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Topic: Getting more out of a giga machine?

  1. #1

    Getting more out of a giga machine?

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    I\'m sure this is an old concept to alot of ppl, but for whatever reason it hadn\'t crossed my mind until today. I was really pushing my main computer hard earlier, and was actually hitting some limits as to what it could do realtime (not a shabby machine, P4 2.0, 1.5GB ram, 3 separate data drives, etc...) and I was wishing I could use the Giga machines to help.

    Now I am familiar with the concept of the System Link, and I do use SX, but my mind was instantly pondering over the other tasks that I would love to have the other P4\'s that usually only run Giga helping out with. I\'ll admit I\'ve been known to play a game or 20 on my main machine, and was thinking it\'d be neat if there was a way to get the other machines helping with that stuff too, instead of collecting dust after I\'m done with the Giga phase of a project...

    So I looked into it, but have\'t found too much in the way of consumer stuff. What I have found after speaking with a programmer friend today, was that with a GigaBit LAN connection, and streamlined networking protocols (ie making the traditional packaging and \"unpackaging\" process of network transfer faster) it would be possible to basically write software that would function in a shell mode on PC\'s, which could be run as an application outside of windows, would effectively yield much of the additional benefit of as many extra computers\' processors as you had on the network running the software.

    What I\'m wondering is if this idea hasn\'t already been pulled off on a scale that would integrate into our systems? I know recent supercomputers utilize this concept, but that goes far beyond what would be required for a home setup. This wouldn\'t have to be the \"epidomy\" of effeciency, as those high-end projects aim for. Just \"good enough\" to be of benefit.

    I found this link from 1996:

    but other than that have found little. So anyone here got any thoughts? I was hoping something commercial was being developed or had been already. I know everyone that use games, photoshop, video production, audio production, etc, would love to get something like this going on (since so many of us actually have several machines.) Anyway, just thought I\'d see if anyone else thinks this is a good idea, or knows where to find it.


  2. #2

    Re: Getting more out of a giga machine?

    Hi Mike,

    I sell Sun computers to universities in two states. The issue you\'ve touched upon is one I deal with on a regular basis. It comes down to this one question, how easy is it to break the problem down into manageable parts? At some point networks and processors will be so fast that latency will be a nonissue, I don\'t think we\'re there yet.

    In some problems the outcome of one process has a direct impact as the input to another process. If you\'re dealing with plugins your standard order of processes would probably be compression, EQ, reverb. Reverb in particular is a process that can use as much processing as you can throw at it. Real time convolution at high quality uses up most of any single processor whether Mac or PC.

    Since music (and video) are real time processes there isn\'t much tolerance for latency. Anytime you have a process that moves into the TCP/IP realm you\'re going to introduce latency. Networks as a rule need to be able to tolerate latency, it\'s a feature of networks that improves their effectiveness.

    The types of problems that are easy to do in \"clusters\" are problems where the solution to one part doesn\'t impact anything else. Comparison of gene sequences is one good example. Processing 25 separate audio channels and keeping them synchronized is the type of problem that would be a poor match to a cluster topology.

    As you know many people here use multiple systems and it can be done effectively. Running GOS on one Giga system and VSL on another is entirely possible. The two sample libraries don\'t depend on each other, but on a midi network. Care should be taken to match the audio card latency in the two systems. So in a sense many of us are already doing what you have in mind.

    If you\'re using midioverLAN the midi traffic is miniscule compared to the bandwidth of the LAN. If the audio card in your DAW is capable of recording several streams at once over light pipe it\'s possible to work quite quickly. I find performance tweaking and instrument tracking to be the most time consuming activities. At some point all of that comes together in a single DAW which mixes the tracks into the finished audio file. The only way I see to reduce the workload on that system would be by offloading some of the processing onto the Giga systems. However the plugins for Giga are less than wonderful and Giga doesn\'t support any standard plugin format. If Giga ever supports DirectX or VST this is a possibility.

    I\'ve been working on a major reorchestration of some recent work and I\'m still in the tracking phase. Things could get interesting when I start to mix this monster.

    Steve Chandler

  3. #3

    Re: Getting more out of a giga machine?


    Thye have a VST-Network plug-in. It allows you to \"farm out\" extra CPU\'s for other tasks, to take the load off a host CPU. This would be perfect for Giga Studio machines that aren\'t doing anything when you\'re mixing down audio tracks.

  4. #4

    Re: Getting more out of a giga machine?

    Hi King,

    The FX-teleport sounds interesting. My biggest resource hogs are reverbs, Cakewalk Soundstage and Sonic Timeworks 4080L. It seems Logic doesn\'t like having 10 or so Soundstage instances and then a 4080L on the main mix bus. I think both of these are DirectX plugs (I know Soundstage is). Is there a DirectX wrapper to VST that might allow me to use the FX Teleport for these effects or would that be too much of a kludge?

    My initial concern with the FX Teleport was network bandwidth, but assuming full duplex 44.1K audio uses 2 Mb I should be able to move 50 channels into and out of my sequencer host over a 100 Mb network.

    Steve Chandler

  5. #5

    Re: Getting more out of a giga machine?

    Thanks for all the info, Steve, that\'s what I\'ve been finding out the hard way (shoulda just checked back here more often, heheh...) The VST aide here sounds really interesting, I\'ll definitley check that out when I get back home, for now off to class (night classes -bleh-). I\'ve had a few thoughts but will have to wait till later to post. Thanks for pointing that out, King, can\'t wait to read more about it.


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