New PC Build

Hi all, I am just about to order the following PC components for a new build and have a query on the motherboard. Currently my preferred MB Asus Z490-A Prime is out of stock most places. There are a couple of others which are similar but I am unsure if they are good enough or if perhaps the -A version is more than Ineed. If there are any PC experts I would appreciate advice.
Preferred Z490-A Prime
Option 1 Z490-P Prime
Option 2 Z490M-Plus Prime.
there are several other Asus Z490 one so its a little confusing.

Will be using with…
CPU 10850K
RAM 32GB (2x16) LPX 3000
OS Drive M.2 970 Evo Plus 512GB
Samples and Sounds Drive M.2 970 Evo PLus 1GB
BeQuiet PSU SP11 700W 80+ Gold
Onboard GFX
Other parts not mentioned as less important to build.

I did want the Samsung Pro 1Tb M.2 drive which is twice the speed but I was advised it would only run in this system at 3500.

I mainly run soft synths, Omnisphere, N.I. Ultimate, Most of the Steinberg Instruments, Korg Legacy.
I estimate i would run a minimum 30 VST Tracks (i dont like having to freeze or render in place) and say 10 Audio tracks.

Building one myself, so following to keep up to date with responses.

Hi!
Why not AMD Ryzen 7 5800X (faster in terms of single thread performance and frequency)?

Just curious :slightly_smiling_face:

kind regards, Alexander

To the best of my knowledge Multicore is the way to go with a DAW running many VST instruments.
I based my choices on the Doctor Mix build which you can find on Scan and changed to suit my budget/requirements.

How is AMD and thunderbolt support now? That’s the main reason i’d avoid using an AMD vs Intel Mobos. I’m not a fan of USB audio interfaces, personally. And have always preferred firewire or thunderbolt.

@Maas what interface is your audio interface?
The main concern with comparing is DPC latency based on the onboard components and supplied drivers - search for “DPC Latency” and your motherboard models should reveal people’s experience/tests.

Exactly, hence the Asus one as there are many Z490 MB;s but Asus seems to have a good reputation for latency or lack of it :slight_smile:

Have you compared the difference, i.e.:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/compare/ASUS_Z490-A_vs_ASUS_Z490-P_vs_ASUS_Z490M-PLUS/BHitems/1559612-REG_1559610-REG_1559611-REG

The -A certainly looks the better, but there isn’t a massive difference between them that would affect you. They have different integrated network controllers - but they’re all quite standard and i can’t recall anyone complaining of anything listed on those spec sheets.

Most problems (if any) usually come when adding dedicated GPU’s. But i run a GTX 1600ti and never caused me problems. I run at around 7-8ms latency is good enough for me though. And that’s 256 buffer @ 48k via firewire interface.

What buffer/sample rate do you normally run at?

Not so obvious. All modern CPUs contain more than 1 core.
Some DAW/VST supports multithread some are not.
But If we are talking about overall audio performance - frequency is the king

kind regards

Hi Ski, many thanks for your reply, I’ve had some very useful advice from you in the past. I was thinking of the Z490-P as this has Thunderbolt header if i was ever to need it in the future. I dont have any plans for additional GFX. I use UR44 @ 44K and usually 256, down to 128 on occasions.

Don’t know about thunderbolt support, I’ m USB man :grin: (RME cards)
There was a discussion about audio interfaces latencies somewhere…

a little bit outdated but:
https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/usb-firewire-thunderbolt-which-best-audio

Just found!
that one:

Just looking forward too

kind regards

It goes further than bandwidth though, A high bandwidth does not equate to better stability and low latency performance - The useability and user experience over 100’s of hours is something that’s very hard to put into a statistic.

When there’s an added overhead on each data packet, plus the bus has non-audio traffic to deal with, i’ve always prefered FW/Thunderbolt. But i usually have my mouse, keyboard, tablet, 3 USB controllers, 5 MIDI keyboards and 2 external SSD drives running via the USB bus.

Doesn’t help that i have USB>MIDI convertors for some old gear too, they’re very noisy devices - absolutely hell bent on sending out random messages when i turn them on. :slight_smile: …But as a result i’ve always found USB Audio interfaces quite problematic in a heavily loaded project.

Firewire, and subsequently Thunderbolt devices generally have less overhead than USB as they were designed for high data rates and have an inherently more direct pathway to the motherboard, effectively they’re external PCIe interfaces.
i.e real world comparison.:
Thunderbolt vs USB Audio Interfaces – What’s The Difference? | Reidys | Blog.

RME have some magic in their USB drivers though, they seem to get data through at a very low system level via USB. I don’t know the specifics behind what they do, but users love them! …sadly never used on myself, i was thinking of getting their USB ADAT interface (RME Digiface USB) to try them out one day, as it seems a cheap entry - plus i have ADATs to plug straight in.

Anyway… we’re drifting way from the question being asked here. I think they’re quite happy with Intel choice, and must admit despite AMD really upping the stakes in performance per price - i still think Intel is the more stable and compatible build. …generally speaking, of course.

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Agree.
I vote for Intel too.

kind regards

ASUS and Intel seems like a good match up, always worked smooth for me.

I was looking at the ASUS Workstation X299 Sage for my next mobo.

Looks like they just released a bunch of new Workstation mobos, including an X299 Sage II

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Not really true as a general statement- it’s just another tradeoff - dependent on what a particular project contains and how much CPU frequency you’re giving up for how many additional cores.

With sampled instruments, generally CPU isn’t as important as fast SSD’s and/or large RAM (for caching samples). - Unless the instrument also includes a high compute intensive fx chain. For example, large orchestral libraries generally aren’t high on CPU consumption, but they have a ton of disk access.

With “calculated” instruments - especially physical modelling - Single thread CPU cycles matter for that instance. – But if running many of those, then giving up a little high end CPU frequency but having several additional cores can end up providing better overall performance, since Cubase can assign each instrument (and audio) track to a different CPU core.

M.2 is just a form factor - what matters is a significant speed difference between NVMe and SATA3. And that is reflected in prices.

When running Samsung SSDs on Win10, one thing worth noting is, that with the Samsung Disk Magician software, one of the SATA3 SSD’s can be run effectively at NVMe speeds due to RAM caching.

Otherwise the speed advantage of NVMe over SATA3 is significant - even with the same SSD chips due to difference in Max bus speed between NVMe and SATA3.

As a result of all of the above I’m currently running one SATA3 Samsung SSD and one NVMe Samsung SSD.

Absolutely agree.
I talked in context of other things (enough memory and fast SSD etc) being equal and good

kind regards

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Except there may be some problems with the Thunderbolt implementation on ASUS motherboards

HOw far down did you read in that thread?

Some are using TB with AMD. I don’t personally so I can’t tell you exactly what setup, but I know people are doing it.

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Looking around pc builders of audio computers they do tend to use the ASUS Z490 A so I would stick with that. Last year it was the Z390 on the Rog Strix m/b which I have and works brilliant with no glitches and low latency.