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  #1  
Old 08-22-2009, 09:49 AM
mgph mgph is offline
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Default Help me build a Digidesign approved system for Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel

Hi all,

I'm so glad to know that this is the best and right place to ask everything related to building the system specs.
Here is my situation.

My friend asked me to order these three things:
1. PRE mic
2. Command | 8
3. Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel
And after he received them, he realized his old pc is struggling to handle and impossible to get the best outcome. So, he asked me again to find and buy the best specs to build his own sound system. Also, he want it been approved as it has to be sent back to my home country (which is quite far and tiny spot if you search on Google map and where re-orders/services are so hard to get once it gets there).

For budget, no limits. He wants all the best things out there with maximum performance and quality. All the things like CPU, MB, etc... should be latest and more important, been tested and certified by Digidesign (or professionals).

In fact, I have already discussed with a guy from my local shop(perhaps retailer) who is supposed to be a Sales Engineer and he suggested me the following specs from Dell:
Genuine Windows Vista(R) Ultimate 64 bit SP1 Edition (English)
Dual Intel(R) Xeon(R) E5520 2.26GHz/8MB L2 Cache/5.86GT/s
Dell (TM) UltraSharp U2410 Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor
12GB (6x2GB) DDR3 RDIMM Memory, 1333MHz, ECC
500GB SATA (7200RPM) Hard Disk Drive
1TB SATA (7200RPM) ADD Hard Disk Drive
All SATA drives, Non-RAID, 1 drive total configuration
16X SATA DVD-ROM Drive
Resource DVD for Precision
512MB PCIe x16 nVidia Quadro FX580, DisplayPort,DVI Capable
Broadcom (R) 10/100/1000 Ethernet Networking LAN solution

He didn't reveal which motherboard would be and even without sound cards, it costs around 4.9-5k US$. At a first glance I was amazed because even my DIY gaming rig was only 2.5k for complete-set. For this amount without sound cards, I wonder why (no suspect on him really, just wanna know) and want to discuss with you guys, gurus right?!

In short, please help me suggest the best system specs for Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel (together with price if possible so that I can inform my friend back) ?

Thanks in advance

ps. I forgot to add that he will run on Windows OS as it's the only OS he's familiar with. thanks
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  #2  
Old 08-22-2009, 11:05 AM
pezking pezking is offline
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Default Re: Help me build a Digidesign approved system for Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel

If you want a desktop which is fully qualified by Digidesign you have the following options:

With XP or Vista:
HP xw4600
HP xw8600
Dell Precision 690

Or with XP (not Vista):
Dell Precision T7400
Dell Precision T5400

Or of course the Mac Pro.
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  #3  
Old 08-22-2009, 02:26 PM
mgph mgph is offline
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Default Re: Help me build a Digidesign approved system for Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel

Hi pezking, thanks for your advice. I will definitely check out these systems soon and by the way if you don't mind, where can I check whether it's approved by Digidesign ? Are there any kinds of links or articles to know more systems to compare myself?

Thanks
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  #4  
Old 08-22-2009, 03:48 PM
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Eric Seaberg Eric Seaberg is offline
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Default Re: Help me build a Digidesign approved system for Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel

You can try this: http://www.digidesign.com/index.cfm?...4&itemid=22905

or this: http://www.digidesign.com/index.cfm?...4&itemid=22904

or this: http://www.digidesign.com/index.cfm?navid=54

Lots of links on any of those pages to find what you're looking for.
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  #5  
Old 08-22-2009, 07:09 PM
mgph mgph is offline
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Default Re: Help me build a Digidesign approved system for Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel

Thanks for the links and yes, these gave very valuable information for us.
After I searched through these links, I just got couples of questions.

Are these following models qualified also ?
Dell Precision T7500
Dell Precision T5500
As I cannot find its older models (T7400 & T5400) and so, I have narrowed down my choice to these two models (HP, xw8600 is too much expensive IMO).

Are all compatible with Pro Tools | HD 3 Accel ?
As I've been told that motherboard must have at least 3 x8 PCIe slots for the sound cards to be put onto it.

For graphics card, this system would be solely used for audio related stuff and so, do you think we don't need powerful high-end graphics card ? I think just a normal entry-level PCIe card can fill our need, right ?


Thanks again and please, give me your opinion as well as suggestions for us to make the final decision and start online ordering now !
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  #6  
Old 08-22-2009, 10:47 PM
Dr.Rubcrumpus Dr.Rubcrumpus is offline
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Default Re: Help me build a Digidesign approved system for Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel

Are the Accel Cards PCI or PCIe?
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  #7  
Old 08-22-2009, 11:29 PM
mgph mgph is offline
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Default Re: Help me build a Digidesign approved system for Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Rubcrumpus View Post
Are the Accel Cards PCI or PCIe?
PCIe cards. Pro Tools | HD 3 Accel = 3 x8 sized cards

thanks
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  #8  
Old 08-23-2009, 07:45 AM
Dr.Rubcrumpus Dr.Rubcrumpus is offline
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Default Re: Help me build a Digidesign approved system for Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel

Quote:
Are these following models qualified also ?
Dell Precision T7500
Dell Precision T5500
As I cannot find its older models (T7400 & T5400) and so, I have narrowed down my choice to these two models (HP, xw8600 is too much expensive IMO).
I wouldn't recommend the T5500, or T7500 because neither is qualified by Digi and I couldn't find any posts on the DUC of someone using either of these. If anyone is using one of them it would be nice of them to chime in here.

Quote:
For graphics card, this system would be solely used for audio related stuff and so, do you think we don't need powerful high-end graphics card ? I think just a normal entry-level PCIe card can fill our need, right ?
You are absolutely correct. I would recommend an ATI Radeon with 512MB ram or less. That said, I don't know of any issues with the workstation class graphics cards and Pro Tools.

Quote:
PCIe cards. Pro Tools | HD 3 Accel = 3 x8 sized cards
Actually, PCIe Accel cards are x1 physical slot size and x1 electrical size. Here's nikki-k's post for more info. So you want a motherboard with at least 4 PCIe slots of any physical size, as long as one of them works with your graphics card. Then, you have to determine if they are electrically compatible.

^^^^^^I thought I had posted these responses last night. ooooppppsssess!!^^^^^^

Some more links for you to check out.
Minimum Computer Specification Guidelines
- Dell Precision Workstation 690

Pro Tools HD 7.4 Win XP Support
- Dell Precision Workstation 690
- Terra Digital Audio

Pro Tools HD 8.0 Win XP Support
- HP xw4600 Workstation
- Dell Precision Workstation 690

Pro Tools HD 8.0 Win Vista Support
- Dell Precision Workstation 690

So, as far as qualified PCs go you're looking at these currently available systems:

- Dell Precision Workstation 690
Slots
3 PCI-e x8 slot wired as x4
1 PCI-e x16 graphics slot
2 PCI-e x16 slots with optional graphics card riser on 690 1KW chassis
(NOTE: Graphics riser option covers up 2 PCI-e x8 slot wired as x4 and 1 PCI 32bit/33Mhz slot. Remaining slots are 2 PCI-X 64bit/100MHz and 1 PCI-e x8 slot wired as x4. Option must be ordered at system purchase.)
2 PCI-X 64bit/100MHz slots with support for 3.3v or universal cards
1 PCI 32bit/33Mhz slot
this should work fine with HD 3 Accel PCIe

- HP xw4600 Workstation
1 (x1)
1 (x4)
2 (x16)
3 (PCI)
this may work without an expansion chassis

- Terra Digital Audio
1x (x16)
1 (x4 in x16) PCI-Express
2x 64-bit 133/100 MHz PCI-X
1x 64-bit 100 MHz PCI-X
1x 32-bit PCI 33MHz
expansion chassis needed for HD 3 PCIe

Okay now that I've laid out all this wonderful information for you, it's time for me to blow your mind.

Your friend should get a Mac Pro. It's the only one that meets your original criteria.

Quote:
For budget, no limits. He wants all the best things out there with maximum performance and quality.
Then you said you felt the HP xw8600 was too expensive. I'll assume you meant it wasn't worth the asking price.

I would recommend the quad core Mac Pro with the 2.66GHz processor and upgrade it to 8GB of ram for $2,750. Everything else should be fine unless he needs more/different graphics cards for multiple monitors. Add to that a couple Western Digital Caviar Black hard drives at about $70 a piece for audio and sample libraries and you're good to go.

Quote:
All the things like CPU, MB, etc... should be latest and more important, been tested and certified by Digidesign (or professionals).
The Mac Pros are the only computers that are digidesign qualified for Pro Tools with latest Nehalem CPUs. These processors are ridiculous an they actually outperform Pro Tools | HD 7 rigs in the dverb test.

A side note, I think most people who are using the digi qualified PC's are only doing so because they wanted to upgrade from their G4/G5 Macs, but didn't want to do the PCI to PCIe crossgrade.

Another side note, the Power Mac G4 had External Testing — Limited Qualification with Pro Tools 8 HD. These computers are 10 years old and still run the current version of Pro Tools HD. How many of those PC's do you think will have a 10+ year lifespan?

Quote:
Also, he want it been approved as it has to be sent back to my home country (which is quite far and tiny spot if you search on Google map and where re-orders/services are so hard to get once it gets there).
I'll add a few points to my previous response to address this.

Apple has very good build quality, customer satisfaction, and tech support, and , I may be wrong about this, but I believe Consumer Reports has scored them the highest in almost every category for computers for quite a while now. Add to that the fact that there are many, many more people here on the DUC running HD on Macs than PCs thus decreasing your chances of encountering a problem that hasn't already been resolved or, if it hasn't been resolved, increasing your chance of getting assistance more quickly.

Quote:
I forgot to add that he will run on Windows OS as it's the only OS he's familiar with.
Intel based Macs have no problem running windows. However, considering OS X's coding is more efficient than Windows, Pro Tools performs better on OS X than Windows, and OS X's ability to utilizes more ram than windows, I don't see why you would want to run windows, at least not for Pro Tools.

If I haven't convinced you to go Mac, or should I say convinced you to convince your friend, then I at least hope I have given you some information that will help you choose the best PC for your friend.

WOW!!! all that and I didn't go into the whole upgrading to Pro Tools LE and Core i7.

p.s. I would like to thank Google, the search digidesign feature on digidesign.com, and the search thread and search post feature here on the DUC for their valuable assistance in the production of this post.
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  #9  
Old 08-23-2009, 06:10 PM
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M-ManLA M-ManLA is offline
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Default Re: Help me build a Digidesign approved system for Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel

I would throw in there that Avid likes nvidia GPUs better. Make sure you get a compatible GPU also to avoid any headaches.
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  #10  
Old 08-24-2009, 10:44 PM
mgph mgph is offline
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Default Re: Help me build a Digidesign approved system for Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel

Woah, what a fantastic reply and valuable information !

Thanks alot guys, actually I'm also convincing him to buy a Mac Pro too ! As I'm already using Macbook Pro and know how it's convenient and attractive (at least for newbies like us)

Thanks a lot guys ! Really Appreciate your words !
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