Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Retiring The Machine: Time for a New Computer Soon (The Novella)

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Retiring The Machine: Time for a New Computer Soon (The Novella)

    I love to tell long stories with tangential details, plus I'm bored, and feeling less than musically creative...a benefit of getting older.

    Here's the TLDR first: building a new machine: any thoughts, critiques, or suggestions on the new build?

    (skip to Chapter Three for the potential new build)






    Chapter One: The Past

    I built my current computer in 2009, and it has been and still is a great machine.

    It was originally built as a gaming rig during my heyday as a leader in one of the largest all-Tauren guilds in Warcraft. I do still play on occasion, but I passed the Chieftain's Headdress along a couple years ago, and mostly occasionally roleplay as an Elder of the tribe; spreading my wisdom, giving portentous speeches, and blessing hunts or ceremonies. I was still using the VS880, so didn't build it with composing in mind.

    It is beginning to show it's age lately with a couple of freezes and launch times getting longer. I know I can probably address a lot of that with some maintenance and clean-up, and it's still on the original install from 2009 (plus upgraded to Win7 from Vista in place)...but also know many of the parts are probably nearing the end of a normal lifespan. My boot drive is a 10k rpm drive that's been on daily for the last 8 years. How many millions of rotations is that? The graphics card used to stomp games, but it's lagging behind since it only can do up to DX10. Plus, if I am gonna go through all that trouble, why not start from new?

    So I think it's time to remove my secondary machine (hasn't even been turned on in years), make my current pc the backup unit, and build a new one. The backup is an old Gateway/Dell frankenstein XP machine running a hyper-threading Pentium 4 @2.6gHz with 4G of RAM I put together as I replaced other people's computers. I hope to find a good home for it, but if not, it can become part of my ever-increasing old electronics collection. I hate throwing things out that have served me well.

    I've only owned 4 computers, all still work.

    Commodore 64: useful life 1983-1998
    iMac Rev B: useful life 1998-2006
    Gateway/Dell Frankenstein: 2002-2011
    The Machine: 2009-present


    Chapter Two: The Present


    I am listing all the parts as a salute to a machine that has run without a major problem under heavy and frequent use for the last 8 years. I have never had a part fail or perform under expectations. I'd recommend any of these vendors.

    My current build is an i7 920 quad core @2.67 gHz cooled by a Thermalright Ultra120 eXtreme with 12G (3x4G--triple channel) of Mushkin Redline DDR3 1600 RAM on an Asus P6T6 WS Revolution motherboard. My GPU is an Asus Matrix GTX285, with an Asus Xonar D2X soundcard (not used much since moving in-the-box, besides it's separate MIDI card). The PSU is a Corsair HX1000W. It contains two DVDR drives: a Plextor PX880SA and a Liteon iHAS424-08. My HDDs are a WD Velociraptor 600G (boot drive), WD Velociraptor 300G (recording drive), WD Caviar Black 2TB (x2) storage with a third WD Black 1TB drive. All this is in a Antec 1200 case containing a total of 11 fans (including ones on cards, etc). It's surprisingly quiet for the number of fans. I love this machine.

    It's not all top-of-the-line, but a pretty decent build for '09. And before anyone gets the idea I'm well-to-do; I w27ork as a carpenter for a seafood processing plant earning slightly more per hour than my daughter the part time student/Starbucks shift manager in LA. Yeah, Alabama sucks for paychecks, but luckily I have few bills, grown kids, single, and don't go out at all. I just like to save to get good, durable things and make them last, which helps spread the actual cost out over many years. I also have decent credit when needed. My last build will end up averaging about $260/year; not bad for the box that took care of much of my entertainment, music, graphic design, social, and communication needs for nearly a decade.

    Anyhow...


    Chapter Three: The Future

    Here's what I have picked out for the next build so far. I plan to wait until much later in the year to build, hoping to pick things up if and when they go on sale.

    OS: Win10/64
    CPU: i7 7700k @4.2gHz quad core
    Motherboard: Asus ROG Strix Z270H
    RAM: G.Skill Tridentz DDR4 3000 (2x16)
    Graphics: EVGA GeForce GTX1060 FTW+ACX 3.0
    PSU: EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G3
    Boot drive: Samsung 850 EVO 500G
    Recording drive: WD Velociraptor 600G
    Storage drives: WD Gold 4TB (x2) or WD Black 4TB (x2) depends on sale prices (could go as high as 6TBx2 if they get crazy)
    BluRay/DVD/CD burner: LG WH16NS40
    Case: Cooler Master HAF X

    I haven't decided on the CPU cooler yet. And I will need to add more USB 2 ports to make sure all my old equipment will be compatible. I researched and most all my stuff has issues with USB 3 (iLok 2, elicenser, BCR 2000, mBox mini, Presonus VSL44...). I'll transfer my MIDI card over for the Mackie COntrol Universal since it only uses regular MIDI cables.

    If anyone has any opinions on improvements or experiences bad or good with any of the components I have selected, please let me know.



    I hope this novella will end with "And he computed happily ever after".

    wow, that was longer than I was even expecting.
    Last edited by aoVI; 03-12-2017, 10:32 PM.

  • #2
    A nice story ontol

    I've not built a PC for some time so I'm well out of the hardware loop.

    When I decided to upgrade I went for a high end (ish) gaming laptop because I had this idea that I wanted portability. An it has been great. Bought it about five years ago and it is still doing the business.

    Only comment I have on the above, then, is the OS. You don't state whether you are going for home or pro. I really do like W10, but I believe that you have a bit more control over W10's privacy options. I can't be specific, so you would need to do more research...


    cheers

    andy
    https://soundcloud.com/synkrotron

    Comment


    • #3
      My boy's just built a new gaming tower and I kind of glazed over as he was rambling on about the specs. As someone who works in IT, I really should be more involved in this stuff... I kind of got the impression though that the colour of the highlights on the RAM and the motherboard were important, they must co-ordinate with the RGB fans he chose. Hope that helps.



      As for me, I just picked up a refurb'ed laptop I can dedicate to audio use. Only a 3rd gen i5 but slays my old one, handles all the Reaktor Block ensembles I've tried so far with ease. Now no longer tied to the desktop (which I find strangely constricting...) And it has cool little ruler thing in the express card slot.

      Sorry, not much of a storyteller.
      Latest release: The Bonesetters Fear of the Future

      Hearthis | Soundcloud

      Comment


      • #4
        My current machine has all blue LEDs and a nice window to look through. I even made sure the dvd burners had blue. My vid card has a blue stripe with the name Matrix lit up in blue, turning to red as more of a load is put on it. Turning red used to be rare, now it's fairly common.

        This time things will be color mismatched since I have learned it's only cool while it's being built, then all that goodness gets hidden away in the hutch where the pc lives. I am actually trying to avoid LEDs as much as I can this time. The case comes with red led fans (such a bad visual cue IMO for something that is part of the cooling) and I will figure out how to defeat the lighting. It is fun trying to match things up with a theme, though.

        I built my daughter a pc two years ago and what wasn't the default black is all white with purple LEDs down to the monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Hers sits on the desk so you actually do see all the cool stuff inside. I couldn't believe I was able to find a white PSU, RAM, and Mobo.

        The OS will be Pro. Currently I am on Win 7 Ultimate. It's hard to look down one's nose at others if you don't go all the way.

        My "Windows Experience Index" is currently a 5.9 of 7.9. The one thing that keeps the score low (lowest score determines index) is the 5.9 for my HDD boot drive. All the other subscores are 7.4.


        The Machine boots for the first time:



        The guts

        Attached Files
        Last edited by aoVI; 03-13-2017, 01:21 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          I spent a couple of hours yesterday hussling around town for some floppy disks to use with a Roland MC-80ex. Got a few from a kind owner of a local PC repair/reseller place locally.
          Incidentlally, some good reading here about the continuing use of floppies: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8651750.stm

          Most of the shop assistants elsewhere seem to be born after the decline of SCSI or set up shop in the USB/intenet era, and smirk at the idea of FDs.

          Since about five years ago I switched to Linux Puppy distros on my PCs; It would be untruthfull to suggest it isn't buggy and a learning curve but I wouldn't go back to Microsoft on laptops or bother with Apple these days. I use a PAE version of Slacko on a Dell Vostro with 6GB and it works fine mostly. Although I'm thinking of running two of these machines side by side, particularly for some of the bigger rendering tasks in Audacity where the machine is 'busy' for several minutes.
          Material - Mantra (Doors Of Perception Mix)
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tAR3_b6pis

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mux View Post
            I spent a couple of hours yesterday hussling around town for some floppy disks to use with a Roland MC-80ex. Got a few from a kind owner of a local PC repair/reseller place locally.
            What kind of disks does it take? We used to have tons of old 3.5" ones knocking around...


            Since about five years ago I switched to Linux Puppy distros on my PCs; It would be untruthfull to suggest it isn't buggy and a learning curve but I wouldn't go back to Microsoft on laptops or bother with Apple these days. I use a PAE version of Slacko on a Dell Vostro with 6GB and it works fine mostly. Although I'm thinking of running two of these machines side by side, particularly for some of the bigger rendering tasks in Audacity where the machine is 'busy' for several minutes.
            Funnily enough, over the weekend I blat'ed a couple of really old laptops with Linux before disposal (from experience, a darn sight quicker than messing around with Windows); I initially tried Puppy but couldn't get either of them to boot so tried a Lubuntu disk I had and that just worked. So yay for Linux, I really should learn it properly one day...
            Latest release: The Bonesetters Fear of the Future

            Hearthis | Soundcloud

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by GaryG View Post

              What kind of disks does it take? We used to have tons of old 3.5" ones knocking around...


              Since about five years ago I switched to Linux Puppy distros on my PCs; It would be untruthfull to suggest it isn't buggy and a learning curve but I wouldn't go back to Microsoft on laptops or bother with Apple these days. I use a PAE version of Slacko on a Dell Vostro with 6GB and it works fine mostly. Although I'm thinking of running two of these machines side by side, particularly for some of the bigger rendering tasks in Audacity where the machine is 'busy' for several minutes.
              Funnily enough, over the weekend I blat'ed a couple of really old laptops with Linux before disposal (from experience, a darn sight quicker than messing around with Windows); I initially tried Puppy but couldn't get either of them to boot so tried a Lubuntu disk I had and that just worked. So yay for Linux, I really should learn it properly one day...
              Thanks Gary, I would've looked in the charity shops if I hadn't got lucky. I'm no Linux expert but I've quite familiar with a few pup distros as I like to see how things work. Recommend precise 571 or slacko 563. I don't use a hard disk on my laptop, boot from a usb keychain or iso cd if need be. There is an app for creating bootable usb, ill see if u can sort for you. Bios needs setting for boot options and usb needs boot flag set etc
              Material - Mantra (Doors Of Perception Mix)
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tAR3_b6pis

              Comment


              • #8
                Oh I got the distro pretty much installed (from a Usb stick created with rufus) but grub failed to install for some reason. As I said, lubuntu worked fine... Are you running many music apps on puppy? I've only ever played with Ubuntu studio, next step was to try traktion and reaper in wine.
                Latest release: The Bonesetters Fear of the Future

                Hearthis | Soundcloud

                Comment


                • #9
                  Apologies if I went o.t. Seems like you want a higher spec build than I've used.
                  Material - Mantra (Doors Of Perception Mix)
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tAR3_b6pis

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    No problems with the e-licenser and USB 3.0 so far. But I am not sure, whether I ever connected it directly to the USB port or via an USB 2.0 hub...
                    Soundcloud - Youtube - Petroglyph Music - Bandcamp

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mux View Post
                      Apologies if I went o.t. Seems like you want a higher spec build than I've used.
                      Oh I don't know what I want from Linux. I just imagine a future without Windows but with a decent set of tools for my minimal efforts. I think Reaktor would be my downfall, use it all the time and it sounds like a pig to get working (authorised...) under linux. So I gather you're mainly using hardware for your music?


                      Whatever, I hope aoVI is finding all this linux discussion helpful in building his new PC.
                      Latest release: The Bonesetters Fear of the Future

                      Hearthis | Soundcloud

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hey, I do not mind the thread being used for whatever the general community finds useful and educational. One never knows who searches threads for build info and why; the linux discussion could help someone with totally different needs, so discuss away.

                        I've pretty much made my decisions as far as parts, I was mostly just checking the membership to see what other's experiences might be and to hear differing points of view (as well as killing some late-night boredom)--so in that sense it is on-topic.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm not sure if Reaktor has been included in one of the 'studio' pups or not. TBH, i've come across so many software apps and distro hopping in the last few months it's becoming a blur of names Unfortunately i had no joy from the studiopups i tried - nothing seemed to work for me. I am quite keen on the hardware/rack approach - especially my rack delay which i can improvise with like an instrument, running multitracks through it onto minidisc and using mute/solo in a dub style..then record these back into audacity and create more loops etc.

                          I thought last night about how I never had a pc in the 1990s that was used for music; i had friends who had Ataris which was cool but i had synths/workstation sequencer synth, a four-track, a mixer, guitar fx pedals. But i didn't have the tools or the experience to make really good-sounding production. Now with PCs it's possible to do so much more.
                          Material - Mantra (Doors Of Perception Mix)
                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tAR3_b6pis

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mux View Post
                            I thought last night about how I never had a pc in the 1990s that was used for music; i had friends who had Ataris which was cool but i had synths/workstation sequencer synth, a four-track, a mixer, guitar fx pedals. But i didn't have the tools or the experience to make really good-sounding production. Now with PCs it's possible to do so much more.
                            The Machine is my first time really using a computer to record (well, the VS880 is a dedicated computer...). The Commodore 64 saw limited use as a sequencer, the others merely encoded mp3s, burned CD copies, and were used for cover design.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mux View Post
                              I'm not sure if Reaktor has been included in one of the 'studio' pups or not.
                              I doubt it, it's only officially for Windows and Mac so you'd have to use a windows emulator like Wine with it. I gather it's the authorisation side of it that's a problem. I like the idea of Linux, especially now big names are getting involved (Tracktion, u-he etc) but will be happy for the foreseeable future to keep a windows 7 install going for the likes of Reaktor.

                              I am quite keen on the hardware/rack approach - especially my rack delay which i can improvise with like an instrument, running multitracks through it onto minidisc and using mute/solo in a dub style..then record these back into audacity and create more loops etc.
                              I remember doing something like this way back when, 'remixing' a friends acoustic tracks; playing the mix from a portable minidisk through a small mixer with a couple of Boss micro rack delays being punched in and out. I had a copy of Otomo yoshihides 'night before the death of the sampling virus' CD playing too, randomly bringing samples of that in (though that was mainly to piss my mate off ) I think I'd struggle to do that now in software...

                              I thought last night about how I never had a pc in the 1990s that was used for music; i had friends who had Ataris which was cool but i had synths/workstation sequencer synth, a four-track, a mixer, guitar fx pedals. But i didn't have the tools or the experience to make really good-sounding production. Now with PCs it's possible to do so much more.
                              I never really did much with hardware, I think the small displays and cryptic menu systems of the time always stopped me in my tracks (not knocking it, all the early Prodigy stuff was a W30 I believe). I didn't seriously try a PC based setup till the late 90s but it wasn't until Tracktion popped up in the early 00s that I felt I had the tools to do what I wanted.
                              Latest release: The Bonesetters Fear of the Future

                              Hearthis | Soundcloud

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X