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Topic: hey Hancor! Had a chance to max out your system yet?

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  1. #1

    hey Hancor! Had a chance to max out your system yet?

    Hey Hans, I was just wondering if you\'ve had a chance to work your system to its limits yet.

    I\'m still interested in what combination of polyphony, audio tracks, midi density, NFX and VST you\'re able to achieve.

    I know this is an extremely interactive bundle of parameters, but and more info you have would be greatly appreciated.

    How much weight do you put on the UWSCSI factor?

    Regards

    Rick

  2. #2

    Re: hey Hancor! Had a chance to max out your system yet?

    Hi Rick,

    We\'ve sequenced up to eight tracks from GS160
    into Logic Audio Platinum 4.6.1. without hiccups.

    Due to my business obligations, and busy season, I have\'nt had a chance to run the requests you\'ve made. They are however on my \"To Do List\".

    Given that we are running with 128MB of RAM, the higher disk I/O pipeline with the Ultra160 SCSI controller has to be part of the overall equation. When you think about it
    having 512KB SRAM on an ATA/IDE solution compared to 8MB SRAM on the Quantum drives is a 16 to 1 increase in overhead room for those many megabytes of data throughput when sampling/sequencing audio files and doing disk I/O . (Note: see www.storagereview.com for more info) In my debate, with my learned friend Steve Mitchell, we had some interesting discussion on the benefits of having more RAM eg 512MB and above. See the topic: anyone work with 768+ mb of ram????

    As part of the dialogue, we noted the VCache is limited to 512MB for any Win9x OS. Further to this, my quote from the programming text indicates the \"HeapAlloc\" call is limited to a maximum of 256MB in win9x. Thus throwing unlimited amounts of RAM with a win9x application will not help your cause. You need to have multiple HeapAlloc calls in the program to use up the available RAM. To my knowledge, I am not convinced that this memory optimization has been coded in the program. I am open to be corrrected on this point, by our friendly programmers at Nemesys.

    The slowest component in any computer is the Hard Disk subsystem. Optimizing, the Hard Disk subsystem will have a significant boost to one\'s overall performance. eg. your average 8ms seek on an ATA/IDE drive will get a real boost on a dual drive SCSI system with an average 2.35ms seek (4.7ms seek for each drive).

    This results in a 70.6% boost in disk I/O speeds. Further, the SCSI controller relieves the CPU from disk I/O duties so you can run more plugins.

    In Logic Audio, my colleague has managed to run up to (maximum plugins on LAW is 40 simultaneous) 32 simultaneous plugins on 24 audio tracks and 8 midi tracks before the system choked due to CPU constraints(on an Intel PIII 450Mhz). We plan to upgrade to a 1GHz Intel PIII and 512MB Ram in the near future; as prices on these items have fallen significantly, over the last quarter. The sound quality was flawless at 32 plugins, while at 33 plugins it started to crackle and then the programs crashed, but the OS was still up and running.

    Hope this helps, for a quick reply.

    Regards

    Hans


  3. #3

    Re: hey Hancor! Had a chance to max out your system yet?

    Thanks Hans,

    I look forward to your experiments.

  4. #4

    Re: hey Hancor! Had a chance to max out your system yet?

    Hans,
    I currently am running a three disk drive setup. 7,200 RPM W. Digital ATA 66 (sytem drive), 7200 RPM Maxtor Diamondmax plus ATA 66 (Gigasampler drive), W. Digital 10,000 RPM U2Wide SCSI with Adaptec 2940 controller (Cakewalk Audio drive), PIII 600E CPU, Asus CU4V Motherboard. If I understand you correctly, I will benefit substantially by using another 10,000 RPM SCSI drive for my system drive. This should allow me to run an exceptionally greater amount of plugins with a 70 percent increase in disk I/O speed? Is the SCSI factor as or more important for plugin performance than upgrading the CPU to say a 1 GHZ PIII. I am getting great performance from Gigasampler but I just hate getting dropouts when processing and finalizing my projects. Last but not least, what would you consider as adequate performance for a system similiar to mine in terms of the amount of simultaneous plugins? Peace.

  5. #5

    Re: hey Hancor! Had a chance to max out your system yet?

    Hi Nazaru,

    Obviously, getting the PIII 1GHz chip will allow you to run more plugins, since plugins are CPU dependent. What is throughput dependent is the amount of audio and midi tracks you wish to play simultaneously, here you need SCSI drives to maximize track count.
    If you are experiencing dropouts, then you have a throughput problem. With throughput problems, a SCSI drive is definitely in order. The side benefit of a SCSI drive is the the host controller now does all the disk I/O duties formerly done by the CPU on an IDE/ATA disk solution. This relieves the CPU to run more plugins. eg. you get a double win.

    In short, the CPU will let you run more plugins.

    The SCSI drive, will cure your throughput problems and let you run more plugins without
    taxing the CPU.

    Note: I am running a complete SCSI solution
    drives, controller, peripherals(CD-RW, DVD-ROM, HP6300C scanner)

    We are using a dual Ultra160 drive setup, first drive for OS and Programs, second drive for audio and .GIG files. With this setup on a PIII 450Mhz we are able to record from GS160 into LAWP. If you are experiencing difficulty with dropouts, we note ours disappeared when we ditched the ide/ata drives for the audio/visual rated SCSI drives.

    If you get a SCSI drive, make sure they are matched drives. eg. both drives I use are Quantum Atlas 10kII drives with onboard 8MB
    Ultra 160 specification.

    Regards

    Hans

  6. #6

    Re: hey Hancor! Had a chance to max out your system yet?

    But Hans - If you enable DMA in the drive properties for the ATA drive, that\'ll free up the CPU to handle effects software just as with SCSI. I think SCSI is soooo overpriced vs. ATA.

    I\'d love to see some empirical data that compares throughput (wave data, sample data), access time, etc., of the different harddisk subsystems running on differing hardware platforms. I\'m sure it\'d be an eye-opener.

    Steve
    The Classical MIDI Resource
    The CMR Players

  7. #7

    Re: hey Hancor! Had a chance to max out your system yet?

    Hi Steve,

    WRT having DMA enabled, it was. We still however experienced dropouts, despite driver updates for the chipset from Intel, optimizing the drives etc. When you\'ve done all the usual techy stuff then you look for a better solution; the Ultra160 SCSI drives were just the ticket as they resolved the dropouts we were having. Ask any physicist \"Why do you do it that way?\" Answer, \"Because it works!\" If you want a lot of empirical evidence on the sustained throughput as opposed to burst throughput I would recommend www.storagereview.com as an excellent survey of these issues.

    Regards

    Hans

  8. #8

    Re: hey Hancor! Had a chance to max out your system yet?

    Cool Website. Thanks.

    Steve Mitchell
    The Classical MIDI Resource
    The CMR Players

  9. #9

    Re: hey Hancor! Had a chance to max out your system yet?

    Thanks for the advise Hans. I think I\'ll add another SCSI drive as my system and programs drive and see how my plugin performance improves. If that isn\'t enough, perhaps I\'ll upgrade my CPU as well. I would rather wait a while until the next generation Athlons are unleashed however. I am very curious to see what kind of monsters they will be. Does it really matter if I keep the the IDE drives installed. I could use them for backup storage could I not. If my system drive is SCSI and my Cakewalk audio drive is SCSI the IDE drives will not even be in use during audio processing. Does the mere presence of IDE drives and slave CDRW slow a DAW down even when these devices are not in use? It seems to me that it shouldn\'t. Peace.

  10. #10

    Re: hey Hancor! Had a chance to max out your system yet?

    No the mere presence of IDE/ATA drives in the system should not affect the performance of your DAW. You will however have to reconfigure the boot sequence in your bios to: SCSI, A, C or similar selection; otherwise the OS will try to boot from the IDE drives. I would scrub the IDE drives clean by reformatting and set them to slave settings if your only using them for long term storage.

    Being a purist however, I disabled the IDE/ATA interface and picked up two IRQs in the bargain; 14 & 15. This makes it easier to prevent IRQ sharing among the controller, AGP graphics card, and sound cards.

    Further to this, when adding peripherals to the SCSI chain on multi-channel U2W or Ultra160 SCSI you can add up to 15 peripherals to each channel without requiring more IRQs. If the object is to make music, the SCSI solution is rather compelling; notwithstanding the premium you pay. In short, make music don\'t go through acrobatics to make a system do what it wasn\'t designed to do. Does this cost money? Yes. Does it solve the problem of disk dropout? Yes. Will you be able to create your music without pulling your remaining hair out? Yes. Will you get paid for the work you do, by completing your projects on time and on budget? Yes.

    In summary, if you are a home/hobbyist using IDE/ATA may be perfectly adequate, but not necessarily so.

    Alternately, if you make music for a living professionally, I can see every reason why an Ultra160 SCSI solution is justifiable.

    Regards

    Hans


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