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Off the shelf PCs to run Quantum

Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:21 pm
by dgkenney
Excuse my ignorance but its been quite some time since I built a custom PC or even looked into what's suitable for the DAW world. My current i5 works well but is getting a little long in the tooth. I don't have an interest in taking the time to research components and assemble it here. At the same time I don't need a "custom" (read expensive) build since I do little VSTi and most of my work is tracking vocals and editing. I almost never run out of processing power. My interest is minimal latency.

I am interested in moving to a Quantum or something similar in the future so my questions is....
Are there any "off the shelf" (Dell, Lenovo, HP, etc.) towers in the sub $1000 neighborhood that run Thunderbolt suitable for the Quantum?

Re: Off the shelf PCs to run Quantum

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:40 am
by philangus
Both of my Dell Precision towers (7910 and 5810) have the option for a Thunderbolt add-on card ( NK4P3 ) which I have purchased two of. they work perfectly with the Quantum and I've been using that for about a year now. the Dells are also almost completely silent making them perfect in a microphone environment, especially with the use of silent (and low power) SSD drives. I recommend them. I would just check the specs carefully of any system you look at. If it states USB C, it won't work! Overall, I am extremely happy with Dell. I even have a R620 1U rack running VMware with a load of Windows virtual servers and that is also silent and consumes about 80 - 100 watts during operation! Even with that going in the same room, I still don't have enough ambient noise to cause a problem!

There is also a HP part number for the exact same card. They are identical and I have tested an HP version in a Dell and it also works fine. This therefore means there must be HP towers out there which offer the same upgradability. these are Thunderbolt 2 cards, which is fine as the Quantum is Thunderbolt 2. The HP part number is F3F43AT. Remember though, one of these cards will not work in just any PC, only one which the motherboard has been designed to take it.

PS, don't listen to anyone who says the Quantum will work on a USB3 interface! You can use USB C devices in a Thunderbolt interface but not the other way around because discrete Thunderbolt chips are needed for it to work. To run a Thunderbolt device you need a Thunderbolt interface. The reason why Thunderbolt interfaces are not included in many PC motherboards as standard is due to licensing costs with Apple. There is no such thing as a PCI-X Thunderbolt interface card that you can plug in to any PC unless the motherboard has the necessary circuitry to accept it.

Re: Off the shelf PCs to run Quantum

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:33 pm
by dgkenney
philangus wroteBoth of my Dell Precision towers (7910 and 5810) have the option for a Thunderbolt add-on card ( NK4P3 ) which I have purchased two of. they work perfectly with the Quantum and I've been using that for about a year now.


Thanks for sharing your actual experience and in taking the time to help with this. I really appreciate it. Would love to find something more in the ~$1000 mark but this is a good start to do some investigation.

Dan

Re: Off the shelf PCs to run Quantum

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 8:40 am
by TerjeNorway
if you change your mind and wanna built this is a good start:
Z390 AORUS XTREME
Image

Re: Off the shelf PCs to run Quantum

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:36 am
by dgkenney
TerjeNorway wroteif you change your mind and wanna built this is a good start:
Z390 AORUS XTREME

Thanks

Re: Off the shelf PCs to run Quantum

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:39 pm
by Jim Roseberry
If you have the skills, you'll always be better off with a custom machine.
    - You can choose exactly what goes in
    - Motherboard will have all necessary parameters to achieve max performance and low/consitent DPC Latency
    - You can configure it exactly as needed
    - Easy upgrades/replacements

Re: Off the shelf PCs to run Quantum

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:36 pm
by dgkenney
Jim Roseberry wroteIf you have the skills, you'll always be better off with a custom machine.
    - You can choose exactly what goes in
    - Motherboard will have all necessary parameters to achieve max performance and low/consitent DPC Latency
    - You can configure it exactly as needed
    - Easy upgrades/replacements


Hi Jim,

Haven't spoken to you in years and years. You furnished me with an early rig I had using a Tango24 and a Dakota. Glad to see you are around this community.

Yeah, I've built quite a few machines in the past. I was just being lazy. I don't need maximum power as I use very few (if any) VSTi's and a lot of my processing is done out of the box. I just like to minimize latency (like the old Digi HD systems) and I think thunderbolt is the way to go.

Re: Off the shelf PCs to run Quantum

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:56 am
by Jim Roseberry
dgkenney, I certainly remember you! ;)

If you're wanting lowest possible latency, Thunderbolt-3 (necessary under Windows) and Quantum is the way to go.

I've posted this many times, but you can effectively do things like run Helix Native at 96k using a 32-sample ASIO buffer size.
That's 1ms total round-trip latency.
It's a substantial load on the machine, but audio in Studio One is completely glitch-free.

Re: Off the shelf PCs to run Quantum

Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:22 pm
by TerjeNorway
Jim Roseberry wrote
I've posted this many times, but you can effectively do things like run Helix Native at 96k using a 32-sample ASIO buffer size.
That's 1ms total round-trip latency.
It's a substantial load on the machine, but audio in Studio One is completely glitch-free.

I guess you are talking about tracking vocals or instruments with minimum of tracks and minimum numbers of heavy third party plugins. Then maybe glitch free without clicks and pops.

Re: Off the shelf PCs to run Quantum

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:56 am
by Jim Roseberry
TerjeNorway wroteI guess you are talking about tracking vocals or instruments with minimum of tracks and minimum numbers of heavy third party plugins. Then maybe glitch free without clicks and pops.


Obviously not with the most dense of projects (ie: huge orchestral mock-ups)
During tracking stage, audio is completely glitch-free.
With a fast well-configured machine, you'll push the CPU hard, but you can effectively record/monitor at those settings.
Studio One's "Hybrid Buffering" also helps in this regard.
A larger processing buffer is used for tracks that are merely playing back (much more CPU efficient) and a small (extremely small in this case) buffer is used for tracks that are being monitored via software.

Not all processes in a DAW can be multi-threaded.
Software based monitoring at ultra low latency settings isn't something that can be effectively/heavily multi-threaded. This is one reason why high clock-speed is important.

Been building DAWs professionally for ~25 years.
Running a i9-9900k based machine (8 cores, 16 processing threads all locked at 5GHz).

For someone looking to push the limits of ultra low latency performance, Studio One/Quantum is a hard combination to best.

Re: Off the shelf PCs to run Quantum

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 2:14 pm
by PreSonus Seth
I built my X99 machine back in 2016 just for Quantum.

I have a full Quantum 4848 + DP88 rig capable of recording over 100 channels.

Rock solid at 64 samples. I could do 32, but I wouldn't run that many tracks to be safe.

Re: Off the shelf PCs to run Quantum

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:05 pm
by TerjeNorway
PreSonus Seth wroteI built my X99 machine back in 2016 just for Quantum.

I have a full Quantum 4848 + DP88 rig capable of recording over 100 channels.

Rock solid at 64 samples. I could do 32, but I wouldn't run that many tracks to be safe.

try to put some plugins on like Omnisphere, Kontakt, Ample Sound and you cannot not run it on 64 samples without click and pops. No problem for me cause I freeze the tracks in Ableton then I can work on 64 samples recording live vocals and instruments while hearing the audio "from" the plugins.
So with heavy plugins like Izotope Nectar 3 and Omnisphere not possible to record live without clicks and pops. I think the sweet spot for that is around 3.5 ms overall latency. This is of course not Presonus fault this is due to the limitations of the technology today
If you are using 96 khz sample rate like me, and 64 buffer size we are down to 1.6ms. If you are using 44KHz then you are on 3.45ms which is an absolute minimum to have some heavy plugins on while recording live.