Studio Update: The new DAW is performing well. Authorized Steinway from Garritan no longer sputters due to a lack of computing horsepower. Finding the x64 driver for the M-Audio Midisport 2x2 was challenging. (If you happen to need it, look here. Although it is beta as of this writing, it appears to be working.)

BTW: This is a new version of the Xeon W3520. The box was marked as V2 batch 3001B720.


Studio Update: We built the new system yesterday and powered up without a glitch. Now running at 3.37 GHz. The Asus Rampage III Gene operates with the Intel Xeon W3520 perfectly so far. Looks good in the Antec case. Not quite there yet with the silencing, but the performance is responsive. SuperPI: 12.455s 1M / Cinebench: 5.56 (scoring just above the Core i7 960). Below is the new heatsink.


Studio Update: Although the Gateway 700X is now super-quiet, the Pentium 4 that powers it can't keep up with Cubase and the Garritan Steinway. Running a single core (Northwood processor) at 2.26 GHz with only 1 GB memory just doesn't seem like much compared to today's multi-core wonders. We finally decided to advance into the 21st century with a new quiet digital audio workstation for the studio. After two months of intensive investigation into sources, options, and compatibility, here's today's order:

Mobo: ASUS Rampage III Gene link
RAM: Mushkin Redline 6GB DDR3 1600 link
CPU: Intel Xeon W3520 2.66GHz link
HSF: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 link
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 640GB link
ODD: ASUS Black 24X DVD Burner link
GPU: ASUS EN8400GS Silent/P/512M link
Case: Antec P183 Black Mid Tower link
PSU: Antec CP-850 850W Modular link
Fans: Nexus 120mm Silent link
LCD: Samsung BX2235 21.5" LED link

That's an eight-thread quad-core system with 6 GB and a nice monitor for $1,327.39 and some labor. (The old Gateway cost $2K!)

The Xeon W3520 was selected for its higher "binning" - passing a higher quality test and intended for workstation computers. Essentially equivalent to a Core i7 920, it adds ECC (error correction code ) capability, but the reviews on the various motherboards persuaded us to go with the R3G, opting for performance over ECC. We aim to reach almost the speed of a Core i7 975 for 1/3 of the cost.

Check out this inspiring video on Youtube by trubyd44: link

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