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Building another computer - Project is GO!
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Author Building another computer - Project is GO!
Rex Coil 7
December 2, 2018 - I renamed the thread ... it used to be "Buying another computer - PLEASE HELP!". The new name is less of a plea for help and more of a project preamble since I've decided to commit to moving ahead with building a new computer.

Computer GO!

********************************************



It seems I end up buying another Windows desktop machine every few years (4 to 5 years or so). It's ~that time~ again.

I don't need a new monitor.
I don't need a new kybd.
I don't need a new trackball.

I've had fine luck with the Dell 780 desktop setup. I see there are PILES of those on eBay in various "refurbished" configurations. Looks like I can get away with doing this for around $175.00 to $250.00, which includes a 1yr warranty. 3yr warranty adds about another $50 bucks or so. Win10, I don't need super duper video (I've never played a computer game in my entire life, I'm just not into that), 8GB memory, 3GHZ dual core ... hmmm ... that's about it.

Intended use: Live 9 (I typically use an M-Audio Audiophile USB 2ch audio interface for recording I/O, while I may buy something else once all three of those M-Audio units I have on hand eventually die off) ... running the Nord Modular Editor ... just a very few stand alone VSTs (FM7 and OPX Pro 2 come to mind). Aside from the basic Windows utilities like Word Pad, Paint, and Windows Photo Viewer that's really about it other than Adobe for reading manuals. This computer won't be used for internet activities, just used in my music studio.

QUESTIONS:


** Is an internal solid state drive worth the extra investment? I can haz a 1 Terrabyte for anywhere between $60.00 to $150.00 depending on which ad I select. I don't know what makes a ~good one~ vs imported garbage, so I'm a bit vulnerable there.

** How about also using an external SSD for archiving or extended storage? There are SOO MANY to chose from ... yikes!

** Most of the ads only allow you to select a memory "size" ... I'd guess 8GB is optimal? Most just mention the size, nothing about ~speed~.

** I'm ok with a 3GHZ dual core ... any reason that's a bad choice?

Really the largest cost adder seems to be the hard drive choice. Here's one example ...

LINK = https://www.ebay.com/itm/Custom-Build-Dell-Optiplex-780-DT-E8400-3-00G Hz-Desktop-Computer-PC/192435285262?_trkparms=aid%3D555017%26algo%3DPL .CASSINI%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20150817211758%26meid%3D31ba13ef6b77408fa86a 68beb004ea0e%26pid%3D100507%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26%26itm%3D192435285262 &_trksid=p2045573.c100507.m3226

Is something like that ~ok~ or is it a dreadful mistake?

A little bit of encouragement would be helpful. Thanks. thumbs up
Final_Instrument
SSD are definitely worth it and prices have come way down

I would recommend trying to get 16gb if possible

Are you running loads of vst?
Panason
1- SSDs are possibly the most substantial speed improvement for personal computers ever made- on a par with moving from floppy disk to hard drives but better because you no longer have to worry about moving parts or excessive heat, or drive noise!!!.. If you don't use an SSD these days you are making your life harder for no good reason.

2. You don't need Adobe to read PDFs. there are free PDF readers that do the job faster.

3. 8GB RAM is a minimum for DAW multitracking + plugins on each chanel... more RAM is better.

4. A quad core CPU will be significantly better for working with DAWs.

5. Upgrading to Live 10 is highly recommended if you must stick with Ableton. Since you're a modular user and if you have the time/energy to learn another DAW I would suggest Bitwig. It's just better in almost everything, only really lacking in a dedicated control surface. With Bitwig you can do stuff that to replicate in Live you have to mess around with nerdy Max devices that always feel tacked on to the DAW and are clunky, use too much CPU etc.

6. A decent graphics card will help with more than just games.. eg rendering GUIs, and may make the computer snappier in various use cases.
Rex Coil 7
Final_Instrument wrote:
SSD are definitely worth it and prices have come way down

I would recommend trying to get 16gb if possible

Are you running loads of vst?
No actually. Roughly three or four, but not all at once. Probably the most resource hungry one is "OPX PRO II" which is an EXCELLENT rendition of the Oberheim power synths, most notably the OBX, OBXa, and others of the same era and type. FM7, CS-80v, and the Hammond emulation known as "B4" is about it. So, about four of them.

Panason wrote:
1- SSDs are possibly the most substantial speed improvement for personal computers ever made- on a par with moving from floppy disk to hard drives but better because you no longer have to worry about moving parts or excessive heat, or drive noise!!!.. If you don't use an SSD these days you are making your life harder for no good reason.

2. You don't need Adobe to read PDFs. there are free PDF readers that do the job faster.

3. 8GB RAM is a minimum for DAW multitracking + plugins on each chanel... more RAM is better.

4. A quad core CPU will be significantly better for working with DAWs.

5. Upgrading to Live 10 is highly recommended if you must stick with Ableton. Since you're a modular user and if you have the time/energy to learn another DAW I would suggest Bitwig. It's just better in almost everything, only really lacking in a dedicated control surface. With Bitwig you can do stuff that to replicate in Live you have to mess around with nerdy Max devices that always feel tacked on to the DAW and are clunky, use too much CPU etc.

6. A decent graphics card will help with more than just games.. eg rendering GUIs, and may make the computer snappier in various use cases.
Thanks ... and before I dive into this let me just say that I like your new avatar!

1.) As I thought, I just needed that "push" ... thanks to Member *Final_Instrument for that as well.

2.) I did not know that.

3.) Good to know. HA! ... I have an old WinXP machine housed in a Carillon rack chassis ... it has 4mb RAM and runs Sonar Producer Edition 6.3 ... I used to think that was the shit! Actually I still record with that thing sometimes.

4.) I'll look into a quad core ... right on.

5.) I've seen some people lament over uprating from Live 9 to Live 10 ... speed issues or harder to use or some such thing. More research is clearly needed.

6.) I'll look into that ... if it significantly increases the cost then I'll have to do a return on investment study on the use of a zoot capri graphics card. Would it require upgrading the monitor as well? I have two flat screens at present, one has a digital connection, the other has the analog connection (a 9 pin or something like that).

THE MODULAR COMPUTER (just dreamin'): I've always been interested in making a "modular computer" of some sort. Something with the right type of chassis that would allow easy access to the various ~ahem~ "modules" and easy upgrading and changing of those "modules" (storage drives, graphics cards, RAM, and so on). I've seen articles and images of some of those types of systems used by gamers that are as diseased with their chosen disciplines as we are with ours (synths). Liquid cooled CPUs, crazy cool looking fan/radiator set ups, and so on. I've often envisioned a custom cabinet made of wood that has plexiglass (or other) view ports, internal LED lighting, and a cooling system with intake and exhaust filters like what some aftermarket automotive/motorcycle air filter companies offer (such as K&N). Imagine a computer all open-framed with a few components mounted inside of a wooden enclosure sitting beneath the modular synth. The enclosure would be about the size of a small end table, large enough to enclose all of the loose components with locations to mount various ~whatevers~ to the wooden chassis. The computer junk all inside of the enclosure, ducted cooling fan intakes and filtered exhaust outlets using automotive style filters. It would keep things quieter since the fans themselves would be inside of the enclosure. And it would look very "modular synth-like" ... sorta~kinda.

Imagine an intake air filter like this mounted on the side of the enclosure ...

LINK = https://www.summitracing.com/parts/knn-63-1007-1/overview/

Something less costly (obviously), but the same idea. One could be on one side for intake, another on the other side for exhaust. We have cats (so hair and fuzz issues) and we live in the desert (so airborne dust and fine silt issues).

Oh well ... rambling again. It's just an idea inspired by my years of hot rodding and motorcycles as well as inspired by modular synth design philosophies.

Back to reality here, thanks for the help folks. I'll get straight to looking in to everything suggested up to this point.

cool
Koekepan
First off: I agree with you on modular computers. Before I go into a five page rant, let's move on ...

SSDs can be good. Most modern ones are good. But it's worth looking into the spec. SSDs give you low latency to small pieces of data. They give you good burst rates of data delivery, but some of them have low _sustained_ rates of data transfer, and if you use big sound libraries, this can be a pain. I'm well aware of the costs and benefits around SSDs, but when I built my current production machine I put in four cheap drives into a RAID 10 array for the purposes of redundancy - and the speed isn't an issue. Nor is the noise, because it isn't all that loud and isn't in a room where I do much recording.

I also back up my work to a different device entirely. You may be well advised to give some thought to backups *hinthint*.

External drives tend to be the low performance option. Anything over USB isn't going to be great, Thunderbolt isn't likely to be good, eSATA is probably OKish. So if you are in SSD for performance, then external drives are only for backup or bulk storage.

More cores are better. A lot of musical software is threaded to at least some extent, and when you're using multiple processes (plugins, typically) they're very handy. However, make sure that the chip in question has ample cache to keep all those cores fed, otherwise you're paying for cores you won't use well.

If in doubt, there are some CPU benchmark comparison sites online, dig around a bit.

More RAM is better. Faster RAM is better, but to be honest RAM is rarely a big pain point in terms of speed unless you're a frantic gamer trying to squeeze out one more FPS. For producers, it's mostly not an issue. Buy quantity over speed, here, because your RAM is making up for your slow hard drives, and no RAM on the market is slower than your hard drives.

Even a fairly modest graphics card is fine, as long as it means that the graphics card is doing the heavy lifting instead of your CPU. As for a new monitor? Just check that the graphics card has the right connector for your monitor. I'm guessing you have a VGA monitor? Or DVI? You can easily verify this with the mark 1 eyeball.

Feel free to ask for elaborations.
Panason
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
[Thanks ... and before I dive into this let me just say that I like your new avatar!

Thanks, it's one of my designs... I might post more somewhere. Can't really do them anymore because computers, but I have a few in my portfolio!

As for the "modular" PC , it is totally a thing you can do and there are websites like Partpicker that will match components so you don' end up buying stuff that doesn't work with each other. They will also price things up for you and show you how popular they are.
It takes too much time and research for me but it is possible to find a pre-built "gaming PC" on Amazon and then match the components with a cheaper graphics card for your custom PC. From what I gather it is worth getting a good PSU with a bit more power than you need, and low noise spec.

Motherboard choice is important for future-proofness. I got the impression that Gigabyte and MSI make decent motherboards.

You can get PC cases with large doors, no doors, even see-through cases or sound-proofed cases...
peripatitis
Panason wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
[Thanks ... and before I dive into this let me just say that I like your new avatar!

...

Motherboard choice is important for future-proofness. I got the impression that Gigabyte and MSI make decent motherboards.


You can get PC cases with large doors, no doors, even see-through cases or sound-proofed cases...


I don't believe future proofness is possible atm, well at least with intel processors.
Every new processor seems to demand a new socket, so the motherboard is there only for a specific generation of processors, where upgrading rarely makes much sense.

Amd has promised to keep the same socket for a few years but i've never used one so I can't vouch for them.
Still it seems to offer a valid alternative after years of lagging considerably behind intel.
Rex Coil 7
peripatitis wrote:
Panason wrote:
...Motherboard choice is important for future-proofness. I got the impression that Gigabyte and MSI make decent motherboards.
I don't believe future proofness is possible atm, well at least with intel processors. Every new processor seems to demand a new socket, so the motherboard is there only for a specific generation of processors, where upgrading rarely makes much sense.
I could not agree more with you Member *peripatitis ... and with new CPUs with new sockets come new motherboards ... and with new motherboards come new frames to mount them on or new mounting hole spacing/configurations.

This is part of what has always driven me to think of building a more modular computer system. It doesn't have to be exotic or super tricked out, it can be as simple as wooden chassis that allows mounting pretty much any motherboard, any drive bays, any cooling system, any PSU. I've done a little research on the notion this afternoon and have discovered that "wall mounted" or "board mounted" computer systems are within vogue or chic of the day's computer fashion.





(below) Now this here is a modular synthesizer user's computer system! It is as "modular" and flexible as the modular synth itself. Mount it all in a wooden box or "cabinet" with circulation fans and air filters ... a 100% future proof computer chassis!





Now, enclose something like what's shown above in a simple wooden enclosure with active air circulation systems (intake and exhaust fans with easily replaced air filters). If you look at the image below (my studio system, in the state of disarray it's in due to being in the midst of rearranging things) you can see I'm one of the fortunate ones with enough physical space to place such a computer system. The lower shelf beneath the table on the right which sits on industrial ~shelf racking~ is 24 inches deep and 72 inches wide. Clean out some of the crap-age and there would be about 2 feet by 3 feet of industrial shelf space available for such a computer set up (pretty much directly under the kitty, to the left of the rack mounted amps and rack mounted Carillon computer). Just relocate the storage bins that sit there.



This makes for about the most "future proof" chassis and mounting system one can come up with. It used to be the personal computer industry operated on the premise of "here today gone tomorrow" ... but anymore it's closer to "here today gone later today". We, as end-users, have a choice. We can continue to throw money at keeping our computer systems up to date by chasing the stuffed fake rabbit around the race track (like racing greyhounds) ... or ... we can take our destinies into our own hands and make basic mounting foundations/cabinets that will permit us to mount whatever crap the computer mavens insist we must have.

This idea I'm pushing here is no different than taking the old Curtis Mathis stereo/TV console and splitting it up into it's components to create what we knew as the modern stereo system for 40 years. The turntable, amplifier, tuner, tape deck, EQ, and so on became separate components.

There is no reason that the computer owner with enough space and some DIY moxy cannot do the very same thing.

The "wall mounted" computer system shown in the lowest two images posted above is my very favorite of the pile. Yea yea, I saw plenty of pics of clear topped desks where tons of RGB/LED lighting is used to show off the cooling systems and fans (and .. and ... and) under the clear desktop were displayed. Yawn. Totally not interested. Something like that is just as committed to design standards and mounting standards that your basic computer tower chassis is.

Something like what's in the pics above may be modified very easily to accommodate any new motherboard mountings, any PSU mountings, any new drive bay mountings and any new wiring looms by simply screwing things down and using any wiring looms required.

Break the chains of computer design slavery! Make a wooden box, mount your stuffs, and compute!

And thus spake Rex. thumbs up
Panason
That looks amazing, with all the copper .. steampunk PC!

A wooden enclosure would trap heat and so require more cooling.
Rex Coil 7
Looks like something like this will run me around $267.00 shipped free. Seller states they are a "Microsoft Registered Refurbisher" and that the OS is "Genuine Microsoft Windows software preinstalled".

Small Form Factor.
Dell Optiplex 780 SFF Q8400 2.66GHz Desktop.

** Quad core 2.66ghz
** 16gb ram.
** 256GB SSD
** Win 10 Pro.
** 1x Ethernet (RJ45)
** 1GB Network Port(s)
** Serial Port - Yes
** PS2 Ports - Yes
** Front Audio In/Out
** 0x USB 3.0 Ports
** 6x USB 2.0 Ports (2x Front USB Ports)
** 1x PCI Express
** 1x PCI Express
** x16 Expansion Slots Half Height
** VIDEO = VGA and D-Port (which can be adapted to VGA, DVI, HDMI, or Mini-HDMI) - Integrated/On-Board Graphics Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500
** CPU = Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 2.66GHz 4 (Quad) - Core Processor
** 1yr warranty.

SOME "WTF?" ISSUES:

(WTF?) - No BIOS Password (Guaranteed NOT Locked)
(WTF?) - OEM Hard Disk Based Recovery Image - A recovery partition exists on the hard drive to restore the computer back to the installed Windows image.

According to this chart I found on the web (below), I have one monitor outfitted with "DVI-D Single Link" and another monitor outfitted with "VGA".



It seems that every quad core system I see runs at around 2.66ghz. Now that is slower than what I've been used to seeing in dual core systems (roughly 3.00ghz). Is it that quad core systems don't have to run as fast since there are four processors handling the heavy lifting?

The details above are pretty much all that sellers are offering in the way of tech specs. At least that's what I seem to be finding.

Worth spending my hard earned on? hmmm..... seriously, i just don't get it
Rex Coil 7
Panason wrote:
That looks amazing, with all the copper .. steampunk PC!

A wooden enclosure would trap heat and so require more cooling.
Hence why I mentioned exhaust and intake fans with filters.
matthewjuran
A quad core with 16 GB seems like the right start to last years of good usefulness from today. Have you considered laptops though?
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
** CPU = Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 2.66GHz 4 (Quad) - Core Processor

I’m reading that this is from 2010, but the above comment refers to processors from the past few years. There’s computation efficiency that improves along with power consumption that goes beyond just frequency. Get something newer!
matthewjuran
[deleted]
mkc
The Q8400 is the dead giveaway there. That PC's ancient history.

Nowadays, clock speed is meaningless - CPU generation is what's important. New generations have expanded instruction sets and new architectures that boost single-thread performance, even at low clock speeds.

If you're looking at intel, you'll want a core i3/i5/i7. The first number on the 4 number code after the "i" designation is the processor's generation, the second number is related to how good the processor is. So, for example, a low-end 9th (current) gen intel CPU would be the i3-9100. A high end 6th-gen chip is the i7-6700.

Any 6th or newer-gen processor will serve you well. You might also be happy with a 4th or 5th gen i5 or i7 - but Intel did a great upgrade for gen6, and the gen6 i3s outperform some older chips with much higher core counts/clock speeds.

The Q-series chips are Core 2 Quads, from before the core i series. So that Q8400 is a chip from 10 generations ago.

FYI: I got my current desktop (i3-6300, 8gb ram, nice graphics card: gtx1060) for $450 from craigslist in 2016. Had to spend some extra $$ to buy an SSD for it, but that was my idea of a good deal in 2016. Still runs Ableton 9 great. Chugs a bit with u-he DIVA, though (side note: DIVA and REPRO-1 have the best analog filter emulations I've heard in a VST, ever. Also, if you get the chance, try out GSi's VB3 - I prefer it to B4 personally).

Monitors-wise, DVI and HDMI are essentially the same (although HDMI bundles in digital sound and special optional features for DVD players) - you can buy adapters from one to the other. VGA is a bit older - Almost all PCs still have VGA ports, but if the PC you end up buying has 2 DVI/HDMI ports, it may be worth spending like $100 to upgrade the VGA monitor, since DVI/HDMI is sharper and supports higher resolutions.

Hope this helps!
Rex Coil 7
Ok, so what is an E8400 then?

The reason I ask is that my last computer purchased is a dual core with 8gb ram running at 3.00ghz with a 2TB hdd and the OS is Win7/SP1 with a 2009 copyright date. The "E8400" is listed in the processor specs. I've been running Live 9 on it as well as the few VSTs and hardware editors I've listed previously in this thread. It's been doing just fine for me.

I guess what I am saying is that context is important. That said, allow me to list what I'll be using again;

** (64bit operation).
** Live 9 (maybe I'll uprate to Live 10, but that's a maybe)
** No more than four VSTs (FM7, B4, CS-80v, and OPX Pro II). And they won't be running all at once. I tend to record tracks and use them as playback instead of real time running VSTs all at once. I also use a hardware MIDI sequencer and record hardware synths as tracks. However I use the hardware sequencer as playback, not the DAW.
** A couple of hardware synth editors (Nord Modular, E-MU Audity 2000).
** Beyond that, a few of the Windows programs such as Paint, Word Pad, Windows Photo Viewer, and whatever it takes to view, create, and post videos of synth stuff to share with the forum. Those videos will be transferred to our internet computer (the one I am typing on right now).

This new computer will not be used to access the internet. That's what I use the one I am writing this post with for (the dual core Win7 machine).

So with that having been said, how does that affect choices?

Thanks. thumbs up
Koekepan
The short answer is that if your previous system was adequate, this one should be adequate. As long as you're not a VST-collecting maniac, and your workflow remains unchanged, you should be in pretty good shape because you aren't on the PC hardware treadmill (the way that so many gamers are).

But I will add that this is one of the reasons I had for moving to hardware. There are Moogs from the 1980s and earlier that sound perfectly usable, and many of our current leading devices are years old. Even a lot of early digital devices find their niche (just ask the MPC heads).
Blingley
Rex Coil 7 wrote:

Ok, so what is an E8400 then?


Intel core duo processor. I checked, and it benchmarks at around 2150 at PassMark - for the record, i3 models that you can sometimes get for like 30 bucks off ebay frequently benchmark for over 5000, and you can get something with a score almost 7000 for 80-ish bucks, new AMD 8-Core-FX-8300. That being said, if you know nothing about it, sourcing parts and checking compatibility is a pain.

250 for a that model is a terrible deal - you would have been able to get one for 80 bucks from PCliquidations (which sells refurbished office grade) in probably better condition than off of some random stranger on the internet, if they were not out of stock Dell Optiflex on PC Liquidations The version you are contemplating has a lot of RAM and a SSD which contribute to the higher cost - but it also has a processor so old I doubt it will be able to view YouTube videos in high resolution. Decking out a processor that old with more ram/SSD really does not make sense. Something like the following will almost certainly outperform it in any real application: Lenovo ThinkCentre, refurbished, sold and refurbished by Lenovo themselves. It has half the ram, but the processor itself is three times faster. Yes, SSD and more RAM are great upgrades to have, but I would honestly pick a model with a passable processor first - otherwise the processor will bottleneck the system anyway.
matthewjuran
If you’re ok with the 2009 computer then an equivalent from 2010 is fine.

It can be surprising how much an underpowered computer slows down the effort; if you remove that barrier then you might get more done, and if you’re making money with it then that gained time might be worth more than what you put into the computer. It is just a tool and you should get what you need for completing the task without unnecessary barriers.

Looking at the newest desktop processors it appears that the max power consumption hasn’t changed much from yours.

I agree that getting an SSD makes sense, it will make saving and opening audio files faster and it will also reduce other waiting you do now. A newer processor would also help with most of the waiting that isn't just saving or loading from disk.

A quad core would help parallel work happen smoothly, like multiple VSTs or more than one DAW. It can help by enabling the operating system to arrange software as something like having one core dedicated to mixing and outputting the audio while the other three walk through tracks and render the VSTs.
rod_zero
Custom build PC's are as modular as it can get.

The big advantage of a custom PC over a brand one is that the desktops by Dell, HP, etc use their off-brand PSU and motherboards, which usually are not expandable and not designed to be upgraded over time.

If you get a custom PC and you choose the parts you can reuse many of them: the Case, PSU, RAM, GPU, HD/SSD, so you only upgrade motherboard and CPU down the line.

Many manufacturers offer cases that are easy to work with, from the more barebones chassis designed for testers:

http://www.lian-li.com/pc-t60

To incorporating the computer in to the desk: http://www.lian-li.com/dk-05/

Cases with easy access and fast to upgrade: https://www.corsair.com/us/en/Categories/Products/Cases/Graphite-Serie s%E2%84%A2-380T-Portable-Mini-ITX-Case/p/CC-9011061-WW

You wanted something with glass? https://www.thermaltake.com/Chassis/Mid_Tower_/Core/C_00003358/Core_P3 _Tempered_Glass_Curved_Edition/design.htm

Looks more modular: https://www.thermaltake.com/Chassis/Full_Tower_/Level_20/C_00003170/Le vel_20/design.htm
peripatitis
rod_zero wrote:
Custom build PC's are as modular as it can get.

The big advantage of a custom PC over a brand one is that the desktops by Dell, HP, etc use their off-brand PSU and motherboards, which usually are not expandable and not designed to be upgraded over time.

If you get a custom PC and you choose the parts you can reuse many of them: the Case, PSU, RAM, GPU, HD/SSD, so you only upgrade motherboard and CPU down the line.

Many manufacturers offer cases that are easy to work with, from the more barebones chassis designed for testers:

http://www.lian-li.com/pc-t60

To incorporating the computer in to the desk: http://www.lian-li.com/dk-05/

Cases with easy access and fast to upgrade: https://www.corsair.com/us/en/Categories/Products/Cases/Graphite-Serie s%E2%84%A2-380T-Portable-Mini-ITX-Case/p/CC-9011061-WW

You wanted something with glass? https://www.thermaltake.com/Chassis/Mid_Tower_/Core/C_00003358/Core_P3 _Tempered_Glass_Curved_Edition/design.htm

Looks more modular: https://www.thermaltake.com/Chassis/Full_Tower_/Level_20/C_00003170/Le vel_20/design.htm


This is a bit theoretical, in practice if by upgrading you mean a serious leap in processor speed, you will have to change the motherboard, the processor, the ram, the heatsink and keep what? A couple of ssd's that a) communicate slower than the now trend, and b) you shouldn't probably be trusting with your data for more than 4-5 years?
In reality you get stuck with the power (if you don't hunt for efficiency) and a box with a couple of usb-2's in front to remind you how old that case is. (and ok perhaps a pci expansion card here or there..)

Case in point?
I have an i7 920 pc I've built 9 years ago on a Silverstone fortress 1 case.
Since making it, I've upgraded to 12gb or ram, changed the power to a seasonic fanless version, changed the heatsink for a noctua one and changed the graphics card, added a couple of pci cards (firewire) and changed to an ssd.
Ok so I had a mildly better user experience from the machine but in number crunching computing? I don't think the needle even moved..

So I now need to either spend 250 euros to get the flagship processors of that socket (i7 990x extreme) in the second hand market, to bring this to a 3rd generation equivalent performance or I need to spend 700-800 euros to bring it up to speed and live with that ageing box by my side or take my gamble with second hand stuff.


And we still await for the processing toll the "security hole" intel suddenly found out will take smile


Rex Coil 7 wrote:
peripatitis wrote:
Panason wrote:
...Motherboard choice is important for future-proofness. I got the impression that Gigabyte and MSI make decent motherboards.
I don't believe future proofness is possible atm, well at least with intel processors. Every new processor seems to demand a new socket, so the motherboard is there only for a specific generation of processors, where upgrading rarely makes much sense.
I could not agree more with you Member *peripatitis ... and with new CPUs with new sockets come new motherboards ... and with new motherboards come new frames to mount them on or new mounting hole spacing/configurations.

This is part of what has always driven me to think of building a more modular computer system. It doesn't have to be exotic or super tricked out, it can be as simple as wooden chassis that allows mounting pretty much any motherboard, any drive bays, any cooling system, any PSU. I've done a little research on the notion this afternoon and have discovered that "wall mounted" or "board mounted" computer systems are within vogue or chic of the day's computer fashion.....

thumbs up


wow I had no idea that when you were talking "modular" you meant modular smile
Panason
You can get rid of the VGA monitor, too low res.... go for HDMI ideally since it is the easiest cable to find.
Misk
you gotta take into account the different "versions" of HDMI too from what I understand. I love looking at new computer shit, but HATE shopping for a computer. last computer i bought was a 2015 15 inch macbook pro and that was in 2016. Fuck that "touchbar" noise—i don't want software controlling my function keys!

Doesnt help that studio hardware one may invest may be cutting edge at the time, but, something like my symbolic sound Paca, runs on firewire—now practically a dead technology. chains of adaptors are your friend here.

I'm deep into the mac ecosystem these days, which pisses me off—the last great mac was the aluminum tower mac pro... if i get a desktop i'm going hackintosh—i've got real issues with apple's hardware, and don't get me started on the right to repair... pisses me off that apple solders shit like RAM into their laptop motherboards these days.

MacOS has been going downhill ever since Lion—even removing basic unix commands—windows is still bloatware, and every distro of linux ive run that I dug (mostly arch) pulls me down the rabbit hole of package managers and constantly updating dependancies instead of making music. There's very few good games for macOS, which for my productivity, is a huge plus.

i guess i don't have anything constructive to add to this thread, except that the more into tech i am, the more of a fuckin luddite i become. hihi
kcd06
Quote:
every distro of linux ive run that I dug (mostly arch) pulls me down the rabbit hole of package managers and constantly updating dependancies instead of making music


If you get deeper into configuring linux, you can fold the various missing dependencies into your live build. Alternatively, you can try a dual-boot system (which is dicey given how pissy Microsoft gets about sharing) or a separate hard drive and cold swap that into your system when you want to play with linux.
Panason
Misk wrote:
'm deep into the mac ecosystem these days, which pisses me off—the last great mac was the aluminum tower mac pro... if i get a desktop i'm going hackintosh—i've got real issues with apple's hardware, and don't get me started on the right to repair... pisses me off that apple solders shit like RAM into their laptop motherboards these days.

MacOS has been going downhill ever since Lion—even removing basic unix commands—windows is still bloatware, and every distro of linux ive run that I dug (mostly arch) pulls me down the rabbit hole of package managers and constantly updating dependancies instead of making music. There's very few good games for macOS, which for my productivity, is a huge plus.

i guess i don't have anything constructive to add to this thread, except that the more into tech i am, the more of a fuckin luddite i become.



Basically my story with computers and why I ditched a career involving them.
I now have come to the point where my 2010 Macbook Pro is becoming unusable as a laptop for general computer tasks (too hot , runs out of battery in less than two hours ) and I am dreading having to buy a Windows laptop.... but Mac has gone from being the only choice to being this horrible thing that is keeping me hostage because the alternatives are so awful to work with.
peripatitis
The only sensible way to be with mac is to sell your laptop every year, before the guaranty ends and buy a new one, of course the problem there Is Apple's irrational port decision making..
But it is unbelievable how well the latest generation of mac's sell, regardless their frail hardware construction.
On the other hand machines with an amazing track record (like the thinkpad line) have their price fall downhill from the second you buy them.
artieTwelve
I agree with the above threads that say: Build your own PC. Honestly, a 10 year old can do it. There are a ton of video/websites,etc. to show you how.

But, if you just want something with a 4 core processor, a solid state drive and in the price range of $200 - $300, check out Microcenter. The link below will show you 12 (as of today) possibilities.

One more thing. Windows. When you buy a PC with Windows installed, you are usually getting an OEM version, which means it's locked to that machine. You can buy a new PC, but you can't move your copy of Windows to it. But if you buy/build a barebones PC, spend the $200 and get a full, movable copy of Windows. It will be linked to your Microsoft account and you can move it as much as you want. In the long run, it will save you money.

https://www.microcenter.com/search/search_results.aspx?Ntt=dell+deskto p&Ntk=all&sortby=match&N=40&myStore=true
Rex Coil 7
OFF TO THE RACES:

First off, thanks (like BIG thanks) to everyone that posted such valuable information and took the time to post links to sources and vendors. I've just finished making up a "WORD" file where I copy/pasted all of your replies, including the links. I'm using that infos to begin with this "modular computer project".

I'm about as committed to using Ableton as I can be at this point. I'll be using it well beneath it's limits, so I'm sure the information that has been provided here in this thread will serve me well as I begin actually spending money on this project.

I'm uncertain whether I'll just buy a ready-to-go computer to cannibalize it's components and then add (or change) things to suit my needs ... or if I'm going to just buy things piecemeal and put it together fitting what I see in my mind's eye. I'm thinking as I see what some of this stuff is going to cost me, those numbers will help me decide on the path I take.

*** Going with Live 9 (for now) simply because I already own it, and there is a SHIT TON of tutorial courses and videos about using it, along with the fact that there are years of experience within the Ableton forum covering Live 9's use. It simply makes sense for the time being. Besides, I can always uprate later.

*** Other than the programs within Live 9 used to create and process sound and MIDI, I reckon I won't be using any more than three, perhaps four VSTs at any given moment. I have hardware to get me most of where I need to go.

*** Mostly rhythm and drums stuff in Live 9 is what I'll be doing. There will be some live audio looping going on, but not extensive levels. Guitars, bass guitars, vintage Hammond, modular synth lead runs and melodies (non-MIDI stuff) ... that's the sort of thing live phrase audio looping will be dealing with. 95% external FX will be used for the audio looping stuff of non-MIDI instruments ... I'm a live performance guy and I still sortof think that way. So most likely very (very) little of sending in dry instruments, putting computer FX on them, then sending them back out for live monitoring of backing tracks. Pretty much anything going into the audio interface will already have FX applied to it when it goes in.

*** MIDI looping will also be happening. Again, two or three hardware synths going on outside of the box ... so yea.

*** Aside from "the live jam" thing, I'll also be producing the occasional song from time to time. So track recording and post-production stuff.

That's about all I can think of as far as "mission statement" is concerned. I hope that information helps anyone that replies from here on out.

Ok, so again BIG THANKIES to those that provided suggestions and links. I've got some money now, I've got a bit of a plan happening, and I'm ready to get started.

Gotta jet ...

pbear :( cookie?!?
mritenburg
Get a computer with a Thunderbolt 3 interface for audio. 40gbps through put cannot be beat for low latency work.
Rex Coil 7
mritenburg wrote:
Get a computer with a Thunderbolt 3 interface for audio. 40gbps through put cannot be beat for low latency work.
Never heard of Thunderbolt 3, but I'll certainly give it a look.

What does the "complies with" list look like?

In other words, is it adopted by a lot of interfaces?

Will I need something additional for MIDI I/O (I'll have about 3 or 4 external hardware MIDI synths)?

~by the way .. THANK YOU ... this kind of input is exactly what I'm needing ... sortof coaching me through the purchasing process~

thumbs up
mritenburg
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
mritenburg wrote:
Get a computer with a Thunderbolt 3 interface for audio. 40gbps through put cannot be beat for low latency work.
Never heard of Thunderbolt 3, but I'll certainly give it a look.

What does the "complies with" list look like?

In other words, is it adopted by a lot of interfaces?

Will I need something additional for MIDI I/O (I'll have about 3 or 4 external hardware MIDI synths)?

~by the way .. THANK YOU ... this kind of input is exactly what I'm needing ... sortof coaching me through the purchasing process~

:tu:


Thunderbolt 3 is just a type of input/output port that is similar to USB and Firewire, but faster than both. When you get ready to buy a motherboard or full computer, just make sure that it supports Thunderbolt 3.

The newest generation of high quality audio interfaces are made for Thunderbult 3. For instance, the new UAD Apollo interfaces are designed for Thunderbolt 3. The interfaces that you can connect to Thunderbolt 3 should support MIDI and Audio.
Rex Coil 7
Been watching "build a music computer" videos. One of the concepts presented is to use a somewhat smaller/fast SSD (like a 120gb or so) for running applications, and using like a 1TB internal HDD for mass storage (sample libraries, musical projects, and so on).

This one particular video "Building a music computer for $500" (posted in September of 2018) this fella bought a 120gb SSD and a 1TB Toshiba HDD for a total of $60 bucks for the pair, new. Trippy.

So is the smaller/faster SSD for programs and larger/slower HDD for mass storage a viable notion? For the HDD, no slower than 7,200 rpm with a connection no older than a SATA 3 (as low end specs).

mritenburg
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Been watching "build a music computer" videos. One of the concepts presented is to use a somewhat smaller/fast SSD (like a 120gb or so) for running applications, and using like a 1TB internal HDD for mass storage (sample libraries, musical projects, and so on).

This one particular video "Building a music computer for $500" (posted in September of 2018) this fella bought a 120gb SSD and a 1TB Toshiba HDD for a total of $60 bucks for the pair, new. Trippy.

So is the smaller/faster SSD for programs and larger/slower HDD for mass storage a viable notion? For the HDD, no slower than 7,200 rpm with a connection no older than a SATA 3 (as low end specs).

:75:


For just a little extra $$$ you can get SSD's for both drives. There are multiple benefits. One of the greatest benefits, which may not seem important now, but hard drives with spinning platters actually produce quite a bit of ambient noise. The whine from a 7200rpm drive is loud enough to affect your perception of your mix. Rather than spend all kinds of extra $$$ with treatments for your computer case trying to dampen the noise from spinning drive, just get 2x SSD's.
Rex Coil 7
mritenburg wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Been watching "build a music computer" videos. One of the concepts presented is to use a somewhat smaller/fast SSD (like a 120gb or so) for running applications, and using like a 1TB internal HDD for mass storage (sample libraries, musical projects, and so on).

This one particular video "Building a music computer for $500" (posted in September of 2018) this fella bought a 120gb SSD and a 1TB Toshiba HDD for a total of $60 bucks for the pair, new. Trippy.

So is the smaller/faster SSD for programs and larger/slower HDD for mass storage a viable notion? For the HDD, no slower than 7,200 rpm with a connection no older than a SATA 3 (as low end specs).



For just a little extra $$$ you can get SSD's for both drives. There are multiple benefits. One of the greatest benefits, which may not seem important now, but hard drives with spinning platters actually produce quite a bit of ambient noise. The whine from a 7200rpm drive is loud enough to affect your perception of your mix. Rather than spend all kinds of extra $$$ with treatments for your computer case trying to dampen the noise from spinning drive, just get 2x SSD's.
Makes total sense. I've added that notion to my notes.

So here are a few specs from my notes compiled from watching a few "build a music computer" type videos.

*** 8gb ram MINIMUM
... (I think I'd rather see 16gb ... even 32gb if I can afford it, otherwise I can start at 16gb and add more later)

*** Generally speaking (Fans) ... Larger fans rather than more smaller fans (larger ones spin slower so they're not as loud).

*** Generally speaking (USB PORTS) ... Lots of USB3 ports. They get used up by stuff.

*** CPU
= (about $115.00) Intel Core i3 8100 (it's the current 2018 CPU in it's Eighth generation) 3.6ghz - 4 core - no hyperthreading - the current generation of i3 CPUs are making people happy. It seems the older dual core i3 was sucky. These later generation 4 core i3 chips are doing fine, so it seems.

*** CPU Cooling = (about $27.00) Suggested as a medium range system is the Coolermaster Hyper 212 LED (if you can opt out of the LEDs you can save a little money). No hoses, fits right on the chip.

*** CPU FAN = (about $30.00) - Noctua NF-F12 ... "quiet and efficient, cools very well without making a lot of noise".

*** Motherboard = (about $50.00 when bundled with purchasing the CPU with it ) MSI B360M Pro-VDH (Micro ATX size) ... plenty of connections, plenty of RAM slots, plenty of storage connections.

*** SSD = ($23.00) Inland Professional 120GB - Probably ok ... there's plenty of others to look over.

*** MASS STORAGE = ($30.00) Toshiba P300 1TB HDD ... no slower than 7,200 rpm ... connection no older than a SATA 3 ... (as mentioned above by Member *mritenburg it's probably best to just go with several SSDs rather than going with any HDDs ... which makes a lot of sense to me.

*** PSU = ($30.00 or so) - 500 watts or so, no less than that however. With 500 watts there's enough power to handle a graphics card if I want to let the CPU deal with running programs rather than doing any of the video heavy lifting. Plenty of power to run a graphics card, more storage, more of everything if need be. When it comes to power, more is always better no matter if we're talking about a backup generator for your home, a modular synthesizer, or a "modular computer" (wink wink).

*** Generally speaking (why a graphics card is a good idea) - Quoting one of our members that replied in this thread .... "Even a fairly modest graphics card is fine, as long as it means that the graphics card is doing the heavy lifting instead of your CPU. As for a new monitor? Just check that the graphics card has the right connector for your monitor. I'm guessing you have a VGA monitor? Or DVI? You can easily verify this with the mark 1 eyeball."

*** REAR Chassis Fans = (about $15.00) - Corsair AF120 ... 120mm fans ... DC 3 pin ..

*** FRONT Chassis Fans = (about $40.00 for a 2-pak) - Corsair HL140 Mag Lev 140mm fans ... "PWM" fans ...

*** Thunderbolt 3 interface standard (instead of USB or Firewire).

*** Backup drives = RAID 10 (or other) - for backups (the RAID is a multi-drive "box" that rotates data around on the drives to keep the data safe).


So that's what I've taken in so far. I'll tell ya what, I understand a hell of a lot more than I did not more than just six or seven hours ago. This whole thing isn't just numbers on my computer screen anymore. I've got a much better grasp on what and where money needs to be spent, and what I need to prioritize as I design this "comp-inna-wood-box" modular computer now. I may not necessarily go with the exact brands/models of given pieces of gear mentioned here, but this gives us something to discuss and a set of "zero lines" for me to work from. All of this has helped me to understand what a lot of the specs of particular pieces mean and what the specifications' relevance is to my intended purpose for this project.

I'm picturing the enclosure (aka "wood box" ... that's the fancy technical term for the enclosure I'll be building for this) being about the same rough size as a 12U or 16U rack cabinet ... lay it down on it's "back", and make it about 12 inches "tall" as it sits on the shelf. So roughly 22" to 32" long, by 24" or so wide, and about a foot tall. Roughly about the same as my Euro rack cabinet seen here on it's back ....



... actually, that is a 16U which as I look at this picture it seems too large. So it may end up about like a 12U instead of this 16U. So perhaps more like my 12U utility cabinet I built for housing my 5U ribbon controllers modules ....



Then, assemble the works on the wooden "bottom" of the cab, so it's looks sortof like this (but inside of the box) ... and without the slick looking clear coolant lines and blinken lighty-lights.



Fully removable wood top. External automotive/motorcycle type air filters that are easily removed for cleaning or replacement (we have three cats). This won't be any more difficult than designing/building the cabinet I designed/built for my 5U modular.





Now we can talk about why any of these parts are good, or not good. The list provides me with something to compare various other suggestions with.


I'm jazzed!

Never maintain cash savings again ........ POW!
Entrainer
Rex Coil 7 wrote:

*** Generally speaking (why a graphics card is a good idea) - Quoting one of our members that replied in this thread .... "Even a fairly modest graphics card is fine, as long as it means that the graphics card is doing the heavy lifting instead of your CPU. As for a new monitor? Just check that the graphics card has the right connector for your monitor. I'm guessing you have a VGA monitor? Or DVI? You can easily verify this with the mark 1 eyeball."


NVidia 1050 would be my recommendation. It doubles the performance of 1030 for a modest price bump. The 1050 ti, 1060, etc offer increasingly diminishing returns. You don't need a lot of power or ram for strictly audio-related work. OTOH, who knows what the future will bring.

The RX series is less power efficient. Also, buying used is a risk due to the abnormal usage strains of cypto-mining.
Rex Coil 7
Entrainer wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:

*** Generally speaking (why a graphics card is a good idea) - Quoting one of our members that replied in this thread .... "Even a fairly modest graphics card is fine, as long as it means that the graphics card is doing the heavy lifting instead of your CPU. As for a new monitor? Just check that the graphics card has the right connector for your monitor. I'm guessing you have a VGA monitor? Or DVI? You can easily verify this with the mark 1 eyeball."


NVidia 1050 would be my recommendation. It doubles the performance of 1030 for a modest price bump. The 1050 ti, 1060, etc offer increasingly diminishing returns. You don't need a lot of power or ram for strictly audio-related work. OTOH, who knows what the future will bring.

The RX series is less power efficient. Also, buying used is a risk due to the abnormal usage strains of cypto-mining.
Cypto-mining? Is that possibly a typo of "crypto mining"?

If so, I had to look it up to understand the reference. I take it that it's some sort of game?

Anyhow, I'll add your suggestion to my notes. And "No used" .. got it. thumbs up


********************************************

Also - I renamed the thread ... it used to be "Buying another computer - PLEASE HELP!". The new name is less of a plea for help and more of a project preamble since I've decided to commit to moving ahead with building a new computer.

Computer GO!

********************************************
peripatitis
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Entrainer wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:

*** Generally speaking (why a graphics card is a good idea) - Quoting one of our members that replied in this thread .... "Even a fairly modest graphics card is fine, as long as it means that the graphics card is doing the heavy lifting instead of your CPU. As for a new monitor? Just check that the graphics card has the right connector for your monitor. I'm guessing you have a VGA monitor? Or DVI? You can easily verify this with the mark 1 eyeball."


NVidia 1050 would be my recommendation. It doubles the performance of 1030 for a modest price bump. The 1050 ti, 1060, etc offer increasingly diminishing returns. You don't need a lot of power or ram for strictly audio-related work. OTOH, who knows what the future will bring.

The RX series is less power efficient. Also, buying used is a risk due to the abnormal usage strains of cypto-mining.
Cypto-mining? Is that possibly a typo of "crypto mining"?

If so, I had to look it up to understand the reference. I take it that it's some sort of game?

Anyhow, I'll add your suggestion to my notes. And "No used" .. got it. thumbs up


********************************************

Also - I renamed the thread ... it used to be "Buying another computer - PLEASE HELP!". The new name is less of a plea for help and more of a project preamble since I've decided to commit to moving ahead with building a new computer.

Computer GO!

********************************************


Not a game. It's the way to create bitcoins if I am not wrong and apparently you need an advanced graphics card to do so and they drive the prices up..Or at least that is the rumor, which does have some logical gaps..
Rex Coil 7
peripatitis wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Entrainer wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:

*** Generally speaking (why a graphics card is a good idea) - Quoting one of our members that replied in this thread .... "Even a fairly modest graphics card is fine, as long as it means that the graphics card is doing the heavy lifting instead of your CPU. As for a new monitor? Just check that the graphics card has the right connector for your monitor. I'm guessing you have a VGA monitor? Or DVI? You can easily verify this with the mark 1 eyeball."


NVidia 1050 would be my recommendation. It doubles the performance of 1030 for a modest price bump. The 1050 ti, 1060, etc offer increasingly diminishing returns. You don't need a lot of power or ram for strictly audio-related work. OTOH, who knows what the future will bring.

The RX series is less power efficient. Also, buying used is a risk due to the abnormal usage strains of cypto-mining.
Cypto-mining? Is that possibly a typo of "crypto mining"?

If so, I had to look it up to understand the reference. I take it that it's some sort of game?

Anyhow, I'll add your suggestion to my notes. And "No used" .. got it. thumbs up


********************************************

Also - I renamed the thread ... it used to be "Buying another computer - PLEASE HELP!". The new name is less of a plea for help and more of a project preamble since I've decided to commit to moving ahead with building a new computer.

Computer GO!

********************************************


Not a game. It's the way to create bitcoins if I am not wrong and apparently you need an advanced graphics card to do so and they drive the prices up..Or at least that is the rumor, which does have some logical gaps..
Ah! I see. So yet another currency manipulation thing. A game. The "game" of "making money in our non-tangible wealth world" .. such that it is.

"Block chain technology" ... "Cryptocosm" ... hopefully one day those words will be within the mainstream lexicon ... wealth will be thought of and managed in an entirely new way that kills off the all-to-easily manipulated currency markets of the modern era. Those concepts promise to bring privacy into digital money transactions. It centers around a new architecture for the internet and the entire world's economy.

Ok then .... back to topic here ... it seems my very first set of choices needs to be:

1.) CPU ... which will determine the CPU socket (which will in-part determine motherboard choices).
2.) Motherboard ... outfitted with the proper CPU socket and connections (USB and so on).
3.) CPU cooling method(s) ... which are determined in part by which motherboard is used, which is determined by the CPU socket, which is determined by the CPU choice. From what I've learned so far, sometimes motherboard/CPU bundles are offered at fairly nice discounts. The beauty of building this on a boxed-in piece of wood is that motherboard form factor and size are 100% irrelevant ... that is SO cool!

So I'll start there. CPU, Motherboard, and CPU cooling. I figure taking these baby steps will make it simpler and less stressful to move forward with the construction of this new computer.

Off to do more research (which will surely generate more questions).

I will have questions.

Thanks!

Driving
Rex Coil 7
ASUS Motherboards? This same one is suggested over and over again in music computer build videos ... ASUS Prime Z370-A LGA1151 DDR4 DP HDMI DVI M.2 USB 3.1 Z370 ATX Motherboard with USB 3.1 ($170.00)

LINK = https://www.amazon.com/PRIME-LGA1151-Motherboard-Generation-Processors  /dp/B075RJHN2D/ref=as_li_ss_tl?rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1524786015&sr=8-1&ke ywords=asus+prime+z370-a&linkCode=sl1&tag=techoftomo-20&linkId=65951a3 c666cd72000bc31bf46bec6db

CPU? It seems to depend on who's doing the video, it goes between the Intel i3 8700 and the Intel i7 8700. There's a massive price difference between the two, the i3 is $125.00 ... the i7 is $340.00. If I understand all of this properly, either the i3 or the i7 will fit in the ASUS motherboard socket of the 'board suggested above. I suppose I could use the i3 for a while and if it's ass then uprate to the i7 later. Amazon carries both CPUs.....

Intel Core i7 8700 (quad core) ($339.00)

LINK = https://www.amazon.com/Intel-i7-8700-Desktop-Processor-BX80684i78700/d p/B07598HLB4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1524795563&sr=1-3&keywor ds=i7%2B8700&linkCode=sl1&tag=techoftomo-20&linkId=18ddc7d19343956aecb df5f1a1f0d608&th=1


Intel Core i3 8700 (quad core) ($124.89)

LINK = https://www.amazon.com/Intel-8th-Core-i3-8100-Processor/dp/B0759FTRZL? th=1

Amazon has a bundle offer for both the 'board and CPU, but the price is no different than buying them separately (I did the math).

Thunderbolt 3?: The ASUS motherboard is able to deal with Thunderbolt 3 compliant gear. The T-bolt 3 board is $80.00.

LINK = https://www.amazon.com/ASUS-Expansion-Card-Motherboards-ThunderboltEX/ dp/B01HDUVJ54/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1524795724&sr=8-1&keywords=a sus+thunderboltex+3&linkCode=sl1&tag=techoftomo-20&linkId=0551dee67069 e9cc9016db96dbc5885b

CPU cooling systems vary quite a bit: The Corsair brand seems to be well received by most folks. I'll choose that when I start designing the cabinet. 240mm fan (or equal) should do it. I'll probably go with a remote radiator and fan rather than one mounted directly on the chip. $40.00 on up.

PSU: 500 watts minimum, 850 watts better. $40.00 on up.

Ok, so there we go ... ... motherboard, CPU, cooler, and power supply. I'll start there. That will give me time to design and start building the box, while working out storage and RAM needs, chassis fans, and so on.

I'm probably going with the smaller/faster SSD as the "boot drive" and either an SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Hard Drive) or just an HDD as the mass storage drive. 7,200 rpm minimum, with a SATA connector.

Moving along pretty well here.

Happy.

thumbs up

EDIT: Hells bells ... I totally spaced figuring in a DVD/CD drive. Bah ... I'll work it out.

d'oh!
Rex Coil 7
FIRST PARTS ORDER COMPLETED - JUNK EN ROUTE!

$509.00 bought the following (every single item is brand new, and shipped free):

For starters, here's the motherboard (details beneath the image) ...



** $152.04 - ASUS Prime Z370-A Motherboard. This is one of the current "faves of the minute" among the computer geeks of this Earth. Until perhaps sometime later this afternoon since things change so quickly in the computing world.

** $129.99 - Intel i3-8100 Coffee Lake CPU (3.6ghz, 8th generation, 4 core, 4 thread, 65 watt, LGA 1151 socket). This one is a darling ... in some benchmark tests it actually outperforms the previous generation i5. Same socket between the 8th gen i3, 8th gen i5, and 8th gen i7 ... upgrades made easy!

** $34.47 - Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO with 120mm PWM fan (easily the most popular CPU-mounted liquid cooling system sold right now ... many millions and millions of positive reviews ... clearly I'm joking, but it has received buckets of happy).

** $125.00 - Corsair Vengance LPX 16gb (2x8gb) DDR4 DRAM 3,000mhz C15 memory kit. Yet another goodie from the "most popular" list. This is a 16gb "2x8" configuration ... the motherboard has 4 ram slots ... so I've 2 slots left to increase the RAM capacity when I have mo' munnay.

** $23.00 - San Disk 126gb SSD 2.5" internal storage drive. This is something I really pained over ... there are so many bloody options when it comes to selecting an "SSD boot drive" (so to speak). The ASUS motherboard has two M.2 sockets (one even has a large aluminum heat sink). But I didn't know what "M.2" was when I was selecting the SSD. I suppose it's no real crime that I didn't go with an M.2 type SSD (instead of the 2.5" SSD I selected). I mean, we're only talking about the $23.00 I spent on the San Disk 2.5" SSD here. I need to do more learnin' before I can know whether there is some distinct advantage going with M.2 board-mounted SSD over using a cable-connected SSD that will require some sort of mounting method in the wooden computer case I'm building. At first glance, it seems as though using an M.2 contributes to heat buildup on the motherboard, opposed to the free-swingin' cable connected 2.5" SSD. But who knows, right?

** $43.83 - Toshiba 1TB Internal 3.5" HDD, 7,200 RPM, P300 SATA3 connection, 64mb buffer, model number HDWD110. Yet another ~sure thing~ and favorite among audio processing computer builders. Combined with the SSD for programs and the main OS (Win 7 in my situation) this hard drive should do me right.


AUDIO INTERFACE (THE THUNDERBOLT DEBACLE):

Status; currently shit-canned. I've read FAR FAR FAR too many bitchings and complainings about getting the Thunderfart set-up to work. Add to the bugs/bitchings/FAILS, the cost of Thunderbolt compliant audio interfaces is fekking ridiculous.

After spending far too many hours of research on it all, it seems that USB3 (especially 3.1) actually runs with or even outruns many Thunderbolt ready interfaces. Some interfaces that have "THUNDERBOLT!" splattered all over their descriptions and cartons turn out to be only T-Bolt 2 compliant ... not T-Bolt 3. So for now I'm blowing off the Thunderpants stuff and going with a USB2 setup ....

** $106.99 - Behringer U-Phoria UMC404-HD USB2 audio/midio interface (paid for and on it's way) Yup .. you betchya .. I actually said Behringer. Yes, I said $106.99. I know, I know ... Behringer? Really? ... yup, Behringer. This particular interface by them has received absolute piles of positive embrace from the reviewers, users, critics, and skeptics alike. Good sound, stable, half dozen outs, USB2.

Priority "A" for me is to have this DAW up and on the fly without hitch-or-bitch as soon as I can (within reason). Dealing with possible issues is not what I need right off the bat. So I'm being "Mr. Plays-It-Safe" here.

Priority "B" is to have at least 4 analog 1/4" outputs ... 4 at the very least. I want to be able to run (let's say) drums out of one stereo pair, and (let's say) some sort of synth/VST/clips out of a totally different stereo pair of 1/4" analog outputs. This is so I can use the various FX/processors I have accumulated since 1977 on drums and synths spewing forth from the mouth of this Wunder'Puter I'm building. So four analog outputs is the absolute bare minimum. Six would be better, eight even better yet, 10,12,14,16 even better so.

That said, this Behringer U-Phoria UMC404-HD USB2 has "2 main outs" and 4 "playback" outputs. The main outs are actually a pair of 1/4" and a pair of XLR outs. The "playback" outs are 4 1/4" jacks, and 4 RCA jacks. I'm not sure how the DAW will "see" those outputs however. In any case, I'm fairly sure I'll have addressed my absolute minimum needs with this $107.00 interface.

THERE WE ARE, SO FAR ... well, kinda:

I have yet to select and buy a few things to have the basic framework of the system on hand, that said ....

POWER SUPPLY: I'm just going to go with a 500 watt fan cooled unit. Most of them I've looked over are less than/equal to $30.00 bucks.

DVD/CD DRIVE: Like most of this stuff, there is a monumental HEAP of models/makers to chose from. Like the power supply, the DVD/CD drives I've taken a gander at are less than/equal to about $30.00 bucks.

CHASSIS FANS: I'll pick those out as I begin the actual design phase of the cabinet. Most I've seen so far are quite cost effective ($10.00 to $30.00 per unit) all depending on size, mounting style, the amount of air it pushes expressed in Cubic Feet per Minute of airflow (aka "CFM"), and power type ("DC" or "PWM" ... "PWM" stands for "pulse width modulation" ... a method of controlling speed that essentially turns the power on and off very quickly at different rates of "on" versus "off" times ... the longer it's "on" the faster the wing spins. "DC" is a voltage level speed control method, higher voltage makes the wing spin faster). "PWM" and "DC" fans use power connections on the motherboard that are specific to either type. The motherboard also has a built-in software fan speed controller which the end/user may make changes with to control the fans' speeds.

GRAPHICS CARD: Not using one. Bing bang boom. The End. I'm not convinced that adding that much heat, fan noise, and money output will provide the sufficient performance increases needed to push the return on investment ratio over to my favor enough to justify it's use. I've never played a computer game once in my entire life. And I'm not a video producer or do heavy video editing either. The Intel 8th Gen i3 CPU has enough horsepower to provide good graphics while also doing it's primary job of audio processing without sweating a drop.

CONTROLLER: Going with PUSH 1 (and a little later adding the AKAI APC40 Mk2 ... the Push 1 and the APC40 Mk2 do very different things). I can haz one for $300.00 or less in great condition. I'm convinced this "DAW on the cheap" notion can work, so I'm sticking with the configuration of Win7, Live 9.77, Push 1, USB2 interface. I already own a new unregistered LEGAL copy of Win7, I already own Live 9.62 Standard (64 bit), and computer/interface/controller looks like it will run roughly under $1,000.00. Righteous. No need for Push2.


TIME:


These choices provide me with a working music computer. I would rather spend my time using it and learning while using (aka "OJT" ... "On the Job Training" as it was called when I was in the military). I mean, I could spend weeks (months?) researching things, comparing specs, reading reviews, watching videos, posting threads driving all of you goodfolk completely nuts with my ceaseless questions. OR! ... I could spend that same time actually using a minimal system, having fun, gaining experience, taking notes about what I need and don't need.

I prefer that second option ... by a long shot ... to be sure!!

So this way I'll have a working/operating system that I can learn Ableton with and learn what I actually need vs what I certainly do not need ... all the while enjoying the trip along the way.

SOME IDEAS:


This ASUS motherboard is very capable. It has three USB 3.1 port wired right to the CPU, and over a half dozen USB2 ports also wired straight to the CPU. Oh, and 1 USB3 "Type C" port also wired straight to the CPU. So there's that ... later when I have spent some time working with the DAW I'll be able to make informed choices about changes in interface selections.

ADAT ... I only just learned about how ADAT can be used to my advantage just yesterday! Member *panason is the one I credit for flipping that particular light switch and illuminating that technology so I may better see how to use it. Big Giant THANKS out to Member *panason for that. Here's what I learned ....

I may use a less costly, physically smaller audio interface with only two analog outputs (key word there = "analog") but also has ADAT I/O. I may use the ADAT I/O to connect the interface to another piece of gear that also has ADAT I/O and more analog outputs.

For instance, I have owned this Alesis DEQ830 digital 31 band 8 channel EQ for years. It is essentially EIGHT 31 band grahpic EQs, each one has it's own analog input and output. There are sixteen 1/4" jacks around back. It also has ADAT I/O ports. After checking the DEQ830's manual to verify this, I learned that I may connect the Alesis EQ to an audio interface that is equipped with ADAT I/O to essentially increase the analog I/O of the interface to 8+1 input, and 8+1 output. The DAW software will see all eighteen ins/outs as being part of the interface itself, and all of the collective I/O will be available to Ableton just as if it were one fancy pants interface with nine analog inputs and nine analog outputs.

FEKKIN COOL ASS!!
SlayerBadger!

What this means is I can take my time and locate an interface that complies with USB3 (or even USB3.1), and has ADAT I/O. I'll spend less hard-earned on a "stereo" interface, and more of my money can go towards the communication protocol rather than hardware I/O. My mind's eye sees a small 2x2 interface, USB3 compliant, with ADAT I/O ... that I'll lightpipe to the Alesis to increase the analog I/O with. OH! ... and also add eight channels of digital 31 band EQ to each one of those newly added channels to boot! That Alesis has 100 curve presets, and 100 program presets, all user! Each "program" may have up to eight separate EQ curves. The Alesis DEQ830 is a beast!

So that's what I have learned about these interfaces so far. The Behringer I've purchased will be a fine "for now" choice. And it was only $107.00 bucks, brand new from a Behringer authorized dealer.

This concludes this entry of the Modular Computer Project.
For those of you unfamiliar with how I do projects in the forum, you're lookin' at it. I refer to them as "photo journals" since I typically post several LARGE pictures along with lots of descriptive/technical text and many times there are links to equipment sources added as well. So this is what to expect of me in this project from here on out. It's precisely how I do "The Super" modular synth project thread as well, and have been for several years.

L8R SK8Rs ...


cookie?!?
Joe.
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
ASUS Prime Z370-A Motherboard. . . Same socket between the 8th gen i3, 8th gen i5, and 8th gen i7 ... upgrades made easy!


AND the same socket as 7th Gen Dead Banana

Bought an 8th Gen processor accidentally (i forgot to read the manual hihi ) and found it wouldn't start (or even post) on my Z270, Thought I'd killed it. I was sweating for ages trying to figure out what had gone wrong.

I ended up going for the Gigabyte Z370M, it has two slots for those M.2 harddrives, and they're awesome/cheap.
Rex Coil 7
Joe. wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
ASUS Prime Z370-A Motherboard. . . Same socket between the 8th gen i3, 8th gen i5, and 8th gen i7 ... upgrades made easy!


AND the same socket as 7th Gen Dead Banana

Bought an 8th Gen processor accidentally (i forgot to read the manual hihi ) and found it wouldn't start (or even post) on my Z270, Thought I'd killed it. I was sweating for ages trying to figure out what had gone wrong.

I ended up going for the Gigabyte Z370M, it has two slots for those M.2 harddrives, and they're awesome/cheap.
Yea, the ASUS board costs more but there's something about them over the Gigabytes that pushed me to the ASUS .. cannot for the life of me recall what it was though! It seems like it was something crucial ... dang it ... just can't remember what it was. The ASUS is sportin' two M.2 slots as well.

Good thing you didn't end up smokin' the Z270! lol very frustrating

While I was drafting the entry above, these parts landed (1TB HDD, CPU cooler, 2x8 16gb RAM sticks) ....

Rex Coil 7
Ha!! Speaking of motherboards ... while I was posting the reply just before this one, the motherboard showed up!

So that's four pieces all on the same day .. only two left (CPU and the SSD). The board came with a handful of SATA3 cables, some little stuffs, a few things, a few other things, some other little stuffs, and a manual. And of course it was shipped/packaged in an anti-static bag.



The little footie is my cat "CooCoo". She's a "polydactyl" tuxedo .. also known as a "Hemingway Cat" because the author "Hemingway" was known to collect polydactyl cats. If you look at her foot, you can see that her "thumb" is right there next to her other toes instead of being up near the "ankle" like most cats. All four of her feet look like this one. One of her nickames is "monkey feet".

The shadow of her head is seen on the box (see the ears?).

She approves of the new motherboard. hihi

Rex Coil 7
ARRIVED TODAY:

* San Disk 120gb SSD. I've never actually seen one before, amazing how small and simple they are on the outside.

STILL WAITING ON FROM FIRST ROUND OF PURCHASES:

* Behringer 6x6 Audio Interface.

* Intel i3-8100 Coffee Lake CPU.

BOUGHT LAST NIGHT AND EN ROUTE:

* Akai APC40 MkII controller ($252.00 new - eBay vendor "Perfect Circuit"). This is quite different than the Ableton Push units. The Akai APC40 MkII is more of an "orchestrator" ... or perhaps better said it's the "conductor" of Ableton. This is what is used to manage and control the actual mix of all of the various sounds ("clips") that are available to you after the "PLAY" button has been pushed. Think of "Push" as being like the keyboard controller, and "APC40MkII" as the desk mixer of Ableton. While certainly more complex than the way I've described them here, that description is a solid metaphor of those devices' function within the system.

* Ableton PUSH 1 ($187.00 used - Ebay private seller). Said short, the Push (either ver1 or ver2) is a lot like the Make Noise MATHS Euro module .... quite simply put, there is nothing else like it. Especially the Push 1 ... very solid, all metal construction ... great feeling pads ... just one hell of a live performance musical controller. I looked over the Push 2 as well, but frankly I don't see it being worth the money asked for those. It's ~roughly~ at least 2x (more like 3x) as costly as the Push 1. I just don't see 3x (or even 2x) the performance increase over the Push 1.

This little techno EDM-in' white boy wrings out the Push 1 pretty well ... submitted for your approval, give it up for "Mad Zach" .... SlayerBadger!




TOTAL COST FOR ALL OF THE "NO JUNK ALLOWED" COMPUTER HARDWARE SO FAR (drives, motherboard, CPU, ram, etc) .. INCLUDES BEHRINGER INTERFACE .. INCLUDES PUSH-1 .. INCLUDES AKAI APC40MkII .. (LIVE 9.62 Standard and Windows 7 are already purchased, I own legal/legit licenses for both) = $1,068.00 .... ABLETON BASED "MODULAR COMPUTER" ON THE CHEAP!

DECISIONS I'M STILL WRESTLING WITH AND RESEARCHING:

* Power Supply. I was going to just hustle up one of the (many!) "$25.00 PSUs" out there. But honestly, I know better than that. I'm that guy that will lecture you into the ground about selecting a solid PSU for your modular synth. And here I was, actually considering the use of a $25 PSU for this Sooper 'Pyooter? Nope. Not. So I'm going to take my time and do some due diligence to wisely select a reliable solid power supply. I need to be patient, learn the lexicon, decipher the specifications, and make an informed selection.

* CD/DVD readable/re-writable drive. Copy and paste what I just said about the power supply here. Same same.


Ok, so that's all for tonight. I'll post pics of the SSD along with the Poosh 1 and Akai APC40MkII when they arrive.


cookie?!?
adam
corsair rmi 650 is a nice one, there is a corsair for about $20 less that has a slightly noisier fan (but the fan will only come on over a certain load, like 50%)

i'm only half paying attention but was going to say someone i knew tried making his own case from lasercut ply and had a lot of problems with overheating & the pc shutting itself down (due to this), a premade case will have had the airflow sorted out (if it's been properly designed) which will mean better reliability
cretaceousear
Are you sure you need liquid cooling? - usually only needed for overclockers and game nuts. But Adam makes a good point about airflow. I'm guessing the mobo needs to be vertical so hot air can flow up and away , whereas a horizontal board might block any chimney effect. Liquid can leak...
Rex Coil 7
adam wrote:
corsair rmi 650 is a nice one, there is a corsair for about $20 less that has a slightly noisier fan (but the fan will only come on over a certain load, like 50%)

i'm only half paying attention but was going to say someone i knew tried making his own case from lasercut ply and had a lot of problems with overheating & the pc shutting itself down (due to this), a premade case will have had the airflow sorted out (if it's been properly designed) which will mean better reliability
I've designed and built racing vehicles (race trucks for off road racing, and motorcycles for desert racing and road racing). The trucks produced nearly one thousand horsepower and are tasked with racing at full power output for over twenty four hours in desert heat conditions. The motorcycles were outputting nearly two hundred horsepower with engine packages barely as large as 1 cubic foot, and capable of sustained speeds exceeding 165mph for two hours at a time. All were liquid cooled, both trucks and motorcycles. I did this stuff from 1976 to 2005.

I've also designed and built several welding torch cooling systems for TIG welding stations used in jet engine turbine fan manufacturing plants. Add to that, at least a hundred other cooling systems for welding processes for the GEO-Thermal power industry. I'm fully confident I'll be able to handle this.

However ...... Thanks for your show of concern, and it's also good that you mentioned this in the event that lesser experienced DIYers may want to take on this challenge having taken such an important aspect for granted. The case material has very little to do with thermal transfer when a liquid cooling system is employed. Especially when the overall size (meaning internal volume) is not limited. If designed properly, moving the air (and enough of it) will take care of the thermal transfer without any problems. It's mostly a matter of knowing how/where to direct the coolest air (and enough volume of it) and how/where to exhaust the hottest air. Case materials come into play when the case is so small that the system must rely on case materials to assist with thermal transfer, such as commercially produced computers for consumers or in situations where the physical size of the case must conform to some predetermined engineering and design spec.

This little music computer I am building has virtually no case design limits or case volume limits. I may make it as large and fekking ugly as I wish, without the marketing department or the accounting department telling me to do otherwise.


I'm making a box that is ~ROUGHLY~ 30 inches wide, 18 to 24 inches deep, and about a foot tall. That's enough internal volume to fit nearly three conventional computer cases. I have so much design freedom that I can adopt pretty much any solutions I see are needed. For instance, the intake fan will be at least 200mm, as will the exhaust fan (that is an EIGHT INCH fan!). Those are in addition to the fan on the CPU cooler. Just one of these 200mm fans moves over 134CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air, which is nearly three times as much as a single 140mm fan moves. Large fans move more air, and accomplish that with lower wing speeds (less RPM), and slower wing speeds mean much less noise, and less turbulence.

See how having a larger case begins to present advantages? Here's another one of those advantages....

.... The Power Supply is to be fully isolated within it's own little compartment with it's own intake/exhaust ports, and using a 120mm fan. The PSU compartment will draw it's own air in from outside, and it will exhaust it's heated air back outside. Zero heat from the power supply will intermingle with the main compartment. All of the fans will be ducted and mounted somewhat "internally" to reduce fan noise and air flow noises. The CPU fan speeds are managed by software that monitor the CPU's temp and controls the CPU cooler fan's speed. The heat removed from the CPU will be directed to the exhaust fan's ducting. The cool air the CPU fan needs will be directed from the intake fan's ducting, so the board and the CPU will be "washed over" with cool air, both under the board and above the board (the board will be mounted with an "air gap" about an inch or two above the bottom of the case where moving air will flow). Both surfaces of the main board will be exposed to cool, filtered, moving air. The air filters flow over 600 CFM and catch particulates as small as 20 microns. A single thumb screw holds the air filter in place, just like air filter seen on a hot rodded car.

cretaceousear wrote:
Are you sure you need liquid cooling? - usually only needed for overclockers and game nuts.
Ok, we need to make up our minds here. It's being said that this computer will run too hot. Then the need for a CPU cooler is being questioned. So which is it?

There have been tests done that show adding additional cooling to 4 core 3.6ghz CPUs running at just 30% can generate temps of up to 100+f degrees. Some of these tests are available on Tou Yube. The CPU will require a fan cooling any how, why not plug a simple convection flow liquid radiator on the fan? Can't see how it would hurt anything. $27.00 bucks.

cretaceousear wrote:
But Adam makes a good point about airflow. I'm guessing the mobo needs to be vertical so hot air can flow up and away , whereas a horizontal board might block any chimney effect
Only if there is not enough moving air flowing over both surfaces of the board. Enough air flowing across the board will FAR out perfrom "chimney effect" by a long shot. "Chimney effect" is just another way of saying "convection cooled". Using forced air cooling (eg; fans) is hills and valleys more efficient than convection cooling.

This stuff is all a matter of well thought through design. Using a custom designed wooden case removes the size limitations of the plastic/metal commercially available cases. Boards are mounted vertically because the manufacturers of the cases are bound and restricted by how large the case can be made. If the case is large enough, the board can be exposed to plenty of moving cool air. Besides, the "vertical board" logic falls flat when desktop style cases are brought into the conversation. I'm looking at one as I type, my own computer that I'm using right now sits flatly on the desk. It's been running nearly non-stop for over a year. The fan rarely ever runs.

cretaceousear wrote:
Liquid can leak...
It's not a large involved cooling system with hoses, a remote radiator, and multiple fans. It just bolts down on top of the CPU. Are there reports of these simple convection flow systems leaking? I am unaware of any, so I would appreciate links to such reports.

The particular CPU cooler I've obtained is easily the highest rated cooler on the market at present. Mind you, I'm not talking about gaming systems, I'm speaking of music production and other low-load uses. I've not seen a single complaint or mention of any leaking systems involving this cooler.

jsco
just saw this thread. i've built and spec'd out a lot of PCs in the past few years, and done a ridiculous amount of research into the cooling side of things. feel free to PM me if you run into any questions or problems.

first, you've got a decent set of components picked out there, no red flags. the 212 evo will be fine for that CPU. don't upgrade the fan, stock is fine. (the heat pipes and fins are the limiting factor on that cooler.) don't bother with a GPU, the intel onboard video is more than enough for your applications.

for a power supply, there are a lot of good brands, all of which will have a few faulty units. EVGA and corsair are popular and reliable, and you can get away with a very low power rating (450W is more than enough, and it's hard to find smaller.)

the place i'd upgrade is SSD. an nvme m.2 drive like a samsung 970 evo is more than 10x as fast as the drive you picked out, and you will feel that difference in system responsiveness.

cooling-wise, you're fine. just make sure you've got a fan pushing fresh air in and a place for it to escape, and orient the CPU cooler so that it keeps airflow vaguely all in a continuous path (e.g. in through the front, out through the back). GPUs are the biggest heat problem in modern PCs, and you don't have one. overclocked CPUs are the next biggest problem, and you don't have one. so don't worry at all (at least until the cats clog your air filters.)

are you sure you want to make a custom case? modern cases have a million tiny conveniences built into them, including cable management, airflow management, fan mount points, cleanable air filters, etc. i mean, they really are great. even if you really want a custom case, the easiest way would be to use a cheap off the shelf chassis and screw it into your own outer enclosure. here's a recommendation for a cheap, all-around-flexible case:
https://pcpartpicker.com/product/ZHmxFT/fractal-design-focus-g-black-a tx-mid-tower-case-fd-ca-focus-bk-w
...but there are many good options.

and finally, https://pcpartpicker.com/ is like the modulargrid of PC building. it makes everything so much nicer.
Rex Coil 7
OK SO YA LEARN SUMTHIN NEW EVERY DAY (if you're livin' right!):

Well well ... it seems that the Cooler Master 212 EVO is not a liquid cooling system after all. It's just copper pipes that make excellent mechanical contact with the surface of the CPU.

I've known for several decades that copper has outstanding thermal conductivity properties, better so than aluminum (copper has roughly twice the thermal conductivity of aluminum). So putting the machined-flat copper pieces into direct contact with the CPU (to "soak the heat") and then placing those pieces into an aluminum fin array to dissipate that heat from the copper makes tons of sense to me.

Also, this completely ends any arguments against it's use due to fear of "leaking" coolant on the motherboard. There's no coolant to leak! The Cooler Master 212 EVO is considered to be an "air cooled system" and not a liquid system.

So having learned this, I'm now even more at ease with having selected one for my use. It's not as "maybe" as just a few fins and a fan would be, and there is no chance of any coolant leaks happening. It's that perfect "momma bear" middle ground selection when it comes to adding CPU cooling enhancement for a computer tasked with audio processing and DAW mission statements.

The only "leak" issue I've been able to locate regarding the Cooler Master 212 EVO was one single report posted in some gamer's forum (over four years ago) about the fan's bearings blowing their guts. There's a small amount of bearing lubricant in the fan that leaked a little bit and left a small amount of (quoting here) "orange goop" on the fan's duct (aka "frame").

Apparently Cooler Master has released a new model that uses a different fan with 160,000 hours MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure). 160k hours is one hell of a long time. At 10 hours per day that comes to 16,000 days (over FORTY THREE YEARS!). The model I bought has a fan rated at a measly 40k hours MTBF .... that come to only about ELEVEN years at 10 hours per day. The new model does not cool any better, it's not any more quiet (or any louder), and it still costs under $40 bucks. Mine was $34.47 shipped.

So there we are, I thought I would pass that tidbit along.

NEXT ENTRY: WHY AM I DOING ALL OF THIS?

cookie?!?
jsco
Quote:
the Cooler Master 212 EVO is not a liquid cooling system after all. It's just copper pipes


weeeelllll to be pedantic... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_pipe

but yeah, the 212 evo is most certainly an air cooler, not a liquid cooler. nobody in the PC world calls heat pipes "liquid cooling". and the TSA has no problem with you flying with heat pipes, either. (but liquid coolers are generally a no-fly.)
Rex Coil 7
jsco wrote:
....are you sure you want to make a custom case?.
I was going to address this in my next entry .. but .. can open .. worms all over the place .. may as well do it now.

Answer? Yes. Completely positive.

Now ... why do I want to do this? Simple ... I've forgotten how many times something like the following has happened:

A.) New CPU is introduced. New CPU requires new CPU socket. New CPU socket requires new motherboard. New motherboard doesn't fit in existing case. Solution? Buy all new computer.

B.) Power supply in existing computer goes poop. New power supply required. Power supply used in existing system (the PSU that went bad) is no longer made. New power supplies do not fit in existing case. New case required. Existing motherboard is of the wrong configuration to fit in new case. Solution? Buy new computer.

C.) New computers described in ("A") and ("B") require new OS version. New OS version requires new interface drivers. New interface drivers are not available for existing interface. Solution? Buy new interface.

I am DONE with A, B, and friggin C!


Building my own wooden case means that using a different power supply is no more difficult than drilling a few new holes to accommodate mounting of a new power supply. Same goes for the motherboard if changing muthuhs is required for whatever reason. Same goes for storage solutions. On and on and on.

Look here .... just imagine something like these examples enclosed in a large wooden box with the cooling issues worked out as I described a few posts up.











It doesn't need to be pretty, it just needs to work. To me, this is no different than building my own 5U modular case. Having done so, it permitted me to design my own custom DIY aluminum bus bar power distribution system, my own modulation signal distribution methods, my own method of mounting/screwing the modules into the case rails, and so on.

This is the spirit of modular. It's the one thing that most of us modular synth users/builders have completely in common .... that "modular way of doing things" spirit.

seriously, i just don't get it

jsco wrote:
Quote:
the Cooler Master 212 EVO is not a liquid cooling system after all. It's just copper pipes


weeeelllll to be pedantic... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_pipe

but yeah, the 212 evo is most certainly an air cooler, not a liquid cooler. nobody in the PC world calls heat pipes "liquid cooling". and the TSA has no problem with you flying with heat pipes, either. (but liquid coolers are generally a no-fly.)
There's no concern of coolant leaking from it. Which at the end of the day is all that matters, pedantry be damned. lol lol lol razz Mr. Green cool

(By the way ... I'll address your other suggestions perhaps tomorrow ... and I want to thank you for participating, it's great to bounce this stuff off of the heads of others just as interested in such things! Thank you!).

thumbs up
Rex Coil 7
jsco wrote:
just saw this thread. i've built and spec'd out a lot of PCs in the past few years, and done a ridiculous amount of research into the cooling side of things. feel free to PM me if you run into any questions or problems.
Count on it! Thanks for the gracious offer.

jsco wrote:
first, you've got a decent set of components picked out there, no red flags
Excellent.

jsco wrote:
don't bother with a GPU, the intel onboard video is more than enough for your applications.
HA! I knew it! There are so many .. ~ahem~ "experts" that insist the graphics card will take enough load from the CPU that you'll immediately notice a performance increase ... even with a music computer! I figured that was bullshit ... and glad to hear you agree it is!

jsco wrote:
for a power supply, there are a lot of good brands, all of which will have a few faulty units. EVGA and corsair are popular and reliable, and you can get away with a very low power rating (450W is more than enough, and it's hard to find smaller.)
I've been looking pretty hard at the EVGA 500 B1, 80+ BRONZE 500W Power Supply (3 Year Warranty). The only bad marks it gets is that it does not use Japanese capacitors. I'm not so sure that could be considered a "bad mark", but let's just say it is the only thing reviewers could find to complain about. It's "modular" as well! On eBay it seems to come in under $45.00, same with Amazon best I can tell.

This video guy liked it ....



jsco wrote:
the place i'd upgrade is SSD. an nvme m.2 drive like a samsung 970 evo is more than 10x as fast as the drive you picked out, and you will feel that difference in system responsiveness.
Ten times as fast y'say. Hooo wee ... that's moving right along. Another aspect I like about the M.2 format is that it's one less thing floppin' around on the end of a cable inside the case. And since the power supply you've recommended is modular, that also means one fewer power cable cluttering up the works by using the M.2 ... nice. If you look at the features list picture of the motherboard I bought, you can see that one of the two M.2 slots is blessed with an aluminum heat sink (also sayeth the manual). So going with this Samsung M.2 seems to take advantage of several things and create a generally more well thought out system on the whole.

Here's the 250gb ($74.00 shipped)

https://www.ebay.com/itm/SAMSUNG-970-EVO-MZ-V7E250BW-SSD-250GB-M-2-228 0-NVMe-PCIe-3-0-TLC-250G/143012461362?epid=26023828100&hash=item214c34 fb32:g:hikAAOSwjrFb60jQ:rk:3:pf:0

The 500gb (the one you suggested) is $99.00 shipped (new, from Bulgaria).

LINK = https://www.ebay.com/itm/Samsung-970-EVO-500GB-NVMe-PCIe-M-2-2280-SSD- MZ-V7E500BW/113433290563

The 500gb shipped from US vendors start at around $124.00 shipped (new).

Also, are both the 250gb and the 500gb ten times faster than the San Disk I selected? Or is it just the 500gb that's so speedy?

I'll be going over chassis fan choices and which CD/DVD drive to go with next entry folks! I'll also provide a few peeks at the air filter system I'll be using. Here's a hint .... it says "Holley" on the chrome plated cover.

Almost done collecting the main bunch of hardware for this beasty! Once that's done (for the most part at least) I'll be posting various case design ideas, and some pictures of mockups .... then we'll be cuttin' some wood, screw-n-glue (or glue-n-screw .. kinda depends .. cuz reasons), and start getting the cabinet put together.

Ok, I'm still up and not in bed so I reckoned I may as well reply to some of your suggestions. Thanks so much, the help is much appreciated. I mean, I only started learning all of this in earnest just a week ago! I think I'm picking up on it pretty quickly ... for the most part anyhow.

pbear :(
jsco
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
jsco wrote:
don't bother with a GPU, the intel onboard video is more than enough for your applications.
HA! I knew it! There are so many .. ~ahem~ "experts" that insist the graphics card will take enough load from the CPU that you'll immediately notice a performance increase ... even with a music computer! I figured that was bullshit ... and glad to hear you agree it is!

yeah, that wisdom was true not too long ago, but modern intel on-board graphics chipsets are pretty darn capable. the thing that would make you consider getting a cheap GPU is if you want to run multiple monitors. (pretty nice for ableton, but easy to upgrade if you decide to do it later.)

*do* remember to leave room for full height PCIe cards in your custom case, just in case. the biggest monster GPU that i know of is 140mm high and 302mm long, so if you leave room for that, anything will fit. smile

Quote:
Also, are both the 250gb and the 500gb ten times faster than the San Disk I selected?

yeah, anything in the 970 EVO family will have basically the same performance. i agree with all your positives about the m.2 drive, they're really great for decluttering. the heatsink is mostly a placebo; those drives just don't get hot enough to affect performance.

actually, for reference, this is true for the entire motherboard. as long as you have the tiniest amount of airflow moving over the board, or an open enough chassis that interior temps don't go crazy, the passive heatsinks on the motherboard will have no problem keeping it all cool. i mean, the heatsinks will be hot, but it's totally within design parameters. (again, this really only becomes an issue to worry about when you start overclocking.)
Rex Coil 7
The Samsung M.2 is selling for $73.89.00 with a "make offer" option - so I've offered $60.00.

The EVGA 500 B1 is selling for $45.98 with a "make offer" option - so I've offered $35.99.

$119.87 full price for both .... $95.99 if they both take my offers.

We'll see shortly!

seriously, i just don't get it
Rex Coil 7
The seller of the Samsung M.2 storage drive is one of"those" types of eBay sellers.

What I mean is, they create an ad that says "X price, or best offer". It was listed at $73.89 or best offer. So I offered $60.00 ... now I figured it would be rejected but I hoped the seller would come back with a counter offer. Nope, just rejected. So I hit him again, this time at $65.00 ... rejected, no counter offer. And again, $70.00 ... rejected, no counter offer. And again, $72.00, rejected without a counter.

If ya duzzint wants ta takes offers ... then why duz yer ad say "or best offer"?

d'oh!

So I just paid the whole banana ($73.89). Some people's children!

I've yet to rec'v a reply on the "$35.99 shipped" offer for the power supply (full price = $39.99 plus $5.99 s/h totaling $45.98). Now you have ~those types~ of sellers as well. The kind of seller than puts in their ads "x price or best offer". But when you make an offer, they just don't reply at all one way or another, no message, no offer rejection, nothing. I tested one of these folks out once ... after several offers that went un-responded to ... I actually offered MORE than the advertised price ... no response. I didn't bother buying the item at all from that one!

And these are eBay members with hundreds, even thousands of transactions in their histories. So it's not like they're gnoobs and don't understand how to work with the system.

CHASSIS FANS: I'm still looking/learning. I may just give up on "the industry" and go my own way .... (wink wink) ....


jsco
Quote:
CHASSIS FANS: I'm still looking/learning. I may just give up on "the industry" and go my own way ....

what are your design goals and constraints here? what are you looking for?

most high performance PC case fans are 120mm or 140mm. "performance" is measured as airflow volume versus noise at a given resistance pressure. most published CFM/noise specs are in free air, non-standardized, and don't mean jack shit when your target application is restricted by obstructions and air filters. in most cases it's more helpful to look at reviews comparing fan performance on a radiator, because that's closer to a real world filter restriction model.

all PC case fans are nominal 12V. all can be speed controlled by lowering the supply voltage; some can also be speed controlled by digital PWM. your motherboard will have at least one PWM-capable header (for the CPU fan), likely more than one, and probably 2-3 more non-PWM headers. it's usually easy to set up a dynamic control profile in the BIOS for the CPU fan based on CPU temperature. (this will probably be the default if you never touch the settings.) for the other fan headers, it's rare to find dynamic control options in the BIOS; these are usually limited to being set at a fixed speed, or not configurable at all. you can always use a little extension cable with an inline resistor (supplied with some fans, esp noctua) reduce speed.

you probably need less airflow than you think for a system with your specs. low airflow is good because (a) quiet, and (b) longer time between filter cleanings.

it's good practice to keep positive case pressure (roughly, more intake fans than exhaust fans) because that keeps the dust accumulation on the intake filters where you want it. negative case pressure means you'll get air infiltration and dust at every little gap in the case.

edit: look at the noctua product list for a general lay of the land. they'll be the best or within say 10-20% of the best performing fans in whatever form factor and flow rate you're looking at. that should give you a sense of what's possible.
https://noctua.at/en/products/fan
https://noctua.at/en/products/fan/buying-guide
Rex Coil 7
I've been looking at the Noctua options. That brand seems to come up quite a bit in written reviews/DIY articles and how-to videos.

I've already made a list of various fans, logging dba vs cfm, rpm, PWM-vs-DC control, and a few other specs (price, mounting designs, MTBF, etc..). It's just that there are SO MANY fans out there (brands and such) so it takes someone that has only been involved in building/spec'ing out a computer for about one week to learn which brands/models/designs are best suited. The 200mm fans seem to average around 130cfm at 800rpm or so. DBA seems to average out around 25dba.

Cooler Master Mega Flow 200: 200mm - Sleeve Bearing - 110cfm - 19dba - 30,000 hrs MTBF

Antec BigBoy 200 TriCool:
200mm - Dual Ball Bearing - 800rpm - 3 speed switch - 88/108/134cfm - 30dba - 4pin/LP4 connector -

Thermaltake Pure 20: 200mm - 800rpm - 129.6cfm - 28.2dba - 3pin/4pin connector.

There is clearly more to learn just yet.

I'm not thinking of building a wind tunnel, but I know I do want to use a larger fan that runs slower (as a general design philosophy) ... there's less turbulence, fewer "wing stall issues", less noise, and so on. So larger diameter/less rpm is better than smaller diameter/more revs is what I'm aiming at. It's nothing more than an engineering optimization thing. When you have the opportunity to do better things, you try to take advantage of that opportunity. That's all I am doing here. It's not a "MUST DO!" thing.

So I've started with 200mm x roughly 800rpm models. Then below those on the list comes the 140mm units. Just to illustrate the differences between the most common sizes, here's this image (for those that are curious) ....



I figure using one intake and one exhaust fan would be optimal, but it may not be necessary due to two reasons:

1.) The CPU cooler has it's own fan. I may be able to use that airflow to help direct the heat to an exhaust vent. That said, (along with "2.") I may only require a "draw through exhaust fan" without the need for an intake fan. Just a fan that will pull the heated/warmed air out of the chassis. I mean, all that will occupy that volume is the motherboard, the mass storage HDD, and the CD/DVD drive bay. Then again, if I use an intake fan only, that will serve to create more internal pressure which will help to force any dust/cat hair out of any leaks in the case (around the CD drive bays, the switch panel, the I/O panel, etc). An exhaust-fan-only set up will do just the opposite ... it will create more of a vacuum (negative pressure) inside of the case which will tend to "suck in" any dust/cat hair around leaks in the case. Something to keep in mind, that is certain!

2.) The power supply will be mechanically isolated, inside of it's own sub-compartment in the case. So it will draw in it's own cool air and exhaust it's own hot air, isolated from the main case airflow.

I like the way the power supply uses it's own air supply and gets rid of it's hot air in a completely isolated air flow, just as this one depicts...




(image below) The intake filter will be one of these ..... yes, I'm serious.

It's to be about ten inches in diameter, flows CRAPLOADS of CFM, has easily replaced/easily cleaned filter elements, and is easily adopted to a simple wooden case. We have cats, and since I live in the desert southwest we also have dust, there have been times when I've opened up one of our computers and discovered enough lint and cat hair to build another cat with. The filter will mate right on the flat surface of the case top, no bottom "adapter plate" is required at all. The filter element will seal nicely against the flat top of the case. If these are relied upon to protect $50k racing engines, it should be sufficient for a $600.00 music computer. Air flow will be nearly unrestricted though an element with as much surface area as a ten inch diameter by two inch tall filter.



So perhaps just a single chassis fan mounted directly beneath the intake filter, taking "1" and "2" into account.

I still have more research to do.

However, I could always just do this ....

cool



... I am kidding, of course ...


cookie?!?
jsco
Quote:
The intake filter will be one of these ..... yes, I'm serious.

one thing to keep in mind is that the working pressure range of a case fan is orders of magnitude lower than a combustion engine. "free flowing" means something very different for a car filter than a computer filter. (seriously, try holding various grilles and meshes up in front of a PC fan in free air. they'll slow down at the barest hint of a restriction.) even with all the folded surface area, there's no guarantee that that filter wouldn't choke a PC fan. that said... you're only using one fan, and you'll be running it at pretty low speed, and your ventilation requirements are low, so i think you should be fine.

Quote:
The power supply will be mechanically isolated, inside of it's own sub-compartment in the case. So it will draw in it's own cool air and exhaust it's own hot air, isolated from the main case airflow.

don't forget that this will need a cleanable intake filter as well.
Rex Coil 7
jsco wrote:
Quote:
The intake filter will be one of these ..... yes, I'm serious.

one thing to keep in mind is that the working pressure range of a case fan is orders of magnitude lower than a combustion engine. "free flowing" means something very different for a car filter than a computer filter. (seriously, try holding various grilles and meshes up in front of a PC fan in free air. they'll slow down at the barest hint of a restriction.) even with all the folded surface area, there's no guarantee that that filter wouldn't choke a PC fan. that said... you're only using one fan, and you'll be running it at pretty low speed, and your ventilation requirements are low, so i think you should be fine.

Quote:
The power supply will be mechanically isolated, inside of it's own sub-compartment in the case. So it will draw in it's own cool air and exhaust it's own hot air, isolated from the main case airflow.

don't forget that this will need a cleanable intake filter as well.
Good advise all the way around. Thank you.

nodnod
Rex Coil 7
Interesting video ... uh ... that is if you're a computer noggin or someone like me taking the crash course so I can make solid choices about what to do with my money as I build my new computer.

What this video essentially does is completely validate the information given to me by Member *jsco regarding dumping the 2.5" SATA3 SSD drive and going with an NVME M.2 drive (aka "SATA3 x4").

In this video the fella explains that NVME M.2 drives provide roughly 4x the data transfer speeds of the SATA3 drive. But the specs of the ASUS Prime Z370-A board say it's transfer speeds are actually 3.2gbps (gigabytes per second) ... that's not 4x the speed .... that's 5.82x the speed! SATA3 is about 550mbs (megabytes per second) ... 4x that is about 2,200mbs (2.2gbs). This ASUS board specs at 3,200mbs (3.2gbs) on the NVME M.2 drive sockets.

** SATA3 = 550mbs.
** NVME M.2 = 2,200mbs.
** ASUS NVME M.2 = 3,200mbs.

I'll take it!

Keep in mind this video was produced almost two years ago (Jan 2017) ... which may account for the improved performance of the ASUS motherboard I have.

My board has TWO M.2 slots, one will accept both SATA3 and M.2 NVME drives, the other slot only accepts the M.2 NVME drives.





If there is any downside to all of this modern stuff and NVME M.2 tech (at least the Samsung drive I bought) it's that it uses "TLC" storage technology ("Triple Level Cell"). While excellent for cramming craploads of data into a little tiny circuit board looking thing, it's also the type of storage tech that has a lower life expectancy than some others. Keep in mind this video was produced in March of 2017 ... things may have changed by now.

Allow my friend here with the Beetles haircut explain more thoroughly what this means. This video is very interesting, it goes over this storage tech and also how to make your drives live longer ...

adam
using the nvme for your os and another ssd for your files is probably reasonable
Rex Coil 7
CONTROLLERS - SOFTWARE DEAL - IT ALL FITS!

So these arrived. I worked a deal for the Push1 for $183.00, and I worked another deal on a brand new Akai APC40MkII from an authorized dealer for $250.00 shipped.




Just a few minutes ago I sewed up a negotiation for Ableton Live 9 Suite for $199.00. That one took almost three days to work out with the seller. But I got him to go for it. It didn't sell on his first try at it, so he relisted it. I reminded him about my offer when I saw that it didn't sell the first time around, so we agree that at a given moment he'd change the ad to "buy it now" for the negotiated price. The moment I saw the change (after numerous and repeated clicks on the refresh screen button) I snagged that sucker!

He refunded the shipping to me since I don't require the disks or the books, I've already downloaded Live 9.7.7 Suite and the entire Live 9 manual (all 611 pages of it) ... so all I needed were the licenses. I just rec'd the notification from Ableton regarding the change of registered owners (I am now the owner of record of the Live9 Suite license). For $199.00.





In an hour or so I'll pay for the Intel i7-8700 CPU, the EGVA 500 watt power supply, and Windows 10 home ... all from the same supplier (not on eBay).

After today, all that's left is the CD/DVD drive, a fan or two (Noctua fans most likely), and some incidental items (screws, wood, etc..)

Movin' along!

And it all fits on my synth tables! you can measure things, take piles of notes, make diagrams ... what ever! But you never really know how things will work out until you actually have them and you put them into place. I was sweatin' it! It all didn't fit at first which forced me to rethink the setup, but that turned out to be a GOOD thing in the end. So here's a little peek at how it's to be set up.







Here is the Euro cab, I'm still working out the arrangement of the modules. It's ~roughly~ 380HP with everything loaded into it.





And here's the 5U Modular "The Super Mini Modular" (aka "Super") partially filled out. Just another one of your everyday 4 VCO/2VCF fully normalized performance synths in a handbuilt cabinet with fully blown bus bar power distribution system with custom designed modules in custom designed panels, controlled by a customized FATAR TP/9S five octave keybed with solid walnut sides and top, dual ribbon controllers, and a joystick. Y'know, nuttin special.











Rex Coil 7
CASE TOOLS - CASE BUILDING DEMO - MIDI FIGHTERS - ALMOST ALL THE PARTS:

In this entry, I'll go over the list of goodies that's nearly complete, a couple of controllers, a nice tool used for making cabinets, and a demonstration validating the use of a wooden DIY computer case.

MIDI Fighters controllers: The one with the lit-up knobs is called the "Twister", and the one with the arcade buttons is called the "3D". Both use a proprietary software program to set up all of their functions and assignments, the program is free of charge and available at "DJTech Tools".

3D SOFTWARE LINK = https://techtools.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/202165074-Midi-Fighter -3D-Set-Up-Instructions

Twister SOFTWARE LINK = https://techtools.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/sections/200468434-Midi-Fighter -Twister

Now, there is SO BLOODY MUCH INFOS on setting up, using, tweeking, futzing with either of these two controllers (whether it be stand alone, with Tractor/Ableton) that you could nearly drown in the data. Heaps and great piles of videos ... documents ... forum entries ... more! I've got a total of $350.00 invested in this pair of controllers. I took advantage of a Christmas promotional sale when I bought the Twister (10% off and free 2-day shipping), and I bought the 3D used from a nice fella in Canadia for $150.00 shipped. Seein's how the Twister wears many hats (controller, sequencer, MIDI CC controller for MIDI synths such as the Nord Micro modular ... more!) and that the 3D is another man of many trades, I feel that $350.00 for all the capability the two of them offer was nearly criminal.

They ~feel~ fantastic! They are covered in a sortof rubbery material, even the knobs themselves on the Twister are "rubber" covered. And although the pots are infinite spin (360 degree), they feel like high end potentiometers ... not like funky/floppy/wobbly encoders ... AT ALL. The arcade buttons used on the 3D have a Five Million Cycle MTBF .... five million cycles!! Like the Twister, the 3D is also covered in that same sortof ~rubberish~ material. It reminds me of what the Ableton Push1 of mine feels like, it too has that rubbery covering/coating on it just like the MIDI Fighters stuff does.

Do they work? I have no idea. Remember, the computer needs to be built yet! Here they are, these are the very two that I purchased:




KREG TOOL: The Kreg Tool line of cabinet making gadgets has proved itself to cabinet/drawer/woodworkers time and again over the last several years. I got this "starter kit" for Christmas from my attentive wife. This setup should prove to be very useful when it comes time to fabricate the cabinet/box for this computer project. If you've never heard of Kreg Tool cabinet making tooling, just run a search on the mighty mighty Tou Yube and have a look! It's a fantastic and highly cost effective tool that pretty much any garage or DIY builder's shop should put down on their "must have" list. It's one of the easiest and simplest ways to build cabinetry that I've ever seen.



DIY COMPUTER CASE MADE OF WOOD: I'm sure there are plenty of folks that have read about my intentions to construct my own wooden computer case and have thought "he's fooking out of his friggin mind!". Well, they'd be correct about that ... I am out of my friggin mind. Always have been. I go far out of my way to avoid the overly well pounded path that the average mainstream follower walks upon ... I find the less traveled paths far more exciting. Why take the main roads that the average people follow? We already know precisely where those roads lead, and exactly what the scenery is along the way.

But on this particular project, my choice to build a wooden computer cabinet suits MANY needs I have, and I feel these choices will provide me with all of the capabilities I require .... with the freedom to choose changes, modifications, and ideas of any types I want.

This video provides a bit of a look into what freedoms are available, as well as debunking all of the naysayer's concerns along the way. It's well worth the fourteen minutes it takes to view it. Be sure to watch it all the way to the very end, the producer of the video adds some extremely important information so be sure to see the entire thing!



PARTS IS PARTS .... PARTS IS IN!: Nearly all of the items on my parts list are purchased and have arrived. All I'll need is a pair of 120mm fans (both used as "pusher" fans to blow air into the box), the OS software, and a few other little trinkets from the hardware store. Also yet to add is an external USB3 CD/DVD drive (about $25.00), and a USB3-to-SATA3 SSD connection pigtail to allow connection of standard SATA3 SSD drives used as external backup means. Both the CD/DVD and the external SSD setups will be stored in a very safe case along with storage medium so the entire "kit" is kept clean and safe. I'll be using either the CD/DVD or the external SSD so infrequently that having them as external setups just makes sense. Fewer things to deal with when making the cabinet, less complexity, lower internal parts count (less parts means greater reliability), and less internal heat.

I ended up going with the Intel i7-8700 CPU (6 cores, 12 threads, 3.2ghz). And after a lot of deliberating (and driving other members completely nuts with my questions) I decided to go with one 240GB M.2 NVME x4 SSD (for the OS and DAW) and a 1TB 7200 rpm SATA3 HDD (for sample libraries and created content). I also ended up going with the EVGA 500 watt Bronze 80 power supply.

Everything seen in the picture below, plus the ASUS Prime Z370-A motherboard came to an end total of just a couple of dollars under $800.00 bucks.

* ASUS Prime Z370-A motherboard.
* Intel i7-8700 8th gen 3.2ghz CPU (6 cores, 12 threads).
* Corsair "2x8" 16GB 3000mhz DDR4 ram kit.
* Samsung 240GB M.2 NVME x4 SSD.
* Toshiba 1TB 7200 rpm SATA3 HDD.
* EVGA 500 watt Bronze 80 power supply.
* Cooler Master Hyper 212 CPU cooler.



2 FANS? - THAT PUSH AIR? - WAIT, WHUT? ... let me explain the whole "pusher" thing. If you use fan(s) to sortof "inflate" the case by blowing air into it, doing so pressurizes the case to a small degree. That means a little air will be blowing out of various seams and holes in the case (as well as the intentionally cut exhaust holes). This pressurized air expelling from those various seams/holes/gaps prevent any dust/lint/cat fur from getting into those small holes in the case. There's a constant flow of air gently blowing out of those leaking holes and seams any time the computer is powered up.

Now, if instead I were to use a pair of fans to blow air out of exhaust ports (large-ish holes cut into the case) and drawing cool air into the case via intake air holes, that would create a small bit of vacuum ... suction ... inside of the case. That method would create air being sucked into those seams and holes, drawing in lint, dust, cat fur into the computer case.

So if I put two fans right over a hole or pair of holes that blow air into the cabinet, they will be "inflating" the cabinet. If I put two fans right over a hole or pair of holes that blow air OUT of the cabinet, they will be "deflating" the cabinet. "Inflating" the cabinet will blow crud away from any leaks. "Deflating" the cabinet will suck crud into any leaks.

The best of the two methods is very obvious.

So I'll be placing a pair of 120mm fans just inside of the intake holes in the cabinet, drawing air through an air filter, and inflating the cab. Exhaust air will blow out of a few holes cut into the cabinet, strategically placed to create a flow across the motherboard before it exhausts the case.

WHY TWO 120mm FANS INSTEAD OF ONE 200mm FAN?: Simple, if the single 200mm fan quits, there is no air flow moving through the case. If one of the two 120mm fans quits running, there is reduced flow .... but there is still flow. And, two 120mm fans will flow more CFM ("volume") of air than one 200mm fan. I know I touted the use of a single 200mm fan previously, but after thinking about it, using two 120mm fans makes more sense. And not only that, but there is a far larger selection of 120mm fans than there are 200mm fans. So there we are.

Ok ... so pretty soon I'll be doing mockups of various layouts of the mounting locations for the motherboard, HDD, and power supply. That's all of it folks ... just those three things will be all that is actually mounted in the cabinet. The power supply will also be inside of the cabinet, however it will be isolated inside of it's own compartment so it will draw in it's own cooling air, and expel it's own exhaust/hot air from it's own intake ports. But the main compartment will only have two components .... motherboard and HDD. That is just SO COOL!!

The intake fans (the dual 120mm fans) will be mounted to the lid or to one of the sides. And automotive air filter will be mounted directly outside of the intake fans. Contrary to the belief of some folks, a twelve inch diameter by two (or even three) inch tall circular automotive "high performance" air filter will not starve the computer case for air flow. Air filters work exactly like resistors placed in parallel. Think of each tiny hole in the air filter as if it were a 10k resistor. Now, as more 10k resistors (more tiny holes in the air filter) are added in parallel with one another, the more current (air molecules) flow through the filter (resistors) without resistance.

The larger the air filter, the greater the number of holes the air has to flow through the filter, and the less resistance to flow the molecules of air are met with. This is NO different than placing resistors in parallel. The greater number of resistors placed in parallel with one another, the more the total resistance goes DOWN. In either example, "resistance is resistance" ... whether it be resistance to the flow of air molecules, or resistance to the flow of current. The concept is exactly the same in either situation.

SO .... the larger the air filter (many free flowing holes for air to flow through) the less resistance to flow the fans will be met with. And the greater the overall volume of air that will freely flow through the cabinet.

In short, I'm not worried about it one iota. If it turns out that a single 12 inch diameter x 2 inch tall filter restricts the air flow too much, I'll simply add a second 12x2 air filter ... placing one 120mm fan beneath each filter.

Done deal.

One other solution is to simply stack a second air filter element on top of the 12x2 filter ... effectively making the total filter size 12x4 (doubling it's air flow). When I used to play around with racing in the Baja desert, it was nearly common practice to run AT LEAST two filters stacked up on one another. A bead of silicone sealant between the two filter mating surfaces prevented and "Baja Moon dust" from sneaking past the small gap between the two filters, thereby ruining a $40k engine and losing compression (from dust wearing out the piston rings and pistons themselves) and reducing power output .... and losing the race!

This concludes this entry of the ~ahem~ ... "Racing Computer Project Thread".

lol lol

More to come! Soon enough!

L8R SK8Rs!!

cookie?!?
cretaceousear
Those controllers look cool. Ever since getting a MIDI keyboard with lots of controllers I've been thinking about the new device some company needs to make.
My idea is the panel all those knobs are mounted on should be a tablet screen - with holes punched through the screen and glass for the knob shafts.
The point being you can get nice text labels which show up under each knob so you can read what it does.
Then every manufacturer of VST plug ins makes a 16 knob display template/skin.
It can be stepped for when more than 16 knobs are needed.
They can add logos and colour styling in the spaces around it.
It might work better as 12 knobs with six sliders (though rotary encoder knobs reset out of the box, but sliders don't unless motorised hmmm..... ).
I think it's a great idea and relatively simple - that is if it's practical to punch holes in display material.
Why haven't Arturia or Behringer come up with one?
Rex Coil 7
cretaceousear wrote:
Those controllers look cool. Ever since getting a MIDI keyboard with lots of controllers I've been thinking about the new device some company needs to make.
My idea is the panel all those knobs are mounted on should be a tablet screen - with holes punched through the screen and glass for the knob shafts.
The point being you can get nice text labels which show up under each knob so you can read what it does.
Then every manufacturer of VST plug ins makes a 16 knob display template/skin.
It can be stepped for when more than 16 knobs are needed.
They can add logos and colour styling in the spaces around it.
It might work better as 12 knobs with six sliders (though rotary encoder knobs reset out of the box, but sliders don't unless motorised hmmm..... ).
I think it's a great idea and relatively simple - that is if it's practical to punch holes in display material.
Why haven't Arturia or Behringer come up with one?
Actually, Arturia HAS come up with one. More than one. I bought my wife one of Arturia's newest 49 key controller kybds ("Keylab MkII"). There are nine sliders, with two banks ("18" sliders). There are also two banks of rotary knobs, and two banks of buttons. Move any one of them, and whatever you've assigned it to shows up on the decently sized LCD screen. It displays the control's assignment, how much you've moved it, and so on.

You may also set up your own templates, and save templates with whatever naming convention you wish to use.

And if you were to use sliders, instead of using mechanical sliders it would be better to use those ribbon controller type "sliders" that have an LED position marker on one side of the "slider". The Akai Pro Max series kybd controllers had those .....

LINK = https://www.smartdj.com/images/D/Akai-Professional-MAX49-Built-in-Step -Sequencer-USB-MIDI-Keyboard-Controller-detailed-image-2.png

Those types of "sliders" are actually far more useful than a mechanical type slider pot. They can easily be configured as "zero center" (like the way a pitch wheel operates) or as a full length control (like a mod wheel). Either one may be configured to snap-back to zero when you lift your finger, or they may be configured to remain in place when you lift your finger. They can also be "tapped" or "touched" to have the signal jump immediately to the point where you tapped or touched the slider, a mechanical slider must be "slid" all the way up or down to a given position. So you see, those "ribbon type" (or whatever they are called ... "touch sliders" maybe?) are far more capable than a silly old mechanical slider! No moving parts to wear out or become dirty/scratchy either!


MIDI Fighters "Twister": The configuration program allows you to color code each knob based on functions, "page", and so on. So the trick would be to come up with your own set of identifying conventions, and learn how to "read" your own color coding conventions. Taking easily read notes would prove very helpful as well.

These two videos will give you a great sense of how you can put the Twister and it's configuration software to best use. Get your coffee, get comfortable, sit back, keep the mouse cursor close to the ~pause~ button and keep a notepad and pencil at the ready. Great stuff here!:







The way I'll be using the Twister with my Nord Micro Modular is I'll make each knob "hard assigned" to given MIDI CC assignments. Then, I'll take it for granted that every knob is "hard assigned" to various CC numbers. As I create various patches within the Nord Micro Modular, I'll already know that I have this one "hard list" of controllers that are attached to certain CC numbers. At which point, I'll always assign (let's say) filter cutoff to MIDI CC 25 (that's just an example for description's sake). So I'll model any patches I create around that "hard list" of controller numbers based on how I've decided to ALWAYS ALWAYS configure the Twister itself.

In other words, I'll make the patch fit the controller, not the other way around.

Another example of this might be that I'll always assign envelope generator controls of the Nord to the Twister knobs that are on the "blue knobs" page of the Twister's four pages of controllers. So if I want to mess with an envelope setting in a Nord patch, I already know that all envelope settings are accessed when the Twister is set to the page where all of the knob LED rings are colored blue.

So the idea is to set up a "hard list" of what the sixty four knobs eek! eek! are to be assigned to (when speaking of MIDI CC assignments) ... then set up any given patches or presets you may be working with to conform to that "hard list" of knob configurations.

Doing something along these lines eliminates the need for sticky labels near each knob, or any other type of labeling. Use the page number and knob color as the assignment, and then create your devices/presets/patches so they conform to those knob coloring conventions you have set up yourself.

Easy peasy!

Watch the videos, especially the first one, since that fella goes over setting up the knobs/rings and pages using the color coding feature offered by the configuration program (which is a free of charge download).

thumbs up
cretaceousear
Ah.. well I've got a Nektar keyboard with a load of sliders and controllers.. a smaller display but similar to that Arturia.

Im thinking a tablet like an iPad, but with knobs permanently punch mounted through the screen - so when you choose the Uhe Zebra synth in your DAW, for example, the screen changes to match the VST graphics and the knobs all get auto assigned.

My Nektar has a quick way to assign knobs but it's a pain - and then you come back two weeks later without a clue what you set up. If each knob showed the function name below it would all be so much easier.

Now I hadn't seen those Akai style sliders before - brilliant.
Realistically I don't think there can be enough standardisation for my magic controller idea to work!
lilakmonoke
the low noise cooling part is something i figured out for my linux system:

- get a really large overspeced passive heatsink cpu cooler like this:



- get or build a case that can generate a vertical convection flow, sort of like a chimney - so the air can flow in under the case and out on top ie. many commercial cases can be openend up like that.

- then use a low rpm case fan on top of the cpu cooler, NOT a high rpm cpu fan = no noise

im running an i5 processor with this setup and at 90% load its at 50 degrees c.
Joe.
Rex Coil 7 wrote:

KREG TOOL: The Kreg Tool line of cabinet making gadgets has proved itself to cabinet/drawer/woodworkers time and again over the last several years.


Those are really popular in the DIY section, in Case building threads, it can help you avoid visible screw heads on the outside of your case thumbs up
Rex Coil 7
lilakmonoke wrote:
the low noise cooling part is something i figured out for my linux system:

- get a really large overspeced passive heatsink cpu cooler like this:



- get or build a case that can generate a vertical convection flow, sort of like a chimney - so the air can flow in under the case and out on top ie. many commercial cases can be openend up like that.

- then use a low rpm case fan on top of the cpu cooler, NOT a high rpm cpu fan = no noise

im running an i5 processor with this setup and at 90% load its at 50 degrees c.
Good suggestions (the CPU cooler you depicted uses a Noctua fan, btw). I already discussed the advantages of a slow/large fan elsewhere in the thread. However, in my situation I'm not concerned about fan noise. I don't use microphones, and since we live in a desert region we almost always have fans running anyhow.

The loose plan is having two 120mm fans pushing in cool air into the case directed toward the motherboard. Warm air will exhaust though a few ports made with a 2 inch hole saw. Intake air will be filtered (an absolute must, we have three cats as well as lint that gets into things because our home is 100% carpeted). Exhaust air will have filters made of 3M Scotchbrite pads to prevent anything from just floating in when the intake fans are not running ("computer off" condition). The motherboard will be mounted horizontally, on standoff roughly an inch or so above the bottom deck of the case. The CPU cooler has a fan mounted on it. The power supply will be mounted within it's own "sub-compartment" in the case, so it's in/out air flow is isolated from the main compartment. The only things that will be mounted in the main compartment are the motherboard, a 1TB hard drive, and the two 120mm chassis fans.

Other than little "trinkets" all I've yet to purchase are the two case fans and a brand new copy of Win10. I'll buy Win10 when I'm ready to load the OS. So I'm just needing to make a choice on the 120mm chassis fans and buy them so I can begin construction of the case. OH WAIT! ... I still need to obtain the main intake air filter as well.

* Chassis fans will cost no more than $30.00 or so for the pair.

* Intake air filter setup will cost about $30.00 ~roughly~.

* Win10 Home is $120.00 or so.

* External USB2 CD/DVD drive is about $30.00 bucks.

* External USB2 SSD pigtail adapter is less than $20.00.

*** So no more than another $250.00 to complete this beasty.


Joe. wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:

KREG TOOL: The Kreg Tool line of cabinet making gadgets has proved itself to cabinet/drawer/woodworkers time and again over the last several years.


Those are really popular in the DIY section, in Case building threads, it can help you avoid visible screw heads on the outside of your case thumbs up
Yes, very true. They pretty much make short work of building nearly anything that requires joining two pieces of wood together.

cool
Eric the Red
If you still have a local Barnes & Noble... check out this magazine. https://subscribe.custompc.co.uk
hippasus
@Rex Coil 7 it will be great to know how this very interesting project ended up. Do you mind to post some pics of the outcome?
Rex Coil 7
hippasus wrote:
@Rex Coil 7 it will be great to know how this very interesting project ended up. Do you mind to post some pics of the outcome?
It's not done yet, I've completed the gathering of part/pieces just last week. I'll be posting an update sometime today or this evening.

Thanks for the interest!!

cookie?!?
Catmantis
just bought this motherboard model M3215U-6C anyone here using this same model?

here is the specs https://www.eagle-touch.com/industrial-mainboards/m3215u-6c/

Rex Coil 7
Catmantis wrote:
just bought this motherboard model M3215U-6C anyone here using this same model?

here is the specs https://www.eagle-touch.com/industrial-mainboards/m3215u-6c/

First off ... Welcome Home Member *Catmantis .... thumbs up

Secondly, this thread is a project thread for my own computer project. You'll get far more answers/help if you post your question(s) regarding your motherboard in your own thread. I understand that you can't start your own thread until you build up a few posts. So I guess the obvious action would be to ... y'know .. make a few posts!

lol
Phitar
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
hippasus wrote:
@Rex Coil 7 it will be great to know how this very interesting project ended up. Do you mind to post some pics of the outcome?
It's not done yet, I've completed the gathering of part/pieces just last week. I'll be posting an update sometime today or this evening.

Thanks for the interest!!

cookie?!?


Any updates Rex? Been watching this thread for a while now with much interest. How you doing?
Rex Coil 7
Phitar wrote:
Any updates Rex? Been watching this thread for a while now with much interest. How you doing?
I've rec'd a lot more of the components (four 1TB HDDs, quick change drive rack, six fans, the intake air filters, the RME audio interface card, and more). So other than the wood for the case, and little wires/cables etc it's all here. I've been going through changes in the Rx I take for my neck injury over the last three months that has set me back on pretty much making/building things until my body adjusts to the new enzymes produced (heavy headaches, major nausea, eye focusing problems, and ~shakey~ hands along with sleep period disturbances). Ramping one chemical down while ramping a different Rx/chemical up. It takes time, it sucks, but this too will pass!!

It WILL get better, and I WILL be back at the builder's bench soon! Every day is a little better than the day before. But I'll tell ya ... it's been a certified bitch getting through these prescription changes. After being on opiate pain meds 24/7/365 for over twelve straight years, I told my Dr. "screw this crap! .... I want OFF of this garbage!!" So in February we started the new program. It IS working ... but it takes time. The nightmares are friggin horrible (chemical changes create them) but as I said each new day is better than the day before. I've broken over two dozen bones in my life, been shot, spent two weeks in the hospital with kidney failure (damned kidney stones!!), survived the largest race riot is US history as a first responder (L.A. 1992) .... I got through all of that .... I'll get through this as well!!!!!

One other challenge is May 29th of each year ... my partner was assassinated on May 29th 1992 (shot 5x in the back, and 1x in the back of the head .. he never got the chance to see his murderer or even draw his gun to defend himself). First documented murder of a first responder by MS13 in California on record. The anniversary of that day is always rough on me ... but I'll get through that as well. T-minus two more days and then it's over until next year.

waah Hug We all have our own rock we carry up the hill ... I'm no different.

I'm really itchin' to get back at "doin' my thing" ... getting this computer built, my 5U modular finished, the Euro modulation cab finished, the slide guitar project done ... on and on. I do little bits of things each day, so it's not like I'm idle and not doing anything at all. So I hope to be well enough within the next few weeks to actually get back to spending hours at a time building my toys.

Banzai dammit!!!! headbang Checkered Flag Checkered Flag Checkered Flag
Panason
Wow, those meds suck. 12 years on pain meds is a long long time! What was the injury? Have you done enough physiotherapy? Acupuncture?
Rex Coil 7
Panason wrote:
Wow, those meds suck. 12 years on pain meds is a long long time! What was the injury? Have you done enough physiotherapy? Acupuncture?
Sure is a long time! (it's not any of the "Oxy" or "Hydro" family of pain control opiates though ... I really dislike that shit).

Permanent and inoperable injury to the "Brachial Plexus" nerve trunk on the right side of my neck. It's one of the larger nerve trunks that go from the base of the brain down each side of the neck, going through (under) the collarbone, and down to the arms, hands, and fingers. There is one of these nerve trunks located on each side of the neck. Think of a tree, with a trunk, branches spreading out into twigs going upward, and roots spreading out to smaller roots going downward. The "trunk" is a "loom" of nerves between the upward branches and the downward roots (so to speak).

When Mr. Spock on the old Star Trek would do that Vulcan Nerve Pinch trick on people that stunned them into unconsciousness ... he was pinching the brachial plexus trunk which stunned his victim.

WIKI LINK = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brachial_plexus

This image is a frontal view of the human brain and both of the brachial plexus nerve trunks on each side of the neck. I've highlighted the region of damage in red. Remember this is a front view, so the right side is on the left of that image.



I've been through 23 months of physical therapy (2x per week .. total of 184 sessions) which did absolutely nothing but actually make it worse. I do physical therapy of my own design at home daily, exercises I've come to know that keep my neck and shoulder muscles toned and strong. The injury is on the right side ... I thank all that is good that I am left handed!!

I've been through acupuncture, acupressure, heat therapy, cold therapy, and probably a number of other things I can't recall at this moment. I don't have private medical insurance so I use the V.A. (Veteran's Administration ... the U.S. gov provided health care for military vets) but that bunch is kinda like going to the Clown Car at the circus and the clowns are who's running the place and also providing the health care. Long (LONG!) waits, every new procedure has to go through some goddam committee for approval before administering the next procedure or therapy method ... including simple shit such as x-rays. Getting an MRI took four months of bureaucratic bullshit waiting on rubber stamp approval. Bla bla ...

Cannabis helps, as long as it's the right strain. But I don't like being on that stuff for any more than about two or three days at a stretch. I use cannabis only about 2x per year, as a sortof "vacation" ("holiday") because I'm pretty useless when I use that stuff!!

lol lol lol

I was started on pain management meds in 2007 when it was clear this was a permanent situation. They started with 60mg per day ... but on my own I've brought that down to 15mg per day. I was "forced" to find a private Dr. 6 years ago when it was clear to me the V.A. couldn't get out of their own way (let alone help me). With his help, I've been able to reduce the pain meds by roughly 75%. On his new program that he and I worked out I'm hoping to be off of this crap completely, substituted with non-narcotic medication that seems to work very well for nerve pain.

I'm excited by this new approach!! It's a bitch of a ride ... but it seems to be actually working!!

What really brings me down the most is the possibility that I'll never be able to ride a motorcycle again. Just to be clear, I did not injure my neck on a motorcycle. A 700 pound industrial power generator fell on me when I was helping a customer of mine load it into his pickup truck. And ~no~ ... workman's compensation insurance won't cover it ... since I was working "after hours" (what most normal human beings call "overtime") so the Gov. Buttheads said "NOPE! NO coverage for you!".

Bastards, the lot.

Anyhow, I've blabbered on here. It's time to feed my cat .. and wake up my wife.

(Thanks for asking, Bubba!)

thumbs up thumbs up
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