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Topic: Four important questions about Vista

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  1. #1

    Question Four important questions about Vista

    1. There are five versions of Vista: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate. What are the (technical) differences between all the five versions (I couldn't find on the MS website) and which is more suitable for pro audio?


    The system requirements for the Vista are pretty heavier for an OS than we used to see. The Mac OS X graphical interface is very similar and it requires a lot less resources than Vista. My questions about this:

    2. Will the Vista have some kind of option to disable all of this graphic paraphernalia? If yes, how much will it improve the performance?

    3. Is the system more optimized than XP? I mean, with the same hardware I have now, will the system run faster and more stable?

    4. I don't know about the kernel, this kind of stuff, but generally, will the audio architecture be improved? We, standard NorthernSounds users, musicians and sound designers, shall move to Vista as soon as it arrives?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by fabricioz; 11-04-2006 at 10:07 AM. Reason: Added questions
    []'s, Fabrício Zuccherato
    Wormhole Studios

  2. #2

    Re: Four important questions about Vista

    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz
    1. There are five versions of Vista: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate. What are the (technical) differences between all the five versions (I couldn't find on the MS website) and which is more suitable for pro audio?
    I'm trying to find the Microsoft page with this information but can't right now. I'll try to update this thread with more information later.

    The Ultimate and business versions support up to two [b]physical/[b] processors. Home Premium supports one physical processor, but it can be dual-core or hyperthreaded. Starter Edition supports only a single, non-hyper/dual proc. I'm uncertain about Home Basic - another thing to check on.
    [QUOTE=fabricioz]

    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz
    The system requirements for the Vista are pretty heavier for an OS than we used to see. The Mac OS X graphical interface is very similar and it requires a lot less resources than Vista. My questions about this:

    2. Will the Vista have some kind of option to disable all of this graphic paraphernalia? If yes, how much will it improve the performance?
    Define paraphanlia

    Yes you will be able to disable Aero, the new interface that is what most people talk about when they say "Vista UI". There are also situations where the OS will disable it for you (underpowered video card, low memory, etc.) as well as apps being able to turn it off.

    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz
    3. Is the system more optimized than XP? I mean, with the same hardware I have now, will the system run faster and more stable?
    I've seen some feedback both ways. I think the key is that, over time, applications will start to utilize some of the features designed to improve audio performance and you'll see a marked improvement in performance because of this.

    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz
    4. I don't know about the kernel, this kind of stuff, but generally, will the audio architecture be improved? We, standard NorthernSounds users,
    musicians and sound designers, shall move to Vista as soon as it arrives?
    Improved Architecture - Yes. We have a new audio API, with new "hooks" for getting better performance that app manufacturer's can start to use to lessen the number of glitches. We're in contact with many manufacturer's to help them take advantage of this, and they are providing some great feedback on their products to us so we can continue to evolve Windows to make it even better.

    Moving to any new operating system is a decision that you should make based on the applications and hardware you utilize. We are in the final sign-off stages on Vista and there are some audio hardware manufacturer's who are lagging behind. I've seen copy protection dongle issues that have nothing to do with the music software cause problems.

    My personal opinion (and a number of DAW manufacturer's) is:
    Load Vista as a second OS on your machine (don't upgrade from XP), install your your applications, and give it a try. Yes, this is more work, but in most cases you don't need to reinstall things like libraries (just install the sampler applications and point them to the harddrive with your existing library and projects). I know a lot of people that add an extra hard drive for this purpose (I have my system drive partitioned because I load so many beta versions anyway, but you can't repartition unless you utilize a tool like Partition Magic). If you're worrying about license keys, give the help desk a call, let them know that you're going to move to Vista and ask if they can help with the license keys.

    At launch (January 07) I would LOVE to see people using Vista and having a better experience than they do on XP, but their are many external factors (to you and Microsoft) that need to be considered. The most important thing is for you to be able to make music
    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz
    Thanks!
    You're welcome.

    Although I'm a Microsoft employee, as a member of this forum my opinions and information should be considered personal and not that of Microsoft. Even so, I endeavor to give you the best information at my disposal, and often can get information and provide context beyond what you can find on web sites.

    Keep the questions coming.
    Pat Azzarello
    http://www.patazzarello.com

  3. #3
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    Re: Four important questions about Vista

    I've done some testing in my lab at work with the Vista version that is about the same features as Windows XP Pro. This wasn't using the Aero graphics feature. The performance was about the same as Windows XP running beta versions of Office 2007 and other similar apps in my Windows XP builds.

    I'll probably test it on my home system but I'm more interested in the x64 version for music.

    Jim

  4. #4
    Senior Member Richard Berg's Avatar
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    Re: Four important questions about Vista

    My very very unscientific attempt at apples-to-apples shows Vista x86 being slightly faster than XP x86, and the amd64 editions tied.

  5. #5

    Thumbs up Re: Four important questions about Vista

    I'm running Vista x64 on a separate partition, and aside from the snappier user experience (even with Aero on) I'm able to run 64-bit hosts like Bidule's Plogue and n-Track Studio. I've also managed to run Cubase 4 in that environment, but only as a 32-bit app. I've not done too much with running VSTi, since there aren't that many that run in a 64-bit host (and I've not done that much with C4 either), but I *can* tell you that out-of-the-box video playback is much smoother with Vista (I'm using an nVidia card that has a decent bit of GPU headroom - not the strongest card, but not the cheapest either). This will be a big deal for those of us that do a lot of scoring to film/video. I did some pretty nasty stuff like grabbing the video playback window and radically altering the size of the playback window while the project was playing (which was not much more than a few audio files and the video track) and the CPU meter barely even budged. In XP, the same actions would yield stuttered video playback and pops and clicks in the audio stream. While I haven't done extensive audio testing (yet) my sense of it is that Vista is indeed a very different animal - and as a platform for media development and playback, Microsoft is getting it right.
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  6. #6

    Re: Four important questions about Vista

    Hi Pat,

    Thank you for your explanation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Azzarello
    The Ultimate and business versions support up to two physical processors. Home Premium supports one physical processor, but it can be dual-core or hyperthreaded. Starter Edition supports only a single, non-hyper/dual proc. I'm uncertain about Home Basic - another thing to check on.
    All right. I tried to find, but still couldn't find a comparsion chart between the versions. Of course, I'm interested in the best performance I can have, so I'm looking for Ultimate and Business, but I would like to know what the Ultimate have that the Business don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Azzarello
    Define paraphanlia
    I define it like that 3D effects, translucid windows, etc. I find the Aero to be beautiful, but for us it would steal much more performance than we'd like to. So I believe the best for us, pro musicians, is to have the cleanest OS as possible.

    Although I know those resources use much from the GPU, it will use from CPU and memory either, won't it?


    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Azzarello
    Improved Architecture - Yes. We have a new audio API, with new "hooks" for getting better performance that app manufacturer's can start to use to lessen the number of glitches. We're in contact with many manufacturer's to help them take advantage of this, and they are providing some great feedback on their products to us so we can continue to evolve Windows to make it even better.
    I read some articles about it and saw some videos, but it wasn't clear for me what in the audio API was changed and what and why it will be better than XP. I know the XP audio API isn't marvelous, but I would like to know what exactly was improved and what wasn't. Why, for example, the number of glitches would be less in Vista than XP?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Azzarello
    Moving to any new operating system is a decision that you should make based on the applications and hardware you utilize. We are in the final sign-off stages on Vista and there are some audio hardware manufacturer's who are lagging behind. I've seen copy protection dongle issues that have nothing to do with the music software cause problems.

    My personal opinion (and a number of DAW manufacturer's) is:
    Load Vista as a second OS on your machine (don't upgrade from XP), install your your applications, and give it a try. Yes, this is more work, but in most cases you don't need to reinstall things like libraries (just install the sampler applications and point them to the harddrive with your existing library and projects). I know a lot of people that add an extra hard drive for this purpose (I have my system drive partitioned because I load so many beta versions anyway, but you can't repartition unless you utilize a tool like Partition Magic). If you're worrying about license keys, give the help desk a call, let them know that you're going to move to Vista and ask if they can help with the license keys.

    At launch (January 07) I would LOVE to see people using Vista and having a better experience than they do on XP, but their are many external factors (to you and Microsoft) that need to be considered. The most important thing is for you to be able to make music
    I agree. Actually, I would love to try the Vista RC. Is this good enough already, or is it buggy, the audio API isn't ready, etc? Shall I wait for the final release?

    BTW Pat, since you're a Microsoft audio guy, could you make some kind of guide, like how to make the best tweaks for audio, the hardware recommended (not the audio cards, but the rest)?

    Thanks for your patience!
    []'s, Fabrício Zuccherato
    Wormhole Studios

  7. #7

    Re: Four important questions about Vista

    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz
    I read some articles about it and saw some videos, but it wasn't clear for me what in the audio API was changed and what and why it will be better than XP. I know the XP audio API isn't marvelous, but I would like to know what exactly was improved and what wasn't. Why, for example, the number of glitches would be less in Vista than XP?
    Maybe you missed this video - goes into great (and really accessible, in a geeky kind of way) detail on the hows and whys of differences in the Vista audio API compared to XP and previous versions.

    http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=145665

    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz
    Actually, I would love to try the Vista RC. Is this good enough already, or is it buggy, the audio API isn't ready, etc? Shall I wait for the final release?
    As he said in his previous post, it's up to your audio interface manufacturer and other vendors to provide Vista support for their devices before you'll get very far. If your vendor doesn't explicitely say that they have a driver to support Vista, you're more likely to be wasting your time.

    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz
    BTW Pat, since you're a Microsoft audio guy, could you make some kind of guide, like how to make the best tweaks for audio, the hardware recommended (not the audio cards, but the rest)?
    FWIW, I think the entire reason for the re-structuring of the Windows Audio API was to *avoid* having to make any tweaks for audio.

    That said - the latest RC is ***VERY*** much a memory hog - just to boot up takes 700MB of system RAM. Given that I'm running with 2GB of high-speed ram (and have caching shut off) that's quite a hit to take. I'd like to know what can be safely shut *off* in Vista and still allow usage as a DAW. In Ultimate, all of the security features are turned on by default, which is a factor - but I can't imagine that would be all of it. Perhaps Aero comes into play there? [scratches head]

    Since tweaking a PC as a DAW has as much to do with memory management as with audio resiliency, I'd like to figure out a way to configure services and devices that load when running the PC as a DAW, and then the "full" load of services when running as a desktop/office machine. Perhaps there's some way to configure profiles. [mental note: check this next time I sit down with Vista]

    Pat - any advice on where to go/look inside Vista for memory/service optimizations for DAW users, and perhaps how to set up multiple configurations/profiles?
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  8. #8

    Re: Four important questions about Vista

    Quote Originally Posted by Houston Haynes
    Maybe you missed this video - goes into great (and really accessible, in a geeky kind of way) detail on the hows and whys of differences in the Vista audio API compared to XP and previous versions.

    http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=145665
    Thanks, will watch it now.


    Quote Originally Posted by Houston Haynes
    FWIW, I think the entire reason for the re-structuring of the Windows Audio API was to *avoid* having to make any tweaks for audio.

    Since tweaking a PC as a DAW has as much to do with memory management as with audio resiliency, I'd like to figure out a way to configure services and devices that load when running the PC as a DAW, and then the "full" load of services when running as a desktop/office machine. Perhaps there's some way to configure profiles. [mental note: check this next time I sit down with Vista]

    Pat - any advice on where to go/look inside Vista for memory/service optimizations for DAW users, and perhaps how to set up multiple configurations/profiles?
    Well, guess we're talking about tweaks here. Probably Vista will come with a lot of stuff, much more than XP, that we're most likely to never use. That's what I would like to know, what is coming with the system and what can I disable to make it light. 700mb of RAM to boot up is a lot of memory.
    []'s, Fabrício Zuccherato
    Wormhole Studios

  9. #9
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    Re: Four important questions about Vista

    Houston,

    That was a very informative video. It looks like Cakewalk Sonar and other audio apps will have much better latency and performance in Vista.

    Jim

  10. #10

    Re: Four important questions about Vista

    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz
    Hi Pat,

    Thank you for your explanation.

    All right. I tried to find, but still couldn't find a comparsion chart between the versions. Of course, I'm interested in the best performance I can have, so I'm looking for Ultimate and Business, but I would like to know what the Ultimate have that the Business don't.
    Ultimate has a set of applications (Media Center, DVD Decoder, picture editor, etc.) that aren't in the Business editions.
    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz

    I define it like that 3D effects, translucid windows, etc. I find the Aero to be beautiful, but for us it would steal much more performance than we'd like to. So I believe the best for us, pro musicians, is to have the cleanest OS as possible.
    Based on the assumption that you have the "right" video card, the impact of running Aero is designed to be extremely small. Most of us audio types spend $$$ on audio hardware, but stay away from expensive video hardware. If you do this, turning Aero off is probably your best bet for success, but with many of the video cards I have in machines at work, I'm seeing negligible performance differences between Aero on and Aero off (but I'm only looking at a few apps and hardware configs). Your mileage will certainly vary.
    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz
    Although I know those resources use much from the GPU, it will use from CPU and memory either, won't it?
    If your video card uses shared memory (video and CPU use the PC's RAM), it will affect the CPU's memory as well -again the more powerful video cards will have their own onboard memory.

    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz

    I read some articles about it and saw some videos, but it wasn't clear for me what in the audio API was changed and what and why it will be better than XP. I know the XP audio API isn't marvelous, but I would like to know what exactly was improved and what wasn't. Why, for example, the number of glitches would be less in Vista than XP?
    The API is about helping developers get more out of Windows. Consumers won't see much of this until the developers implement the changes. There are a number of key features (again, I believe another thread has spoken to these in detail) like higher thread priority for audio and WaveRT support for low-latency.
    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz

    I agree. Actually, I would love to try the Vista RC. Is this good enough already, or is it buggy, the audio API isn't ready, etc? Shall I wait for the final release?
    There were some changes made post-RC1 that affect the enumeration of multiple, identical MIDI devices and some other things, but RC1 was pretty solid.
    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz
    BTW Pat, since you're a Microsoft audio guy, could you make some kind of guide, like how to make the best tweaks for audio, the hardware recommended (not the audio cards, but the rest)?
    We're planning to have some information on tweaking Windows Audio, but getting Vista done is my primary goal right now (and though we'll be done with the code very soon, we still have lots of loose ends to tie up with partners). I'm hoping to have some guidelines available by launch in January.
    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz
    Thanks for your patience!
    Pat Azzarello
    http://www.patazzarello.com

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