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Old 10-12-2008, 05:24 PM
Sean Darby
 
Default Building a Computer

Hello,

I will soon be building my very first computer, am looking forward to
it, though am also curious about a few things pertaining to hardware
selection, compatibility, and quality of product. Before I insert the
details of various computer components I have been looking at (currently
with totals between about $1,300 and $1,600) I thought I would go ahead
and open up a discussion on the subject.

The primary purpose of the new computer:
Music & Gaming.

The secondary purpose:
TV/movies/multimedia.

Regarding gaming:
I was invited to privately test a game that is in alpha/beta/etc. stages
of production and it requires more computer muscle than what I currently
have. I'm not much of a computer gamer, though this one is the
exception, it's a must have/must play (at least for me, personally).

Regarding music:
I am a professional musician and require the ability to record out of my
music lesson studio. Any functions that would benefit my music
instruction would be great, too. I teach guitar, bass guitar, drumset,
and percussion.

The tv, movies, and other multimedia functions should be pretty easy,
though I might need a few hardware components with special features if I
want to ever hook the computer up to a tv (or perhaps hdtv) in the
future. Some nice DVD rip/burn functions would be nice, though that can
probably work fine with the appropriate software. Those are only a
couple aspects of that purpose in the computer, otherwise I can simply
watch the tv shows and movies on my computer as I do now.

For gaming, I am looking into a few obvious things - nice graphics/video
card for example, perhaps a "gaming pad" so I don't stress my normal
keyboard out. I've heard NVIDIA is crossplatform but ATI is not.

For music, I am looking into similar - nice audio/sound card for
example, perhaps an external sound module to bridge the sound card to
any additional external components (boards or instruments). I've heard
mixed opinions on Sound Blaster, and am unfamiliar with other options.

For tv/etc., I'm guessing I'll need s-video capability, though am not
sure what else.

The game will be running on Windows Vista, everything else will be
Linux/Unix (specifically Ubuntu Studio, OpenBSD, and a "floating" 3rd
*nix (partition reserved for different distros/flavors/etc.).

The short-term goal is to have a computer immediately ready for gaming
that also includes the basic components for producing music.

The long-term goal is to maintain the gaming component requirements but
mostly to add to the music producing aspect of the computer. I hope to
eventually have a true home studio for use with teaching music lessons,
composing music, and especially recording music.

I am also going for a 64-bit, quad core. I have details available of
what I've looked at so far but thought I'd introduce this subject and
ask a question first.

Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations on computer
components that would work with the above?

Thank you!

Sean





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Old 10-13-2008, 02:13 AM
Haig Dedeyan
 
Default Building a Computer

Hi Sean,

for gaming, go with nVidia. They have the best OGL driver support
available, have the gaming market cornered and because of that, gaming
companies will tweak their games to take advantage of nVidia's gpu over
ati, matrox. etc.

Also, you get good frame rates at high resolutions with all of the eye
candy enabled.

Their linux support is also top notch.

For music, other than having multi outputs so that you get the time line
stretched across 2 screens, I don't think you would get anything from
any graphics card that will give you a feature specific to music.

For TV/Movies, you cannot beat the tv output quality from a matrox card,
although their output support is s-video/composite.

nVidia & ATI both have component tv output.



They also have a feature called dvdmax where your 2ndary output device
(tv or lcd) will automatically playout in full screen whenever you play
a video clip.

PS: Be carefull about gaming under Vista. If your games are DX based,
your games will crash or minimize if you are playing in full screen mode
and some other app takes over the focus.

Under XP, there was an ugly workaround using the kludge method but for
some reason, this no longer works under Vista so gaming companies are
trying to find another kind of work around.

For the audio cards, I personally prefer m-audio.

Haig

Sean Darby wrote:
> Hello,
>
> I will soon be building my very first computer, am looking forward to
> it, though am also curious about a few things pertaining to hardware
> selection, compatibility, and quality of product. Before I insert the
> details of various computer components I have been looking at (currently
> with totals between about $1,300 and $1,600) I thought I would go ahead
> and open up a discussion on the subject.
>
> The primary purpose of the new computer:
> Music & Gaming.
>
> The secondary purpose:
> TV/movies/multimedia.
>
> Regarding gaming:
> I was invited to privately test a game that is in alpha/beta/etc. stages
> of production and it requires more computer muscle than what I currently
> have. I'm not much of a computer gamer, though this one is the
> exception, it's a must have/must play (at least for me, personally).
>
> Regarding music:
> I am a professional musician and require the ability to record out of my
> music lesson studio. Any functions that would benefit my music
> instruction would be great, too. I teach guitar, bass guitar, drumset,
> and percussion.
>
> The tv, movies, and other multimedia functions should be pretty easy,
> though I might need a few hardware components with special features if I
> want to ever hook the computer up to a tv (or perhaps hdtv) in the
> future. Some nice DVD rip/burn functions would be nice, though that can
> probably work fine with the appropriate software. Those are only a
> couple aspects of that purpose in the computer, otherwise I can simply
> watch the tv shows and movies on my computer as I do now.
>
> For gaming, I am looking into a few obvious things - nice graphics/video
> card for example, perhaps a "gaming pad" so I don't stress my normal
> keyboard out. I've heard NVIDIA is crossplatform but ATI is not.
>
> For music, I am looking into similar - nice audio/sound card for
> example, perhaps an external sound module to bridge the sound card to
> any additional external components (boards or instruments). I've heard
> mixed opinions on Sound Blaster, and am unfamiliar with other options.
>
> For tv/etc., I'm guessing I'll need s-video capability, though am not
> sure what else.
>
> The game will be running on Windows Vista, everything else will be
> Linux/Unix (specifically Ubuntu Studio, OpenBSD, and a "floating" 3rd
> *nix (partition reserved for different distros/flavors/etc.).
>
> The short-term goal is to have a computer immediately ready for gaming
> that also includes the basic components for producing music.
>
> The long-term goal is to maintain the gaming component requirements but
> mostly to add to the music producing aspect of the computer. I hope to
> eventually have a true home studio for use with teaching music lessons,
> composing music, and especially recording music.
>
> I am also going for a 64-bit, quad core. I have details available of
> what I've looked at so far but thought I'd introduce this subject and
> ask a question first.
>
> Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations on computer
> components that would work with the above?
>
> Thank you!
>
> Sean
>
>
>
>
>
>


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Old 10-13-2008, 08:20 AM
"Karoliina Salminen"
 
Default Building a Computer

> For TV/Movies, you cannot beat the tv output quality from a matrox card,
> although their output support is s-video/composite.

I would like to have this clarified: You mean obviously with TV-output
here analog tube-TV?
Rather than today's flat panels which have HDMI and which get 100% perfect
output from nVidia?

We have nVidia in our home theater PC (which is running Ubuntu) and it
is connected with HDMI to the HD-video projector.
Another video source is Playstation 3, which surprise surprise,
outputs its picture digitally through HDMI.
The picture is perfect obviously because it is digital and every pixel
gets displayed as it should (from both the computer and PS3).

Is someone still using displays without HDMI these days? If I go to a
shop and look around TV-models, I can hardly find
any model which would not have HDMI. So at least in my vocabuary at
least, TV output = DVI = HDMI. And Matrox has
no use for this purpose. Who wants to use component video these days.
It hurts my eyes if I look picture from my
old DVD-player with component video.

Best Regards,
Karoliina

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Old 10-13-2008, 09:37 AM
"Davide Tullio"
 
Default Building a Computer

Hi Sean,
i advise you the VGA that now has the best price/performance ratio that is ATI RADEON 4850, you can verify it seeing on-line benchmark. For the CPU you could use INTEL's new models with 45nm technology (i have INTEL 8200), while for music i have the sound card M-audio that works really well with UBUNTU STUDIO.

*
Best regards.

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Old 10-13-2008, 11:34 AM
Gustin Johnson
 
Default Building a Computer

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Sean Darby wrote:
> Hello,
>
> I will soon be building my very first computer, am looking forward to
> it, though am also curious about a few things pertaining to hardware
> selection, compatibility, and quality of product. Before I insert the
> details of various computer components I have been looking at (currently
> with totals between about $1,300 and $1,600) I thought I would go ahead
> and open up a discussion on the subject.

This budget is a little tight if you plan on including a Windows licence
*and* a decent sound card. For a little perspective my sound card (RME
9652) alone was ~$700, I still needed input/output devices on top of
that. This may be overkill for you, but keep this in mind with repect
to your budget. An M-Audio solution will cost between $150 and $750
depending on the interface.
>
> The primary purpose of the new computer:
> Music & Gaming.
>
> The secondary purpose:
> TV/movies/multimedia.

> Regarding gaming:
> I was invited to privately test a game that is in alpha/beta/etc. stages
> of production and it requires more computer muscle than what I currently
> have. I'm not much of a computer gamer, though this one is the
> exception, it's a must have/must play (at least for me, personally).
>
> Regarding music:
> I am a professional musician and require the ability to record out of my
> music lesson studio. Any functions that would benefit my music
> instruction would be great, too. I teach guitar, bass guitar, drumset,
> and percussion.

Probably best to stay away from firewire devices until you are more
comfortable with Linux. M-Audio and RME make PCI and PCIe gear that is
well supported. M-Audio makes excellent gear for the price point.
>
> The tv, movies, and other multimedia functions should be pretty easy,
> though I might need a few hardware components with special features if I
> want to ever hook the computer up to a tv (or perhaps hdtv) in the
> future. Some nice DVD rip/burn functions would be nice, though that can
> probably work fine with the appropriate software. Those are only a
> couple aspects of that purpose in the computer, otherwise I can simply
> watch the tv shows and movies on my computer as I do now.
>
> For gaming, I am looking into a few obvious things - nice graphics/video
> card for example, perhaps a "gaming pad" so I don't stress my normal
> keyboard out. I've heard NVIDIA is crossplatform but ATI is not.
>
Both nVidia and ATI have drivers for Linux, though IMO they both suck.
If you need to do high performance gaming then either ATI or nVidia will
do the job and still work under Linux. You may need to do some work to
get these cards properly working. If you do not *need* an ATI or nVidia
I actually recommend the Integrated Intel solutions, as they work out of
the box with Linux. ATI has open sourced their drivers so they should
work out of the box in a year or two.

> For music, I am looking into similar - nice audio/sound card for
> example, perhaps an external sound module to bridge the sound card to
> any additional external components (boards or instruments). I've heard
> mixed opinions on Sound Blaster, and am unfamiliar with other options.

Sound blasters are bad, and have been for a while.
>
> For tv/etc., I'm guessing I'll need s-video capability, though am not
> sure what else.
>
> The game will be running on Windows Vista, everything else will be
> Linux/Unix (specifically Ubuntu Studio, OpenBSD, and a "floating" 3rd
> *nix (partition reserved for different distros/flavors/etc.).
>
I am not a fan of multi-booting but it is your time to waste. Just make
sure you have enough disk space and also make sure that you are very
familiar with GRUB. There is a lot of documentation for GRUB, and it is
well worth getting to know it.

> The short-term goal is to have a computer immediately ready for gaming
> that also includes the basic components for producing music.
>
> The long-term goal is to maintain the gaming component requirements but
> mostly to add to the music producing aspect of the computer. I hope to
> eventually have a true home studio for use with teaching music lessons,
> composing music, and especially recording music.
>
> I am also going for a 64-bit, quad core. I have details available of
> what I've looked at so far but thought I'd introduce this subject and
> ask a question first.
>
> Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations on computer
> components that would work with the above?
>
These days I really only recommend Intel based systems. Get as much RAM
as you can afford, get new fast disks, and don't cheap out on the power
supply. I also have a preference for ASUS boards. For sound cards I
would go with M-Audio. There are some firewire devices that do work
under Linux, but if you want a stable DAW that will just work, stick
with PCI for now.

Hth,
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:57 PM
Dean Crocker
 
Default Building a Computer

>
> Is someone still using displays without HDMI these days? If I go to a
> shop and look around TV-models, I can hardly find
> any model which would not have HDMI. So at least in my vocabuary at
> least, TV output = DVI = HDMI.
On what world do you live? I would suggest to look at what people
actually own and still use, not what we will someday buy when out
current set-up breaks down.

Dean Crocker

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Old 10-13-2008, 08:23 PM
Gustin Johnson
 
Default Building a Computer

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Dean Crocker wrote:
>> Is someone still using displays without HDMI these days? If I go to a
>> shop and look around TV-models, I can hardly find
>> any model which would not have HDMI. So at least in my vocabuary at
>> least, TV output = DVI = HDMI.
> On what world do you live? I would suggest to look at what people
> actually own and still use, not what we will someday buy when out
> current set-up breaks down.
>
Most of the people I know now own some sort of HD TV, usually it is an
LCD with VGA/DVI/HDMI connector. This is all you can buy these days.
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=cVzu
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:39 PM
Steven Davies-Morris
 
Default Building a Computer

Gustin Johnson wrote:
> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1
>
> Dean Crocker wrote:
>>> Is someone still using displays without HDMI these days? If I
>>> go to a shop and look around TV-models, I can hardly find any
>>> model which would not have HDMI. So at least in my vocabuary at
>>> least, TV output = DVI = HDMI.
>> On what world do you live? I would suggest to look at what people
>> actually own and still use, not what we will someday buy when
>> out current set-up breaks down.
>>
> Most of the people I know now own some sort of HD TV, usually it is
> an LCD with VGA/DVI/HDMI connector. This is all you can buy these
> days. -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.6
> (GNU/Linux) Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla -
> http://enigmail.mozdev.org
>
> iD8DBQFI8649wRXgH3rKGfMRArDhAJ4xAKddiMQfIUoB/Cu+8h2wzKeTiwCfT6cG
> x0yjeh8gQ0pPZin2WDPGRlE= =cVzu -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

When my current TVs die (three of them) I'll begin the process of
replacing them with HDTV, but I don't see it being anytime soon.

I plan on trying to build a MythBuntu box for the main family room
soon. If I were forced to replace a working TV earlier than planned,
in order to make a Media Center work properly, that would be it.
--
Cheers, SDM -- a 21st Century Schizoid Man
Systems Theory internet music project: <www.systemstheory.net>
on MySpace: <www.myspace.com/systemstheory>
on Last FM: <www.last.fm/music/Systems+Theory>
get "Codetalkers" *free* at <www.mikedickson.org.uk/codetalkers>
NP: nothing

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Old 10-14-2008, 01:54 AM
Haig Dedeyan
 
Default Building a Computer

Karoliina Salminen wrote:
>> For TV/Movies, you cannot beat the tv output quality from a matrox card,
>> although their output support is s-video/composite.
>>
>
> I would like to have this clarified: You mean obviously with TV-output
> here analog tube-TV?
> Rather than today's flat panels which have HDMI and which get 100% perfect
> output from nVidia?
>

Yes I am referring to analog. As far as HDMI goes, HDMI 1.2 compared to
component is no good. Do an a/b comaprison and you will see.

HDMI1.3 vs component is almost equal.

Haig

> We have nVidia in our home theater PC (which is running Ubuntu) and it
> is connected with HDMI to the HD-video projector.
> Another video source is Playstation 3, which surprise surprise,
> outputs its picture digitally through HDMI.
> The picture is perfect obviously because it is digital and every pixel
> gets displayed as it should (from both the computer and PS3).
>
> Is someone still using displays without HDMI these days? If I go to a
> shop and look around TV-models, I can hardly find
> any model which would not have HDMI. So at least in my vocabuary at
> least, TV output = DVI = HDMI. And Matrox has
> no use for this purpose. Who wants to use component video these days.
> It hurts my eyes if I look picture from my
> old DVD-player with component video.
>
> Best Regards,
> Karoliina
>
>


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Old 10-14-2008, 06:13 AM
"Karoliina Salminen"
 
Default Building a Computer

>
> Yes I am referring to analog. As far as HDMI goes, HDMI 1.2 compared to
> component is no good. Do an a/b comaprison and you will see.

I have done a/b comparison, and anything analog is very bad, the HDMI,
no matter which version, produces pixel by pixel the image that is on
the computer screen.
How do you think analog (which loses data) can be better than digital
with no losses?

>
> HDMI1.3 vs component is almost equal.

Almost? I am sorry, but I do not understand your opinion.

-- Karoliina

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