Build your own custom DAW: A tutorial by AE

A_Eberts

New member
A custom built DAW:


Here a little tutorial for yall who think about building their own custom DAW.
I can't cover all the important things but take it as a basic overview: What components to buy and how much it is going to cost.
If you got questions post them.
I built my own custom DAW in february this year so im experienced.


1.) Mainboard:


My recommendation (right now) would be a


MSI P45 Neo2


Why ? Because its a very good board with great OC possibilities.
It runs very stable...even if you overclock your Ram or CPU.
I have the predecessor of this board (MSI P35 Neo2) and I never had any problems.


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If you buy a retail mainboard you usually get all the cables / drivers / manuals to hook it up to all the other parts of your PC.


2.) CPU


Its important to have a fast CPU but its also important that its not too pricey.


I recommend 2 CPU's at the moment.


For the people who use lots of effects and instruments on a track i recommend a quadcore:


Right now the Intel Q6600 is the best bang for the buck.


With the motherboard i posted above you can overclock it from 2.4 GHZ to 3.0 GHZ without any stability and overheating problems.
Keep in mind that an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 3.0GHz cost over 500 $$$. So your saving like 300 $$$ if you buy the Q6600 and overclock it. Thats what overclocking is all about: Saving money !!!


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For all the other people who make simple beats with not many effects and instruments i would recommend a dualcore:


Intel Pentium E2180 2.0GHz


The best thing about this CPU is that its very cheap compared to all the other dual-cores.
And it has one of the best oveclocking potentials. With the mainboard i posted above you can overlclock it from 2.0 GHZ to 3.0 GHZ without any problems. Even beginners could do it. Its runs very stable.


3.6 GHZ is possible but i don't recommend that for the beginners. You have to increase the voltage of the CPU and it can run unstable. 3.0 GHZ is a very good result if you ask me....


The Price/Performance Ratio is unbeatable with this CPU on 3.0 GHZ.


In fact i would recommend everyone to start with the E2180.
Its the perfect Cpu to learn overclocking hardware. You don't have to be afraid to break it. Its only 70 $$$. The MSI board i posted above even warns you if you made a mistake and resets all the bios settings to default.
I think its not even possible to break it. If you need more processing power you can always sell it on ebay for 40 $$$ and get the Q6600 later. You loose only 30 $$$.


The E2180 is the CPU i have at the moment in my DAW. Im going to put it on ebay and buy A Q6600 soon, only because of movie scoring. I beliefe that the overclocked E2180 is enough for many beatmakers. In many cases the Q6600 is just an overkill.


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3.) RAM


Its important to have fast ram memory in your DAW. The overall system speed and Sample/Sound loading time depends on how fast your Ram is. You don't need more than 4 GB of Ram. But 2 GB is not enogh especially if you run Vista.
Keep in mind that you can only have 3.5 GB ram with a 32-bit Win XP/Vista System.
Why ??? Because your Graphic Card is going to have 512 mb Ram too. 4000 mb – 500 mb = 3500 mb = 3.5 GB


I recommend DDR2 Ram right now. There is already DDR3 Ram on the market that is not much faster than DDR2 but its expensive as hell.


For everyone who wants to save some money:


G.SKILL 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Memory


Ram runs on 800 mhz. You can overclock it to 900 mhz.




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If you want to spend a lil bit more:


Those are a lil bit faster:


G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory




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4.) Hard Drives


I recommend Western Digital HD's because i never had any data loss or overheating problems with them.


Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drives


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5.) DVD Burner / Card Reader


I buyed a Pioneer DVR 112 in february because i liked my old Pioneer DVR 106 but i was dissapointed by the noise level of the new model.


If i would buy a DVD burner right now it would be a Lite-On, ASUS, Samsung or a LG burner.


Recommendation:


ASUS DRW 2014 L1T




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I recommend buying the Retail pack and not the OEM because you get the burning software/manual etc.. The Retail pack costs you 5$ more.


Card Reader:


Everyone has a digital camera / mp3 player / camcorder who is using sd /cf and other cards.
For me its every time a pain in the ass to search for the usb cable to hook those up to the pc.
So i recommend a card reader for everyone:


Rosewill RCR-FD200 All-in-one USB 2.0 Black 3.5" Card Reader with 1.44MB Floppy Drive - Retail
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Why do i need the old floppy drive ?
Because you can make special windows floppy boot disks that can save you from losing all you data if you computer gets a virus.


6.) Power Supply


Recommendation:


Seasonic Power supplies are usually very quiet and have enough power:


Seasonic S12 500W


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500W is enough for your System. Some people buy PC's with 750W power supplies. Thats an overkill. You never need 750W. An average PC comsumes 200-350W.
200W = IDLE
350W = LOAD


7.) Graphics:


Of course you need a graphic card to hook up your pc to your monitor: There are cheap video cards and there are more expensive ones. You should ask yourself the question whether you want to play some video games on your pc or not. The ability to play video games is going to cost you around 100 $$$. A cheap low-entry card costs about 50 $$$ and a mid-range card costs 150 $$$.


I recommend two cards:


1. (mid range card)
SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail


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2. (low entry card)
SAPPHIRE 100236L Radeon HD 3650 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

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8.) PC Case:


Just buy a case you like...its a matter of taste...


I recommend cases from Cooler-Master, Thermaltake, Antec, Lian-Li


Lian-Li = Bentley of the case world


Cooler Master:


Mystique 632S (thats the case i got myself)


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Antec:


Nine-Hundred:




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P182




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Lian-Li:


PC C32


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PC X2000


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PC B25B


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9.) Cpu Fan/Heatsink:


The Cpu Fan/heatsink that is included with your CPU sucks. Its too loud and it doesn't cool your Cpu like it should. Especially if you want to overclock the CPU its recommended to buy a good Fan/Heat Sink.


I buyed myself the Xigmatek S1283. And I recommend it to anyone who wants to have a quiet and cool system:


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10 Operating System:


I still recommend Windows XP as the operating system. Vista just eats too much Ram and there is music hardware that isn't supported / (no vista drivers).


If you already have Win XP on your old system you don't have to buy it. Just deinstall XP from your old system and install it on your new one. Use the key that can usually be found on the back of your old system or in the manual. Connect to the internet and register.


11) Sound Card:


I recommend the EMU 1212. The card got the best ad/da converters for the price. The sound is very clean. No latency. You even get some DSP effects that dont affect your CPU.





Price of the System:


Config 1:


Mainboard: MSI Neo2 P45: 149.99
CPU: Intel Q6600 Quad: 189,99
RAM: G.Skill 4 GB DDR2 (1066): 79,99
HD's: 2X Western Digital 500 GB: 2x 69,99
DVD: ASUS DRW 2014 L1T: 35,99
Cardreader/Floppy: Rosewill RCR-FD200: 29,99
Power Supply: Seasonic S12 500W: 69,99
Graphics: Sapphire Radeon 4850: 159,99
PC-Case: Antec P182: 119,99
CPU Fan/Heatsink: Xigmatek S1283: 36,99
Soundcard: EMU 1212: 149,99




1162,88 $$$


Where can I save some money ?
  • buy only 1 hd
  • buy a cheaper pc case
  • don't buy the xigmatek cpu-fan (intel stock fan is noisy)
1162,88 $$$ -----> 1000 $$$




Config 2:


Mainboard: MSI Neo2 P45: 149.99
CPU: Intel E2180 dualcore 69,99
RAM: G.Skill 4 GB DDR2 (1066): 79,99
HD's: 1X Western Digital 500 GB: 69,99
DVD: ASUS DRW 2014 L1T: 35,99
Cardreader/Floppy: Rosewill RCR-FD200: 29,99
Power Supply: Seasonic S12 500W: 69,99
Graphics: Sapphire Radeon 3650: 56,99
PC-Case: Antec P182: 119,99
CPU Fan/Heatsink: Xigmatek S1283: 36,99
Soundcard: EMU 1212: 149,99




844,89 $$$


Where can I save some money ?
  • buy a cheaper pc case
  • don't buy the xigmatek cpu-fan (intel stock fan gonna be noisy)
844,89 $$$ -----> 744,89 $$$




All the products and prices can be found on www.newegg.com


Building a Meko/Neko Killer:

Masterkeyboard: CME UF6: 799 $$$

cme_vx6_haupt_591vx-serie_.jpg


https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/VX6/

Sequencer: Cubase Studio 4 Edu: 200 $$$

Cubase4_BOX_12cmyk2.jpg


https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Cubase4StuEdu/

Ni Komplete 5 Edu: 689 $$$

Komplete5Edu.jpg


https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Komplete5Edu/

1687 $$$


PC: 1162 $
Masterkeyboard + Software: 1687 $

= 2875 $$$

 
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BlackImpact

I bet your momma loves me
You can get damn good cases that are in a good price range from Xoxide.com. Plus they have cool accessories for the computer like the remote starter (turn on the computer while walking toward it).
Peace
S II
 

A_Eberts

New member
Assembling your PC:

[video=youtube;ldJNp6wdfqI]video[/video]
[video=youtube;PYVBGTDkUU0]video[/video]
[video=youtube;SLkge08RFi4]video[/video]
[video=youtube;4U2fhpn4S2k]video[/video]
[video=youtube;cBw8wxgdxFo]video[/video]
 

D-ZEE

New member
this is like a must read brilliant though could someone help me understand how it could be like ur own DAW? or is it supposed to be the answer to the miko?
 

A_Eberts

New member
ok....

The MSI board got 6 USB 2.0 ports

7512neo2_back.jpg


and 3 internal usb 2.0 ports = 9 usb 2.0 ports

2 of those internal usb ports are connected to the front panel usb ports of the case...

the 3rd internal usb port is connected to the card reader


ITS DOESN'T HAVE FIREWIRE because people don't need it nowadays.
Usb 2.0 has the same speed like firewire and i see lots of camcorders with usb 2.0 instead of firewire...

But if you have an old camcorder with firewire you just buy a firewire card and install it. Is costs 14 $$$ so its not much....

Firewire Card:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815265003

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GoodMoney

"...don't get lost."
Ooooo ok I see. Isn't firewire more reliable than usb 2.0 tho? Like sometimes usb operates at its correct speed but I hear if u plug a 1.1 device in, it slows down all usb ports to handle it and firewire always operates at the same speed no matter what.
 

cnotedatruth

New member
this is a very good thread i would recommend everyone to build there own computer even if u dont know anything bout computer. I just built mine and i pretty much used all the product he name above except for thing like the motherboard but my total with my monitor cost me 700 and i cost a 22 in monitors with a quad cord intel processor and 4 gigs of ram and i love it.
 

A_Eberts

New member
GoodMoney said:
Ooooo ok I see. Isn't firewire more reliable than usb 2.0 tho? Like sometimes usb operates at its correct speed but I hear if u plug a 1.1 device in, it slows down all usb ports to handle it and firewire always operates at the same speed no matter what.
Firewire is a lil bit faster with external harddrives but not more reliable than usb.
I never heard about that usb 1.1 bug though...maybe on some old mainboards ?

If you want to use external harddrives or you have friends with external hd's come over i recommend the platinum board: Its costs 20 bucks more than the normal Neo2 P45 but it has Firewire and eSATA that is even faster than firewire.

Here are the connectors of the Neo2 P45 platinum board:

7512_back.jpg



I didn't know that they included firewire on the platinum board.
My idea with that firewire expansion card is stupid. Why spend 14 bucks and waste an expansion slot if you can get a board with firewire for 20 bucks more....
 
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7thangel

New member
imo, if this is stickied then a full list of the board, including pci slots, chipset and socket info, cpu compatability and why this board as opposed to gigabyte or asus, that have better ratings for stability and such. pci-e x1 slots along with pci and pci-16 are very important as interfaces and dsp solutions are more and more depending on it. and if it has no on-board firewire, than a slot will be needed. the chipset is important, is it p35, x48, etc as it pertains to potential problems and performance of the board itself and why you think a p45 is better.

as for cpu, while q6660 is definitely good the question is with q9550, which you can get for more but not that much more, or newer more powerful cpu's, not to mention intels ultimate (at the moment) cpu coming next year along with the x58 chipset boards. will q6660 be the best purchase.

the choice of memory. why that choice as opposed to crucial, ocz, kingston, etc? and back to the board as far as memory, will you be able to expand it beyond 4 gb if using vista 64, which some boards don't allow. as well as the performance of ddr3 and the decrease in price

the choice of power source. are the makers top notch? how about other top notch power supply makers, especially when the power supply could end up being the weakest link in the build.

if this is a daw build, then having a pci 2.0 graphics card may be overkill

i wouldn't recommend western digital drives, or a 500 gb system drive

not trying to be negative, but this needs to be full and provide more than limited bits. to use a phrase heard often recently, this needs to be vetted.
but the vids are good



oh and firewire is more reliable than usb 2.0 as far as data

sh!t, how did this get doubled?
 
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A_Eberts

New member
7thangel said:
imo, if this is stickied then a full list of the board, including pci slots, chipset and socket info, cpu compatability and why this board as opposed to gigabyte or asus, that have better ratings for stability and such.
ok...i could post those mainboard specs
Why MSI ? Because i helped my friend build his own system and he had a gigabyte board. We couldn't start up the ****in thing.
It was very picky about the ram. Asus ? I heard they had issues with IDE and SATA controllers.

pci-e x1 slots along with pci and pci-16 are very important as interfaces and dsp solutions are more and more depending on it. and if it has no on-board firewire, than a slot will be needed. the chipset is important, is it p35, x48, etc as it pertains to potential problems and performance of the board itself and why you think a p45 is better.
The board got 2 pci-e x1 slots. In my opinion enough for a UAD 2 card. If you need firewire just buy the platinum board that costs 20 bucks more. Yeah and firewire is old. You should use eSATA for your external harddrive.
Yeah the Chipset is important but every new chipset usually has improvements over the old and has better performance. P45 is the chipset to get right now.
X48 is only for the performance freaks as it only supports DDR3.

as for cpu, while q6660 is definitely good the question is with q9550, which you can get for more but not that much more, or newer more powerful cpu's, not to mention intels ultimate (at the moment) cpu coming next year along with the x58 chipset boards. will q6660 be the best purchase.
not that much more ??? do you know how much a Q9550 costs ?
320 $$$. Thats 140 $$$ more than the Q6600. And whats the point of buying the Q9550 if you can overclock your Q6600 to 2.8 GHZ without any problems.
Yeah and even if your not overclocking..it makes no sense to spend 140 $$$ for 400 mhz/per core

Nehalem X58 and Core i7 are coming soon but they all gonna be expensive as hell

the choice of memory. why that choice as opposed to crucial, ocz, kingston, etc? and back to the board as far as memory, will you be able to expand it beyond 4 gb if using vista 64, which some boards don't allow. as well as the performance of ddr3 and the decrease in price
beyond 4 gb ? who needs that ?
crucial and ocz are good ram brands but g.skill got a good price/performace ratio...
The price of DDR3 won't decrease anytime soon !!!

the choice of power source. are the makers top notch? how about other top notch power supply makers, especially when the power supply could end up being the weakest link in the build
Seasonic makes top notch psu's. an alternative would be a corsair psu. 500W is enough.
Yeah the power supply could end up being the weakest in the build if you buy a cheap ass 750W for 30 $$$. But i see newegg doesn't even sell those.


if this is a daw build, then having a pci 2.0 graphics card may be overkill
LMAO. So what card do you recommend ? A nvidia 8400 that costs 35 bucks ?
Xfx8400GsPciPassiv.jpg


That thing is slow as **** and don't even has a second DVI port for your second monitor. You have to use the VGA port that has horrible video quality. And whats the point of spending 35 $$$ on a ****ty video card if you can get a nice radeon 3650 for 50 $$$.

i wouldn't recommend western digital drives, or a 500 gb system drive
Why ???
I see people recommending Samsung drives but getting angry after a year because they loose all their data LMAO.

500 GB system drive ? Nah... You usually partition your HDD and divide it in like 4 parts.

not trying to be negative, but this needs to be full and provide more than limited bits. to use a phrase heard often recently, this needs to be vetted.
but the vids are good
yeah the vids are good...smh
....i wasted 8 ****in hours on that little tutorial
and I don't think anyone would write something like that if it wasn't me

oh and firewire is more reliable than usb 2.0 as far as data
im tired of that firewire/usb talk...
 
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7thangel

New member
A_Eberts said:
ok..

yeah the vids are good...smh
....i wasted 8 ****in hours on that little tutorial
and I don't think anyone would write something like that if it wasn't me


im tired of that firewire/usb talk...
are you serious? who are you for me to target? this little tidbit must be a joke, so i'll treat it as such (even though the 'you are being negative' has been edited out

despite your experience, giga and asus, as well as, intel boards have been proven more stable, but were talking opinion.

if you're building a daw comp, why front on an extra $100 or so (changes at various stores) for a cpu that not only runs cooler but also can be oc'd? and why not mention nehalem, the various versions and estimated date of release and the various x58 boards? this is now a sticky.

firewire is old and yet more and more interfaces are using it. having an external esata is nice but not nearly compatible with the majority of users and studios, big and small, where transferring data via 400 or 800 is the best option.

x48 doesn't just support ddr3 and the performance isn't just for freaks (that last part is all opinion). why ask why someone would need more than 4 gb? i would still prefer corsair, crucial, ocz for mem, and none are expensive and like all mem, available with deals and discounts. as for dd3, i've seen some under $100, if someone wanted that serious boost, especially for intensive stuff like omni and such, this may be the way to go.

psu. there are so many good-great ones. but what should people be looking for? if this is mainly a tut, cool, but with the recommendations at the start, i figure more in depth info and reason would be crucial (maybe their coming later)

i don't recall me recommending any graphic card but i know you have a choice to either get a card that is 2.0 compatible or not, there are pros and cons of both choices.

as far as drives, seagate has arguably a better reliability rate. why partition? a smaller system drive, a 2nd and/or dedicated audio drive is better

maybe, i'm expecting too much and maybe a separate thread dedicated to picking components, what to look for, the brands and various builds (budget, all out, daw, a/v, etc). either way, don't overstand the resistance to asking for reasons why in more detail, and that's only been on the comp.
 

dansgold

New member
Discussion, alternate opinions, etc. are to be expected on a forum like this. People will express contrary opinions if they wish, and that's just the way that it is..
 
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