Author Topic: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot  (Read 3458 times)

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Offline adrifromhhTopic starter

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Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« on: December 15, 2019, 09:56:52 pm »
Hello guys,

I have an older, but very high quality audio interface with a classic PCI card. (No PCI-e)

Can you give me advice on which was the most powerful motherboard / processor that would still have a PCI slot? Server architecture also appreciated.

I'm evaluating if it would be useful as a dedicated audio FX processing PC, or if I should dump the thing.

Best,
Adrian
 

Offline Ampera

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2019, 10:30:26 pm »
Define high quality. Any money you would spend on a higher end PCI machine could be spent on getting a modern USB interface from Focusrite or Behringer.

There are currently some AM4 boards (https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?N=100007625%20601292786%20600008721%20600008722) with PCI slots. That's about as new as you can get, but for audio, is stupid levels of overkill.

While it depends on what kind of audio processing you want to do, buying a cheap AM2 or AM3 machine with an old AMD processor in it, even though it wouldn't be nice (and make your in-home heating somewhat redundant), it would be cheap, and plenty powerful enough to do the vast majority of DAW tasks. My DAW is currently an i7-610E with 4GB of RAM, and there's not much audio stuff I can't, in particular, do.
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Offline magic

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2019, 10:33:19 pm »
I'm not familiar with the latest stuff, but there certainly used to be PCI slots on AM3+ boards taking AMD FX 8-series and DDR3.

Another thing that exists is PCIe x1 to PCI bridge cards. They only take low profile (about ⅔ width) PCI cards when mounted normally, inserted into a slot at the back of the case. But you could plug the bridge into a PCIe x1 riser/extender employing USB3.0 cabling and then mount it in some nonstandard location. Maybe somebody makes ready-made external boxes for such thing? I imagine there may be quite a few people with exotic PCI devices who would want to keep using them.
 

Offline adrifromhhTopic starter

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2019, 11:03:34 pm »
Define high quality. Any money you would spend on a higher end PCI machine could be spent on getting a modern USB interface from Focusrite or Behringer.

It's an RME Hammerfall Multiface 2.

I do have a powerful modern audio workstation, but I'm thinking about the following:

I am mixing on an analog console (sometimes from DAW, sometimes from tape) with outboard equipment. I thought about setting up a machine with some reverb pluigns etc. as a dedicated FX send unit, so I have that separated and as "hardware" as it gets. The machine wouldn't even have to be super powerful, as long as it manages to process a few instances of VST plugins with low latency. I just wanted to know for which processors and motherboards to look out so that I get some of the better stuff that was around in PCI times.

I still have a Mac Pro 3.1 (2008) but it sadly only has PCI-e

Best,
Adrian
 

Offline Ampera

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2019, 11:08:10 pm »
Oh that looks quite neat, though you don't have a sound card just to look at it.

Honestly for a few VSTs, if you're working in a Linux/Unix environment, pretty much any old box'll do. Preferably one that's 64-bit, might want 2-4 cores, at least 4GB of memory, but you could probably find all that off Craigslist (or your local equivalent) for 60-100 bucks.
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Offline ChunkyPastaSauce

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2019, 11:09:14 pm »
https://www.gigabyte.com/Server-Motherboard/MW50-SV0-rev-10

Adapter is worth trying, but i'd test adapter with sound interface on an existing computer first.
 

Offline adrifromhhTopic starter

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2019, 11:15:37 pm »
AM3+ boards

Thanks for the hint! At least they're cheap.
The boards go for 25€ and an AMD phenom II Quad Core, 3 GHz for around 20€.. I think I'll look further in this direction :)

Honestly for a few VSTs, if you're working in a Linux/Unix environment, pretty much any old box'll do.

Yes I also think so.. I'll look around a bit and try to pay as little as possible for this experiment. I luckily got the card for free, but at home I realized it's PCI and none of my machines have that  ;D Then I understood why my universitys audio lab didn't have any use for it.
 

Offline magic

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2019, 12:06:26 am »
I thought you need something high end, if you are looking for cheap used parts then Athlon II X4 may be even cheaper and produce less heat (and fan noise) due to slightly lower clocks and no L3 cache. Quad Phenoms were a bit of power hogs, actually. Perhaps one of the Athlon -e variants with reduced voltage and TDP lower still.

AM3 boards will work too, don't need AM3+. 8xx chipsets support SATA3, 7xx don't.
 

Offline adrifromhhTopic starter

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2019, 12:41:00 am »
I thought you need something high end, if you are looking for cheap used parts then Athlon II X4 may be even cheaper and produce less heat (and fan noise) due to slightly lower clocks and no L3 cache. Quad Phenoms were a bit of power hogs, actually. Perhaps one of the Athlon -e variants with reduced voltage and TDP lower still.

AM3 boards will work too, don't need AM3+. 8xx chipsets support SATA3, 7xx don't.

Thanks for the details! I'll actually have to work out how much power I need for a reasonable amount of audio plugins to run at low latency.
I asked for the most power because I thought that everything that still has PCI slots would be pretty cheap nowadays. Well, I think something in the middle will probably be fine for me.
 

Offline bw2341

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2019, 06:53:42 am »
https://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z97%20Anniversary/

I have a oddball board that has 2 PCI slots on it. It was a cheap companion product to the Pentium G3258 20th Anniversary Edition.

It's a bit odd because it uses the high end Z97 chipset, but it's stripped of high end features. I use the PCI slot for an old TV tuner card.

I think the bigger risk of getting too new a motherboard would be lack of older OS support. I've only run Windows 10 on mine. If your audio interface is much older, it may not have native drivers for recent enough versions of Windows. Asrock has Windows 7 support for this board.

There's also the risk of using an old unsupported device on Windows 10. After reinstalling with a new major version of Windows 10, my TV tuner card software failed to install. I had to Google for a workaround, turning off a new security permission for cameras and video capture devices. Some time later, Hauppauge released a new version of the software for my ten year old card.
 

Offline Jeroen3

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2019, 07:01:23 am »
Why not using a PCIe to PCI raiser card?
It needs a PCI-e to PCI bridge IC as well.
 

Offline Berni

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2019, 07:05:06 am »
Yep i had a similar ASRock board running a i7 4990K @ 4GHz. That CPU is a bit old now but still keeps up with modern stuff thanks to the years of Intel slacking off while AMD was working on Ryzen.

While rare such boards are definitely out there. This is mostly thanks to PCIe to PCI bridge chips. These chips allow motherboard manufacturers to stick a oldschool PCI port onto pretty much any CPU/Chipset since they all have PCIe available no mater how new they are.

I have seen these PCI/PCIe bridge chips used even on PCIe cards where the card was originally PCI but then the manufacturer deiced to update it to PCIe by simply adding the chip to convert its PCI based chipset into a PCIe bus so that it fits into that new PCIe slot.

You can also buy PCIe to PCI adapter cards that have a PCIe card edge, feed that into the bridge chip and then have a PCI socket sticking out of it. You might have to get creative mechanically to make something like that fit into a standard PC case tho. But if you have a miniITX board in a full tower case there should be room underneath the motherboard to put the bridge PCB and you can use a cheap PCIe extender cable to reach the motherboards slot.
 

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Offline adrifromhhTopic starter

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2019, 08:21:34 am »
I think the bigger risk of getting too new a motherboard would be lack of older OS support.

Luckily the manufacturer, RME, is supplying very good driver support with Windows 10 drivers even for their long discontinued products. But I might go with Win 7 for safety anyway.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32831287730.html

Thanks! I didn't know such thing existed. It even has "support for innovative sound card"  ;D
 

Offline LeonR

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2020, 12:18:51 pm »
If you want Windows 7, go with a 1150 system (Haswell/Haswell Refresh). There are tons of motherboards with PCI slots and they are reasonably powerful even by today standards.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2020, 12:37:50 pm »
AFAIK the higher end (professional) workstations you can buy new today still come with a PCI slot.
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Offline Berni

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2020, 02:36:10 pm »
Intel Haswell has no problems at all with Windows 7. It will install from the official CD just fine.

At about Intel Kaby Lake and later is where you start having problems with stock Win 7. It might work out of the box on some motherboards, but might not get trough the installation on some others. Problems are also PCIe SSDs and such. For those the trick is to get one of those Windows 7 8 10 combined installation disks. No matter what windows version you chose they are all installed using the Windows 10 installer, just being fed the files for the older windows release. So this means you have the newer driver support of the Win 10 installer that will work on every new PC. Once it installs and boots into Win 7 you can manually install any other drivers that are missing or don't work.

Tho driver support is being dropped. For example Intel does not support integrated graphics for Skylake KabbyLake on Win 7. The installer will refuse to install, but there is a hacked version of the installer that skips the OS check, installs anyway and works fine.

EDIT: Sorry its at KabbyLake and not Skylake where the integrated graphics drivers for Win7 end.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 04:44:40 pm by Berni »
 

Offline LeonR

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2020, 03:10:31 am »
I'm aware of those, at least some of them. I tried some when I got my Dell 7567 (7th gen i7)... spent a lot of time and didn't get the results I expected.

I suggest using hardware that have official support rather than having to resort to hacks/edits, especially on a machine that's intended for production.
 

Online iMo

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2020, 04:30:32 pm »
Tho driver support is being dropped. For example Intel does not support integrated graphics for Skylake on Win 7. The installer will refuse to install, but there is a hacked version of the installer that skips the OS check, installs anyway and works fine.
I've been using win7 on Skylake. Only Intel integrated graphics inside the box. Works fine..
 

Offline Berni

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Re: Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2020, 04:43:27 pm »
Tho driver support is being dropped. For example Intel does not support integrated graphics for Skylake on Win 7. The installer will refuse to install, but there is a hacked version of the installer that skips the OS check, installs anyway and works fine.
I've been using win7 on Skylake. Only Intel integrated graphics inside the box. Works fine..

Checked again and sorry i got the cutting off point wrong by one generation. Skylake does indeed still have Windows 7 support, its the next one KabbyLake that has official integrated graphics drivers available only for Windows 10 at the moment (Not even Win 8.1)

But as people said its not just this. You might have problems with disk drives and USB and all that. Still all of it is fixable but takes some extra work and knowledge to get it working.
 


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