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 Post subject: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:04 pm 
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sad bastard
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So I'm quite sure my laptop, which is less than a year old by the way, has shit the bed.
Everything seems to point to either RAM or CPU failure, it just keeps crashing randomly on me. After almost a week of chasing every error code and possible driver fixes I've given up on it, completely forgot how these things can wear you out.

It's still under warranty, though after all that I'm just done with this thing, and since I'm travelling a bit less the coming months, I could just keep it for when it's needed (that is, if it can be repaired under warranty) and build a new desktop. The last computer I built lasted more than 5 years without significant problems, and fixing it is usually a breeze compared to this shitstorm.

Even if I'd want to test if the problem is a stick of ram (which I don't really, by the way :v) the warranty would be voided according to 'tech support', and although I highly doubt they could make something like that stick, they've covered themselves off so thoroughly with their warranty service policy I wouldn't be surprised if they could just smash the thing to bits on the floor when it comes in and send me the cleanup bill.


The thing I'm still not sure of (for the new build) is the CPU. First I was thinking of waiting for the new Ryzen series to come out, to get the most future proof system within my budget when Intel drop their prices in reaction at the least.... Ws even looking at that 'threadripper' thing AMD's got coming out.... But then I remembered how unimpressed I was a couple of years ago after testing a newer generation i7 against my old one, and since mobil;e CPU's are still significantly slower than the desktop versions I should see a big improvement in processing power anyway. So it might just be a waste of time to hold it off until I can get 'the best' for just a little less...

And then there's also the possibility of a Xeon, though I'm not quite sure if it would have any real benefits for audio work.

For the rest of the build I'm not too concerned, one thing I was wondering though was about those M2 SSDs, are they really that big of a step up from a regular SSD? The first time I installed one of those I was really blown away, so if it's a large step up I wouldn't mind shelling out a bit extra for it.

Alright, so before anyone mistakes me for Hades I'll get straight to the point.... :P
Does anyone here have some recent experience with building a new audio PC and/or have some useful insight?


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:51 pm 
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Little chief

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I'm not as clued up as I used to be many years ago but I generally wouldn't plump for the newest CPU technology...if its radically different from what went before it due to potential stability issues. I also don't believe its as important to be as concerned about your CPU these days as the increase in processing speed over time is much reduced compared to how it used to be.

There's nothing wrong with a solid i5 or i7 if you have the budget for it, with a good quality motherboard (I have always been very happy with Asus boards). You know what you're going to get. And the beauty of desktop PCs is that you can sell your motherboard, CPU and RAM as a bundle and replace them with newer tech and essentially have a new computer, making the upgrade to any amazing new developments easier to manage.

This may be more vague than you wanted but the reason I don't know as much as I used to back in the 2000s is that I don't think its as important as it used to be.

When my old CPU failed I didn't have much money and spent around £200 on an i3 3.5Ghz CPU, cheap Asus board and 4Gb of RAM. This was 4 years ago and the only upgrade I have made is another 4Gb of memory. Despite the budget price it has been rock solid. It is now a little old and under powered but it still doesn't bother me enough to upgrade. I may do it next year but I said the same thing last year too.


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:56 pm 
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Little chief

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I guess what I'm saying is I'd recommend buying something tried and tested and within your budget. You'll be fine for a few years. The time you spend potentially agonising over this will be better spent making music.


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:18 am 
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Paul Gadd
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I recently got this setup and it's very fast and stable:

ASUS Z170-A moederbord (needed the PCI slot).
Intel 6700K (4Ghz)
32 GB DDR4 2133Mhz Ram memory (I guess it's enough :D).

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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:01 pm 
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Gnasher
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The i5 6600k is currently absolutely fantastic bang for buck that will last you basically until it dies (if it ever does) unless there is some huge leap forward in VST/audio technology that requires more CPU power (unlikely).

I have an i7 2600k from 2011 and I've never had audio buffering issues or VSTs eating up 100% cpu. The current i5s are much faster than my old i7.


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:59 pm 
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Little chief
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Intel just announced their x series and its pretty much garbage with it's whole socket/thread problems and definitely not a good choice for future proofness. It's such a problem that many motherboard manufacturer's aren't supporting all of the cpu's across the lineup on top of the fact you'll pay a huge premium for basically a side-grade from the k series. If your going with future proofing on the intel side either stick with a k series and get something like a 6900K or 7700K or wait until end of this year when hopefully they get their act together and announce their next release.

AMD wise now that ryzen has been out for a few months the 1800X is a solid choice and will crush any audio application needs you have on top of the fact that it's half the cost of intel's equivalent 6900k. Here's a good video comparing the two and shows just how powerful either option is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIoAlEV2IK0

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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:29 pm 
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crud
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Ryzen are good for workstation situations apparently, lots of cores. Not so good for gaming right now it would seem. I'd consider one for a music workstation however, I'm pretty sure all Ryzen chips require you to buy a discrete GPU. As such I would probably get an intel chip that had onboard graphics (unless this is also a part time gaming rig).

Some recommendations for the intel k series chips. For a workstation I'd personally avoid that, you have to pay extra for the chip and then extra for a mother board that can over clock it, then you're looking at custom cooling etc. I really don't see the point for this. I'd try and keep fans (and therefore noise) down to a minimum.

m2 SSDs totally worth it but you have to look at the read / write speeds. Some seem to be around the same as your standard 2.5" SSDs in which case I wouldn't bother. But some have really high performance. Really depends on budget.

My last point would be to use pcpartpicker.com if you don't already. Makes selecting compatible parts easy as pie and gives you links to the best prices. (I'm not affiliated btw haha)

Hope this helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:40 pm 
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Ghost Producer
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@voodoo what's your budget?

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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:57 pm 
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Amd is lackluster for audio work always has always will...

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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:34 pm 
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Ghost Producer
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FYI: Why the CPU isn't the only part crucial for good realtime audio performance.


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:51 am 
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Gnasher
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Opnå wrote:

Some recommendations for the intel k series chips. For a workstation I'd personally avoid that, you have to pay extra for the chip and then extra for a mother board that can over clock it, then you're looking at custom cooling etc. I really don't see the point for this. I'd try and keep fans (and therefore noise) down to a minimum.




Not really true - the k just denotes that they are unlocked should you wish to overclock it, otherwise they are exactly the same as their non-k varients. Regular motherboards and stock intel coolers will work just fantastically with k series.

You only need extra cooling if you plan to overclock it, which 99.9% of people will never bother with.


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:06 am 
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crud
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Plyphon wrote:
Opnå wrote:

Some recommendations for the intel k series chips. For a workstation I'd personally avoid that, you have to pay extra for the chip and then extra for a mother board that can over clock it, then you're looking at custom cooling etc. I really don't see the point for this. I'd try and keep fans (and therefore noise) down to a minimum.




Not really true - the k just denotes that they are unlocked should you wish to overclock it, otherwise they are exactly the same as their non-k varients. Regular motherboards and stock intel coolers will work just fantastically with k series.

You only need extra cooling if you plan to overclock it, which 99.9% of people will never bother with.


I understand this. But why pay more for an overclockable cpu if you're not going to overclock?? I'd rather just get a stock chip with a stock cooler. Save myself $30-40 and 25W of power (and maybe lose like 10% in perf). That being said it depends on other factors like case size, budget, mixed use scenarios.

Personally, I would want to build something as small, quite and low power as possible, other peoples opinions obviously differ.


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:44 pm 
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Gnasher
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Opnå wrote:
Plyphon wrote:
Opnå wrote:

Some recommendations for the intel k series chips. For a workstation I'd personally avoid that, you have to pay extra for the chip and then extra for a mother board that can over clock it, then you're looking at custom cooling etc. I really don't see the point for this. I'd try and keep fans (and therefore noise) down to a minimum.




Not really true - the k just denotes that they are unlocked should you wish to overclock it, otherwise they are exactly the same as their non-k varients. Regular motherboards and stock intel coolers will work just fantastically with k series.

You only need extra cooling if you plan to overclock it, which 99.9% of people will never bother with.


I understand this. But why pay more for an overclockable cpu if you're not going to overclock?? I'd rather just get a stock chip with a stock cooler. Save myself $30-40 and 25W of power (and maybe lose like 10% in perf). That being said it depends on other factors like case size, budget, mixed use scenarios.

Personally, I would want to build something as small, quite and low power as possible, other peoples opinions obviously differ.




So - this is getting a bit deeper now -

But CPU yields at the factory aren't uniform. What I mean is - some turn out better than others.

Intel then goes through their output and figures which ones were made "the best" - those ones become the k series CPUs. They're the ones Intel believe will have the ability to perform beyond their rated specs. Basically, they'll run faster and for longer. They're better made.

The ones that they don't believe will run faster will become the non-k series.

That's fine if you're not worried about replacing your CPU in 3-4 years, but personally I always buy the K variants because they have been rated through Intel's quality control - they'll simply have a longer lifespan. They're a better quality CPU than the non-K.

That, in effect, is what you pay for - not the ability to overclock as such. I understand this contradicts what I said above about them being the same, but now we're talking at a deeper level.

You might pay £50 more for an extra 5 years or more life, thats if it ever dies. A non-k CPU is more prone to failure. It's of course, up to you to do the cost/benefit analysis but for me it was worth it - as evidenced by my 6 year old i7 running just fantastically. (I used to overclock a few years ago out of interest but don't run it overclocked now.)

You can still run a k-cpu with a stock cooler fine.

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/4531782/

https://www.reddit.com/r/intel/comments ... tel_chips/

Quote:
Inspection and testing.
For a given processor microarchitecture (e.g. "Haswell") and die size, the silicon is of the same design. But process variations mean that not all dies are of the same quality, resulting in poorer performance (necessitating clocking at lower speeds for reliable operation) and inoperable subsystems (e.g. cores, cache, features) which need to be disabled before the chip is "binned" and sold according to what the manufacturer is satisfied will work reliably.
K processors are those which the manufacturer believes have the potential to perform in excess of their rated specs. Conceivably if demand for lower-end processors is far in excess of production, higher-binned processors may be redirected to be branded as lower-binned processors if that works out to be more profitable than waiting to sell them at their optimum binning.


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:53 pm 
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Ghost Producer
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Guys, your maxing-out-the-CPU-affinity here won't get you that far. Please refer to above video.

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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:57 pm 
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Gnasher
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rktic wrote:
Guys, your maxing-out-the-CPU-affinity here won't get you that far. Please refer to above video.


I'm sure you're right, but I don't have 28 minutes to watch a video.

Care to supply a TL;DW?


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:26 pm 
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crud
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Plyphon wrote:
rktic wrote:
Guys, your maxing-out-the-CPU-affinity here won't get you that far. Please refer to above video.


Care to supply a TL;DW?


Buy a Mac :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:34 pm 
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Gnasher
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lol, amazing

I know a number of people looking to switch to windows laptops now that the average macbook pro is priced astronomically.

but thats another topic!!


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:37 pm 
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crud
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Plyphon wrote:
lol, amazing

I know a number of people looking to switch to windows laptops now that the average macbook pro is priced astronomically.

but thats another topic!!


Haha.. yeah. I was only joking, not trying to start that debate again.

p.s. your point about intel silicon quality control was an interesting point. I'll keep it in mind for future builds if applicable.


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:21 am 
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sad bastard
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Some interesting points here, I'll read the thread again tomorrow. Was pretty much sick of everything computer related the past week so I decided it would be better to just let it be for a while, before I'd start pulling out my hair :P

The last pc I build conststed of an MSI mb, i7 (don't remember which one though), 8 GB RAM and an ssd, around 2011-ish, and last year I sold it to fund my laptop. Which I regretted almost instantly, cost me ‚ā¨100 more than the pc parts of that build and it couldn't even load some of the more cpu heavy things I did on my old system...

Found that vid about real time performance too btw, some interesting points in there but it does raise some other questions, like how to prevent/predict it... And he repeats himself really a lot there, so I find the thing hard to watch without skipping through it. Going to try and dig up some more info on that the coming days.

(short version for Plyphon: the cpu is sometimes locked out by other processes, so it's unable to keep up with the small buffer size needed for real time audio processing)

Not sure about my budget yet, if I can tough it out with my old pc for a couple of months (how dramatic :v) I can raise my budget to somewhere between ‚ā¨1500-2000.


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new computer
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:57 pm 
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Ghost Producer
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Plyphon wrote:
I'm sure you're right, but I don't have 28 minutes to watch a video.

Care to supply a TL;DW?


If the hardware around your CPU sucks your DAW is doomed to glitch.

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