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PC build starting with a great MB
Old 14th March 2014
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
PC build starting with a great MB

Hello,

I run mostly analog hardware so apologies for being way behind on computers. I am going to assemble a rackmount PC to run Mixbus, Sonar, PT Native, etc. on Windows 8. Target is a soft $1500. I'm clueless about the current spread of PC hardware. Could anyone help, starting with a motherboard choice? Here is a list of things I need but have no knowledge of computer hardware in the last 4 years.

1. Motherboard with boatloads of bandwidth for multiple HDDs, 5ish PCIe slots, and fast memory. Bottlenecks are bad! dont need onboard audio.

2. somewhere around 12Ghz of CPU speed with enough cache to be super stable because I print in analog and can't have clicks or pops during mixdown.

3. 16GB or more of fast memory

4. already have the HDDs (if SATA is still the standard interface)

5. rackmount case is preferable. Quiet is nice but not essential.
Old 14th March 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
12ghz of CPU speed? Do you mean 12 core processing? You can't overclock a processor to 12Ghz If you mean 12 core, you're going to need either a dual-Xeon system, or you have to spend over $2700 on your processor alone. Needless to say, you don't need a 12 core processor unless you're doing some really heavy work.

Most all mobos are going to have onboard audio, you just bypass it.

The average socket 1150/56 motherboard (Intel processors) at this point will cap out at 32GB of RAM. The best chipsets are the z87 and z77 chipsets, depending on what processor you go with.

Yes, SATA is still the primary interface, with 3gbs and 6gbs connectors as standard.

Rackmount cases - go with a 4U case so you have space in it. We use various cases but the offerings from ARK and Silverstone are good for rack builds.

I prefer Gigabyte and ASrock motherboards. I have heavily benched them for audio usage and know how to tweak them for audio.

Good luck!
Old 14th March 2014
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Thanks!

12GHz was a mistake - what I think I meant was 3.x ghz * 4 cores or something.

I'm curious about tweaking a motherboard for audio.
Old 15th March 2014
  #4
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🎧 10 years
I thought so.

The tweaks can be the small stuff in the BIOS, all the way up to overclocking your CPU and RAM properly - many tutorials available out there. Takes time and patience to find the best settings, I've burnt many hours behind the bench, but once you know it, it becomes much easier and gives you great performance.
Old 15th March 2014
  #5
Here for the gear
 
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🎧 5 years
Can any advice me to build a home mixing studio?

Hey there guys.. I started to mix and I was thinking of the basic necessary things required for a home mixing setup.
I want to use Pro Tools (I've got PT HD10).. I want to run this thing. Please leave those "Consoles/Mixers"... what kind of system should I use..
I mean the sound cards (ASIO Compatible) and then some external DSP and good monitors..

any other tip is also appreciated!

Thank You
Old 15th March 2014 | Show parent
  #6
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
yeah as soon as I saw my own post I realized that was the natural followup question.

Thank you for your advice on the chipsets too, you really helped me out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianbotkiller ➑️
I thought so.

The tweaks can be the small stuff in the BIOS, all the way up to overclocking your CPU and RAM properly - many tutorials available out there. Takes time and patience to find the best settings, I've burnt many hours behind the bench, but once you know it, it becomes much easier and gives you great performance.
Old 15th March 2014 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
not sure this is the only way to go, but a good place to start, like you mentioned, is a stable sound card.

If you want to use outboard converters, you'll still need an ASIO (in your case) sound card in your computer to communicate with the converters. PT sells these bundled together...? But other companies like Lynx or Apogee or Mytec or many others have their own options for doing this too.

For example, I use outboard converters from JCF, and to get digital "sound" out of my computer, I use Lynx PCIe AES cards.

But some companies make smaller systems, like a PCIe card that has digital AND analog I/O. If you don't need many channels, this sort of thing may be an option.

External DSP, as far as I know, is mostly company-dependent. So it depends on what products you want to power with the external DSP.

Good monitors... good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KillaAssProductn ➑️
Hey there guys.. I started to mix and I was thinking of the basic necessary things required for a home mixing setup.
I want to use Pro Tools (I've got PT HD10).. I want to run this thing. Please leave those "Consoles/Mixers"... what kind of system should I use..
I mean the sound cards (ASIO Compatible) and then some external DSP and good monitors..

any other tip is also appreciated!

Thank You
Old 16th March 2014 | Show parent
  #8
Here for the gear
 
KillaAssProductn's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagfoot ➑️
not sure this is the only way to go, but a good place to start, like you mentioned, is a stable sound card.

If you want to use outboard converters, you'll still need an ASIO (in your case) sound card in your computer to communicate with the converters. PT sells these bundled together...? But other companies like Lynx or Apogee or Mytec or many others have their own options for doing this too.

For example, I use outboard converters from JCF, and to get digital "sound" out of my computer, I use Lynx PCIe AES cards.

But some companies make smaller systems, like a PCIe card that has digital AND analog I/O. If you don't need many channels, this sort of thing may be an option.

External DSP, as far as I know, is mostly company-dependent. So it depends on what products you want to power with the external DSP.

Good monitors... good luck!

thanx for the reply first of all..
and I have read that there are ASIO compatible PCIe cards(If I am right).. so what If I buy one of those and get those installed on my system....and Do I really need converters?.. I mean... suppose I don't want to get that "Analog" sound....I can get an ASIO supported PCIe card and taht can solve my problem?

so can you suggest me some of these cards?.. that would be great.. and I'm also planning to buy Eris E5 or E8 (a pair, obviously).. :P
PreSonus Eris E5 | Sweetwater.com
PreSonus Eris E8 | Sweetwater.com


and I am also aiming for some Decent recording setup.. so anything that can go with this??Sugest something guys please...

anywayz.. thanx man.. helped clear some of my doughts
Old 17th March 2014
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
You don't -have- to have outboard converters, no.

Any audio device you get will be ASIO.

Lynx and RME make great in-the-box PCIe solutions.
Old 17th March 2014
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Okay back on topic here is the PC build I'm interested in:

Asus Sabertooth X79 or Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4 with Intel i7 4930K 3.4GHz 6-core

Brian, you suggested the z78 or z77, but I could really use the extra cores, 8 memory slots, and extra PCIe slots that come with the X79 chipsets. I do need advice on the motherboards though - the Gigabyte UP4 has a memory speed I want without overclocking and also more PCIe ports which is nice but not essential, but the Asus Sabertooth has more reviews that praise its stability, but also has on-board fans and I don't want the noise (I was going to go with noctua fans anyway.) If either of these boards seems to be more stable for audio and have less bottlenecks, that will help me make a decision.
Old 17th March 2014
  #11
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11 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
You may really want to consider Z87 or Z77 as brian mentioned above. X79 is finnicky. I hear the support for the X79 chipset isn't that very good. I've been through 2 mobo's already, 3rd one coming today. If this one doesn't remain problem free, I'm going down to Haswell.

I hear the best X79 boards are the ASUS ROG, but they come with a price. I had a P9X79 Pro... PCI slots and USB3 ports began having issues and now it will no longer post, is stuck on VGA Led light. This is after it working fine for 6-8 months.

I was considering replacing it with Gigabyte UP4 you mentioned above, but the reviews are really touch and go, there seem to be a ton of problems, especially with the BIOS. I spoke to another gearslutz member who has one and he also reported issues with the BIOS - he said he has to refresh it every now and then or else he gets severe problems. Quick fix, but a wild ride. So i strayed away from it.

Sabretooth looks good and gets good reviews, but at this point ASUS makes me nervous.

I personally decided on MSI x79a GD45 Plus. It gets good reviews and apparently MSI is one of the brands known for quality and being stable. This board in particular doesnt have all of the bells and whistles of the UP4 or the ASUS stuff... however, I'm hoping that's a good thing for X79 chipset, b/c maybe it's one of those cases where less features more more stability. They deliberately left off a lot of third party controllers to allow the X79 chipset to do the work.

I'm actually doing my rebuild today. If you reach out to me in a couple of days either here or PM i may be able to share some experiences with the board.

But yeah.... i'd take brian's advise and go Haswell. The power difference though it exists is probably not enough to knock your socks off. A stock 4770K may be all you really need. I too got sucked into the idea of having 6 cores/12 threads at 4.5GHz. It seems it can be difficult to maintain if you're not a pro like some of these guys here.
Old 17th March 2014 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the info.

Please let me know how the MSI board works. It looks like one of the more stable options.

Another hesitation with the z78 is the 32GB ram limit. I'm targeting 64. Composing with Vienna would be a lot more fluid.
Old 17th March 2014
  #13
Lives for gear
 
11 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Yeah I hear you on that re: 64GB of RAM for Vienna! haha.

I hear other people also consider PC farms for that. Not sure wha tthe cost breakdown would be but might be an additional option to have a slave PC for Vienna and run it via VE Pro. Just throwing out options here... b/c X79 isn't for the faint of heart! I would've switched by now if I wasn't so fully invested into X79 and if I wasn't so damn hardheaded lmao
Old 17th March 2014
  #14
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
After much research, over-analysis, and hand-wringing, I went with the ASUS MAXIMUS VI HERO for my DAW, and (knock on wood) it's been rock solid.
Old 18th March 2014 | Show parent
  #15
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11 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagfoot ➑️
Please let me know how the MSI board works. It looks like one of the more stable options.
It's still very very early of course. But I got done with the basics of the install... and the mobo seems to be running like a champ. No issues, just worked out the box like it should. I didn't reinstall Windows 8, i probably won't for a while b/c it's running the previous install on my SSD like a champ. I could be imagining but... it feels more responsive just clicking around than it did on my prior mobo. Click thru explorer and it goes to folders as fast as i clicked. I expected that performance on my P9X79 but I can't say I got it this smoothly. Same Win 8 install obviously, just different mobo. Programs are loaded as quickly as I expected from an SSD.

I still haven't 1) loaded up the PCI ports, 2) re-authorized my licenses (they drop out after mobo switches) or 3) overclocked. But... fairly impressed so far. Gotta also test all my software/hardware to see if I really need to reinstall or not. But... it's looking good so far. I'll try to remember to come back to this thread over the next few days as I get deeper. I've got a good feeling about this build though.

Update: okay yeah, gonna reinstall Win8 haha. It's acting funny when opening certain programs. Just gonna reinstall for the peace of mind. The platform is looking good though. But obviously only time will tell.
Old 19th March 2014 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPhoenix ➑️
It's still very very early of course. But I got done with the basics of the install...
good to hear. thanks for the update.
Old 19th March 2014
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
If the x79 boards are that finicky but I require at or above 4930K CPU power, should I get a

- single 2011-socket xeon board assuming they are any less maintenance than the x79...?
or
- wait for a haswell-ish chipset that supports >32GB ram and a processor >4770K?
Old 19th March 2014
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
SOLVED

It turns out that there are stable X79 boards so a xeon is not necessary.

Thank you to all contributors for the help and [email protected] for your time on the phone.
Old 20th March 2014
  #19
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11 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Update (if you still care lol)... spoke with ASUS about their P9X79 Pro and there is a potential issue w/ it's PCI controller. Apparently they're aware it can become faulty, after I described all the troubleshooting I tried, they responded pretty quickly (via Chat).

So yeah... I've heard good reviews from a friend of mine who has the P9X79 LE. But I'd stay away from the Pro. I'd try the LE, Deluxe or the WS first.

Now.. the MSI board... man it's looking good. All PCI devices are working well. Even little Win 8 issues I were experiencing before are no longer an issue. I still have to overclock but, I'm confident a conservative overclock will last a long time on this board. Looks like a great option to consider in your search for a stable X79 mobo. Unless you can afford ASUS ROG mobo haha
Old 20th March 2014 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagfoot ➑️
It turns out that there are stable X79 boards so a xeon is not necessary.

Thank you to all contributors for the help and [email protected] for your time on the phone.
Glad I could help!
Old 25th March 2014
  #21
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11 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Trying to stay true to my word here... sorry if I'm hijacking your thread.

It's been several days now. I've got a stable 4.2GHz overclock, RAM clocked to 1600mhz. I'm ready to call it.. this thing is rock solid. Practically everything on my system operates a big smoother, even my DAW loads a little quicker. Great board. not sure if I just had a dud w/ my previous mobo but... MSI X79a GD45 Plus is a great choice IMO. Mentioning it bc it really doesn't get talked about much.

CPU is cool too. I could probably get a 4.5 or 4.6 ghz overclock but, i'm not going to be greedy. 4.2 is all I need. Haven't had one boot failure or mobo releated hiccup yet. On my prior board, i had several random boot failures from simple overclocks.
Old 25th March 2014 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPhoenix ➑️
Trying to stay true to my word here... sorry if I'm hijacking your thread.

It's been several days now. I've got a stable 4.2GHz overclock, RAM clocked to 1600mhz. I'm ready to call it.. this thing is rock solid. Practically everything on my system operates a big smoother, even my DAW loads a little quicker. Great board. not sure if I just had a dud w/ my previous mobo but... MSI X79a GD45 Plus is a great choice IMO. Mentioning it bc it really doesn't get talked about much.

CPU is cool too. I could probably get a 4.5 or 4.6 ghz overclock but, i'm not going to be greedy. 4.2 is all I need. Haven't had one boot failure or mobo releated hiccup yet. On my prior board, i had several random boot failures from simple overclocks.

20% OC is typically a pretty safe zone.
Old 28th March 2014
  #23
OTA
Gear Nut
 
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Hi all.

I'm in a similar position to the OP, so I hope you all don't mind if I can ask for some feedback here instead of a new thread. But if you'd prefer me to start a new one....

It's time to replace my favorite ever, massively trusty, never-failed-me 6 yr old AMD 6000 dual core. I can't believe I got this far with him, what a champ!

I used to be (back when I last bought a system) right across all the nitty gritty of PC builds, and was an enthusiast for sure. But these days I've fallen waaay off the money and to be honest I don't have the time to care a great deal. I just wanna get something that smokes this ol' beast and be done with it in short order. Think heavy DAW usage and everyday mastering duties.

Anyway, I have the Antec Sonata case out in the machine room and plenty of SATA 7200 drives I currently use. I have an old fanless Nvidia V-card, but seeing as this isnt a gaming machine I think I should be happy to roll with the native vid support on these new mobo's for now. So I figure I'm going to grab new:

Mobo, CPU & RAM. (Possibly a new power supply too if needed)

So I'm looking at:

Asus Z87-A (or thereabouts)
i7-4770K CPU


Thoughts?

I need at least 8x direct USB connections to the mobo for various external rackmounts and peripherals that require the best speed transfer.

Also, I'm not sure what RAM setup will work best. Minimum 16, happy to go to 32, that's like living in the future for me!

Thanks, hope to hear some thoughts. fire away...
Old 28th March 2014
  #24
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One thing i might suggest as ive learned the hard way, and if your comps in it for the long haul,go completely modular if you have the ability. Meaning just a board and system drive in the case, everything else external.

3 hardrives and a disk drive later on my going on 10 year machine, and im sick to death of popping the lid for the thousandth time.

Though.....ssd drives might give you less trouble....
Old 28th March 2014
  #25
Gear Guru
 
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🎧 15 years
Built a new X79 2011 Asus Sabertooth rig with a Intel 3930k and it's be great! Was going to get one of the more premium Asus's but I needed at least one pci slot.
Old 28th March 2014 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by OTA ➑️
Hi all.

I'm in a similar position to the OP, so I hope you all don't mind if I can ask for some feedback here instead of a new thread. But if you'd prefer me to start a new one....

It's time to replace my favorite ever, massively trusty, never-failed-me 6 yr old AMD 6000 dual core. I can't believe I got this far with him, what a champ!

I used to be (back when I last bought a system) right across all the nitty gritty of PC builds, and was an enthusiast for sure. But these days I've fallen waaay off the money and to be honest I don't have the time to care a great deal. I just wanna get something that smokes this ol' beast and be done with it in short order. Think heavy DAW usage and everyday mastering duties.

Anyway, I have the Antec Sonata case out in the machine room and plenty of SATA 7200 drives I currently use. I have an old fanless Nvidia V-card, but seeing as this isnt a gaming machine I think I should be happy to roll with the native vid support on these new mobo's for now. So I figure I'm going to grab new:

Mobo, CPU & RAM. (Possibly a new power supply too if needed)

So I'm looking at:

Asus Z87-A (or thereabouts)
i7-4770K CPU


Thoughts?

I need at least 8x direct USB connections to the mobo for various external rackmounts and peripherals that require the best speed transfer.

Also, I'm not sure what RAM setup will work best. Minimum 16, happy to go to 32, that's like living in the future for me!

Thanks, hope to hear some thoughts. fire away...
Z87 is a great chipset to make use of.

4770k is a great processor.

16GB of RAM would be a good place to start; you can cap out that chipset with 32GB.
Old 30th March 2014 | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPhoenix ➑️
Update (if you still care lol)... spoke with ASUS about their P9X79 Pro and there is a potential issue w/ it's PCI controller. Apparently they're aware it can become faulty, after I described all the troubleshooting I tried, they responded pretty quickly (via Chat).
Well, that doesn't make any sense, because the P9X79 Pro doesn't even have a PCI slot, only PCI Express slots.

Also, there isn't really a "PCI controller" as such on any X79 mobo -- the PCI interface is integral to the X79 PCH itself.
Old 31st March 2014
  #28
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There's a strong possibility I'm calling it the wrong thing. Basically whatever onboard mechanism controls those PCI slots is faulty (I'm talking PCI 3.0, Pci 2.0, Pcie... whatever... semantics, I'm not a computer guy)
Old 31st March 2014 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Addict
 
Goddard's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPhoenix ➑️
There's a strong possibility I'm calling it the wrong thing. Basically whatever onboard mechanism controls those PCI slots is faulty (I'm talking PCI 3.0, Pci 2.0, Pcie... whatever... semantics, I'm not a computer guy)
PCI Express (PCIe) then, not PCI.

On Intel Socket 2011 (X79) platform, a PCIe controller is built into the processor (cpu) and directly provides a PCIe interface with 40x PCIe lanes, either gen 2.0 or gen 3.0 depending upon the processor version, while another PCIe controller is built into the X79 PCH (chipset) and provides an additional 8x PCIe 2.0 lanes. The X79 PCH also provides a "native" PCI bus interface for PCI slots/devices.

Not semantics, just basic pc tech/terminology. As the Music Computers forum motto goes, "If your computer has become your studio/instrument, learn to play it!"
Old 31st March 2014
  #30
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11 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
When you're right you're right from a terminology standpoint... but if one's talking about a mobo that only has PCI-E slots (x4 and x16) and mentions "PCI controller", it's not rocket science to figure out what said person meant. The helpful point I was trying to make is to watch out for stuff like that, esp if you're not a hardcore computer guy who knows about differences in chipset, how to set voltages in BIOS, how to setup raids, etc. I know what I need to know about computers (how to get a modest overclock, set voltage, etc) to the best of my ability to make sure things run smooth... and it came with tons of trial and error, despite the research I did before the trial and error phase. Sometimes you just can't possibly know what to research until it blows up in your face and you're forced to figure out why. So... trying to give the man a heads up. Things on a mobo can and do go wrong... so if I was about to buy a mobo and another GS member happens to have gotten word that that particular mobo can have potential issues with a certain part... I'd wanna know.. and that information is all that really matters. I really don't think me saying "PCI controller" would confuse him b/c I didn't say "PCI-E controller".
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