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Topic: Anyone here built a DAW with an Athlon 64?

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  1. #1

    Anyone here built a DAW with an Athlon 64?

    What has your experience been as far as speed increases? And what processor did you upgrade from? I've got an Athlon XP 2500+, and am considering a switch to an Athlon 64.. not sure which one yet. Probably a 3500.
    Sam Hulick
    Composer
    http://www.samhulick.com/

  2. #2

    Re: Anyone here built a DAW with an Athlon 64?

    (mobo) GA-K8NS ULTRA-939 / Socket 939

    (CPU) AMD Athlon64 3500+ 939P CPU / 939Pin / 512K

    (HD) WD 120GB / 8MB / SATA150 / 7200 RPM (WD1200JD)

    KINGSTON DDR 400 512MB x 4


    I'm upgrading from a PIII 1GHZ! 512RAM. So this will be a move up for sure.

    I'm cnsidering doing in the next couple weeks. It will have GS 2 on it but mostly for running these virtual instruments like Stylus RMX, EW ORCH., etc...My friend here who builds DAWs seemed to think this config would get me 2-3 years and then I could upgrade the CPU and possibly get 1-2 more years of use. Of course, just his estimation.

  3. #3

    Re: Anyone here built a DAW with an Athlon 64?

    I'm looking at an A64 for Christmas as well. Check out this article on the new Winchester 90 nm core chips: http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets...oc.aspx?i=2242

    With the MSI motherboard, the 3000+ chip and OCZ Platinum RAM, AnandTech was able to overclock from 1.8 GHz to 2.6 GHz. That's a 45% speed increase! It only needed a small voltage boost compared to the 3500+, which is a much more expensive chip.

    Overall that gives similar or better performance than the 3.8 GHz P4 (at stock speeds) using a $140 processor!

    Also, Asus will release their nforce4 chipset motherboard soon, which will likely have no chipset fan and also will have better support than MSI offers. I don't know if it will be as good an overclocker as the MSI though.

    -JF

  4. #4

    Re: Anyone here built a DAW with an Athlon 64?

    BTW, I learned that the new Asus nForce4 board uses a chipset fan, as does the MSI nForce3 board that is so popular among overclockers. I will likely settle for an Asus A8V...

    -JF

  5. #5

    Re: Anyone here built a DAW with an Athlon 64?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst
    With the MSI motherboard, the 3000+ chip and OCZ Platinum RAM, AnandTech was able to overclock from 1.8 GHz to 2.6 GHz. That's a 45% speed increase! It only needed a small voltage boost compared to the 3500+, which is a much more expensive chip.
    -JF
    This overclocking result surprizes me a bit. I have an MSI K8N Neo2 and a 3500+ CPU. Using the "dynamic overclocking" feature works great with Linux (very stable), but not at all with Windows. In that OS, even 2% overclocking results in random freezes. Therefore I don't use it. But the performance is plenty for me, anyway.

    On the contrary, I highly recommend the dynamic underclocking feature "cool and quiet". You will see that most of the time the machine is bored anyway, so it clocks itself down to 1GHz (in my case). The CPU temperature rarely exceeds 50' Celsius. No need to have the CPU generating useless heat and the fan blasting at full throttle while all it does is wait for work, which is probably the case 80% of the time.

  6. #6

    Re: Anyone here built a DAW with an Athlon 64?

    Hi jens,

    Here's the page with the overclocking details:
    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets...spx?i=2242&p=5

    It's hard to say why Linux would tolerate overclocking, while Windows wouldn't. There may be some small errors generated in each case, but only one OS is sensitive to the faults.

    I noticed that in their tests they run a balzy power supply, a top heatsink, and very fast (expensive) RAM. In their case they run 2.5-4-4-10 1T memory timings. Also, they had to boost the memory voltage for the slower CPU. Still 290 MHz x 9 is some fast mojo. It would probably take some trial and error to find the magic combination for your particular system.

    The dynamic underclocking sure sounds good. I'm looking at getting a Seasonic power supply that is very quiet at low power, but gets much louder as the load increases. Having a quiet system at idle would be great.

    -JF

  7. #7

    Re: Anyone here built a DAW with an Athlon 64?

    I replaced a 1.8 Mhz P4 1MB RAM Dell computer with a AMD 64/3000 based around the SiS 755 chipset:

    http://www.motherboards.org/mobot/chipsets_d/SiS/755/

    I had major problems running SONAR 3.0 on the old computer, the AMD machine doesn't even shrug it's shoulders. CPU load registers at around 25-30%.

    A typical composition of mine will have 12-16 tracks, 3-4 instances of reverb, half a dozen compressors, eqs, etc.

  8. #8

    Re: Anyone here built a DAW with an Athlon 64?

    I've got an Amd64 3200+ Laptop with 768megs of ram. I ran the latest Sonar 3 test and also got about 30% cpu load. Just got EWQLSO Gold I'm going to test it this weekend to see how that runs.

  9. #9

    Re: Anyone here built a DAW with an Athlon 64?

    Jon, thanks for the pointer. My power supply is reasonably quiet. In fact its product name is "Be quiet", but I think it's primarily sold in Europe (not sure though). The first thing I had to replace in order to quiet the machine down is the CPU fan that came with the processor. It's amazing how bad the quality of the fans is that you get when you buy a "boxed" CPU. The new one (a no-name product) is much better.

  10. #10

    Re: Anyone here built a DAW with an Athlon 64?

    On my next PC I plan to use the Thermalright XP-120 with the Global 120mm fan. It's the quietest thing this side of the Zalman Reserator.

    A great resource for quiet PC stuff is http://www.silentpcreview.com

    -JF

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