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New PC Build for recording

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New PC Build for recording

Postby Cathal71 » Thu May 06, 2021 1:44 pm

Hi All

I have got to the stage where I need to build a new PC. I built my current one and the one before that but (scared to think) how old my current one is - Definitely over 7 years anyway. Long story short I have not kept across PC builds since but will be comfortable building one.
I am at day 1 of research on this so don't know anything about best motherboards, processors, cases etc - the works. My current PC although old is still going strong but I am at a position where everything is caving in. I am using Pro Tools 8 because I have an MBOX2. As a result I am on Windows 7. To upgrade Windows, I will need to upgrade Pro Tools and then the MBOX is dead so need to sort out an equivalent there,
So then I get to the PC which is why I am here. That is showing small signs of dementia too so let's start from the ground up!
So my question to you fine people is about building a new PC. Can you share some recommendations on what products are good and work well together? I will only be using this PC for music recording. No gaming at all. So it needs to be tailored for recording. Quiet is important but mainly processing power and something that will last me another 7 years!
Not sure how long processors live for but my current one is an i7 and the case in an Antec which is pretty cool. The hard drives are old of course so probably best to replace them and just copy files over. So lets say I replace everything. If you can throw a few ideas at me, it can become a starting point for research and I would be very grateful!
Thanks
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Re: New PC Build for recording

Postby merlyn » Thu May 06, 2021 2:55 pm

I built a system recently and I found the technology has moved on from seven years ago.

- DDR4
- M.2 NVMe drives. Spinning hard drives now seem very slow.
- More power connectors for more current to the CPU and graphics card. ATX is supposedly a standard but my old ATX power supply wouldn't work in my new machine.
- USB 3.0 3.1 3.2 This wasn't relevant to me.
- X570 chipsets have a fan on the motherboard. I avoided that.

I went with a Ryzen 3900x, B550 motherboard, be quiet! case and power supply and a Noctua D-15 cooler which is about as big as an air cooler can get. It wouldn't fit in every case.

I have found out for myself what base clock/boost clock means. I haven't found there are many scenarios in my usage where single threaded performance would be relevant. Encoding an mp3 is a single threaded process -- other than that I see all the threads being used all the time.

A Ryzen 3900x is quoted as a 3.8GHz base clock and a 4.6GHz boost clock. I've never seen 4.6. This can only happen when only one core is being used. When all cores are being used the boost is less. It sits at 4.2 and goes down slightly under (extreme) load. For music production the relevant figure is the all core boost which I don't see quoted in specs often.

Full disclosure : I use Linux. YMMV.
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Re: New PC Build for recording

Postby uselessoldman » Thu May 06, 2021 4:12 pm

You will get a lot of ideas, but I have always said its best to understand yourself what you need not just have someone else give their own opinions, take them as advice. I will quote Scan prices just to keep others happy !!!!!

Buy the cheapest is never wise nor the best, somewhere in the middle is always a good place to start. So lets say the Ryzen 3800x CPU at £280 next one up 3900 is a big jump in price. By a cooler that does not get in the way of the memory, I have some top end CPU coolers that are terrible designs and limits me on the Ram (memory) I can use.

Graphics Card. Now we have a problem cos there hard to source new right now for decent prices. I would go to your local Trademein or CEX cos they will give you a 2 yr warranty so piece of mind. I bought my Vega64 about 18 months ago for £240 its now over £100 more and on eBay sell for over £400, graphics cards have shot up in price even good old second hand ones. If your not gaming, on board HDMI might do, but I never recommend it, but its an option. The ASRock x570 Phantom Gaming is actually only £144 looks interesting. You can always add a graphics card later when they are a more sensible price. I would normally never advice ASRock but considering it has onboard VEGA Graphics and thunderbolt, it will save you a small fortune up front. I would not suggest a cheaper motherboard cos the X570 is a great chipset and the boards are all well made with quality features.

memory. Absolute minimum of 16Gb. I would recommend this for starters should you need more its easy to add more later. If you are using built in graphics it will use 2Gb of it so leaving you with 14Gb if you only had 8Gb having 6Gb left is just not enough for music.

Storage M2 Boot and what ever you need there after. I have started to buy Skyhawk Hard drives cos they have a longer than standard warranty and built to be hammered as there designed for Surveillance kit and happy to run 24x7.

Case power supply etc buy good ones. I use a Seasonic 850, cos I am running a system that demands power. You might get away with something smaller but try and keep to 750W minimum also buy semi modular you only then use cables you need.
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Re: New PC Build for recording

Postby merlyn » Thu May 06, 2021 7:36 pm

uselessoldman wrote:The ASRock x570 Phantom Gaming is actually only £144 looks interesting. You can always add a graphics card later when they are a more sensible price. I would normally never advice ASRock but considering it has onboard VEGA Graphics and thunderbolt, it will save you a small fortune up front.

It doesn't have on-board graphics. It has graphics outputs if the CPU supports graphics.

It has a M.2 key for Wi-Fi -- not relevant for an audio machine, and it has a fan on the motherboard. Reports are that these fans are quiet enough, but will that be the case in a year? I think there are a few X570s without fans, but most do have them.
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Re: New PC Build for recording

Postby uselessoldman » Thu May 06, 2021 11:17 pm

Fans on chipsets is nothing new been around for a long time hardly going to matter when you consider the size of other fans on the CPU, Power Supply, Cases and some graphics cards. My case is certainly not quiet about the same as a decent power amp and I use a Factual Design R2 XL, Noctua Case Fans, Noctua CPU Fans and was one of the best cases you can get for sound insulation. Problem is when your running a decent CPU and Graphics you need all those case fans and the Noctua case fans are not cheap. My cases I think have 6 installed and another two on the cooler over £200.

Your right Merlyn on board graphics would appear to be off the cards for now with available supply of any CPUs going to manufacturers not OEM builders. And yes one of the M2 can be used as you said for WiFI but there also dual M2 for NMVe SSD drives. I have WiFI access to my computers through the router and locally shared folders.

That said the attraction of Thunderbolt is worth considering.

All that said, that is why I am waiting for Thunderbolt on all motherboards and waiting for DDR5 . I would not tell anyone to wait, I would though suggest taking it into consideration as this will be a big update/upgrade to all current systems, new motherboard new memory.
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Re: New PC Build for recording

Postby merlyn » Thu May 06, 2021 11:46 pm

You're right about this being a bad time to buy a graphics card -- some of the prices are ludicrous. There is a global shortage of graphics cards and some people are taking advantage of that.

On the subject of quiet -- the noisiest part of my system is the old graphics card that I took out my old machine. Its one small fan is noisier than two be quiet! pure wings and two 140mm Noctuas.

I noticed before the graphics card shortage there were cards available that shut the fans down when the load was low like a MSI RX580. I'd go for something quiet like that once the prices settle down.
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Re: New PC Build for recording

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri May 07, 2021 10:34 am

You could do a lot worse for ideas than going to the SCAN website and looking at the components they are using in their own 3XS machines.
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Re: New PC Build for recording

Postby Luke W » Fri May 07, 2021 11:07 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:You could do a lot worse for ideas than going to the SCAN website and looking at the components they are using in their own 3XS machines.

Definitely. They've also got some helpful guides of where to focus your money and efforts for different use cases, under the "Pro Audio PCs Introduction" section here:

https://www.scan.co.uk/3xs/custom/daw-digital-audio-workstation-pcs
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Re: New PC Build for recording

Postby -nemo- » Tue May 18, 2021 4:37 pm

Luke W wrote:You could do a lot worse for ideas than going to the SCAN website and looking at the components they are using in their own 3XS machines.

I just did that and i have a question:

I read somwhere here that it is best to use the same RAM clock speed than the CPU use; so 3200 for a Ryzen 5900X for exemple. And here they are using 3600Mhz RAM .

What do you think of it?


I want to build a new DAW with a Ryzen 7 5800x
i know i will be using an X570 motherboard (wich one? too many choice, and a lot of gaming oriented MB ...)
32Gb of RAM, but 3200? 3600? i'm lost.
and M2 SSD hard drives for Windows and sound libraries

Any recommendation for the Motherboard and RAM clock speed?
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Re: New PC Build for recording

Postby merlyn » Tue May 18, 2021 5:33 pm

-nemo- wrote:I read somwhere here that it is best to use the same RAM clock speed than the CPU use; so 3200 for a Ryzen 5900X for exemple. And here they are using 3600Mhz RAM .

What do you think of it?

With Ryzens there's another clock for what AMD call the 'Infinity Fabric'. Ryzens use a chiplet design and Infinity Fabric is how the chiplets talk to each other. The fastest the Infinity Fabric can go and stay in a 1:1 relationship with the memory clock is 1800Mhz. It's DDR -- double data rate so with 3600MHz RAM the memory clock is 1800MHz and the memory reads and writes on both edges of the clock signal. 3600MHz RAM then gets called 'the sweet spot'.

I built a Ryzen system recently and I used 3600MHz CL16 RAM.

I used a MSI B550A Pro motherboard which has been fine and doesn't have a fan. Unless there's something about the X570 that you particularly want?
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Re: New PC Build for recording

Postby resistorman » Tue May 18, 2021 6:02 pm

I built a PC last year, but I have to say with parts shortages becoming more common it might very well cost more to build your own PC than buy one from Scan. In fact, even at the best of times you don’t save much.
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Re: New PC Build for recording

Postby Trevor Johnson » Tue May 18, 2021 6:34 pm

I built a Ryzen based PC, 3900, with 64GB RAM, last year.

For RAM, use Ryzen optimised for better timings:
https://www.scan.co.uk/products/32gb-2x ... -amd-ryzen

The MB was an Asus PRIME X570-PRO,
https://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-pr ... usb32-gen2

The cooler, a Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4 (but you need a wide case),
https://www.scan.co.uk/products/noctua- ... h-a15-fans

NVME, x2, Samsung 970 Evo Plus, 1TB (the X570 chipset runs PCIE4, so is quick),
https://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-sam ... te-600k-55

And yes, I always look at what Scan are using, also Puget systems in the USA, as I do a lot of photography and video work.
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Re: New PC Build for recording

Postby merlyn » Tue May 18, 2021 8:09 pm

@Trevor Johnson The RAM you linked to is CL18. CL16 would be better. You do know the SSD you linked to is PCIe3?

@-nemo- Looking at the link Trevor posted an obvious difference between a B550 chipset and an X570 is that there are more PCIe4 lanes. So the X570 has two PCIe4 M.2 slots. On the B550 motherboard I got there is one PCIe4 and one PCIe3 M.2 slot. And do you want RGB? I didn't. :)

I've got a PCIe3 M.2 NVMe SSD (bit of a mouthful) in at the moment and it's fast. PCIe4 SSDs like a Western Digital Black claim sequential read speeds of 7000MB/s or twice as fast as what I've got in this machine. PCIe4 is so fast the M.2 drives have a heatsink. With PCIe4 I think it might boot up before I've pressed the power button. :lol:
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Re: New PC Build for recording

Postby -nemo- » Wed May 19, 2021 4:26 pm

merlyn wrote:I used a MSI B550A Pro motherboard which has been fine and doesn't have a fan. Unless there's something about the X570 that you particularly want?

PCIE 4.0! For a 2To SSD with my soundbank so they can load as quickly as possible!
The Asrock X570 Taichu has 3 x M2 PCIE 4.0 ports!
One for the system, one for my soundbank and one for the others soundbank when i will be rich enough ^^

Yeah, newest PCIe4 drives seems insanely fast!
And no RGB needed for me neither! my 12yo are far enough :)

For 32Gb of RAM, Is 4x8 better than 2x16?


Thanks for all your answer guys!
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Re: New PC Build for recording

Postby n o i s e f l e ur » Wed May 19, 2021 5:58 pm

uselessoldman wrote:Fans on chipsets is nothing new been around for a long time hardly going to matter when you consider the size of other fans on the CPU, Power Supply, Cases and some graphics cards. .


It can matter quite a bit if your little chipset fan emits a high-pitched whine as opposed to the spectrum of noise generated by the much larger fans on the CPU, PSU, case and some GPUs - no?


Username checks out.
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