I have built a new system that I intend to use to to make and record music. I will be using Linux, and various free software applications. I have a Presonus Firebox which I will be using as my audio interface. I have installed Fedora 11 on it, and intend to document here what I do to set it up and use it. I am assuming that you have done (or will do) some research on how to use Linux for audio work I previously, with some success, used the interface on my previous computer. It functioned, and I got audio in and out of it, but jack wasn’t entirely stable, and I got a lot of error messages in the system logs whenever I tried to use it. So I know it works, and can be used with Linux.
I am using Fedora, since it is the distribution I am most familiar with. When I first started using Linux in 1997, I started with Slackware. Soon after, in 1998, I switched to Red Hat Linux 5.1. I continued to use Red Hat until they discontinued it and created the Fedora Core distribution, which I then switched to using. I have used that on my main computers since then. I have also used CentOS, which of course is essentially identical to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
My new system will feature an Intel Core 2 Quad processor with 8 GB of ram on a Gigabyte EP45T-UD3LR motherboard. In future posts I may come back and detail some of my experiences building the system. But one thing I will mention is that if you are using all 4 memory slots, you may need to run your memory at lower than stock speeds to eliminate errors. From what I have read, it may be possible to use the advertised speed by increasing the voltages to the memory controller hub (MCH), but I have not tried this yet.
I have two 640 GB SATA hard drives, and I will detail how I have set them up when I discuss the installation. The other important piece of hardware that I have is a SIIG firewire card. This card features the Texas Instruments chipset which is recommended by Presonus as the best one to use. In order to get the card to have its own IRQ, I had to install it in the upper PCI slot, not the lower one. The lower PCI slot shares its IRQ with a couple of other devices (I think it was a USB controller and a hard drive controller). Also, even though the BIOS allows you to specify what IRQ each of the PCI slots uses, this seting didn’t always work. I tried setting it to IRQ 12 (other things were assigned IRQs 9, 10, and 11), but it assigned it IRQ 5, which is much lower priority. When I set it to IRQ 14, however, the setting took effect.
In my next post, I will discuss my installation of Fedora, and some of the configuration things I have one so far.