Live 11 (and 10): CPU usage on macOS heavily dependent on size of the window

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reklawnos
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Live 11 (and 10): CPU usage on macOS heavily dependent on size of the window

Post by reklawnos » Wed Feb 24, 2021 4:13 am

Hi all,

I recently got a 4K monitor. After downloading Live 11 today, the new CPU meter helped me discover an odd issue that seems to affect both Live 11 and live 10. Basically, the larger the size of the main Live window, the higher the CPU usage goes. Here's the usage when the window takes up the whole screen:

Image

And here's the usage when shrinking the window to the smallest size that still shows the CPU meter:

Image

It seems odd that rendering a larger view of the Live UI would create such a large difference in CPU usage. With this song playing, the activity monitor shows the CPU usage going from ~200% to ~300% when enlarging the window. This is all on a 2018 13" MacBook Pro with an i7 processor, so it's possible that the lack of a dedicated GPU is the issue, but apps like Logic don't show a similar change in CPU usage when resizing.

Does anyone have any recommendations for how to sidestep this, other than the typical CPU usage tips and/or reducing the size of the window? I'm also curious, does anyone with a 15" or 16" MacBook Pro or a 13" M1-powered MacBook have this same issue?

Greenapples2019
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Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:43 pm

Re: Live 11 (and 10): CPU usage on macOS heavily dependent on size of the window

Post by Greenapples2019 » Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:08 am

It could possibly be to do with the frame refresh rate. This article explains more:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ableton/commen ... ptionstxt/

I have my MBP at 15fps and I haven't noticed any real difference in how Ableton looks.

I hope that helps.

Cheers
D

[jur]
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Re: Live 11 (and 10): CPU usage on macOS heavily dependent on size of the window

Post by [jur] » Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:27 am

Yep, try changing the refresh rate and let us know.
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reklawnos
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Re: Live 11 (and 10): CPU usage on macOS heavily dependent on size of the window

Post by reklawnos » Wed Feb 24, 2021 4:34 pm

Just tried making those options.txt changes. Adding -MaxFpsMac=15 resulted in a warning message when starting Live 11:
The options file [Options.txt] contains an unknown option '-MaxFpsMac' which will be ignored.
The options file did work for Live 10 though and seemed to reduce CPU usage. That being said, ideally it wouldn't be necessary to reduce the framerate since it makes a number of things in the UI less smooth (e.g. scrolling in arrangement view, the various meters on Wavetable). Are there other options that, say, tweak GPU acceleration? Is there a new option available for Live 11 to adjust the max FPS?

CPU usage
Live 10 unchanged
Small: ~205%
Large: ~260%

Live 10 with -MaxFpsMac=15
Small: ~205%
CPU large: ~220%

Live 10 with -MaxFpsMac=3
Small: ~205%
Large: ~210%

[jur]
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Re: Live 11 (and 10): CPU usage on macOS heavily dependent on size of the window

Post by [jur] » Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:31 pm

No, we were talking about your external screen's refresh rate.
You'll find this setting in OSX System Preferences > Monitor.
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toffer
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Re: Live 11 (and 10): CPU usage on macOS heavily dependent on size of the window

Post by toffer » Wed Feb 24, 2021 6:45 pm

I've been having the same problem with the 2018 Mac mini (6-core, i7, 16GB RAM), using the LG Ultrafine 4K display. The latter does not support a lower refresh rate. And I get the same error when opening Live 11 using the Options.txt (which seemed to help somewhat in Live 10). Any other suggestions, aside from buying an eGPU?

Also, the CPU overload indicator keeps flashing up, particularly when I stop the track - that seems weird. :cry: Was this ever an issue in the beta? Running a couple instances of Serum, a couple of instances of Simpler, and the buffer is set to 128.

[jur]
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Re: Live 11 (and 10): CPU usage on macOS heavily dependent on size of the window

Post by [jur] » Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:17 pm

Can you try different zoom setting in Live's preferences?
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K_M
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Re: Live 11 (and 10): CPU usage on macOS heavily dependent on size of the window

Post by K_M » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:04 pm

The options.txt trick used to be a good way to lower the CPU usage on Live 10. It was not ideal as it did slow the UI but I was willing to accept it to gain some cpu power. At least you had that choice.

I don't know why they disabled it in Live 11 but on my Macbook pro 13' mid 2014 I certainy can feel the increase of CPU usage.

toffer
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Re: Live 11 (and 10): CPU usage on macOS heavily dependent on size of the window

Post by toffer » Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:23 am

[jur] wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:17 pm
Can you try different zoom setting in Live's preferences?
Can't say I notice any discernible difference when doing so.

reklawnos
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Re: Live 11 (and 10): CPU usage on macOS heavily dependent on size of the window

Post by reklawnos » Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:13 am

Changing the zoom level and refresh rate did seem to make a difference and slightly reduced the CPU usage, but I think I actually found the real culprit...

All of those measurements I've been giving are for a set that heavily uses the Nectar 3 plugin – I counted 15 different tracks, each with its own instance of the plugin. Even with the set totally idle (i.e. nothing playing) it gets those super high CPU usage numbers in the 250%-plus range. When I remove every instance of the plugin, Live 11's CPU usage drops to a reasonable value (something around 19%) and more importantly the usage doesn't appear to scale with the size of the window. I created a new Live set with 15 blank tracks, each one only containing one instance of Nectar 3, and it reproduced the issue exactly as it was appearing in my "real" set.

I ended up testing a few other plugins with a similar setup to see if it was specific to Nectar 3. I used 15 audio tracks with one instance of a given plugin. Based on what I saw, there was some plugin-specific behavior, but it could be that simply getting above a certain threshold in CPU usage causes a small increase in processing (e.g. due to a larger window) causes the measured CPU usage to spike.

Live 11 CPU usage
Spectral Resonator (built-in, default preset)
Small window: ~19%
Large window: ~22%

XLN RC-20 (default preset)
Small window: ~135%
Large window: ~141%

Polyverse Wider (set to 100% and with 120 tracks instead of 15)
Small window: ~85%
Large window: ~160%

Convolution Reverb Pro (built-in, default preset)
Small window: ~130%
Large window: ~300%

iZotope Neutron 3.2.0 ("male pop" preset)
Small window: ~168%
Large window: ~230%

iZotope Nectar 3.3.0 ("focused mids" preset)
Small window: ~85%
Large window: ~145%

I also tested this on Logic to see if it behaved similarly. Something to note is that I'm using a buffer size of 64 in Logic and 128 in Ableton.

Logic Pro X CPU usage
iZotope Nectar 3.3.0 ("focused mids" preset, 60 tracks instead of 15)
Small window: ~115%
Large window: ~200%

XLN RC-20 (default preset, 60 tracks instead of 15)
Small window: ~267%
Large window: ~315%

grrrz
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Re: Live 11 (and 10): CPU usage on macOS heavily dependent on size of the window

Post by grrrz » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:35 pm

does it happen immediatly after launching live? is it related to the system temps?
I know that the live interface will consume some gpu (and probably cpu); which will increase the heat (specially in a laptop); and push the system closer to its limits. The CPU could get too hot to turbo; or even gets below its base clock (throttling) because of this. I could observe this either on a dedicated GPU or graphics integrated on the CPU. I observered the problem got worse when using an external display; and a lot better when minimizing the window.
This is on old macbooks from around 2011 that already have a heating problem that got worse with time and as dust accumulated inside and the thermal paste dried (for a heavy session I had the cpu clock halfed).

frabo
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Re: Live 11 (and 10): CPU usage on macOS heavily dependent on size of the window

Post by frabo » Fri Feb 26, 2021 11:07 am

please read along this:

http://disq.us/p/2f2y6eq

do you use a eGpu ?

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