You are here

Barking up the wrong tree, or just plain Barking?

For anything relating to music-making on Windows computers, with lots of FAQs. Moderated by Martin Walker.

Barking up the wrong tree, or just plain Barking?

Postby zenguitar » Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:24 pm

My ancient Athlon XP 2.8 is well past it's sell by date. And while I'd love to buy a nice sandybridge system from one of the specialist builders here, I just can't afford it right now.

I was searching ebay and spotted this for less than the price of an i5 CPU, an HP Proliant server.



2x AMD Opteron™ model 254 2.8GHz 1MB 64-Bit

Memory Type PC3200 DDR Advanced ECC
Max Memory 16 GB
Memory Installed Qty 4 GB

Non-hot plug SATA/SCSI
Max Drive Bays 2 - 1 x 72.8GB 10K SCSI Installed
Removable Media Bays
1- CD-ROM Installed
Storage Controller

Integrated Dual Channel SATA Controller & PCI-X SCSI Controller

Form Factor Rack
Rack Height 1U

Slots
One available PCI-Express slot: Slot 1: full-length/full-height PCI-Express x16; Slot 2: low-profile/half-height
PCI-X slot populated by the SAS storage controller
Power Supply 500 W


Now, I know it's far from perfect. But with a flavour of 64 bit windows, a cheap graphics card (it has on board graphics, but only 8Mb), and a SATA system drive, it could be a massive improvement on what I've got. And another 4Gb of RAM would be cheap enough.

My brother works in networks, and has a good relationship with the HP contractors, so there is extra help to be had with installing the OS and finding drivers.

So, does anyone have any thoughts? Worth investigating further? Am I barking up the wrong tree, or just plain Barking?

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 10077
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Barking up the wrong tree, or just plain Barking?

Postby Carillon Audio Systems » Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:46 pm

If it's only a little cheaper then an i5 go with the i5 system, will be better for low latency audio work.
User avatar
Carillon Audio Systems
Poster
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:00 am

Re: Barking up the wrong tree, or just plain Barking?

Postby zenguitar » Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:10 am

Carillon Audio Systems wrote:If it's only a little cheaper then an i5 go with the i5 system, will be better for low latency audio work.

Ah... that's the rub. It's a little cheaper than an i5 CPU, before I buy a MB, RAM, HDD, case, PSU, CPU cooler, etc, etc, to go with the i5.

For a £100 more, I could buy a 2nd hand Core 2 Duo system, Dell or similar, with a new 500Gb SATA drive. And that £100 difference could be eaten up with the OS and graphics card for the server. Again, not perfect, but would be more likely to produce a working system than taking a chance on the server.

Ho Hum...

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 10077
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Barking up the wrong tree, or just plain Barking?

Postby zenguitar » Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:30 am

Don't worry Frederick, I really do understand. I've built quite a few PC's already and I do understand the issues. In a sense, I'm playing Devil's Advocate against myself here... I know what the 'right' answers are, and why, but as I've come up against a hard financial brick wall I'm kinda thinking out loud and testing some left field alternatives. Why? Because sometimes you never know until you ask.

£60 for a Samsung 2Tb drive from Scan doesn't sound a lot, and in relative terms it isn't. But I have no money, I built both my PC's (one dedicated to music, the other for general use) a long time ago, and both are well past their sell by date. I have no money to spend and both machines are increasingly becoming more a hindrance than a help. Do I want to be in that position? Of course not. But whether I like it or not, I am.

The bottom line is that I do know what the right options are, I'd love to be in a position to go to Scan, Rain, or Carillon, and order a machine. I could equally build a similar machine from components, or a previous generation Core 2 Duo/Core 2 Quad machine and be confident that it would work reliably, and be a massive improvement on what I have. But that's not an option for me right now, and I am sure that I'm not the only person in this position. And that's why I am trying to think out of the box. And the great thing about this forum is that there are plenty of people who know their stuff and might, just might, respond to my left field thinking and say.. 'you know? That might just work.' But yes, I know it is a long shot :)

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 10077
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Barking up the wrong tree, or just plain Barking?

Postby Jabba1 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:15 am

Pete Kaine wrote:And it's a server... hence I imagine at least as loud as sticking your head in a jet engine.

+1 for that, those puppies (especially if its a DL360 or something similar) would be excruciatingly loud. Spent 4 years looking after those things for the government and when the fans kick in they sound like air raid sirens.

Not so bad if you can bury them in a soundproofed room way way away from any recording area, but otherwise, probably best advised to steer clear.

I bought a similarly spec'd Dell Precision last year, an ex corporate which isnt noisy and was cheap for what it is, but by the same token, given prices of better kit these days... I think the decision kind of makes itself.
Jabba1
Regular
Posts: 235
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:00 am
Location: Aylesbury

www.alterzero.com || "Semper in excremento sum... solum profunditas variat"


Re: Barking up the wrong tree, or just plain Barking?

Postby Frederick » Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:34 pm

1) How much, exactly, is no money (you obviously have some!)

2) Why not use your general computer and DAW together and apportion the load across both. There is a program that connects two PC's in such a way(over LAN/MIDI?, anyone remember the name?). This is beyond my knowledge, hopefully someone will be able to remember the name of said program. Perhaps if you can afford a third PC of some sort, this may be your best option, but will likely come with some problems (timing, perhaps?).

Edit: Found it, fxteleport it's called, see link
Frederick
Regular
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:00 am

Re: Barking up the wrong tree, or just plain Barking?

Postby mhaigh » Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:57 pm

as stated above, what is your budget? assuming the case is OK, you could get something like http://www.ebuyer.com/product/257991 as a cheap upgrade...
User avatar
mhaigh
Regular
Posts: 452
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:00 am
Location: Hockley, Essex
 

Re: Barking up the wrong tree, or just plain Barking?

Postby zenguitar » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:11 pm

mhaigh wrote:as stated above, what is your budget? assuming the case is OK, you could get something like http://www.ebuyer.com/product/257991 as a cheap upgrade...

You will all be pleased to learn that common sense is prevailing here at last. I've already started looking at similar bundles, although the current machines are both Shuttles, so I need to dig out a much older case and will need a suitable power supply.

The truth is that the budget is currently zero. So I've either got to find something to sell that I don't need, or hustle up some profitable guitar set-ups/repairs.

But thanks everyone for your input. You've helped me eliminate the left field ideas, and with some careful shopping I am sure I'll be able to get something that does a good job.

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 10077
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra