[PlanetCCRMA] Hardware recommendations (or warnings)

Rohan rohan@bowtie.com.au
Thu May 11 09:35:01 2006

I am currently spec'ing and building a machine to be used as an
audio workstation, budget is not unlimited, but I would prefer to
spend extra on the parts to save on software/installation
headaches later on.

The most probable soundcard is going to be M-Audio 2496.
I am tempted to go with SATA harddrive(s), although cost may
be an issue compared with the marginal gain in performance.

The following are possibilities,  I'm interested in anyone elses
experiences and thoughts.

Intel Chip (P4 or P4/Duo) on Intel based chipset:

Pros: o Intel chipsets have been very solid in the past.
      o Intel integrated video well supported under Linux, and
        should provide all the required functionality
      o 'Native' 32bit mode, so will be getting the most out of the
         chip without having to worry about ia_64 support in CCRMA.

Cons: o Intel based PC motherboards aren't always easy for me to source.
      o Intel based motherboards are sometimes more pricy.

Intel Chip on nFORCE 4 chipset

Pros: o Good reptuation for speed.
      o Good availability

Cons: o nVidia binary drivers (for things like SATA), are there any issues
        with the RT kernel/CCRMA ?
      o nv (very basic) vs nVidia binary (issues with RT kernel ?)  video
        drivers (if using onboard video), otherwise extra cost for additional
        video card.

AMD Athlon64 on nFORCE 4 chipset

Pros: o Price/Performance.
      o Good availability

Cons: o As above wrt driver support.
      o Concerns about not 'getting the most' out of an athlon64 running
        in 32 bit mode.

AMD Athlon64 on VIA

Pros: o (probably) best Price/Performance.
      o Good availability
      o Well supported

Cons: o Potentially more stability and performance issues than nForce or
      o Potentially poorly supported onboard video.