Old 06-29-2021, 04:53 PM   #1
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Default Cheapest way to build an audio PC?

Aside from waiting until prices become less ridiculous for certain components, what's the best way to go about getting the best bang for your buck in building a windows PC?

I know a little about computers, and I don't mind doing some YouTube to build my own if that gives a great advantage. I don't really need a crazy gaming computer or anything, but I'd like some video powers so maybe a decent video card but a great processor, decent ram, and stuff like that.

I don't need a new monitor, or a new power supply I think, but maybe if bundles make those cheap enough it's worth it.

I'm in Canada if that helps. Is microbytes a good way to go? Or just shop for myself on newegg?

I really like the idea of being able to upgrade my system, so desktop is what I'm going for. Any tips or advice greatly appreciated!
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Old 06-30-2021, 07:43 AM   #2
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Windows 11 has thrown a needless spanner in the works this week with the announcement that TPM is required for Windows 11. TPM is purely security related, not performance at all.

So if you're building anything now you must make sure that it's got TPM on the CPU chip, or you've got support for TPM on the motherboard of at least 2.0 or above. Wait to see if even that is good enough.

Check the TPM status of any i5 or i7 before purchasing. Any I9 is probably safe, even if Microsoft's software checker messed up this week and said even those weren't compatible even with TPM enabled in the BIOS!

Probably any hardware made since 2018 will be okay when Microsoft sort this out. Cold comfort for those of us with machines that are much, much more powerful than their base requirements, but won't be compatible because of the requirement of tpm 2.0.
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Old 06-30-2021, 08:39 AM   #3
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There's the last 10 years of tech on the used market for pennies on the dollar. A new machine today that matches a bangin' multi core i7 powered machine with the highest spec from 2011 still costs a couple grand or more. If you want the very highest end machine today, it's $4000 worth of machine and you might 2x or 4x the highest spec machine from 10 years ago. That really needs to be worth it for some task that was out of reach before. You can easily walk into somewhere like Worst Purchase and walk away with a downgrade vs something much older if you let them gaslight you.

Install Windows? I wouldn't but that's up to you.

If you want bang for the buck, shop used right now.
Don't buy a post-Jobs Mac.
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Old 06-30-2021, 09:16 AM   #4
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My suggestion (unless you find a great deal from a friend or whatever) leave the Mac's, unless an M1 Mini appeals (risking possible compatibility issues), and you don't mind built-in obsolescence!
That hones the answer down to mostly post 2018 Intel or Ryzen. You can bet your bottom dollar that everyone is going to be after the same gear now. It's now a pandemic seller's market, needlessly exacerbated by Microsoft's decision to insist upon TPM 2.0 for security.
Second-hand values will be very good for sellers for that age of gear, hence pretty poor for buyers.

Unless prices become a lot more favourable or my main rig breaks (or something genuinely interesting happens in the market for a first time in a very long time) I think I'll be keeping Win10 and my i7 3770 going until 2025.

Slow clap for Microsoft's timing.

I suggest holding off for a while if that's an option, which it often isn't.
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Old 06-30-2021, 03:31 PM   #5
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The other option is of course to go with Linux instead. I am already dipping my toes in that particular sea....
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Old 07-03-2021, 03:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Softsynth View Post
Windows 11 has thrown a needless spanner in the works this week with the announcement that TPM is required for Windows 11. TPM is purely security related, not performance at all.

So if you're building anything now you must make sure that it's got TPM on the CPU chip, or you've got support for TPM on the motherboard of at least 2.0 or above. Wait to see if even that is good enough.

Check the TPM status of any i5 or i7 before purchasing. Any I9 is probably safe, even if Microsoft's software checker messed up this week and said even those weren't compatible even with TPM enabled in the BIOS!

Probably any hardware made since 2018 will be okay when Microsoft sort this out. Cold comfort for those of us with machines that are much, much more powerful than their base requirements, but won't be compatible because of the requirement of tpm 2.0.
What's TPM?

Ok, so my current PC will not work will windows 11 then lol. That's ok though. I don't really want it to keep updating tbh.
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Old 07-03-2021, 03:44 PM   #7
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There's the last 10 years of tech on the used market for pennies on the dollar. A new machine today that matches a bangin' multi core i7 powered machine with the highest spec from 2011 still costs a couple grand or more. If you want the very highest end machine today, it's $4000 worth of machine and you might 2x or 4x the highest spec machine from 10 years ago. That really needs to be worth it for some task that was out of reach before. You can easily walk into somewhere like Worst Purchase and walk away with a downgrade vs something much older if you let them gaslight you.

Install Windows? I wouldn't but that's up to you.

If you want bang for the buck, shop used right now.
Don't buy a post-Jobs Mac.
I definitely won't buy a mac. I'm actually running an i7 from that time period right now lol. So, if I upgrade it's going to have to be substantially better. But I find it hard to believe that would cost me more than 2000$.

I am wondering also if I should get myself a laptop, just because laptops can be handy sometimes, and I already have a decent desktop. But I don't like how laptops can't really be upgraded or anything like that, and cost more for the power.
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Old 07-03-2021, 03:46 PM   #8
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My suggestion (unless you find a great deal from a friend or whatever) leave the Mac's, unless an M1 Mini appeals (risking possible compatibility issues), and you don't mind built-in obsolescence!
That hones the answer down to mostly post 2018 Intel or Ryzen. You can bet your bottom dollar that everyone is going to be after the same gear now. It's now a pandemic seller's market, needlessly exacerbated by Microsoft's decision to insist upon TPM 2.0 for security.
Second-hand values will be very good for sellers for that age of gear, hence pretty poor for buyers.

Unless prices become a lot more favourable or my main rig breaks (or something genuinely interesting happens in the market for a first time in a very long time) I think I'll be keeping Win10 and my i7 3770 going until 2025.

Slow clap for Microsoft's timing.

I suggest holding off for a while if that's an option, which it often isn't.
damn 2025 is still a while away. I gotta say, I don't feel like I need to upgrade my desktop right now. I'm willing to wait also. I know the market is terrible for that rn. But I wasn't thinking it would take 4 years to settle.
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Old 07-03-2021, 03:46 PM   #9
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The other option is of course to go with Linux instead. I am already dipping my toes in that particular sea....
I can understand the appeal of linux, but I don't think I'm ready for that at this point.
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Old 07-03-2021, 08:21 PM   #10
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What's TPM?

Ok, so my current PC will not work will windows 11 then lol. That's ok though. I don't really want it to keep updating tbh.
Trusted Platform Module 2.0
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Old 07-04-2021, 04:00 AM   #11
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The long version:
I am 77 and live in the UK permanently nowadays.

I`m already on a 3 year renewable driving licence that could get turned off at any time, due to my health.
I also have a diesel powered car.
These two aspects are now making me crazy over if I should think in terms of spending the £1000 that are due on the car in a few months for replacing the cambelt, water pump and front brake disks and pads. Plus of course as the death of petrol & diesel approaches, the prices per litre will go through the roof.

So now I have the added fun of deciding if it is worth just ignoring Win11 for the next four years or addressing the many issues involved for old computer gear now.

Damned if you do, damned if you don`t, it would seem.
My compromise looks like buying a new offside rear tyre for the car & putting the rest off till November & sticking with W10. This will be the first time I have ever NOT updated Windows, apart from that awful original 2004 build that screwed everybody up a while back.
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Old 07-04-2021, 06:42 AM   #12
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It's actually pretty amazing that 10 year old hardware is still pretty capable. You wouldn't have wanted to run 10 year old hardware 10 years ago . I just did a budget build with an i5 11400 and I'm very happy, can definitely see a big improvement from my Xeon e3 1230v2 (basically a i7 3770 clocked slightly lower). I was lucky to get it from microcenter at $170, seems to have gone up in price. I'm also noticing the m2 ssd is a lot faster than the sata one, loading times are pretty good. If possible, you could reuse your old case and power supply, I spent around $500 on CPU, ram, storage and motherboard.
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Old 07-04-2021, 08:37 AM   #13
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It's actually pretty amazing that 10 year old hardware is still pretty capable. You wouldn't have wanted to run 10 year old hardware 10 years ago . I just did a budget build with an i5 11400 and I'm very happy, can definitely see a big improvement from my Xeon e3 1230v2 (basically a i7 3770 clocked slightly lower). I was lucky to get it from microcenter at $170, seems to have gone up in price. I'm also noticing the m2 ssd is a lot faster than the sata one, loading times are pretty good. If possible, you could reuse your old case and power supply, I spent around $500 on CPU, ram, storage and motherboard.
Ya, I might look into that. I'll definitely be reusing my power supply. Not sure about the case though.

I'm also on the fence, thinking I might want a laptop, since they're actually very practical, but I really don't like how they can't really be upgraded or if something breaks, the whole thing is toast, and things like that.
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Old 07-04-2021, 08:50 AM   #14
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On paper laptops look good, but it's not always a walk in the park to get them to work smoothly as a daw. I'd probably get a Mac if I needed portability.
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Old 07-05-2021, 04:42 PM   #15
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Why is that? My laptop used to work great as a DAW at first, but the processor was just too slow. I'd have to get a laptop that has a CPU that benchmarks well above my current desktop though. Which I think shouldn't be too difficult considering i got it like 10 years ago. I think we're in i series 9 or 10 chips now, and that was a 2.
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Old 07-06-2021, 06:09 AM   #16
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Default $300 4 a laptop

i would be very carful about buying a laptop

i have a Lenovo flex 4 and 2 channel interface it can barely keep up with reaper ;ive had many memory warnings
im also consantly on the edge of overfilling my hd

i can get a rebuilt desktop from a community organization for 120$
stick win 10 on it and get an interface you wont have to upgrade

then ignore win 11
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Old 07-06-2021, 07:36 AM   #17
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Are Lenovo copying post-Jobs Apple and soldering in ram and hard drives now too? FFS...

THAT is what to avoid! Avoid all the disposable builds with this kind of garbage going on. Hard drives especially are a consumable and an accessory that is commonly swapped around.

The 2011 and 2012 Macbook Pros are bangin' quad core i7 machines. These are the end of the line for authentic Jobs-era Macs. They're still very relevant and faster than all the new lightweight machines. $500 - $1400 on the used market.

I have one of the 2011 15" i7 laptops. It does a lot. There isn't even any upgrade option right now that really feels like an upgrade for less than $4000. Maybe something from PC Audio Labs? You're into Linux there. One of the higher end post-Jobs Macs would still be a downgrade. You lose all the ports and even the magsafe charging port! And it's disposable with the SSD soldered in.
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Old 07-08-2021, 01:25 PM   #18
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Are Lenovo copying post-Jobs Apple and soldering in ram and hard drives now too? FFS...

THAT is what to avoid! Avoid all the disposable builds with this kind of garbage going on. Hard drives especially are a consumable and an accessory that is commonly swapped around.

The 2011 and 2012 Macbook Pros are bangin' quad core i7 machines. These are the end of the line for authentic Jobs-era Macs. They're still very relevant and faster than all the new lightweight machines. $500 - $1400 on the used market.

I have one of the 2011 15" i7 laptops. It does a lot. There isn't even any upgrade option right now that really feels like an upgrade for less than $4000. Maybe something from PC Audio Labs? You're into Linux there. One of the higher end post-Jobs Macs would still be a downgrade. You lose all the ports and even the magsafe charging port! And it's disposable with the SSD soldered in.
Damn, I didn't even know that was a thing lol.

I'm definitely getting a windows pc. The windows 11 Thing is certainly a nuissance. I'll probably wait for that to blow over.
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Old 07-09-2021, 08:26 AM   #19
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I don’t know much, but I generally use pcpartpicker.com which helps you compare parts by specs and price, can filter for only parts that are compatible with the mobo you choose, and helps you find the cheapest vendor for each part. I still end up buying everything from amazon if I can even when that’s not the absolute cheapest, but that’s just me being weird.
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Old 07-10-2021, 03:26 PM   #20
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I don’t know much, but I generally use pcpartpicker.com which helps you compare parts by specs and price, can filter for only parts that are compatible with the mobo you choose, and helps you find the cheapest vendor for each part. I still end up buying everything from amazon if I can even when that’s not the absolute cheapest, but that’s just me being weird.
Yes, ashcat is right, I just built 2 new computers a few months back and I used pcpartpicker.com, it was a great help.
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Old 07-10-2021, 06:36 PM   #21
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You guys are killing me with the "post Jobs" computer thing... <ggg> Is that like the Pre CBS Fender?

I used to love building PC's...

But I see a Dell XPS with an 17 proc, 16GB ram, 256GB SSD, 2TB HD... $999.00 lots of USB's... Perfect for Reaper.
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Old 07-11-2021, 10:39 AM   #22
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I'd say the cheapest way is to wait till large numbers of people try to install Win 11 and find that they can't, so they ditch their PC and buy a new one. That should pretty much crash the market on used PCs 3-5 years old.
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Old 07-15-2021, 12:59 PM   #23
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Cheapest way IMHO is to buy an off-lease workstation with a strong CPU/mobo, and then upgrade the critical stuff (SSD swap, more memory, video card, etc).

I nabbed a new gen i7 dell workstation for under $150 with a Win10 Pro install, and put another $300 into it, and for under $500 it's an absolute beast.

Bang for buck, I don't think you're going to beat that, and you retain upgradeability.
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Old 07-16-2021, 01:24 AM   #24
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I can understand the appeal of linux, but I don't think I'm ready for that at this point.
Much to my surprise, I installed Ubuntu Studio version 21 and it all just worked, including Reaper! My only issue now is finding someone t
can and will help me with installing WINE, so I can use the Windows plugins I still need that are not available in Linux format.
It took me a very short time to adapt to the Ubuntu versions of thing s like internet apps, email apps & office stuff, plus I have found all the settings menus are much easier to access and edit tan anything in Windows.
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Old 07-20-2021, 04:44 PM   #25
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Any intel chip that is 8th gen or newer will support windows 11. My current studio machine is a Lenovo 4th gen i7 (with one of those dinky miniature hdmi ports) - so I am also looking to buy a new computer.

I think I will be buying an intel NUC 8 - NUC8i5BEH - i5-8259u, 16ram, 512ssd, win10 pro, 4 usb3, one thunderbolt (usb-c), and full size hdmi input - around $630 on Amazon. Small form factor to sit on my desk for easy access to ports, and supports windows 11.
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Old 07-22-2021, 09:59 AM   #26
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Aside from waiting until prices become less ridiculous for certain components, what's the best way to go about getting the best bang for your buck in building a windows PC?

I know a little about computers, and I don't mind doing some YouTube to build my own if that gives a great advantage. I don't really need a crazy gaming computer or anything, but I'd like some video powers so maybe a decent video card but a great processor, decent ram, and stuff like that.

I don't need a new monitor, or a new power supply I think, but maybe if bundles make those cheap enough it's worth it.

I'm in Canada if that helps. Is microbytes a good way to go? Or just shop for myself on newegg?

I really like the idea of being able to upgrade my system, so desktop is what I'm going for. Any tips or advice greatly appreciated!
Just completed my first build of a PC after my 9 year old daw pc i7 3700k motherboard bios broke. I kept both hard drives (ssd and traditional). and dvd burner front bay and my GTX 640 from 2012 for graphics. Additions...

Case - £50 fractal mini g as i wanted cd bay drives and a clear window to view some bling. 2 intake fans
Chip - AMD 5600x (£250) hugely impressed.
Ditched the stock cooler for a vetroo v5 and it wont go over 70c, which outperforms some liquid coolers and most more expensive air coolers.£30 well spent. Believe the hype.
Ram - 32gb (4X8) with RGB colouring. Corsair vengeance 3600. (peaks at 4100) £190
Motherboard - MSI mortar max b450m. £50 and incredible value for money. USBc, flash bios (which is why i had to replace my old one). MATX form factor as well as case. No PCIe4 but who cares for £50 with all thats there and a best in its class vrm.
Treated myself to a 512gb NVME for OS (£60) and has bling lights on it.
650w power supply gigabyte. £60.

Its windows 11 ready and all in under £700. Particularly impressed with the 5600x after considering i5 11600k which is also impressive with onboard graphics. 5600x with PBO sends it into 2-3% of an I911900k at 5.2ghz. And its only 65w power and great single core performance.
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Old 07-24-2021, 01:47 PM   #27
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Cheapest way IMHO is to buy an off-lease workstation with a strong CPU/mobo, and then upgrade the critical stuff (SSD swap, more memory, video card, etc).

I nabbed a new gen i7 dell workstation for under $150 with a Win10 Pro install, and put another $300 into it, and for under $500 it's an absolute beast.

Bang for buck, I don't think you're going to beat that, and you retain upgradeability.
That's amazing. Do you think there's a chance you'll run into any issues with win11? Or are you planning to keep to win 10?
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Old 07-24-2021, 01:48 PM   #28
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I'd say the cheapest way is to wait till large numbers of people try to install Win 11 and find that they can't, so they ditch their PC and buy a new one. That should pretty much crash the market on used PCs 3-5 years old.
This would be cool lol.
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Old 07-31-2021, 12:00 AM   #29
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Some YouTube tips.

Mainboard choice, Buildzoids channel Actual Hardcore Overclocking. He has the experience to talk about that stuff, and he does. A lot.

Gamers Nexus for case reviews and CPU benchmarks. An overall fine resource.

Hardware Unboxed for monitor reviews especially but everything else as well.

My firm pick would also be a Ryzen 5000 series. I‘ve built two machines with the 3600 for friends but the 5600X is cheap enough now that I‘d prefer it’s 30% performance boost. Good mainboards are cheaper than for Intel CPUs, and you can easily upgrade to a higher core count later. Easier cooling. Futureproof.
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Old 08-05-2021, 08:20 AM   #30
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I don`t suppose anyone is offering a motherboard that would work with the 5600 that has at least one pci slot????
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Old 08-05-2021, 08:58 AM   #31
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I don`t suppose anyone is offering a motherboard that would work with the 5600 that has at least one pci slot????
Looks like Asus has a board with the B550 chipset and AM4 socket for Ryzens that has one old school PCI slot.

https://www.asus.com/Motherboards-Co...o-B550M-C-CSM/
.
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Old 08-05-2021, 10:33 AM   #32
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I don`t suppose anyone is offering a motherboard that would work with the 5600 that has at least one pci slot????
Yeah Ivan, I used a an "ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (WiFi 6)" in my last build and it has 2 M.2 PCIe slots, one being a PCIe 3.0, the other a PCIe 4.0. The PCIe 4.0 is a little faster. I payed a little over $180 for it.

It looks like it might be related to the one that Glennbo shows.

Incidentally, to pass on a little biter/sweet information, I was having problems loading Reaper that had Kontakt in it, it was taking well over a minute to load. After 6 months of dealing with it, I finally found out yesterday, thanks to Mario, that it was Windows Defender. I ended up blocking Defender on all my main folders and now it's a matter of seconds.
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Old 08-05-2021, 04:43 PM   #33
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Yeah Ivan, I used a an "ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (WiFi 6)" in my last build and it has 2 M.2 PCIe slots, one being a PCIe 3.0, the other a PCIe 4.0. The PCIe 4.0 is a little faster. I payed a little over $180 for it.

It looks like it might be related to the one that Glennbo shows.

Incidentally, to pass on a little biter/sweet information, I was having problems loading Reaper that had Kontakt in it, it was taking well over a minute to load. After 6 months of dealing with it, I finally found out yesterday, thanks to Mario, that it was Windows Defender. I ended up blocking Defender on all my main folders and now it's a matter of seconds.
What? Maybe this could speed up times for me. It never seems like it's hanging but my native instruments stuff does take some time to load.

When you say main folders, you mean where plugins and samples are?
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Old 08-05-2021, 07:52 PM   #34
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When you say main folders, you mean where plugins and samples are?
Yeah, especially where the samples are but the Kontakt nki files are nearly always with the samples.

Here's what Mario, (aka EvilDragon), said.
Quote:
You add an exclusion for the whole drive in Defender. In Defender, go to Virus & Thread Protection, then Manage settings, then scroll down until you reach Exclusions.
I couldn't find how to exclude a whole drive, but I did manage to get all the folders excluded. On the one drive that is dedicated to nothing but sample libraries, there were only 3 folders to exclude. On another drive I have one folder that is dedicated to a few libraries so it was just a matter of excluding only one folder. All in all, I only had to exclude 3 folders.
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Old 08-05-2021, 09:43 PM   #35
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Looks like Asus has a board with the B550 chipset and AM4 socket for Ryzens that has one old school PCI slot.

https://www.asus.com/Motherboards-Co...o-B550M-C-CSM/
.
Thanks! I would never have thought to look at !business" motherboards!
Looks like my RME card can live on a little longer if I decide to update my studio box.
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Old 08-05-2021, 09:46 PM   #36
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Default @ Tod

ThaNKS, BUT i WAS LOOKING FOR SOMETHING THAT HAD THE ORIGINAL PCI, NOT PCI-E.

Darn! caps lock is playing up again.
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Old 08-05-2021, 10:13 PM   #37
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Thanks! I would never have thought to look at !business" motherboards!
Looks like my RME card can live on a little longer if I decide to update my studio box.
Another avenue you could go. I've read more than one success story of people running RME PCI cards in Startech PCIe to PCI adapters like these.

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Old 08-06-2021, 01:26 PM   #38
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Yeah, especially where the samples are but the Kontakt nki files are nearly always with the samples.

Here's what Mario, (aka EvilDragon), said.


I couldn't find how to exclude a whole drive, but I did manage to get all the folders excluded. On the one drive that is dedicated to nothing but sample libraries, there were only 3 folders to exclude. On another drive I have one folder that is dedicated to a few libraries so it was just a matter of excluding only one folder. All in all, I only had to exclude 3 folders.
Nice, done. I can't wait to see how it affects load times. Thanks!
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Old 08-08-2021, 12:22 AM   #39
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Another avenue you could go. I've read more than one success story of people running RME PCI cards in Startech PCIe to PCI adapters like these.

I have already checked these out online & it is somewhat touch & go as to if the combined adapter and an RME card would be too tall to fit my case....

On the other hand, my current i7 4770 is still chuntering along fast enough to meet my needs, so maybe I should just stick to Win10 until it or I die of old age... ;D
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Old 08-08-2021, 03:34 AM   #40
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I have already checked these out online & it is somewhat touch & go as to if the combined adapter and an RME card would be too tall to fit my case....

On the other hand, my current i7 4770 is still chuntering along fast enough to meet my needs, so maybe I should just stick to Win10 until it or I die of old age... ;D
I saw a thread on Gearspace about this issue. You may want to check that out.

A 5600X is roughly 3x as fast as the 4770. Just its single core performance is double that of the 4770. Of course there will by Zen4 CPUs next year as well as new Intel stuff. Good times at least there.


As for Windows Defender, I exclude my folders for projects, video and sound libraries. Helps.
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