Friday, August 08, 2008

New Computer On The Way

Seems the trials and tribulations of my old Windows PC have finally peaked. It no longer is stable enough to work on - much less count on - and I'm going to have to decommission her and move on. I certainly got my money's worth and I'm excited by the prospect of the new, custom-built computer that should be finished by Monday.

I decided to contact Steve Lamm at Cryptic Globe Studio and I asked him to attempt a repair on the old PC. His diagnosis was a failing motherboard - not something you can fix cheaply. As much as I love my mobile laptop rig, I have several projects pending that need the desktop system, so I made the move and ordered the CGR-1 model. Here are the specs for those so digitally inclined:
4U Rack Mount Case
500watt PSU
CGR approved motherboard
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4Ghz processor
4GB DDR2 800 Memory
Lightscribe DVD burner
160BG SATA II 8mb buffer drive for OS
2 x 250GB SATA II 16mb buffer drives for Audio and Loops
Dual Head (DVI or VGA) ATI RX2600 256mb Video Card
Microsoft Keyboard Mouse Combo
Windows XP Pro SP-3
Fully tweaked for your audio software/hardware
System Restore Disk
1 Year Part and Labor Warranty

Rack mount case

This machine will be running Pro Tools M-Powered 7.3.1 and Cubase 4 for DAWs. I'll probably install Reason 3 and Live 6.0 eventually (as I am still investigating them) but I want to keep this rig lean and mean for a bit.

A couple of the features I think I'm going to really like:

The rack mount format makes it more mobile if I decide to cut tracks outside of my house and certainly will look cooler than yer basic tower. The Core 2 Dual is much faster than my current machine. The Lightscribe DVD burner is pretty neat. You can burn the data on one side, then flip it over and laser-etch graphics or titles or whatever onto the other side - no more cheesy labels or Sharpie scrawls.

Three discrete hard drives address the modern day recording method - one for the OS, one for loops and samples, and one for audio.

I'm still using the M-Audio ProjectMix I/O as my FireWire interface, and I've started getting a better handle on the several available types of preamps I want to have on hand.

M-Audio ProjectMix I/O

I'm definitely buying a pair of Amek CIB channel strips from a friend of mine, which will give me an uncluttered Rupert Neve-designed sound that should contrast nicely with the UA LA-610, which has more character and tubey goodness.

Amek Channel in a Box (CIB)

I'm also considering getting the Focusrite 428 package. Four channels of luscious ISA 110-based preamps. Nice. There's an optional digital card that allows you to use ADAT outputs and link two 428s together. A definite possibility for the future.

Focusrite 428

I'm gradually trying to upgrade my gear to end up with a smaller but higher quality setup than I have been using. Anything bigger and better that I might need for a project I will rent at the time.

Of course, I had to offset this purchase with something for the house, so a new ceiling fan/lamp for the TV room is laying in pieces on the couch, ready for installation. Maybe I'll get to it in the morning.


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