Two computer setups: Which Should I Get?

I know there are already many topics on building a Renoise DAW, etc. I’m just concerned here with your opinion in regard to a purchase. Below are two setups, which cost approximately the same. My question is: which would you recommend for a system that runs Renoise and lots of VST:s?

Any suggestions, comments and/or reasonings are welcome! Thanks.


[cpu] INTEL Core i7-920 Quad-Core (1366) 2,66GHz, 8MB cache - 1333MHz
[mobo] ASUS P6T WS Professional - Intel X58 - 6xDDR3 1333/(1600 OC) - SATA2 - SAS - GBLAN - 8CH - FW - eSATA - RAID
[mem] CORSAIR DDR3 3GB 1600MHz (3X1GB) PC-12800
[gfx] ASUS VGA-Card nVidia 9600GT 512MB PCI (EN9500GT OC/DI/512M)
[cpufan] ZALMAN CNPS9900 LED CPU Cooler support 1366 socket
[gpu] COOLERMASTER Real Power Modular 700W (RS-700-ASAA-A1)
[os] MICROSOFT Windows XP Home Edition 32-Bit OEM
[audio] M-Audio - Delta Audiophile 24/96


[cpu] INTEL Core 2 Duo E8600 (775) 3,33GHz, 6MB cache - 1333MHz
[mobo] ASUS P5Q - Intel P45 - 4xDDR2 1200 - SATA2 - GBLAN - 8CH - FW - eSATA
[mem] CORSAIR DDR2 4GB 1066MHz (2X2GB) PC-850
[gfx] ASUS VGA-Card nVidia 9600GT 512MB PCI (EN9500GT OC/DI/512M)
[cpufan] ZALMAN CNPS8700 LED CPU Cooler
[case] COOLERMASTER Cosmos (RC-1000-GP)
[gpu] COOLERMASTER Real Power Modular 700W (RS-700-ASAA-A1)
[os] MICROSOFT Windows XP Home Edition 32-Bit OEM
[audio] EMU - 1212M

In general, is Renoise more concerned with lots of RAM and/or fast RAM bus speeds (ie. would it matter much to have 4 GB DDR2 1066 MHz – or – 3 GB DDR3 1666 MHz?) or more concerned with CPU power?

“lots of vsti’s” is not enough to answer.

which kind of VSTi are you going to use?

for samplers (Kontakt, Sampletank, …), a fast HDD is the most important thing, followed by lot of fast RAM. for Synthetizers, usually the CPU is the key.

I would go for A, no doubt. But as IT-alien says, it might matter if you use big sample libraries, then B might be better, but it only got 150GB storage. hmm

In the end, I don’t think you can go much wrong with either, if at all.

I know this is quite tricky, since both systems are good. But still, I guess one of them must be slightly faster/better than the other. So how do we judge just by looking at the specs?

Some more information, though:

I use many sample-based VSTi:s such as Nexus and Omnisphere. ~10-20 MB of wave-files are loaded too (mostly FX, voices and percussion/drum samples). And 5-10 instances of softsynths such as Zebra2 and Korg Wavestation with heavy MIDI-CC automations. Many VST effects are also loaded for each track (mostly eq, compression and reverb).

Maybe I should try to put two (2x) WD VelociRaptor HDD:s at 10,000 RPM in Raid-0 mode, would that increase the performance in regard to disc-specific operations?

Does the DDR3 1666 Mhz RAM memory contribute a lot to performance compared to the DDR2 1066 MHz RAM memories? Etc.

I’d stay away from the Seagate drive or at least make sure it’s a newer model with an updated firmware. Look here for more info:

Since Renoise doesn’t support the Hyperthreading technology that Intel re-introduced with the new Core i7 processors, I don’t personally see any apparent gains. Renoise will still treat the i7 processor as if it was 2.66 GHz single core, right?

So it would be stupid to get this new processor just to watch it get beaten by a Dual Core-system on 3.33 GHz with no HT.

Although I’ve decided to go for a Raid-0 HDD setup (2x 150GB 10,000 RPM), just to see if some things speed up a little bit (loading samples in certain VSTi:s like Nexus for instance, and rendering to/reading from disc, etc).

Now it’s just the CPU that I’ll need to research more…

Or maybe I should just copy-paste the setups from users such as Keith303 or Beatslaughter, who both seem to have pretty hard pushed systems…

I have to stress that I’m building this particular system ONLY for Renoise. So it’s important for me to get all the bits to fall into place.

(If anyone is interested in getting paid for giving me some serious consultation here, just send a PM.)

Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t spend so much time on these questions at all. Just get an Intel i7 and hope that it’s improved in many ways and fast enough for Renoise.

It would be nice to benchmark against Keith303’s overclocked beast when I get the system up and running.

Some more research, though… must… resist… :lol:

Is it not possible to squeeze a little bit of information out of you guys? Where’s the really useful comments? ;)

Whatever setup you get make sure to get a juicy motherboard and ram, and a high wattage powersupply. Atleast my experience is; the more parts i can keep on the next upgrade the cheaper it will become and the frequency of updates will increase in the decrease of money spent on initial purchase.(indeed). Dual core or quad core will not make that much of a difference either way you choose, unless you peak cpu at the lowest setup, however i doubt you will.

However skip the emu and go with the [audio] M-Audio - Delta Audiophile 24/96 :) Emu and m-audio is the soundblaster and gravis ultrasound discussion all over, but we all know gus had the phattest sound. :P

I would definitely go for Setup A!

As to hyperthreading, that means Renoise will see the i7 as its 4 real cores, rather than 8 virtual cores. Most tests I’ve read have put the i7 as being about 10-20% faster than a same speed Core 2 Quad. Faster bus, integrated memory controller, true quad die (rather than 2 dual cores sandwiched together) and other advances make it seem a good move forwards.

I think that’s overkill? At least I’m sure it will not speed up rendering even in the slightest, because to even write with 50MB/s (which isn’t even fast), Renoise wold have to render a 5 minute song in ONE second ---- that is not going to happen anytime soon.

If you’re regularly using sample libraries that weigh many gigabytes, okay… but otherwise I at least wouldn’t RAID them, I’d just put system, apps, temp etc on one drive and your working data on the other.

Get both.

I definitively wouldn’t go for a RAID-0 as you’ll double your risk of complete data loss (in case of one hdd failing, all data will be lost).

Raid0 works well as a boot / apps / vst / temp drive, but I always save all important data on a seperate Raid1 array. The speed difference with Raid0 is noticeable particularly with large files, and like It-Alien said, it’s particularly quick with those sample-heavy VSTs, or if you just use a lot of big samples.

If I was in your situation, I’d probably go for a solid state drive for booting & apps, and get a Seagate ES hard drive for storing your important stuff.

Solid state drives are slowly getting bigger, they’re silent, consume less power, and are much, much faster. The only snag is the price, and the fact that the technology isn’t very well established yet.
I know a lot of SSD drives are only coming with 2 year warranties, but they are expected to have a life expectancy well beyond 5 years (if you write 20+GB a day on an 80Gb drive). Plus if the drive has a problem, the data on it will still be readable, just not writeable which is a big bonus.

using a raid0 since it was first introduced for motherboard controllers in around 2001 orso. never had any significant problems with it, but actually it doesn’t really speed up things a lot unless you’ve got a lot of sequential reads and/or writes going on, which is usually not the case if you use it the way in-fluence has described it (system drive/apps/vst).

don’t ask me why i’m doing it ever since… probably just because “i can” and because it doesn’t have a real downside performance-wise.

i’m making backups on an external 500GB drive every week of the whole array, so i don’t really care a lot if any of the, nowadays nearly worthless, wd-raptor drives will fail… guess as soon as reasonable SSD drives go below a price of 1,5€/GB i’m all game for the switch.
unfortunately that’s not gonna happen any time soon i fear… :-/

@in-fluence: SLC-based SSD drives are usually specified with a MTBF of around 20% less than ordinary 3,5" ATA harddrives. that doesn’t sound too dramatic to me, taking into account that i’ve still got some old 200-450MB harddrives in the attic which have endured more than a century of almost daily usage.

but no matter what: backups are your data’s best friend!

If you want easy setup and access of mass storage you might want to check out Drobo instead of RAID. I’m getting one and hopefully it’s going to work as advertised. Then a faster internal drive to record to and work off of.

drobo sounds good if you’re too lazy to build your own (RAID1) NAS-Server - because that’s actually what it is (plus a few bonus features).
but still, no RAID or Drobo “BeyondRAID” system can safe your ass from viruses or user malfunctions (accidentally overwriting files) in general. it’s flawed and handicaped by all disadvantages you have to face with every realtime on-the-fly kind of backup solution.

besides that it doesn’t seem to aid performance in any way, which is what the topic starter actually had in mind i think.

Yeah…if it’s to aid performance of the actual system and not just get a good protected (insert ‘’) storage solution so he could have a smaller config on his system, this doesn’t help, so it’s a bit OT I guess.
But I might aswell just say that I picked up mine earlier and the data redundancy makes me feel safer (let’s see when it crashes) and you can have mismatched drive sizes and hot-swap… automatically sizing it up and down. It works great… it’s noisy though but you can get a Droboshare for that. It’s an option to RAID if you don’t want to set it up, have gigabit lan and you have another room you can put it in or get the fan changed. Expensive too :confused: and no esata which I guess is sad for PC users to be stuck with USB 2.0 when using it as a DAS.