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Thread: It's time for a new motherboard, any suggestions?

  1. #1
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    Hello,
    if any of you read my previous post on my motherboard mayhem, you might have known that i would be getting a new motherboard for my DAW. For those of you who didn't, i have a PIII 667 MHz (133 Mhz, Socket 370) and 512 meg of RAM (133 Mhz), using the MOTU PCI-324 w/ the 24i for recording audio. Any suggestions on what brand and model i should get for my next motherboard? i am looking to stay in the PIII series and would like to keep my 667 chip, but i would consider a faster chip if it would make a drastic difference in recording and real-time effects.

    thanks for all the help.

    jim

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    have you checked out the cusl2 series from asus? 815 chipset, ata100 , max 512 ram. you can get it with or without onboard video.

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    my 1 cent..

    I think its the d815eaa ($100), made BY Intel themselves that I would go for with a pentium board. If you're really looking to upgrade, get a faster processor too, or maybe a dual processor board and another 667mhz pentium.
    Make sure the 667 you have supports the 133mhz front side bus, too. Not all of them do, and many are sucker to this fact.
    Also, I think that board has built in graphics too, if you dont have an agp card.
    Peace,
    Paul
    Peace!
    Paul

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    Here's an article on that Asus CUSL2 motherboard mentioned by j. That board has received rave reviews everywhere I've looked - it's what I would definitely buy if I were buying a new PIII board.

    Since we're kind of on the subject, has anyone had any experience with a P4 specifically for audio recording? I know in many cases the 1.7 GHz P4 is sometimes outperformed by the Athlon 1.3 GHz, but the memory bandwidth is so impressive I figured it might work well for audio. More on the subject here.

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    Diragor,

    thanks for the links...i had read the cusl2 article but not the other....

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    I'm trying to build a DAW and hardware selection is getting to be so frustrating that I'm beginning to be sorry I ever took on the project. It's a bitch to get this discouraged before you even start. I've been struggling with this for three months now and am hardly better off than when I started. The only upside to this is that stuff gets cheaper each week I delay. 8-)

    I am getting nothing but contradictory (mis)information about what I need and don't need, what's good and what's junk and what's irrelevant. You start to wonder if anyone really knows what he's talking about or if everyone's just making it up as they go along to screw with you and have a good laugh as soon as you leave.

    Of course, there's always the age-old problem of most people not knowing what they're talking about in any discussion on any subject, and trying to sort out who's informed and who's a bigoted ignoramus. 8-) Hey, it's not always obvious!

    I want to do multitrack 24/96, so I know that this is going to be relatively "resource-intensive," but looking around the various DAW discussion venues I can't get anything solid about what that means in real system-requirement terms or even what CPU to use. I was going to go with an Athlon 1.2G, as it's relatively inexpensive around here at present, but I read that 1G and over CPUs are unsuitable for audio due to floating-point instability, and before the truth of this assertion even gets established or dismissed someone starts in with the Athlon v. Pentium bashing and the discussion collapses into noise and I'm no wiser than when I started.

    I figured that I would want a motherboard that would support RAID and possibly DDR, though I am not sure if DDR is required or worth the additional expense, or how much memory I really need and how much would be excessive and unused. I don't know what other features I need, or what chipset will or won't work. There seems to still be a lot of anti-VIA sentiment, though others say that this is an obsolete issue, that VIA is fine now.

    You see what I mean? It's hard to get started when you can't even get this low a level of basic orientation.

    Seriously, what do I really need for this sort of a system, and what's wasteful overkill? If I haven't explained enough, ask and I'll tell you what I've left out.

    I'm really trying to do the right thing here and move on to real recording.

    Thanks for any help.


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    Wow, the interface on the forum changed

    bongolation

    Yes, it can be frustraing trying to figure out what's good for your computer needs, The big AMD vs. Pentium War is more for the gamers and overclockers, overclockers love AMD because you can unlock the multiplier and get a higher clock speed. Pentium is still the more popular for DAWs, due to some lingering compatabillity issues with high end sound cards and AMD, I also recomend Pentium, though I could go either way.

    OK the building decisions.

    Start with the case, you'll want at least a mid tower, with good ventilation, add a fan or two. you'll want a 300 watt power supply. Other options are full tower or rack mount, again keep ventilation in mind. you might want to buy that locally, to avoid shipping cost.

    The Mobo: the above mentioned Asus CUSL2 is a great board, probably the best available for pentium socket 370, I have one, it's extremely stable. If you want to add your own video card, save $15 - 20 and get (check into, I get a little sloppy with the word "get") the CUSL2 - C. that is of course if you want to go the intel route. If you want to go the AMD route, you'll have to get the information from some AMD DAW users.

    The Processor: I'll suggest the PIII 800 EB, cost to performance, it's the best Pentium out right now. any more is really overkill for a DAW, and just a year ago, people were doing just fine with 500 Mhz or less on a pc100 platform. P4 is overkill

    The memory: just get high quality pc133, 256Mb's should be plenty 512 even better. if possible (money wise) get a single stick of 256Mb's. www.crucial.com or just look for micron brand, that's what crucial sells. cas 2, unbuffered or buffered, no ECC, non parity... will work great with the Asus Cusl2. DDR is overkill + you have to build your system around it, not your soundcard + most people using it right now don't realize that there mobo isn't capable of DDR transfers, and it's working in SDRAM mode anyway.

    Hard Drive: I suggest Western Digital, 40 Gig, UDMA 100, 7,200 rpm . It's based on a 20 gig per platter platform, making it an ultra silent and fast drive, you can't even hear it defrag. if you can, get a second hard drive somewhere in the 5-10 gig range to keep your programs on.

    well, thats the vitals less soundcard, CDRW, CDROM, Video, Monitor, Speakers, Etc. Etc...

    It's also just my 2.34 cents worth.
    TX

    PS, on the Asus Cusl2 , only use 2 of the memory slots, so if you want 512 megs get two sticks of 256, not 128 128 256, there are reported performance issues using all 3 slots.



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    Bongolation, I've been using my AMD 1.2GHz/Asus A7M266 for about 5 days now. Although I can't really comment on long-term reliability yet, I can definitely say that I haven't come across any problems at all, including "floating point instability", whatever that's supposed to mean.

    Also, overclockers may love the AMD, but, geez! I sure as hell don't need to overclock with this setup!! People almost make it sound like that's the only time AMD's are any good. It ain't so! An Athlon at 1.2 gigahertz is freakin' fast!!!!

    I've also seen people mention whether or not DDR is worth it(price vs. performance). Let me say this: at about $90 for 256MB PC2100, who gives a crap if it costs more than PC133 sdram??? Plenty of tests have shown a 15% increase in performance under most circumstances over PC133 sdram. if you don't believe me, check out tomshardware.com

    Another thing, when torpid-x says DDR is overkill, i can only assume he's talking about Intel based systems. It sure as heck don't apply to AMD with the right motherboard(AMD761 chipset).
    I havent read anything about the Asus A7M266 not being capable of ddr transfers; I'll see if I can find any more about that.

    If you're going to be doing 24/96 recording, I can't imagine anything being overkill. My old trusty AMD T-bird 900 didnt quite cut it for me. :-) I highly recommend doing more research on AMD + an AMD761 based mobo.

    Romeo

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    Bongolation, you are right that there is a lot of conflicting sentiment about what boards / chipset / cpus to buy. The bottom line is that while everyone has an opinion, most boards work fine for most people. Among people like myself who have built a lot of PCs we have usually had one bad experiance and we tend to remember it and slam that particular product. For example, VIA chips from a few years ago were not the best. I think their chipsets are great now but those who were burned before are not likely to want to try them again - a shame.

    In terms of compatability issues, like this "floating point instability" (which sounds like nonsense to me) I would do research with reliable sources. There are sites on the the net (like Tomshardware.com) that do extensive testing & benchmarking on products. As for compatability with music hardware, check with the hardware manufacturer. They should be the ultimate authority. The only warning I have ever seen from such a manuafacturer involved early AMD K7 motherboards using AMD chipsets. Beyond that I have just heard rummors.

    Mr. Boogie - I almost bought your motherboard and chip over this last weekend. Because I had not done any research on it (or its ALI chipset) I chickened out and just upgraded my PIII from 533 to 933. I would be interested to hear back from you after you have given your new setup a good test drive! That board/chip/RAM combination seems like a sweat value in terms of power-to-dollar.

  10. #10
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    if you should consider a cusl2 series board, i was warned in writing about using an orb fan with a pentium III 1ghz processor. tech support recommended : cooler master ep5-6i11

    i wouldn't have taken this too seriously, but the guy i talked to was fairly articulate about explaining the design flaw in heat dissipation of the golden orb.....he said the orb looks cool, like the air filter on a mustang...he said he hopes they can get it to work....

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