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New PC build for audio workstation - advice please

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January 31, 2010 5:30:39 PM

I want to put together a new PC system soon, primarily for use as an audio workstation, and would really appreciate a few words of advice from some of the experts on here before I part with my cash :-) Because I'll be using this system primarily for music production, I need something that is powerful, reliable and quiet. I'm prepared to spend up to about £1000 on components, although less is preferable.

Having done some research, I was thinking about a system based around an overclocked i7 920 CPU. I have heard that Intel will release 6-core CPUs for the Socket 1366 platform soon, which makes it an attractive option in terms of upgrade path.

Is this a good idea however? I've heard conflicting reports about the 1366 platform's longevity. It certainly seems as though Intel are all about the 1156 platform now at least in terms of the desktop market. I also noticed that Intel have released a Xeon processor for the 1156 platform and that dual socket 1156 boards will be available soon. Looking ahead, would a dual Xeon 1156 system perhaps offer a better price/performance ratio than a 6-core i7 1366?

I'm no expert on such matters so I'd like to hear people's thoughts on this, thanks!
January 31, 2010 6:45:26 PM

Well this is the sort of build that you might end up with. Not knowing what components you need and therefore not including a monitor, any peripherals or the OS.
CPU: Intel I7 920 £210
Mobo: Asus P6X58D £250 I think this is the one that other posters state as being ready for the hexacore CPUs that Intel will release for the 1366 socket.
RAM: Crucial 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz £136
PSU: Antec EarthWatts 650W £70 Overkill for a single card setup, but if you aren't taxing it, then it won't make a lot of noise.
GPU:
5770 £120
5850 £250, might be able to find one at around £225.
DVD Drive: £20
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB £40
SSD: Two good ones which you can choose from, if you want one/they benefit your work/can afford one.
Intel X25-M Mainstream 80GB 2.5" £198
Crucial M225 64GB 2.5" £174
Case: Lancool PC-K62 £82 Personal choice kind of area, but one of my favourite cases.

Total:
5770 w/ SSD: £1128, without £928
5850 w/ SSD: £1258, without £1058
Then you would probably want a sound card, don't know anything about these. Then you'd need an aftermarket heatsink to keep the i7 920 cool. According to this article http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/lga-1156-heatsink,review-... the Thermalright MUX-120 CPU £36 is quite quiet at 21 dBA, altho that is estimated at 1m distance.
I think trying to prepare for future tech in a current build is likely to be hit and miss until only a few weeks before they're due to be released and any significant rumours turn out to be true.
If you wanted to go Lynnfield, then I would suggest at least the i7 860, which is about £230. Then a normal P55 motherboard would be around £160 for the one I'd recommend. Then you can get good 1600mhz 4GB set of RAM for £100 or less. So you could potentially save yourself around £100 going Lynnfield.
Hopefully that helps you out a bit.
January 31, 2010 8:03:28 PM

Thanks for the reply - that's rather close to the system which I was thinking of. I have a quiet PSU and Antec case which I plan to reuse, so luckily don't have to worry about those.

I hadn't realised that the make of motherboard would make a difference to whether or not the system could take a 6-core CPU later. £250 is more than I had planned to spend on the mobo: I was considering a Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5, or possibly an Asus PT6-SE...are there any potential easons why these may not work with a 6 core i7?
January 31, 2010 8:14:59 PM

domsmart said:
I hadn't realised that the make of motherboard would make a difference to whether or not the system could take a 6-core CPU later. £250 is more than I had planned to spend on the mobo: I was considering a Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5, or possibly an Asus PT6-SE...are there any potential easons why these may not work with a 6 core i7?

I have no idea, the recommendation for that motherboard was read in another build suggestion thread, and the poster said that it would be able to take the new hexacores, so maybe I mis-interpreted that it was one of few boards that was certified to take the new CPUs.
!