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best motherboard and processor for home recording

  1. best motherboard and processor for home recording

    Hi people - just wondered if anyone has any suggestions concerning which motherboard and processor to use when I build my new pc next week. Is the P5B deluxe a good option? I need a board with firewire and as many USB 2 ports at possible. Thanks.
    Last edited by the_kiddy; 07-24-2007 at 05:11 PM.

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  3. #2

    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    Looks like a great MoBo for a DAW to me, since noise is a major issue...

    I went for AMD Opterons 275 (dual CPU) and the Mobo is Tyan S2895. Popular DAW setup, but big bucks too !

    Good luck

  4. #3
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    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    Before selecting a motherboard or CPU, I'd recommend choosing your audio interface. Some chipsets wreak havok with certain audio interfaces. Once you have this figured out, you can narrow your motherboard selection down to a specific chipset.

    Brandon

  5. Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    do you know any chipsets that work well with the presonus firepod?

    Looks like a great MoBo for a DAW to me, since noise is a major issue
    but if you're using an external interface onboard noise won't cause a problem, will it?
    Last edited by the_kiddy; 07-23-2007 at 08:47 PM.

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    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    Nope. You'll need to look that up. I don't own a Firepod.

    but if you're using an external interface onboard noise won't cause a problem, will it?
    I'm not sure what you mean by "onboard noise", but the computer makes noise in the room. This means mics can pick it up. This means while mixing your ears will be hearing this noise as well.

    Brandon

  7. Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    I'm not sure what you mean by "onboard noise", but the computer makes noise in the room. This means mics can pick it up
    ok - I see what you're saying. I'd never considered the mics picking up the noise my computer makes....is there a simple way around this problem?

  8. #7

    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    Not to many solutions:

    - Ultra quiet PC (ie no fans and very quiet hard disks)
    - Put the PC in another room when your tracking or permanently (some people put them on wheels !)
    - Build or buy an ISO box for it, but I guess it could overheat easily

    I went for the quietest PC I could build, and after spending almost $3000 on that machine, it's still making a bit of noise: the hard disks. But it's quite acceptable for my needs anyway.

  9. Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    is it true that nexus and seasonic make the quietest power supplies? Do I need to buy a power supply if I'm building my own PC - or will that come with it? Can you give me a quick briefing concerning power supplies and how important they are in terms of audio recording? Also - should I invest in a heatsink instead of using a fan to keep the noise down?
    Last edited by the_kiddy; 07-25-2007 at 07:01 PM.
    It is what one takes into solitude that grows there, the beast included. And so, many should be dissauded from solitude - Friedrich Nietzsche

  10. #9

    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    All the answers to your questions are there:

    http://www.amptone.com/silencingpcnoise.htm
    http://www.endpcnoise.com/

    Buy the PSU appart so you can choose a quiet one. And I suggest buying a powerfull one (550 watts and above).

  11. #10
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    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    Out of curiosity, why so big on the power supply? Wouldn't a huge power supply make more heat and therefor need more in the way of cooling? Just curious.

    Brandon

  12. Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    Out of curiosity, why so big on the power supply? Wouldn't a huge power supply make more heat and therefor need more in the way of cooling? Just curious.
    Well, I did some searching online and kept reading that the power supply is one of the most underated components in terms of performance. But am I weighing up power vs noise, extra fan/heatsinks etc? How important IS the power supply Brandon? I don't want to leave anything to chance. Here's a passage I found - take a read and tell me what you think
    The power supply is extremely important. It must be of high quality and it must provide sufficient power. There are two brands I would buy with confidence. They are Antec and Enermax. The amount of wattage is another matter. Even low-end computers should have at least 300-watt power supply. Performance computers like My Super PC should have at least a 450-watt power supply. High-end computers with multiple video cards should have at least a 550-watt power supply. It's very important to have a sufficient power supply in terms of its quality and wattage as a poor power supply can cause no end of trouble and it will not necessarily be obvious that the power supply is the culprit.
    It is what one takes into solitude that grows there, the beast included. And so, many should be dissauded from solitude - Friedrich Nietzsche

  13. #12

    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    Yeah just as the post quoted by Kiddy, you can run into lots of problems with those power hungry new PC technology (dual core, dual CPU, PCI express, huge HD...) without even knowing it was simply the damn PSU. Sure was my case...

    Besides, a small PSU running at it's maximum rated wattage will generate more heat then a bigger one just cruising.

    And it gives you "headroom" for future expansion of the PC.

    Definitely a good idea too buy an excellent quality high power PSU.

    After buying a 350 W, I bought a 450 W, wich was barely enough for my new system. So this time I bought 750 W !!!

    Kiddy, here is an overview of my system, it can give you an idea. Cost me under $3000, grabbing some parts used on eBay (CPU and memory, these very parts are vitually never just a bit damaged, they work or they don't !), some other parts new...

    Tyan S2895 motherboard ($400 ebay new)
    AMD Opteron 275 X 2 ($300 ebay)
    Kingston PC3200 DDR registered ECC memory (1GB x 4) ($250 ebay)
    Seagate 80GB 7200RPM SATA hard drive X 2 (OS) (50$ new)
    Seagate 320GB 7200RPM SATA hard drive (1 drive for audio and 1 for samples) (200$ new)
    20X DVD-RW / CD-RW drive by Lite-On ($100 new)
    Asus EAX1600 silent video card (dual-head, passive cooled) (150$ new)
    PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad 750W Power Supply (300$ new)
    M-Audio Delta 1010LT Audio card (150$ new on Ebay)
    Samsung SyncMaster 740n 17" Flatscreens X 2 (300$ new)
    Zalman and Nexus quiet cooling solutions: $125
    Chenbro SR-105 PC Extended ATX Case : 175$ new
    Alesis Multimix 16 firewire (399$ new Woohoo getting it tomorrow !)

    Total price for a kicka** audio PC: 2900$
    Total for the hours of endless sleepless nights recording guitar and other such animal noises:

    PRICELESS !
    Last edited by Patriote; 07-26-2007 at 08:56 PM.

  14. #13
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    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    Wow! $3,000 on a PC? That's one way of doing it.

    Without a doubt, I'm getting my ass kicked on the PC end. I'm kind of a minimalist on everything until I find a good reason not to be. Good thing I'm not competing in any computer contests!

    My recording computer:

    Whatever Antec power supply for $50: $50
    Soltek Motherboard: $100
    Athlon 64 2800: $70 (at the time, could be snagged for $40 now probably)
    2 GB of Corsair RAM: $200
    Some $20 case laying around from 5 years ago: $20
    Some $40 DVD-R burner from 4 years ago: $40
    Matrox G450 video card bought used in 2002: ($80 at the time, could be snagged for $20 now).
    3 Maxtor 7200 ATA hard drives (200GB, 200GB, and 250GB): We'll say $300
    Some $30 CPU heatsink: $30

    Well, when I first bought this stuff, it looks like I dumped about $890 into it. That's not cheap. Of course, 1/3 of that was hard drive space. Now that I'm producing and writing my own stuff, I could get by easily with just two smaller hard drives. I'd probably put $150 in hard drives just to hold samples and such.

    When I upgraded like a 1.5 years ago, I kept the same case, power supply, dvd-r burner, hard drives, and video card. I just put in a new motherboard, RAM, and CPU. I'll probably do the same thing in 2 or 3 years.

    The 2GB of RAM isn't needed unless you are using a lot of samples. When I mixed my last record, I never exceeded 1GB of RAM usage after I had rendered my samples to wav.

    A person could get an excellent recording computer for $700. It won't win any contests, but that leaves you extra money for acoustic treatment, studio monitors, mics, plugins, etc. After that, upgrading should be about $250 if your needs are anything like mine.

    Besides, a small PSU running at it's maximum rated wattage will generate more heat then a bigger one just cruising.
    What's the physics behind that? Just curious. I thought a computer pulling 300 watts was pulling 300 watts. (kind of one of those conservation of energy laws). Maybe I'm oversimplifying this one.

    How important IS the power supply Brandon?
    I've done perfectly fine with $50 Antecs. I've used super cheap power supplies. They did fine too, but I find they are more prone to failure.

    That quote doesn't really say jack shit.

    I mean, it says you need a "good" power supply. Ok. What does that mean? It doesn't say if $5 power supplies are good enough (I'm writing this email on a computer that has a "A Open" power supply. I've had it since 2002). Yes, a computer has X needs, but this quote does nothing to illustrate those needs. For all I know, I could get out and crank some generator and it would be the right voltage (DON'T TRY THIS!).

    Generally speaking, and especially for home use, there is no need to get some kind of NASA super computer unless you just want one. Again, I made some kick ass records on an XP 2000. Was I crippled? Not at all. I didn't use synths then. Now I do. That's the only reason I upgraded.

    Just remember that a $700 computer and $2300 in in-demand microphones will be wortha bout $2301 in 5 years. A $2,000 computer will be worth $10 in 5 years.

    Brandon

  15. #14

    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    Yeah by no means anyone doing home recording needs such a high end PC. In fact I know some top notch engineers use very old PC they cherish because they know them and they're reliable...Hey, if it's doing the job !

    As for me, I'm a PC freak as much as I'm a music addict...But my PC really cost 2500$ + the Alesis Multimix 16 firewire (which I'm hooking up rrrrrrright now)

    Quote: What's the physics behind that? Just curious. I thought a computer pulling 300 watts was pulling 300 watts. (kind of one of those conservation of energy laws). Maybe I'm oversimplifying this one.

    Well I'm assuming a 300 watts PSU has smaller heat sinks & fan, and installed on a machine pulling 300 watts, will generate more heat then a 550 watts PSU, with biggers heatsinks and fans, installed on the same machine pulling 300 watts. And of course the PSU will generate no more power then the system is pulling...

    But again, the importance of a good PSU is very underated...It can cause anything from random crashes and lockups to hardware failure and data corruption, and are hard to diagnose.

    But back to noises problems due to fans. Take a look at these little things selling for 5$. They really can do wonders at quieting a PC when tracking audio. They simply slow down the fans and take 2 minutes to install. Coupled with the (free) Speedfan software to monitor fan speed and CPU temperature (DON'T slow down CPU fan speed without monitoring temperature !!!), you can upgrade significantly your PC for very little money.

    Fan mate: http://www.zalman.co.kr/eng/product/...dx=70&code=017
    Speedfan: http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php
    Last edited by Patriote; 07-27-2007 at 07:44 PM.

  16. #15

    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    G'Day from down under.

    I just built a PC for recording using ASUS P5B-V MB, it has P4-3.0G with 1 Gig Ram and a SATA 160G Seagate drive. And it is super quiet. I plain on using a presonus inspire 1394 firewire. The sond chip on this board runs at 192Khz/24bit audio output. Hope this helps.


    Yours Ned Kelly

  17. #16

    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    If a Cpu Comes with a Fan & Heatsink, do they come off? i mean i dont plan to take it off for no reason but if its noisy is at least the fan removable? since i plan to buy a cpu fan&heatsink that seems to be quiet i might not need the stock one, but if they both run quiet then great.

  18. #17

    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    Sure you can replace the heatsink and fan assembly on any CPU.

    Stock heatsink and fans (AMD, InteL) are good, but not great. They do the job, but no more...and tend to be noisy.

    Zalman makes great quiet aftermarket heatsinks and fans. For around 30-40$, you get something real nice and quiet.

    Make shure you use thermal grease between CPU and heatsink if you do !
    Last edited by Patriote; 07-30-2007 at 01:56 AM.

  19. #18
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    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    So will these two automatically work together or does a person have to manually check the temp with the software and then adjust the speed of the fan?

    I've never used anything like this before. If I could turn down the speed of the fans during "lighter usage" that may help.

    Brandon

  20. #19

    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    Well they complement each other Brandon....

    You can try Speedfan right now if you want. All it does is monitor fan speed and CPU temperature, and alerts you if it gets too hot.

    Fan mate is just manually slowing down the fan(s) of your choice. You stick a little "dimmer switch" to the outside of your PC case, and there you go !

  21. #20
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    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    If they don't work automatically, I'll pass. There is no possible way that I'm going to worry about CPU temperature while doing a session. I'd rather buy a $300 silent case (if it was that big deal).

    Also, I don't like the idea of installing more software on my rig, even if it is a fairly light program.

    It seams kind of silly that they don't work automatically, really. The entire point of a computer is to perform calcuations / adjust settings using parameters. If they made an auto gadget, I'd probably buy it.

    Brandon

  22. #21

    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    I know there is an option in Speedfan for it to automatically manage the fans, but you need 4 pins fan connections, and I'm not too shure what it does exactly.

    What people do is monitor the temperature a couple of times with different use of the pc, (when tracking, or when mixing for example), and note the needed fans speed for the PC not to overheat (the sweet spot: acceptable temperatures and little noise). Then they use these "presets" whenever they need them.

    I know it sounds a bit risky, but most motherboards's will simply shut down if they overheat...(Soltek MoBo does)

  23. #22
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    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    I know it sounds a bit risky, but most motherboards's will simply shut down if they overheat...(Soltek MoBo does)
    The computer shutting down on me sounds risky. What if I'm recording the vocal take of the century. (The one that I've been pushing for non-stop for the past 4 hours) and then damn computer shuts off? I'd rather turn the damn fan up 10dB on the computer and know that it's not going to shut down.

    Obviously, my recording computer is NOTHING but a music capture tool. All my theories / opinions may be completely retarded for any other subject but music recording. I'm only interested in capturing magic. Magic with a little fan noise in it never hurt anybody. At least this is the way I look at it.


    I'm guessing you've been using this adjusto-fan device quite a bit. Would you say that the default fan speeds are way faster / louder than they need to be? When I'm tracking or mixing, I'm probably pushing the PC pretty hard anyway. So this means the fan is going to be working hard anyway, right?

    Brandon

  24. #23

    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    Yeah the fans are almost always running way too fast to keep the CPU and other components at a decent temp. In fact, they're always turning at full speed, which is needed only when your pushing the PC to its max. Fortunately, when tracking, the PC is not working really hard (unless your using lots of plug-ins while tracking like compression, eq, distortion....). So usually you can make the fans go a lot slower and quieter while tracking most of the times . In my case, the only time fans are going at full speed is when I'm mixing and mastering, i.e. using lots of CPU hungry plug-ins.

  25. #24
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    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    Okay, well this sounds interesting then. Are there any automated solutions out there?

    Brandon

  26. #25

    Re: best motherboard and processor for home recording

    Yup, speedfan will when you tic "Automatic fan speed". But your MoBo have to support it, ie have 4 pins fan connectors.

    Otherwise you'll have to go with the Zalman dimmers solutions...

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