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Argh! New Desktop, Shocking Track Count

Posted: Sun May 17, 2015 10:09 am
by andydes
I've just splashed out on a new PC desktop. Theoretically, it should wipe the floor with my old one (which is now toast) but I'm getting CPU spikes and glitches after only 3 or 4 tracks. On my first project of the new computer, I overloaded the CPU with one kick drum, 2 instances of U-He's ACE (one on accurate, one on standard quality), and a couple of Live effects. That's it.

So I loaded up some old projects that used to play fine on the old computer and I now have to freeze loads of tracks. Cranking up the latency to 500 ish samples, helps a little, but I'm still glitching on tracks that used to play in full around 176 samples (which is as low as the firebox software allows me to go).

None of my old tracks have absurd numbers of virtual instruments or effects and I'm not running very high load 3rd party effects or mastering (in fact so far, the only effect I have installed is Ubik). Old tracks rarely had above 8 VST instruments (usually a mix of Massive, ACE, Zebra and Operator) with handful of pretty standard effects anyway.

New Computer Specs:

CPU: i7 4790K 4GHz (No Overclocking)
Motherboard: ASRock Z97 Anniversary
RAM: 16 GB DDR3 PC 1600
Graphics: Gigabite GTX970
SSD and regular hard drives.
PCI firewire card
Good quality quiet case and fans, quality PSU, no fancy cooling system
Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium
Live 9 Suite 9.1.7 64 bit

Old computer Specs:

CPU: i7 920 2.66GHz (No Overclocking)
Motherboard: Asus P6T SE
RAM: 6Gb DDR3 PC 1600,
Graphics: ATI HD 4850 512MB
Cheap case, cheap PSU, no fancy cooling system (noisy as hell)
Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium
Live 9 Suite 9.1.7 64 bit

Both using Presonus Firebox, although now running through PCI firewire card. The old motherboard had firewire on it, but that doesn't seem seem to an option these days. For both computers I needed to switch to legacy firewire drivers, as the Firebox is old and that's what they recommend for using with win 7 onwards.

In terms of general computer performance, all I can say is that everything looks to be working and GTA V plays very well on pretty high settings, with sound and everything (It's the only other thing I have installed).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as I just spend a shed load of cash and I'm pretty disappointed at the moment.

Re: Argh! New Desktop, Shocking Track Count

Posted: Sun May 17, 2015 10:26 am
by Tarekith
Does it still happen without the PCI FireWire card installed?

Re: Argh! New Desktop, Shocking Track Count

Posted: Sun May 17, 2015 10:55 am
by andydes
Hi Tarekith. Thanks for the quick reply.

I just checked with built in audio using direct x / MME. Arguably a little better at 6000 samples latency (default), but I'm still getting CPU up to 75%, with my 2 ACE instruments on new track. And also just about playing one of the old ones. I don't really know how to compare though, as crappy build in sound drivers shouldn't be handle low latency and I have no gut feeling for what should be possible. Seem to be able to bring latency to around 1200 sample without too much trouble, but still looks like very high CPU use.

I'll try downloading ASIO4All for onboard sound and see if that helps.

Edit:

Well installing asio4all was quicker than expected. Couple of old tracks running OK down to 64 samples and the new one seems much better. CPU getting up to around the 50 or 60s even at higher latency, so still not looking like the powerhouse computer I hoped for, running dozens of intensive tracks.

Have to go meet someone for pub lunch now, so that's about all the testing I can do right now. I can still check forum though, if there's any other suggestions.

Re: Argh! New Desktop, Shocking Track Count

Posted: Sun May 17, 2015 2:50 pm
by cotdagoo
What are your power settings? High Performance? Balanced? Battery Saver?

Could be the bios settings for speedstepping running your cpu below spec?

ie.. what have you done/not done to a fresh install to prepare it to be an audio workstation?

Re: Argh! New Desktop, Shocking Track Count

Posted: Sun May 17, 2015 3:22 pm
by timday
The other thing that might be worth checking is the FW card. Quite a lot of FW audio gear seems to require Texas Instruments chipsets. It should say on the FW card specs somewhere. I had trouble a couple of years ago (freezes, crashes, interface failing to regsiter as device) on a non TI FW card which went away once I swapped it for a TI one. There are other compatible chipsets - I think Presonus do a list of compatible chipsets somewhere if you Google it.

No clue why this happens but sometimes it does.

Re: Argh! New Desktop, Shocking Track Count

Posted: Sun May 17, 2015 4:28 pm
by andydes
cotdagoo wrote:What are your power settings? High Performance? Balanced? Battery Saver?

Could be the bios settings for speedstepping running your cpu below spec?

ie.. what have you done/not done to a fresh install to prepare it to be an audio workstation?
I'm on high performance through windows system settings. Other than that, I've not messed around, except to turn off system sounds.

To be honest, I never really needed to go any further with that kind of thing before, either with the last custom built PC, or even my old off the shelf Dell P4. I guess I just got lucky.

I'll look more into what I can do about that.
timday wrote:The other thing that might be worth checking is the FW card. Quite a lot of FW audio gear seems to require Texas Instruments chipsets. It should say on the FW card specs somewhere. I had trouble a couple of years ago (freezes, crashes, interface failing to regsiter as device) on a non TI FW card which went away once I swapped it for a TI one. There are other compatible chipsets - I think Presonus do a list of compatible chipsets somewhere if you Google it.

No clue why this happens but sometimes it does.
Ah yes, good point. I'd forgotten about the old TI chipsets thing. Although, I'd have thought other manufacturers might have fixed that one by now. It's been long enough.

Re: Argh! New Desktop, Shocking Track Count

Posted: Sun May 17, 2015 4:46 pm
by cotdagoo
andydes wrote:
cotdagoo wrote:What are your power settings? High Performance? Balanced? Battery Saver?

Could be the bios settings for speedstepping running your cpu below spec?

ie.. what have you done/not done to a fresh install to prepare it to be an audio workstation?
I'm on high performance through windows system settings. Other than that, I've not messed around, except to turn off system sounds.

To be honest, I never really needed to go any further with that kind of thing before, either with the last custom built PC, or even my old off the shelf Dell P4. I guess I just got lucky.

I'll look more into what I can do about that.
I can't remember what the defaults are for High Performance power mode, but if you go into the Advanced settings there's a section called "Processor Power Management" that expands and has 2 other sections "Minimum Processor State" and "Maximum Processor State" - if you've got good cooling, fans, etc.. you can safely set Minimum to 100% and Maximum to 100% to ensure you're getting the full performance from the cpu.. in Windows anyhow.

For the BIOS, have a look at page 61 of the motherboard user manual. It explains a bunch of settings that are likely enabled for "power savings" some relate to the cpu, some not but it's worth taking a look to see what might be affecting your performance. Make sure the active processor cores setting has all the cores your cpu has enabled (some bios disable cores for power saving/heat issues).

Re: Argh! New Desktop, Shocking Track Count

Posted: Sun May 17, 2015 5:05 pm
by andydes
Thanks cotdagoo.

I'll give that a go. Unfortunately, it might take some time. As I've moved, I now have an operating system not in my native language, and apparently you only get one installed language with Windows 7 home. Seemed like a good idea to help improve my German at the time, but I didn't think about delving far into settings. Oops.

Re: Argh! New Desktop, Shocking Track Count

Posted: Sun May 17, 2015 6:35 pm
by login
Check CPU temp, if high change CPU fan to a better one.

I had a similar problem to you, couldnt solve it for years. One day I checked CPU temps and it was over 90 degress.

With an aftermarket cooler I brought down temps to 50° and everything runned smoothly.

Re: Argh! New Desktop, Shocking Track Count

Posted: Mon May 18, 2015 12:33 am
by fishmonkey
i would suggest you follow one of the guides for setting up a Windows box for audio production, there are lots out there. there are lots of settings that can cause problems.

apart from that, a good way to find out what is causing the system latency spikes is to use one of the available DPC latency checkers:

http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml
http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon