Intel Core i5-4670 Digital Audio Workstation for Pulsar PCI cards

This build was for a recording artist who wanted to continue using their original Creamware Pulsar cards as they had a number of ongoing projects that were using the plugins and software that are part of the original Creamware architecture. The Creamware Pulsar cards have a PCI interface so we needed to use a motherboard that had at least 3 PCI slots.

ASUS H87 Plus

ASUS H87 Plus motherboard

The Asus H87-PLUS has a total of 4 x PCIe sockets (2 x 16 / 2 x1) and 3 x PCI sockets.

The Creamware cards are now supported by Sonic Core who provide an update to the Scope software to version 5.1, this allows the cards to run on windows 7 64bit. There are few bits of tweaking in the bios needed to get the cards to be stable but after some research and testing the unit was rock solid.

 

The full Spec;

  • Antec NSK4000 B2 Tower
  • ASUS H87-PLUS motherboard
  • Intel Core i5-4670
  • 8GB (Kit) DDR3 PC3-12800
  • Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1 TB 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive
  • Optiarc AD-7241S-0B DVDRW SATA Black
  • firewire 1394a 2 port PCI Express Card
  • LiteOn IHAS124-04 DVD+-R/RW/DL/RAM
  • OCZ ZS Series 650W Power Supply 80 Plus Bronze
  • Windows 7 64bit

 

 

Intel Core i5-4670 Rackmount Digital Audio Workstation

This unit was built for a professional musician running reaper. The customer wanted the unit to be relatively quiet and mount in a 19″ rack. The operating noise was not too critical as there was a separate live area for recording but the customer wanted to make sure that the towers sound level would not be too intrusive while mixing.

Scythe Shuriken

Scythe Shuriken Rev B Quiet Low Profile CPU Cooler

The Scythe Shuriken CPU cooler has proved to be a very reliable unit and will cool CPU’s with a maximum Thermal Design Power of up to 95w, so it can work with pretty much all of the Intel Haswell Core i series CPU’s. There is a good article relating to CPU coolers on the quiet PC forum.

The Scythe CPU cooler combined with the FSP raider Power supply ensures that the operating noise is pretty minimal, even when pushing the performance of the CPU. One problem area with operating noise can be ‘case rattle’ but the Lian li tower is pretty good with rubber grommets to dampen any Hard drive noise.

The full spec;

  • Lian li PC-C32B Aluminium desktop tower including rack ears
  • FSP Raider 650W Quiet PSU 80+ Silver
  • ASUS H87-PLUS motherboard
  • Intel Core i5-4670 3.40 GHz Processor
  • 8GB (Kit) DDR3 PC3-12800
  • Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1 TB 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive
  • Scythe Shuriken Rev B Quiet Low Profile CPU Cooler
  • LiteOn IHAS124-04 DVD+-R/RW/DL/RAM
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 64bit
Intel Core i5-4670 Rackmount Digital Audio Workstation

Intel Core i5-4670 Rackmount Digital Audio Workstation

Lian li PC-C32B Aluminium tower

Lian li PC-C32B Aluminium rackmount tower

Haswell

Intel Core i5-3570 Photography Workstation

This build was for a photographer. Their old machine was starting to creak. After being brought in for repair a couple of times we decided to build a new machine. The customer was running Adobe Photoshop CS 6 with Adobe Lightroom 4. The software was mainly used for simple editing tasks, nothing too intensive, though processing raw images can be very slow if the resources are not available. We decided to build the machine around an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5-3570 with 16GB RAM. This would provide the performance necessary for an efficient workflow.

Adobe Mercury Graphics Engine

Adobe have abandoned their support for Nvidia’s proprietary CUDA GPU acceleration found in earlier versions of their software, in favour of OpenCL. The Mercury graphics engine allows you to use other manufacturers graphics processors for GPU acceleration. This will speed up certain tasks but also allow you to utilise a number of options that are unavailable if you do not have a supported graphics card.

More information can be found on the Adobe website here and here

For this build we decided to stick with the on board Intel HD4000 Graphics, as this is supported by Photoshop and for the kind of tasks the customer would be running, it did not really seem necessary to add an expensive separate graphics card. Which could always be added at a later date if it seemed necessary.

The full spec…

  • GIGABYTE GZ-M1 Micro ATX Tower
  • OCZ CoreXStream 500W ATX PSU
  • Asus P8H77-M LE MATX Desktop Motherboard – Intel H77
  • Intel Core i5 i5-3570 3.40 GHz CPU
  • Crucial 16GB kit (8GBx2) Ballistix, DDR3 PC3-12800 RAM
  • Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB Hard Drive
  • Pioneer BDR-207EBK Blu-ray drive
  • Microsoft Windows 8 (64-bit)
OCZ CoreXStream 500W ATX PSU

OCZ CoreXStream 500W ATX PSU

GIGABYTE GZ-M1

GIGABYTE GZ-M1

Asus P8H77-M LE

Asus P8H77-M LE

 

Intel Core i5-3570 Gaming Upgrade

A customer wanted an old gaming machine upgraded. It was running a core 2 duo and Windows XP with 2GB RAM. The Tower was an Antec NSK 4 series which was in good condition and is a pretty good tower so we decided to reuse it. The DVD writer was also working fine and we kept the existing 1TB hard drive as a secondary drive as it had all the customers data and meant there was no need to start transferring all the files.

I recommended the 2GB XFX Radeon HD 7850 Graphics Card as, in my experience, they tend to perform better for gaming at this price point than the Nvidia cards. It is quite a long card but it fitted in safely without having to remove any drive bays.

I also upgraded the PSU as, although the existing PSU was working fine, it fell below the recommended specification for the graphics card. The Coolermaster PSU’s are pretty reliable and offer good value for money.

The full spec;

 

  • XFX Radeon HD 7850 Graphics Card 2GB (FX-785A-CNJC)
  • Coolermaster Elite 500W PSU
  • 8GB (Kit) DDR3 PC3-12800 / 8-8-8-24 /Unbuffered / NON-ECC / DDR3-1600 / 1.5V
  • Asus P8H77-M LE MATX Desktop Motherboard – Intel H77 Express Chipset
  • Intel Core i5-3570 3.40 GHz Processor
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 SATA600 – 7200rpm 1TB
  • Microsoft Windows 8 (64-bit)

Check out Tom’s Hardware for a full Windows 8 review here.