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Quiet i7 DAW $2500 Budget

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June 2, 2010 7:07:23 PM

Hi all,
I would like to solicit your advice for this i7 build, primary focus for the system is as a DAW. I’ve been researching extensively over the past month or so and I’ve put this system together based on many of the recommendations in the posts here on the forums. This community has been an incredible resource. Any feedback, experience, do’s & don’ts would be greatly appreciated. So here goes:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: End of June 2010

BUDGET RANGE: $2500 Before Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: The primary use for my system is as a digital audio workstation centered around Cubase 5 with lots of additional in-the-box processing, plugins, and softsynths. Some video editing as well. Secondly it has to be functional as a general use computer – typical office apps & internet. Lastly, I enjoy the occasional gaming session to burn some stress off but I don’t need or care for state of the art gaming performance.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitors, speakers, soundcard, additional drives other than the ones I have listed.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Probably Newegg but I’m open to any reputable site/retailer if the deal is good.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Prefer to build this system around Intel I7 quad core.

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Mainly 1680x1050, maybe slightly higher.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
The primary characteristics I’m looking for in this system are that it be quiet, stable, and a solid performer. Processor, mobo, memory, and drive performance is most important to me. I will be using three monitors, ideally I’d like to run them off one graphics card. I’d like decent graphics performance but it’s not the primary goal of the system.

Here’s what I got so far and I’ve added in the questions I still have for each item:

Processor: Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Model BX80601930
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This processor comes with heatsink and fan included, however I’m concerned about the fan noise. Would a separate cooler be quieter, is it worth it? Or is there a good passive heatsink without fan that works well or is it not recommended? I’m not going to overclock.

Mobo: ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This is obviously a premium choice for a mobo, I picked it to leave myself room for possible upgrades in the future. Open to suggestions though.

RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Ridgeback 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 998826
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Will probably get two sets for 12GB total

GPU: POWERCOLOR SCS3 AX5750 1GBD5-S3DH Radeon HD 5750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Chose this card because it’s passively cooled (hence quiet) and powerful. I’m going to use 3 monitors, prefer to use one card to keep things simple.

SSD: Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH160G2R5 2.5" 160GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
A very pricey item.

DRIVE: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Seems like a good value given the 6 Gb/s speed.

CASE: COOLER MASTER Cosmos Pure Black Aluminum / SGCC ATX Full Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I chose it because it’s made to be quiet. Will it provide adequate cooling to the passive graphics card?

PSU: SeaSonic X750 Gold 750W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Chose it because it’s made to be quiet and leaves plenty of wattage for other stuff that will inevitably end up inside a daw.

OPTICAL DRIVE: LG UH10LS20 Blu-ray Disc Combo Internal SATA 10x SuperMulti Blue LightScribe
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SIIG FireWire 800 3-Port PCI Model NN-830012-S2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
TI chipset firewire

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders – OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Looking forward to your feedback and advice!

Thanks.

More about : quiet daw 2500 budget

June 2, 2010 7:12:28 PM

my only advice is the mobo. get a P6X58D-E its much cheaper.but with your budget your ok with that. i really dont know much about DAW. and maybe a ati 5770 would be more ok. and the case. maybe a haff 932
June 2, 2010 7:20:40 PM

Generally, your choices look good.

I would recommend against the WD Caviar Black, as a) mechanical hard drives do not yet reach SATA 6 Gb/s speeds, and b) I suspect it will be noisier than you would like. For a pure storage drive, you might be better off with a 5400 rpm drive (Caviar Green or similar), or if you prefer a faster 7200 rpm drive, I'd recommend either the Seagate 7200.12 or the Samsung Spinpoint F3 (either one available at 500 GB or 1 TB sizes).
Related resources
June 2, 2010 8:36:34 PM

[1] Since you're not into overclocking; you could get the Gigabyte GA X58A UD3R. This board has bullet proof reliability & stability; also has plenty of options for future upgrades. Most of all, it is almost $100 cheaper.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

[2] Get the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB, which is amongst the fastest 1 TB HDDs.

Quote:

This processor comes with heatsink and fan included, however I’m concerned about the fan noise. Would a separate cooler be quieter, is it worth it? Or is there a good passive heatsink without fan that works well or is it not recommended? I’m not going to overclock.


Well there are definitely no passive heat sinks for any CPU as of now. If you're concerned about noise, you could try water cooling, which eliminates almost all the noise.
CORSAIR Cooling Hydro Series CWCH50-1 120mm High Performance CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But I don't think it's worth spending all that extra just for a few decibels less noise. You could stick with the stock cooler.


Quote:
AM: Mushkin Enhanced Ridgeback 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 998826
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820226124
Will probably get two sets for 12GB total


That RAM is overkill for stock setups. You could do just as well with this one:
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


June 3, 2010 8:28:19 PM

Hi all,
Thanks for the recommendations on the mobo and the drives. Seems like the Samsung Spinpoint drives get recommended alot, I'll give them a try.

Quote:
That RAM is overkill for stock setups. You could do just as well with this one:
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231225


@ksampanna: in what sense is the Mushkin RAM overkill? Is the performance somehow not useable?

Thanks!
June 3, 2010 9:40:38 PM

The performance increase is there but it's negligible; & definitely not worth spending $30 more. That sort of RAM has faster timings which is generally meant for those who overclock. It's like getting a Porsche just for trips to the grocery market; it would be faster than your Ford pickup, but not worth the price increase.
But these are just my opinions; if you can afford & do want to, then go for your original RAM :) 
June 4, 2010 3:32:02 PM

Ok, understand your reasoning, fair enough. Based on these suggestions I could save a few 100 which is definitely worth it!

Questions on the Gigabyte GA X58A UD3R:
-It seems this mobo does not support DDR3 at 1600. At least it's not listed in the spec section on Newegg, it only lists "DDR3 2200/1333/1066/800". If this is the case would it run the G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 memory at all or just at 1333?
-Would this mobo work with a 6 core processor? Just want to leave myself room for that option in the future when 6 core intel LGA 1366 processors come down in price.

Also, anyone out there have any experience running the POWERCOLOR SCS3 AX5750 video card in a 3 head setup? Would love to hear any comments.

Thanks!
June 4, 2010 3:45:33 PM

That RAM will be compatible. 1600 Mhz RAM is technically overclocked, and most motherboards limit speeds to 1333 Mhz. The RAM is designed to run at the higher speed, but the motherboard does not know that. You just have to go into the BIOS and make the change.

Your motherboard will accept any LGA1366 chip, the only heaxcore currently is the i7-980X. Most likely though the socket will change before hexacores become mainstream.
June 4, 2010 5:34:44 PM

Just a heads up, Microcenter has that processor for 200 dollars.
June 4, 2010 5:58:06 PM

Quote:

Also, anyone out there have any experience running the POWERCOLOR SCS3 AX5750 video card in a 3 head setup? Would love to hear any comments.


Do you you mean 3 5750s running in crossfire?
June 4, 2010 6:27:03 PM

@reely989: Thanks for the heads up!

@ksampanna
Quote:
Do you you mean 3 5750s running in crossfire?


No, I mean hooking up three monitors to one 5750. The powercolor card has 2xDVI, 1xHDMI, 1xDisplayport. Likely I will put one individual monitor on each DVI output (2xDVI running two monitors) and a third monitor on the displayport. I know running two monitors on this card should be no problem, but I'm not sure about three.

June 4, 2010 7:54:32 PM

pvz said:
No, I mean hooking up three monitors to one 5750. The powercolor card has 2xDVI, 1xHDMI, 1xDisplayport. Likely I will put one individual monitor on each DVI output (2xDVI running two monitors) and a third monitor on the displayport. I know running two monitors on this card should be no problem, but I'm not sure about three.


All 5000-series ATI cards can run 3 monitors. It's called Eyefinity.

A 5750 wouldn't be hot at gaming on 3 monitors at once, but purely for productivity purposes, it will be fine.

There is a built-in limitation that you must use the DisplayPort for one of the 3 monitors, but since that's what you appear to be planning on, no adjustments necessary. (Using less than 3 monitors, you could use any 2 ports.)
!