[Ardour-Users] Motherboard hints and tips?

Mark Greenwood fatgerman at ntlworld.com
Thu Jan 31 10:01:04 PST 2008

Wow! What a helpful and rapid bunch of responses, you've all helped 
clear up most of the confusion that was in my head.

I'm afraid I'm still not completely convinced about the practicalities 
of 64-bit systems. I completely understand the technical arguments why 
they're a good thing, and if I was building a system entirely for audio 
I'd go straight for a 64 bit system without hesitation. But as I said, 
I'm building a compromise system which has to do everything, and do it 
without great hassle. From reading the Mandriva forums I'm not going to 
be able to get things like Flash player and the like to work without 
using a mixture of 32-bit and 64-bit apps, and that just sounds to me 
like a whole load of hassle I can do without. I don't need 
out-of-this-world performance, but I do need something that is simple to 
set up. So it's 32 bit for me. Also, quietness is very important for me, 
I want to build a system that is as inaudible as possible on my limited 
budget.. so the cooler the processor runs the slower the fans can run 
and the queiter the system will be. I've found out that with the right 
heatsink you can run a Core 2 Duo with no fan at 3GHz... that's a 
selling point for me.

I investigated Asus and Tyan motherboards.. they're a little out of my 
price range unfortunately. From comparing specs and reading reviews I've 
decided on a Gigabyte board. Anyone have anything to say about Gigabyte 
motherboards before I spend cash?

It's just occurred to me that it sounds like I'm just ignoring 
everything you've all said and making my own mind up... :-) I'm not, 
everything that's been said has helped me and it all gave me a place to 

Two final questions: It seems impossible to get a decent mobo which 
doesn't have a pci express 16x slot on it. So I may as well stick a 
graphics card in it. But are there downsides to using 'big hoofer' 
graphics cards (like bus-hogging?) and would I be better off with a 
cheaper PCI card, or a lower-spec pci-e 1x card?

Secondly every mobo I've looked at today has 5.1 or 7.1 audio built in. 
It's not a problem for me as I'm using a firewire audio card anyway, but 
are these audio chips likely to cause me any issues? On my current PC I 
keep ALSA running on the on-board sound card just for non-jack-aware 
apps and it's useful to have so I don't always have to run jack.

While I'm at it, for a laugh, I'll tell you what's going on on my 
current mobo... VIA chipsets everywhere... graphics card shares an IRQ 
with the ethernet card and a USB controller, my firewire card shares an 
IRQ with the IDE controller... there's no way to change it.... jack at 
idle in RT mode (not with the rt patch though) consumes 5% of CPU 
time.... 4 tracks in ardour and I'm at 30% CPU usage... Moving windows 
around while playing audio back causes dropouts (but no xruns..??..) I 
really couldn't have a worse machine if I tried :D And Ardour just keeps 
on going..... unless I let the screensaver cut in at which point 
everything connected to jack loses its connection... sigh... this is why 
I'm so grateful for all your help :)


Wilson, Jed S wrote:
> Can someone post a few relatively authoritative links on "quiet" computers
> -- i.e., those one can have in the same room as recording microphones.
> I can use my laptop now [very quiet], but would eventually like to have a
> desktop/tower that won't generate the vast quantities of noise I'm getting
> now from my current multi-fan wonder].
> Aside but related:
> I realize "recording microphones" is a very general statement [e.g., SM57
> behaves differently than a very sensitive condenser/ribbon].  Ideally one
> would have an isolation booth.  However, at present for me this is
> impractical.
> Cheers,
> Jed
>> On Thu, 31 Jan 2008 10:44:47 -0600
>> "Brett Clark" <brett.clark at zirous.com> wrote:
>>> I recommend spending the extra money on the variable
>>> speed fans.  They may cost $20 - $30 dollars, but they will be much
>>> quieter.
>>> Same with the CPU cooling fan.  The one that comes boxed with the CPU
>>> is probably the cheapest one that they could come up with.
>> I can't agree more with this.  I have a system that started out as a
>> prepackaged "quiet" PC based on a Pentium III CPU.  I upgraded to a P4
>> a while back, and now the only piece that's original on it is the case!
>> I knew the original PIII power supply wouldn't fit, so I got a quiet
>> PS, but hadn't realized that the stock P4 fans were so bad.  I finally
>> went and got a Zalman CPU fan and was amazed at how quiet it is.  The
>> loudest noise now comes from my hard drives.  (I went with a lower-end
>> graphics card to avoid a fan on it.  I really don't need a whole lot
>> of GPU power to run ardour!)
>> --
>> ======================================================================
>>        Joe Hartley - UNIX/network Consultant - jh at brainiac.com
>> Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
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