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New build - Opinions?

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December 29, 2012 3:55:36 PM

I am building a pc from scratch for the sole purpose of audio recording using Pro Tools 10 and any plug-ins I decide to get along the way.

Here is a list of currently selected components:

Case: Rosewill R5
Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth Z77
CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz
CPU Cooler: Zalman CNPS9900MAX-B
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB Model F3-14900CL9Q-16GBXL
PSU: SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold ((SS-650KM Active PFC F3))
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache
DVD Burner: Asus DRW-B1ST 24X
Wireless Network Card: Asus PCE-N15
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium

I have a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers I plan on using for a bit until I get this set up and decide what I need. I know I'll need to get some decent studio monitors (speakers) soon, as well as a larger monitor (the visual kind) because my current one is a bit small for the way I need it set up. If anyone has recommendations for these items, I would love to hear them.

I have an extra HDD I plan on using as well. I can't remember the specs for it, and it is in storage due to a recent change in residence. It is my understanding that it is best to separate your recording sessions and samples onto another HDD, thus the 2 HDDs. The WD black is going to be the music one because I'm sure it is better than the one I already own. I have been thinking about the possibility of getting an SSD, but I think I should wait until I would get better use of it (when I start sampling a lot more), and the price might drop further.

I'm not sure if it would be worth the money to get Windows 7 Professional. The only thing I might use is the ability to have more memory, but it's not like I'm recording a symphony or anything.

My primary objective is to have minimal latency and noise.

I haven't built a computer (or even upgraded one) in about 7 years, so I'm fairly stupid about all of this. Any opinions, approvals, disapprovals, or insults are welcome!

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December 29, 2012 5:33:16 PM

this is what id get. ill also throw in the monitor into the build if you dont mind
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/uQ3g


-you can just partition the hard drive so that one half can be for one thing and the other for another.
-a SSD is highly recommended if you want speed for the OS and applications
-the CPU can be run passively with that giant heatsink. the only fans that would be operating are the case fans (very quiet) and the psu fan (also very quiet)
-monitor has a very good stand and awesome build quality for it being all plastic.
-450w is enough for this system as the total wattage it will be using wont be more than 100w.

do you have a sound card ready? if not i can recommend one
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December 29, 2012 7:24:57 PM

From what I can tell, your choices beat mine handily. I have reservations about dropping to the micro ATX and using the listed MSI motherboard, but you seem to have put together the very definition of a quiet computer. Your build would also save me enough money to get that monitor, so again, kudos to you, sir.

As for the sound card, I have one in this old desktop I'm replacing; a soundblaster audigy2 ZS. I wasn't planning on using a sound card with the build. The asus sabertooth supposedly had great sound, and many people have said that sound cards are not worth the money these days from my research in multiple forums. If you have thoughts and recommendations for sound cards, I would still love to hear them. I am very impressed with your advice so far.
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December 29, 2012 8:50:24 PM

sabertooth has standard sound package found on all motherboards, but it has pcb isolation making it better than the generic since it has less electronic interference

the sabertooth is a scam btw. heatshield traps heat and feature set is the same as the z77-v pro, minus some temp probes

as for a sound card i have some recommendations


if you are a serious professional and audiophile, you may be able to take advantage of this sound card. will drive headphones up to 600ohms of impedance
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

if you want something that is higher end than the generic sound card, but would not like to spend the essence stx level of money, this would be good
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

if you want something that is basic but still better than the onboard stuff, id get this. but then this card is on the lvel of the soundblaster you already have, just that it uses a pci-e interface that will work with the motherboard (this board does not have pci slots but i can recommend you one if you want)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 29, 2012 11:33:53 PM

I will consider those when I'm shopping for monitors (speakers) and probably hold off until after I put everything else together.

Keeping in mind that I am not going to be doing any big recording projects soon, but also that RAM is one of the most important aspects of a PC's component makeup for recording purposes, would you consider a different chipset to the H or Z77 and LGA 1155 due to the dual channel RAM support? Maybe go for something with triple or quad-channel support?

Due to my lack of experience here, I'm not certain where I should be willing to spend more or less money. I don't won't latency issues; this was my primary reason of staying out of this field for so long (my previous build was horrible), but I don't want to sink my money into making a PC that will be largely underutilized. Think small rock band situation (guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, vocals) and you will have an idea of what I'm doing. The drums are electric as well, so a single input from them instead the usual spread of mics all recording at once.

So, in summation, do you feel that it would be worth the money for a system supporting either triple or quad-channel RAM for my situation, or that the build you recommended will carry me for several years with minimum latency issues?

Thanks again for your help!
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December 29, 2012 11:39:15 PM

-the montior i chose has some speakers. they dont sound the best, but they work
-you have to do at least 6 hrs worth of that stuff a day to make use of the quad channel x79 platform worth it
-well then a h77/z77 is perfectly suited for you
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December 30, 2012 12:35:20 AM

Best answer selected by TreeProg.
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