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Buildng First Computer-Use is as Digital Audio Workstation

Last response: in Systems
June 12, 2011 9:55:24 AM

I am building my first computer. I used to build computers in the 90s, but I haven't built one since about 2000. I'm trying to crash course and pick the best equipment I can afford for my needs. I am a musician using Windows 7 Pro with digital music software that is also 64-bit and claims to be multithreading and takes advantage of as many cores as there are available. I was going to go with an AMD because they have some with 6 cores and are cheaper but after reading a log of blogs, I am convinced that Intel is the way to go.

Here are the main components I have narrowed it down to:


I used to build computers in the 90s and then had a bad injury and stopped making much music and working on computers. I have had a weak computer and have done some music, but the computer has been very limiting to the number of tracks I want to record and the number of "plug-ins" I want to use, so I've decided it is time to get a new computer. However, I can't afford to buy a high end new computer so I priced it out and if I build one, I should be able to make one powerful enough for my needs at around 800.

First let me state that I will be using Windows 7 Pro 64-bit with a DAW (digital Audio Workstation) that is also 64-bit and many of the plug-ins are also 64-bit. Those plug-ins that are 32 bit can still be used thanks to an ingenious programs that makes 32 bit plug-ins accessible in a 64-bit environment. That said, here is my thinking; any feedback or guidance you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

First I was going to get an AMD six core processor, not only to save money, but because my DAW software says that it will utilize as many processors as you have, whether it you have on six core processor or 12 4 core processors, it will utilize them all for the various functions necessary in the demanding music recording and processing environment.

However, since I cannot afford a multi-processor motherboard, I though at first my best bet was an AMD six core processor running at say 3.2 ghz, like a Phenom. However, after reading numerous blogs in the music world and in the computer world, including this site, it seems everyone, except some gamers, assert that a quad-core Intel at 3.2 ghz will process information faster and better than an AMD 3.2 ghz six-core processor hands down. I will not be overclocking, so I have decided to go with an Intel processor.

Here are the basic parts to my system that I am up with and after I list what I've chosen I have a few questions about parts that I do not have much experience with:

First, do you all agree with the Intel vs AMD decision I have made?

Okay, so here are the parts I want to get to build an 800 machine with room to grow; these parts are all in a package at Tiger Direct for a total of:

I should also mention that music is very hard on the processor, the hard drives, and memory.
I will have 4 SATA drives in the case, one of them being a Raptor for recording the music on because of its speed. I also have 3-4 more USB external drives that hold an enormous amount of sounds on them.

Processor: Intel Core i7 Processor i7-2600K 3.4GHz 8MB LGA1155 CPU about $300

Motherboard: 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. - $220.

(I know nothing about cooling a motherboard, so I need advice as to what to get to cool the CPU.)

Case: COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $90 (It has several fans and stays very cool so I understand); I am concerned about overheating and this unit says it has "120mm rear fan and two 200mm blue LED fans – one in the front and one on the top." Is that enough or am I totally overdoing it and wasting a lot of money on this.

Power Supply - Diablotek PHD750 Power Supply - 750W, ATX, Black - $60
I'm not really sure how much power I need, but I think 750 watts is more than enough. I chose this brand to save money; is this a mistake? I also have a question, I do have an IDE drive I want to use, but I can't find any specs about this power supply to say whether it has standard four pin power jacks; also, I can't find any specs about the motherboard and whether it has at least one IDE jack (though I guess I can always get adapters if I have to). Is this adequate a garbage, I've never heard of the company.

I'll start with 8 gb 1333mhz (2x4gb) memory (due to funding limitations; but I can add as I get more money: $90

Multi-Card Reader - $15 (Can you recommend a brand)
DVD RW - I got one at Fry's for $17 by Toshiba that's fine, so I'm sure I'll find another like it.

All I need is the cooling system for the CPU and have no idea what to buy or how much that costs, but before that my total is right now at:

I set my video setting to extremely basic so as to save as much processing power for my music.
so I just need a basic video card for around $30.
so this is the basic system and it comes in just around $800. That's my budget.

I don't need a hard drive or screen, but I will need a wireless mouse and keyboard, if you have any suggestions.

Please let me know if you think anything I've selected is a bad choice or if I'm getting something more expensive than I need.

Regarding the case and the CPU and cooling, that is a big concern for me, because I will be pushing this processor to its limits and with a raptor and a very high end Lynx Audio Card in a PCI slot, I need things to stay as cool as possible. So, will this case cut it? And, as mentioned before, I know nothing about cooling the CPU, so I need a recommendation for something that will keep it as cool as I can get it without breaking the bank.

The case is mention doesn't come with a power supply but does have

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

I'm probably way over budget, but perhaps after some feedback I can get the price down some. I look forward to your responses.

June 12, 2011 6:03:06 PM

On average the intel chips are better for some things than amd chips, at the same price point, you should check out the CPU charts on here to get chip by chip benchmarks. This will all likely change in a couple weeks when and bulldozer chips come out, which at the same price point will be better than the comparable intel sandy bridge chips. remember now a days ghz don't mean as much, nor can you say 1 chip with same, more or less ghz is better than another. You have to go chip by chip. Anyway I'd wait for AMD bulldozer, which are said to be about 50% faster than AMDs current architecture.