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Ane Atsuko Sobreira Minato

Advice on buying a motherboard

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Posted (edited)

Hi, guys,

I'm helping a friend to build a computer to his first homestudio.  He wants a Intel I9, motherboard with chipset Z390, 64GB RAM, 1SSD and 1HD, to start.  We found the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XI HERO (WI-FI) has all he needs but the fact that it's focused to gamers, make us wonder if there's a similar more focused for audio...  Can you give some advices?

Thanks and happy new year!

Edited by Atsuko

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Posted (edited)

No one is likely to make a motherboard focused mainly on audio--it it just too small a market relative to gaming. Gaming boards are likely to give you much more graphics than you need for audio, but otherwise are not bad as far as performance.  Contemporary motherboards are usually more than adequate for the relatively low demand of audio work. Onboard WiFi can almost always be disabled if that is an issue--download and read the motherboard manual before you buy.

Edited by slartabartfast
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+1, I have the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS X HERO (WI-FI) (previous version) in this machine with an i7-8700K. Back then it was pretty much splitting hairs on performance above a certain level, so deciding was based more on the feature set on the board. You can easily disable hardware without issues, but depending on what he will be doing, an i9/64GB of RAM could easily be overkill for audio work. You have to be pulling some fairly hard-core VST(i)s to require that, which is hard to imagine with someone starting out (it would save money initially to only get a pair of 16GB (32GB total) and see if he actually uses it - then could add another pair later). Audio is not overly stressful to a system, but video work and gaming would be (why MB manufacturers to not target the audio market). Also, for either of those he will want to get a dedicated graphics card (but shouldn't need it for audio only).

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The guys at Silent PC have been my go to PC makers for 3 different systems (I'm not an owner, get no commission). Below are their two motherboard options and specs. https://silentpc.com/daw

Their "basic" Pro Audio DAW PC Motherboard Specs

Asus ROG STRIX X299-E

Intel® Socket 2066 for X-Series Processors

Up to 128 GB of DDR4 Memory (Quad Channel Memory Architecture)

2x USABLE PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16, x16/x16, x16/x16/x8)

2x PCIe 3.0 x4

1x PCI e.0 x1

Intel® X299

3X USB 3.1 Gen 2 (2x at back panel Type-A/Type-C)

8X USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) (4x at back panel)

4X USB 2.0 ports (2x at back panel)

8X SATA 6Gb/s

2X M.2 (PCIe 3.0 x4)

1X Gigabit LAN

Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

Bluetooth V4.2

Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready

ATX Form Factor

OPTIONAL Upgraded Pro Audio DAW Motherboard

Asus X299 Deluxe II

Intel® Socket 2066 for X-Series Processors

Up to 128 GB of DDR4 Memory (Quad Channel Memory Architecture)

2x Usable PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16, x16/x16, x16/x16/x8)

2x PCIe 3.0 x1

Intel® X299

3X USB 3.1 Gen 2 (2x USB Type-C ports, 1x at USB 3.1 Gen 2 at front panel)

8X USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB 3.0)(4x at back panel)

6X USB 2.0 ports (2x at back panel)

8X SATA 6Gb/s

3X M.2 (PCIe 3.0 x4)

1X Gigabit LAN

1X 5G LAN

Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

Supports MU-MIMO

Bluetooth V5.0

2x Thunderbolt 3 Ports support DisplayPort and Thunderbolt video outputs

Daisy chain up to 12 Thunderbolt devices

Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready

ATX Form Factor

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, mettelus said:

+1, I have the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS X HERO (WI-FI) (previous version) in this machine with an i7-8700K. Back then it was pretty much splitting hairs on performance above a certain level, so deciding was based more on the feature set on the board. You can easily disable hardware without issues, but depending on what he will be doing, an i9/64GB of RAM could easily be overkill for audio work. You have to be pulling some fairly hard-core VST(i)s to require that, which is hard to imagine with someone starting out (it would save money initially to only get a pair of 16GB (32GB total) and see if he actually uses it - then could add another pair later). Audio is not overly stressful to a system, but video work and gaming would be (why MB manufacturers to not target the audio market). Also, for either of those he will want to get a dedicated graphics card (but shouldn't need it for audio only).

Thanks, Mettelus.  I think it will be his choice, good to know that you aprove this board.

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14 hours ago, BRainbow said:

I use an Asrock Z390 Taichi which works great with an Intel Core i9-9900K.  It has Thunderbolt and 3 M.2 slots.  A great combo and the MOBO is $229. vs $289., at least on Amazon.

Thanks, BRock, this is going to be a very good competitor for the Asus Rog.

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That Rog Maximus is a huge overkill just for audio. Motherboards do all the same thing with marginal difference in performance. With just one SSD and one HDD you won't gain much by investing in top of the line mb. Obviously it doesn't hurt anything other than wallet, but I have had great results with  simple basic boards (prime/pro etc) for 1/8 the price.

Just my thoughts of course. If I was spending my friends money, I would use all the info I could get so I wouldn't get crucified later for burning too much cash.

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Umu2002, 

I think you didn't read it correctly.  I'm not spending my friends money! He chose the pieces, I'm just helping him.  You don't know what are his future plans for his studio so, it'd be better be more polite with your comments.  Thanks anyway.

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Intel is "stuck" with current technology for a while. Till your friend is going to use advantages of current top mobos immediately, I do not think it is wise to  make investment into the "future" (the next generation can bring new USB/thunderbolt standards and current trend is making all new incompatible with "old"). There is some "basic" level of bios tuning which is nice to have for audio PC and exists on gaming boards (but not on "office" boards). Top end adds last percents in overclocking, multiple graphic cards compatibilities, third M2 (while even the second is already limited on 24 lines CPUs, so all current except X and server CPUs) and fancy light (with build-in LEDs and extenders). F.e. that can be effectively useless for a system with one M2, one graphic card and not overclocked (btw overclocking above automatic turbo mode is not really working on normal i9, it start consume above 200W under specific load just with default settings...).

I have considered ~€200 Z390 MSI Mobo, i9 and middle range M2 (Evo Plus). I am happy so far, but I have not managed to tune it down to some (rumored?) system latency numbers. It works fine without any tuning under low load, with lowest settings my audio interfaces support (48 samples by 48kHz, 3.1ms RTL). In case of big real-time load and top end latency requirements (under 2ms) more effort should be made to select exact MoBo, Memory and all relevant settings. In such case simpler solution is contact Studiocat (Jim) and get proved as working for the purpose complete system.

I do not need extra internal disk for the moment, but I will try to avoid any HDD inside my home computer in the future. I mean I prefer 3x 2TB SSD instead of one 6TB HDD, when possible. Price difference still exists, but it is no longer factor 10. SSD is silent, HDD is not.

Do not forget about powerful while silent PSU and cooling. After many "iterations" (at work), I have considered PSU+Cooling approximately as expensive as MoBo+RAM for home.

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A good CPU  is more important than the motherboard  audio  works different that graphic packets which handles cores  so the more the better not so for audio as most processes are real time this is a good one Intel Core i7-8700 Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.6 GHz LGA 1151 300 Series 65W

Motherboard

ASRock B365M Phantom Gaming 4 LGA1151/ Intel B365/ DDR4/ Quad CrossFireX/ SATA3&USB3.1/ M.2/ A&GbE/MicroATX Motherboard

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22 hours ago, Ane Atsuko Sobreira Minato said:

Umu2002, 

I think you didn't read it correctly.  I'm not spending my friends money! He chose the pieces, I'm just helping him.  You don't know what are his future plans for his studio so, it'd be better be more polite with your comments.  Thanks anyway.

Ah sorry. And no offence. I thought you were choosing a motherboard for him and asked for an opinion. But anyway, a   $300 motherboard will be great, in audio or any other use.  Good luck installing everything!

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I have used Asus MB's for decades. Presently, Z-370 Prime A. As far as Wifi, just turn it off in the MB setup-simple. Asus is my go to for MB's. just my opinion of course.

 

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On 1/8/2020 at 7:58 PM, azslow3 said:

Intel is "stuck" with current technology for a while. Till your friend is going to use advantages of current top mobos immediately, I do not think it is wise to  make investment into the "future" (the next generation can bring new USB/thunderbolt standards and current trend is making all new incompatible with "old"). There is some "basic" level of bios tuning which is nice to have for audio PC and exists on gaming boards (but not on "office" boards). Top end adds last percents in overclocking, multiple graphic cards compatibilities, third M2 (while even the second is already limited on 24 lines CPUs, so all current except X and server CPUs) and fancy light (with build-in LEDs and extenders). F.e. that can be effectively useless for a system with one M2, one graphic card and not overclocked (btw overclocking above automatic turbo mode is not really working on normal i9, it start consume above 200W under specific load just with default settings...).

I have considered ~€200 Z390 MSI Mobo, i9 and middle range M2 (Evo Plus). I am happy so far, but I have not managed to tune it down to some (rumored?) system latency numbers. It works fine without any tuning under low load, with lowest settings my audio interfaces support (48 samples by 48kHz, 3.1ms RTL). In case of big real-time load and top end latency requirements (under 2ms) more effort should be made to select exact MoBo, Memory and all relevant settings. In such case simpler solution is contact Studiocat (Jim) and get proved as working for the purpose complete system.

I do not need extra internal disk for the moment, but I will try to avoid any HDD inside my home computer in the future. I mean I prefer 3x 2TB SSD instead of one 6TB HDD, when possible. Price difference still exists, but it is no longer factor 10. SSD is silent, HDD is not.

Do not forget about powerful while silent PSU and cooling. After many "iterations" (at work), I have considered PSU+Cooling approximately as expensive as MoBo+RAM for home.

Hi, Azslow,

he left the HDD idea and he's going to buy 2 SSDs (m2).

Thanks for all the information!

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