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tunefool
05-26-2005, 11:28 PM
Hi all,

Here's a newbie question: I just got Platinum and am looking to get a PC or two for it. (I'm currently using an aging Mac, which won't do the job...)

Any suggestions for PCs for someone on a tight budget, in terms of system requirements and also brands? I"m considering buying an emachines with an Athlon 64 processor and 512 MB RAM, which I'll upgrade to 1 gig. Is 1 gig enough RAM? Are there particular PCs that are more reliable, or ones that I should stay away from?

Here's some other information about my system, in case it's relevant for your answers. I'm using DP 3.11 on a Mac G4 with OS 9.1. Yeah, I know, it's all out of date, but I don't have the means for upgrading everything right now. I have an M-audio 2496 card and a MOTU timepiece AV.

Thanks for your help.

dkcycovery
05-27-2005, 01:38 AM
In my opinion, 512 to 1024 MB of RAM is far too less for an A64 - you'll struggle endlessly with swapping when having loaded a lot of instruments (what will certainly be the case if you use platinum - especially the instruments with keyswitches which consume a lot of memory).

I'd rather go with a cheaper CPU (Barton, or the cheapest A64), but at least 2048 MB of RAM. I'm using a Athlon M around 2600 MHz (don't know the exact clocking - it depends on the weather and the resulting room temperature how I clock my CPU :D) with 2GB of memory and I'm even considering to upgrade to 3GB.

Thomas
05-27-2005, 02:00 AM
In the Sibelius thread I made a post about a dedicated computer I put together to run samples:
I have been using a dedicated sample playing computer for a few months, and I couldn't be happier. Like you, I wanted something powerful to hold and play the sounds, while I run Sibelius on my main computer. But I didn't want to spend as much as the Vision DAW and other pre-built systems. So I ordered the components from chiefvalue.com and put one together myself. It only took an afternoon to assemble and works like a dream - and only cost about 1500 bucks with monitor and everything. Here is what I built:

AMD 64 bit 3200 processor
MSI RS480M2-IL motherboard
4 gigabytes of ram - (4 sticks of 1 GB GE1GB3200BSC)
Maxtor SATA 300 gig hard drive (for samples) 6B300S0
Maxtor 200 gig ide drive for operating system and software
Silverstone flat desktop silver case, SST-LC11-S
17 inch LCD monitor
CD + DVD writer and reader Liteon sohw-1673S

I put in a sound card that I had laying around spare, which is a Hammerfall Digi9636. It has 16 channels of of adat lightpipe ins and outs, which digitally plug into my mixer for 16 separate outs, which is cool. The sound card is the only thing I didn't pay for in the bill of $1517.44. If you compare this to the Vision DAW system (which has no monitor in the $2500 price) you realize that it is a thousand dollars cheaper, and has twice as much ram as the Vision, five times the disk storage space, a faster processor, a better CD/DVD burner, a better case, plus a monitor. If you don't want the expensive Silverstone case that I bought, and don't need a monitor, you can get this system for about a grand. I picked the Silverstone case because it is flat, like a Tivo box, or hi-fi component, which sits on my desk with the space-saving LCD monitor on top. I wanted it to be small and handy. Actually, everything in my system is superior to the Vision DAW except that thier SATA drive is a 10,000 rpm Raptor, whereas mine is 7200. The extremely low cost of the 7200 over the expensive Raptor made me make this one compromise, especially because there is just not enough storage available on small 38 gig Raptors, which cost more than a 300 gig 7200 SATA. I chose storage space over speed in this case, but if money is no object get a few 10,000 rpm SATAs if you want to have the very best.

Anyway, with the 4 gigs of ram and the SATA hard drive and the 64 bit processor, the samples are playing like crazy, and I have not had one problem or crash yet.

As far as ram goes, I wouldn't even think about 1 gig, because after loading Windows you willl have little left for samples. With the lowering cost of ram these days it makes no sense to me not go put in the full 4 gigs if you are putting together a system from scratch. However, you must find a motherboard that has the slots for 4 gigs, in a four-stick configuration if you want it to be economical. I don't know what the maximum ram capacity of the Emachines is, but I am sure you can do better if you buy the system components yourself - more power and lower cost than prebuilt systems. Remember that ram is really important if you want to run large disk-straming samples like EWQLSO. You can never have too much.

sinkd
05-27-2005, 05:25 AM
Thanks, Thomas for reposting that here.

I priced those components and it came to around $1150 at ChiefValue--very cool, and I think I will get the desktop case. Did you add any additional cooling fans?

DS

Thomas
05-27-2005, 07:24 AM
SINKD,

If you get the Siverstone case it has three fans built in, so you donít need any more. At least I did not add them. The only thing is that the MSI motherboard does not have enough little power chords to power all three, so you have to get an adapter if you want to power all three fans at once. As I said, you donít have to get the Silverstone case, which is much more expensive than a lot of others, but I liked the desktop configuration of it. Donít be fooled by the picture, - it is still quite large Ė kind of like an Adat, but not quite as tall. But it looks good on a desktop. (One more thing, - if you get the Silverstone case - the motherboard fits quite tightly onto the aluminum casing, so my motherboard was shorted by the case. I fixed this by putting electrical tape along the bottom of the inside where the case meets the motherboard.)

Anyway, if you buy the whole system I got for around $1500 a few months ago, I just priced it on chiefvalue.com and it came to $1,338.51. Iím not sure how you were able to get it for $1150, so I am listing here the exact components, and the chiefvalue.com item number for you to price it yourself:

Case - CF11163041 $165.98
Motherboard - CF13130485 $85.00
Processor - CF19103502 $190.10
Ram CF20144321 (X 4) $350.00
Hard Drive 1 CF22140151 $101.99
Hard Drive 2 CF22144359 $191.95
Monitor CF24209002 $199.99
CD/DVD burner/drive CF27106967 $53.00
Total $1,338.51

Other things you might need:

Keyboard and Mouse - if you donít have a set to spare (I got CF23172004 Ė a small Gyration cordless system - but you might like something bigger)

Soundcard Ė you can pick whatever you like. Mine has the Hammerfall Light DIGI9636 (which you can check out at http://www.8thstreet.com/product.asp?ProductCode=6816&Category=Audio_Interfaces) You donít need one as expensive as that if you donít want the 16 channels of digital output. I like it because my other computer has a MOTU 828, so I can directly connect 8 separate outputs from the one computer to the other, and record 8 channels at once of digital audio between computers. Or I can transfer 16 tracks of channels in or out of the new computer using lightpipe connections, which are built into my mixer. A good list of just about all possible pci soundcards, from super cheap to expensive is available at http://www.8thstreet.com/Catalog_type.asp?ProductType=PCI&Category=Audio_Interfaces&Division=Software/Hardware But then you might prefer a usb or firewire soundcard, there are even more possibilities.

Midi Connection between the two computers. (This is assuming you are building your new computer as a second computer to work with your main one Ė otherwise you do not need this. I wanted at least 5 or 6 midis (X 16) in and out of my main computer and into my new sample computer. I had this on my first computer, so I got a MOTU Microlite for my sample player computer (http://www.8thstreet.com/product.asp?ProductCode=20135&Category=MIDI_Interfaces)

However, since I got the Microlite, I have been told by friends that using Midi between the two computers is old-fashioned and more expensive than using FX Teleport (http://www.fx-max.com/fxt/) I havenít tried it myself, but they say it eliminates the need for midi interface and cables between the two computers, as long as you have a network hub.

Anyway, that is everything you could possibly need to build yourself a great extra sample-playing computer. If you compare it to the various pre-built dedicated systems between $2,000 and $3,000 without even a monitor, and much lower specs, you will see that building one yourself is really the best way to go.

Good luck

dkcycovery
05-27-2005, 07:36 AM
more expensive than using FX Teleport (http://www.fx-max.com/fxt/)

I've tried this one with EWQLSO with no luck... the remote plugin always stayed orange in the plugins list... has anyone made better experiences with it?

Would be quite interesting, as I'd place any sampling computers in another room where I've only got a LAN connection.

sinkd
05-27-2005, 07:47 AM
SINKD,

Anyway, if you buy the whole system I got for around $1500 a few months ago, I just priced it on chiefvalue.com and it came to $1,338.51. Iím not sure how you were able to get it for $1150, so I am listing here the exact components, and the chiefvalue.com item number for you to price it yourself:



Thanks for the response Thomas, and the tip about the shorted motherboard. I actually priced it without the monitor and with a slightly more expensive motherboard, hence the $ diff-- I appreciate your thorough follow up.

My main DAW is a G5, so FX Teleport is not an option. But when I get brave enought to update to Tiger, that has built-in MIDI over LAN capabilities. Right now I am using MIDIOverLAN to trigger a few samples on my old G4Dual. Which reminds me, I am going to need a Gigabit Ethernet card on the PC...!

DS

Thomas
05-27-2005, 08:42 AM
SINKD,

What motherboard are you thinking of using? If you want to use the smallish desktop Silverstone case then you can only use the smaller MicroATX size motherboard. And not all MATX sized motherboards have 4 ram slots for the 4 gigs. That is the main reason I chose the MSI, because it is the MATX size and has 4 ram slots.

Also, the MSI RS480M2-IL motherboard already has LAN built in, so you do not need to get that extra for it. I think a lot of other motherboards these days will also have built in LAN.

tunefool
05-30-2005, 08:56 AM
Thanks everyone. The information is very helpful.

janila
05-30-2005, 09:20 AM
My main DAW is a G5, so FX Teleport is not an option.OS X version of FX Teleport has been in the works for ages. Hopefully they are going to release it soon. G5 DAW and PC samplers with FX Teleport is a dream come true. You can keep working while the PCs keep crashing. :p

sinkd
05-31-2005, 05:10 AM
OS X version of FX Teleport has been in the works for ages. Hopefully they are going to release it soon. G5 DAW and PC samplers with FX Teleport is a dream come true. You can keep working while the PCs keep crashing. :p

I have a feeling that we'll see that functionality from Apple before FX Teleport is done. But it could still be a while.... still pre alpha last I heard.

:(

DS

janila
05-31-2005, 05:20 AM
FX-Max had the Giga Teleport and some other thingy delaying the OS X version of FX Teleport but now it should be top priority for them. Most likely Apple won't do a cross platform version if they do something similar. I wouldn't mind using Macs exclusively but a decent PC sampler costs less than half of any G5 Mac. And I have a nice PC already.

Daryl
05-31-2005, 06:33 AM
OS X version of FX Teleport has been in the works for ages. Hopefully they are going to release it soon. G5 DAW and PC samplers with FX Teleport is a dream come true. You can keep working while the PCs keep crashing. :p

What makes you think that PCs keep crashing? I have used both Mac and PC and although there is not much in it the Mac did crash more than the PC.

Daryl

Thomas
05-31-2005, 07:06 AM
My PC sample computer has been running virtually non-stop for three months, and I can't recall a single crash yet. At only 1500 bucks for the whole system including monitor, I don't think you can get it cheaper with a Mac, and this one has 4 gigs of ram, 500 gigs of hard-drive storage, a DVD burner, etc. I think the reason it does not crash is because there are no other programs or drivers on it except what is needed to play the samples.

sinkd
05-31-2005, 07:09 AM
FX-Max had the Giga Teleport and some other thingy delaying the OS X version of FX Teleport but now it should be top priority for them. Most likely Apple won't do a cross platform version if they do something similar. I wouldn't mind using Macs exclusively but a decent PC sampler costs less than half of any G5 Mac. And I have a nice PC already.

Good to hear... but they've been giving the same answer about the OS X version for like a year! You are probably right about the cross platform issues with any Mac development.

I am looking to build a PC platform, and like Daryl, wasn't under the impression that I was going to have stability issues. Lots of wisdom on keeping those systems lean and mean in these forum pages!

DS

janila
05-31-2005, 07:14 AM
What makes you think that PCs keep crashing? I have used both Mac and PC and although there is not much in it the Mac did crash more than the PC.

DarylThere is obviously something wrong with your Mac. ;) Best way to keep Windows running without crashes is to have no programs active and move the mouse constantly. Windows will crash if it's too idle or if it has too much to do. If Mac crashes there is a reason for it. All Windows needs is a vicious look at it. :rolleyes:

But seriously speaking PC is a good platform for a sampler as it is inexpensive and stable enough when the installation is simple. Windows, Kontakt2 and the libraries should do. I'm currently running Cubase SX3 and all plugins and VSTis on the same computer and that is too much for Windows. It works but it isn't always easy.