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New build studio computer

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December 27, 2011 2:29:27 AM

Hi,

I am looking to build a new studio computer as both my laptop and desktop recently bit the dust. I have built systems, but I'm not so familiar with the higher end stuff...

Approximate Purchase Date: soonish - In the next couple of weeks or so.

Budget Range: 800-1200 After Rebates still fairly flexible here.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Music production. loads of vst instruments, fx, etc. Wav editing, web, burning, possibly some 3d animation livecoding (fluxus)

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, sound card (maudio delta 44), case? I may need a case if extra cooling is required. was gonna try to reuse a standard old case.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.ca, memoryexpress.com, or anywhere that is reliable and cheap.

Country: Canada

Parts Preferences: I thought I wanted AMD, but apparantly they are now junk in comparison to the i7...

Overclocking: Maybe - probably. I am new to OC, but it sounds like a good idea with proper cooling.

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: not sure. just an acer x183h b.

Additional Comments: quiet operation is a plus. I definately need a SSD for the os. I am planning on an Ubuntu / Win 7 dual boot. As far as I can tell, I am probably looking at a Core i7-2700k, but memory express has a bundle with a 2600k... Thinking about a raid but not sure if I can fit it into this budget. I have a couple 500 gig drives around, so I may be able to just get the SSD....
I don't think I need bluray right now, but as far as ram goes, I am leaning towards 16gb. is that overkill? seems cheap enough to be worth it.

I hope I haven't been too vague. I have been researching since my desktop died, (a few days, anyway...) and it's starting to lead me somewhere, but I could sure use some advice.
Thank you all very much. Merry Christmas and all that.

More about : build studio computer

December 27, 2011 4:48:19 AM

What software are you using for music production? (i.e. what DAW, this determines whether you should use 64 bit or 32 bit)

What audio interface? (oh, i see, maudio delta 44)

You'll have to see what your latency is like in win7...

I haven't seen enough disk access to need a RAID for music production. I use a so-called 'hybrid' workflow with both VSTs and hardware synthesizers. If you're using a software sampler that uses disk caching instead of loading all of the samples into RAM, then disk speed and access time may come into play.
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December 27, 2011 5:14:42 AM

I mostly use FL Studio. but I use a pretty wide range of software. I want to leave room for expansion. I expect to be using it, with minor upgrades, for years and years.
I am fairly certain I want 64 bit, although I will probably run a 32 bit os for older software.
is win7 known for bad latency?

I also have a mAudio firewire solo. I may end up adding a higher end one later.
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December 27, 2011 6:37:53 AM

Win7 cam change the latency from your cards because the driver architecture is significantly different than XP.

My bandmate uses FL studio so all my FL studio-related data is being verified with him...

The current version of FL Studio can run both 32-bit and 64-bit plugins, so you don't need to worry about that. You should get the best CPU you can afford, and a graphics card with passive cooling. 8GB of RAM should be sufficient for awhile.
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December 27, 2011 5:39:09 PM

I am thinking either the i7-2700k or i7-2600k. The last time I bought a high end cpu (years ago) AMD was way ahead. It's strange to be going intel now.
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December 27, 2011 5:47:16 PM

The 2700k is only good if you want to overclock further than the 2600k can go or more stably at very high frequencies and even then it won't be by much.

If you aren't going for 5GHz+ then the 2600k is better because it is around $50 cheaper and should have the same performance as the 2700k if they are clocked at the same frequency.
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December 27, 2011 6:48:34 PM

If you want the system to run quietly, then overclocking presents difficulty. You're already going to need to lean towards large fans spinning at low speeds.

As for Intel vs. AMD, the new Bulldozer architecture isn't going to be very efficient for music use because of its FPU performance... and most VSTs are all FPU.
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December 27, 2011 7:12:24 PM

I don't know much about overclocking, but probably a reasonable amount of overclocking would be nice. A stable power supply and motherboard for low interference/ digital noise is even more important than audible noise. if I can overclock a bit but still avoid too much noise (audible) when recording audio, that would be the best. Sounds like the 2600k is probably good enough for the likes of me. 5.0ghz sounds pretty amazing, though
I was thinking raid more for redundancy than speed.
I run pretty much full software (VSTs etc) right now, but I may expand to some hardware synths in the future. or at least midi controllers etc.

So, if I go with a 2600k, what motherboard am I looking at?
And is it worth waiting a bit for new year's deals?
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December 27, 2011 8:13:40 PM

So you're looking a t RAID 0 then?
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December 27, 2011 9:01:18 PM

probably RAID 1 or something. I'm not real familiar with RAID, but a quick look told me RAID 0 has no redundancy
Mostly I am hoping to reduce my chances of data loss. (IE songs I am working on.) Also, as an added bonus, the samples will load quicker (I hope).
Although I suppose an external drive with automated backup would serve a similar purpose
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December 27, 2011 9:18:51 PM

Sorry i meant RAID 1

RAID 0 is faster, RAID 1 is redundant (but NOT faster)
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December 27, 2011 9:36:30 PM

yeah, probably raid 1. not sure if I will bother or not. Do I need a raid card for that?
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December 27, 2011 9:47:41 PM

No, pretty much every Intel chipset supports RAID 0,1,5 and I think 6. You'd get *slightly* better performance from a dedicated hardware RAID card but not enough to make it worth it in the scene of things if all you're doing is a 2-disk RAID 1
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December 28, 2011 1:04:18 AM

Intel's integrated hardware raid 1 should be about as fast as using the Intel SATA ports without RAID 1 being used. Dedicated hardware RAID cards really aren't worth the huge price premium considering the negligible performance gains, especially if you don't have very fast HDDs or SDDs like those intended for use with such RAID cards.

Even if you didn't have integrated RAID or a RAID card windows can use software RAID 0 on the system drive. It is a little more work to get up and running if the original system drive fails but it will protect your data all the same.

Software RAID would be slower than hardware RAID and would tax the CPU slightly but doesn't require any RAID hardware to run. It is also easier and simpler to setup.

Windows can't do software RAID on the system drive and only some versions of Windows are capable of software RAID 0 on non-system drives, these versions being (if I remember correctly) for windows 7 the Enterprise, Professional, and Ultimate editions and all server editions.

I think most if not all Windows editions (maybe besides starter versions) support software RAID 1.

I would recommend getting the i7-2600K with a Cooler Master Hyper 212 to get a decent overclock of a little over 4GHz. That overclock is small enough for even cheap P67 and Z68 motherboards to cope with well. If overclocking is not on the agenda than an i7-2600 with an H67 motherboard would be the cheapest option without sacrificing important features.

Also consider that you can use 20GB of your SSD as a cache for your HDD(s) to improve read speed greatly.
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January 30, 2012 1:36:57 AM

Sorry all, I took a break from parts hunting. But now I am back on task. Thank you all for your insightful responses so far. I am now planning on ordering this system within the week.

I am planning to go with a 2600k and OC it a bit. Maybe I overstressed silence in the case. Cool and stable system is much more important. I am looking at a http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/MX31506 zalman cpu cooler, but the coolermaster hyper 212 is cheaper. Is it worth the extra bucks?


I am looking at this case/psu combo at memory express. http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/MX17509/Reviews
I wonder if 500W is enough? I don't need dual video cards or anything, but I will probably get a single lower end one.
if needed, I will get a better power supply (80bronze at least) and a coolermaster HAF something

The mobo is giving me the most trouble. i want a z68, probably asus or gigabyte. they have very confusing features, but both seem to have equivalent ones. I guess I can spend 100 - 200 here, but I can't really figure out the key differences.

as far as I can tell with SSD, some of them don't like certain mobos. I don't really know enough about it to figure all that out, but I am hoping to get a 120gb SSD around the $140 range
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February 4, 2012 11:35:36 AM

Thanks all, its ordered. Now I just gotta wait.
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February 11, 2012 12:17:47 AM

Best answer selected by sevenus.
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