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claud
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Multicore Desktop Processors and their desktop boards: Any risk to audio quality?

With the end of the Window XP security updates, among other factors, I needed to take some time to replace my ancient tower pc, with one the runs either an Intel Ivy Bridge 4 or 8 core or the latest Haswell 4 core processor. To minimize fan and/or electrical noise, the better choice appears to be the low power versions of the processors Ivy Bridge
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Xeon_microprocessors#Xeon_E5-... ) E5-2630 v2 (6 core, 2.6GHz, LGA2011 socket, 80w), E5-2630L v2 (6 core, 2.4GHz, LGA2011 socket, 60w), E5-2428L v2 (8 core, 1.8GHz, LGA1356 socket, 60w)-or the new Haswell
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Xeon_microprocessors#.22Haswe... ) E3-1285L v3 (4 core, 3.1GHz, LGA1150 socket, 65w) and
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Haswell_%28microarchitecture%29#Deskt... ) i7-4770S(4 core, 3.1GHz, LGA1150 socket, 65w), and i7-4770R(4 core, 3.2GHz, LGA1150 socket, 65w).

Of course, my chief priority will always be audio signal quality (i.e. editing of uncompressed wav files of music CD tracks for playback via USB or a balanced AES card feeding a high performance external DAC).
But I also would like to eventually use this computer for DVD as well as more demanding BluRay movie disc editing.

Though presently having no hands on experience and minimal knowledge of computer video editing, I do know that the most time consuming phase of the process is recompression of the edited video back into the BluRay movie disc format. Depending on the software and hardware resources, recompression could take anywhere from 45 minutes to well over 90 minutes. So I thought that a new pc with one of the above six or eight core model processors and 16GB of RAM, together with the right software apps, might significantly reduce BD compression time-perhaps to as little as 30 minutes.

Again, however, my primary concern is audio quality. Therefore, compared to the ubiquitous dual core processors, could using four, six or eight core Ivy Bridge or the new Haswell four core processors somehow pose any degree of risk to audio quality, in one or more ways?

And, of course, of particular interest would be any related incidents involving any of the specific (low power) processors listed above, and/or desktop boards they were used in.

Before I make this computer purchase, any advice or referrals would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

audiophile2000
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Fan Noise

While I haven't done any test on this, I think the only concern I would have on any of the above is the fan noise of the computer. I have a PC based audio system (ran off a notebook in my audio rack) and have switched out the notebook a number of times and never noticed any difference, which make sense as its just a USB connection and they are all pretty much the same. 

The only think I could think of that would make one PC better than another for an audio setup is how quiet the fan is. There could be more going on inside the boards between the process and the connector and jitter, but I don't think it is something I would be concerned over and would look to get the computer I needed for the task at hand. 

24x48
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Computer is the best high-definition audio platform

I've been using laptops as "high-definition" audio equipment about 10 years. Currently my laptop has 1.6Ghz dual-core CPU. In addition, I also use USB based external high-definition audio DAC. I almost exclusively listen to music DVDs as it offers superior sound quality. I hate CDs for poor sound quality. My current limitation is with the CPU speed. If I use equalizers and upsampling DSPs together in media players, some parts of DVD tracks get heavily distorted. If I use 2.0GHz or better, this problem should disappear. I recommend 2.4GHz or better CPU as some DACs require such speed.

You are also recommended to buy a "USB-based external high-definition audio DAC". This will cost a few hundred dollars. Make sure that DAC is genuine 24-bit and supports 44.1k, 88.2k, 176.4k, 48k, 96k, 192k sampling frequencies genuinely. Avoid DACs that support these through software conversions as they don't offer great sound.

Internal sound cards never be good. They induct noise. Mostly from disk drives. Good external DAC will eliminate this. The down-side of USB-based DAC is that you cannot use another high-speed USB devices with USB DAC at the same time. This will prevent you playing USB-stored contents through USB DAC.

 

Once you have these with good headphones, sound quality will be determined by your music audio tracks' definition level. From 24-bits/48khz PCM tracks, sound starts terrific! GO AFTER HIGH-DEFINITION MUSIC TRACKS to enjoy better sound. "hdtracks.com" sells high-definition audio tracks.

 

Computers with "built-in" BluRay drive will be a good option. Bluray music disks normally contain 24-bits/96khz PCM tracks. Make sure that your computer has builtin optical drive such as DVD or Bluray.

Then you will realize that computer is the best device you can enjoy high-definition audio.
 

struts
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Some thoughts

Hi Claud,

Some interesting questions and while I am unable to answer them I can offer some pointers to background reading that may help. The requirements of DVD editing and audio rendering are almost completely diametrically opposite. A PC is able to perform both because it is a jack-of-all-trades. However if you want a machine that is a master of audio rendering you need to remove everything that is extraneous to that task.

You will find quite a lot of relevant information at www.computeraudiophile.com including recipes for three generations of home brew music server "C.A.P.S.". You may like to start off reading Chris Connaker's review of the $17k Aurender W20 where he highlights the contrasts between a cost-no-object commercial product and his own efforts.

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/573-aurender-w20-review/
http://www.computeraudiophile.com/section/c-p-s-489/

Good luck and please report back with your experiences!

wkhanna
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Excellent References......

...given by struts.

Bill - on the Hill
Practicing Curmudgeon & Audio Snob
- just an “ON” switch, Please

PewterTA
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I've built myself about 4

I've built myself about 4 dedicated Audio machines (well one wasn't truely dedicated as it does my XBMC for movie watching....but all of them are a mix between dual and quad core machines.

In my entire time of listneing, tweaking, listening, tweaking some more, thinking I've finished the tweaking process and then trying other things (like using MuMetal and isolation on the boards themselves... no once have I ever noticed that one didn't perform to the level of the others due to processor. This is with a mix of Intel and AMD as well. So not even that really makes a difference.

What I've noticed that has made a difference is a few things. Lower power PSU. The lower the better especially and LVPS unit you can find all over computeraudiophile.com's site. I think though anything in the 300w or less is ideal.

The second thing I've noticed is adding an audiophile grade USB card (Paul Pang or SoTM or Adnaco USB) will give you that slightest advantage. Normally it's to the level of PRaT, just that little bit quicker and more accurate. Sound stage might change for the better as well.

3rd is tweaking the OS. Simple things like changing the priority of IRQs, keeping the processor running at maximum, minimizing the process threads, and keeping things minimal all helps. Now, the most light weight OS I don't think necessarily means the best. I've used a couple Linux based machines, WIndows 7, 8, 8.1, and a few various others until I found the one I like the best. For me it's running MS Windows 2012r2 with Audiophile Optimizer. It's given me that sound that I feel is the best I've gotten. Easily compareable to anything on the Apple side and a bunch of people have switched from Apple over to Win2k12+AO after comparing side by side.

Another aspect that makes more difference is Application. As long as what you're using to play the music does Kernel Streaming, you're good. I used to use ASIO and WASAPI for the longest time until I got a good Kernel streaming for my program (Foobar2000). I also recommend using kernel on JRiver.

My point with all this is there are a lot of other things you can do which will vastly improve your sound, processors are not something to worry about. As long as it's good it will be able to play the music without skipping. So go decent, not cheapest... then spend the money elsewhere.

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