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First Time DAW Build
Old 14th June 2006
Here for the gear
🎧 15 years
First Time DAW Build

Hey guys (gals? )

I'm planning to build a kickass PC DAW this summer that will take me beyond my HP I'm rocking to the extreme of it's abilities. I've never really done this from scratch before, but have enough familiarity with computers so that if I have a little guidance

Let's pretend I've got about $1000 to spend.

I've already got a Nuendo, a MOTU Ultralite, a pair of Yamaha HS80M's, a UAD-1 and an Adaptec 4300 w/ TI Chipset.

What are some things to keep in mind compatibility wise? (keeping everything happy between the motu, mobo, and UAD)

What are the most important components to spend the dough on? (I'm thinking Motherboard, Harddrives, and RAM?)

Thanks for the help...

Old 14th June 2006
Gear Maniac
🎧 15 years
Since you have Nuendo, you should check the Nuendo Forums Stickies in the computer and hardware section. They have a few links to performance tests with different systems aswell. AMD X2 seems to stack up the best in the performance/price range at the moment in most audio applications I believe. Atleast that was the status when I put together my last build.
Try and stick with quiet components and hope everything else works. The type of ram isnt very important, look at the macs, just stick with whatever is compatable with your mb.
Old 14th June 2006 | Show parent
Here for the gear
🎧 15 years
What about for a power supply ?

What kinds of things do I need to look at between the PS and Mobo?

Old 14th June 2006
Gear Nut
🎧 15 years
I don't know if I'd say that type of ram isn't inportant.... I built a couple DAWs and had a few problems. I replaced the generic ram with Corsair ram and the probs went away.

Seems silly but that's what happened.
Old 15th June 2006 | Show parent
Here for the gear
chalfant's Avatar
🎧 15 years
My 2 cents......

If it's a machine for Music, go INTEL PENTIUM D (dual core)
A single core 3 gig will fly too but if the software supports dual, get it.

Intel is NOT as fast as Amd in many applications, especially games BUT it IS regarded as more stable.

I just put together a third current DAW and my parts are listed below.
Do some google searching on them and you will discover they are all high end, affordable and completely compatible.

I am not an expert but I have built about 20 or so DAWs and have used every major software program out there as I used to be in the biz and got it all for free

There are 3 real important factors for a DAW but all revolve around it's foundation as I call it.

2 MOBO (M/Board)
3 Power Supply

Ram is also critical but it is matched to the specific cpu/mobo you are using and the only variable is amount and quality, although even cheaper ram will work but I use Kingston. Good price versus performance.

The power supply is the leading cause of pops and cracks due to lack of power when running large track counts. Always get a little more and always get a premium brand.

As far as Motherboards are concerned I only use Asus and only the upper end models, afterall it is what houses everything.
You also want certain things on the motherboard that really start narowing down the field. They are-

Gigabit lan
usb 2.0
PCI slots x 3
PCI x for video card ONLY 64meg. DO NOT use high end 128 + gamers card
Min 4 gigs Ram capacity
Sata Raid

Running a cool system is also vital and that starts with the CPU.
Hence the Pentium D (dual core) 930, whcih is a presler and much cooler than previous chips.

For hard drives you need at least 2
One small 80gig, no bigger, for the C: win xp pro O/S drive.
One 250 gig S-ATA for sounds, audio tracks

There's more but let's start here and below are the parts and prices

CPU PENTIUM D 930 (775, 3 GIG, 64BIT)
Hard drives total
Case ATX quality antec eg.
DVD RW Sony 16x16

Total is aprox $ 950

This is an awesome DAW........

Good luck
Old 15th June 2006 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
🎧 15 years
You should also consider investing in a quiet enclosure, power supplies and fans. I built a very quiet system with parts from www.quietpc.com. Their acoustically lined case is nice.

Old 15th June 2006 | Show parent
Here for the gear
chalfant's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Here's a link for the FX-Teleport and Gigaport software that enables one to link up multiple computers

Old 15th June 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
Sugarnutz's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I ma putting a new DAW together for Nuendo this week, here is what I am going with:

All computer parts I am or have obtained from Newegg.com

Asus A8V 939 AMD motherboard $70
4 pieces of Kingston ValueRam 512 mb DDR 400 $160 (I have had good luck with this RAM)
AMD 64x2 3800 $290
NEC 3550 DL DVD burner $35
Thermaltake Purepower 420 power supply $35-40
Old HawkingTech Rackmount case I have had for years, New cheap rackmount at Newegg is about $80
40gig Hitachi IDE harddrive I had laying around for OS. New IDE 40-80 gig at Newegg is about $50, I have used a bunch of Samsungs lately and they are hanging in there real well.
I have an Adaptec Ultra160 controller I got for $30 on Ebay and a Seagate 36gig Ultra160/10K Cheetah I picked up on Ebay "New" for $26 (This was a sweet deal) that I will use for my audio drive.
I just bought a Hitachi SATA 160gig from Newegg for my net machine for $65, so figure getting two of these to RAID for your audio drive if needed.
I have a Matrox G550 going in thes machine I have had for a while, they are like $90 and it's a good choice for a stable DAW.

If you had to buy everything it will put you right at $1000. The Asus A8V is a VIA chipset and has proven to work well with the UAD1 which has not been the situation with some of the newer PCIE based motherboards/chipsets. My Soundcard is an older RME 9652, not the hewer HDSP version. All is hooked up to may Panasonic DA7 as I do everything 44.1/24. YMMV
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