Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
chilleddreams
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Re: Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Post by chilleddreams » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:54 pm

Some times ago I used CoolBook (http://coolbook.se/). Obviously it fixed some SpeedStep issues on OSX. I had a lot better CPU performance in Live and NI Traktor.

Later I removed CoolBook because I suspected issues with early NI Maschine drivers. Meanwhile I think the SpeedStep issues in OSX are fixed (or at least it all performs better than before).

Another explanation for better CPU performance may be NI Maschine. It uses lot of CPU, so SpeedStep down clocking will never occur. :)
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wjbuchanan
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Re: Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Post by wjbuchanan » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:09 pm

Piplodocus wrote:Interesting post!

I've got an i7 MBP but it's finally running everything nice since I got an SSD and I don't run out of HDD access, so I'm overly cautious to try ANYTHING with it atm.
I guess you can set up something to start Live using "nice" rather than "renice"ing it after too. Did you try -20? That article seems to suggest -10 is the max, and recommends not going too crazy to begin with! I wouldn't want the entire system to grind to a halt at the expense of Live. There's plenty of things I use at the same time for doing music!
Yup, you can use "nice" to start Live - perhaps make up an OSX alias to start Live in realtime mode.

-20 works fine here too.

Users other than the super-user may only alter the priority of processes
they own, and can only monotonically increase their ``nice value'' within
the range 0 to PRIO_MAX (20). (This prevents overriding administrative
fiats.) The super-user may alter the priority of any process and set the
priority to any value in the range PRIO_MIN (-20) to PRIO_MAX. Useful
priorities are: 20 (the affected processes will run at the lowest prior-
ity), 0 (the ``base'' scheduling priority), anything negative (lower val-
ues cause more favorable scheduling).

:


Both these methods are low risk - QuietMBP consumes CPU cycles when no other programs are working, in order to block speedstep.

I've been running Live in realtime mode for quite some time now with no ill effect, if anything weird happens...just renice it or restart Live.

I doubt there's much chance of mucking up config files, etc, etc.

wjbuchanan
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Re: Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Post by wjbuchanan » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:47 pm

chilleddreams wrote:Some times ago I used CoolBook (http://coolbook.se/). Obviously it fixed some SpeedStep issues on OSX. I had a lot better CPU performance in Live and NI Traktor.

Later I removed CoolBook because I suspected issues with early NI Maschine drivers. Meanwhile I think the SpeedStep issues in OSX are fixed (or at least it all performs better than before).

Another explanation for better CPU performance may be NI Maschine. It uses lot of CPU, so SpeedStep down clocking will never occur. :)
I think you're probably right about Maschine...I gave up on it though, as I mainly use VSTs as opposed to samples and I couldn't run very many of them concurrently.

wjbuchanan
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:12 pm

Re: Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Post by wjbuchanan » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:55 pm

OK one last tip folks...sorry to post so many of these but I am on a mission to squeeze as much performance out of this old MBP as possible, and iron out a few OSX issues along the way.

I obtained 4Gb RAM from a friends old notebook today and promptly upgraded it.

I started to notice that OSX was still paging though, and wanted to stop this behavior.

These commands will do so by unloading the "dynamic_pager" process. This has the effect of only loading programs (i.e Live) into RAM as opposed to virtual memory

Code: Select all

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.dynamic_pager.plist
sudo rm /private/var/vm/swapfile*
If you want to reenable, no restart needed

Code: Select all

sudo launchctl load -wF /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.dynamic_pager.plist
Now...this one is probably only for those really serious about getting some extra performance.

My 2007 MBP is now "blazinly" fast, and I haven't experienced any crashes...if you used more than 4Gb then there would likely be a crash.

Remember to use the 64-bit kernel :)

Your mileage may vary though. I don't use many samples apart from drums, and tend to Live only loaded...perhaps with Firefox if I'm following a tutorial.

moonpie
Posts: 305
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:22 am

Re: Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Post by moonpie » Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:20 pm

wjbuchanan wrote:OK one last tip folks...sorry to post so many of these but I am on a mission to squeeze as much performance out of this old MBP as possible, and iron out a few OSX issues along the way.

I obtained 4Gb RAM from a friends old notebook today and promptly upgraded it.

I started to notice that OSX was still paging though, and wanted to stop this behavior.

These commands will do so by unloading the "dynamic_pager" process. This has the effect of only loading programs (i.e Live) into RAM as opposed to virtual memory

Code: Select all

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.dynamic_pager.plist
sudo rm /private/var/vm/swapfile*
If you want to reenable, no restart needed

Code: Select all

sudo launchctl load -wF /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.dynamic_pager.plist


Now...this one is probably only for those really serious about getting some extra performance.

My 2007 MBP is now "blazinly" fast, and I haven't experienced any crashes...if you used more than 4Gb then there would likely be a crash.

Remember to use the 64-bit kernel :)

Your mileage may vary though. I don't use many samples apart from drums, and tend to Live only loaded...perhaps with Firefox if I'm following a tutorial.
How much of these tweaks reset upon restart? The "nice" setting for example. Which things reset on restart or closing ableton etc?

wjbuchanan
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:12 pm

Re: Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Post by wjbuchanan » Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:31 pm

moonpie wrote:
wjbuchanan wrote:OK one last tip folks...sorry to post so many of these but I am on a mission to squeeze as much performance out of this old MBP as possible, and iron out a few OSX issues along the way.

I obtained 4Gb RAM from a friends old notebook today and promptly upgraded it.

I started to notice that OSX was still paging though, and wanted to stop this behavior.

These commands will do so by unloading the "dynamic_pager" process. This has the effect of only loading programs (i.e Live) into RAM as opposed to virtual memory

Code: Select all

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.dynamic_pager.plist
sudo rm /private/var/vm/swapfile*
If you want to reenable, no restart needed

Code: Select all

sudo launchctl load -wF /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.dynamic_pager.plist


Now...this one is probably only for those really serious about getting some extra performance.

My 2007 MBP is now "blazinly" fast, and I haven't experienced any crashes...if you used more than 4Gb then there would likely be a crash.

Remember to use the 64-bit kernel :)

Your mileage may vary though. I don't use many samples apart from drums, and tend to Live only loaded...perhaps with Firefox if I'm following a tutorial.
How much of these tweaks reset upon restart? The "nice" setting for example. Which things reset on restart or closing ableton etc?
"Renice" only affects the current session of Live, which doesn't survive a reboot
"Nice" is to be used when loading Live, to preset the priority - this also wouldn't survive a reboot but you could create an alias to start Live in realtime mode
QuietMBP is active as long as the program is running
dynamic_paging is active until you disable it, and survives a reboot

Khazul
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Location: Reading, UK

Re: Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Post by Khazul » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:38 am

wjbuchanan wrote: Try it..! Can any confirm if this works with the new i5/i7 processors and/or Lion?
Cheers
Dont think anything like this is needed with the ne MBPs.

Out of box performance on OSX is as expected relative to my older i7 desktop PC.
Performance between Live 8 on OSX and Live 8 on Win 7/64 (via bootcamp on the MBP) shows them both to be near enough identical.

Maybe this is just a quirk of older machines.
Nothing to see here - move along!

moreofmorris
Posts: 176
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:57 am

Re: Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Post by moreofmorris » Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:57 am

wjbuchanan wrote:Hi All,
I've recently moved to OSX and was slightly disappointed to see that I can't turn off SpeedStep for my C2D...it really seemed to make OSX perform worse in comparison to Windows.

This software was designed to fix the "whine" issue seen on MBP's
http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/107/mac ... ise-update
http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/21714/quietmbp

However, it also has the effect of blocking SpeedStep - which is a good thing for audio use.

I'm running Live 8.2.5 on a Macbook Pro 2.4GHz 10.6 with samples set to the lowest setting for the internal audio card - 14.
4 x instances of imPOScar2 and 1 x of Simpler = 43% CPU usage in Live + lots of clicks/pops.

With QuietMBP running (MS setting @ 0) the CPU usage is reduced to 23% instantly!

Try it..! Can any confirm if this works with the new i5/i7 processors and/or Lion?

Cheers
Ok, so my specs are pretty much exactly the same as yours, but I'm now on Lion.

I opened QuietMBP, set it 0, and opened Ableton Live with a set that I know is CPU heavy. And QuietMBP just made my CPU go up by about 15% or so.

I looked at the Activity Monitor, the Ableton Live CPU reading doesn't change when running QuietMBP, but QuietMBP itself has a reading of around 15% or so.

So it just doesn't seem to do anything... Gutted... Was hoping for this to work! Ableton can be a total bitch on my machine.

Khazul
Posts: 3185
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: Reading, UK

Re: Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Post by Khazul » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:14 am

wjbuchanan wrote:These commands will do so by unloading the "dynamic_pager" process. This has the effect of only loading programs (i.e Live) into RAM as opposed to virtual memory
I wouldnt have thought Live would use locked memory (ie it take space in virtual memory, but isnt paged to disc while locked) for most of its memory use anyway for all its allocation of audio buffers and workspaces for anything related to real time audio processing live does (and plugin do), so I cant see something like this making any difference for actual audio. It may improve performance of some non-real time aspects - browsing plugins, stuff in library etc.
Nothing to see here - move along!

wjbuchanan
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:12 pm

Re: Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Post by wjbuchanan » Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:15 pm

littlejim84 wrote:
wjbuchanan wrote:Hi All,
I've recently moved to OSX and was slightly disappointed to see that I can't turn off SpeedStep for my C2D...it really seemed to make OSX perform worse in comparison to Windows.

This software was designed to fix the "whine" issue seen on MBP's
http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/107/mac ... ise-update
http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/21714/quietmbp

However, it also has the effect of blocking SpeedStep - which is a good thing for audio use.

I'm running Live 8.2.5 on a Macbook Pro 2.4GHz 10.6 with samples set to the lowest setting for the internal audio card - 14.
4 x instances of imPOScar2 and 1 x of Simpler = 43% CPU usage in Live + lots of clicks/pops.

With QuietMBP running (MS setting @ 0) the CPU usage is reduced to 23% instantly!

Try it..! Can any confirm if this works with the new i5/i7 processors and/or Lion?

Cheers
Ok, so my specs are pretty much exactly the same as yours, but I'm now on Lion.

I opened QuietMBP, set it 0, and opened Ableton Live with a set that I know is CPU heavy. And QuietMBP just made my CPU go up by about 15% or so.

I looked at the Activity Monitor, the Ableton Live CPU reading doesn't change when running QuietMBP, but QuietMBP itself has a reading of around 15% or so.

So it just doesn't seem to do anything... Gutted... Was hoping for this to work! Ableton can be a total bitch on my machine.
Hi littlejim84, what version of Live are you using, along with which VSTs? Are you using the built in audio device?

wjbuchanan
Posts: 143
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Re: Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Post by wjbuchanan » Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:21 pm

Khazul wrote:
wjbuchanan wrote:These commands will do so by unloading the "dynamic_pager" process. This has the effect of only loading programs (i.e Live) into RAM as opposed to virtual memory
I wouldnt have thought Live would use locked memory (ie it take space in virtual memory, but isnt paged to disc while locked) for most of its memory use anyway for all its allocation of audio buffers and workspaces for anything related to real time audio processing live does (and plugin do), so I cant see something like this making any difference for actual audio. It may improve performance of some non-real time aspects - browsing plugins, stuff in library etc.
I think you're probably right...however I was getting a bit of delay (affecting audio) when opening VSTs, this certainly seemed to help the issue.

Captain Johnson
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Re: Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Post by Captain Johnson » Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:37 pm

littlejim84 wrote:
Captain Johnson wrote:Using 2.2GHz C2D 2G Ram 10.6.4 OSX, Using 8 channels, 4 audio, 2 drum machines, 2 sample tracks. Usually hitting 35%-40% max when everything is going off. Using Quiet MBP keeps me at 28%-32% no change. AWESOME!!!! Will be better when I finally install 4G RAM!!

.............................Cheers for this boss find 8)
What are you doing? Just installing QuietMBP, setting it to 0 and running along with your normal Ableton Live rig?

Yes! I shuld re-state that my CPU runs at 23%-32% no change!! :D

modecai
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Re: Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Post by modecai » Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:08 pm

i find this thread very confusing... I have a new macbook pro 13" and if I have had no problems running ableton, would you suggest that I still look into using these applications?

Thanks!

wjbuchanan
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Re: Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Post by wjbuchanan » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:45 pm

modecai wrote:i find this thread very confusing... I have a new macbook pro 13" and if I have had no problems running ableton, would you suggest that I still look into using these applications?

Thanks!
If you are happy enough with the performance, I would just leave it.

I myself was a bit disappointed with OSX's performance compared to Windows on my old 2007 MBP, and decided to tweak a bit to get them even.

I wanted to share the tweaks I used to get Ableton working a bit more efficiently...QuietMBP dropped my CPU usage quite a bit.

If you have any specific bits you're confused about let me know...

modecai
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:29 pm

Re: Howto : Make Ableton use Less CPU in OSX

Post by modecai » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:05 pm

I just can't find a good description of what the cpu whine is... Or what quiet mbp is supposed to do. I'll do some more googling.

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