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Seeking advice on building an audio recording computer

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January 1, 2012 3:17:05 PM

Hello everyone,

I'm hoping that somebody can provide me with some guidance. I need to build a new audio recording computer and would like to do so for $600 or less.

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as possible

Budget Range: $600 after rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Audio recording software such as Adobe Audition, Steinberg Cubase, Native Instruments sample libraries, Adobe Premiere Pro

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, blu-ray drive

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Tigerdirect.com

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: none

Overclocking: I'll say "Maybe" on this. I really would like something that is powerful as built, since I've never felt comfortable with overclocking.

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1024x768

Additional Comments: I would prefer to have a quieter computer, though I don't want the cooling system to eat up my budget.

Thanks
Kevin

EDIT: Just to clarify any potential questions...I also do not require sound cards, as I will be re-using the ones from my previous computer, and I do not want to include an OS in this budget...although I imagine that I'll need to purchase something like 64-bit Windows 7 in order to fully utilize the capabilities of a multi-core CPU (my older system was a single core running on Windows XP 32-bit), I want the budget to focus solely on the system itself.
January 8, 2012 3:27:51 PM

Avoid Tiger Direct. Their "deals" tend to prey on the uninformed, so I avoid them myself. Just my two cents worth.

At any rate, I will be giving Newegg links for reference. It's about the best site around for such stuff although you can find slightly better deals on Amazon sometimes.

CPU - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Ram - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard drive- Any SATA that will fit your capacity and budget needs. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=P...

Case/PSU - Don't know your preferences, but either of these will do. The PSU is excellent, quiet, and more than enough power. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=P...

The CPU has integrated graphics that are more than adequate for your needs, and are even capable of light gaming. The 8gb ram will require 64 bit Windows. I am assuming your sound cards have Windows 7 drivers. Older XP drivers will not work, so you might check it out. The motherboard also only has 3 PCI slots for sound cards and such, and you will be hard pressed to find boards with more these days.
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January 9, 2012 4:31:22 PM

Hi tlmck,

Thanks for the feedback on this. I have used Newegg before, so I'm definitely comfortable with them.

Do I have any options if I want to max out my RAM capacity? I'm having trouble finding 8GB RAM sticks that are compatible with this chipset, though I see that the motherboard is capable of handling 32GB. I was looking at these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
but I can't seem to find anything that confirms their compatibility.

Thanks
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January 9, 2012 4:41:18 PM

never. Ever. Get a case with a PSU included. Do you realize a bad PSU could destroy your whole system? Built in PSUs are cheap and poorly made.
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January 9, 2012 4:53:05 PM

gooseta said:
never. Ever. Get a case with a PSU included. Do you realize a bad PSU could destroy your whole system? Built in PSUs are cheap and poorly made.


Normally this is sound advice, however not in the case of Antec. They do not offer junk PSU/case combinations. In these particular cases I linked to, the 380w PSU's are 80 plus Bronze certified with very a healthy sized +12v rail for future expansion if needed.
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January 9, 2012 6:01:39 PM

haciendacaliente said:
Hi tlmck,

Thanks for the feedback on this. I have used Newegg before, so I'm definitely comfortable with them.

Do I have any options if I want to max out my RAM capacity? I'm having trouble finding 8GB RAM sticks that are compatible with this chipset, though I see that the motherboard is capable of handling 32GB. I was looking at these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
but I can't seem to find anything that confirms their compatibility.

Thanks


Sorry about that. I had to do a little searching myself. I was not even thinking in terms of 8gb modules, more like maybe 4x4gb which were hard to find as well. Just a quick note though, if you do more than 16gb, you will need either the 64 bit Professional or Ultimate version of Windows 7. The Home Premium version only does up to 16gb.

At any rate, I searched every major memory site and finally found some compatible stuff. It is very high quality, but unfortunately it will also blow the budget out of the water. http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.aspx?model=GA-A7...

I have no experience with the Pareema ram you linked to, and their web site does not look promising. They have no configurator or anything, and very little support it seems.

Gskill on the other hand is excellent stuff. I also checked Kingston which is usually very good with Gigabyte and others also. But no 8gb modules for that board.

Even the Gigabyte approved memory list only goes up to 4gb modules. http://download.gigabyte.ru/memory/mb_memory_ga-a75-d3h...

I am thinking we may need to rethink the whole AMD APU thing and go with maybe Intel instead. Their chips have Integrated graphics also which will still be plenty. They also have a wider variety of chipsets to choose from. It will likely be a bit more expensive,

Something like this on the CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ,and something like this for the motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here is a link to the memory list for that board. I did see several 8gb modules listed. You might also try the memory configurators on the various sites I mentioned. http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8H6...

PS: I will be off line until midnight or so, but will be back to answer any further question, or at least give it my best shot.
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January 9, 2012 10:33:49 PM

I'm looking at Asus' compatibility list, and unless I'm missing something, I'm not even seeing 8gb memory modules listed there. The promo material for the motherboard states that "Any memory is A-OK!", so I guess it wouldn't be a problem to use 8GB modules so long as the BIOS allows them, right?

Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree here, but since both of these boards are supposedly able to handle up to 32 MB of memory in four slots, I'd rather not fill up with 4 sticks of 4GB memory in order to get 16GB -- if I use 8GB modules instead, that will allow me to buy 16GB of memory and also give me the flexibility to add an additional 16GB when it is feasible to do so.

I was pretty much anticipating having to upgrade to 64 bit Windows 7 Professional anyway. As I understand it, don't you need a 64-bit version of Windows in order to utilize the full capabilities of a quad-core processor?

Anyway, even if it does cost a bit more, I am liking this new cpu/motherboard combo even more than the previous one (which I also liked). If I'm not mistaken, it has an extra SATA port (will I use it? Who knows, but it could come in handy) and the processor seems to boast a bit more power than the AMD one.

Thanks
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January 10, 2012 4:07:39 AM

You have to scroll down the list a bit, but they do list Corsair and a couple of Gskill 8gb sticks, so the $99 Gskill kit you selected earlier will be fine. That is a heck of a deal on some very good ram.

They also list OCZ as approved, but I don't think they are in the ram business any more. I went to their web site earlier today and and saw no mention of ram. I guess I missed the memo. Its a shame because they were usually low cost and I had good luck with it.

And yes, the Intel CPU is beefier. At stock speed, it is only slightly slower than the overclockable i5-2500k that every one raves about. Overall, you should have a very nice system.

I am even digging the ASUS boards myself. I have seen that one in person, along with a few others, and they were put together very well. Nice tight solder joints, component layout, etc... I was thinking about doing a new Intel gaming system myself around April, and I am definitely going to add ASUS to the list of prospects. My current rig will live on as an HTPC as my old one is getting kind of raggedy.
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January 10, 2012 9:03:01 AM

Ok, one last question...

I'm eyeing this processor now as well as the i5:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now obviously, this is going to substantially raise my budget, especially since there are some comments about the OEM heatsink and fan being "junk", but my question is: is this processor's performance increase worth the extra $100+ that I'll end up paying?

Mind you, this system is going to be a serious upgrade from my previous single core 3.4 GHz processor, so I imagine that just about anything that uses multi-core processing will fly on either of these processors anyway...

Thanks for all of your previous feedback on this!
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January 10, 2012 10:00:19 AM

You can read this article from Tom's and decide for yourself. Keep in mind that the 2600k mentioned in the article is identical at stock speed. The K on the end just means it is the unlocked version made for overclocking.
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January 10, 2012 4:57:20 PM

Thanks for all of the feedback on this. This is what I'm looking at for now:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm thinking that the i5-2500k processor will give me the best balance between processing power, cost and future expandibility if I ever decide to attempt overclocking the CPU. The only thing, it seems, is that I'll still need to pick out a heatsink and CPU fan, as the provided ones seem to be crap (at least from all of the reviews)

Admittedly, I did get a bit distracted today drooling at the maximum transfer rates on the solid state drives Newegg sells, but I ended up picking up the Western Digital drive as it once again provides the best balance between speed, cost, disk size and good reviews.

Now, all of this stuff is going to run me over $600 (I'm thinking once I select a heatsink/fan combo and some sort of external SATA hard drive adapter so that I can try to salvage some data off a badly-infected hard drive, I'll be over the $700 mark), but I think that will be okay. I feel like this is going to turn into a good system build, especially for the price, and I'd rather go over budget a bit and end up with quality components than to go under budget and have a more questionable build.

I just wish those higher capacity solid state drives would drop several hundred dollars in price! That would make for a great build!

Thanks again
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!