Originally posted 25 March 2009 at http://thestudio.draconiansaint.com
There are several
considerations I had to make when looking at a new computer for a Digital Audio
Workstation (DAW). I have been using laptops for almost two and half years for
recording. While that worked for what I was initially doing I found problems
quickly. Most of these having to do with the limitations of the equipment and
the fact that these laptops doubled as my daily work computers. This was not
the best situation to have.
I looked at buying an
off the shelf computer and quickly realized this was not a good idea if I
wanted the system optimized for what I wanted to do with it. It meant dealing
with an operating system that I didn’t want (Vista Home Premium) and hardware
incompatibilities due to the lack of correct chipsets and inability to upgrade
Upgrading is a key issue as you don’t want to have to continually buy a
completely new machine as new technologies become available or change the way
the internal components are hooked up, etc.
Ready Made DAWs
So the next obvious step was
to look at ready made DAW systems from the following sites:
One of the things I noticed
was the cost to value ratio. The cost is rather high for what you get. The
difference here is that these guys do know what they are doing when they build
a system. You are getting what you pay for. And there’s is warranty and
support. A local builder might have been cheaper but they don’t understand the
necessities of digital audio recording and don’t know how to build a system for
Build it Yourself
However I decided to choose the route of building my own system. I feel I have
the knowledge base to get the job done and build my own system. I sourced parts
from two places.
I used eBay for
the case and power supply. Because of how I wanted to install my equipment in
the project studio I decided on a 4U rack case with 5 internal fans (part # 4U
ICX-4830B-20). I sourced this case from Rackmount/Two Way Radio Wholesale who
sell Arrowmax rack mount casses
I also had to purchase a power supply which I also sourced from ebay. It is a
FSP Group Power_MOD 700, 700watt PSU. Lastly I sourced a Lacie Firewire 400
card with TI chipset from eBay.
I also used
Newegg to source my Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-SH2 Motherboard, an AMD Phenom Agena
9950 quad core processor 2.6 GHz, Kingston HyperX 4GB (2×2GB) 1066MHz RAM, a
Seagate 7200.11 1.5TB HDD, a Seagate 7200.12 500GB HDD, Acer X193Wb 19″
display, Samsung 22x DVD+/- R drive, a Microsoft keyboard and a Sapphire Radeon
3450 crossfire graphics accelerator.
was purchased my total cost outlay was $846.63. I am not including the cost of
the Logitech Marble track ball mouse I already have as I’ve had it for a few
years and I think it cost me $14.95 +tax at Staples. I just can’t say for sure.
Still the cost was substantially lower than buying a system from a DAW builder.
But then I didn’t figure on the challenges of what updated technology would
bring to the table and the changes in architecture.