Building my first pc for audio

Been a Mac user for over 20 years. I am moving to PC and Windows 7, 64 bit.

What is the right MB, Processor, Ram, etc…give me some suggestions, folks.

Cost of PCI Mac systems is just going up and up. I have a Motu 424 PCIe audio system and use their Midi Timepiece AV as well, so my system is heavily dependent on PCI, but I also want to have faster internal drives for my extensive sample libraries, (SSD or eSata)…just need some direction here so I don’t get myself in trouble.



Rich …I highly recommend Scott TK here on the forum, I would say he’s your go to guy, If you in the United States regrading PC workstation Builds. I can assue you , each hardware component has a knock on effect, and you could be getting yourself in too a lot of expensive trouble, without a happy outcome, If you dont progress correctly.

Main consensus. Ill try & put it simple. Buy as BIG a Tower as you possible can, (for example a minium of 5 expansions bays or more… or a Rackmount case if you need mobility. Stick with Intel i7 processors (2600k if I recall can be overclocked easily & safely, IF you couple you build with water cooling or similiar, as heat build up is your enemy. along with a couple of decent air flow fans to get rid of the heat in the case.

ALSO, and Im old skool , but have a shufty at a decent SCSI Controller card (Adaptec) and a few 10,000/15,000 rpm drives, as these are very cheap to what they once were…as opposed to the common consensus of SSD…I compare SSD to SCSI with regards to sample delivery hard drive wise (same size, but SCSI is a HELL of a lot cheaper to fill your Drive bays up with, when using one controller card (again compatability here is key,and this is just me voicing an opinion from years of using SCSI for sample Libraries…10,000rpm 300gb W/D scsi - 100$ …same ssd is about 500$ so doin the maths,SCSI is a no brainer in my book for sample delivery.

Mother boards (Asus/Gigabyte are the way to go, for stability/features,…models suited (MINEFIELD) choose Wisely Obiwan…( I suggest you go to DAW builders on the net,and see what they are using.

Ram…when you purchase your M/B look a the QVL list for recommended Ram manufacturers (100% please use a recommended Ram producer for your specific M/B

Firewire (either built in on the motherboard, OR a pci card…should be a Texas Instruments chip port. nOT a Via chipset for firewire,

I have to scoot out of th estudio just now…but will add more later…as will many more I think . :smiley:

I cant recall his moniker on here at the moment, but someone will chime in soon Im sure.

My advice goes to intel´s i5 or i7 processor. If you use lots of samples, then probably 16 Gb for ram(cheap these days).
About eSata, it is same as internal sata2, so if you want to boost your drives then SSD and sata3. I have SSD as OS drive, but I still have all my libraries in sata2 7200rpm drive and it works great. About MB as long it has TI firewire chip and it supports the ram you need, it really doesn´t matter that much.
On the side note, if you still have regular PCI cards, not PCIe, there might be problem, I needed to change my soundcard, because of BSOD´s(always something with PCI bus or the specific driver) and lack of future updates.

The others have done it for me but I’ll emphasise the care picking mobos particularly if you need PCI slots. I’m happy with what you see as my spec (in my signature), I can pretty much throw anything studio-reasonable at it as long as I don’t want to use large libraries, hundreds of tracks with 8+ FX for each VSTi at 96kHz.
I’m not particularly up this year on what mobos have more than one or two PCI slots so I guess that if you need that you’ll have to be extra careful hunting them down.

As Conman mentioned, and as I was looking around a few months back, there is very …VERY few M/Bs with i7 support and more than 2 pci bays. (most had 1 only! wankers!..If you have a soundcard, extra pci 2 usb, SCSI card as I have… using pci is starting to look obsolete in M/B manufacturers eyes…(I think they are forcing us slowly to disregard it, in favour of having to buy shiny new pcix gear…pants but there you go!

The Asus P8Z68-V LX S1155 Intel Z68 DDR3 ATX has 3 PCI slots takes the i7 2600K up to 32 Gig of ram, 2X6GB/s SATA and the PCI slots are fine for things like the old UAD cards, etc.

The Asus was the M/B I was looking at split…seemed to be the “stick out” in the M/B front for Daw building,taking our older gear into consideration. :smiley: Think the do a deluxe version, but it might not have had a firewire port or summat, I cant recall…

Truth is there are numerous choices for your basic equipment. It comes down to 1) your budget,
2) your minimum/recommended requirements, and 3) your time frame for completion. So, what
is your absolute max budget for this changeover? What are your system requirements shown for
the software you intend to use? Do you have to replace any of the Mac copies with Windows copies?
What other kinds of software do you intend to buy in the next year? What country do you reside in?
What types of music do you work with? Do you plan to build this ASAP, or is your timeframe extended
out into the future somewhere?

I’ve been building machines for almost twenty years, and I’m sure there are several other people
in this forum with similar experience. We’d be glad to give you a few choices for an equipment list
along with pros and cons, and maybe a few options for you to think about. Please be aware that if
you’ve been a life-long Mac user, the move to a Windows environment will not be painless. You
will have much more flexibility but will be learning system management from scratch. This will
not be something you want to start if your first project is on a deadline.

Heee didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition!!!
Actually the second paragraph there (previous post) is mostly quite useful advice.
Especially the deadline bit. Just in case as that seems to happen a lot.

Thanks, everyone.

To answer, I live outside Chicago, USA. Life-long Mac user, no pressing projects to complete, and yes, I will have to learn Windows (yuk).

Here is what I am looking at so far. (I have a friend that is an engineer at Ford Motor and is helping me design and build this)

Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E 3.2 GHz, six core desktop processor
Asus P9X79 Deluxe LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6 Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI Bios
Rosewill THOR V2-White Edition Thor V2-W Gaming ATX Full Tower Computer Case
2 One-TB Seagate Barracuda Internal Drives
ASUS EAH670/DIS/1GD5 Radeon HD 6670 1GB 128 =-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
XION AXP-1000K14XE 1000W ATX SLI ready CrossFire Ready 80+ Bronze Modular Power Supply
G SKILL Ripjaws X Seris 16 GB (2 x 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 (total of 32 Gig
Noctua NH-U9DX 1366 Dual Heat-Pipe SSO Bearing Quiet CPU Cooler
Windows 7 64 bit

So far, this is where I am with a parts list.

Yeah but less PCI slots, just mentioned it as it’s the only one I found with 3 PCI slots for “legacy” gear :sunglasses:

Looks fine to me! lol! Peregrine mentioned a few well chosen topics to take on board…as you are going to start learning your O/S.I highly recommend that you have a mirrored drive, as this will ease your pain, If & when you make a mistake with the installs/Dll placements etc…its always a good idea to have a copy of a stable installation of your O/S & programs …to aid you to quickly get you back to where you were before the hiccup. (around 1 hr 30mins to get you back to a solid square one system,with a vanilla installation of the O/S & Cubase/NI Stuff etc.

In fact, given your situation of migration, I would say that this would be imperative!. :wink:

Check this build over at the Sound on Sound forums as well. Not too sure but early Sandy Bridges seemed to have a few problems running music although I don’t remember exactly what the problem was. I think under SoSound “PC Notes” articles there were a couple of reports on it. I think you would be able to access these old articles after about three months or so written by Hugh Robjohns who is also regularly on the PC forums. Have a look at the newer Ivy Bridge too.
Other than that, looks OK to me.

The Sandy Bridge units are what Sweetwater uses in their Creation Stations. This was the reason for this choice.


Nothing wrong with the 2nd gen sandybridge

Good cpu, but not sure it will support your PCI audio card. Start looking here:

FWIW I run this P9X79 + 3930K for a few months now and it’s a rock solid and super fast combo (even in ECO mode).

This combo runs out of the box like a charm, never tweaked the BIOS.
The P9X79 is a great, (silent) board and the bridged 1x PCI slot is as good as a bridged PCI can get.
I hardly noticed any speed difference between my PCI Multiface card or my PCI-e AIO.

I would say, go for it, and if you want it to be quiet and cool, be sure not to cut down on your coolers (go indeed for Noctua or similar :wink:).

I’ve build my whole system in a 19" IstarUSA D-400 case with a CM silent pro m600 PSU (my graca is very light and silent).

My audio system is built on the Motu 424 PCI “e” slots, not pci. This board shows plenty of room for all I would need.

Thanks for your comments, though.

Also guys, how about the video card? Is it sufficient for my 27 inch and 22 inch monitors?

I also will be using the UAD 2 Duo card in this system. Any issues there?