I'm new to this site and building pc's. I'm a mac fanboy with limited funds and the need for a newer more powerful DAW. My Mac Mini doesn't cut it and I don't have the funds for a serious Mac Music Machine. I decided to wade into the waters of building my own pc and it's been a blast so far educating myself. I'm looking for advice and thoughts about my build proposal. I'm trying to build a basic DAW with solid upgrade potential. I'm not trying to shoot the moon with my first build but I also want to flexibility to pop in a newer cpu at some point with a little more juice when I need it.
I think the software I'll be using will go a long way in guiding my choices. I use Native Instruments Maschine, Kore, and Kontakt. All 3 are not optimized yet for mult-core processing so I need blazing single core performance. I will also be using Ableton Live as my DAW which is optimized for multicore, but I'll be using Maschine for most of my writing and Live for polishing. I won't be doing much multitrack recording. I'll also look to add a UAD card at some point to my rig.
I'm looking at getting at Core I3 530 and overclocking it. The review over at AnandTech today was pretty positive about the oc potential of the chip. With little extra power the chip, +14% on the voltage, it went to 4 ghz easy. I'm thinking that would be great for my NI software and good for Live too though Live will benefit from C2D and hyperthreading too. I also like the improved onboard graphics on the i3 530. I won't be playing any games on this thing, just running audio software. The kicker for me is I live 5 minutes from a Microcenter and I can get the cpu for $99. It's a hard to pass on it at that price. I could also get the i5 650 for $150 though the cpu seems to be a bit of a dud in the new Intel line up. I'm also thinking that the 1156 socket is going to be around for awhile as the mainstream motherboard and the H55 onboard graphics will only become more widespread as intel merges the the graphics with the cpu. I now there's faster cpus, but I'm trying to keep the overall price around $600. I figure I can get a bottom end cpu, but put it in a nice rig and upgrade the cpu down the road in 12-18 months. Once NI goes multicore a true quadcore will be more justified.
I also want to get 4 gigs of ram. Any suggestions for good quality ram that won't break the bank and be compatible with the mobo?
I'll also most likely get Western Digital Black Caviar harddrives.
Will this system be good for overclocking the i3 530?
Is the Asus mobo a good fit? Any other suggestions? I like the idea of getting USB 3.0 for the future with this one.
You're on the right track with basing your build on the apps you'll use most.
$600 budget will get you a very decent non-gaming rig.
However, picking a motherboard now for what you want to 18 months from now is kinda like saying future-proofing and with future-proofing often comes buyer's remorse.
You need something for the next year to make your audio editing music hobby as enjoyable as possible which means you're not sitting there going "My system is too slow for the cash I spent."
I think I read the same Anand article you refer to and I remember his suggesting quad core if you'll need the horsepower.
I don't like anything new or just released for 2 reasons: Buggy and high priced. For examples, Anand mentioned initial power problems with the 1156 mobos. For the price of an i3 530, I'd rather get an AMD quad core and start reaping quadcore benefits now (less waiting) than thinking 18 months from now I'll have the speed I should be enjoying now.
It seems you're value minded and on a budget. For the the price of that CPU/Mobo combo you listed above, you could get an AMD quadcore w/mobo that will run circles around the i3.
Thanks for the feedback. I did some homework and read up on the the Athlon X4 620 and the Phenom X3 720BE. I like both for the prices @ microcenter, $94 for 620 and $120 for the 720. I'm trying to decide between the 2. I'm leaning towards the 720 due to ease of oc'ing and the performance per core with my NI Software(cpu hog) while still getting multi-core performance with Live. Any thoughts on which I should choose? Thanks again for feedback. Looking at AMD really lowered the price on my build.
Hey thanks again for the advice. My one concern is getting enough speed per core to run the NI software. My tracks can get pretty power hungry with even just a few instances of Kore and Maschine and there is no mention of multicore optimization on the horizon. I can get the Phenom II X4 925 for $130 at zipzoomfly. How easy is it to overclock the cpu? Will it give that much more of a performance boost over the Athlon II X4 620? I don't want to invest in elaborate an cooling systems. I'm looking more to boost performance at the base voltage.
One other question, any suggestions for a motherboard? I want to get an AM3 with integrated graphics. Also, I'd like to be able to get a mobo with upward compatibility with AMD's cpus over the next 9-18 months. It sounds like the AM3 is the mobo for the present and the future, but are there any AM3's that are better than others for future compatibility?
I'm looking at buying an AM3 board myself for my next build. I'm going with Asus.
ASUS M4A785T-M/CSM -- $90
-- or --
M4N68T-M AM3 NVIDIA Geforce 7025 -- $60
They'll both overclock any Phenom II X4
The Phenom II X4 925 for $130 is a good choice. It beats all Intel quadcores at that price range and then some. It's easy to overclock, no extra voltage to go to 3.3 Ghz and after like all CPUs, a little bump on vcore is needed.