Getting the most out of Live on Threadripper

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Getting the most out of Live on Threadripper

Post by Sleeper0013 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:36 am

For those of you who are considering building a windows studio rig for Live, im going to explain why Threadripper might be the best way to go, and how to set up your rig to get the most out of the DAW. This is intended for higher end home studios running Live or any other DAW for the matter.

First off one caveat, Thunderbolt for Threadripper is not a thing yet, but it is in development and i expect thunderbolt to be functioning on AMD by the end of the year. So if you have a thunderbolt audio interface you might want to hold off until development is complete. The other option is Dante network, but your are talking about dropping some cash on that as you will need 2 expensive Dante devices. A Dante enabled audio DA converter or interface, a dante PCIe card, and a gigabit(1000m) network switch hooked up with CAT6 Ethernet cable between all devices.

Ok so why Threadripper?
First. AMD's core to cost ratio far exceeds that of Intel.
Second. you still have the ability (with the right motherboard and cooling solution) to over clock the chip to extract higher performance.
3rd. AMD is using 7 nano meter architecture, which results in efficiency and lower latency per clock cycle.
4th. 64 megs of cache per core. when it come to your DAW Cache is king as memory seek times are reduced due to large amount of supper fast fetch, thus less latency.
5th. 64 PCI lanes that run direct to the CPU, that means no south side bridge bottleneck. Thus room for expansion cards, Video cards, NVME solid state drives. You could effectively have a high end video card, an internal Universal Audio DSP card, 2 NVMEs and a thunderbolt or Dante card and still have room.

What is the Best Threadripper Chip for Live?
I have determined that the 2970wx is the best way to go, ill explain why.
The 2970wx is a 24 core 48 thread chip. considering that you are on windows you are limited to 32 cores 32 threads. Why not go with the 16 core 32 thread version? this is rather complex... Threadrippers are made with chiplets, on the 2970wx you have 4 chiplets, each chiplet has 2 core complexes with 3 cores each. One of those cores is a latency nightmare for your DAW but it can be disabled so the DAW never touches it. So with 2 cores and 4 thread on 4 chiplets you have 16 core 32 threads with ENORMOUS bandwidth, ideal for Lives 32 thread limitation. But The 16 core Threadripper has 2 core complexes with 4 cores each on 2 chiplets, But instead of having 1 latency core you you have 2. so you need disable 2 cores per complex. this leaves you with only 8 cores. You could go the rout of the 2990wx which is a 32 core 64 thread chip but you have 2 core complexes that have 4 cores each on 4 chiplets after disabling your 2 cores per complex you are right back to 16 cores, but now at the extra cost of $600. with no improvement in performance.
So it seems as if the 2970wx is the best route.

So perhaps you decide to build this rig. what do you need. An X399 motherboard, i would suggest Asus or Gigabyte . Compatible 3200 or 3600mhz DDR4 ram corsair vengeance is my best suggestion. a whopping 1200 watt power supply. Video card of your choosing best to go with a 1000 series or above nvidia. NVME SSD drive for system. NVME or SSD or HHD Terabyte drive of some sort. Case, fans, cables. And a TR4 heatsink fan combo, or a custom built water cooling loop for overclocking.

So now you built your rig how do you configure it?

Enter bios.
Enable XMP memory profile for your ram, ensure that your Dram voltages are set at the proper ratings usually 1.35.
Disable Core Performance Boost.
Disable C-states
Disable SB Clock Spread Spectrum unless you live near power lines.
Disable any thing else dealing with Core Performance Boost, or Speed stepping.
Save and reboot.

Set processor scheduling to Background services.
Set power management to High Performance.
Go into command prompt or powershell(admin) and type "powercfg -h off" this will disable hybrid hibernation(this is not sleep mode, this is a resource bastard).
Type "services" in search box on task bar, open "services" app. Find "Windows Search", click on it, click STOP, set "startup type" to disabled.
Disable any windows sounds.
open task manager, go to startup disable anything unnecessary.
UPDATE Windows to 1903 service pack, reboot.
Search google for X399 chipset driver. Download from AMD site. and run.
(there was a major bug with windows kernel and Threadripper. The Non Uniform Memory Access function was broken badly gimping Threadripper performance by half. the 1903 update and chipset driver fixes this.)
Make sure all of your other drivers are updated. "IOBit driver booster" is very good at maintaining drivers and you can do easy role backs if an error occurs.
Update your NVIDIA drivers from NVIDIA separately.

Download "AMD Ryzen Master" and install.
Open and Click on Profile 1.
In the "control mode" section click on Manual.
In the "Core section" Disable all cores that do not have a star or a circle marking them. (you can download" Ryzen Master 1.4 quick reference guide" to learn out why these cores should be disabled. Well sort of... the unmarked cores are Infinity fabric cores, they are great for all kind of stuff except LIVE.)
Click Save profile.
Reboot and you are good to go.

With this system you should be able to at least do 96khz sample rate if not 192.

If any one Is interested in Overclocking a Threadripper system, i can explain how to Build a custom water loop, and the process of how to do a stable overclock in another thread.

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Re: Getting the most out of Live on Threadripper

Post by patchbayarea » Sat Dec 14, 2019 5:12 pm

You are a hero, thanks for that.

Note that 3970x is now being released and apparently solves the chipsets issue. Thunderbolt is yet to be confirmed on TRX40 motherboards.

Who runs Live on threadripper here and how does it perform?

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Re: Getting the most out of Live on Threadripper

Post by jonljacobi » Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:53 am

I know there’s at least one AMD board out there with Thunderbolt.

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Re: Getting the most out of Live on Threadripper

Post by dt0815 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:43 pm

@Sleeper0013: Hero!! Thank you so much for your explanations! I was totally unaware about this topic; specially about 'latency cores' and that those can be even disabled. Eyeopening! And worrying that one can really be easily too unaware and buy hardware that doesn't fit actually.

As @patchbayarea suggested 3970x is now released. I strongly consider investing in a whole new system solely for ableton and vsts, etc etc with exactly this CPU with windows 10.

Can anyone confirm to me, that the 3970x + win10 is not a stupid idea, respectively throw out big money and sitting on 'latency cores' or any other issue?

Thanks in advance!

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Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:45 pm

Re: Getting the most out of Live on Threadripper

Post by Glave » Tue Mar 17, 2020 1:48 pm

@dt0815, I just finished building a setup with a 3970x using the TRX40 Designair as it includes thunderbolt support. It also comes with a nice PCIe card that you can put up to 4 NVMe SSDs in and set them up on a RAID. So far I'm very happy with everything. I went through the steps that @Sleeper0013 suggested. I started playing around with disabling the cores that didn't have this star or dot and was seeing worse performance in Ableton so I read a bit on why would or why you might not want to do this.

In this first article they say that the stars and dots marking cores is just a ranking of the cores that AMD makes using an arbitrary metric. I can't find any info that says the stars and dots correlate to the Infinity Fabric Cores that @Sleeper0013 mentions. ... rred-cores

In this thread someone says, "With Ryzen 3000 they changed the number of cores per die from 4 to 8 but still uses 4-core CCX within one CCD. In terms of inter CCX communication there is still one infinity fabric for both CCX inside the CCD. So it is not clean 8-Core die." So on the 3970x there will actually only be 8 Infinity Fabric cores versus the 16 there would have been on the previous generation. ... 8&start=90

This last article also says that the architecture has completely changed on the latest generation of Ryzen threadripper CPUs. They say, "The original 32-core Threadripper 2990WX we reviewed was a little bit of a kludge. The chip was built with four 8-core chiplets, but only two of the chiplets had memory controllers and PCIe access. That meant the two compute-only dies had to go through the other dies to get to RAM or storage. You could think of the design as adding two more bedrooms to your two-bedroom home, but forcing those in the new bedrooms to go through the old bedrooms when leaving. You could imagine how off-kilter this could sometimes make the original 32-core Threadripper 2990WX." ... power.html

So the issues that @Sleeper0013 was seeing may not be a problem on the 4th gen threadrippers.

Here's also so info on how your RAM speed will affect performance: ... -overview/

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Re: Getting the most out of Live on Threadripper

Post by alexkywalker » Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:37 am

Fantastic reference! I built my system when the first Threadripper generation came out and put the 1950X (16 Core 32 Threads) on it.

I am not really experiencing anything bothersome,
but have been trying to use a Push 2 with my system and it works fine for a while and then it lags to the point of making Live unusable.

X399 ASRock Taichi MoBo
Nvidia GTX 1080ti
Scarlett 18i8 Focusrite audio interface
Push 2

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Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:58 am

Re: Getting the most out of Live on Threadripper

Post by mcbman » Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:27 am

Good post! I'm trying to optimize for Live on a 1950x. Rog Zenith Extreme (Though I can not find any C-State option in the BIOS). I guess ableton doesn't want to use the bedrooms that require passage through the other bedrooms as it doesn't want to walk in on somebody sleeping or masturbating or something. I read somewhere that "game mode" as opposed to "creator mode" in the Ryzen Master Software will disable the infinity cores, and I will try doing that. Thanks again.

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