[Herts] Using server components in a desktop for audio usage

Malcolm Smith lists at thesmith.org.uk
Sun Apr 25 11:20:23 UTC 2010

On Sun, Apr 25, 2010 at 09:39:04AM +0100, David Honour wrote:
> I want to build a machine for music production, which means:
> - -ram for tmpfs for the active project
> - -good cpu (my current one doesn't cut it anymore)
> - -passive cooling

You'll obviously need a small SSD for (most of*) the OS, with the
rest on another (or 2.5" HDD) along with current audio projects.

*At some point I'll finish my long-overdue Optimising SSDs report,
but until then, Anandtech is hard to keep up with:

SSD cutting edge

Then have a 500GB 2.5" HDD for archived projects.
Good modern laptop drives are silent - I use Samsung. Or...

Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS 500GB 7200rpm 14-15dBA at 1m
[Nice specs comparison table on page 6]

Scythe Quiet Drive 2.5"
  "in the SQD2.5, they improved to 11 dBA at 1m at idle and
   12 dBA at 1m during seek. This is about as good as it gets"

I also have (naked!) 1TB 3.5" Samsung drives (still very quiet) sat
outside my case for backups so I can unplug+rotate drives when not
in use (I don't hotswap though) using this (faster and cheaper than
an external enclosure!) :


> I was thinking maybe an opteron based system but it seems to be quite
> hard to get hold of motherboards for them though.
> My previous one which I still use is now 5 so I am expecting it to be
> in use for a reasonably long time.

Yes, I've been planning to build a music comp since 2001, but it
hasn't happened yet, due to being unable to find a suitable
motherboard any time I've actually had enough money to build it.
I was hoping for CoreBoot support, but I guess that's too much of a
dream. Meanwhile I trudge on with a Pentium IV...!

Check this:

> Is this a good idea or would I be better with a normal desktop?

Maybe. It works for Google. I'm not sure how cheap 8GB or 16GB of RAM
is these days, nor whether you can get it for commodity hardware
(and run stable).

I'm out of touch with recent developments. Lurk and post here for
better-informed advice:


Mobo forum

Hardware forums

Mobo suggestions

Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 ultimate 512MB GDDR3 is mentioned on this thread:
3D card with open source drivers

Obviously avoid NVidia closed-driver-dependency if you want freedom
to run any kernel (essential for serious audio use, although IIUC the
stock kernel since 2.6.31 onwards is apparently cool for Low Latency
work without extra patches and hackery :)


Anyway, it's good to hear from you - keep us posted if you create a
silent stealth monster!

Good luck
http://www.thesmith.org.uk/     Personal site of unfathomable depths
http://www.secretbass.org.uk/   Drum circle in deepest Hertfordshire
http://www.drummingisfun.co.uk/ African drumming workshops+performances

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