier 2/ Tier 3 mobo...
January 13, 2010 7:38:23 AM

I'm looking at the 920 because I need more than 8GB of memory, and I haven't seen any 1156 socket mobos with 6 slots. 4GB sticks are just outrageously priced.
Related resources
January 13, 2010 7:58:25 AM

^ Any specifice reasons for needing more than 8GB ?
I dont think you would notice signifiant difference using 8GB vs 12GB...but I might be wrong though if the app that you choose to use does offer better performance with extra RAM...
The reason why I suggested 860 is becaue of the lower TDP and hence less heat...and also like I said, it is faster than the 920 in video encoding and rendering...So assuming that it performs better in video encoding, it would perform better even for the audio...isn't it...
And also you would need faster RAM(larger bandwidth) than the amount of RAM if am not wrong...
January 13, 2010 8:19:05 AM

Audio work with samples requires an exorbitant amount of memory. Just for reference, loading 1/5 of just one library eats about 2.5GB of RAM. It's less of a performance issue than a "can this actually load" issue.
January 13, 2010 8:59:12 AM

^ Hmm...then go with i7 920 setup...but dont skimp on the mobo...check out the ASRock X58 Extreme...It offers better features and quality should be slightly better...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or if you could stretch a little, then this board will be a very good option...Better quality than those boards and has USB3.0 and SATA 6GB/s support too...So that is a good plus...
GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And PSU + CASE - It is better if you invest in better quality parts - especially the PSU...never skimp on the quality of that...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphic cards - For nearly the same price, you get better cards...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...
January 13, 2010 9:44:08 AM

Noted about graphics card and PSU, but I think I'll still be sticking to that mobo. Any suggestions for a cheap case this'll fit in? What about the issues I pointed out in the OP?
Current build:
ECS X58B-A2 + i7 920 - $433
G.Skill 3x2GB 10666 7-7-7-18 kit x 2 - $150 x 2
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache - $90
HD4850 1GB - $110
Creative X-Fi Titanium - $100
OCZ ModXStream Pro 500W - $40
NZXT Alpha Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Case - $30
Total: $1103
Look good?
January 13, 2010 10:22:18 AM

I would defiantly change the sound card also.
Creative's products are sub par and their drivers are terrible.

For a little less you can get an ASUS Xonar DX which has a better DAC, ADC, working drivers for all OS's and generally better sound quality than any of Creative's offerings.
If you are looking to do lots of Stereo DAC or ADC conversions, look into the Xonar Essence which offers a top notch DAC and ADC.
The Xonar D2X, Xonar HDAV Deluxe and HT|Omega Claro+ are also also excellent cards, each having sound quality just shy of the Essence.
If for some reason you want to keep an X-Fi chip, look into one of Auzentech's X-Fi cards.
January 13, 2010 10:29:48 AM

EDIT: Dint refresh...And also I had doubts about the Creative...but thought dint know much so dint comment about that...

^ Yes...that build is good but am still not convinced wiht the mobo quality...Atleast the ASRock would have been good...And apart from the price factor any specific reason why you want to go with that mobo ?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
January 13, 2010 10:36:20 AM

Well, price basically. I'm not overly concerned about overclocking or other features, and with the change to the Asus sound card, I'm sitting just below $1100, which is my limit for this build. Any reason you suggest that case over the one in my last post? Also, what's the verdict on non-approved RAM?
January 13, 2010 10:51:16 AM

^ Just wanted to give an option...the case that you have selected is also good...stick with it...
And as for the mobo, even am not talking about the overclocking and other features but board stability...

You can save some money by going with this RAM - So invest that money on a better board...
Super Talent DDR3 6GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Theoretically a RAM operating at 1.65V or less will be compatible with Intel X58 boards...So if the RAM is not present in the approved list but satisfies the basic criteria - Operating voltage -> 1.65V or less, then there is maximum probability that it will work on the board...
January 13, 2010 6:31:35 PM

Most of the people reviewing the board seemed satisfied with its stability, so I'll give it a chance. I'm using that memory because of tighter timings. Switching mobos is going to up my costs about $30 minimum, even to a comparable board, since there aren't any other remotely low-end CPU/Mobo combo deals on Newegg.
Current build:
ECS X58B-A2 + i7 920 - $433
G.Skill 3x2GB 10666 7-7-7-18 kit x 2 - $150 x 2
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache - $90
HD4850 1GB - $110
Asus Xonar DX - $90
OCZ ModXStream Pro 500W - $40
NZXT Alpha Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Case - $30
Total: $1093
Do I need anything else to get this computer functional and running? Cables not included, or something I forgot, or whatnot?
January 13, 2010 6:35:46 PM

If you have room in your budget, you might want to add an additional hard drive or two for scratch/working space and/or storage and backups.

That's also an easy addon down the line when you have some more cash to invest, though.
January 14, 2010 7:01:27 AM

The only thing I would recommend is three silent 120mm fans to replace the stock ones and an aftermarket CPU cooler (preferably also near silent).
The last thing you want while working with audio is a pile of loud fans drowning out the details ;) 

Scythe and Noctua both make some excellent fans, some of which may be quite expensive though.
Expect to pay up to $25/fan.

For a CPU cooler, look into a tower style with a changeable 120mm fan (or bare but able to mount one).
Add one of the above fans to keep it cool and quiet.

Other than that, everything looks fine.
Even without an aftermarket HS or fans, your build should work just fine for you.
!