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Fastest Motherboard / Processor with PCI slot

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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.


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 ( 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.

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.


--- Quote from: Ampera 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.
--- End quote ---

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


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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