New DAW build - well - sort of...

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I already posted about this in the studio build blog as it kind of relates the studio build but I thought I ought to post a news item too.

Although my old DAW based on a quad core Intel Q6600 CPU and what was back in the day a very solid system setup, I was beginning to max out the system resources and power most of the time. I had contemplated building a new spec i7 based system but the finances were I'm afraid not going to stretch to that at the moment. I had an unused Intel DX58OG motherboard and a few other bits so I considered building something based around that board. Most components for these older boards are still readily available new except for CPUs. I would need to find a second hand processor so I started to look at what I could get hold of on ebay.

The board is based on the LGA1366 CPU socket, the first generation of the i7 actually and there were plenty of CPUs available to fit this. What I wanted to do though here was populate this older system with the maximum it could support in all areas. After some searching I found a Xeon W3690 3.46GHz six core CPU for £150 which I snapped up. I purchased the rest of the components new. An Akasa CPU fan, two Samsung 250GB SSD drives & one Seagate SSHD 1TB , a Corsair CX600 power supply, 24GB RAM (6x4GB) and a few other parts including some 2.5" drive mounting plates for the SSDs.

Over about a two week period I gradually put the machine together into a HP workstation case I had from an old dual core workstation. These are quite attractive boxes and would make for a good solid build. The case required some modification to allow for the power supply screws and for the board mounts. The HP cases adopt some slightly non-standard hole positions but this was easily overcome. The moment of truth... and sure enough the system fired up perfectly. I then updated the BIOS to the latest version and gave it a general run in setting up the BIOS as required. 

I then installed Windows 10 home from my USB flash drive. I wanted to fully test my hardware setup before purchasing the activation key for W10 and I was able to test everything without doing this - great! Another really useful thing with this older board is that it still has a single legacy PCI  slot which I wanted to fit my now very ancient UAD1 card. No new boards have any of these PCI slots so I would have needed to do something my old UAD1 if I wanted to continue using those plugins. The UAD1 along with my Focusrite Saffire Pro DSP audio interface were installed and worked successfully in this new setup.

It was now time to get my software installed including Cubase Pro 8, Wavelab 8.5 and all of my VSTis and VST FX plugs. I configured my system with OS and programs on SSD1, sample library and sound banks on SSD2 and projects on the 1TB HDD.

In the end I bought a Windows 10 Pro license so I had to install that over the top of the original Home edition. This retained everything I had already installed and worked without issue.