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The "today we build our studio pc" thread Audio Interfaces
Old 1 week ago
  #7651
Gear Nut
 

***Heads Up Gigabyte Z390 Designare MOBO owners***
I have succeeded in getting my RME UFX plus to connect via Thunderbolt with my computer with the Gigabyte Designare mother board
In my post #7463 of this thread I mentioned that when I plugged in my UFX plus - that the Thunderbolt "host light" was white in color - indicating that Thunderbolt was apparently available but not connected by the Intel Thunderbolt software because the Intel Thunderbolt software GUI would not open so that the connection process could be completed. I experimented with unplugging the UFX plus thunderbolt connection and the Intel Thunderbolt GUI would then open. Next I plugged in the UFX plus via USB 3 and the Intel Thunderbolt GUI would open then also.
So today I performed my experiment another way. I unplugged the UFX plus and then opened the Intel Thunderbolt GUI - I then connected the UFX plus via Thunderbolt with the Intel Thunderbolt GUI already open. ( I'm not sure if this is safe because I'm not sure if Thunderbolt devices are hot swap-able. ) But this process worked! The Intel GUI showed the RME UFX plus availabe on the port I had plugged it into.
It took some "clicking" but I succeeded in getting it to connect. Then it took a couple of restarts of the computer to get the icon for the "RME Thunderbolt Settings" to appear in the right hand side of the task bar so the I could configure my choices.
But right now I have the RME UFX plus connected via Thunderbolt to a Gigabyte Designare MOBO computer and I am using PreSonus Studio One with RME Thunderbolt.
It just took tricking the Intel Thunderbolt Software...

Last edited by RuffRider; 1 week ago at 01:41 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #7652
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RuffRider View Post
***Heads Up Gigabyte Z390 Designare MOBO owners***
I have succeeded in getting my RME UFX plus to connect via Thunderbolt with my computer with the Gigabyte Designare mother board
In my post #7463 of this thread I mentioned that when I plugged in my UFX plus - that the Thunderbolt "host light" was white in color - indicating that Thunderbolt was apparently available but not connected by the Intel Thunderbolt software because the Intel Thunderbolt software GUI would not open so that the connection process could be completed. I experimented with unplugging the UFX plus thunderbolt connection and the Intel Thunderbolt GUI would then open. Next I plugged in the UFX plus via USB 3 and the Intel Thunderbolt GUI would open then also.
So today I performed my experiment another way. I unplugged the UFX plus and then opened the Intel Thunderbolt GUI - I then connected the UFX plus via Thunderbolt with the Intel Thunderbolt GUI already open. ( I'm not sure if this is safe because I'm not sure if Thunderbolt devices are hot swap-able. ) But this process worked! The Intel GUI showed the RME UFX plus availabe on the port I had plugged it into.
It took some "clicking" but I succeeded in getting it to connect. Then it took a couple of restarts of the computer to get the icon for the "RME Thunderbolt Settings" to appear in the right hand side of the task bar so the I could configure my choices.
But right now I have the RME UFX plus connected via Thunderbolt to a Gigabyte Designare MOBO computer and I am using PreSonus Studio One with RME Thunderbolt.
It just took tricking the Intel Thunderbolt Software...
Maybe folks using a Titan-Ridge Thunderbolt card who haven't gotten the cards functioning should try this method.

Last edited by RuffRider; 1 week ago at 01:43 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #7653
Gear Nut
CPU affinity?

Has anyone tried playing with CPU Affinity with their Daw and other applications? Does it help to assign all non-DAW programs/services to a certain one or two CPU cores, and leaving the rest to the DAW?

I'm on Windows 10/Cubase 10.
Old 1 week ago
  #7654
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoox View Post
I haven't got a full setup yet. I intend to initially test my mobo+CPU+RAM in my old case, and will transition to an mini-ITX box and possibly add a 2TB SSD once everything is working smoothly. Here's a list of the bits I'll be re-using from my old build for initial testing:

Case: Antec Solo Quiet Mini Tower Case - Piano Black/Silver
PSU: Corsair 520W HX Series Modular PSU - ATX12V v2.2 APFC
Storage (Data and Library): 2 x 2.5" 7mm 2TB Seagate SATA3 HDDs
Storage (System): Samsung SM951 NVME M.2 128GB SSD
Optical drive: LG GH22NS40 22X SATA DVD±RW/DL/RAM Black

And here are the core components I've already chosen:

Motherboard: ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac
CPU: i9-9900K (budget permitting), else i7-8700K and save saved $ for SSD
RAM: 32GB DDR4 (2 x Kingston HyperX FURY HX426C16FBK 16GB DDR4 2666MHz CL16 unbuffered non-ECC)

Bits not chosen yet:

Cooling: Almost definitely air cooling, and probably Noctua and Noctua thermal paste. I already have a bunch of Noctua fans from my previous build which I can re-use. Gotta love desktop PCs

Things I'll be upgrading later: HDDs replaced by SSDs, maybe mini-ITX case and suitable PSU if current one doesn't fit.

My thought process:

Motherboard:

Early on I decided to go with a mini-ITX mobo becuase it is smaller and has fewer bells and whistles. Fewer features usually means less headaches down the line, less to go wrong, less drivers to update and troubleshoot. I chose the Z390 chipset becaues it supports wireless and USB 3.1 gen 2 natively—again, fewer drivers to worry about. This considerably narrowed down my choices. I watched a few reviews and got some advice on this thread. The ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac caught my attention because it features decent VRMs (Voltage Regulator Modules), good thermals, no gamer RGB bullsh*t, a sensible selection of I/O and currently it is the only ITX mobo with Thunderbolt 3. I will be using this board without a dedicated graphics card because integrated graphics these days are very good and certainly more than adequate for audio production. This mobo provides no less than 3 display outputs (HDMI 2.0, DP and Thunderbolt) which is crazy. Especially NVIDIA graphics cards tend to wreak DPC havoc, so not having a dedicated GPU not only means fewer drivers to install and update, a simpler build, lower power consumption and lower noise, but also and more importantly greater chances of lower DPC latency.

CPU:

As for the CPU, I'm not bothered. If my budget permits, I'll get the i9-9900K, else the i7-8700K. I'm pretty sure either CPU will do a great job and if I ever need to bounce a couple of tracks it's not a tragedy. Many successful producers work entirely off a lesser laptop.

RAM:

As for RAM, I chose a reputable brand and low latency. JEDEC memory standards specify 2133 MHz for DDR4; anything else is considered non-standard. RAM running at 4000 MHz won't be twice as fast because it will have a greater CAS latency value, however it may give you an overall lower latency, but we are talking a fraction of a nanosecond here, you are basically not going to notice it other than in synthetic tests. From Kingston's HyperX offerings, I narrowed my choice down to two models which are similarly priced: 2666MHz CL16 and 2400MHz CL15. Using the following formula:

Latency = CAS latency * 1000 / Frequency

2666MHz CL16 latency = 6.0015 ns
2400MHz CL15 latency = 6.25 ns

So I chose the first option, and yet it probably doesn't matter which one I pick. The point is, since they offer two variants, you still have to pick one, so you might as well choose the slightly better one.

Kingston, Crucial, Corsair, G.Skill, etc—there are quite a few RAM brands out there but they all get their RAM chips from Samsung, Micron or Hynix, whom make about 98% of all the RAM on the market. Therefore their products are quite similar. I suspect the only real differences are warranty terms, PCB layout, price and aesthetics. I chose Kingston this time purely based on reports of reliability from people who build computers for a living, and cost. Note that RAM from most major brands usually comes with a lifetime warranty so it's very hard to go wrong.

Storage:

If you plan to do a lot of work involving large sample libraries (Kontakt etc) which are basically read-only, and you have budget constraints, I would definitely get the cheaper i7-8700K CPU and spend the extra money on a nice SSD to hold your sample libraries. This will considerably reduce loading times and give you a system that overall feels more responsive. A faster CPU won't do that here since the bottleneck is still the storage. If your work involves loads of instances of synths such as U-he Diva, Reaktor, etc which can put great strain on your CPU, then the i9-9900K might be a better choice. If you need both but can only afford one, then I'd still get the SSD because you'll only be using the extra CPU power when you push things to the limit, whereas the SSD will make your computer feel snappier at all times. I will be replacing those HDDs with Samsung "EVO" SSDs, one for fast read-write data (work-in-progress projects, etc) and one for fast read-only data (sample libraries). Slow read-only data, such as photos, movies, etc, can live on an HDD or NAS.

Hope that helps. If anything of what I've said is incorrect please let me know as I'm no IT expert.

Bro that's the information i have been looking for, thank you a looooooot!
Old 1 week ago
  #7655
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RuffRider View Post
***Heads Up Gigabyte Z390 Designare MOBO owners***
I have succeeded in getting my RME UFX plus to connect via Thunderbolt with my computer with the Gigabyte Designare mother board
In my post #7463 of this thread I mentioned that when I plugged in my UFX plus - that the Thunderbolt "host light" was white in color - indicating that Thunderbolt was apparently available but not connected by the Intel Thunderbolt software because the Intel Thunderbolt software GUI would not open so that the connection process could be completed. I experimented with unplugging the UFX plus thunderbolt connection and the Intel Thunderbolt GUI would then open. Next I plugged in the UFX plus via USB 3 and the Intel Thunderbolt GUI would open then also.
So today I performed my experiment another way. I unplugged the UFX plus and then opened the Intel Thunderbolt GUI - I then connected the UFX plus via Thunderbolt with the Intel Thunderbolt GUI already open. ( I'm not sure if this is safe because I'm not sure if Thunderbolt devices are hot swap-able. ) But this process worked! The Intel GUI showed the RME UFX plus availabe on the port I had plugged it into.
It took some "clicking" but I succeeded in getting it to connect. Then it took a couple of restarts of the computer to get the icon for the "RME Thunderbolt Settings" to appear in the right hand side of the task bar so the I could configure my choices.
But right now I have the RME UFX plus connected via Thunderbolt to a Gigabyte Designare MOBO computer and I am using PreSonus Studio One with RME Thunderbolt.
It just took tricking the Intel Thunderbolt Software...
Just so I can replicate this method myself:
  1. You've connected your thunderbolt 1 (or is it thunderbolt 2?) RME UFX+ via an adapter to your thunderbolt 3 port on the Z390 Desginare?
  2. At this point, the light next to the thunderbolt 3 port on your Designare is flashing white.
  3. Then you experimented with thunderbolt and USB 3 for a while.
  4. Then you started Windows 10 with the RME UFX+ unplugged (no cable, not even the adapter inside the tb3 port).
  5. Then you opened the "Thunderbolt (TM) Software" which shows you port 1 and port 2 and the devices that are connected to it. At this point, both ports show that nothing's connected, correct?
  6. While this thunderbolt software was open, you plugged in the UFX + via the adapter into the tb3 port on the designare? This lead to the display of a port 1 tb device in the software.
  7. At this point, the UFX+ was not properly functioning as an audio interface. You had to restart the computer several times (without changing/unplugging the tb connections?). And then, randomly, after a couple of restarts, the RME icon popped up and you could configure your device and since then it always gets recognized by Windows 10 instantly or do you have to do this procedure everytime you restart the computer?

I'm glad that this has worked for you and I hope it will work for me, too, as I'm pretty hopeless right now...
Old 1 week ago
  #7656
Lives for gear
 
Scoox's Avatar
Sounds like Thunderbolt ain't ready for prime time yet... Never had any issues with RME hardware and USB.
Old 1 week ago
  #7657
Gear Maniac
 

Speaking of thunderbolt, which adapter do I need to connect a motu 828es to an alpine range add on card (It has tb3 connector)
Old 1 week ago
  #7658
Lives for gear
 
Pictus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pablo1980 View Post
Speaking of thunderbolt, which adapter do I need to connect a motu 828es to an alpine range add on card (It has tb3 connector)
https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-.../dp/B019FPJDQ2
https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-.../dp/B00CIDLJWK
Old 1 week ago
  #7659
Gear Addict
 
throbert's Avatar
 

LOL, what's an alpine range add on card?
Old 1 week ago
  #7660
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CulchuralMarxism View Post
Just so I can replicate this method myself:
  1. You've connected your thunderbolt 1 (or is it thunderbolt 2?) RME UFX+ via an adapter to your thunderbolt 3 port on the Z390 Desginare?
  2. At this point, the light next to the thunderbolt 3 port on your Designare is flashing white.
  3. Then you experimented with thunderbolt and USB 3 for a while.
  4. Then you started Windows 10 with the RME UFX+ unplugged (no cable, not even the adapter inside the tb3 port).
  5. Then you opened the "Thunderbolt (TM) Software" which shows you port 1 and port 2 and the devices that are connected to it. At this point, both ports show that nothing's connected, correct?
  6. While this thunderbolt software was open, you plugged in the UFX + via the adapter into the tb3 port on the designare? This lead to the display of a port 1 tb device in the software.
  7. At this point, the UFX+ was not properly functioning as an audio interface. You had to restart the computer several times (without changing/unplugging the tb connections?). And then, randomly, after a couple of restarts, the RME icon popped up and you could configure your device and since then it always gets recognized by Windows 10 instantly or do you have to do this procedure everytime you restart the computer?

I'm glad that this has worked for you and I hope it will work for me, too, as I'm pretty hopeless right now...
Hello there.
I didn't do all of my experimenting all on the same day but most of what you have stated is correct. I did try connecting just the Startech adapter to see if that would prevent the Intel GUI from opening - but that did not prevent the GUI from opening.
I opened the Intel GUI with out anything plugged in - then plugged in the UFX plus with the Startech adapter and it appeared available on the port. I then clicked on the unit shown on the port and a sub menu or line of text opened up below in the GUI. I started clicking on the RME listed in the Port field and clicking on RME in the text that had opened up below. I was excited at that point so I don't remember which click caused the text to open to get the message about "always connecting this device." But after clicking "Always Connect" - "at that point" Thunderbolt was functioning.
I opened task bar settings to choose which items appear in the task bar and the RME settings icon was not in the list of choices. So I had to restart the computer two times before the RME icon appeared in that list of choices.
But thunderbolt was functioning before I got the icon to appear - I just was not able to use the RME settings GUI to set the sample rate and such.

If you have any more questions I will gladly try to help you.
Old 1 week ago
  #7661
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoox View Post
Sounds like Thunderbolt ain't ready for prime time yet... Never had any issues with RME hardware and USB.
Intel Thunderbolt for Windows Is a fickle b*tch and must be treated as so. Sometimes it needs to be massaged.
Old 1 week ago
  #7662
Gear Nut
 

Just a quick note here.

I've set up Thunderbolt on a few computers and it has never followed a definite process. And I haven't found any instructions from the companies offering Thunderbolt.
( Because they know it will not connect by using one set method. ) So when setting up thunderbolt one must just feel your way thru the process as it presents itself.
It's a fickle B*tch.
Old 1 week ago
  #7663
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RuffRider View Post
Just a quick note here.

I've set up Thunderbolt on a few computers and it has never followed a definite process. And I haven't found any instructions from the companies offering Thunderbolt.
( Because they know it will not connect by using one set method. ) So when setting up thunderbolt one must just feel your way thru the process as it presents itself.
It's a fickle B*tch.
I tried your approach, and, unfortunately, it doesn't work for me. I removed the cable several times, changed adapters, tried it with a TB2 dock and so on. Nothing seems to work. Seems like UAD silverface apollos are very delicate units that send very specific data...

Anyway, thanks for your clarifying posts!
Old 1 week ago
  #7664
Gear Nut
 

While speaking on setting up thunderbolt for Gigabyte mother boards I just assumed that people have set up their BIOS for thunderbolt operation..
In case someone needs to do that - this fellow gives an example of how to set up your BIOS. it's a little drawn out but he gets to the point. Click on this Youtube link...

YouTube
Old 1 week ago
  #7665
Here for the gear
 

I run first option with success!
Old 1 week ago
  #7666
Lives for gear
 
loopy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoox View Post
Sounds like Thunderbolt ain't ready for prime time yet... Never had any issues with RME hardware and USB.
It certainly is confusing and inconsistent on the Windows platform. I'm looking at upgrading my system to z390 board and 9900k so I would like TB support to plan for the future. Reading the various brand specific forums and other groups is scary. Between TB mumbo jumbo ie:waving garlic around to get it to work and so forth and then other problems like coil whine I'm not so sure it's a good time to upgrade.
Old 1 week ago
  #7667
Lives for gear
 
Scoox's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by loopy View Post
I'm looking at upgrading my system to z390 board and 9900k so I would like TB support to plan for the future. Reading the various brand specific forums and other groups is scary. Between TB mumbo jumbo ie:waving garlic around to get it to work and so forth and then other problems like coil whine I'm not so sure it's a good time to upgrade.
Coil whine has been an issue since the dinosaurs. You'd have thought motherboard manufacturers would have sorted that out by now, or at least offer a no-whine guarantee for a little more money.

About the future of TB3, we'll have to wait and see. The majority of hardware the average Joe hooks up to their computers is low-bandwidth. It wouldn't be cost-effective to make a TB3 mouse. TB3's best chance of survival could be as a replacement for HDMI and DP, but I don't expect that to happen any time soon, certainly not as fast as Apple pretended it would, because for most people TB3 solves a problem that had already been solved.

TB3 may find its place in professional audio and video applications requiring very high-bandwidth I/O, but that'd be a niche within a niche since, for many of us, USB2.0 audio interfaces already more than exceed our I/O needs. An application that everyone here could benefit from is to use TB3 as a breakout interface enabling the computer to live in one room and the peripherals in another, with all the I/O handled by a single TB3 cable—no more cooling fan noise, no more coil whine!
Old 1 week ago
  #7668
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by loopy View Post
It certainly is confusing and inconsistent on the Windows platform. I'm looking at upgrading my system to z390 board and 9900k so I would like TB support to plan for the future. Reading the various brand specific forums and other groups is scary. Between TB mumbo jumbo ie:waving garlic around to get it to work and so forth and then other problems like coil whine I'm not so sure it's a good time to upgrade.
The greater problem is when using a Thunderbolt 1 or Thunderbolt 2 device on a MOBO with Thunderbolt 3.
If your Audio Interface is Thunderbolt 3 you are much better off.

But this new USB 4 being talked about may be a blessing.
Old 1 week ago
  #7669
Gear Maniac
Any news on what if anything is in the pipeline to supercede Intel's Z390 chipset compatible with i9-9900K and i7-8700K CPUs?
Old 5 days ago
  #7670
Lives for gear
 
Sugarnutz's Avatar
I’m on a Gigabyte z390 Degignare, 9900K, 64 Gb DDR4-3200, Win 10, Pro Tools Ultimate 2018.12, running an Avid Thunderbolt Native (which is TB1) on an Apple TB3 to TB adapter, .5M Apple Thunderbolt cable = Flawless!
Old 4 days ago
  #7671
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RuffRider View Post
Just a quick note here.

I've set up Thunderbolt on a few computers and it has never followed a definite process. And I haven't found any instructions from the companies offering Thunderbolt.
( Because they know it will not connect by using one set method. ) So when setting up thunderbolt one must just feel your way thru the process as it presents itself.
It's a fickle B*tch.
Q.F.T

Thunderbolt is pretty much where Firewire used to be in the early days. It should just work out of the box, but rarely does until you sacrifice a goat or something equally arcane.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRT_in_WMass View Post
Any news on what if anything is in the pipeline to supercede Intel's Z390 chipset compatible with i9-9900K and i7-8700K CPUs?
IceLake is next and I'm expecting it to not be compatible given 370 and 390 were interchangeable. That's not an official stance, I just don't expect them to go two generations without a rework... happy to be proven wrong in time through.
Old 4 days ago
  #7672
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Kaine View Post
Q.F.T

Thunderbolt is pretty much where Firewire used to be in the early days. It should just work out of the box, but rarely does until you sacrifice a goat or something equally arcane.
Just for the record, I have a MBPR early 2013, and a Clarett 4Pre Thunderbolt.
It worked straight out of the box, had it a few years and not one glitch, hiccup, or any problem. Seems like Focusrite is keeping TB for it's higher end interfaces now, unfortunately. I have yet to try it with windows TB, though.
Old 4 days ago
  #7673
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Kaine View Post
Q.F.T

Thunderbolt is pretty much where Firewire used to be in the early days. It should just work out of the box, but rarely does until you sacrifice a goat or something equally arcane.
My experience with the Gigabyte Designare and the Apollo x16 was flawless.

No Satanic rituals, no sacrifices.

They are both TB3, so that seems to be a primary factor at the moment.
Old 4 days ago
  #7674
Lives for gear
 
shatz's Avatar
I currently have the Asus Z170-a with Thunderbolt EX3 card and it was super easy to get everything working with my Apollo x8p. So far no issues.
Old 4 days ago
  #7675
Lives for gear
 
shatz's Avatar
Question:
I’m running a Samsung 860 Pro drive for my OS. Would it be beneficial to replace it with something like the Samsung 970 Pro, M.2 PCI-e?
Just wondering if it will upgrade the performance in the DAW.
Also, if I do switch to it, does it use up any of my PCI-e slots? I’m using an UAD-2 Octo card, Thunderbolt EX3 card, and a USB card on the 3 lanes. Just wondering if it shares resources or if it’s on its own thing if I’m making sense.
This will be installed on an ASUS Z170-a board.
Old 4 days ago
  #7676
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shatz View Post
Question:
I’m running a Samsung 860 Pro drive for my OS. Would it be beneficial to replace it with something like the Samsung 970 Pro, M.2 PCI-e?
Just wondering if it will upgrade the performance in the DAW.
Also, if I do switch to it, does it use up any of my PCI-e slots? I’m using an UAD-2 Octo card, Thunderbolt EX3 card, and a USB card on the 3 lanes. Just wondering if it shares resources or if it’s on its own thing if I’m making sense.
This will be installed on an ASUS Z170-a board.
THEORETICALLY speaking... an NVMe PCI-E should be 5x faster than SSD. I think they use 4 PCI-E lanes (not slots). Your i7-6700K supplies up to 16 PCI-E lanes. Since you are using an onboard graphics, it shouldn't be an issue.... I think.

Last edited by J_O_P; 4 days ago at 03:06 AM..
Old 4 days ago
  #7677
Lives for gear
 
Pictus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shatz View Post
Question:
I’m running a Samsung 860 Pro drive for my OS. Would it be beneficial to replace it with something like the Samsung 970 Pro, M.2 PCI-e?
It is beneficial because the endurance is way better with the 970 Pro, but
the speed improvement probably will not be what you expect...
NVMe vs SATA: Will it make Kontakt faster? | VI-CONTROL

Quote:
Just wondering if it will upgrade the performance in the DAW.
Also, if I do switch to it, does it use up any of my PCI-e slots? I’m using an UAD-2 Octo card, Thunderbolt EX3 card, and a USB card on the 3 lanes. Just wondering if it shares resources or if it’s on its own thing if I’m making sense.
This will be installed on an ASUS Z170-a board.
Z170-A | Motherboards | ASUS Global
Mention the M.2 shares with the SATA Express, you do not use
SATA Express so no problem, anyway ask Asus support...
Old 4 days ago
  #7678
Gear Addict
 
throbert's Avatar
 

Does Intel USB 3.0 have the best backward compatibility to USB 2.0. I'm thinking as compared to
ASMedia the answer is obvious but would I have any problems with my korg, kawai or micro lite
Old 3 days ago
  #7679
Lives for gear
 
shatz's Avatar
Last question guys sorry. Will I need to purchase another copy of Windows 10 since I’ll be using the new drive as the OS or will it recognize the hardware and authorize?
Old 3 days ago
  #7680
Quote:
Originally Posted by shatz View Post
Last question guys sorry. Will I need to purchase another copy of Windows 10 since I’ll be using the new drive as the OS or will it recognize the hardware and authorize?
Make a note of the windows activation key before you change. If you are doing a copy using Macrium or similar you will be able to log back in. If windows has a problem with activation you can try the key you noted. Right click windows logo bottom left, hit system. Check activation status. Everytime for me so far as soon as i connect the machine online it auto activates at this point.

If you are doing a fresh install try the activation key when it asks or if that doesnt work hit the "I dont have a key" link down bottom. You can fully install at this point. Once up and running try 1st method.

If all that fails to activate, come back here and check, but at that point you can always buy a key and activate current install.

Even though the 8 or so win10 licenses ive bought are oem and only one is full retail, I have been able to change drives and sometimes new hardware completely without problem for years.

You should be right.
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