I need a build list critique

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Sklar
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I need a build list critique

Post by Sklar » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:55 am

I am planning on building a PC for a Home Studio (Live recording, mixing, producing, DAW, etc.) that is as silent as possible. I have a list of components fleshed out but wanted a critique for any obvious issues (i.e., loudness, incompatibility, there's a better option).

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 Black Pearl w/ USB 3.0 ATX Mid Tower Silent PC Computer Case
PSU: SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold
Mobo: ASUS P8Z77-V PRO
CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz
Cooling: CORSAIR Hydro Series H100i Water Cooler
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3 2133
SSD (for OS and Apps): SAMSUNG 840 Pro 128GB SSD
HDD (Samples): Seagate Barracuda 3TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s
Graphics card: Integrated for now
Sound card: Integrated
Firewire card (to connect my Motif XF keyboard): Syba PCI Express to 1394 Card

Thanks for any opinions.
Sklar

edh
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Re: I need a build list critique

Post by edh » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:10 pm

Case: The Define is a good choice if you want ATX. You could drop to MicroATX and achieve the same noise level if space is a problem.

650W PSU is far more than required by this system. You could save money by downsizing (seasonic G-360) or if money is not a problem, move to a passive PSU (Seasonic X-400).

Mobo: Don't be too afraid of H77 chipset models. There are also some other motherboards with lower power consumption, adding gaming features usually makes it worse, as demonstrated here:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6144/asus ... erboards/6

CPU: Do you plan to heavily overclock the system? The K version is only really for this purpose being unlocked. The normal 3770 will perform the same at stock and is cheaper.

Cooling: Pump noise may be worse than fan noise. Again, if you are not overclocking, you do not need this. The 3770 is only 77W so any high end tower cooler would suffice.

HDD: Consider a lower RPM (5400 or 5900) model. The noise level is lower but also the tone is a lower frequency.

CA_Steve
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Re: I need a build list critique

Post by CA_Steve » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:26 pm

Hi and welcome to SPCR.

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 - check. 170mm CPU cooler height clearance. Be prepared to use your mobo's Fan Xpert2 utility to set up a silent profile.

PSU: SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold - total stressed system power is in the 130W range. Good news is the fan won't turn on. Another is the Kingwin LZP-550. Or, you could go with a lower wattage fanless design. Seasonic X-400, etc.

Mobo: ASUS P8Z77-V PRO - check. Does the PRO have features you need over the other varieties?

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz - check

Cooling: CORSAIR Hydro Series H100i Water Cooler: If you don't plan to overclock the CPU, you can use a decent air cooler for similar temps, less noise and less cost. The recently reviewed Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M is ~$43. The Noctua NH-L12 is another good choice for ~$60. Moving up in size, there's the Scythe Mugen 3 Rev B for $45.

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3 2133: There's a tiny benefit going to DDR3 1800 from 1600...but nothing to be gained going to 2133. Better off sticking with DDR3 1600 with decent timing at 1.5V or less. Also, beware heatspreader clearance as you select a CPU cooler. If you like G.Skill, there's the [url=http://tinyurl.com/cmjcr6y[Ares series[/url].

SSD (for OS and Apps): SAMSUNG 840 Pro 128GB SSD: Very fast, but new controller. The 830 has a great track record, hopefully the 840 Pro will as well.

HDD (Samples): Seagate Barracuda 3TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s: I understand that you need a 7200 rpm drive for samples....good selection, but you might notice seek noise. Might have to throw it into an enclosure. Alternative is a second SSD for samples (Samsung 830, Crucial m4 are cheap and reliable) and a 5400rpm drive for storage.

Graphics card: Integrated for now
Sound card: Integrated

tim851
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Re: I need a build list critique

Post by tim851 » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:45 pm

The best heatsink for low noise out there is the Thermalright HR-02 Macho. With low airflow (=low noise), none cools better.

Sklar
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Re: I need a build list critique

Post by Sklar » Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:53 pm

Thanks for your detailed critiques, they were most helpful and will save me money and have a quieter machine. It's nice to get actual help on a forum for a change.

Thanks a million,
Sklar

CA_Steve
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Re: I need a build list critique

Post by CA_Steve » Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:14 pm

Also,

The i7 is great if you work with a LOT of tracks and virtual instruments. If it's just a few, even the i3-3225 would work well. Where the specific breakpoint is on when you need an i3, i5 or i7 is probably better found over at gearslutz's forums.

bonestonne
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Re: I need a build list critique

Post by bonestonne » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:14 pm

What DAW software are you using? I did a lot of work with Avid, so if you're going to opt for Pro Tools, then I would suggest a higher end Core i5. Unless you're going to be using a larger interface, multitrack recording, and a lot of plugins, you have no need for an i7. An i7 will be useful if you're looking to record over 4 tracks at once. I wouldn't bother with an i7 unless you really need that much power. An i7 is very powerful, and maybe more than what you need.

I would suggest an i5 with 8-16gb of RAM, but not more than that. Integrated graphics may not be quite enough for what you're doing. Integrated graphics has advanced quite a bit over the past couple years, but depending on what you're doing, you may find you need a little more oomph. If you go for a lower end, dedicated card, you may find it will run more efficiently with DAW software, considering the waveform drawing is going to be somewhat demanding.

400W PSU is a great choice for this build, regardless of what CPU you get.

I doubt you'll need the power of an i7 right now, and you'll be able to upgrade in the future if you do reach a point that you need it in the future, and it will be cheaper to upgrade later to an i7, even a used one in a couple years will be more than sufficient for you.

I work with Pro Tools, Reaper, Audition, and others, and I currently use a Q9400 on a P45 chipset with no problems in very large sessions.

Falkon
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Re: I need a build list critique

Post by Falkon » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:40 am

I would consider using something other than onboard sound if you're going to be doing live recording, mixing, etc. Something like the Asus Xonar Essence STX should work well for that application. You get a dedicated 1/4" line in as well as a 1/4" output jack with headphone amp. Plus the audio quality is far superior to onboard.

bonestonne
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Re: I need a build list critique

Post by bonestonne » Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:26 pm

For any real DAW work, forget the Xonar, Creative and Realtek solutions and get a dedicated audio interface. In simple terms, better quality audio, better drivers, and better compatibility with major DAW software.

I'd never use any onboard audio for serious DAW work, that's inviting a problem.

tim851
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Re: I need a build list critique

Post by tim851 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:12 am

bonestonne wrote:ntegrated graphics may not be quite enough for what you're doing. Integrated graphics has advanced quite a bit over the past couple years, but depending on what you're doing, you may find you need a little more oomph. If you go for a lower end, dedicated card, you may find it will run more efficiently with DAW software, considering the waveform drawing is going to be somewhat demanding.
???
Which software renders a waveform in 3D? And even if it did: how can a frickin' waveform be taxing a GPU? I might be off, but it seems like that would be entirely CPU-bound.

CA_Steve
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Re: I need a build list critique

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:33 am

tim851 wrote:???
Which software renders a waveform in 3D? And even if it did: how can a frickin' waveform be taxing a GPU? I might be off, but it seems like that would be entirely CPU-bound.
Don't think 3D; think GPGPU based H/W acceleration.

tim851
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Re: I need a build list critique

Post by tim851 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:03 am

CA_Steve wrote:
tim851 wrote:???
Which software renders a waveform in 3D? And even if it did: how can a frickin' waveform be taxing a GPU? I might be off, but it seems like that would be entirely CPU-bound.
Don't think 3D; think GPGPU based H/W acceleration.
Is waveform not what I think it is?

I've had music software display dozens of waveforms in realtime back in 2000 or so when I had my electronic music phase.

Why would you want to GPGPU that?

CA_Steve
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Re: I need a build list critique

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:23 am

Do a web search for "DAW gpu acceleration". Primarily used for virtual instruments to offload CPU.

tim851
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Re: I need a build list critique

Post by tim851 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:47 am

I actually did. And didn't find anything, really. Doesn't seem to be a thing.

But I'm still curious about waveforms. Have software devs really found a way to make a frickin' waveform ressource intensive to compute?

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