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Old 07-08-2011, 08:30 AM   #1
GCC
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Default Selecting a motherboard for music production?

I'm having a difficult time selecting a motherboard for my needs. So far I have mainly been focused on 1155 motherboards with the z68 chip set. While I will be using the PC I build for some gaming, its primary purpose is that of music and home studio audio production / recording in Windows 7 64-bit.

I will be using a small SSD for a boot drive and a SATA 1TB HDD for everything else.I do not intend to do any overclocking (going for stability and reliability) and I will not be using more than 1 graphics card in this system. Having the ability to control fan speeds and connections for plenty of fans is also important. I'd like to have support for up to 32 gig of memory and the ability to make use of this processors integrated graphics http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115070.

I'm not too tech savvy just yet and while looking at the processor specs I noticed this "Integrated memory controller enables two channels of DDR3 1333 MHz memory." Does this mean that there is no reason to purchase RAM above 1333Mhz?

Budget of about $200. Any links to suggested motherboards would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for any assistance!

(As a side note I reside in the U.S.A, and would highly value a motherboard manufacturer with good customer service in case anything goes wrong.)

Last edited by GCC; 07-08-2011 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:14 AM   #2
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I used to make Redbook CDs with a 233MHz Pentium box back in the 1990s -- I don't think that audio work poses particularly stringent requirements on hardware, provided that your overall build is balanced and that you haven't got any bus latency issues.

Of course, Grandpa here was only working with analog source material -- mabye things are different today. About the only thing I did that was really taxing to hardware was resampling data rates (used to take hours to convert a 48KHz DAT source to 44.1).

You could probably even go with one of the non-overclocked SB CPUs and a H-series motherboard to save some money here, and apply that towards your peripherals.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:24 PM   #3
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If you intend to use any version Pro Tools, their software is definitely finicky Go to their site, click on the version you think you want to use, and look for links to hardware compatiblity.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:41 PM   #4
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Pro Tools is definitely one of the programs I will be using. I'll look into that.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:06 PM   #5
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if you're going to use lots of sample VST instruments like me... might wana get RAID 0 or a good SSD..
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCC View Post
I do not intend to do any overclocking (going for stability and reliability) and I will not be using more than 1 graphics card in this system. [...] I'd like to have support for up to 32 gig of memory and the ability to make use of this processors integrated graphics [i5-2600K].
I'd recommend saving some money and getting an H67 motherboard and a i5-2600 processor instead. The Z68 and i5-2600K are designed for overclocking.

Using more than 16G of RAM will require the use of 8G non-ECC DIMMs which aren't generally available today. You'd also need to use Windows 7 Professional or better. There's no reason to get RAM faster than 1333 MHz because you're unlikely to notice a performance increase.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:15 PM   #7
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I would also suggest doing some research on any Midi controllers you intend to use so as to minimize conflicts. This is a situation where software and any proprietary hardware definitely take priority over MB specs.
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:18 AM   #8
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I did a little more research and checked out the H67 boards but couldn't find much in the way of positive reviews, and there also seems to be a lack of selection. I think I'm starting to narrow it down to 3 brands between MSI, Gigabyte, and EVGA. Just not quite sure yet which company has been putting out the higher quality products over the last year or so.

Here are some of the boards I am considering.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813188073 Evga
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128507 Giga
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813130602 MSI

Although I'm not too sure about Gigabyte yet as I keep reading reviews complaining about lack of fan speed control, which would be a major issue for me.
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Old 07-14-2011, 01:40 PM   #9
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Audio production can get very, very hungry if you're mixing TONS of audio tracks and adding lots of effects.

You may almost want to consider an 1366 processor & mobo at stock speed, then load it with 6x4GB RAM (24GB vs. 16 on any other chip/board.)

But that'd be for HEAVY DUTY mixing... if you're only doing a couple stereo pairs for DJ stuff, then it's overkill.

Of course, I'm not the absolute expert on that subject - I only use Sibelius.
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:58 PM   #10
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1366 is what id go for....pretty affordable if you shop around...amazing speed and plenty of ram through put....
even SB would be fine...they are amazing also....
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:13 PM   #11
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Thanks for the replies. I already ordered the other night though, and ended up getting this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...9&Tpk=gene%20z. It only had 4 reviews but it looks like it has everything I need for my amateur music studio considering the small amount of gear I have right now. I was leaning towards Gigabyte but man... they seriously need to add some additional fan speed controls besides just the CPU for their boards. So glad to finally outgrow this Athlon FX 64. The single core processor was not nearly enough.
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Old 07-15-2011, 12:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I would also suggest doing some research on any Midi controllers you intend to use so as to minimize conflicts. This is a situation where software and any proprietary hardware definitely take priority over MB specs.
Agreed, and an approach that should be implemented more often than it is. When combining specialized software and niche hardware, overall compatibility is the top priority. Then look for speed. Nothing more aggravating than finding out X doesn't play well with Y and neither vendor really cares.
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:49 PM   #13
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nice choise..should be a very nice board...good luck..
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Old 07-17-2011, 04:43 PM   #14
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I do the same thing, only running Steinberg Cubase 5 and Wavelab 7. I just put a new system togehter last weekend, so I am still struggling with an optimum configuration. I went with the Asus P8Z68 Deluxe with i7-2600 processor. I'm not interested in overclocking, so I have the EPU and TPU switches enabled. I think this is a smoking motherboard, and it has all kinds of features if you decide to experiment in the future. Same goes for the Maximus you selected. Definitely wanted the Z68 chipset for native USB 3.0 and SATA III support.

Additionally,

16GB Crucial DDR3-2000 Ballistix RAM
Gigabyte 6750 fanless graphics card
Two 2TB drives RAID 1 on Intel Sata III ports
Four 500GB drives RAID 5 on the Intel SATA II ports.
Seasonic X850 PS
Antec P183 case from endpcnoise.com with the insulation and silent fan upgrades

My CD\DVD burner is running on one of the Marvel SATA III ports. There is a word of warning and advice here if you use the Marvell controller for a CD/DVD drive. I was having terrible latency problems until I discovered a CD must be in the drive at all times to support disk polling. Once I put in a CD, all latency problems disappeared. I did not have this problem when the drive was plugged into one of the Intel SATA II ports.

Here's my dilemma. I have a 128GB Crucial SSD and I can't decide how to use it. I was thinking about dedicating it to the OS and applications, then I read the thread about partitioning it and using just 20GB for caching and the other partition for OS and apps. Then another thought occurred to me. Maybe I should dedicate the SSD to nothing but the DAW projects. The applications load and run fine on a machine of this caliber, and a dedicated SSD for all of the wave files associated with Cubase projects might be just the trick.

Still thinking through my final setup, and suggestions are always welcome. It sounds like you are on the right track with your selections. I am assuming your are going for "silent PC", so I would seriously recommend the Gigabyte 6750 fanless graphics card.

Last edited by manderson; 07-17-2011 at 04:45 PM.
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