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My First Build: For Online Gaming & Producing Music

Discussion in 'System Builder's Advice' started by the_professor, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. the_professor New Member

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    Hello world!

    Before I get into the list of computer guts I've researched so far I thought I'd introduce the idea of what I'm looking for. I'll split this post up into 3 different sections for quick reference.

    1. What I've done so far.

    My budget is flexible though I'm consider maxing out at around $1,500 or $1,600 if it is possible (for the goodies that I'm looking for). The current components/parts that I've been looking at have totals ranging from $1,300 to $1,600 before taxes (mostly from newegg.com). I'm not really sure where to go to get the best deals. I asked someone at a local computer shop about newegg and they said they probably can't beat or match newegg's prices.

    I've been doing research and I will continue to do research. So far it has included mostly online digging.

    I've also been doing price comparisons on all the "guts" of the computer and will keep comparing prices as I modify my list.

    I've been asking around, online and in person, though these forums look like an excellent place to get gobs of great advice.

    Once I decide on the parts/components that I'll purchase I'll go ahead and get them, though I will also continue reading several "how to build a computer" websites. Though, I have yet to find the absolutely perfect "howto" guide for building, they all seem to be missing something or out of date.

    This is really an exciting thing, my new computer is going to be another one of my babies. I look forward to the whole experience and of course I hope to goodness I don't make a boo-boo and end up melting, bending, breaking, etc. anything before/during/after the build process. (Crossing my fingers.)

    I won't deny it: I am a little worried about matching parts correctly, making sure all of the hardware is compatible (as well as high quality). That also includes wanting to make sure I have matching chipsets or similar parts that seem to be specific to the motherboard, from CPU to RAM to anything (everything) else.

    2. The purpose in my new computer.

    As you can see from the subject, the purpose in my new baby will be for gaming and music. It will also have some minor additional multimedia purposes.

    The primary purpose of the new computer:
    Music & Gaming.

    The secondary purpose:
    TV/movies/multimedia.

    Regarding gaming:
    I was invited to privately test a game that is in alpha/beta/etc. stages of production and it requires more computer muscle than what I currently have. I'm not much of a computer gamer, though this one is the exception, it's a must have/must play (at least for me, personally). I will definitely be wanting to get some very awesome gaming gear for this particular MMO game.

    Regarding music:
    I am a professional musician and require the ability to record out of my music lesson studio. Any functions that would benefit my music instruction would be great, too. I teach guitar, bass guitar, drumset, and percussion.

    The tv, movies, and other multimedia functions should be pretty easy, though I might need a few hardware components with special features if I want to ever hook the computer up to a tv (or perhaps hdtv) in the future. Some nice DVD rip/burn functions would be nice, though that can probably work fine with the appropriate software. Those are only a couple aspects of that purpose in the computer, otherwise I can simply watch the tv shows and movies on my computer as I do now.

    For gaming, I am looking into a few obvious things - nice graphics/video card for example, perhaps a "gaming pad" so I don't stress my normal keyboard out. I've heard NVIDIA is crossplatform but ATI is not (I run Windows and *nix).

    For music, I am looking into similar - nice audio/sound card for example, perhaps an external sound module to bridge the sound card to any additional external components (boards or instruments). I've heard mixed opinions on Sound Blaster, and am unfamiliar with other options.

    For tv/etc., I'm guessing I'll need s-video capability, though am not sure what else.

    The game will be running on Windows Vista, everything else will be Linux/Unix (specifically Ubuntu Studio, OpenBSD, Solaris, and a "floating" extra *nix (partition reserved for testing different Linux distros and Unix flavors).

    The short-term goal is to have a computer immediately ready for gaming that also includes the basic components for producing music.

    The long-term goal is to maintain the gaming component requirements but mostly to add to the music producing aspect of the computer. I hope to eventually have a true home studio for use with teaching music lessons, composing music, and especially recording music.

    A few juicy requirements for my first build are: 64-bit, quad core, at least 1 TB hard drive, at least 4 GB RAM, graphics/video card that can handle a game that won't be released until 2009, sound/audio card that can handle hardcore music production (composing and recording).

    Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations on computer components?
    Stick with what I'm listing below or get something else?
    Am I mismatching components?
    Are any of the parts listed already outdated (meaning I'd be better off spending a few more bucks for a more recent version)?

    3. The Guts, version 1.0 (the current list of components/parts I'm looking at).

    cpu:
    AMD Phenom X4 9950, Black Edition.
    $173.99 (newegg.com)

    cpu comments:
    On the Intel vs AMD subject, I honestly like both, though for my first computer I want an AMD. The game I'm testing requires a minimum 2 GHz dual core. The music I'll produce, I'm not sure yet.

    motherboard:
    ASUS M3A AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 Chipset ATX.
    $79.99 or $56.25 (newegg.com)

    motherboard comments:
    There were 2 versions of what appeared to be the exact same board, confused me. Plus, if there's a newer and better motherboard at a comparable price, I can go for that. Though, that applies to all the computer parts. <grin>

    RAM:
    Kingston, 4GB 800MHz DDR2 CL6 DIMM.
    $60.49 (newegg.com)

    RAM comments:
    I can't remember if that's ECC or Non-ECC. I have read about both, regarding error correction, performance, similar, though am not really sure which to go with. The game I'm testing requires, I believe, either 2 GB or 3 GB minimum.

    hard drive:
    Seagate 1TB SATA-II.
    $129.99 (newegg.com)

    hard drive comments:
    I think that's a barracuda. Is there a difference in compatibility with motherboard between a SATA and SATA-II hard drive?

    case:
    Logisys CS888UVBL.
    $64.99 (newegg.com)

    case comments:
    I'd love to have an all-clear case with a little bit of the pretty glowing lights. I hope an all-acrylic case is okay. If there is a better one than this, which I'm sure there is, I can get the other one instead.

    power supply:
    CORSAIR CMPSU-520HX (ATX).
    $114.00 (newegg.com)
    ...or...
    Kingwin MACH 1 ABT-600MA1S (ATX).
    $119.99 (newegg.com)
    ...or...
    [[[THERMALTAKE Toughpower, W0155RU.]]]
    [[[$319.99 (newegg.com)]]]
    [[[$299.99 (tigerdirect.com)]]]

    power supply comments:
    I'm very unfamiliar with power supplies, I'd like to understand these better and have a better awareness of what is available.

    video/graphics card:
    PNY, NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT.
    $119.99 (newegg.com)
    ...or...
    EVGA 512-P3-N873-AR, GeForce 9800 GTX+.
    $199.99 (newegg.com)

    video card comments:
    There are so many choices of video cards that it is overwhelming. I believe Linux/Unix works better with NVIDIA than ATI. If that's correct, then I'll get NVIDIA... just not sure which NVIDIA to get. I do know that the game I'm testing requires "Shader Model 3.0 capable Video card, Direct X 9c, 256 MB RAM" and I think they suggest a PCIe card instead of PCI. I'm hoping the drivers will also be okay or current. Now since AMD and ATI have teamed up, would it still be okay to run NVIDIA with an AMD cpu? I'm guessing yes, though don't know if there is a disadvantage to it.

    sound card:
    Asus Xonar D2.
    $179.99 (PCI? PCIe?) (newegg.com)
    ...or...
    Create labs SB X-FI Titanium.
    $99.99 (newegg.com)

    sound card comments:
    The sound card is very important to me. I am willing to go much higher in price as long as I will be able to fully utilize what I'm paying for. I'm not really familiar with the possibilities in quality sound cards for professional musicians (for composing and especially recording).

    dvd:
    SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R.
    $25.99 (newegg.com)
    ...or...
    LG 22X DVD±R.
    $25.99 (newegg.com)

    dvd comments:
    These look pretty generic, I'm guessing there are some very nice options better than these. I've considered blu-ray, though haven't resolved on that option just yet. I might go blu-ray for more multimedia flexibility, though my current DVD collection consists of only the "old" kind of DVDs.

    monitor:
    SAMSUNG 2253BW Black 22".
    $269.99 (newegg.com)
    ...or...
    Acer X223Wbd Black 22".
    [[$189.99 (newegg.com)]]]
    [[[$179.99 (A179-2240, tigerdirect.com)]]]

    monitor comments:
    I'd absolutely love to get a larger monitor, though one of these options would be (I'm guessing) decently priced for what I'd be getting. Others in the group that I'm testing that game with have shared that anything larger than 30" is not worth it. I may stick to the low to mid "20s". It depends on the price and quality. I may also add 2 more monitors in about a year from now. Plus, I would love to have 1680x1050 or even higher, and LCD appears to be restrictive with resolution limits.

    keyboard:
    Razer Lycosa Gaming Keyboard.
    $79.99 (newegg.com)

    keyboard comments:
    Seems basic enough, yet fitting for gaming without being distracting for non-gaming purposes. I don't want one of those huge, gaudy, and/or bulky keyboards <wink>. I don't think I want a wireless. I'll also be purchasing a music keyboard to place on the desk by the computer keyboard (a MIDI controller keyboard, only 1 or 2 octaves), though haven't really found a decent MIDI keyboard yet.

    gaming pad:
    Belkin N52 Tournament Edition.
    $69.99 (newegg.com)

    game pad comments:
    This, or something comparable, would be wonderful and could help extend the life of the keyboard. There weren't really a lot of options where I looked (newegg, tigerdirect, and google's "shopping" pages so far).

    mouse:
    Microsoft Sidewinder Gaming Mouse.
    $51.99 (newegg.com)

    mouse comments:
    I really hesitated at first, though after digging through a whole bunch of gaming mice this one seemed like a decent choice. I don't think I want a wireless.

    speakers:
    Logitech X-540 Surround Sound Speakers.
    $78.99 (newegg.com)
    ...or...
    [[[Logitech Z-5500 THX 5.1, 505w, DD, DTS.]]]
    [[[$246.99 (amazon.com)]]]
    [[[$302.99 (newegg.com)]]]
    [[[$259.99 (tigerdirect.com)]]]

    speakers comments:
    Similar to the sound card, the speakers are also very important to me. I am willing to go much higher in price as long as I will be able to fully utilize what I'm paying for. I'm not really familiar with the possibilities in quality computer speakers for professional musicians (for composing and especially recording.) I understand some sound cards are 7.1, though I have only found 5.1 speaker sets.

    mic:
    [[[Labtec Verse 333 PC Microphone.]]]
    [[[$9.99 (tigerdirect.com)]]]

    mic comments:
    This is totally optional. It does bring up the idea of a webcam, and although some LCD monitors come with mic+cam built-in, I'm not sure yet if there is an ideal monitor that offers that.

    headset:
    TRITTON AX51 Audio Xtreme 5.1.
    $69.99 (newegg.com)

    headset comments:
    This is a good idea for gaming. The AX51 appears to be a pretty decent microphone+headphones combo. I like that the speakers cover the ears completely. That's important. Though I couldn't find any other headsets with ear-covering speakers that appeared to be of good quality.

    UPS:
    APC Smart-UPS.
    [[[$179.00 (ebay.com)]]]
    [[[$689.99 (newegg.com)]]]
    [[[$319.99 (tigerdirect.com)]]]
    ...or...
    APC Back-UPS RS Battery Backup.
    [[[$192.00 (blazintech.net)]]]
    [[[$380.99 (newegg.com)]]]
    [[[$199.99 (A75-2324, tigerdirect.com)]]]

    UPS comments:
    This is vital. I have one word to explain why I need this: Illinois. Okay, two words: Illinois Power.

    LAN network card:
    ?

    LAN comments:
    I'm guessing a motherboard will have an integrated network card, though I'm not sure if I should get a different one. I saw an advert for a special "gaming" network card, it was around $300 I think. I wonder if it's really worth all of those pennies.

    wireless network card:
    ?

    wireless comments:
    It's a desktop, so I don't know if this is really necessary. Yet, if my internet cuts out, I could always borrow my neighbor's (I have permission). One concern is getting a wireless that works well with Linux and Unix. There seems to be a long history of issues with wireless and *nix.

    wireless router:
    ?

    wireless comments:
    Perhaps one of the newest linksys models. I have an old Dell wireless router, though it's pretty shatty.

    Cable modem:
    ?

    cable modem comments:
    This is a new addition to the list. My current one only recently started crapping out on me, the tech looked at it and said I need a new one if I want to avoid those pesky intermittent connections. (Oh, I don't think I'll be needing an old fashioned 14.4 or whatever modem <wink>.)

    Two more recent additions to the list:

    A "cpu cooler", perhaps similar to "Zalman CNPS9500 AM2" (or a more Phenom-friendly one).

    Some "Arctic Silver 5" thermal solution (to put a pea-sized drip on the actual AMD, I'm guessing).

    chair:
    ...by "Office Furniture in a Flash".
    Different models... I won't list them here. I'd like a high-back with cushioned armrests if possible. My previous computer chair was a cheap junker from Walmart. Though, I also had it for several years and it had gone through quite a bit of abuse.

    desk:
    I found a "Gaming Station Computer Desk", "Sauder Javelin Computer Desk", and "Suader Ellipse Desk", though don't really know what would be appropriate. I'm avoiding those CD storage slots, am interested in something very basic. I'm tempted to just get a table, though am guessing an actual "desk" would be a good idea.

    laptop stand for desk:
    I found the "Allsop Metal Art" brand "corner monitor/notebook stand", though it's the only one I found so far.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2008
  2. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    if your going to be doing music creation, you will want a better sound card than the 2 you picked, and the best professional audio cards are still on the PCI 2.3 Bus. I would also check to see if the motherboard you picked supports 140 Watt CPUs.
  3. the_professor New Member

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    Thank you!

    I wasn't sure about sound cards. I'm trying to find some really good ones though am not really sure where to find specialized sound cards or if any specific brands or models tend to be in the right ballpark. If you/anybody has any suggestions, I'd be grateful.

    Are CPUs generally more or less than 140 Watts? Or maybe 140 W is a quad thing?

    That also might be why I saw 2 versions of the same motherboard, maybe one supported 140W and the other didn't.

    Though, I am very open to getting a completely different motherboard if necessary. It doesn't have to be ASUS. I found that one from price comparisons on boards that appeared to be appropriate. If you or anyone also has any recommendations for motherboards, I'd be grateful.

    I'll keep digging and looking up various components, including motherboards that support 140 W CPUs as well as high quality pro sound cards.

    I hope the other components are good choices. If anybody has ideas on other ways, any additional input would be great.

    I'll try to find some other options and can give some updates later. Thank you!
  4. lilkiduno New Member

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    well i just spent $1800 USD on my new gaming computer. im not sure the music capibilitys seeing as how i didn't buy a new sound scard for it, but the hardware i chose was mobo: eVGA 780i FTW. CPU: Intel Q6600. Graphics: eVGA 9800 GTX+ (dual SLI.) RAM: corsair Dominator DDR2 1066 (with RAM cooler.) Power Supply: Corsair 750. Display ACER 24" LCD Case Antec 900. CPU cooler Nuctia. i would also Suggest the Creative Fatal1ty headset works beautifully for me. for the most of everything i listed abouve you can but from newegg but im not so sure about the lcd (for the same price, $300) and the CPU cooler... but if you want i can list the links to all the other hardware from newegg.com


    i personal use the RAZER Dimondback mouse and enjoy using it
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826153029

    also the MERC Stealth keyboard with a gaming pad build on the board itself
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823161028

    i hope that was somehelp if any.

    newegg has open box mother boards aso that might be what the difference is. open box is basicly a retrun that there is nothing wrong with it but it might not have all the accesories.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2008
  5. King Wookie

    King Wookie New Member

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    Firstly, welcome to tpu!

    Some points to ponder:

    Sound card - Companies such as M-audio, Emu, RME, etc. make professional grade sound cards. You will have far greater flexibility if you look for a firewire based sound card. They are the most common interfaces today, and are far more flexible than onboard. I'm currently using Protools LE, where all the interfaces are external.

    Hard drive - Any pro audio software will recommend having a separate hd to record to. So your os and programmes will be on one drive, and your audio is on another. I personally would even look to keeping any movies, etc on another drive, so that when that reinstall is needed, you don't have to worry about losing all of that.

    Audio pc's these days have mostly gone away from AMD, but I don't see why you can't build a good rig based on the Phenom.

    Good luck!
  6. Dia01

    Dia01 New Member

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    Purchase the Z-5500's, as far as I'm still aware, best PC speaker's money can buy. AMD or Intel? I'm sure the Phenom's can do a good enough job otherwise stick with the C2D's.
  7. the_professor New Member

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    First, wow, excellent replies already and I just joined these forums. Nifty!
    As a side note, cool avatars everyone has too. I'm originally from the KC, MO area, lilkiduno, :) nice area. King Wookie, do you run Linux? (...looks like possibly a Tux penguin in avatar.) And that blue star in Dia1's avatar reminds me of A) Superman, and B) Stargate Continuum.

    Okay I'm curious to know more now, from the responses. I fear this is going to turn into a hobby (not an inexpensive one either, lol). :)

    I'm not familiar with that, I'll look into it. Forgive my lack of knowledge in hardware, is that a motherboard?

    Someone recently mentioned Core i7 to me, though I don't think it's out yet (and I'm needing to build this computer pretty much asap for testing the game).

    How does the Intel Q6600 compare to AMD Phenom X4 9950 "black"?

    Comparable or way different?

    If they're pretty much equal in quality and general cpu "brains" (not sure how to phrase it), though if there's a noticeable price difference, I'll go for the more inexpensive one. If there's more of a difference in quality, performance, or similar, yet pretty similar in price, I'll definitely get the "better quality" one.

    I'm interested in an AMD for my 1st build, though it sounds like Intel is used more for professional musician's home-built computers. If it really doesn't matter, I could always just flip a coin. ;)

    That brings up another point I totally overlooked... would I need a certain kind of graphics card if I want to be able to sync up 3 monitors in the future?

    I'm not sure if SLI is the way to use multiple monitors like that, though I'm guessing I'll need another card for each of the extra 2 LCDs. I won't be getting the other 2 for probably another year, though I'd like to plan ahead so I'm ready for the various upgrades a year from now.

    Woh! I didn't know you could get a "RAM cooler"! That is very cool.

    I think there will be plenty of fans in the case, though I would be more than okay with getting more. My hunch is the cooler (temperature) the better.

    I'm not sure what the "Arctic Silver 5" stuff is for, but saw one website show someone putting a pea-sized drop of the stuff on their CPU or somewhere in that area. It helps cool it down, right? I get something like that though I of course don't want to use it wrong, putting some liquidy-goo in the computer.

    I browsed through the gallery of computers in here, saw some with green glowing liquid stuff, that looked really cool, though I am assuming it's $$$.

    Since my computer will be used for music, too, I'm not sure how much noise from all of the fans will interfere if I'm doing a home recording. Though, I wont' be soundproofing my music studio either.

    It looks like there are several methods of cooling the computer. I'd like to know more about that, it's a very intriguing subject.

    I just did a quick comparison between that Corsair and the one I listed. For only an additional $5 the one you listed (750) is more watts, and more "ready" (SLI, CrossFire). I'm familiar with SLI, not with CrossFire though, yet it still looks like it'll be a good idea for me to get more Watts in any case.

    The Samsung 22" is ~$270 at newegg, Acer 22" is ~$190 (newegg) and a variation of it is ~$180 at tigerdirect. I wonder why the 22" ACERs are considerably less than the Samsung 22". They seemed pretty close in specs, maybe it's a "ms" thing, not sure.

    I originally had an LCD in the list that included a built-in cam and/or mic, though took it off. I might actually consider going back to an LCD with cam+mic, it's pretty neat having that in my laptop LCD.

    For another 2" and another ~$30, I wonder how the $270 Samsung 22" compares to the ACER 24".

    If I get an LCD with cam+mic built-in, it'd be neat if there was also a same-size model available without the cam+mic so I could get (in a year) 2 of those LCDs for the left/right sides of the cam+mic'd one.

    It looks like I might not want to get a monitor from newegg. I'm under the impression they have great prices on several items, though monitors seem to be the exception (and perhaps UPS too).

    That's a slick looking black case. Looks like it's very functional too, with the fans, circulation, and such.

    Do you think the "Logisys CS888UVBL" I listed would work well?

    To play devil's advocate on the Logisys case, although the average rating at newegg is "4 out of 5", I found these negative remarks:

    "...case was warped after i built the machine, many stress cracks, a dust magnet, have to unscrew alot of screws every time, doesn't come with the blue lights, motherboard mounts are to high, mother board tray has to be removed to install the holding screws for any harddrive cd drive floppy ect..., case feet won't stay on without super glue, No firewire front panel plug, easily crackable if you screw the screws just a bit too tight, scratches too easily, No internal brackets for the PSU outside of the I/O casing, All the LEDs died withing 6 months, screw holes strip very easily, acrylic tabs for screw holes snap under very little strain, Upgrading your hardware will be a pain, Case does not come with drive mounting brackets, Front side USB ports did not work on arrival, static electrisity, front audio connectors were plugs instead of the needed pin type connectors to hook into the motherboard, sent any static shocks into my components, need to mount five hard drives but there were only enough included screws appropriate for this task to mount one, fans installed are useless push almost no air and are very loud."

    I wonder how the case ended up with an average "4 out of 5" with all of those issues.

    So, I think I'm going to look for another case.

    I'd like a case that is large enough to house upgrades, is either all clear or mostly clear, and has some pretty glowing lights... not really sure what else it would need for decent functionality, though a side opening door would be pretty slick.

    Does anybody know of clear cases better than the Logisys I originally listed?

    How does Nuctia compare to Zalman?

    I didn't research the CPU coolers yet, I didn't know they're necessary 'til I saw one by chance on a "how to build computers" website.

    Is that the kind that covers the ears? Oh wait, looks like it is, though I see different models. Wow, one has gold plating. Odd thing is the gold one is cheaper (on newegg at least). Hmm.

    7 buttons? Wow... looking at the photos of it on newegg, it looks like a generic mouse with pretty red lights. ;) I might just switch to that one instead. :)

    That's a nice keyboard! I'm interested in a separate gaming pad (not attached to keyboard). Though, the functions of the 2 gaming pads (separate (Belkin N52) and built-in (MERC Stealth)) may differ. I'm curious if they are comparable or if one has more bells and whistles. I'll do a comparison on that.

    Yes, thank you!

    Ahh! Yeah, I want brand new.

    TY! :)

    Very good! I had no idea what to go for. I'll do some digging.

    Instead of USB or something else?

    Do you mean the kind that has a firewire output for plugging into?

    Or a kind that actually connects to the computer via firewire?

    Several mixers/soundboards have firewire these days, wasn't sure you meant like that or simply connecting an external card (never knew those existed) into the computer.

    What would be some examples of external interfaces?

    The term "onboard", does that mean something like a sound card that is plugged into the motherboard inside the computer's case?

    I wonder if I'll need something to "house" all of the external interfaces I'll get.

    Wow, great idea! I thought about partitioning chunks of the TB, though separate physical drives would be great, especially if I have to move them between computers. It looks like it's a good security measure, too, with operating systems on separate drives (reinstalls, etc.).

    A good idea, too. I could learn how to use RAID, like RAID 5 or something, with different physical hard drives maybe I could partition them, too. Or maybe just keep it simple. I'm not really sure how RAID works though would like to learn.

    Multiple hard drives is something I've considered, though a 1 TB drive is such a juicy option. ;) I suppose I could get multiple 1 TB hard drives, though the budget will come into play there (as with everything else I'm getting, of course).

    I could upgrade drives later, too.

    Maybe 3 hard drives - one for all of my operating systems (Windows and several Linux and Unix set-ups), one for music, one for other multimedia/movies.

    So if I upgrade later, I can start smaller now, though am not sure how much space is ample for all 3.

    If ~$130 is average for 1 TB now, and if it's going to go down in price soon, I can hold off. Or if the market currently has some great deals on GB hard drives, that would work too.

    Do you know why they've gone away from AMD?

    Maybe a compatibility thing with drivers or chipsets or something? (Sorry, I don't really know much about this stuff... I'm learning! :))

    Thank you!

    Logitech's Z-5500 speakers, okay. Audio is important to me. If there's a better option than the Z-5500 set, I can consider other options too.

    Glad to hear Phenom's do good, I hope by "can do good a enough job" that doesn't mean it's actually not recommended. ;)

    What's "C2D's"? A type of CPU by AMD or Intel?

    Thanks!

    Thank you everybody, such excellent feedback!
  8. Polaris573

    Polaris573 Senior Moderator

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    Please remember not to double post. If you need to add information use the "edit" button. Likewise, if you need to quote more than one person use the "multi-quote" button. Thank you.
  9. King Wookie

    King Wookie New Member

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    Right, let's see if I can remember everything.

    Firstly, from my browsing, the Intel Q6600 and the AMD 9950 BE seem to retail in the same range. The Amd seems to come out ahead with cheaper motherboards. One of the most common configurations for a music pc is the Q6600 on a P35 chipset motherboard. Tends to make a pretty good gaming machine as well. By getting a motherboard with firewire onboard, it saves having to buy an adapter card.

    The external audio interfaces I spoke of connect to your pc via firewire. It's pretty robust, and can handle quite a few audio channels. Common options are from Presonus, RME, M-audio, Ensoniq, Mackie, etc. Also, there are a few audio mixers with the interface built in. Mackie make a nice one.

    I like the Noctua products, as they cool pretty well while being pretty quiet. Zalman are not bad, but they seem to have been left behind of late.

    The Corsair psu is one of the best around. Very reliable and quiet.

    As for the noise, it is a Major issue if you are recording in the same room.Microphones can't tell the difference between good sound and bad sound.

    One of my tricks is to run my fans on a fan controller. Turn down for recording, but turn up for better airflow when gaming.

    To build a quiet gaming machine is a challenge, but can be done.

    Check out these sites for some more info.

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/

    http://www.frostytech.com/
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  10. lilkiduno New Member

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    yes it is a motherboard, it's actully a gaming motherboard, capible of tri-sli, it's nice if your going to overclock your cpu (processor) but im a big eVGA fan boy i've never had any problems from there hardware.



    well the difference in stock clock speeds are 0.2GHz, but i know that the Q6600 is a good overclocking chip.

    well im not sure seeing as how i only use one display, but from what i have read you cann't run dual displays with sli

    yes thats basicly right, you want the inside to stay nice a chilly

    Artic silver 5 is said to be one of the top of the line thermal pastes around, i don't use it and keep cool temps. yes you put the thermal compound on the ish (silver part of processor) it's what transferres the heat to the coolers, VERY important!

    thats people with water-cooled systems, a bit more on the pricy side so i don't run em.

    the antec 900 is a really quite case and the fans have little controllers on them with high, med, low settings.



    i was pointed to this buy a bunch of different people.

    from looking at the sceps the samsung would be a better buy for that price. 8000:1 ratio compared to the 4000:1 ratio



    i was lucky enough to be able to run to micro center to get a little biy of a better deal on some of my parts. thats where i picked up my cooler, and i was convenced it was the best choice so thats what i bought.

    it should do good if you keep it cool on the inside and NEVER use any achole product on it, but you have to keep it clean with it being a clear case.



    i enjoy them they do cover the full ear, with 5.1 speakers you can't go wong the mic is removeable so if your just useing the as headphone for anything (ever for and ipod or mp3)


    don't get me wrong the sidewinder is a good gaming mouse expectly if you have a big hand, but i don't so i like this mouse.



    i like the back light of the merc. chose from three colors (red, blue, purple) with three brightness levels and a no light feature.

    Yes, thank you!




    im sure the C2D means Core 2 Duo, nice chips (intel, dual core) but i preferr the Q6600
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
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  11. Dia01

    Dia01 New Member

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    The Z5500's will do more than a good enough job for you, plenty of base, clear sound, very powerful for PC speakers also.
  12. the_professor New Member

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    RE: the "double post", I ran out of space. It would help if the forums are set to allow a lengthier response. This will avoid the necessity of double posts.

    Okay back on subject...

    Today I disassembled and reassembled an old computer that I had previously decommissioned. I learned quite a bit simply doing that. It was pretty interesting.

    By cheaper, do you mean less expensive or less quality?

    Someone elsewhere recently mentioned avoiding firewire when using a Linux set-up (including Ubustu or similar). I don't know why though.

    Do these types of audio interfaces run over $500?

    I do want a quality music production sound card - or, rather, an external audio interface - though would like to get a more affordable one for the next year or two (hopefully still high quality), and upgrade to a better one in the future.

    Thank you for those names, that will help me with my search.

    Noctua, sounds like a plan. :)

    Ditto. :)

    Fan controller?

    So a music+gaming computer is kind of an oxymoron. ;) j/k

    Excellent! I took a quick glance at both to get an idea on the sites, they seems to be full of gobs of stuff. Keeping a silent and low temperature computer would be wonderful.

    I suppose a gaming motherboard would work fine for producing music, unless there's actually a music production-type motherboard out there somewhere.

    tri-sli? Does that mean 3 cards at once? (A lot of new terms for me.)

    Some people have advised that I not overclock my cpu, saying it was more a thing people did back in the "old days" and there is some risk involved or something. I'm not sure. If it's a good idea, I'll look into it.

    eVGA, taking note of that: no problems with their hardware.

    I had to look up SLI again... multiple cards for 1 display, sharing the work load. That makes sense.

    I would need a separate graphics card for each separate monitor, right?

    Interesting!

    I'm hoping to find a quality replacement for the clear case I had originally listed, or at least a quality case that is "mostly" clear.

    Is that 8000:1 and 4000:1 stuff basically the quality of the contrast between brights and darks?

    I've added microcenter.com to my list of computer shopping websites, currently a short list, only 4 things on it now: the "froogle" google (now the "shopping" link on google's main page), newegg, tigerdirect, and now microcenter. Hopefully microcenter will offer a better deal on an LCD monitor, a cooler, and a UPS>

    By the way, is the U in UPS "uninterrupted" or "universal"?

    Alcohol? hmm, why not? (I have no idea.)

    Okay that's interesting, I didn't even think about how easily a clear case will "look" dirty. That actually might be some incentive to get a non-clear case... though I'm still wanting one with at least some clear or, even better, mostly clear.

    My main concern in the clear case I previously found is that one doesn't appear to be solid enough to stand the tests of pressure, temperature, time, nor does it seem to be as flexible in functionality as other cases. I don't know, that's also going off the "cons" comments from the "pros and cons" over at newegg.com.

    Cool!

    Wait... a headset that is literally 5.1? I've never heard of that. Or do you mean something of a virtual 5.1 is present in the 2 speakers of the headset?

    Hmm. Well, Andre the Giant's hands look like a new born baby's hands compared to mine... just kidding.

    Do both of those gaming mice have the same number of buttons and/or "bells and whistles" or does one have a little more?

    Ah yes. I'm avoiding dual now... going for quad only. Though the Intel quad looks like a nice deal, though so does AMD's quad. Ahhh the choices.

    Excellent. Thank you!
  13. King Wookie

    King Wookie New Member

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    Ok.

    Cheaper as in price wise. Saying which, the price difference is not that big, and the Q6600 on an Intel chipset mb (P35 or P45 the most recommended) is a pretty safe bet.

    Overclocking. If done properly, can be very reliable. The Q6600 is a benchmark overclocker. There's tons of resources on TPU on overclocking.

    Firewire on linux. I don't run linux, so I can't answer that one. There's at least one forum for audio production on linux out there. I just can't remember it.

    Yes, you should be able to pick up a basic firewire interface for less than $500. The other advantage of an external audio interface is that you can move it to a laptop if needed. Can be handy.

    As for sli or crossfire, where you use more than one video card, my gut feeling is don't worry about it. 1 decent gfx card should always be sufficient, and they all can run 2 monitors anyway.

    The fan controller is a piece of hardware you mount in your case that controls your fans.
    I use the Zalman ones. You could do it with software if all your fans are connected to your mb, but hardware tends to be a little more reliable.

    I use a 5.1 gaming headset, (Razer Barracuda) works well for gaming, but for music etc, I switch back to my Sennheisers. Same with the speakers. The Logitecha are pretty good, but for audio work proper dedicated stereo monitor speakers are a must. M-Audio make some interesting pc speakers that are based on their studio monitors.

    Gaming pcs and audio pcs share many components, btu there are some clashes. A gaming pc is not always about quiet, but performance. An audio pc is very much about quiet. The trick is getting the besy combination of the 2.
  14. Hayder_Master

    Hayder_Master

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    well come to tpu
    my tips is
    1- if you can go for asus 790fx
    2- if you can wait for new phenom fx that will be great
    3- try 4850 it is really cool and good for crossfire in the future
    4- there is i corssair psu in newegg i think 700 or 750 and it is about 120$
    5- if you look for great sound card now see the asus xonar
  15. r9

    r9

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    In that time that you were typing that post I would think of buying computer, buy it and assamble it :D
  16. the_professor New Member

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    My main concern is getting a quad core 64-bit that is compatible with Linux and Unix in addition to Windows. Some other Linux users have said Intel. Some other Unix users have said AMD.

    Hopefully I can spend considerably less than $500 on a quality device/interface, at least for the time being.

    Portability of external, very true. I didn't even think of that. :)

    I recently found out SLI = NVIDIA and Crossfire = ATI...

    1 card for 2 monitors, check, and cool. Any idea on requirements for 3 monitors?

    That sounds like an especially good idea since I run multiple operating systems, some of which might not have the necessary apps for adjusting fans.

    So far I have come across 3 or 4 headsets that seem to be good quality. The most recent one is by "TekNmotion" ($55) at newegg.com. Familiar with that one?

    I like the Razer Barracuda that you mentioned. I'm adding it to my separate "comparisons list".

    I have Sennheisers for normal headphones too, they're very nice.

    You bring up a good point with the use of speakers (loudspeakers more specifically). I didn't know there was a way to connect professional grade speakers, monitors, etc. into a computer - or, I should say - I don't know what equipment/hardware is required to make that possible.

    I may go ahead and get a nice 5.1 set for normal computer use and incorporate dedicated monitors/etc. a year or two later when I purchase a mixer/soundboard, new/better mics, and similar.

    I read that the larger fans (I think choices are 80mm and 120mm?), that the 120mm are less noisy. The file I read that from is also about 1 year old so it may well be outdated.

    Hopefully I will have enough necessary parts to properly cool the computer without getting noisy.

    Is it true that a well-cooled and well-powered computer will also have better performance?

    How much power will I need in my PSU to support a "powerful" gaming computer with the beginning components of a powerful music production computer?

    What's the difference between the ASUS 790fx and the ASUS 770?

    The 770/790/etc. is chipset, right?

    I need to match chipsets between mainboard and CPU, right?

    I am a little worried that I'll end up getting mismatching components, I hope that I can get all of this right before I buy the parts.

    LOL. That's quite impressive. I think that's cool that you can do that, though I am completely new to building computers and I really want to make sure I do it right. It's a lot of money and, until I am a guru at hardware, I really need to make sure everything is right. Another reason that I am really being careful about my choices is due to the limitations in hardware compatibility with different operating systems, kernels, etc. Case in point:

    I run Windows (XP, Vista), Linux (Slackware, Ubuntu Studio, Gentoo), Unix (OpenBSD, Solaris), and an extra partition of a hard drive for miscellaneous Linux distros and Unix flavors.

    Sure, most people run only 1 or 2 operating systems/set-ups, though I'm one who runs as many as 8.

    So, before I make the final and ultimate decision on hardware that I purchase, I have to do research on exactly what hardware works with which systems... and which hardware devices work the best with each.

    The CPU example:
    There is a derivative of OpenBSD available for 64-bit, though it supposedly runs better under AMD.
    There is a 64-bit version of Solaris, though it supposedly runs better under AMD.
    The 64-bit Gentoo apparently works equally under AMD and Intel.
    Ubuntu (generic) 64-bit seems to favor AMD, though some users say go Intel.
    Ubuntu Studio 64-bit... I'm assuming this is the same as with generic.
    There is a derivative of Slackware available for 64-bit, though it supposedly runs better under AMD.
    Windows XP/Vista, well, there seems to be a pretty solid mix between AMD and Intel, though I'm hearing more for Intel.

    I'm leaning toward AMD because of the universal benefits among the different systems.

    I'm still willing to change my mind on that and get Intel if there is evidence that it is the optimal choice for Windows, Linux, and Unix.

    So, is it really just "apples and oranges"? Well, we're not talking Macintosh, so maybe "peaches and pears"? I don't know. You tell me.

    I'm under the impression that the motherboard is perhaps the most important decision one must make in the computer building process, and yet it is a bit of a backwards process due to the components that connect to the mainboard having to be compatible. So, the CPU is my first ultimate decision I have to resort with. The motherboard comes next, unless someone thinks the "order of deciding on parts" should be different. Perhaps the RAM is next? Perhaps the PSU, or the GPU maybe? And sound card/external device? How about those fans and cooling systems, they have to be compatible with not only the motherboard but also the case, right? How about the case? I honestly don't know, I'm completely new to this. I'll admit it can quickly get a bit overwhelming - I am, after all, a newbie to all of this - though despite all of the competition between brands or methods of assembly, it's still some pretty neat stuff.
  17. Paulieg

    Paulieg The Mad Moderator Staff Member

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    Honestly, I would look to a Q6600 and match it with a p35 motherboard. My favorites tend to be DFI. Stable as a rock. The Q6600 is the best "bang for the buck" right now too. If you learn to overclock, you will be amazed at the performance of this chip. Do not let people scare you away from overclocking. Minor overclocking is easy and definately worth it. You just need to have a better cooler than what comes with the cpu. TPU members will gladly help you with overclocking, and there is a sticky here with overclocking basics.
  18. Katanai

    Katanai

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    Well if you intend to record music on that PC, especially live instruments, those sound cards won't do. They are meant for gaming. You need a professional sound card. Something like this from Yamaha: [​IMG] can be had for like 200$ if you shop around for it. It will enable you to connect up to 10 musical instruments or other sources. Or as suggested M-Audio also make external sound cards and pretty good Midi keyboards. You should at least check their keyboards out. Or if you really want a good one look at Korg, those are awesome.

    Also AMD are really weak now. A q6600 can be had for roughly the same amount and it will outperform that Phenom, especially if overclocked. A P45 board will be a bit more expensive than that board you choose there but not by a lot. I really think you should go that route as there is no sense in buying under performing products just because of their name.

    Other than that I suggest going with that Corsair for the PSU, they make the best. As for a Video card those two are pretty decent choices but a GTX260 would be better if you find a good deal. Or you could go the ATI route with a 4850 if you find it for cheap.
  19. the_professor New Member

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    Some have said that a month from now Intel is releasing another CPU, and others have said that a month from now AMD is releasing another CPU... It sounds like both will be significantly better than the current options, though I'm really trying to get the computer built asap so I can begin testing the game. The music aspect of it - there's no rush there - though I'd like to have it complete in time for the testing.

    As I get closer to a decision on parts I'll definitely look into the overclocking options.

    Thank you for that Yamaha reference! It gives me a good idea, and if that's the price range, I might actually be able to get it this year instead of next year!

    Would I still need an external sound card, like one by m-audio, if I get something like that Yamaha product?

    I've seen some M-Audio MIDI keyboards, they appear to be pretty impressive.

    You said AMD is really weak right now, I wonder... any idea why?

    I checked out some stats comparing performance of Intel and AMD and there were pros/cons to both. In some regards Intel is better, in other regards AMD is better. It seems to even out.

    Whichever CPU that I do end up getting, it won't be due to the name. My reason is due to compatibility and optimal functionality cross-platform (with Linux and Unix, not just Windows). That's the primary reason I've leaned towards AMD so far. If there is evidence that Intel works the same/better than AMD on Linux and Unix, then I'll get Intel.

    PSU - I'm definitely leaning towards a Corsair PSU. I don't know how much power to get, though. I don't want to go too low in watts/etc. What is a safe amount of power for gaming & music?

    GPU - I'll look into that GTX260 that you mentioned. Thank you. :)
  20. Katanai

    Katanai

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    "Thank you for that Yamaha reference! It gives me a good idea, and if that's the price range, I might actually be able to get it this year instead of next year!"

    Yeah a friend of mine got one for about 200 euros, that's why I know the model.He is happy with it thus far. In the U.S. it should be around 200$.

    "Would I still need an external sound card, like one by m-audio, if I get something like that Yamaha product?"

    No, that is an external sound card and mixer combo so you should be set.

    "I've seen some M-Audio MIDI keyboards, they appear to be pretty impressive."

    Yeah they are good as far as I know and the prices on some are decent.

    "You said AMD is really weak right now, I wonder... any idea why?"

    Hector Ruiz :laugh:

    "I checked out some stats comparing performance of Intel and AMD and there were pros/cons to both. In some regards Intel is better, in other regards AMD is better. It seems to even out".

    Not really, that's not saying AMD sucks, it's just that atm they have weaker CPU's.

    "Whichever CPU that I do end up getting, it won't be due to the name. My reason is due to compatibility and optimal functionality cross-platform (with Linux and Unix, not just Windows). That's the primary reason I've leaned towards AMD so far. If there is evidence that Intel works the same/better than AMD on Linux and Unix, then I'll get Intel."

    Of course they will work. There are millions of computers out there that run Linux and are using Intel CPU's. I've never heard of incompatibility so there shouldn't be any problems there...

    "PSU - I'm definitely leaning towards a Corsair PSU. I don't know how much power to get, though. I don't want to go too low in watts/etc. What is a safe amount of power for gaming & music?"

    It all depends on what video card you will end up buying as generally those suck the most juice. Honestly, a good 500W power supply can run any system as long as there is only one video card in it. But to be on the safe side a 600W or so power supply should be more than enough.
  21. lilkiduno New Member

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    it depends on how much power your computer needs, i have a corsair 750 and it rocks, or at least it did til i found out i had a fucked up hard drive... i can't wait to get my system back up and running one night on my new quad core wasn't enough...lol...

    in my own opition AMD is for the budget friendly poeple, now i know that there are some kick ass AMD's built out there and I am not discrediting them, and Intel is more for those that was to over clock and push your systems to the limits...

    i personally own both amd and Intel

    EDIT: hard drive installed, about to install O.S. Good luck on your decision, i will stay to see how it comes.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2008
  22. the_professor New Member

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    Very cool. I'll look around for that. (My "to do" list of new things to research is growing pretty big!)

    Also very cool!

    How about sound for gaming? Perhaps get a decent internal card for that? Or can that Yamaha actually be used for gaming, too?

    I don't know who that is. Though a quick search says he is "former CEO of AMD".

    Is he the devil in the flesh or something?

    I am curious though, for real, why AMD is really weak right now. You're not the only one who has made that same general point about AMD, though nobody has really explained why. I'm hoping to gain a better understanding.

    Unfortunately, that is not always true. Slackware, for example, does not provide native support for use with a 64-bit quad core (regardless of CPU brand). Users are recommended the unofficial port, "Slamd64". This is one example, there are other systems - in either the Linux or Unix families - that supposedly require unofficial ports of distros.

    600W or greater, check, got it, thank you!

    Corsair 750W... check, got it. Thank you! :)

    Do I hear 900W, 1000W? Going once, twice, SOLD to the person in the corner! (j/k) heheh

    I have no objection to more power. ;) If it's a safer bet, then I'm all for it.

    What happened to you hard drive?

    I had a very bizarre experience with a hard drive a while back, it was the ext3 fs and somehow the system thought it was ext2, or something odd (who knows), and some freakish twist of nature ended up off-setting the data on the entire hard drive by something like 1 bit. It was very... weird. So, a friend popped in a "trinity" rescue kit CD and we did a search through the entire hard drive - searching raw data - to obtain the necessary information that I had to rescue and back-up before formatting and reinstalling the operating system. We found it, mostly email, threw it onto a USB stick/flash drive thing, and reinstalled everything on the computer. Thankfully, the raw data was still intact (not off-set within itself) and we were able to find the beginning/end points of that string of data and were able to place it back on the newly formatted hard drive with no troubles.

    Well, I am interested in budget-friendly hardware... if it is good quality.

    I still am undecided on whether or not I will overclock. I am considering it, though if the pros/cons between Intel and AMD boil down to how well one can be overclocked, then I will have to decide after I know for sure if I will or will not actually want to overclock.

    Is it really necessary to overclock?

    If yes, and Intel's #1 for overclocking, then that's cool, I'll get Intel.
    If no, and there's truly no necessity for overclocking, that's okay too, I'll get AMD.

    That is... if that's what it boils down to between the two. I'm sure it's a lot more than how well they overclock, though if that's one of the most significant differences, that's something one should probably be aware of.

    You might be a better person to give me an opinion on both since you have both. Are they only running Windows OSs? Or are there any Linux or Unix systems on them?

    Putting OS aside, do you believe one is better (from your personal/professional experience)?

    LOL I don't want to spend 10 years deciding between Intel and AMD. :eek: heheh I'd like to just pick one and get it... though there seems to be a never-ending debate. And, of course, someone will jump in and say, "there's no debate! <insert-brand-name> is clearly better than <insert-other-brand-name>!" lol Which, is just their opinion... to which... they will only argue it's not opinion but "fact"... to which, I will respond politely, "Oh, okay, thank you." <sigh>

    Oh well. So, anyway, I'm going to need to go through all of these posts - and emails on this subject from a mailing list I'm on elsewhere - and merge all of the notes together, try to narrow things down a little.

    Thank you on sticking around. I'll keep asking everybody things and I'll update as I make progress towards getting my new baby built.

    One small update: today I cleaned off my old computer desk, packed away my ancient desktop computer. Next step, get rid of that horrendous computer desk, get a new computer desk or table and a new computer chair. Meanwhile, I'll be refining my list of computer "guts" that I'll ultimately end up purchasing, as well as continue my research on how to properly and safely assemble the computer. I just hope I don't leave any crucial parts out. For example, I was previously unaware of the plethora of cooling options, and effective cooling has since become more important to me, when originally I just assumed the generic fans would be fine. (They might be, though I've discovered "the cooler the better".) :)

    Well, my brain needs cooling, it's fried... had a long day of teaching private music lessons to a wide variety of people... (and I still need to read over 5,000 pages of books in the next few weeks for a 12 hour exam for my ph.d.!)
  23. Katanai

    Katanai

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    Well how should I explain it?

    An Intel quadcore CPU is much better clock for clock than any AMD CPU. So let's say you get that 2.4Ghz quad, it will be much faster than a 2.4Ghz Phenom. Not only that but it will be in fact sometimes faster than a 2.6Ghz Phenom. So there's no need to overclock for it to be better. Now if you do overclock, the Phenom will go up to lets say 3Ghz if you're really really lucky. That Q6600 will go up to 3.6 almost guaranteed. Now if at equal speeds it's already faster, imagine the benefits you would get if it runs at 600-800Mhz faster than a Phenom. Now if performance is what you really seek and you don't want to overclock you could get this beast: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115041
    Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550
    It's a newer generation than that q6600, it should be something like 10-20% faster than the q6600 at the same speed. But it comes at a higher speed out of the box. Now you see how the gap widens and why AMD are going bankrupt right about now? I will personally guarantee you that if you get this CPU it will destroy any AMD CPU on the face of the planet and I dare anyone here to prove me wrong. Performance comes at a cost though, you will pay 100$ more but you won't have to learn to overclock and you will have one of the most powerful CPU's currently available.
  24. King Wookie

    King Wookie New Member

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    I'm using a 620W Corsair psu. Should be plenty for you, but the 750 wouldn't hurt.;)

    Intel quad cores and mb's with intel chipsets are mostly recommended for audio, but I see no reason why an AMD system shouldn't do the job. Just stick with Nvidia or ATI chipsets though on the AMD boards. They tend to have less compatibility issues.

    As for Linux/unix compatibility, not my field of expertese.

    Any reasonable audio interface should have provision for connecting your monitor speakers directly to it. You could then run the 5.1 gaming speakers and/ or headphones off separate soundcard for gaming. You can use your pro audio interface for gaming though. Won't support EAX etc. (used in some games for audio processing, etc. Not found on pro audio interfaces though)
  25. the_professor New Member

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    Oh, okay, thank you. ;)

    One question... if comparing an Intel 2.6GHz to an AMD 2.6GHz - when you consider "clock for clock", as in IPC (instructions per clock), with 6 IPC on Intel and 9 IPC on AMD - would the Intel beat AMD? Intel 2.6GHz = 2600 * 6 = 15,600. AMD 2.6GHz = 2600 * 9 = 23,400. It appears that AMD beats Intel by 33% when referring to "clock for clock", rather than Intel beating AMD by 10-20%. That's considering "stock" "clock for clock", "pre-overclock". :rolleyes: We're also just talking "clock for clock", not L2/L3 cache or anything else.

    Now... to counter that whole bit about IPC... I've since done some additional digging, specifically looking for stat results from tests performed on both CPUs. At the moment, it looks like Intel is coming out on top. Some sources say go AMD for gaming. Some say Intel overclocks "better", some say AMD overclocks just as well as Intel. Some say "mobo" is better with AMD (whatever "mobo" is). Other sources say Intel clocks higher (q6600 vs 9950), other sources say AMD runs at equal performance while at slower speeds.

    So the question is, how much will I be sacrificing if I get a more affordable CPU?

    Will it be a noticeable difference?

    The "Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz 2 x 4MB L2 Cache LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor" retails at approximately $190 at newegg.com.

    The "AMD Phenom 9950 2.6GHz Socket AM2+ 140W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor" retails at approximately $170 at newegg.com.

    "Clock for clock", Intel's 2.4GHz to AMD's 2.6GHz is Intel's "14,400" to AMD's "23,400" (putting that AMD CPU capable of running 39% faster than that Intel CPU), though people are still saying Intel is faster (confusing), then there's FSB, L2, L3, well, even with those two products there are pros and cons within each. Ultimately, the comparisons from statistics/tests show that Intel is better in some regards and AMD is better in other regards.

    I also have the concern with cross-platform, as with some of the more picky Linux/Unix systems that require porting from non-native (unofficial) distribution derivatives.

    It boils down to this:

    Will the more affordable CPU, AMD, have that much of a difference from the Intel competition?

    Every $10 or $20 makes a difference. If there's a huge difference, I'll abandon AMD and go with Intel, though I am not seeing a semblance of a HUGE difference, only a small difference. I need to understand the similarities and differences between the two products before I can make the ultimate decision... I am hoping to receive some unbiased feedback.

    I saw a 1000W Corsair! That's nuts. :) I wonder if there's really a need for that with what I'll be doing (gaming + music production). I might go ahead and look for a 750W PSU.

    If I end up with Intel or AMD, for CPU and motherboard, I will most likely still end up getting nvidia for the GPU, simply because it's more "friendly" to *nix environments.

    RE: Audio... you mentioned EAX... I don't know if I'd really want that (or need it). Can you think of any situations where someone would want to use that? I'm drawing blank. However, I might still get a separate internal sound card (if a non-Soundblaster has EAX), for the specific purpose of gaming - unless the integrated sound in the mainboard offers it. The ambience is a pretty big deal in the game that I'm testing, though I would think that listening to the audio within the game in its raw form would be ideal since I am testing the game. I don't know. :confused:

    That is a pretty cool thought, though, hooking up my headset to an external device (like the Yamaha (image in a previous reply to this thread)) with that device hooked up to the computer... if anything, the idea of that "looks cool". lol I don't know if the sound will be better or worse, or if there won't be much of a difference at all.

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