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  #1  
Old 08-18-2000, 10:25 AM
bstaley bstaley is offline
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Default IRQ Buffering to improve performance

There is a technique which some advanced users of Windows 9x are using to get increased performance from their systems. It's called "IRQ Buffering". The concept is that you allocate a set amount of RAM to a specific IRQ to improve performance of any device attached to that IRQ. You can check out an article describing it at http://www.speedguide.net/Cable_modems/cable_irq.shtml
The article is discussing network cards, but it says it can be applied to any card. I wonder if using this technique would help the stability of any users with the Via Chipsets, or Athlon systems. I have tried it on my PII 400 and have had no problems so far in about one week of using this technique. I wasn't having any problems to begin with though.

I tried buffering my Digi001 card and also my Harddisk Controller. I haven't noticed much of an improvement but I also haven't had time to compare settings.

I'd really like to upgrade my PII 400 to a fast Athlon system, but Digi seems to be dragging their feet on announcing any plans for Athlon compatibility. I know a few of you out there have Athlons and I'm wondering if this might help resolve some of the issues with that platform. If you try it, could you please post your findings here.

Here is an excert from another article I found discussing the subject:

<i>This acts in somewhat the same way a disk cache works to speed up access to your disk files. In some cases, the setting can also assist devices other than NICs, if they use an IRQ (interrupt request line). For example, a PCI-based network card may share an IRQ with other boards in your system.



By making more RAM available to the IRQ used by your network card, transfers can move in greater quantities. This improves throughput 10 percent or more in some cases. Web pages should display faster, and streaming video should be smoother.



The tweak can be especially helpful for PCs with 500MHz CPUs or slower, or with 128MB of RAM or less. This can add life to older machines that are primarily used to access Web sites.</i>

<b>Digi...do you think this would help the Via/Athlon issues? Have you tried it in your testing?</b>
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  #2  
Old 08-18-2000, 11:28 AM
Digi Engineering Digi Engineering is offline
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Default Re: IRQ Buffering to improve performance

I think this is bogus. The "tweak" may be loosely based on a setting available in an earlier version of windows (around 3.1 would be my guess), but it almost certainly does nothing in Win98.

IRQs and RAM really have no intrinsic connection, so the idea of assigning RAM to some IRQ has no meaning. A specific software driver can use an IRQ and also use RAM, but that does not indicate any relationship between the two at the level of hardware or the OS.

If anyone can find some technical information on how this supposed tweak would work, I'd be very interested in reading it.

Eric Day
DAE Engineer
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  #3  
Old 08-18-2000, 01:31 PM
bstaley bstaley is offline
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Default Re: IRQ Buffering to improve performance

Eric:
Check out this article (http://www.infoworld.com/articles/op...livingston.xml).

The article says that the tweak is for Windows 9x and Windows 2000, so it must be a fairly new thing. Wouldn't it be worth a try just for the heck of it?!?!

With all of the pressure you guys are getting here regarding Via chipsets and Athlons, I would think you'd want to try just about anything to get it to work. Think of the new user$ you'd get if it did work.

The Athlon is gaining more market share all of the time and when they release the new DDR SDRAM chipsets for Athlons in a few months people will be scrambling to buy them. They should easily outperform the lame i815 chipset and even the Rambus chipsets.

I'm really starting to wonder if ProTools LE was the right way to go. Why is it that so many other platforms can offer more tracks on a huge variety of hardware and operating systems? It seems like with PT LE, you have to have a specific set of hardware, wait for the planets to align, and cross your fingers just to get it to work properly. I'll admit that when it works, it's terrific, but you guys designed this based on a chipset that's currently being phased out (440BX). Six months from now NOBODY will want a 440BX board.

I read today that in January, 1.4Ghz Athlons will be available with the DDR SDRAM (266mhz) chipsets. Think of the plugins you could run on something like that! Nobody is going to be buying a 440BX board with a 'measly' 700-800mhz PIII then. If people want better performance they will almost be forced to choose another platform than PT LE.

I understand that Via and Athlon may be different than 440BX and it would take some effort to get the bugs worked out, but they cannot as different as a Macintosh! You managed to get the code to work for Macs and PCs, but not for Athlons?!?!

What the dillio?

Please don't take any of this as a flame because it's not. My life will go on. I just think that a lot of us are getting frustrated about this whole thing.
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  #4  
Old 08-22-2000, 10:39 AM
crs117 crs117 is offline
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Default Re: IRQ Buffering to improve performance

I would have to agree with bstaley with some of his points. i have not yet read the related link(concerning irq buffering), but as far as upping the compatability of the 001, i think we need to see some progress. i am sure yall (digi engineers) are hard at work on future releases of PT Le, but we the consumers planning on computer upgrades are waiting in limbo on what to purchase. i mean we have spent 900 + dollars to for the 001, so now when we plan any computer upgrade we have to focus on whats gonna work with the 001. i am not angry and i hope i am not coming off that way, but i think that i speak for many people concerning the issue of we dont know what to expect for a future release. Will we see the 001 being compatable with AMD??? What about the new PIV which is uses a different chip structure then the (getting old) PIII. i am looking at upgrading my computer soon for school reasons, and my 2 biggest concerns are, what CPU,MB,RAM combo will benifit me most for my open GL programming, and #2, what will also work with my 001. Will we see the 001 compatable with AMD any time soon???

Christian

PS Eric it seems as though you are limited to posting digi's testing of the athlon because it was not 100% compatable with many systems. My arguement would be look at all the problems with even a suggested setup, its still not 100% compatable. i wish there was a way to release some test results.
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