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Old 01-31-2002, 09:35 PM
Allen Hallada Allen Hallada is offline
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Sun Valley, ID
Posts: 6,686
Default Best Desktops for Pro Tools LE

Updated: 2/6/07

The new AMD processors have achieved over 100% better performance than Mac G5 and P4 systems on PTLE. With rock solid stability, they easily push past the 32 track/160 effects limit and currently provide more processing power than the current HD-3 core cards. These are all top quality components proven to work with 001, MBox, MBox2, 002, and 002R. PTLE 7.0 is needed to take advantage of dual core processing features. Thanks to Shane and fellow DUCers for all the research that went into this one. Nothing out there can touch this beast!

The Allenstein "Quadzilla" Machine

CHENMING CMUI-601AECB-U Charcoal Black 1.0mm SECC Server Computer Case 55.99

OCZ PowerStream OCZ520ADJSLI ATX, BTX, EPS12V 520W Power Supply 134.99

Asus K8N DL Server Motherboard 177.99

AMD Dual-Core Opteron 270 Italy 1000MHz HT 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket 940 Processor - Retail 259.00 x 2 = 522.00

CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM ECC Registered DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit System Memory = 297.00

ATI Radeon X1900GT 256Mb DDR 16X Dual Video Card 154.99

Western Digital 80GB 7200RPM 8MB CACHE Hard Drives 58.00 x 2 = 116.00

Lite-On DVD/CDRW Dual Drive 39.00

Total = approx. $1500.00 US

* Alternative motherboard is the Tyan Tiger K8WE (recommended for those adding more audio cards)

* 4 GB of registered ram recommended for this system for optimal performance (4 sticks of 1GB each PC3200 DDR400 ECC) and bios upgrade to 1008.

Western Digital Raptor 10,000 RPM Drives - Highly Recommended

Prices taken from www.newegg.com and www.pricewatch.com

*Onboard firewire on the K8N-DL is compatible with 002, 002r and does not require firewire card.

* For Dual VGA Monitors, purchase one DVI to VGA adapter for this video card.

*For questions on optimizing and setting up this motherboard visit this site http://forums.amdmb.com/showthread.p...postid=2167438 or see Shane's excellent Allenstein Quadzilla thread for more information on setting up Quads for PTLE.

*PTLE 7.0 and above required for full functioning of this system

*Disable RAID in the Bios.

*On duals with anything below 7.0 you have to assign one processor to PT LE. See this post.

*Optimizing Windows XP: http://www.musicxp.net/tuning_tips.php

Alternative Systems

The Original Under $600.00 System (Digi Approved)

Aspire X-Dreamer II case with 420W PSU 54.00

A8V motherboard for 64X2 processors 65.00

Athlon 64 4400+ Dual Core Processor 295.00

Corsair Dual Channel Ram 1GB = 69.00

ATI Radeon 9600 128Mb DDR 8X Dual Video Card 54.00

Western Digital 80GB 7200RPM 8MB CACHE Hard Drives 51.00 x 2 = 102.00

Lite-On DVD/CDRW Dual Drive 39.00

Total = approx. $600.00 US

* You can swap this motherboard with the A8N-SLI with built in firewire for the 002. You will need to swap the video card for the ATI X700 video card from the specs at the top. I recommend the A8V for anyone planning to add more PCI audio cards or for the 001 card.

Best Laptop for PTLE

I highly recommend the MacBook Pro or MacBook laptops with dual core Intel processors. Click on title above to see current discussion of the "Best Laptops for PTLE" with the most current tested and proven list of laptops.

Digi Approved Laptops with Mbox, 002, and 002r
(click on title for most current list tested by Digi)

Resources for Building an Ultra Quiet PC
Building a Quiet Computer
PC Power and Cooling
Quiet PC (Zalman and Nexus PSU and Fans)
Nidec -Highest Quality Replacement Fans on the Market (Used in Macintosh Computers)

Digi Approved Firewire Cards

Upgrading System
For those who want to upgrade the above system, the case can be upgraded to suit your recording needs as well as the video card, hard drives, etc.. Here are some suggestions:

Computer Cases
Acoustic Treated Case from Quiet PC (Highly Recommended!)
Black Rack Mount Case
Koolance Water Cooled Desktop and Rackmount Cases

Dual Video Monitors (not supported by Digi)
The listed card will work for dual video. It comes with one VGA and one DVI output. For dual VGA setups buy the DVI to VGA adapter from www.newegg.com . See Swaphappy's thread on using dual video with PTLE. Use the free innovative WindowPlacer software with this video card for best dual monitor function.

Another great option has been the Matrox G550 card which has allowed users to set up dual flat panel monitor positions in PTLE without any software. Matrox Millenium G550 Dual-DVI

Best Backup and Transport Systems
DVD is the best price/performance winner in this category and shares a universal format with Mac computers making Mac-PC or PC-Mac file transfer a breeze. Another great way to go is utilizing an external firewire hard drive enclosure and putting the WD 8MB cache drive listed above in it. Incredible performance at a great price.
Lite-On DVD/CDRW Combo Drive 113.00
DVD Burner Mall
ADS Pyro 1394 Drive Kit
ADS Dual 1394/USB2.0 Drive Kit - Oxford 911 Chipset
Apple iPod
Oxford 911 Chipset Firewire/USB External Hard Drive Enclosures
Bytecc ME-720U2F USB2.0/1394 HD Enclosure 65.00 (Best Deal on Oxford 911)
Bytecc ME720 1394 3.5" HD Enclosure 45.00 (Best Deal on Oxford 911)

I highly recommend using the Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer (get the USB version with a P/S 2 adapter. Connect to the PS/2 port on the computer. This mouse will make your recording experience so much easier with shortcuts and fast accurate pointing and grabbing.

Any Microsoft PS/2 keyboard will do the trick depending on your size requirements. USB keyboards are best hooked up with PS/2 adapters.

I prefer the LCD flat panel screens , especially when setting up dual monitors. 15-21" works great for dual monitor setups or just get one big 72" plasma screen.

Need A Longer Cable for Digi001?
The Digi001 I/O cable has a rare SCSI-2 connector known as a "micro-centronics 50" (sometimes called a "mini-centronics" or a "HPCN50"). Contact CS Electronics at (949) 475-9100, or www.cselex.com or sales@cselex.com. Thanks to our friend English Jim for the great find.

Installing Win XP
I recommend using Standard PC setting while installing XP for best performance.
How to Install WinXP

Configuring Your Hard Drives
You will need at least one ATA100 7200rpm drive for Digi 001 and two drives for 002 when recording at 96k. On one drive systems both the system and audio files are on the same drive. On two drive systems, one drive is for system (Windows XP and Programs) and the other for audio files.

One Drive System
For the above motherboard put your system drive on the motherboard's primary IDE on its own cable, and CDRW/CD/DVD devices on secondary IDE channel. In bios be sure that CD is at the top of the boot sequence. Install WinXP from CD and format this drive NTFS. Then install PTLE.

Two Drive System (using IDE channels)
On the back of your hard drives, make sure your system drive is set to master(jumper). Set your audio drive to slave(jumper also).
It is best if the hard drives are at the end of their own cable. If this isn't possible on your motherboard then follow this. Hook your system drive to the last connector on the ribbon cable. Hook your audio drive to the middle connector of the same cable.
Start your computer, and go into control panel/administrative tools/computer management/disk management.
You should be able to see your new drive and partition and format it.
If you are relying on just the motherboard for your IDE channels, leave the drives hooked up this way, and put your CD-RW on IDE channel 2.
If you have the Promise ATA100 TX2 or ATA133 TX2 Controller card or Promise channels on your motherboard, put your audio drive(s) on it after they have been formatted, and your system drive on IDE1, CDRW/DVD drives on IDE2 of motherboard.

*DVD, CDRW drives should go on the secondary IDE of the motherboard and never share cable with your hard drives.

Configuring Your IRQs
Start with putting your 001 card in slot 3 of the above motherboard. Go into Programs/Accessories/System Tools/System Info/Hardware/IRQ and print your settings out or copy and paste them to the DUC for having others help you configure your IRQs. Digi should be on its own IRQ with the exception of ACPI if you are using that feature. For removing the devices listed, you will go into your bios at startup of the computer and remove anything you are not using including USB, com and parallel ports, firewire etc.. You may need to remove the drivers in Device Manager also. Here is a great explanation of what to remove.

Davec Performance Test Test your new system and compare to performances of other systems.

Who The Heck Is Going To Build It for Me?
Many people build their own systems. If you are uncomfortable with building your own system here are some suggestions:

Professional Local Computer Builder
Print out this list and take it to a professional computer builder. They should provide tech. support and give you at least a one year warranty (in writing) on the system.

Fastest Computers On The Block

Do It Yourself
For those wanting to build their own system here are step by step directions for building your own computer. Remember to ask questions on the DUC if you run into any problems.
Building Your own Super DAW

Transfering Sessions from PC to Mac and Back
Before starting any session, be sure to select PC/Mac compatibility option. Transfering sessions from Mac2PC or PC2Mac using a DVD is a breeze because it uses a universal standard language across all platforms. Here are some tips if you are using other methods.

PC Exchange for Mac OS
Windows to Mac Fixes
Mac to Windows Fixes
Mac Opener for PC
CD Everywhere for CD Compatibility
MacDrive for PC

Best RTAS Plugins for PTLE
Waves Platinum and Gold
Most Comprehensive Up To Date List of All Plugins Available for Windows XP

Best Mastering and CD Burning Software
Music Match Jukebox -Wav to MP3 Converter and Burner (FREE download)
Nero CD Burning Software
Steinberg Wavelab Full Mastering Suite
Roxio CD Burning Products (Already included in WinXP)

Upgrading Sound System
One of the most common questions on the DUC is about adding external preamps and AD/DA converters. This section is for clearing up any confusion about adding external preamps and converters. The Digi 001 pres/converters are good for the money and home recording hobbyist, but to get to a pro level sound I suggest you upgrade them both. This will also add to the number of I/O you can use up to 18. You can bypass the Digi converter by using an external AD/DA converter via SPDIF or ADAT lightpipe. So your prechain would look like this:
Mic>Preamp>Converter>SPDIF or ADAT Lightpipe>Digi 001 or 002 I/O box>PTLE
Some preamps also come with converters built in.

Best Preamps for Under 1K
Summit Audio 2-BA 221
FMR Really Nice Preamp
Great River ME-1NV
Grace 101
Digimax LT 8 Channel Preamp

Best Preamps over 1K
Great River MP-2NV
API 3124+
John Hardy M-1
Brent Averill 1272
Phoenix Audio DRS-2
Vintech Audio 473

Best Converters for under 1K
Lucid 9624

Best Converters over 1K
Cranesong HEDD 192
Benchmark AD 2402-96
RME ADI-96 Pro
Swissonic AD8

Multi-Channel Pre-Amp/AD/DA Combo(for Gear Addicts only)
Cranesong Spider
Manley Slam
Focusrite ISA 428 Pre Pack
Apogee Mini-Me
Digimax 96 8 Channel

Here are some preamp listening tests with various sources and mics:

Recording Tips and Tricks
Acoustic Guitar Miking Secrets

Have fun and enjoy the process!
Hope that helps out the newbies here and those looking to upgrade. Now get making music and post your songs here and get famous!

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Old 02-07-2002, 11:10 PM
Phil O'Keefe Phil O'Keefe is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Riverside CA USA
Posts: 2,825
Default Re: Best System for PTLE for under $1000.00

Sounds like a killer system, and I'm considering this as a replacement for my Compaq 5005SR (PIII 933 MHz, 512 MB RAM, dual HDD - 5,200 Maxtor C drive, 7200 rpm WD D drive for audio only)

BUT! I have only one question: I use a Tascam US-428 USB fader box as a controller with my system, and they are known to have problems with VIA chipset MOBO's... what type of chipsets are in the boards you are recommending? I can get around the problem with the addition of a PCI / USB card 9instead of using the VIA's mobo USB stuff) but I don't want any conflicts for PTLE / Digi 001 to develop out of that.

Any thoughts / suggestions? THANKS!
Phil O'Keefe
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Old 02-08-2002, 07:30 AM
Allen Hallada Allen Hallada is offline
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Sun Valley, ID
Posts: 6,686
Default Re: Best System for PTLE for under $1000.00

Hey Phil,
I'm not aware of any USB problems so far with the AMD761 chipset motherboards. It uses the AMD 760 northbridge and a VIA southbridge. Everything I've plugged into my USB is working great in my A7M266 motherboard.
Allen [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 02-11-2002, 09:13 PM
stut5 stut5 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Fredericksburg,Va 22407
Posts: 479
Default Re: Best System for PTLE for under $1000.00

I have a p3 1 ghz that I have recorded 24 tracks with multiple plugins on each track(dverbs comp,eq) and the master track without a hitch.You must have a ton of stock in AMD the way you wave there banner.

PIII rocks STU
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Old 02-11-2002, 11:03 PM
who who is offline
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: joesville, Montana, USA
Posts: 751
Default Re: Best System for PTLE for under $1000.00

Thanks for all of your help Allen and others like Yavuz, Da Basstard, etc.
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Old 02-13-2002, 12:13 AM
mjames08 mjames08 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 806
Default Re: Best System for PTLE for under $1000.00

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:<HR>Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe:
BUT! I have only one question: I use a Tascam US-428 USB fader box as a controller with my system, and they are known to have problems with VIA chipset MOBO's... <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Do you use the tascam controller with PTLE???
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Old 08-27-2003, 12:22 PM
butter_lover butter_lover is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 112
Default Re: Best System for PTLE for under $1000.00

Posted in another thread but hoping to get recongnized here.

Allen, I orded a A7V333-X w/ a XP2500+ CPU and PC2700 DDR memory (512) based on this thread and other recommendations here on the duc. What kind of performance can I expect to get (davec) without overclocking (pt6.1 002r) the CPU? Just ballpark - not holding you to anything here....I'm a little paranoid about overclocking, so if it is satifactory I'd like to leave it in the 'stock' configuration if it is livable...
Digi 002r User
Modified "Original"
Asus A7V8x-x, XP2500+ Barton, 1GB DDR333,
120GB x2 HDDs, ATI Radeon 9000
DaveC = 32 + 6 aux
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Old 08-24-2006, 11:04 AM
Tom Harmon Tom Harmon is offline
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Long Beach, CA, USA
Posts: 112
Default Re: Best System for PTLE for under $1000.00

HI Allen: I thought I'd try a Q. directly to you since you've been so helpful in the past...

In 2004, I had a local computer guru build me a computer with the components listed in the DUC. Recently, my computer had problems starting. So I called someone else (the original builder is out with health problems). We concluded a new power supply was what was needed and he installed it. Later that day, I turned the radio/receiver on and the AM reception was very full of static. After much testing, I concluded that the static only was present if my printer was plugged in with the USB cable and also if the 001 was plugged in.

I think this new problem resulted from putting in a power supply that was not properly "shielded/insullated"... What do you think of my theory? If I buy one of the power supply's listed in the current "Best Computer" on the DUC, do you think the static will disappear, like before? Thanks.. Tom
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Old 08-29-2006, 08:45 AM
Bergomi Bergomi is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2
Default Will this system be OK?

Hi Allen & everybody else!

I have put together components for a new system to work with PT LE & Mbox2/Digi 002.
Now I'd like to be sure this choice will be alright before I finally purchase.
OK, I thought of the following setup:

CPU AMD X2 4400 (socket 939) @ Scythe Ninja + (included fan)
MOBO Asus A8N-SLI or maybe the A8N32-SLI (just because of the better heatpipes)
The A8V has fans on it, therefore I'd like to use a stable alternative
for example MDT DIMM Kit 2048MB PC3200 DDR CL2.5 (PC400) 184pin
PSU Seasonic S12-430 430W ATX 2.0
GRAPHICS Matrox G550 PCIe, 2X DVI, passive, 32MB
FANS 2x 120mm Aerocool Turbine or 120mm Yate Loon D12SL for case and power supply
HARD DRIVES Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 250GB 16MB SATA II
OR the corresponding 7200.10 model
OR Western Digital Caviar (as stated on the first page of this thread)

See, I'm still unsure about the right mainboard regarding its onboard firewire compatibility with the Digi 002 and which hard drive would be the best solution for optimal performance with minimal noise emission. Otherwise I suppose everything else should work fine, will it?

Can anybody help me out with this, maybe someone with a similar configuration?
I would be pleased to receive some feedback ASAP.

Thank you very much in advance for your effort, this is indeed a great forum!

Greetz, CB
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Old 08-29-2006, 09:55 PM
Doogz Doogz is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 109
Default Re: Will this system be OK?

Hi all

Nearly time for the big upgrade, and I'm thinking of:

Intel E6700 Core2Duo
ASUS P5B Deluxe MoBo (Intel P965 chipset) or P5N32 SLI Deluxe (Nforce 4 SLI chipset)
2GB Corsair 6400C4 Pro RAM

Approx AU$1350-$1450

And then there is always the good old AMD fall-back:

AMD 64 5000x2
ASUS M32N SLI Deluxe
2GB Corsair 6400C4 Pro RAM

Approx $1100

Now - the AMD is tried and trusted - then new Intel is the future (or so it would seem!). It looks like I'd pay about 20% more, but get 30%+ or more performance from a cooler running, quieter, cheaper to run machine. Bigger cache, better for CPU intensive stuff? The big question is- WILL IT WORK? Anyone tried this? Keen to hear your thoughts!


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