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Dell XPS 8300 ... PCI-e Firewire Card?
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weezul
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11th June 2011
Old 11th June 2011
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Dell XPS 8300 ... PCI-e Firewire Card?

Hey guys, I'm a sole trader and so money is tight. My current computer (Dell XPS 410) is completely buckling under my mixes. It's a dual core 2.16 core2duo, 3gb ram. Most of the time, Pro Tools just crashes upon opening. I have to open the session and then enable plugins one by one and keep my fingers crossed. And tracking anything on top is a laborious process of boucning the mix and doing it in another session and then importing session data.

However, dell have a interest free deal on at the moment so I think this is realistically my only chance to get a new computer.
Now, I know Dells are not exactly perfect, but my last one has lasted about 6 years through pro tools 7-9 with an MBox Mini (flawless) and M-Audio Profire 2626 (a nightmare most of the time).

If I get hold of a decent PCI-e card w/ TI chipset for the firewire, could this system work?
It will be based on intel P67 board, and i7 processor, 8gb ram and an ATI graphics card. I've just been doing as much research as possible into DPC, and saw some issues people were having with nVidia cards so steered clear for now. Another downside is only 2 hard drive slots as far as I can tell.

Currently I have a system drive with a dual boot for messing on and a pro tools boot (also holds my soft synths) and then the other two are a RAID config, two 500gbs in Raid1 which holds all of my production work and pro tools sessions. I've never had an issue with this (hardware raid level) in pro tools, all my errors have always been due to the ProFire I think (Countless cache errors, too small, too large, -6006 every time you hit space).
Basically my clients have witnessed me break keyboards in half when pro tools keeps throwing errors up at me. Surely upgrading to this system could not make things worse?

Any input outside of "build your own/dells suck" would be welcomed. This is my only option in my current financial situation.
Thanks so much
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6th July 2011
Old 6th July 2011
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I just bought an XPS 8300 desktop and need to get a Firewire card so I can use it with my Alesis Multimix. Anyone got any suggestions for a cheap Firewire card? Thanks.
weezul
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7th July 2011
Old 7th July 2011
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Hey, well my computer arrived last week and I've got it up and running now with Pro Tools 9. IT's lush, it will run my current sessions at 128 buffer and not even skip a beat, whereas before these mixes were crushing my machine.

The firewire card I got has been less than great though. It was just a cheapo one which I thought had a TI chipet, turns out it was NEC and after a few seconds of Pro Tools playback, it seemed to lose connection with the Profire and the profire cue mixer would crash with " "The semaphore timeout period has expired." along with the "Device Not Connected" window. Anyway, after changing to the Legacy driver it seems to be running fine now. Well, I say fine, if i'm using my onboard audio at the same time, the sound from it seems to "fizzle" away acompanied by a pop at both ends from the ProFire 2626. It sounds like almost power being cut from the internal soundcard, so that got me pretty worried. I haven't heard it today though, if it continues I will swap out the card.
I've always had bad experiences with the ProFire in general though, and outside of pro tools, none of these crazy issues occour, not even at 64 buffer.... Something makes me think your Alesis will fare a lot better. I get better performance using ASIO4all and my onboard sound than I get form the ProFire... you know what I mean. That's no good. Probably will swap out the interface soon....
Apart from that, the computer has been okay. It's VERY cramped inside, and I have two RAID drives, and a system drive precariously just sitting in the floppy bay because there's only two hard drive slots. I also had to remove the gfx card to get to the SATA ports, and it only has 4 internal and 1 external, my old XPS 410 had 6 internal which is a bit gutting.

edit: as for the actual card, any PCI-E with a TI chipset will be fine I think. Just make sure its definitely going to be TI!!! Usually you can find out by reading the reviews of things or googling.
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7th July 2011
Old 7th July 2011
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Yes, get one with a T.I. firewire chipset. A good majority (all that I've seen) of the Firewire audio devices use the "Dice II" firewire chipset and the Dice II works best with a T.I. firewire chipset.

I've seen firewire cards mentioned on the Sonar forum, that have T.I., but don't remember which ones.
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