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Building A Quality Digital Audio Workstation

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June 12, 2011 9:54:08 PM

Advice on my building a Digital Audio Workstation computer:

I am building a system to use as a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and want to try to get in around $750-800, without memory, hard drives, or screen.

From all I've read on the music and hardware blogs, Intel is far better than AMD and that Core

speed is more important than the number of cores.

Now unless you disagree that Intel is a better choice than AMD six core, I've chosen the

Intel Core i7 Processor i7-2600K 3.4GHz 8MB LGA1155 CPU, which is about $300. (By the way the I'll be using Windows 7 Pro 64 bit with Cubase6 64-bit music software which they claim utilizes as many processors as are available.)

Based on that, here are the crucial specs for the motherboard I need and wondered what you would recommend:

2 external USB3 and 12 external standard USBs
At least one external firewire
At least 6 internal SATAs (2 running at 6gb/s) and, if possible, one IDE.
2 standard PCI slots and 2-4 PCIe slots (doesn't really how many of which kind).

Onboard video and audio don't matter

(audio computer people recommend NOT using onboard video to maximize resources for audio and the internal audio, if any, will be turned off. I use a Lynx digital Audio card which fits in a standard PCI slot)

Also, the motherboard must hold up to 32gb memory at 2133 mhz
Other specs aren't as important.

I was looking at the: ASUS P8P67 DELUXE (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel and because it can hold up to 32 gb of memory. It's expensive though and doesn't have IDE support (which isn't THAT important, I can always get an adapter), but otherwise fits the bill


Also, once I've selected my motherboard. I also need help selecting the following:

Case and fans,
CPU cooler
Power supply (maybe around 500-600 watts),
Cheap 512 video card,
and a multi-card reader?

Do you think I can get all this along with the CPU I mentioned for close to $750 or is that unrealistic? (that's NOT including memory, hard drives, DVD, keyboard, mouse, or monitor.)

I look forward to your helpful responses.

Sincerely,
marsxmarsx

a b ) Power supply
June 14, 2011 3:37:59 AM

your motherboard seems ok, and your case fans, well all you need is maybe 3-4 fans, 120mm, an example is: coolermaster sickleflow 120mm blue LED.
There are different types of fans:
1. Normal plain fans
2. LED fans, those have LED lights to light up your case

If looks don't matter get some decent fans, HOWEVER many cases already include fans, so no worries :) 

As for cases for $100 you can find a good case, check out some cases in newegg.com to see prices

Here are some case examples:
Haf x
Corsair obsidian 600d
Anyway there are tons of cases just search for some simple ones that are big enough and have fans included (saves you the hassle of finding them)

Speaking of power supplies, all you need is maybe as you said 500-600 watts)
Get a good 550 or 600watt power supply from the following brands: corsair (some are made by seasonic, very good quality), seasonic, and antec. These are some good brands.

GRAPHIC CARD:
Since you will be doing audio, graphics aren't that important, you can find a AMD or Nvidia card for about $100 that will have enough power for what you need.
Example are:
the Nvidia 9000 series
the amd 5830 or somethinf like 5750
just search for AMD graphic cards in newegg.com you can pick out a card with 512mb or 1gb in the $80-$120 price range
However don't get scared and get a big graphic card, you don't need one, unless you are planning to do some video editing, or gaming. But you can find a 1gb card in the range.

As for a Card Reader, there are two types:
Internal (or built into the case)
and external (connect by usb)

for less than $30 you can find a good one, I would recommend an internal one, but you can go for an external one.

Now $750, yes it is unrealistic, your processor+ motherboard will cost about 500-600 dollars in total (both the mother board and cpu)
Then the case is an extra $100
The power supply will cost from $70-90 if you go for 550w or 600 (they may cost a bit more)
Then add $100- 130 for a graphic card
Then add 30 for a card reader,

You end up with a estimated total cost of 850- $1100
Make sure your ram is combatible.
Also will you build your pc, or will you have someone else build it, that will cost more.

Some changes I would make:
The processor, you could go for a i5-2600, still more than enough. Or go for a i5-2600k or i7-2600k (these have intel graphics, so you might not need a graphic card, do some research)
And really 32GB of Ram @ over 2000mhz why so much, 8,12,16 gb @1600 should be enough.

Hope this helped :) 
June 14, 2011 10:42:55 AM

fil1p said:
your motherboard seems ok, and your case fans, well all you need is maybe 3-4 fans, 120mm, an example is: coolermaster sickleflow 120mm blue LED.
There are different types of fans:
1. Normal plain fans
2. LED fans, those have LED lights to light up your case

If looks don't matter get some decent fans, HOWEVER many cases already include fans, so no worries :) 

As for cases for $100 you can find a good case, check out some cases in newegg.com to see prices

Here are some case examples:
Haf x
Corsair obsidian 600d
Anyway there are tons of cases just search for some simple ones that are big enough and have fans included (saves you the hassle of finding them)

Speaking of power supplies, all you need is maybe as you said 500-600 watts)
Get a good 550 or 600watt power supply from the following brands: corsair (some are made by seasonic, very good quality), seasonic, and antec. These are some good brands.

GRAPHIC CARD:
Since you will be doing audio, graphics aren't that important, you can find a AMD or Nvidia card for about $100 that will have enough power for what you need.
Example are:
the Nvidia 9000 series
the amd 5830 or somethinf like 5750
just search for AMD graphic cards in newegg.com you can pick out a card with 512mb or 1gb in the $80-$120 price range
However don't get scared and get a big graphic card, you don't need one, unless you are planning to do some video editing, or gaming. But you can find a 1gb card in the range.

As for a Card Reader, there are two types:
Internal (or built into the case)
and external (connect by usb)

for less than $30 you can find a good one, I would recommend an internal one, but you can go for an external one.

Now $750, yes it is unrealistic, your processor+ motherboard will cost about 500-600 dollars in total (both the mother board and cpu)
Then the case is an extra $100
The power supply will cost from $70-90 if you go for 550w or 600 (they may cost a bit more)
Then add $100- 130 for a graphic card
Then add 30 for a card reader,

You end up with a estimated total cost of 850- $1100
Make sure your ram is combatible.
Also will you build your pc, or will you have someone else build it, that will cost more.

Some changes I would make:
The processor, you could go for a i5-2600, still more than enough. Or go for a i5-2600k or i7-2600k (these have intel graphics, so you might not need a graphic card, do some research)
And really 32GB of Ram @ over 2000mhz why so much, 8,12,16 gb @1600 should be enough.

Hope this helped :) 




Thanks so much for all your recommendations and help. But you didn't address one quesiton that I know nothing about. What should kind of heat sink should I get to cool the CPU? Can I go with some standard one or do I need something that is more expensive. For instance, if I find a deal at TigerDirect or NewEgg for a CPU, Motherboard and heatsink, will the heatsink be adequate or do I have to get one of those expensive fancy onces.
Related resources
June 14, 2011 10:47:26 AM

fil1p said:
your motherboard seems ok, and your case fans, well all you need is maybe 3-4 fans, 120mm, an example is: coolermaster sickleflow 120mm blue LED.
There are different types of fans:
1. Normal plain fans
2. LED fans, those have LED lights to light up your case

If looks don't matter get some decent fans, HOWEVER many cases already include fans, so no worries :) 

As for cases for $100 you can find a good case, check out some cases in newegg.com to see prices

Here are some case examples:
Haf x
Corsair obsidian 600d
Anyway there are tons of cases just search for some simple ones that are big enough and have fans included (saves you the hassle of finding them)

Speaking of power supplies, all you need is maybe as you said 500-600 watts)
Get a good 550 or 600watt power supply from the following brands: corsair (some are made by seasonic, very good quality), seasonic, and antec. These are some good brands.

GRAPHIC CARD:
Since you will be doing audio, graphics aren't that important, you can find a AMD or Nvidia card for about $100 that will have enough power for what you need.
Example are:
the Nvidia 9000 series
the amd 5830 or somethinf like 5750
just search for AMD graphic cards in newegg.com you can pick out a card with 512mb or 1gb in the $80-$120 price range
However don't get scared and get a big graphic card, you don't need one, unless you are planning to do some video editing, or gaming. But you can find a 1gb card in the range.

As for a Card Reader, there are two types:
Internal (or built into the case)
and external (connect by usb)

for less than $30 you can find a good one, I would recommend an internal one, but you can go for an external one.

Now $750, yes it is unrealistic, your processor+ motherboard will cost about 500-600 dollars in total (both the mother board and cpu)
Then the case is an extra $100
The power supply will cost from $70-90 if you go for 550w or 600 (they may cost a bit more)
Then add $100- 130 for a graphic card
Then add 30 for a card reader,

You end up with a estimated total cost of 850- $1100
Make sure your ram is combatible.
Also will you build your pc, or will you have someone else build it, that will cost more.

Some changes I would make:
The processor, you could go for a i5-2600, still more than enough. Or go for a i5-2600k or i7-2600k (these have intel graphics, so you might not need a graphic card, do some research)
And really 32GB of Ram @ over 2000mhz why so much, 8,12,16 gb @1600 should be enough.

Hope this helped :) 

Oh and by the way, the reason I want 32 gigs ram is that when you load an instrument, say a grand piano in memory when you are recording, it may take up 2-3 gigs of Ram alone; now if I'm doing a project where I have a high end piano, drum set, bass guitar, and synth loaded into Ram, that may take 12-16 gigs alone, not to mention the memory needed by other systems on the computer. And then that's only four instruments. 32 gigs would give me the capability of loading at least 8 or 9 high end instruments at the same time without, getting the terrible scratching noise you get as you run low on memory and if I do anything classical and want to load in an orchestra of high quality sampled sounds, well you can see why I would want the ability to go up to even 64gigs, but I'll live with 32, if I ever can afford them.

Thanks again for all you help.

Sincerely,
Wade Marsten aka marsxmarsx
a b ) Power supply
June 18, 2011 4:01:24 AM

Hi,
sorry I couldn't reply right away, but for a cpu cooler you have three options:

1. stock cooling (the cooling included with the processor)- its not very good, its ok for normal tasks, but when you put some load on it, it can heat up a bit.
2. Aftermarket air cooling- basically replaces the stock cpu cooler, its priced resonably, and provides good cooling, much better than the standard cooler.
3. Liquid cooling- I myself use it because it provides maximum cooling, however it is harder to install, requires maintenance, and costs much more than an aftermarket cooler. Personally, you don't need this, I am just posting info on this so you are aware, however a good aftermarket cooler is more than enough for you.

So in conclusion I would get an aftermarket cooler, like a Noctura air cooler, or a coolermaster, ex. coolermaster V8 cooler (in google find their website, and check that you find a model compatible, if you have trouble choosing or don't understand something let me know) A good aftermarket air cooler will cost between $60-100 but it will improve your pc's durability.

Also as for your ram, make sure your motherboard actually supports that amount of ram. Since the biggest ddr3 ram chips available are 8gb (very expensive, over $600)
( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... )
The 32gb (see the link I posted before) is at speeds of 1366 mhz, I am not sure if you can get 32gb of ram with over 2000mhz (unless you overclock), and If you want more than 32gb (the maximum your motherboard can support) you would have to build a pc based on a intel xeon platform. So if you want more than 32gb, you will have to change your motherboard and maybe even your cpu.
a b ) Power supply
June 18, 2011 4:06:27 AM

Also can you show me the link to that deal you found on tigerdirect, or the model of the heatsink, because you don't need a very powerfull cooling system, but if you found some decent aftermarket cooler your pc would last longer.
June 18, 2011 8:21:52 AM

fil1p said:
Also can you show me the link to that deal you found on tigerdirect, or the model of the heatsink, because you don't need a very powerfull cooling system, but if you found some decent aftermarket cooler your pc would last longer.


Thanks so much for your kind assistance. I have a question regarding memory as you discussed at the end of your post. I'm looking at a motherboard that I think I listed on my post that holds up to 32 gigs of RAM. That motherboard is the Gigabyte ...

Something you said about motherboards and memory, though, made me uncertain. That motherboard I'm looking at has four slots which each can hold 8 gigs. I can't afford more than 8-16 gigs right now, so I'd start with 4 gig chips and either get two or four. But then I would have the ability to go to 32gigs in the future when the price comes down. Do you think that motherboard is overpriced? It is $210 at TigerDirect. But it has several things I need; i.e., it supports 1600 mhz memory before having to be overclocked, which is good, isn't it? Also, I need a board with at least two standard PCI slots, which are hard to find these days. Also, it does not have an onboard video card, which the audio experts say take resources from the audio. It also has 14 external usb ports and 2 usb 3 ports, which I can never get enough of.

I also have question, the speed of the drives in audio is important because of audio latency, which is why audio experts recommend the raptor as your main music recording drive; will having a SATA drive that transfers at 6gb/s be of any advantage over 3gb/s in my situation. If not, what is the value of having SATA 6gb/s Headers?

Serial ATA 6.0Gb/s Headers: 2

One thing this motherboard does not have is at least one IDE legacy connector, which I certainly could use, though I guess I can always get a SATA to IDE adaptor. But other than that the board has everything I want with the ability to grow in terms of memory when 8 gig chips come down, if they come down in price.

What do you think of this board, based on what I've told you I need. Is it over kill? Would I be better off saving $100 and getting a board that has virtually the same capabilities but can only go up to 16 gigs with four slots? If so, can you recommend a better board that would support the I7 Intel CPU I'm planning on getting.

And finally, not to bore you to death, do you think the CPU, I want, the Intel Core i7 Processor i7-2600K 3.4GHz 8MB LGA1155 CPU BX80623I72600K - 300 is a good choice, or would i be better off getting something a little cheaper at 3.3 ghz?

I look forward to hearing from you and appreciate your help.

Sincerley,
Wade
a b ) Power supply
June 18, 2011 4:21:08 PM

Hi,

About your ram, the motherboard you posted earlier is an asus, and it can hold up to 32 gb. It is a good motherboard. But if you plan on starting with 4gb chips you will fill the 6 ram slots, and get 24gb, so when you will want to upgrade you would have to switch out 2 of the 4gb ram chips, for 8gb chips.

Now I have one recommendation for you. You want a lot of ram, you say that you may want up to 64gb someday. You plan on editing audio, so you want a workstation. So in general an i7 is a good choice for a workstation, along with the asus motherboard you mentioned. However if you go for an intel xeon, along with a workstation motherboard, you will have much more ram slots, a different processor, but it would benifit you.
For example an intel xeon motherboard can have much more ram slots, from the standard 4 to up to 18. That way you could get a motherboard with 12 ram slots, and buy 4gb chips to get to 32gb, the ram would cost less, but the motherboard could cost the same, or in some cases more. But in the long run you would have more ram slots, so you could pack in more ram.
So in conclusion you can stay with your asus P8P67 Deluxe, and have 4 DIMM slots, with a limit of 32gb.

The other option is that you look into the intel xeon motherboards, http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
you can see that these have much more slots, but you might have to change your processor.

If you plan on staying with your i7 set up, you could go with an i5 2600k instead of a i7 2600k, but there are some performance features you might want. Go on intels website, and compare the two processors to see if you need any of the features that one or the other has.
Or you can switch to the intel xeon platform, check it out maybe it would be good for your audio workstation.

Happy to help :) 
a b ) Power supply
June 18, 2011 4:31:14 PM

I forgot to answer some of your questions,
but you could get a raptor, however there is a better solution, as SSD (solid state drive) they are expensive, and only go up to 320 or 256gb in size but they are very fast. Also if you need more usb ports you can buy an accessory, that would make one port into 6 or more, a hub. Also one question, who will build this pc?
June 18, 2011 8:06:02 PM

Hi fil1p,

Thanks for all your help and suggestions. I plan on building the pc as I used to build pcs in the 90s. My only concern is that I've never installed a CPU cooling heat sink. I was planning on researching this and just following some directions on the internet. What are your thoughts on this? Is it difficult? Am I taking a big risk or is it relatively straight forward. True I haven't built a computer from scratch in over 10 years, but, I've replaced power supplies, installed, motherboards, DVDs, hard drives, ram, cards, etc. As I said, I don't have much experience in the area of installing the CPU itself and I've actually never put on a heat sink as when I used to build computers you didn't need a heat sink.

I've noticed that sometimes Tiger Direct or other companies sell motherboard and CPUs together already installed and I'm looking for a combo-pack like that which has the cpu I want even if it has a different motherboard, as long as the motherboard meets certain requirements I mentioned.

I'm researching the Xeon possibility now, but, I think I'm going to stick with the I7. I checked into the I5 and read it doesn't do hyperthreading. From what I understand, the audio software I use takes big advantage of hyperthreading and I would be doing myself a big disservice to sacrifice that added speed to save $50-$75.


As for RAM, it is super important in music, but 16 should be enough to start and if I come into money, I'll sell the 16 and swap it for 32gigs. If I come into a log of money, I'd get a xeon with multi processors and 128gigs of ram, but now I'm just dreaming.

Anyway what I want to make will be a big step up from where I am. They only just recently finally made my music software available in 64 bit, so I've had to do my music with only 4 gigs and was able to make some nice music, but because of memory limitations, I always had to compromise and do a lot of workarounds.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerley,
Wade :D 
a b ) Power supply
June 18, 2011 10:03:54 PM

Hi,
I myself haven't installed a cpu heatsink before, but in theory I know how to do it :D  It shouldn't be so hard, they usually include instructions on how to do it, but you need to know how to apply thermal paste, ect. Applying thermal paste is pretty straight forward, and you can easily find the proper way to do it online, each manufacture has a different way, and different amount, but basically its more or less the same.

As for your cpu issue, its all about what you want, some gamers will go for an i5 because they don't need hyperthreading. I myself do photo editing will photoshop lightroom, so I have an i7 with hyperthreading. The reason I suggested a i5, is because of your budget. I doubt that with so much ram and other things you will be able to fit it in $700-800. And honestly you are right its better to spend $50 more and have a better pc, but one thing you should know, is that you should be careful with how much you spend, sometimes its hard to resist getting something better. However technology moves really fast now, and things can become out dated quickly.

And about those combo packs, as long as they have all the components you want you can get one, but some are pre installed, some are not.

Ahh... the dream of owning a multi processor pc....out of reach for most of us....but a dream in our hearts...Hehe.... But no I doubt you need that much power, but yes you could sell your ram and get more, the 4gb, and 8gb ram chips will get cheaper, just give them time.

Also make sure you get a 64bit OS, you dont want to be stuck with a 32bit version of windows.


Always happy to help :) 
June 18, 2011 10:28:15 PM

Hi again,

What do you think of this case/Power supply combo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Do you think 500 watts is enough to power the CPU, 4 internal hard drives, a high end audio card, 3 external USB hard drives, and 2 DVD players?

Look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
marsxmarsx
a b ) Power supply
June 18, 2011 10:54:55 PM

Hi,

It should be enough, but it depends what gpu you take, and make sure the case is big enough. The combo is a nice deal, but make sure the aftermarket cpu cooler fits in that case, it may be a tight fit, if it fits. You could go with this, however if you take a slightly bigger case, you will have better airflow, and everything will fit.
I am not able to exactly calculate your power needs, since I am not sure what you want as graphic card, and what sound card specifically. The link I have included below should help you calculate your power needs. As for the power supply included in the combo, it is an antec so its a generally good power supply, I have never owned one, but people say they are good. I ran a general calculation and it came out needing 474 watts, run a calculation yourself with the exact specifications, and have you decided on a graphic card?

www.antec.outervision.com (use this powersupply calculator whenever you have doubts about power consumption)

June 18, 2011 11:23:04 PM

fil1p said:
Hi,

It should be enough, but it depends what gpu you take, and make sure the case is big enough. The combo is a nice deal, but make sure the aftermarket cpu cooler fits in that case, it may be a tight fit, if it fits. You could go with this, however if you take a slightly bigger case, you will have better airflow, and everything will fit.
I am not able to exactly calculate your power needs, since I am not sure what you want as graphic card, and what sound card specifically. The link I have included below should help you calculate your power needs. As for the power supply included in the combo, it is an antec so its a generally good power supply, I have never owned one, but people say they are good. I ran a general calculation and it came out needing 474 watts, run a calculation yourself with the exact specifications, and have you decided on a graphic card?

www.antec.outervision.com (use this powersupply calculator whenever you have doubts about power consumption)


Thanks for the powersupply calculator. Regarding an aftermarket CPU cooler; I have never used one on my current system, which is just a DELL optiplex 745, do I really need one; i.e., am I taking a risk using the stock cooler that comes with the CPU?

As I am used to using the lowest quality video to get the most out of my processor, I am inclined to continue in that direction, which essentially means I need the cheapest video card available that won't break. Any suggestions?


Sincerely,
marsxmarsx
a b ) Power supply
June 19, 2011 2:52:42 AM

Hi,
If you are not willing to take the risk of installing a aftermarket cooler, thats ok. Your processor will run hotter, but it still should be ok, unless you overclock. For high end pc's it is recommended, but you can always upgrade it later. So if you are worried about installing one, use the stock one for now, and later you can always change it. If you want, go to youtube.com and find a video on installing an aftermarket cooler, judge from there if you can do that.
In conclusion, no an aftermarked cooler is not absolutely necessary, although it would benefit you. One question, how much load does the audio program put on your cpu, I know it eats a lot of ram, so I assume it also uses a bit of the processor.

As for graphic card, you could go for a AMD 6750, its not the worst card on the market, its a middle low end card, its got 1gb of GDDR5, and costs $100. Don't worry, with an i7 strain on a processor from a single mid end card is no problem at all. OR you can go for a workstation card like the nvidia quadro 600, its more than $100, but its a workstation card, but its better to get a hd 6750 as stated before, if you don't plan on doing any heavy video, or CAD (which in your case I highly doubt you will do, just stating it so you know its an option). So in conclusion you can get a AMD 6750 1GB card, it is $100, not top of the line, but its not a bad card either, if you want something cheaper, you can go to AMD's web site, or nvidia's website, and find the help me chose option, and it will help you find a card, or the best way to do it is to look through the range, there are cheaper cards then i stated.
Also do you plan on any gaming or video editing what so ever?

Hope this helps :) 
June 21, 2011 12:30:20 AM

Hi again and thanks for the great advice,

It is very true that audio programs are very demanding on CPUs as they are in eating up memory. I had a couple of new questions in that regard. Don't know if you know the answer, but I'll throw it out there. First, on the video card, I'll go to the site like you suggested, because this computer is for audio ONLY, so I don't care if the graphics card only has 256k; in fact I would use the motherboard video, except that all the audio experts recommend that you don't use that option because that drains a little resources from your motherboard or CPU (I'm not sure which).

Regarding the stress on the CPU, I have read in blogs that there are different kinds of stresses on CPUs and that games and rendering and video put different stress on a CPU than audio. I have read that audio just requires an enormous amount of mathematical calculations; whereas graphics and games puts other kinds of stresses as well; this doesn't make sense to me because at bottom aren't all programs at bottom just mathematical calculations? Is there something I don't understand about the way video and gaming utilizes a processor that is beyond just "mathematical calculations" or does that just sound like someone talking tripe?

Anyone, if you anything about that, share it with me please. But as I said, this computer is strictly audio; in fact I don't even let my current music computer on the net, nor will I let this future one. The reasons being: 1) a virus or any "@#$%#ware" would be hell, because it takes a full 20 hours to install all the programs I use to run my audio programs (I use an enormous amount of "plug-in" software, because the main "Audio Workstation" software; but 2) audio recording cannot have any interference from any anti-virus software as it can cause unwanted noise that you may not notice until you've finished recording and it's too late; and I'm forgetful and might do a session and forget to turn off the anti-virus software; so a lot of people, including myself, use Digital Audio Workstation as complete stand-alone units, dedicated to the one function and turn off every service run by Windows 7 that can be turned off and still run the software properly.

In the mainstream studios, they usually record using servers with the highest-end dual processors and like 128 gigs of RAM, but I'm not at that level. When things were still analog in the 90s, I had a studio setup that cost me close to $50,000. When I sold the tape deck and console in the mid-2000s, I couldn't get more than a few thousand for them because of the "relatively" low-cost of computers compared to analog gear. That was a biiiiig bummer. If I only had gotten lucky with one of my songs or productions, money wouldn't be an issue, but c'est la vie, it is. But at least for about $1,000 you can put together a studio today that rivals equipment that used to cost more like $100,000 or more. Still without good microphones and tube gear, you still can't get a great recording, unless you're doing instrumental music all inside the computer, without recording any guitars or vocals or other "live" instruments. And then there's the enormous cost of a good "acoustic" recording room. So, no matter how good your gear is, when you have a home studio, that's your biggest limitation. But, it all depends on the producer's ear. I've heard awful sounding productions done in the best studios, like Abbey Road in London and better sounding stuff from a PC from a 32-bit computer, but that's rare and if you're recording at a place like Abbey Road, you've probably got a lot of good people with good ears assisting you in recording.

Sorry for blathering so much, but sometimes I need to express my frustration at my financial limitations.

Anyways, thanks for all your help so far, I think I will watch a video to see if I feel comfortable putting on an after-market cooler on a CPU, because I found a deal at a company called MWAVE.com that will sell you the motherboard and CPU I'm interested in, install the CPU and factory cooler and test it for free and their price is better than tigerdirect.com or newegg.com. Which is why I asked about using the Intel cooler.

Curious to hear from you about my question re: "mathematical calculations," I mentioned above.

Sincerley,
marsxmarsx
a b ) Power supply
June 21, 2011 2:29:40 AM

Hi,

Integrated graphics can drain resources from the CPU.

Also different aplications do put different strains on the CPU, but they are all calculations. When you encode something, its done with calculations, and when you play a game the processor runs different calculations, but in the end its mostly calculations, or at least thats what I know of. But gaming, and video editing also puts strain on the GPU, which is why I asked if you would be doing any serious editing, but if all you do is audio, get a small graphic card, and spend some cash on a good CPU, and sound card (which you already chose, so your on the right track).

Haha, well I know how it is to feel frustrated, I can also understand how you could feel frustrated when you buy some equipment and it gets outdated. You should know something, when you will spend $1500 or $2000 on your pc, in a few years it will be worth much less. Technology moves extremely fast these days. Also go to AMD.com and chose a graphic card from their 6000 series, but find a low end model for $60-80 if you want. Or go to nvidia and to the same, there are plenty of well priced cards you just have to find them.

Happy to help
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