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Thoughts on my new potential audio PC!

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Thoughts on my new potential audio PC!

Postby Imran500 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:23 pm

About to pull the trigger on a new Audio PC but wondered what people thought about the following configuration from PC Specialist coming in at £870 inc VAT - anything inherently wrong any of it:


Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™i5 Quad Core Processor i5-3570K (3.4GHz) 6MB Cache


Motherboard
ASUS® P8Z77-V LX: USB 3.0, SATA 6GBs, ATI®CrossFireX


Memory (RAM)
16GB SAMSUNG DUAL-DDR3 1600MHz (2 X 8GB)


Graphics Card
1GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GT 640 - DVI, HDMI, VGA - 3D Vision Ready


Memory - 1st Hard Disk
1TB WD CAVIAR BLACK WD1002FAEX, SATA 6 Gb/s, 64MB CACHE (7200rpm)


2nd Hard Disk
1TB WD CAVIAR BLACK WD1002FAEX, SATA 6 Gb/s, 64MB CACHE (7200rpm)


1st DVD/BLU-RAY Drive
24x DUAL LAYER DVD WRITER ±R/±RW/RAM


Power Supply
450W Quiet 80 PLUS Dual Rail PSU + 120mm Case Fan


Processor Cooling
Super Quiet 22dBA Triple Copper Heatpipe Intel CPU Cooler (£19)


Sound Card
ONBOARD 6 CHANNEL (5.1) HIGH DEF AUDIO (AS STANDARD)


Network Facilities
10/100/1000 GIGABIT LAN PORT - AS STANDARD ON ALL PCs


USB Options
6 x USB 2.0 PORTS @ BACK PANEL (MIN 2 FRONT PORTS) AS STANDARD


Firewire
3 Port IEEE 1394a Firewire PCI Card (£9)


Operating System
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit w/SP1 - inc DVD & Licence (£79)


Many thanks in advance, having had problems with music PCs in the past I want to get this one dead right

Imran500
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Re: Thoughts on my new potential audio PC!

Postby Johnsy » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:49 pm

Imran500 wrote:
[color=blue]

Motherboard
ASUS® P8Z77-V LX: USB 3.0, SATA 6GBs, ATI®CrossFireX

[color=black]
Personally I'd spend a little more here and go for a board with a bifurcated CPU/PCIe link, giving the option of one x16 OR two x8 slots, instead of simply one x16 slot (which in this build is occupied by the GPU).


Imran500 wrote:
Graphics Card
1GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GT 640 - DVI, HDMI, VGA - 3D Vision Ready

[color=black]
The GT640 is not a GPU anyone would choose. Too underpowered for serious gaming, too overpowered for a DAW. The latter point wouldn't matter, of course, except that it means that GT640 cards are equipped with a fan, which adds noise. Besides which, your CPU has integrated graphics which most people find more than adequate for audio work. Save yourself some money (and a PCIe slot).


Imran500 wrote:
[color=blue]
Power Supply
450W Quiet 80 PLUS Dual Rail PSU + 120mm Case Fan

[color=black]
PSU's are taken pretty seriously over here, and if you were speccing your own machine, you'd be looking at a named brand (Seasonic and Enermax being among the more popular). Power-wise, 450W is plenty, and 80 Plus certification tells you something about efficiency, but the electrical and mechanical properties (including fan control, and hence noise) of "450W, 80 Plus" PSU's can vary wildly.


Imran500 wrote:
[color=blue]
Processor Cooling
Super Quiet 22dBA Triple Copper Heatpipe Intel CPU Cooler (£19)
[color=black]

Again, lap of the gods, but highly unlikely to be "SPCR quiet"

http://www.silentpcreview.com/section11.html


Imran500 wrote:
[color=blue]
Firewire
3 Port IEEE 1394a Firewire PCI Card (£9)

[color=black]
All FW cards are not created equal. A Texas Instruments (TI) chipset is the default recommendation here, but it really does pay to do a little research into the particular audio interface you may be considering.
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Re: Thoughts on my new potential audio PC!

Postby Imran500 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:36 pm

Thanks for the in depth reply there!
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Re: Thoughts on my new potential audio PC!

Postby Pete Kaine » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:58 pm

I agree with all that Johnsy put and would like to add that you should check it's a Texas Instruments chip on the FW card if you haven't already.
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Re: Thoughts on my new potential audio PC!

Postby Imran500 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:15 am

Johnsy wrote:
Imran500 wrote:
[color=blue]

Motherboard
ASUS® P8Z77-V LX: USB 3.0, SATA 6GBs, ATI®CrossFireX
[color=black]
Personally I'd spend a little more here and go for a board with a bifurcated CPU/PCIe link, giving the option of one x16 OR two x8 slots, instead of simply one x16 slot (which in this build is occupied by the GPU).


Can anyone expand on this, prices involved and what it all means - cheers Johnsy for your excellent detailed reponses by the way, they will certainly inform my decisions
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Re: Thoughts on my new potential audio PC!

Postby Johnsy » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:15 pm

Hi

Modern Intel CPU's integrate a lot of the functionality that used to be provided by the motherboard chipset. This includes the primary PCIe link.

Socket 1155 CPU's provide a sixteen lane ("x16") link. On some ( generally cheaper) Z77 motherboards, all sixteen lanes are connected to a single x16 slot. Which means:

If you're NOT using the CPU's integrated graphics, then you're devoting the entire primary peripheral interface of your system to something (ie, graphics) that in the context of a DAW simply isn't very important.

. . . and if you ARE using the CPU graphics, then you're presenting your primary peripheral interface in a manner (ie, one big pipe) where it's almost certain to be under-utilized, since even at Gen 2 speeds, a x16 PCIe link is capable of 8GB/s full-duplex (and your CPU, having a Gen 3 interface, is capable of almost double that, given compliant devices).

Fortunately, the primary PCIe link can be split/switched, allowing it to operate as two x8 connections (OR one x16 if desired, though obviously in this case the second slot becomes redundant). Both connections will be presented as x16 slots (ie, they will both physically accommodate ANY PCIe card).

At Scan prices at time of writing, the motherboard you list in your OP is £83.72, while the "bifurcated" P8Z77-V LK is £102.92.

http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-p8z77-v-lk-intel-z77-s-1...
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Re: Thoughts on my new potential audio PC!

Postby Imran500 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:48 pm

Once again - really detailed and useful response, many thanks
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