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I7 920 DAW PC Build - Compatibility Check & HELP with SATA/Assembly!

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January 14, 2010 8:34:18 PM

Hello! I am building my first Digital Audio Workstation PC, or any pc for that matter. I have gotten quite familiar with everything needed for the build, and I'd like to keep it around $1200-1500 dollars. I'm located in Philadelphia, and with shipping the following build is about $1650. What can I substitute to get me down in the $1200-1500 dollar range? This PC doesn't need to be whisper quiet, as it's in a control room, but I don't want it to roar either.

As well, will I need any extra SATA cables? Am I missing anything?

I currently have a 23" LG HDMI monitor with 1920x1080, but I'm not really a gamer, so I don't need a killer graphics card, but wouldn't mind decent graphics.

And finally... I understand that if I get enough memory, I won't have to overclock, as I'm a complete newb. Now if I drop the memory down to 8G or so from a different company, the price of my build goes down quite a bit. Will I notice any difference with latency or performance? Is it THAT hard to overclock? Or am I completely not understanding what overclocking is to begin with? <-- Remember, Bios newb.

Your help is appreciated!!!

COOLER MASTER COSMOS 1000 RC-1000-KSN1-GP Black/ Silver Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail $179.99

(2) Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $199.98 ($99.99 each)

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3320418AS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $49.99

SAPPHIRE 100252HDMI Radeon HD 4550 512MB 64-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Low Profile Ready ... $44.99

LITE-ON Black IDE DVD-ROM Drive Model iHDP118-08 - Retail $18.99

Antec CP-850 850W Continuous Power CPX SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC "compatible with ... - Retail $109.31

(2) Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 998782 - Retail $379.98 ($189.99 each)

GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $269.99

Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail $288.99

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM $104.99

bgears b-flexi120 120mm Multi-Color LED Case Fan - OEM $12.99
January 14, 2010 9:17:53 PM

You'll need the Antec 1200 case for that PSU....or the P183 / P193. And yes, it's very much worth changing the case to fit that PSU. Antec 1200 is better case and it's $20 cheaper.

Memory choices are 6 GB and 12 GB....go w/ 6
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Best solution

January 14, 2010 10:22:08 PM

You should really consider a slightly different set of components for your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) given your budget. An i5-750 / P55 system will perform as well and put you well within your budget.
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=364...

For instance, please consider substituting the following components:

Gigabyte P55A-UD3 ($135):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel i5-750 ($200):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GSkill RAM 2X(2 X 2GB) ($188):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec EA550 ($65):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec 902 Case ($100):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX 5750 Graphics Card ($140):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler Hyper 212:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This DAW will save you $416 over your original build, which puts you at about $1250. But this build gives you a state of the art graphics card that will let you use up to three monitors, and is low powered and quiet. In addition, the heat sink fan is much quieter than the Intel stock unit, and will keep your CPU nice and cool.

The Antec 902 case has individual fan speed controls on all four case fans. This case has got such good cooling that you can turn all of the fan speeds down to low for a very quiet computer.

Just an alternative build for you to consider. Good luck.
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January 14, 2010 10:33:06 PM

Regarding the SATA cables...if you're buying bare drives, get a couple of SATA cables. The Motherboard probably has at least one provided, but nothing sucks more than needing one more cable (from experience).

What software will you be using on the computer? I'll comment on the specs when I understand your software needs.
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January 14, 2010 10:45:59 PM

dpaul8, so if I'm reading the comparisons on that link correctly, the i5 750 actually outperforms the i7 920? Wow and that much cooling power plus it's quiet? That's really tempting!

Branflakes71, basically Cubase 5 with a bunch of VST's. That's the only software I see myself using on the computer. Who knows, I may go with another DAW Software like ProTools, but they'll never be open at the same time.

Let me go research that option on the 750 though, thanks!!
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January 14, 2010 11:04:24 PM

Technician -- I currently run Cubase with a M-Audio Delta 1010 audio interface and mixer system. Its not state of the art, but it gets the job done.

An i5-750 processor will perform as well as the i920 processor for this application.

Best regards.
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January 14, 2010 11:12:50 PM

Any down side to going 1156?

Do I lose USB 3.0 support?
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January 14, 2010 11:35:53 PM

The Gigabyte P55A-UD3 in my link above does have USB 3.0 support. So you also get that with the P55 motherboard.

An X58 motherboard makes sense if you are doing extensive video encoding operations or have applications that can take advantage of 12 GB or more of RAM. Of course, you should get an X58 motherboard if you plan to upgrade to the Gulftown six core processor which should be available this summer for only $999. However, if you can wait until 2011, Intel will be coming out with their X68 motherboards and mainstream six core processors for much more reasonable prices.

There are never any easy decisions.
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January 14, 2010 11:44:50 PM

Okay, I'm taking your advice because like you said, it may be a year or so until a 6 core is even remotely affordable. At that point if I really wanted to I could spend the money. I'd just have to get a new Mobo, CPU, Fan correct?

Okay, so here's what I've got in the shopping cart. I decided to try an SSD, I'm very attracted to the boot times. It's a much smaller drive, so I can only really load the OS and maybe a few small programs, does this build look okay?

BYTECC 18" Serial ATA-150/300 Cable w/Locking Latch Model SATA-118C - Retail

Nippon Labs Premium 18" (1.5 ft.) SATA II Cable with locking latch for SATA I and SATA II Hard Drive Model SATA-L0.5-R - Retail

Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B - OEM

Antec Nine Hundred Two Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

(2) Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

SYBA CL-HD-MRDU25S Mobile Rack for 2.5" SATA - Retail

XFX HD-575X-ZNFC Radeon HD 5750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail

Antec BP550 Plus 550W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.2 Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM

(2) G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - Retail

GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I5750 - Retail

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long ... - Retail

Intel X25-V SSDSA2MP040G2R5 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - Retail

Subtotal: $1,375.03
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January 14, 2010 11:59:48 PM

Do not buy the Antec BP550 power supply. My sincere apologies for linking to the wrong PSU in my above post. The one I meant to recommend was the Antec EA500:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Thank you for posting your build again so that I could catch my mistake.

I too have been thinking about adding a SSD to my build, but I really do not know anything about them so I will defer to others to give you good advice. I will be listening intently.

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January 15, 2010 12:22:33 AM

Thank you very much for all of your insight. I think the EA500 PSU is only like $10 dollars more. I went ahead and made that change. I think it's a solid build, I'm gonna order it up right now!

I think the assembly will be pretty straight forward. I think I'm going to get hung up in the BIOS.

Is this setup something I should worry about overclocking?
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January 15, 2010 12:31:56 AM

For a DAW build it is not necessary to overclock because the i5-750 CPU is plently fast at regular speeds. However, it would not hurt anything to overclock if you know how to get a stable system (HWMonitor, CPUZ, Prime95, etc). You can always post back here later with questions once you get your system put together.

Good luck again.
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January 15, 2010 11:42:48 AM

Parts are all on the way! No overclocking should make it alot more straight forward for me!

Any settings that I should turn off in the Bios or Win 7 to make things faster? I heard about something that can be turned off on the processer that has been causing popping and crackling in audio. I also heard latency can be affected with it. Just seeing if you've done any changes you felt worked the best for you personally.
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January 15, 2010 9:43:11 PM

Thanks! Just got a tracking number on the parts, so next week I should be having some fun! As far as the settings, I think I'm gonna install it as-is with the BIOS left alone and just disable dumb crap like Windows Defender, etc.
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January 18, 2010 7:36:44 PM

@technician1986 - what audio interface card are you running with that? Just out of curiosity, as I'm looking to get back into the game after an absence and I like to see what others are driving.
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January 18, 2010 10:05:43 PM

Hey,

I am using a Steinberg MR816x. It integrates with Cubase so easily, because it's made by Steinberg and has all of the good Yamaha N-Series Pre's in it. It's 999 retail, but if you buy it before the end of the month they give you a $300 dollar rebate! PLUS if you buy it from Music123.com you can sign up for their newsletter and get 15% off, so it ends up being $550! That's DIRT CHEAP for a VERY high end interface, it gets my reccomendation x 100!

Good luck, PM me if you need any halp!
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January 18, 2010 10:06:12 PM

And you can also PM me if you need "help" too. WTF is halp? LOL
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January 19, 2010 2:44:03 AM

Okay! All the parts came in today... I am having too much damn fun building this thing!

The CPU cooler got tore up by UPS. Luckily, Microcenter is only 20 minutes away and had 1 left in stock. Went out there and grabbed one, shipped the other one back to NewEgg for a refund. Only like 30 bucks anyway.

Got the mother board all put together. CPU is in, CPU cooler heatsink and fan is on, memory is in, motherboard is mounted in the case. I used the Arctic Silver 5 stuff. I put in in an "X-Pattern" just like on the YouTube video I was watching where he goes over all the different ways to do it with a clear panel. I applied pressure a few times on all 4 corners, and from what I understand heat will also let it spread too. I hope I did that part right.. afterwards I found where the thermal company tells you to apply it in a straight vertical line across the cores... I'm just hoping the X will suffice. I did a nice amount of the paste, but it didn't seap out of the edges or anything.

On my P55A-UD3 Gigabyte Mobo there is 9 standoffs and mounting holes. The Antec case came with 6 of them in, and in the right position. The front-most 3 I had to screw in. So I get them all in and one of the 9 doesnt want to stay threaded. It didn't feel like it cross threaded, but it will not stay in. Am I hurting anything with 8 out of 9 of the standoffs mounted? The standoff that wont let the screw thread in is still under the mobo, just the screw wont thread in the standoff?

Cable management looks like it's going to be super fun. The video card, power supply, drives and cables is all I have left. FML no more building comps!
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January 19, 2010 2:50:36 PM

Okay, the mobo doesn't move at all and is solid as a rock so I did research and apparently I'll be find with one of them not threading all the way. Power supply is in. All that's left is video card, drives and cables! The case is so freakin nice!

I got her standing up now, just gonna take the other side panel off and start fishing through all of the cables. I'm gonna try and get her finished tonight. I got maybe a total of an hour invested.
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Anonymous
June 24, 2010 5:46:25 PM

How about a wrap-up of how it all went?

Cubase working well? No crashes?

Thanks,

ET
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