(Being the Geek that I am, I would Like to contribute)
Setting up a DAW.
1. Start with the components, always try to get the components with the LOWEST LATENCY possible; that includes ram my boys. (Not only do gamers need fast ram, so do DAWS)
2. Start with no less than 1GB of ram, you'll need the buffer space. I have 2GB in my machine and sometimes it does run low when doing heavy processing.
3. Get a RAID array. RAID 0 for speed on your main drive (i.e. the system drive) to speed up disk activity and will help take some stress of the ram. Remember, the faster the data gets into the disk, the better. (since it takes the stress off the RAM)
4. QUIET COOLING. Youre running an audio station, you need silence. Dont go with generic fans, try to get fans with fluid bearings or dual ball bearings at the very least. (Panaflo gans win here) and try to get big fans that turn slower, since the pump out the same amount or more air at less noise.
5. Setup your BIOS properly. Turn off shadowing, as this improves performance for games, adds more latency to other devices (i.e. PCI BUS, which takes the heat for audio).
6. Disable devices that you dont use, less devices equals more processing power free for use.
7. Turn off fancy graphics. The less graphics your screen has to display, the more ram and processor power you have free for more important tasks.
8. Turn off system sounds and alerts. same reason.
9. Try to get components with the LEAST amount of onboard convenience. (i.e. onboard video is a no-no, it runs the processing through the CPU before the VGA. Onboard sound is also a no-no, youre using a high-end or at least an upgrade card, you dont need audio)
10. Place the Sound card/device on the FARTHEST pci slot available, this distances it from the video card (which does produce quite a lot of noise) and keeps it isolated from the noisier devices up in that region of the mobo.