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Old 3rd September 2012, 04:43 PM   #11
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I would care about computer noise first of all. I've assembled a new build recently (still running into old case LaScala + old PSU Enermax Noisetaker)

ASRock Z77E-ITX LGA 1155
Newegg.com - ASRock Z77E-ITX LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard

Intel Celeron G550
Newegg.com - Intel Celeron G550 Sandy Bridge 2.6GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics BX80623G550

COOLER MASTER GeminII S524
Newegg.com - COOLER MASTER GeminII S524 120mm Long Life Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge

it runs very quit and cool only HDD (WD VelociRaptor) is audible but if SSD used instead it would be completely silent

Putting all into a case like SILVERSTONE SST-SG08 you will end up with a sexy jukebox.
Newegg.com - COOLER MASTER GeminII S524 120mm Long Life Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge

Here is the option for an audio output
USB Digital-Audio Converter


Myself for the last decade I am using Audio 2496 that was tweaked with AD8620 recently and 6N1P-EL84 SET as a computer multimedia. In my opinion computer is weakest part. I also feed PC audio output using coaxial SPDF from same MAudio2496 into Wadia decoding computer I mast say that same CD plays much better from a Wadia transport than from a PC via SPDF.

So I agreed completely with posts form marce above computer is good for HiFi but for decent sound dedicated transports-DAC or LP tables-MC cartridges better be used as an audio source.
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Old 3rd September 2012, 04:47 PM   #12
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sorry here is the link for a computer case

Newegg.com - SILVERSTONE Sugo Series SST-SG08B Black Aluminum Mini-ITX Desktop Computer Case 600W 80+ Bronze Certified / Single +12V rail Power Supply
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Old 3rd September 2012, 06:25 PM   #13
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Here is an older article that may be of use to you,

Guide: Understanding audio specifications and hardware - techPowerUp! Forums

I don't remember off hand what the noise spec was on the Asus Crosshair board, But I know it was pretty good otherwise I would not have recommended it.

Typically a good one has a noise figure in the -112db range or better sometimes, as this takes some digging to find.

My Gigabyte 990XA-UD3 claims a -108db noise figure this is not as good as my current analog recording system based on a Mackie 32-8 mixing board but is fine for the common stereo system and it does support 24 bit at 192KHZ with 7.1 outputs.

You will generally can get about a 3db to 10db or so better noise figure with a good card and the better they are the more they cost.

My my GINA 24 card is spec'ed at -129db of noise for the mic input but only has a 110db dynamic range.
This is an older card at 24/96 in and out and I think that it does a little better than the advertised specs as this card also has balanced ins and outs as well though I am not using them.
I love this card and it works great and sounds great!

My X-FI Elite Pro system works great as well and has similar specs but does not have balanced ins or outs.
Creative's Mixer is a PITA to figure out but I did get it to work.
I prefer my Gina24 card when it comes to having to route the signals around in such programs as Live Professor as it was designed for multi-channel recording in mind.

As far as noise issues I have had these types of problems as well from on board sound systems as well as from a card.

I have about a mile of cabling in my system so you can just imagine how difficult it is to get the thing quiet every time I move it around.

Problems usually stem from ground loops and how the cables are routed.
In several different instance's I have gotten absolutely no noise from the on board sound system as well as unbearable noise including the sound cards as well.

Right now I have both hooked up (motherboard and cards) and it is Dead Quiet with all of the gains turned up and risking blown speakers should a sound come through.

I am using two old Dell P4's and an Asus A8V-X opty 185.
The sound cards are the ones mentioned and an old Phillips PSC-706 and a SONY PCM-2600 DAT machine.

The dynamic range of 16bits as only 96 DB and is what most are used to hearing.
The dynamic range of 24bits is 144db and the difference is night and day not to mention the better sampling rate.
So yes the lower the noise you can get the better off you will be but this does come with cost.

Quality of the sound from the system is a big issue as this comes from using quality components.
For instance although I am not getting any noise from my motherboard sound system the quality is sub par compared to my 16 bit Pillips sound card and Sony Dat machine as none of them compare to my 24 bit interfaces either.

I have yet to listen to my 990XA-UD3 board hooked up to my system as I have been busy overclocking it and benchmarking it since I got it back in May, but I will be doing so shortly.

For the record I have gotten the FX-6100 to run at 4.9GHZ to 5GHZ well but it is not 100% Prime 95 stable.
So Far 4.784Ghz seems to be the limit for prime stable with a lot of voltage and pushing the heat to its max of 69 degrees celsius on a Corsair H100 cooler.
Although this is quiet high this is only for stability testing.
As this machine will never see this kind of load again throughout the rest of its lifetime except for the occasional video rendering here and there.

I don't have any USB sound devices, But depending on what you are trying to set up I have read of issues with latency and properly syncing up with other sources as well.
I do have a friend that has had problems using his in Linux as well, But I don't know if he had ever solved it.

FWIW



jer
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Old 6th December 2012, 05:21 AM   #14
BonkM is offline BonkM  Canada
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So Skibum, there hasn't been any activity in here for a couple months, but I was wondering if you ever came to any conclusions about a good mobo?

I'm looking into this now because I'm building a single purpose music server PC. It's going to go PC->USB->JKMk3 HiFace->Lite - DAC-83->headphones/powered monitors.

So I'm just looking for a mobo that's going to also have great power supplying capabilities, as in linear, but not worried about sound card or onboard SPDIFs or anything.

Anyway, let me know if you found anything. I'm personally looking into the Asus Sabertooth Z77, since it's got mil-spec mosfets and a dedicated ground. It's a bit pricey, and I haven't decided on it, but if it does what I want I'd be really happy.
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Old 6th December 2012, 06:20 AM   #15
freax is offline freax  Australia
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I bought the Asus P8Z68 Deluxe Gen 3, couldn't be happier.

I was going for reliability, but if you think that there is some kind of benefit in audio quality by overbuilding your motherboards volt reg and filtering circuit then check THIS out:
Click the image to open in full size.

Check out whats underneath the heatsink in the back, oh and it has 8x sata ports onboard too, which kinda help with that whole flac/wav storage issue I've been having

It should be noted that I was a huge Gigabyte fan when they released the GA-P35-DS3R and this is my first asus motherboard in 10 years and I've had no issues so far and I'm more than satisfied with the build quality, especially considering that this motherboard was $350 upon release and now its going for dirt cheap $160 aud.

I'm one of the ones who prefers the older non-UEFI bios tho, I'm still waiting out on a possible open source bios to come along.

It should also be noted that the mobo has inbuilt surge protection for the USB ports and a spread spectrum noise reduction feature, legacy PCI ports for those ancient soundcards and it can install Windows XP if you wish too, all onboard chipsets are supported under XP.
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Last edited by freax; 6th December 2012 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 6th December 2012, 08:50 AM   #16
BonkM is offline BonkM  Canada
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Thanks for answering so quickly, Freax.

I was also looking at the newer version of that mobo, the P8Z77 V Deluxe ($289). The Sabertooth looked pretty cool and had a lot of talk about it, it also comes with a 5year warranty opposed to the regular 2, but this V Deluxe looks nice too. I'm happy to hear you're so happy with yours. It's very reassuring, I was looking at Gigabyte ones for a while.

I'm going to go with either Win 8 or 7, then strip it down. I've been pretty happy with 7 and trust it'll keep working for me, and I've also read in quite a few places that a stripped down Win7 is a good system to listen from. I'm still new to this UEFI bios thing, though, what's the difference or advantage between regular bios? All the newer boards seem to have it and tout it.

And since my mind isn't firing on all pistons at this hour, what is under that huge, badd-*** looking heat-sink?
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Old 6th December 2012, 10:56 AM   #17
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If you are running serial data to a DAC via interface of choice, I don't think that you are going to run into any noise issues unless it comes up the data cable and/or by a ground loop of some sort.

The UEFI bios lets you change the bios setting right from a windows utility.
Underneath the heat sink on the back of the board is the CPU regulator (VRM).

jer
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Old 7th December 2012, 04:15 AM   #18
BonkM is offline BonkM  Canada
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Hmm, interesting to hear about those UEFI bios, Jerry, that really sounds like it would save a lot of time. I wonder if they really offer the same degree of tweaking that the normal way does? You can still O/C the old way on a UEFI board, right?

And thanks for letting me know about the CPU regulator, haha. I do consider myself pretty computer and tech savvy, but I actually never knew what was under those heat-sinks beside the CPU on mobos. Makes a whole lot of sense now, though

I've come across a few posts and what not talking about galvanic isolation, and I get that, but I wonder if all USB 3.0 mobo ports are galvanically isolated? And I still feel that even with a proper board, if good quality power goes in and is then dealt with properly, it's going to make it come out nice too

So I suppose that's what I'm really looking for, and I really appreciate the responses so far that are pushing me closer to that end Any further recommendations or insight is highly recommended!
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Old 7th December 2012, 07:40 AM   #19
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Yes, I think that it is kind of neat, But if you are overclocking and you hit a value that is to high or one that the CPU doesn't like it locks up just the same and you have to reset it and wait for a it to recover and reboot.
AMD's Overdrive utility (AOD) works this way as well as I have not had the pleasure of tweaking an Intel system yet.

I have found that it is good to find the good baseline overclock using it and use that data to set the final overclock tweaked straight from within the bios itself.

It would seem that it is less time but it is not as now instead of going directly into the bios on a restart you now have to wait for it to reboot and then start up the utility program.
And sometimes windows would get screwed up on an error like that and you have to wait for it to sort itself out before you can continue.
Although I have had to do a complete reinstall of the OS due to such errors as this is not new in the world of overclocking.

Ya, It is amazing these new mother boards, when you think about the CPU is using 100 amps of current and as much as 130 to 150 amps at 1.6v on a good overclock at (or nearly) 5Ghz !!!

I have had my FX-6100 at those speeds just fine and would run all day at 4.95Ghz with corsair H100 cooler.
However I did back it down to 4.75Ghz to be 100% prime95 stable and my temps never go above 66c for a very long run.

I am even running 1333 ram and I can get it to 1479Mhz, But I am sure that if I had some faster ones my high end overclock just might be 100% stable.

I only get two cores that drop out at that rate,But it didn't do it when I first got to that point.
Anyhow it is an awesome setup and I don't use it to play games but video work is in store for it soon otherwise I really don't need to overclock it at all.

The benchmark score are quite high at these speeds and is within the top 17% of all of the scores posted all around the world and is amongst some of the top ones for a FX6100.

I have a friend that just built a new FX-8350 with the same cooler and reached 5.1Ghz by just upping the multiplier and bumping the Vcore to 1.38v to 1.43v or something.
Right now he has it at 4.8Ghz stable just using the AOD utility.

It is a new world for him and he has not yet learned how to tweak it from the bios yet as I can't wait to see what he can get out of it as I want a newer chip so bad.

I have a Gigabyte GA-990XA-UD3 board and he has the 990FX-UD5.

I wasn't expecting the UD3 board to get that high but it does and is perfect if you are planning on a Crossfire setup (16x,8x,4x) although the 990FX is better for this for (16x,16x).
But either are very capable boards.

I have even considered the 970-UD3 for a budget system with the FX-6300 for my next budget setup as there is a $70 difference just for the two extra cores on the FX-8350

I have currently chosen a ASUS M5A88-V EVO for the FX-6300 because it has a PATA (IDE) interface and 3 PCI slots to support my GINA 24 soundcard,Matrox R100 video digitizer and a SCSI controller.

Because of these things I am forced to run XP64 anyhow or Linux in which I am happy with as long as I can get a real good overclock.

From what I have read this board does well in that area and it is a 880g chipset with on board video and is more than anything that I have now and have been used to.

The Motherboard,CPU,RAM and 1TB drive is at $384.96, as I have every thing else I need (PS and case and etc.).

If I need I still have access to the FX-6100 with a XFX 6870 DD card as I had built that one for my mother.

I just want some thing to run my audio stuff and LTspice and Circuitmaker as well as some simple CAD things as it is all 2D, The rest is just web surfing.
So I have chosen some 2133 DDR3's for it.

I would like to one day build a dual CPU Classified system from EVGA though....What a killer system as it is the most exterem that you could get!!!

The new FX-8350 is kinda putting a hurtin' on the Intel's now especially overclocked for threaded apps.
Even though clock for clock they are faster.

You have to go into the + $500 i7-38xx and above series to make a worth while improvement and what is the worth of the extra $$$$ for audio?

AMD's next chip the Steamroller is due out next year sometime and they have stated that it supposed to be at least 45% faster than the Piledriver.
I guess we will see what the Haswell will have to offer too.

It is rumoured be Intel's last offering of the socketed chips but we shall see.

Intel: We're Still Committed To Sockets

I am not sure if the USB ports are isolated I suspect not.

I had an issue a while back with one particular machine (still do but not as bad), were it was injecting noise in to the grounds of the system.

Most of the issues were caused by improper cable routing and ground loops as I have everything routed to a Mackie 32-8 mixer.
Only the one machine still makes noise and the other 2 or 3 don't.
But as I said not as bad as they are on a long run of cable but it is the only one that makes noise.

I just haven't taken the time to sort it out yet, as I rarely use it.

Even if a hook another completely different machine to the very same lines it is dead quiet so I know that this must be a power supply issue with that one machine.
It is an old dell P4 and I always use a good sound card and never the on board system as the older ones always sounded terrible.
Not so much with today's newer boards though.

jer

Last edited by geraldfryjr; 7th December 2012 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 7th December 2012, 07:51 AM   #20
freax is offline freax  Australia
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Galvanic isolation? no, all usb ports are required by code to be earthed to the chassis for RFI shielding to work properly, you wouldn't want RFI to leak out of your computer and into your audio system now would you?

You can however get usb optical isolation boxes that will isolate everything for you but eh whats the point, unless your pc is injecting noise into the I2C bus you needent worry.

And whats this I hear about using soundcards for analog audio output??? get an external DAC! you won't be disappointed with the sound that comes out of it.

Even the best and most expensive and flashy soundcard you can buy on gods green earth couldn't match even the cheapest external dacs, and if its made by creative forgeddaboutit, creative is pulling your leg as are all of the other soundcard manufacturers, and I'm glad that I finally got out of that scam years ago.

di dit di dit di dit di dit di dit, thats your mobile phone talking to your stereo.

One thing that I am really unhappy about with UEFI bios is that they have stripped out the option to have your computer boot up at a certian time of the day.

I might see if its got an option to turn your pc on after a power interruption tho, that would be a good workaround.

I could really do with that feature as all of my equipment runs on a timer.

Oh and another thing with uefi, load times are really slow, my pentium 2 could get through the boot process faster, and its compatible with coreboot.

computers arent fast enough for you these days without overclocking? you know what goes in that gorgeous motherboard of mine? an intel core i3 2120-T with 1333 ddr3.

My moms computer could run ltspice and foobar2k....now granted my mum has a core 2 quad with a gtx260 o/c but her previous computer was a pentium D and even that could run ltspice and fb2k, matter of fact the previous computer that she had before that could run fb2k and ltspice, and that was a pentium 3 933!!, going back even further would be pointless, I hope you get the idea.

having to get rid of heat will just raise your audio noise floor in the room and reduce the quality of your music and the enjoyment of said music, so its generally frowned upon to overclock an audio system pc source.

Kids these days *shakeshead*
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Last edited by freax; 7th December 2012 at 08:19 AM.
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