Anyone Using a Dell Computer W/ n-track?

I’m considering picking up a new computer and Dell seems to be offering a good deal on a Dimension E510 with a pentium 820 dual core processor. Anyone using one of these for audio editing?
Thanks, James

Not that specific model. I use an Optiplex GX280 for my main DAW. The Optiplex line is their business line and does not include a lot of the bells and whistles that the Dimensions do in the spirit of stability. The technology on the Optiplexes generally aren’t the latest and greatest, but they are built for stability… not home/gamer use. One thing, when I got my Optiplex, I totally reinstalled the system and installed none of the Dell software other than the latest drivers they provided on their web site. It has been rock solid for me.

I know that nTrack can utilize both dual cpus and ht, but can it utilize a dual core chip?

Thanks for your reply and the tip about an OS reinstall. This system comes with XP Media Center 2005. I’ve been happy using XP Pro but I think (if I buy it) I’ll give this computer a try in its “stock” condition and then reinstall/change the OS and get rid of any Dell stull if/when needed. Hopefully, it’s that simple. I haven’t had any problems adding drives, reformating drives, changing sound cards and changing the OS in the computer I built (read “bought what was recommended in different forums, connected the components and followed downloaded formatting, etc. instructions”) a few years ago around an Asus motherboard and Pent 3 CPU. I do remember however having problems when trying to put XP Pro on my girlfriend’s Compaq computer. Even after reformatting the drive, Compaq “stuff” kept coming up and interfering. Is there something that proprietary computers have in the bios that messes with OS/hardware upgrades? Anyway, my trusty old Asus P2B MB is at it’s max (or close to it) with a Pent 550 proc and I want to join the Pent 4 (or D) revolution and it seems the least expensive way is to start with a prefab deal from a dealer like Dell and then go from there.

Thanks for your reply and question. Dell also offers a HT 3.0 G Pent 4 CPU (instead of the Dual Core 2.8 G) in the same machine for even less $. So I’m very much interested in the answer to your question. It’s funny, I don’t really care about multitasking and would much rather have a faster single core/non-HT CPU but these are the ones that are on sale at a price I can afford.

I am using a Dell Dimension 9100 which is very similar to the E510. Both use the Intel BTX motherboard which uses the new form factor that allows for a much quieter fan operation. That is important in a microphone recording situation. I have the 820 processor and it works fine with n-Track, though I do not know if n-Track takes the same advantage of a dual core processor that it does with multi-threading. My understanding is that dual core processors do operate much the same way as multi-threading processors.

I do NOT recommend that you get the Audigy 2 ZS soundcard if it is part of the package. Opt for the X-Fi or an eMu instead. The Audigy is plagued with distortion and level issues because it resamples the digital audio unless you always record at 48K. Search on n-Track forum postings by me for more information. I changed my Audigy out for an X-Fi and am very pleased with the performance of that card.

I know you should disable all the background stuff, like virus softare, firewalls, etc. to provide the best recording environment, but with this powerhouse I have never had an issue while recording and leaving everything else running in the background. CPU usage is in the single-digit areas with 5 or 6 tracks and effects. I even do video editing with Sony Movie Studio and everything running in the background with no problems.

If you can opt for a large monitor (mine is a 19") that will give you a lot more screen areas to work with waveforms.

I like my Dell and got an exceptional deal back in October. Dimension 9100, 1GB RAM, 160GB SATA drive and 19" Digital Flat Panel - all for $1,050 delivered.


I do NOT recommend that you get the Audigy 2 ZS soundcard if it is part of the package.

I second that. Another reason is that the Creative cards that come installed in Dells are OEM cards. They are made for Dell by Creative to Dells specifications. They are NOT full-fledged Creative Retail cards. The one that came in my machine at work is an Audigy 2 ZS. It has NO external MIDI capabilities at all, even though all documentation tells me that it supports MIDI input, complete with diagrams about how to hook up MIDI cables to a keyboard, both in and out. After a closely looking at the card I found out that pins going to the connector, that would be used for the MIDI adapter that Creative says is supplied (it’s not), are not even wired on the circuit board. Even after I was able to find the special Creative adapter cable external MIDI wound not work. Interestingly, the external MIDI devices DID show up in software, even from day one from Dell.

Thank you for your time and tips! After reading your reply, I feel even better about getting the E510. I’ve been using an Audigy 2 platinum EX on my Pent 3 550 machine and was planning on using it in the E510. I also edit video and so I’ve been using the Audigy’s firewire to import video. Which X-Fi version are you using? Does yours have a firewire/1394 connection? Also, are you using 2 harddrives or getting away with just the one? One last question, which OS are you using?
Thanks again,

Thanks for your info and experience. I’ll be sure to steer clear of that card and I guess any of Dell’s preinstalled cards, including the Creative, X-Fi.

I have the X-Fi XtremeMusic. As far as I know, none of the X-Fi series comes with a Firewire port. For Firewire connectivity, I use the Encore card from…id=2046 a great deal at $8 including free shipping.

I added a second 160 SATA drive, but have been recording n-Track to my C: drive with no problems. I use the second drive when editing video.

My OS is WinXP SR2.

I should add that my X-Fi was a retail version from CompUSA, not the Dell OEM version. Also, when selecting a Firewire card, it must be OHCI Compliant in order to be able to control your camcorder during capture. The Encore card I use is OHCI Compliant.

I suppose I should mention I am using an EMU 1820M and have the onboard sound disabled in the BIOS.

Thanks for the further replies vivona and Bubbagump!
I’m already feeling some separation anxiety going on between my current computer and myself.
But we’ll get over it…

Ive got a Dell 8300 (3-4 years old now?) that is 3.2ghz, 512mb ram with a 5.1 DELL Creative SB card… but of course I’ve also put in a M-audio Audiophile card and also I have an m-box2. Dell works brilliantly for me.

Thanks Dyers!