cheap and silent Ardour DAW box

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User offline. Last seen 2 years 45 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-03-12

I'm just beginning to learn to use Ardour but for some time now I've been wondering just how the VIA C7, which is available at speeds of up to 1GHz before they require a small fan, would perform as a pretty cheap, small, low-power and hopefully near-as-dammit SILENT Linux DAW. Hmmm, silent PC - wouldn't that be nice? I'm looking at a motherboard/CPU combo such as the EPIA - EX 10000EG:

To that I'd add 1GB of 533Mhz RAM (which is the most it supports anyway), a big, fast and quiet Hard drive (Seagate?), a mini-itx case with an external power brick PSU and then I'd probably just carry on using the same sound card thats in my current PC, an Audigy 2ZS. Whats the best budget sound card for Linux audio available right now btw?

Has anybody tried a similar setup with Ardour and/or zynaddsubfx already? Keep in mind that this would only be for home use and I'm certainly no power user. As long as it could manager to play back at least 7 16-bit/44100 mono/some stereo tracks whilst recording in stereo and running zynaddsubfx smoothly at once I'd be happy. Would I be asking too much of a 1Ghz C7?

User offline. Last seen 16 weeks 13 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-01-04

It might be a good idea to ask on zynaddsubfx list if there is one. Ardour uses about 6% DSP load on one of my 1.4GHz Opterons when overdubbing a track while mixing down 19 tracks of playback at 44.1kHz, ie. it
doesn't use a lot of CPU for multitracking. Adding in plugins, however, pushes that up dramatically, so you really need to know what zynaddsubfx and any additional plugins need in terms of CPU power.

If you're already using that setup on a more powerful system you could try scaling the DSP load to the lower speed CPU for a rough idea (eg. if it's half the clock speed it will take about twice the load, on an otherwise lightly loaded system).