The saga on the overheated office computer continues. Yesterday I began the process of rebuilding that system.
I gathered all of my requisite parts from Logic Computer Warehouse in Markham: P4 3Ghz processor. Check. ASUS P4P800 SE mobo. Check. Dual Channel 512MB RAM. Check. 120 GB Hard Drive (as I feared, I have to rebuild the system from scratch… there goes a day!). Check.
Spent an hour or so last night swapping out the old mobo and related components and, after carefully examining all connections, I powered the new system.
No POST. No video. The mobo goes green. This indicates that the board is receiving power. The CPU fan turns. The various drives go green. But after that? Nothing.
Worked on it until 2am. Prowled the ASUS motherboard forums to gain some insight. Not surprisingly a lot of people experience this kind of fun. I am taking it back to the dealer this morning because I am not prepared to spend this kind of time troubleshooting the problem. From the various postings on the P4P800 boot issues it could be bad RAM or a bad mobo.
Still waiting for my Mac to arrive for the studio DAW. I wonder if my experience with that platform will be any better.
I have a workhorse computer in my office. A 1.6GHz Pentium 4 machine. I assembled this machine a few years back. I used an ASUS P4B motherboard, a stock Intel cooler for the CPU and whatever cheap power supply that came with the case. There were other items in the machine such as Firewire, AGP video card, hard disks, CDR, etc.
The machine stays on 24/7 and it has done so since I put it in service a couple of years back. At least until Tuesday. Just before a 7:00pm recording session the machine did a hard stop. Just died. I noticed that there was a significant amount of heat coming from the machine. And, sure enough, the power supply fan had siezed. This caused the CPU to overheat because of the dramatic increase in ambient heat. The Pentium 4 chips will actually clock down, literally slow the processor down, to combat the heat. But, the combination of motherboard sensor and overwhelming heat caused a system halt to occur.
Fortunately, I had a spare Enermax 450 watt power supply. Why I did not install this power supply in the first place I do not know. I delayed the session start by thirty minutes as I had actually intended to print off some project plans for the client. I quickly replaced the power supply and all seemed resolved.
So it seemed.
Yesterday, I noticed that the machine was literally unusable. Sluggish. Unresponsive. I rebooted the machine and entered the BIOS diagnostics to take a look at the temperature readings. The CPU, at idle, was registering 61 degrees Celsius! Way too hot for this class of processor at idle. I tried replacing the CPU cooler with a higher efficiency system to no avail. Although the temperature came down somewhat, the chip no longer performs. Thermal damage obviously toasted the processor.
I have blocked off a day to rebuild this machine. Given my prior experience this is what it takes to fix a computer. I have to replace the processor, motherboard and memory. The processor because the P4 1.6 is no longer available. I’ll try and get a Northwood P4 at the 3GHz or better level. The Prescotts are said to have thermal issues and I really do not want a repeat of heat related problems.
Since the processor wants an 800 FSB I have no choice but to ditch the P4B motherboard. I’ll throw in a P4P800SE motherboard with the Intel 865PE chipset. And, because the memory chips are different, I’ll need to throw in a gig of high performance memory.
My only question mark is whether I can get away with remounting the original hard drive and repairing the Windows XP install. I hope so. It is such a pain to reinstall a boatload of applications.
Statistics Canada does a periodic survey of the Canadian Sound Recording Industry. You can see part of their survey results here.
Some interesting data. In 1992/93 there were 187 companies that responded to the survey. During that year there were 6,271 new releases and roughly 10% of those releases had Canadian content or were recorded by Canadian artists. The industry realized about 828 million dollars of revenue with a profit margin of 16.5%.
The most recent survey in 2000 reported on 331 companies. Number of new releases stayed pretty much the same. Canadian content had increased significantly to 15.5% and total industry revenue was up to 1.4 billion dollars. Profit margins declined to 11.9%.
Those of us who track this industry are quite aware of the significant decline in CD sales over the past four years. There are still some healthy businesses out there but it remains a highly competitive market with very thin margins.
As a footnote to my previous post I have included a shot of Lydian Sound. This is another high quality studio in the Toronto area. Some of you were surprised that Canada had so many high-end studios. Alas, I have merely scratched the surface for you. Although CDs are a tough business, someone has to record all those DVDs Canadian consumers are buying in record numbers.
I know. It was not Whisperwood Recording Studios. Nope. That Canadian Music Week Award went to the crew at Metalworks in Toronto. If you want to have a glimpse at some of the best recording studios in Canada then look no further than the following facilities. All of them are stunning, world class studios.
Perhaps a thinly vieled reference to one of the most famous recording studios in the world: Abbey Road Studios. This is the studio that the Beatles used for much of their recording work.
Abbey Road just ordered a new Neve 88RS console for its Studio 1 room. Studio 1 has 456 square metres of floor space and can accommodate a 100 piece orchestra as well as a choir of 120. The current console is a 72-channel Neve VRP Legend with VSX multi-channel film monitoring and Flying Fader Automation. Abbey has an impressive list of projects including some of the most successful feature films of all time. Films like the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Gangs Of New York. The Neve 88RS that Abbey Road ordered is also a 72-channel console. The console will be the first 88R to be delivered in the UK with the new ‘S’ channel strip.
So how much does a console like the 88R cost? There are many variables that impact the overall price of the console such as its size and configuration but the net will be the same price as a house. A really, really nice house.
Apple’s iTunes Music Store reached the 100 million song mark last week. This is a first for the online music industry. Apple delivered 100 million downloads only 15 months after launching the service in April 2003.
Apple launched a 100 million song promotion on July 1st. During the month of July, iTunes was responding to a rate of just over 2.5 million downloads each week. Apple had initially hoped to distribute 100 million songs within the first 12 months of the launch of the iTunes Music Store. In April 2004, on the first anniversary of the iTunes music store, Apple announced that more than 70 million songs had been downloaded including the 5 million free songs that that were given away as part of the Pepsi/iTunes promotion.
Funny thing though. The iTunes download bar is still missing the Canadian flag. Still. After 15 months.
There is hope. Canada will be added to the Apple system when the CRIA completes its negotiations in the fall. Funny how an organization can take so long to introduce a business model for legal downloads when illegal downloads are decimating the Canadian recording industry.
I confess. I am a gear addict. I collect all manner of musical instruments as well as the usual suspects that a person needs to equip a recording studio: microphones, outboard, recorders, cables, etc.
I have a nice collection of guitars and amplifiers. My collection pales in comparison to Randy Bachman’s guitar collection.
Randy Bachman, formerly of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, has a collection of roughly 450 guitars. 350 of those guitars are made by Gretsch. The signature guitar sound in the hit song Takin’ Care of Business was played on a Gretsch 6120.
Fred Gretsch believes that Randy Bachman has the largest collection of Gretsch guitars in the world. Bachman has over two dozen 6120s, two dozen White Falcons, as well as two White Penguins.
Although not as much of a household name as Gibson and Fender, Gretsch guitars find their way into many different recordings and even feature films. In the movie I, Robot, Will Smith’s character, Detective Spooner, has a Gretsch or two scattered about his apartment.
Very odd things happen in the pro audio world. Particularly to those folks who develop software for this market. In an unrelenting quest to ensure that nobody steals software, legitimate users have to endure complicated challenge and response authorizations, hardware dongles, and hard disk serializations. Heaven help you if you need to upgrade your computer.
In what must be an ironic twist of fate, Digidesign issued a set of free audio plug-ins to their user base. Only one small problem. The plug-ins have a time bomb. Someone found out about the time bomb on July 7th due to a date error on their computer and posted this finding on the Digidesign User Conference. The actual time bomb was set for July 17th. Digidesign apparently had no advance knowledge of this other than the poster’s notice.
The brand name of the plug-ins: Bomb Factory.
Digidesign bought the plug-ins from Erik Gavriluk. There was a lot of speculation that Erik, the former owner of Bomb Factory, had deliberately time bombed the plug-ins to get back at Digidesign. Apparently Erik had a number of issues with the company.
Looking at Erik’s 12,500 square foot recording studio I would hazard to say that he did pretty well with the Bomb Factory plug-ins as well as the sale of said plug-ins to Digidesign. I doubt that he had anything to do with this time bomb at all.
As far as resolving the time bomb? Digidesign issued a patch for download. The expiration date of the software has now been removed.