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  #1  
Old 05-10-2015, 07:53 PM
amagras amagras is offline
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Default # of cores and hyperthreading

Hello fellows,

I'm running PT 10.3.10 on Windows 7 pro x64 and I have a Dell xps 8700 with core i7 4770, 16gb RAM, etc.

Recently I noticed that every time I get the famous message saying that Protools is running out of CPU power my CPU was actually under 50%. After a quick Googleing I found and read all the threads on hyperthreading (HT) there are so before doing any changes I grabbed a paper and a pencil while opening one of my busiest projects:

-Before deactivating HT I was using no more than 50% before getting the warning, that was using 6 cores at 99%.
-Changing to 1 or 2 cores created funny noises making PT unusable.
-With 3 cores everything went smooth, the CPU went over 75-80% with the same busy project.
-With 4 cores the CPU went down to 47-51 and I believe this is the best performance I could get with HT activated.
Now...
-After deactivating HT I got the same performance as with 4 cores using only 3 cores, this is around 47-51%.

The point in which I would like to hear your opinion guys is: would it be better to leave only one core for OS with no HT and keep using 3 cores for PT
or
RE-activate HT to have 4 cores for OS, being forced to use 4 cores in PT? As I pointed before PT performance is the same with these two configurations, I just want to give the rest of the programs the best possible resources.

Thanks beforehand to all of you, duc.avid.com rocks!
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  #2  
Old 05-10-2015, 08:08 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: # of cores and hyperthreading

Truthfully, it really does seem to be on a per-system basis. What works best for one PC might be worst on the next one.
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  #3  
Old 05-10-2015, 08:53 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: # of cores and hyperthreading

Like Dave says, it's totally dependent on the plugins you use and their workload.

First thing to realize is many of these problems are caused by plugin bugs, so you *always* want to suspect plugin issues.

Things you should do...

-1 Make sure your system is *fully* optimized. Every single last thing done.

0. Disable ignore errors in the playback engine settings, you want to see every error possible while troubleshooting.

1. Run with the largest IO buffer size you can, and avoid silly high session sample rates. But make the IO buffer size smaller if you want to deliberately trip up problems for troubleshooting.

2. Check every one of your plugins are up to date, and compatible with the OS and Pro Tools version. At least try out any latest AAX plugins available from vendors if you have old RTAS versions installed.

3. Exclude plugin denomralization problems... buggy plugins like Sansamp burning CPU or creating spikes. Stick a dither plugin in front of sansamp. Also google search for other plugins known to have denormalization problems. Plugins with that problem usually need to be instantiated to cause issues.

4. Try removing all third party plugins from the RTAS and AAX plugins folder and putting them back in batches to see if you can detect a problem. Yes even plugins you are not/never use, plugins don't need to be instantiated in a session to cause problems.

5. If things are unstable try starting with disabling HT and run with RTAS CPU = #CPU-1. If HT is enabled you want to _start_ by still setting RTAS CPU = # (physical CPU cores) - 1. That guarantees a whole CPU core is still available to Pro Tools but does not give plugins any real benefit of HT. They are just starting points you will still *have* to experiment.

6. Don't over focus on the CPU meters, they won't tell you about glitchy plugin spikes (they just cannot resolve those brief spikes) that cause many of these kind of problems. High unexpected CPU burn can be a sign of denormalization problems (but that can also create unseen spikes).
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Old 05-11-2015, 03:45 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is offline
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Default Re: # of cores and hyperthreading

And if you're using Kontakt 5 turn off multiple processor support. Could also try turning off Kontakt Memory Server as well.
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  #5  
Old 05-11-2015, 09:46 AM
amagras amagras is offline
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Default Re: # of cores and hyperthreading

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman691 View Post
And if you're using Kontakt 5 turn off multiple processor support. Could also try turning off Kontakt Memory Server as well.
How could this help? Is it something available in other plugins too?

Thank you Darryl, as usual your explanations make a difference. I will also keep an eye on the Sansamp and the like.
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:27 AM
amagras amagras is offline
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Default Re: # of cores and hyperthreading

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
5. If things are unstable try starting with disabling HT and run with RTAS CPU = #CPU-1. If HT is enabled you want to _start_ by still setting RTAS CPU = # (physical CPU cores) - 1. That guarantees a whole CPU core is still available to Pro Tools but does not give plugins any real benefit of HT. They are just starting points you will still *have* to experiment.
I got there by trial and error and, in my case, the performance changes considerably from physical #CPU-1 with HT to physical #CPU-1 without HT because 3 CPU no HT = 4 CPU with HT.
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  #7  
Old 05-11-2015, 11:18 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is offline
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Default Re: # of cores and hyperthreading

Quote:
Originally Posted by amagras View Post
How could this help? Is it something available in other plugins too?

Thank you Darryl, as usual your explanations make a difference. I will also keep an eye on the Sansamp and the like.
If you're asking about turning off multiprocessor support it helps by leaving free cpu power that's absolutely not needed to run Kontakt. For instance in my system I could set K5 to use 8 processors which is all I have and if I did that it can and will starve PT for cpu power. As to other plugins - that depends on the developer.

If you're asking about turning off Kontakt Memory Server if you're running a 64 bit system it's not really necessary. It was developed to help those running a 32 bit operating system.
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  #8  
Old 05-11-2015, 11:59 AM
amagras amagras is offline
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Default Re: # of cores and hyperthreading

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman691 View Post
If you're asking about turning off multiprocessor support it helps by leaving free cpu power that's absolutely not needed to run Kontakt. For instance in my system I could set K5 to use 8 processors which is all I have and if I did that it can and will starve PT for cpu power. As to other plugins - that depends on the developer.

If you're asking about turning off Kontakt Memory Server if you're running a 64 bit system it's not really necessary. It was developed to help those running a 32 bit operating system.
Thank you musicman, I was asking about both. I'll research further but please let me ask: it is possible that I have to turn off multiprocessor support in other plugins like the ones included in PT?
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Last edited by amagras; 05-11-2015 at 01:02 PM.
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  #9  
Old 05-11-2015, 01:00 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default # of cores and hyperthreading

Quote:
Originally Posted by amagras View Post
Thank you musicman, I was asking about both. I'll research further but let me ask you: it is possible that I have to turn off multiprocessor support in other plugins like the ones included in PT?

No, that is a specific feature of Kontakt. But with any complex third party plugin you do need to read the install documentation, check if they have something like Pro Tools setup or optimization instructions or tips etc.
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  #10  
Old 05-11-2015, 01:03 PM
amagras amagras is offline
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Default Re: # of cores and hyperthreading

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
No, that is a specific feature of Kontakt. But with any complex third party plugin you do need to read the install documentation, check if they have something like Pro Tools setup or optimization instructions or tips etc.
Thank you!
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