My hybrid Audio/Video computer build

Howdy Folks,

Over the past month or two I have been researching a new computer build for my joint. I run a commercial studio and I do audio and video work, editing, mastering, etc. I experienced sluggishness when my work moved to 4K video work, so I babied my system by adding a GTX 980 vid card and more memory, but that was a temporary solution. I still had to proxy a lot of video in order to work at a reasonable pace, but post coloring and such were slow. Transcoding helped a little too, but my computer was still struggling. My computer, 7 years old based around a x58a UD3r board, still ran fine with cubase and protools. It was the video that was too much. Over the past 5-6 months working with 4K footage, my drive setup in the computer went from 4 TB to 8TB. That shows you the amount of data 4k is. It takes a lot to process that data. I had to do something.

I did a lot of research online, talked to some folks I know in the video editing side of the industry to see what they were using and recommended then talked to a few computer specialists I know and here comes the new system. I am building it myself because some components of the old system will be transplanted to the new system. I’ve built every system for the studio when I moved from analogue to digital. If you are completely new to this, I recommend buying a system from one of the online retailers that specialize in workstations specific to audio/video recording. It could save you from wasting your money because high-end computers are expensive. So on to the new system…

The List:

CPU: Intel Core i7-6800K 3.4GHz 6-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15
Motherboard: Asus X99-DELUXE II
Memory: G.Skill TridentZ 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3200
OS Drive: Samsung 750 Evo 500GB
Scratch Drive: Samsung 750 Evo 500GB
Client Audio Drive: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM
Client Video Drive: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM
2 HDD Cages for client drive access: iStarUSA BPN-DE110SS HDD Cage
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 980 4GB Superclocked ACX 2.0 Video Card
Audio Card: RME HDSPe AES32
DSP Card: UAD2 Quad
Power Supply: EVGA 850W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro OEM 64-bit
19" 4ru computer case.

I went with the Asus board because it is highly expandable, kind of future proof. It should last me a while. The system should be quiet too, much more than my current system. When I started 4k editing, my current computer would overheat and I had to add a number of intake/exhaust fans to keep it cool when rendering something out. I still get beep warnings from the motherboard from impending meltdowns!

Anyway, parts start arriving tomorrow and the build will start sometime next week. If you are interested, I will try to keep you posted.

Looks tasty! Although I’d send the Seagates back and get Western Digital Reds. Other than that it looks like a decent spec machine.

Should be good. You can spend a lot more money to build something more powerful. I just didn’t want to. I had to buy a new DAC interface card for the system. Current one is PCI. The new Pcie card set me back $1250. If I didn’t have to do that, The system may have been a little more tricked out.

Or, I would have booked a vacation. :laughing:

When ever I go on holiday I lay there wishing I could be tinkering in my studio! :laughing: That system is good quality and the processor is no slouch.

On that board u can put a xeon X5690 or i7-990X
Put the board full of ram.

Youre new system wouldnt be much faster. Its a bit of more ram and cache and loos slightly on base clock speed.
For the price of the processor u can buy (if u know how to bussiness) a hp z800 with dual cpu.
I can tell u thats a lot more power than youre old x58 does and still more power than the 6800K will do.
Wait a few years and u buy a secondhand hp 840 to upgrade.

Are you sure? This report comparison reflects a more substantial difference.

The new system is up and running. It is a night and day difference from my old system. Launch times for my audio visual applications are fraction of what they were. Amazing how far technology has come since my last computer build mostly seen in the computer bios setup. I enabled the XMP profiler for the memory. When doing this, the system automatically overclocked by 17%.
After it did this, it went into its own diagnostic mode and ran memtest. Let it run for a day without a single error. I installed it Windows 10 off of USB3 stick. Almost ready to commission the new system to work after I sort out a few missing plugins.


Bios settings:

Power states to disable
C state

References for system optimization:

Good job - upgrading the DAW PC is something I dread - and I’m an IT professional :laughing:

One thing I forgot to note is I wound up purchasing a new case. The computer fan was too tall for the 4ru height of my existing case.

I have to say, most of the manufacturers make it really easy for reinstalling things. A lot easier than the last time I built a machine. Native Instruments is still a pain in the #$$

Which case did you go with?

I went with a fractal define r5. My friend had one and raved about it. I went over to his joint to check it out and he opened it up to show me the amenities. It’s a nice quiet case, but it only has two external 5 inch Drive Bays. That really bums me out. I had to eliminate the CD drive so I could still have my two removable Drive racks. I either have to find a external usb3 CD drive or some kind of external adapter that I can slide my CD drive into so I can still have a CD drive.

Ah nice, that’s the one I have as well :slight_smile:

The past day has just been insanity! 10 drives of client data verified. 15 drives total! The 4 near drives stacked on each other are for a raid 10 array going inside the machine. 4 x 1tb drives.

I just want this over with. :laughing:

There you have it. The system absolutely screams. 8 flipping drives in this beast. I’m so glad I got this new computer case. I never would have been able to fit all these drives in my old rack box and I never would have even considered adding a raid array. I pulled up a few video projects that would barely playback without being proxied and I removed the proxies. I am now able to edit, color correct, and color in full 4k resolution in Adobe Premiere and DaVinci Resolve. I nearly wet my pants! I am gushing a little bit here and the system hasn’t made it into work with me, but tomorrow will be day one in the studio. The board wound up being perfect with the resources available for all the cards I have installed. The audio card video card and DSP accelerator are not sharing Resources with anything. DPC latency floats between 14 and 50.