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Considering PC for Pro Tools HD rig
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anteupaudio
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#1
3rd November 2008
Old 3rd November 2008
  #1
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Considering PC for Pro Tools HD rig

Hi,

I need a little advice from some people who have experience running PT HD on a PC.

I currently have three Pro Tools HD 3 Accel rigs all running on macs. Two of the rigs are running on Mac Pro dual quad machines. 2.8ghz. These run great! They never bog down and there's plenty of power to run tons of tracks, plugins, virtual instruments etc.

My third rig is also an HD 3 Accel rig but it's running on a Mac G5. This system is a drag to work on compared to the other two. Almost impossible to do anything with virtual instruments. I'm going to be taking the third rig home so I can get some work done at the house. I can't deal with the G5 system because I want to be able to bring sessions home and have them come up exactly as they are on the more powerful systems. I also plan on doing a lot of stuff with virtual instruments at the house (like big string arrangements for example that require a lot of processing power).

The system running on the G5 (that I want to upgrade) is a PCI system (not PCIe like my other two systems).

Here's my question. What's the best and most cost effective way for me to put a PC together that will accept 3 PCI cards, be compatible with PT HD, and give me the same kind of processing power I'm getting out of the Mac Pro systems I have now? I'd just buy another Mac Pro but that would also require me to upgrade my PCI cards to PCIe (which is about $3,000.00!!) and then buy a $2,500.00 + Mac Pro. I'm trying to make this work for less... Especially since it's really for a home system.

Ideally, it would be great if I could buy or build a comparable PC in the $1,000.00 - $1,500.00 range. Is this at all realistic?

Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!


Thanks!
#2
3rd November 2008
Old 3rd November 2008
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samsonic is offline
3 PCI lots

Hello,

You should hurry-up because in theses days you won't find many motherboards with 3 PCI slots. One of my friends has the same PCI slots problem and has just bought an Intel motherboard ; hard to find but very good quality.
#3
3rd November 2008
Old 3rd November 2008
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the cheapest deal of an 8-core is: a mac. sad but true.
#4
3rd November 2008
Old 3rd November 2008
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are there PCI chassis' that fit into PCIe boards - of so, get one of those.
#5
3rd November 2008
Old 3rd November 2008
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I have a dual quad Dell T7400 running HD3 Accel very well. It's about as close to a Mac Pro as you can get in a PC (same chipset) but it also has three PCI-X slots in a row. It has 3 PCIe slots too, but not in a row.

Dell Precision T7400 Workstation

It's not supported by Digidesign if that's an issue to you.

If you want to build your own for less there's a single quad build that user "sunburst79" at the DUC put together that he swears by which should be possible within the budget you specified. Not sure if it's tested with any more than HD2 though.

Here's a thread on that build:

Best Core 2 Series Desktops-Results and Specs - Digi User Conference
#6
3rd November 2008
Old 3rd November 2008
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I just built a PC to replace my mac, and so far, it's been pretty successful. I went with a Quad core, and it seems powerful enough to me. The key commands are a little odd, but I'll adjust eventually.

Adam
#7
3rd November 2008
Old 3rd November 2008
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I run PCI HD3 on a Dell Precision690.

KILLER rig.

I got the dell for around a grand and its is a quad... however, if I ever want too I can slap dual quads in it and make it an eight core.. as it stands now I can run whatever I want to run and not even max out 2 chips.

Oh one more thing, I bought it refurb. refurb Dell BUSINESS machines are GREAT because they have the same 4 year onsite warranty as a new one... some really really great deals on the outlet. My Dell is basically the same innards as the original MacPro... I think they have newer Precisions now at the outlet.

my 2 cents...

-s0nguy
#8
3rd November 2008
Old 3rd November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s0nguy View Post
I run PCI HD3 on a Dell Precision690.

KILLER rig.

I got the dell for around a grand and its is a quad... however, if I ever want too I can slap dual quads in it and make it an eight core.. as it stands now I can run whatever I want to run and not even max out 2 chips.

Oh one more thing, I bought it refurb. refurb Dell BUSINESS machines are GREAT because they have the same 4 year onsite warranty as a new one... some really really great deals on the outlet. My Dell is basically the same innards as the original MacPro... I think they have newer Precisions now at the outlet.

my 2 cents...

-s0nguy
I am running an HD2 on the same Precision690... I bought a scratched item... works great, awesome warranty. I never had any issues with ProTools... installed the cards, the software, and it still hasn't crashed since i bought it about 2 or 3 years ago.

Mark
#9
3rd November 2008
Old 3rd November 2008
  #9
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I just upgraded my PT HD4 system with Quad-core and Gigabyte board.
Works perfectly!


Regards,
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#10
4th November 2008
Old 4th November 2008
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PT Hd3 Q 9550 with ASUS P5K, all good here....
anteupaudio
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4th November 2008
Old 4th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark.james View Post
I am running an HD2 on the same Precision690... I bought a scratched item... works great, awesome warranty. I never had any issues with ProTools... installed the cards, the software, and it still hasn't crashed since i bought it about 2 or 3 years ago.

Mark
Thanks for the info! Just to confirm... These Precision690's are PCI and NOT PCIe correct?? Because the cards I have are the older PCI cards.. Just want to make sure...


Thanks again!
#12
4th November 2008
Old 4th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anteupaudio View Post
Thanks for the info! Just to confirm... These Precision690's are PCI and NOT PCIe correct?? Because the cards I have are the older PCI cards.. Just want to make sure...


Thanks again!
they are indeed PCI not PCIe

-s0nguy
#13
4th November 2008
Old 4th November 2008
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Keep in mind that just about any new branded PC you buy will have Vista installed on it. I hope you have an XP disk laying around.
#14
4th November 2008
Old 4th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anteupaudio View Post
Thanks for the info! Just to confirm... These Precision690's are PCI and NOT PCIe correct?? Because the cards I have are the older PCI cards.. Just want to make sure...


Thanks again!
Correct

Mark
#15
4th November 2008
Old 4th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s0nguy View Post
they are indeed PCI not PCIe
-s0nguy
And also since the cards have a ribbon cable attaching them at the top, the PCI cards need to be side by side. The Gigabyte boards were the only ones that I found with 3 or MORE PCI slots side by side. Most have a PCI-e slot between them. The ASUS board is fine for HD2.. because there are 2 side by side PCI slots... the other PCI slot is further away!


Regards,
#16
6th November 2008
Old 6th November 2008
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Question regarding PCIe to PCIx adapters. Will they work? How much are they? What's the catch??
#17
6th November 2008
Old 6th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSD_Mastering View Post
And also since the cards have a ribbon cable attaching them at the top, the PCI cards need to be side by side. The Gigabyte boards were the only ones that I found with 3 or MORE PCI slots side by side. Most have a PCI-e slot between them. The ASUS board is fine for HD2.. because there are 2 side by side PCI slots... the other PCI slot is further away!


Regards,
they are side by side in the dell. HD3 PCI running here

-s0nguy
#18
27th November 2008
Old 27th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
PT Hd3 Q 9550 with ASUS P5K, all good here....
How do you fit 3 HD cards on this motherboard? Like others have mentioned, the slots aren't side by side, and it also looks like the cards wouldn't be able to fit in without hitting components behind the slots.

I currently have a Foxconn p9657ab, and I'm having a few issues with my HD2. The cards fit, but I"m wondering if my issues are mobo related.

Adam
#19
29th November 2008
Old 29th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebeatless View Post
How do you fit 3 HD cards on this motherboard? Like others have mentioned, the slots aren't side by side, and it also looks like the cards wouldn't be able to fit in without hitting components behind the slots.

I currently have a Foxconn p9657ab, and I'm having a few issues with my HD2. The cards fit, but I"m wondering if my issues are mobo related.

Adam
woops, I meant hd2. no trouble fitting cards.
#20
30th November 2008
Old 30th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSD_Mastering View Post
I just upgraded my PT HD4 system with Quad-core and Gigabyte board.
Works perfectly!


Regards,
Hi Bruce, are you running all 4 cards inside a single case - no expansion chasis? Does it get hot?

Is anyone else running HD on PC with more than 3 cards inside?

Thanks.
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#21
5th December 2008
Old 5th December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragan View Post
Hi Bruce, are you running all 4 cards inside a single case - no expansion chasis? Does it get hot?
Thanks.
Yes, I have all 4 cards in the same chasis with a firewire card in the 5th slot.
I have both front and rear fans going and it's loud as hell, but all the computers are in the machine room. We use CAT5e extenders for KVM.

Regards,
#22
5th December 2008
Old 5th December 2008
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$1,000 will get you there - PM me for exact build specs.
#23
5th December 2008
Old 5th December 2008
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I just ordered a HP 8600 workstation. It a refurb from HP. They have some very good deals on the refurbs. Tested and full warranty.

Ouad 2.5 (plus you can add a second CPU)
4 Gb ram (holds up to 32 Gb)
500 Gb Sata (7 bays)
NaVida dual graphics card
PCIe slots
Windows XP pro
3 year warranty

$1,800.00 +/-

Approved system for Digidesign support issues.
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