DAW Build 2012

Yep I’m doing it again. My gigabyte z68 ud5 b3 board worked great. Only major trouble was using the Motu 8pre with on board fire-wire but have since sent in that interface to be fixed so looks like the PC was not to blame.

I have decided to do another build and walk you all through it, this time I am armed with 100 times more knowledge. To be fair I will admit that I got an offer from a gamer on my last build and may be selling it for a little more than it cost me to put it together. At first I was going to do this build for another location but now this will probably be my main DAW. Let’s cut to the chase.

Here is what I discovered on my 1st build journey, the biggest mistake is a lack of planning, I plan on making zero mistakes that are within my power on this build. I will order the parts, build it and do the industry standard memory, hard drive and burn in tests to prove it’s reliability with the goal of low latency large track counts and most importantly reliability yep I said reliability twice on purpose!! actually 3 times now!!!.

So this time I decided to consult an expert 1st. I wont mention who because I’m not here to market for anyone, I’m here to help people from making mistakes that keep them from making music during a 1st or new build.

So here is where I start

  1. Consult with a pro DAW builder on what parts to buy with low latency and tried and true trusted stability in mind. I want what works I do not want to beta test anything for myself yet I do want the cost benefit and learning benefit of building the DAW myself, After my first build and some advice from a great coach (Tony Robbins), yep start making fun of me now!!! I realized the best way to avoid mistakes is to consult an expert 1st, this should be no more than 50-80 dollars depending on who you talk to.

  2. I will then order the parts that I decided on based on that discussion, this way I know it’s legit to start and I can focus on building and testing hardware for factory or shipping faults, and I will not have to wonder, did I buy the wrong hardware? Am I chasing my tail? not fun stuff to do and it can be avoided.

  3. I will meticulously build the PC with all the advice I got, I’m especially excited to find out what the current industry standard way is to apply arctic silver (the thermal paste I will use).

  4. I will then run full 24 hour tests on the pc to make sure the hardware is solid before installing any DAW software

  5. I will then run a test project at low latency with lot’s of automation and then I will dance around the room.

I will post every little detail of my experience on this board to help out new builders in 2012, I will probably get the opportunity to use the newer chip-sets and CPU’s as long as the consult I get can confirm they are 100% good to go and that I have nothing to worry about except maybe a DOA. Otherwise it will probably be an i72600 which wont be as interesting but again this is about a solid build based on a solid plan of action for ultimate success.

  1. I will again pay a consult to advise me on bios and win tweaks that are confirmed working 100% in his tests, that way I’m not guessing and it should be worth the money.

Disclaimer: I will ask but may not actually be able to post the exact configuration, I’m a business consultant and know first hand that I may be advised not to share this information, my goal is not to have to do that. This is more of a sound plan post. My goal is to set you up to go step by step in creating your own plan of action that follows my path of success not to have you exactly copy the build.

I’ll update how it goes and let’s face it, if for an extra 100 dollars or so you can have nearly guaranteed results it has to be worth it, it’s called role modeling, so join me on this experience and we will see how it goes, I think it will go well. If it doesn’t than at least you will learn what not to do!!! It will take some time to do based on my work schedule but it will get done and I will post about it all.

This is what is in excel so far not much but gives you an idea of my plan…

Pc Build Part 2
Consult 30 min with expert to choose Parts Type Cost
Power Supply
Graphics Card (2 monitors)
Fan Controller?
TI Firewire PCIe card
Thermal Paste recommended application
Testing Software

Make it quiet Parts

I want compatibility with the motu 8pre
What chipset is the best for stability right now
What should I order to make my case quite and fans quiet

Order Suggested Parts

Yes I know some of you may want to answer my questions and you have all been very helpful, so honestly feel free to jump in, but I will be going with advice from my consult on this one, once I have it of course.


Nice, should be interesting.
The industry standard way of applying arctic silver is easy. Clean the CPU and cooler surface with alcohol, apply a small dot of AS5 and use an old credit card to distribute it evenly accross the surface. When mounting the heatsink, put it straight on (don’t ‘roll’ it on, or you’ll push away the grease.), rotate it back and forth slightly and fasten it. After a number of heating cycles the grease should have melted into all the small cavities and perform best.

Just got of the phone from the 30min consult. Eye opening to say the least and worth every penny. As I thought, I had to enter into a verbal agreement not to share the parts list, which is 100% fair. What I can tell you is that the information I was given is pretty different from info you get on a forum, not because the forum info is wrong, but because it’s tried and tested numerous times for sure 100%, I did not have to think about what parts to order or how to make it quiet or if my motu 8pre will work with it or not, or which pcie slot to install my ti firewire card.

I highly recommend that step 1 of your build (unless you know everything already) should involve a consult with a pro DAW builder.

I’m ordering the parts today or tomorrow from newegg and will post how the build goes. I will get another consult from the same pro DAW builder for install, bios tweaks, win 7 tweaks. All I can say is that I have about zero worry in terms of hardware choices and that is priceless for a DAW.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

I understand you can’t post the specs, but I do wonder what is the total price?

Hi you could google up info for audio rendering PC/s ,
or I could give you a parts list , but often even i get it wrong , as its so intricate , small small features , like some SSD/s are good , some give issues , thats why the forum , i am going in for a new PC as well , a i 7 2600 k ??? , an asus M/board , western digital 1 or 2 TB hard drives SATA 6/Gbs with 64 mb cache , one for Vsti /s one for audio rendering … any suggestions thanks in advance… sam

All parts are in, build went well. Best advice was the case, not one I would have thought to get on my own, worst advice was the RAM with the specific cpu cooler, it did not fit, the fins were too high, went to the pc shop got some crucial ballistics low profile ram and it was all set.

Also Asus (sorry I can’t get specific) sent me a board missing a jumper, back to the pc shop for a jumper, basically bios kept resetting every time the power was off.

DPC’s with zero tweaks and nothing plugged into usb is 50-80us not bad and exactly as expected from this chipset. I’ll get it lower after some tweaks. I’ll get it way down with some further tweaks, but low latency performance out of the box should not be a problem at all.

The best part about paying 50.00 for some advice was not having to worry about choosing parts, the worst part was the advice on the RAM although I suspect he may install the cooler with the fan blowing up and out of the case it might have fit then.

Anyways I stopped in this little pc shop on the way to work and they gave me a jumper so I’ll put it on when I get home from work and then install windows again.

Again the point of this thread is to prove that some personal advice is always a little better than just using a forum, from what I have learned recently I say it’s still better to pay for some advice, yet here is what I should have done.

  1. Pay for a consult,
    what parts should I buy exactly= saves time, more confidence in the build, proven for audio no guessing

  2. research the size of ram vs your cooler will it fit??? always make sure of this no matter what advice you received or never buy high profile RAM with huge heat-sink fins, = what I am going to do from now on.

  3. Order the parts and build the pc
    Personally I hate building outside the case, I agree with doing a test boot before you hook everything up, but I prefer to have the MB in the case, I say put the cpu in outside the case, then install the mb in the case (make sure your case has a cut out in the back so you can install your aftermarket cooler, if not you will have to install it outside of the case.
    Install your cooler
    Graphics Card
    Power supply (only hook up the main power (for higher end graphics card you may need to hook up power to it.
    Test boot (I would go buy a little speaker and hook it up to your MB (see MB manual to see if it beeps right)

If all is good install the rest of the cords, and unplug reroute all your cables how you want them, it’s a little extra work but I hate the idea of installing a graphics card without support one false move and bye bye pcie 16 slot and graphics card. rma motherboard, you get the point… or the old shoot the MB half way across the room because it’s not attached to anything.

That’s my take at least.

I think what this proves is that there really is no fail safe way to do this (RAM issue), but if you follow some guidelines you will save yourself a lot of time. Basically even after the advice do a little research the point is you at least know the MB and cpu are good for audio and that is the most important part, plus if you get stuck you have someone who knows the exact bios tweaks for this board very helpful stuff if you ask me. Also the advice on the case and cooler were great very quiet that was a fantastic surprise.

I’ll let you guys know when it’s up and running.


That’s not bad, depending on currency :wink:
Thanks for sharing!

Update: The pc is great!, low latency, great performance in cubase 6. I can say in conclusion that the process of paying for a consult is worth it.