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Microsound Workstation Open Forum General postings about Microsound workstations.

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Old November 13th, 2000, 10:30 AM
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We have been spending over 50% of our corporate efforts in evaluating current processors and motherboards and compatibility with the Krystal DSP Engine. Below are the results of our current findings:

SCSI -versus- IDE - Given that IDE UDMA/100 bus drives are 7,200rpm and extremely fast, inexpensive and reliable, MTU is very satisfied with their performance. Given the difficulty that SCSI has always and continues to exhibit, and the fact that a SCSI controller costs more than a 45GB IDE drive, we no longer ship SCSI drives. We have not evaluated SCSI during 2000, and are thus "removed" from the current round of problems. Also, SCSI can be added to any system, with no more problems than existed in the past. We will quote adding SCSI to a workstation on a $100 per hour basis, i.e. we are no longer willing to accept the risk of integrating SCSI.

Motherboard Compatibilities - Our recent testing has proven the following fact:
[li]AT versus ATX formfactor - The older AT motherboard style is rapidly phasing out. We would not recommend any new workstation use AT. The ATX motherboard power supply are the current design and should be used for new workstations. Period.
[li]VIA PCI-bus controller chip set - We have tested the current VIA chip set motherboards and found that both Intel Pentium III and AMD Athelon class processors work fine with the MTU Krystal DSP Engine. We tested an ABIT motherboard first, which worked fine. It fit our Rack and Tower cases, but is too large for our Portable Case. The Gigibyte motherboard is 3/8" narrower than ABIT, and fits our Portable Case. We are now shipping this motherboard. This also has two ISA-bus slots in addition to 5 PCI slots and an AGP video slot. This is the most flexible arrangment we have found. Thus, a Microsync board can still be used for SMPTE/Video sync-lock resolving.
[li]Intel 815 PCI-bus controller chip set - Motherboards using this PCI-bus controller only support the Intel Pention III processors, not AMD. So far, this chip set will not reliably communicate with Krystal, which has been shipping on PCI bus motherboards since 03/96. Thus, it appears Intel has attempted to change the PCI bus spec. We do NOT recommend any motherboard based on the 815 chip set. Period.

Processor Compatibilities - Which processor should you use:
[li]Processor Speeds - Intel Pentium III has been our mainstay for a while now. We also ship Celeron 600MHz systems for our Home Workstation models. AMD Athelon Huron has tested fine with Krystal. We have not yet tested the AMD Athelon Thunderbird models, but expect they will work fine also. We have heard nothing more than rumors that AMD still has random compatibility problems with Windows. We cannot confirm this first hand and thus state they are rumors only. Anyone with first hand knowledge of any AMD incompatibility, please post a replay under this thread.
[li]Processor Speeds - Given current pricing and processor speeds, we recomend at least a 600MHz processor for a new workstation. MTU offers Celeron, Pentium III and soon may offer Athelon processors in our workstations. Slower processors lack in the speed to process Direct-x plug-ins in real-time.

Types of Problems we are seeing - Conflicts have been found between:
[li]Building a working, reliable Digital Audio Workstation today is an order of magnitude more difficult than just a few years ago.
[li]Sound device drivers for a particular card (or for built-on motherboard audio),
[li]Display graphics card drivers,
[li]Older display monitors that are not plug-n-play can alter how a graphics card works, when you thought you had it figured out,
[li]Intel 815 chip set for PCI-bus control will not properly reset Krystal at power-up time, always showing an error message "cannot download fade/gain tables", indicating part of the core Microeditor DSP assembly code was not able to load to Krystal
[li]Creative Labs Soundblaster Live card - IMHO, this board should be removed from the market (see Compatibility with Audio Cards Thread in this Forum)!
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Old November 13th, 2000, 08:01 PM
geezer geezer is offline
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Very clear and concise as well. Thank You.
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