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$1000 (approx) music system. Advice, please.

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February 2, 2010 8:53:06 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Over the next few weeks BUDGET RANGE: $1000 (approx)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Audio and nothing else

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Open to advice COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: UK

PARTS PREFERENCES: I have been told Intel is the way to go nowadays, and a large case is advisable to keep it all cool.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Don't know

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Undecided

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Above all it needs to be quiet and run very smoothly. I don't need it to look pretty or even have internet access, I have another system for that.

I've chosen some parts but have been told they're somewhat outdated. However I don't know what the appropriate replacements would be. I have purposefully chosen a simple graphics card for the above reasons, and was planning to use the motherboard's embedded sound card until I could afford a decent external but I think I shall need a different motherboard after all. Any advice extremely welcome, I am trying hard to get up to speed but I'm finding it tricky.

Motherboard Intel desktop board DP35DP
Processor Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550S Processor
Case Antec Sonata 500 Designer
RAM Kingston DDR2 800MHz 2GB RAM
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200.12 SATA-II 32MB Cache
Optical Drive Plextor PX-880SA
Graphics Card Matrox G450 PCI graphics card Dual-Head Video VGA + DVI
February 2, 2010 9:12:18 PM

If it's for audio, you could probably scale down on a few things and go for a high quality audio card and some nice speakers. Here's a nice audiocard and some nice speakers:

HT | OMEGA CLARO 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail $159.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Logitech X-540 70 watts 5.1 Speakers - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I know it doesn't make much sense to get 5.1 speakers with a 7.1 sound card, but getting a 7.1 speaker system can easily go over $1000. So there's my two cents, hope that helps.
February 2, 2010 9:33:42 PM

Good advice. What areas do you think I could scale down? Could I get away with less RAM and a slower processor? Forgot to mention earlier I'm using it mainly for music production, in case that affects anything
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February 2, 2010 11:45:02 PM

Definitely the graphics card you have. That thing is over half your budget right there, you could definitely stand to scale that down. I'd suggest, since you're only doing audio, that you get a Radeon HD 5750 or something like that, they're only about $150 and still have some kick to them. You could also probably get away with a Core 2 Duo E8400 with a GIGABYTE GA-EP43-UD3L (this is the board I currently use, and it works great for Photoshop, Sony Vegas Pro, and Audacity so I'd imagine it'd work for other higher-end audio editing and playback programs). Those are the main things you could change, if that works for you.
February 3, 2010 5:56:19 AM

I thought anything with a Socket 775 was considered obsolete these days? That was one thing I was definitely planning to change.
February 3, 2010 6:29:05 AM

I would suggest a Clarkdale i3/i5 and a H55/H57 mobo, so that there's no need for a discrete graphics card really (if this is ONLY going to be used for audio). Hyper-threading on the Clarkdales should be good for music production, without the cost of higher end Lynnfield/Bloomfield.

The i3 530 would be a good choice.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also, more RAM never hurts. 4GB is usually recommended for any PC, regardless of use.

And you could save a few bucks on the burner:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This is the US site but you should be able to get a better idea of what to look for.
February 3, 2010 7:00:46 AM

Something like this would suit your needs:


By pseudonary at 2010-02-03

You could even fit a SSD or i5-661 with this budget.

The LGA 775 socket is EOL, yes, and not a sensible option.
February 3, 2010 3:25:34 PM

Looks good, thanks very much. I'm surprised by the choice of dual core processor and mini ATX motherboard, but if you reckon they're powerful enough, I'm certainly not going to argue. Certainly saves me some bucks for a decent sound card later, I'm not that keen on plug in effects but would like to record many audio tracks simultaneously.
February 4, 2010 1:25:51 AM

Well, with your budget you could definitely go for a quad-core; perhaps I’ve underestimated what you’re looking for. Is there any specific software that you will be using? Some will benefit significantly from a quad-core with HT. The only reason I suggested the i3 is because if you decide to get an i5 750, i7 860/920, or a similar CPU, you’ll not only spend an extra $100-200 on that CPU, but also more for a discrete video card, a more expensive mobo, RAM (if you choose the 920), and possibly better cooling. This will definitely up the cost by at least $200. However, if you will be using this PC constantly for professional audio production, then an i7 would be your best bet. If you could be a bit more specific about your computer usage, I could put together another build for you.
Also, as the H55/H57 platforms are rather new, there are not many boards out yet. The more prominent mobo companies (Gigabyte, Asus, etc.) seem to be focusing on micro ATX boards right now; I’m not really sure why…. Anyway, the full-size H55 boards out right now don’t seem too promising. But again, if you decide to get an i5/i7, you obviously won’t need to look into H55 boards.
Last thing – I included a relatively high-end sound card in the build. Are you referring to something else? Even the onboard audio on that Gigabyte is pretty decent, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about.
February 5, 2010 11:23:42 AM

I'm planning on running Linux and using Ardour, but I shall be trying out a few different ones. Basically I don't need a super high powered system but I also don't want to run into limitation problems. Won't be using it constantly either so dual core probably will do fine for the time being. I see your point with the micro ATX, I'll give that a try. As far as the sound card goes, for Audio production I need to be able to run at least 24 audio tracks simulatenously. Does that not relate at all to the 7.1 / 8 channel specification of the sound card? Have I got the wrong end of the stick? As I'm sure you've guessed I'm pretty new at this and still have gaps in my basic knowledge. Thanks for your time.
!