General discussion


Hi Techs -

I have a computer in my recording studio that was custom built by INTA Audio specifically for Music Production. I really need to upgrade it at this point because it's beginning to struggle with some of my programs (program updates are putting more strain on it). My computer needs to be fast, stable, and needs to have a fast refresh rate on the graphics. Oh, and I need to be able to do this quickly as it's holding up studio jobs (read: MONEY).

The computer is as follows:

AMD Athlon64 3700+ (2.4GHz)
3GB Corsair RAM
Radeon 9250 Dual Head graphics card
500GB Sata Program Drive
500GB Audio Drive
Custom Acoustic Silencer Case with high quality 500W power supply.
Windows XP Pro (SP2)

I would like to keep things like they are with respect to using Windows XP, except that I think I'd like to upgrade that to 64-bit in order to take advantage of more RAM. I also want to keep my I'm HOPING that a multi-core upgrade will fit in my current case.

Can anyone please advise on what motherboard and processor combination to look into and suggest some upgrades pertinent to what I use the computer for?


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Re: upgrade

64-bit Windows XP has a very bad reputation. If you want to go 64-bit, switch to Windows 7, assuming it supports the applications you run.

Assuming your case, disks and graphics card still are OK, you can indeed consider to buy a new motherboard/CPU/RAM-combination and install that (or have it installed by the shop). Depending on the graphic card, however, it could be that the new motherboard doesn't have the right slot for itl then you would have to replace that also.

I'll leave recommendation for possible mobo/CPU-combinations to others. Not my cup of tea.

By the way, in a recording studio I'd expect a good quality sound card also. You don't mention that.


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you're in the UK and stuff is costlier than Stateside. What's stopping you from going back to Inta-Audio for a modern system? How much do you think a new mobo/CPU/DDR3/Windows will save you vs a new system? Your biggest adjustment in the transition will probably be getting to know W7 UI. There are lots of online tutorials for it.

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1. Kees_B - I'm not actually running Windows XP (64-bit). I'm still running the 32-bit version. I am happy to upgrade the MOBO, Processor AND graphics card. I'm just not sure which way to go there. As for the sound card, that's not an issue. I'm running a PreSonus Firestudio Tube (FW) for recording. I also have a Digidesign Mbox 2 (USB) solely for the purpose of being able to do my mixing in Pro Tools. My system allows me to switch between the two different cards.

2. samhk - I'm not still in the UK, I was transferred back to the US last August, therefore, going back to INTA Audio really isn't an option for me (except maybe to ask the same questions I've asked on here). Also, right now, I just can't afford the extra expense of buying a new computer and I'm hoping that upgrades to this one will be "less" costly than buying a NEW custom computer from, say, Sweetwater or one of the other Audio PC companies.

Thanks guys,

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Your system Tattoo will still be problematic

Tattoo - A motherboard tattoo is a unique code that is written to the (BIOS) to ensure only that machine or line of machines will work. A tattoo consists of an erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM) chip that contains information about the machine, such as the serial number and operating system data. This chip is unique to each machine. If the motherboard, or certain components on it, are replaced, the EPROM chip must be reprogrammed.

Your old hard drive will not authenicate with a new motherboard. You would need a retail XP Pro SP2 CD/DVD and all retail versions of all personal (added) software.

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Let's skip to the bottom line?

I known that breed machine (heck I have 2 like it) and being a single core it is now being taxed heavily by modern apps.

But let me share that I changed out the ATI video card for a Nvidia and my CPU load dropped and these machines now play on.

For the bang for the buck, try any Nvidia card (with two outputs if you need that.)

Beyond that you are looking at a new machine.

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Yeah....I'll try that first!!!

wb2001 - I was afraid I might have issues with periferals "playing nice" with a newer system and I certainly can't afford to lose my data. I do have the orginal Win XP CDs, so that shouldn't be an issue.

R. Proffitt - I will certainly try replacing the video card first as I've had some issues with it recently anyway.....and it ALL started with Pro Tools!!! Do you have any recommendations on dual head Nvidia cards? Is there one in particular that you prefer? Pro Tools kills my refresh rate on the old card and I believe that (and cooling) are my two biggest issues. I have already sorted the cooling issue by purchasing a liquid cooling system. YAYYY!!

Thanks to everyone for your insight and advice. Next stop......i7 Quad Core!!! =0)

- Mannakin

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Which one?

I haven't been shopping for awhile but any of the GT220 1GB cards don't push the power supplies too hard. It would be the rare card that would have us upgrading the PSU.

For example my Zotac GT240 fanless 1GB card in a HP dv4999t draws 100 Watts total (web browser and email) and 120 Watts when gaming so no PSU upgrading for those IF YOU CAN FIND ONE FOR your box.

The reason I swapped out the ATI was the ATI driver causing the poor single core CPU to max out.

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