Build small form factor machine for Native

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Build small form factor machine for Native

Postby Perfect Record » Sat Dec 29, 2012 00:37

If someone wanted to build a MIcro ATX based machine for tracking in native, what are the considerations for motherboard and processor?

My needs are simple; record 30 or fewer tracks, do a live ref mix with minimal plugin counts.

The goal would be to build a low power consumption machine, hence quiet and needing minimal cooling. But I do need room for a small PCI card, so a laptop is out of the question. (Don't want to do a Magna chassis.)

What are the things that matter when it comes to processor and mobo choice?
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Re: Build small form factor machine for Native

Postby DJS » Sun Dec 30, 2012 23:34

It appears the important thing is that the chipset is compatible.
http://www.merging.com/pages/pcconfig
viewtopic.php?f=54&t=7083

Also it seems that a Radeon video card is safer than nVidia, but I don't think this has been confirmed definitively. Check the onboard video chipset on the motherboard if using that.

PC's are all pretty powerful CPU wise these days compared to a few years ago, so they shouldn't have any troubles with Native or the number of tracks you mention.
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Re: Build small form factor machine for Native

Postby Perfect Record » Tue Jan 01, 2013 00:12

DJS wrote:It appears the important thing is that the chipset is compatible...
Also it seems that a Radeon video card is safer than nVidia, but I don't think this has been confirmed definitively. Check the onboard video chipset on the motherboard if using that.


Most of the recommendations on the config page have to do with Mykerinos compatibility. The video recommendations also have to do with Mykerinos issues.

My question is regarding issues like buss speed and what processor characteristics matter to a native system, especially when you are trying to build a low power/low heat/low noise system.

Building a super fast system is easy. Building a fast enough & quiet small system is the question.
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Re: Build small form factor machine for Native

Postby DJS » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:11

Well I wouldn't go for an ATOM or ARM processor if that's what you mean. An Intel CPU and Intel chipset mobo of almost any modern speed and config should be fine, and surpass anything that big PMX systems were using just a few versions/years ago.
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Re: Build small form factor machine for Native

Postby Graemme » Wed Jan 02, 2013 02:27

http://www.silentpcreview.com

I've learned a lot from this site.
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Re: Build small form factor machine for Native

Postby Paulo M » Wed Jan 02, 2013 04:24

I suggest that you contact Merging directly, as they might already have exactly what you want. Fanless, small factor case, micro ATX based turnkey system.
Best regards,

Paulo M

Pyramix 7.1 Masscore
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Re: Build small form factor machine for Native

Postby mpdonahue » Wed Jan 02, 2013 17:49

Preston,
The real question here is what kind of hardware are you putting in this computer. Do you need native PCI support, lots of internal storage, removable storage, network I/O?
I'm building lots of silent (Fanless) PC's nowadays, but the requirements for hardware are very specific and there are lots of pitfalls along the way.
All the best,
-mark
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Re: Build small form factor machine for Native

Postby Perfect Record » Wed Jan 02, 2013 18:02

mpdonahue wrote:Preston,
The real question here is what kind of hardware are you putting in this computer. Do you need native PCI support, lots of internal storage, removable storage, network I/O?
I'm building lots of silent (Fanless) PC's nowadays, but the requirements for hardware are very specific and there are lots of pitfalls along the way.
All the best,
-mark


Thanks Mark,
I need a PCI MADI card. That's the only reason I'm not looking for the convenience of a laptop. Mass storage can be external.
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Re: Build small form factor machine for Native

Postby Perfect Record » Sat Jan 05, 2013 04:06

Still wondering whether anyone has noticed whether a quad core processor has any noticeable impact on Native?
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Re: Build small form factor machine for Native

Postby Julian Gough » Mon Jan 07, 2013 03:14

Sorry I'm late,

Perfect Record, your request is not difficult, just requires a little thought. I have recently had eMerging the UK dealers build a Masscore PC for me. I told them it should be as small as possible, as powerful as possible but above all, quiet. I didn't say silent, but I said that if the machine was near by, while I'm mixing classical music, I should not be bothered by it.

The machine they built was in a 3U 19inch rack box, it did have fans but several larger ones that could move the required volume of air while spinning at slower speeds, therefore quietly. The 3U height was needed because of the GFX card but it also put a lot of space inside the machine for the air to flow freely. Air being squeezed through small gaps cause noise along with small fans running at high speed.

To be honest, you do not need a maxed out PC to achieve what you want to do, and there are plenty of options out there. My point really is don't be afraid to use cooling, it can be done quietly without too much effort.

All the best

Julian
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Re: Build small form factor machine for Native

Postby Perfect Record » Sat Jan 12, 2013 19:51

Julian Gough wrote:Sorry I'm late,

Perfect Record, your request is not difficult, just requires a little thought. I have recently had eMerging the UK dealers build a Masscore PC for me. I told them it should be as small as possible, as powerful as possible but above all, quiet. I didn't say silent, but I said that if the machine was near by, while I'm mixing classical music, I should not be bothered by it.

The machine they built was in a 3U 19inch rack box, it did have fans but several larger ones that could move the required volume of air while spinning at slower speeds, therefore quietly. The 3U height was needed because of the GFX card but it also put a lot of space inside the machine for the air to flow freely. Air being squeezed through small gaps cause noise along with small fans running at high speed.

To be honest, you do not need a maxed out PC to achieve what you want to do, and there are plenty of options out there. My point really is don't be afraid to use cooling, it can be done quietly without too much effort.

All the best

Julian


Julian,
I've built quiet desktop machine for Merging MassCore, so I'm aware of quiet cooling options, but I'd like to make an even quieter machine which possibly be located in the performing space, not far from the mics.

So what processor did eMerging install in your machine? Did it use onboard video or a separate video board?
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Re: Build small form factor machine for Native

Postby mpdonahue » Mon Jan 14, 2013 16:57

Preston,
If you're interested in building a fanless PC, you start with the case and design out from there. Most of the fanless cases give a max TDP value to work with. You also need to factor the amount of cooling your motherboard requires and the heat that the add on card adds to the mix.
From there you need to weigh the ability to reduce the thermal controls in the CPU to gain performance with the amount of heat generated.
I have to admit that the true fanless computer is not for the faint of heart. It requires a lot of careful decisions to not end up with a roasted processor or motherboard.
All the best,
-mark
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Re: Build small form factor machine for Native

Postby Perfect Record » Mon Jan 14, 2013 21:38

mpdonahue wrote:Preston,
If you're interested in building a fanless PC, you start with the case and design out from there. ...
-mark


More I read about it, the more I think that I'll go with a well designed quiet box with fans. Also read that a very quiet power supply with a fan (perhaps Seasonic) is often better than fanless design. Fanless supplies just dump their heat into the case, which then increases the cooling load of the box.
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