Re: Why I Don't Use Computers for Audio Very Much
- From: "Scott Smith" <ssmith@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 17:23:29 GMT
"Mike Rivers" <mrivers@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
I was visiting a friend this weekend after the NAB show. His Sunday
project was to put a new motherboard in his wife's computer (she's a
music teacher) so that she can run the newest version of Smart Music -
a really cool program for teachers. It requires at least a 2 GHz
processor for glitchless playback, and her computer was running at 1.4
GHz. No problem for him, he said, he's assembled lots of computers. I
was looking forward to watching, since one of these days I'm simply
going to have to do the same thing myself and I've only owned store-
bought computers that just worked.
So Sunday morning, we went to Fry's where he bought a bundled
motherboard (not a Gigabit, Asus, Abit, or Intel, the brands we talk
about here) and CPU - a dual core :2.3 GHz Pentium. He got a new fan
(the bundle didn't come with one), a 1 GB memory module, and also a
new power supply, because he couldn't remember if the one in the old
computer had the "extra" plug for the new motherboards. (it did).
Disassembly went quickly. I was looking over the new motherboard while
he was extracting the old one, and noticed that it didn't have an AGP
slot. I checked the manual and it had four PCI slots, one PCI-1x, and
one :PCI-16x PCI Express slots. The old computer's graphics board was
After installing the CPU, fan, and memory, he hunted around and found
an old PCI graphcs card, and put it into one of the slots. He figured
that even though it doesn't support higher resolution modes, it would
work at 640x480 resolution and at least allow him to check out the
motherboard. He's pick up a PCI Express graphics card later in the
Smoke test time came, and, while there was no smoke, Windows kept not
starting. Not even in the Safe mode. It appeared that something very
fundamental to Windows was corrupt. I suggested that if he had a
scratch hard drive, that he install that, install Windows on it, and
see if that worked. Better than that, he had an old drive from one of
his sons' computers that had a full Windows installation on it. We
connected that in place of the computer's original drive and Windows
started right up, though with the only resolution that the graphics
card would support.
The original hard drive was visible to both the BIOS and to Windows,
and, when booting off this scratch drive, files could be read and
program run off the original disk, so it wasn't hosed. An attempt to
fix a possible corrupt file with SFC didn't help, so the next step was
the #1 recommendation for any Windows problem - Re-install Windows.
Let that chug away through dinner, and finally, Windows would start
from the original file.
But although the motherboard's built-in network interface appeared in
the Device Manager and was reported as "working properly" it couldn't
connect to the outside world. Installing the computer's old network
interface card got it connected, but the built-in audio hardware
didn't work. It didn't even show up on the Device Manager.
There was a CD that came with the motherboard with some poorly
described installations (RAID got its own chapter in the manual but
nothing else was even addressed). Turned out that there was an
installer for "Device" which turned out to the bhe sound hardware. But
rather than load drivers off the disk (possibly to be updated later
off the 'net) it wanted to go straight to the Internet to get the
drivers. After that, the audio hardware worked, she was able to teach
lessons the next morning, and we celebrated with a glass of wine.
Hmmm . . . I wonder if the built-in network interface needed to go to
the 'net to get its drivers, too? DUH!
So, to ask the most popular question in this newsgroup after "what mic
should I buy?" ------ Is this normal?
The short answer, in his particular situation, is yes. Getting Windows to
play nice with a new motherboard and/or processor is extremely iffy. You run
a much higher probability of experiencing problems. Sometimes, such as the
case with your friend, you can play with the hardware and drivers for awhile
and experience some modicum of success. However, the situation is different
than installing the latest incarnation of Windows from scratch using up to
date, compatible hardware. What you'll often find in the latter situation is
that your assembly goes as planned and the installation runs without
complication. Computers can obviously be finicky at times though regardless.
Now, had your friend simply upgraded the soundcard, videocard, hard drive or
memory, he probably wouldn't have had a very big fight on his hands,
assuming the hardware was compatible with whatever version of Windows he was
using. When you start swapping out motherboards though, you run a 50/50
chance the system won't boot up or, if it does, remain stable. That aside,
one of the biggest issues I've witnessed over the years is related to users
buying cheap, off-brand hardware and expecting their system to work
- Why I Don't Use Computers for Audio Very Much
- From: Mike Rivers
- Why I Don't Use Computers for Audio Very Much
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