[linux-audio-user] My new workstation

Larry Troxler lt at westnet.com
Sun Feb 11 00:32:25 EST 2007

Thanks for everyone here who has been a help answering my various
questions lately. In return, I'd like to report a bit on the new music
PC I put together, in the hopes that this information will be useful to
anyone who is planning on doing the same.

It is running 64studio version 1.0, augmented of course by various
Debian packages. I won't comment much on the software end of things
here; mainly I wanted to post a list of hardware that I found to be
compatible with this distribution.  I haven't found any Linux support
problems (yet!) with this hardware, but I haven't tried the DVI video
output on the motherboard, nor the on-board sound - neither of which I
will use.

The cost was about $1250US : $400 for the M-audio 1010, ordered from
www.musiciansfriend.com, and $855 for the rest of the goods, which were
ordered from www.newegg.com.
The cost will increase by $400 or $500 or so when I add a touchscreen LCD.

After considering various methods of user interface, keeping in mind
that this machine will be used as a gig synth occasionally, I have
settled on getting a touchscreen LCD.
I thought also of an LCD monitor together with an input device such as
one of those jog-wheel controllers that are used for video editing, or
perhaps this USB button panel:
http://www.x-keys.com/xkeys/xkbuttonp.php. I also am considering whether
the media-center display and knob on the case might be adequate for
simply synth use.
Even though I don't relish the thought of spending money on a
touchscreen, I think I will do it, because in terms of time spent on the
software end, this will certainly be the least work to get going, in
comparison to the other options.

Here is the list of the hardware, with my comments on each component:

Sound card: M-audio Delta 1010 :
I overspent on this one; the 10 audio I/Os are way more than I need, and
I don't plan on doing recording.  Something like the 1010LT would have
been fine for my needs. However, I thought that having the I/O in a rack
was a big plus. A minor detail that I hadn't considered is that there is
no headphone amp in this rack, as I suppose is the norm for high-end audio.

Case: Antec Fusion media-center style with 430W power supply :
I chose this because of its reputation for being quiet, and because of
the 2 line display and knob on the front panel. I haven't done anything
with using the display and knob yet; I plan to, but it's low on the
priority list right now. My original plan was to get a 3U rackmount
case, but in the end I gravitated to this one instead. I would like to
try to be able to put it in a rack still. I think it should be possible
to screw some brackets in the side panels with rack-mounting holes,
since the case is about 17 1/2 inches wide, and it seems that the sides
are sturdy enough to carry the weight - the case cover is just the top
panel, and the bottom and sides are one piece.

I'm not sure if it's as quiet as it could be, due to my choice of CPU
cooler, but it's plenty quiet enough for my needs. I have both the
chassis fans running on low speed.

Motherboard: Abit NF-M2 nView Socket AM2 nVidia GeForce 6150 Micro ATX
I chose this one because out of the micro-ATX socket AM2 boards, this
was the one that I found the most positive Linux-compatibility reports
for. I'm using the on-board video. I don't however have the nVidia video
driver running yet, mostly because 64studio doesn't have a debian
package of it that matches the SMP multimedia kernel that version 1.0
However,  things like scrolling in Firefox are painfully slow without
it, so even though I don't care about the video performance, I will
probably have to address this.

CPU:  AMD 64X2 4200+

CPU cooler: Thermaltake CL-P0373 :
I found it difficult to tell which coolers would really work with the
AMD AM2 socket, and which ones would fit the Antec Fusion case.
This cooler is rather tall; the top of it comes to under an inch from
the top of the case. I imagine that this may be resulting in more noise
and less
cooling performance than a shorter but horizontally larger cooler might
achieve. However, since it is certainly quiet enough for my needs, I'm
not going to bother trying something different.
RAM: G.Skill 2GB ( 2 x 1GB dual channel)

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 SATA 3.0Gb/s 250-GB
I bought this because of the Barracudas' reputation for quietness. I
haven't addressed RAID yet. My credit card is still a little sore from
the purchase, but especially since I plan to take this machine out to
use as a MIDI driven synth, I had better get a second drive at some point.

DVD/CD R/W : Asus 16X :


Well, that's about it. Of course, I'd welcome any comments or questions
about this setup.


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