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Topic: Is this a good dedicated config?

  1. #1

    Is this a good dedicated config?

    Hi all and thanks for reading this. I\'m on the verge of purchasing an entirely new system dedicated to GS (thanks for the excellent config tips killerbobjr) within the next few days. I\'m going to build it myself. If any of you good, knowledgable people would look it over and tell me if you think it\'s a good config for a dedicated GS setup, point out any weaknesses, or let me know if I can do better, I would *greatly* appreciate it. Here it is:

    1) Medium tower case, 300W power supply
    2) Intel CC820 main board, 133Mhz front side bus, Intel 820 jumperless chipset w/no audio
    3) Intel Pentium III 600EB, 600Mhz processor capable of utilizing 133Mhz bus
    4) 256MB 100Mhz ram (there\'s just not any 133Mhz ram available yet... and the CC820 doesn\'t support it anyway)
    5) Adaptec AHA-19160 Ultra160 SCSI controller
    6) Plextor 32x SCSI CD-ROM drive (with caddyless loading)
    7) Floppy drive
    8) Quantum Atlas 10K, Ultra160, 18.2GB, 10000RPM hard drive with 4.7ms avg. access time and 160MB/s sustained transfer rate
    9) Echo Gina card using 5.02 drivers (already have this... got a floor model for $50 that seems to work fine)

    One question I have already: Would it be stupid to get an EIDE ATA/66 drive for the boot drive? Would that negate performance? It would allow me to get a non-SCSI CD drive and isolate the SCSI bus to the GS sample drive... but it could negate performance... I just don\'t know how EIDE and SCSI interact. Or would it be better to just go with the one SCSI drive... I know people recommend 2 drives, but that really runs up the cost.


  2. #2

    Re: Is this a good dedicated config?

    Hey Tim - I\'m working my way through the same issues these days. The MOST helpful website by far that I know is at www.audiocomputing.com . Go to Boris\' Corner and read the extensive, helpful articles - about seven of them. This guy really knows the details and will chat with you on the phone, regardless of how likely a customer you are. End result: I\'m gonna buy a machine from Boris - when I can afford it, that is.

  3. #3

    Re: Is this a good dedicated config?

    Tim, mostly well spec\'d. Don\'t shortchange yourself in the disk department, that will be your perfomance limiting factor with GS. I wouldn\'t worry about the speed of RAM, the normal stuff is plenty fast and you\'ll do better to remove other bottlenecks (mostly that disk). Personally, I wouldn\'t spend much of a premium for 133Mhz, or 600Mhz over 500, or plextor scsi. The plextor is way nice, but I\'ve got a toshiba scsi cd that was cheap and fast, and I don\'t give it a second thought. I don\'t know your adaptec card, if it\'s just one bus you don\'t want to mix fast wide protocol stuff with slow/narrow, I have a 2940u2w with 2 busses, so the fast disks can be run wide, and the narrow scsi cd\'s are separate. If that plextor is wide you\'ll pay a huge premium for it (probably not worth it) and if it\'s narrow I wouldn\'t put in on the same scsi chain as a premium drive.

    SCSI and ide get along fine, I do that. Also I suspect the performance difference is not huge, I stream audio in and out to/from both simultaneously and it works fine in any combo. Good to separate the GS streaming disk from the windows/ audio writing disk, GS will hit its disk pretty hard when you\'re streaming in say 40 sustaining notes.

    The other thing I\'d check on is that the Echo card runs on a system with such a fast bus. Not trying to spread FUD, since I have no idea, but in the past some Echo cards were sensitive in their system requirements.

    I put together a system sorta like yours 6 months ago so most of it is lower speced than what you have (same memory, 500Mhz, 7200 rpm drives (20G ide & 9G scsi, I haven\'t nearly filled them, and when they\'re full big disks will be much less). I want for nothing in GS (it kicks *ss actually), you\'d do fine with \'older\' technology if $ is an issue. I do recommend getting quality stuff and you\'ve chosen well there.


  4. #4

    Re: Is this a good dedicated config?

    Thanks for everything you guys. You prove that the best thing about GigaSampler is the people who use it


  5. #5

    Re: Is this a good dedicated config?

    BTW, I spoke to the tech support department at Echo by phone, and they say that the Gina card (and all their cards) work fine on the CC820 motherboard. Their main concern is that you have an Intel chipset and an Intel processor. They don\'t recommend Athlon processors or VIA chipsets, FWIW.

    Thanks again,

  6. #6

    Re: Is this a good dedicated config?

    Hi all and thanks for reading this. I\'m on the verge of purchasing an entirely new system dedicated to GS

    Egads! You\'ve got enough of a system there to run Gigasampler and a sequencer at the same time plus sequence the entire human genome! ;-)

    One question I have already: Would it be stupid to get an EIDE ATA/66 drive for the boot drive?

    As long as you keep just the OS and GS on the IDE drive and turn off the swap file, you should be okay. The main thing is to not access the boot drive once everything is running. Theoretically, you should only need one drive on a dedicated GS machine, but I haven\'t been able to prove to my satisfaction that Windows doesn\'t load and unload DLL\'s from the system directory or read and write to the registry while GS is running. Eventually I\'ll have to go in there with the debugger and find out for sure, but for now I recommend a seperate boot drive just to be safe.

  7. #7

    Re: Is this a good dedicated config?

    ahm ... sorry, to jump in here guys but there are two things I am not happy about in

    Cool7s-Dad´s planned configuration. First of all, the Intel 820 chipset used on this board

    is really a waste of money. For two reasons:

    1. It has been struck by bugs, many of which Intel has already acknowledged.
    2. It is designed for use with RAMBUS memory, which unfortunately is extremely expensive and

    yet performs worse than the old BX chipset with 100Mhz SDRAM. Therefore they ( intel )

    designed the MTH ( Memory translator hub ) which translates the parallel SDRAM protocol to

    serial RAMBUS protocol. This of course degrades performance even more so in the end you get

    less performance for more money *gg* If you don´t believe me, read some professional

    computer magazines or better yet, visit Tom´s hardware Guide. This is a great guide for

    anything PC related and he has issued two very good articles on Rambus and the 820 chipset.

    There are better solutions which will even cost less money. You could either buy a good and

    proven BX motherboard like an ASUS P3BF which will let you use Coppermine Pentium 3´s with

    100Mhz bus up to 800 Mhz I believe. This solution performs equal and in many cases BETTER

    than the boards with 820 chipset even though this technology is a few years old already. You

    can checkout benchmarks on Tom´s site which prove this ! Just be sure to get an BX board

    that will let you use the Coppermines ( they have to support 1.65V processors ) ... not all

    of them do !

    Then, of course you could get a board with the Via Apollo Pro 133 chipset. I know VIA hasn´t

    had a great reputation but they are getting better and better and this chipset has shown in

    many tests that it is equal and better than the 820 chipset. It also provides the 133 bus

    and 133 SDRAM compatability and will soon be available for dual processor configurations.

    BTW: If I were you, I would be getting myself a board with two processor slots like the Tyan

    Tiger 100 for instance. It is a BX board and in the newest revision has support for dual

    Pentum 3´s up to 800 Mhz. You do not need a second processor right away, but you will thank

    yourself if you one day will be able to run Gigastudio in Windows 2000. Then you will be

    able to run it along with a sequencer without any sacrifices because each app will use its

    own processor.

    The second thing which caught my eye is the harddisk. You were right in choosing Ultra 160

    SCSI and the Quantum 10k U160 harddisk, but why do you want to add a IDE harddisk if you

    have spent so much money on a 160 MB SCSI data bus? You see, one Quantum 10k harddisk will

    never use more than 40 MB of your 160 MB limit because its transfer rate won´t get any

    higher. So the only reason for getting a U160 card would be to have more than one U160

    harddisk. The great thing about SCSI after all is the fact that it can read/write

    concurrently and that this won´t stress the processor load so much as with IDE. A recent

    benchmark I have seen somewhere on the net shows that IDE disks use as much as 30% of

    processor time when reading/writing even with busmastering activated. It does that because

    the bus waits for acknowledgment after each read/write operation and blocks the bus during

    that time. This does not happen with SCSI where command queing permits the bus to just work

    along during those times. This limits processor usage to 5% maximum.

    So I would get two of those Quantum disks, one for GS and one for sequencer and OS. This

    will work great in a dual processor configuration.

    BTW: Every Ultra 160 card I know of ( at least the adaptec cards ) come with an U-SCSI

    bridge that seperates the slower USCSI devices from the U160 devices. So you do not need a

    seperate controller for the CDRW or DVD/CDROM. They will be on the same bus but won´t cause

    any problems with speed degradation.

    Ah yeah ... and get 512 MB RAM !!! :-))))) You can load more samples in GS ! :-)

    Good luck !

  8. #8

    Re: Is this a good dedicated config?

    ahm ... sorry, to jump in here guys but there are two things I am not happy about in Cool7s-Dad´s planned configuration.

    Well, he didn\'t say he wanted the cheapest system possible. For a dedicated Gigasampler system that WON\'T be upgraded to Gigastudio, I\'d recommend as the cheapest configuration:

    AMD K6-2 500MHz processor
    FIC VA-503+ motherboard + AT style case
    128MB PC100 ram
    IBM Deskstar or Seagate Barracuda IDE drive (both sub-9ms)
    Matrox G200 video card
    Any cheap, fast CD-ROM drive
    MIDIMan Delta44 audio card

    This is way more than adequate for GS running by itself on a dedicated machine.

    For a more flexible system that can do all 160 voices in Gigastudio when it is released:

    Intel Coppermine 600E processor
    Asus P3B-F motherboard
    256MB PC100 ram
    IBM Ultrastar or Quantum Atlas SCSI U2W drive (not Seagate though -- their SCSI drives are too noisy and run too hot)
    Adaptec 2940U2W LVD SCSI controller
    Matrox G400 video card
    Pioneer 303S or 404S SCSI DVD drive
    Aardvark Aark 24/24 audio card

    This is priced low enough that it won\'t break the bank but gives pretty high performance. In fact, my two DAW systems are pretty similiar to these configurations, the main exceptions being that I run two SCSI drives on the K6 based system (where GS is) and the Coppermine system is overclocked (running Cakewalk PA9). (My former Pentium 233 that I describe in my tips article is now my network server).

  9. #9

    Re: Is this a good dedicated config?

    Thanks you guys for all your great input and advice. The deed is done, and here\'s what I wound up with:

    Asus P3B-F main board (6 PCI, 1 ISA)
    Pentium III CuMine 700Mhz processor
    512MB Micron PC-100 8ns SDRAM
    Quantum Atlas 10K 9.1GB, 10000RPM, 4.7ms, Ultra160 A/V rated hard drive (boot drive)
    Quantum Atlas 10K 18.2GB, 10000RPM, 4.7ms, Ultra160 A/V rated hard drive (samples)
    Adaptec 19160 Ultra160 dual channel SCSI controller
    Toshiba SCSI2, 40X CDROM drive
    Echo Gina card with GSIF drivers
    SoundBlaster Live! Platium
    Matrox G200 8MB video card
    Opcode Studio 64X MIDI interface
    NEC floppy
    Kingston 10BT NIC
    Medium tower side panel access case w/300W power supply with fan
    Dual fan upgrade for processor
    Additional case fan

    It would be nice if this config could deliver the whole ball of wax, ie.: GigaStudio\'ing with all 160 voices of polyphony while sequencing and recording to hard disk simultaneously. Then I could give my PII 266 to my wife. However, I\'m prepared to continue using the PII 266 to do the sequencing and master takes. I can then do my live recording and mixing with the new machine also.

    Thanks again,
    Tim http://www.elithic.com

  10. #10

    Re: Is this a good dedicated config?

    That sounds like one heck of a system. The
    only thing you will want to watch for if you
    encounter problems is what devices are sharing
    IRQ\'s with other devices. I\'d try and arrange
    everything so everything gets its own IRQ although
    win98 can fight you on this. Be aware that some
    PCI slots will always share IRQ\'s with specific
    other slots, the manual describes this if you
    know what you\'re looking for.


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