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  #1  
Old 06-25-2018, 03:11 PM
ejinbc ejinbc is offline
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Default Re-reminded that BIOS optimizations are critical

I recently updated the BIOS on my 8700K system (Asus Prime A Z370 MB) and was quickly re-reminded that BIOS optimizations are critical to achieve good low latency performance without big CPU spikes at 64 buffer, 24/96kHz. Here is a list of the changes I made and before/after CPU meter images. This is all free advice – so you get what you pay for.

Minimum changes for decreasing CPU spikes at low latency (these are very important changes):
Power Management Settings – Intel SpeedStep [Disabled] ; CPU C-states [Disabled] ;
Onboard Devices Settings – HD Audio Controller [Disabled]

I have also found that a stable overclock yields a more stable system with respect to low latency DAW performance (not sure why, but it could be related to Turbo Mode switching). I have only listed changes that I make - all other settings are left at default. These settings yield about a 10% benchmark improvement (Intel Extreme Tuning Utility) and lower CPU usage meters in ProTools - importantly, this also significantly reduces CPU meter fluctuations as well.

In the Overclock Tuner – Use [XMP] configuration ; Multicore Enhancement [Disabled] ; CPU Core Ratio [Sync All Cores] ; Core Ratio [49] ; AVX [1] ; CPU Core/Cache Voltage [Manual Mode] ; CPU Voltage Override [1.350 V] ;
In the DIGI+VRM Section – CPU Load line Calibration [Level 3] ; CPU Current Capability [130%] ;

Note, I always start ProTools with an Affinity of FFE (Win 10, apparently difficult on a Mac). This also helps stabilize CPU usage meters at low latency.

I have attached 2 images of the CPU usage meter for comparison from a simple session I use for benchmarking. The first (“Baseline”) is with all BIOS settings at default (I had already done all recommended Win 10 optimizations LINK). The second (“Final OC 49 AVX 1”) is after the modifications. These were collected while monitoring and recording 2 audio overdub tracks and playing back 16 audio and 3 complex VI tracks (Kontakt Abbey Road Drums, Grandeur Piano and Session Horns) at 24/96 (delay comp off). I captured images of worst case CPU peak spikes. In the baseline case there were fluctuations in the CPU usage meters and large fluctuations in the peak meter - sorry no movies.

Hope this helps someone. I was surprised by the difference a few tweaks made.

E
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  #2  
Old 06-26-2018, 12:56 PM
chrismeraz chrismeraz is offline
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Default Re: Re-reminded that BIOS optimizations are critical

Yeah very important, and in fact I think there are a lot of optimizations that are not listed on the Avid list of optimizations. The difficulty is that some of these are different for each computer... each user must do his best to find these things on his own. It can take years. I think I finally got all the kinks worked out for my system. I was like Jim Lovell in Apollo 11, "I'm not taking a break until those guys up there get to take a break." Up until 3 in the morning like an idiot, as if somebody's life depended on my PT rig being stable.

One thing that really surprised me was how much faster PT is when I turn OFF Turbo Boost in BIOS! Weird.
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  #3  
Old 06-28-2018, 10:17 AM
HyruleanT HyruleanT is offline
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Default Re: Re-reminded that BIOS optimizations are critical

Does having a 32 or 64 bit OS have any effect on the optimization settings?

Thanks!
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  #4  
Old 06-28-2018, 11:00 AM
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Benoni Benoni is offline
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Default Re: Re-reminded that BIOS optimizations are critical

Quote:
Originally Posted by HyruleanT View Post
Does having a 32 or 64 bit OS have any effect on the optimization settings?

Thanks!
Pro Tools is 64 bit only, so you would need a 64 bit OS.
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  #5  
Old 06-28-2018, 11:02 AM
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Benoni Benoni is offline
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Default Re: Re-reminded that BIOS optimizations are critical

One thing thats a pain is when you use multiple programs that require, or perform better with different BIOS settings. For example, disabling hyper-threading might help in Pro Tools, but enabling hyper-threading makes Media Composer perform MUCH better and faster.

It would be nice to get the code base of Pro Tools optimized to take proper advantage of modern CPUs.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:20 PM
PatriotsBiker PatriotsBiker is offline
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Default Re: Re-reminded that BIOS optimizations are critical

Quote:
Originally Posted by ejinbc View Post
.......
Note, I always start ProTools with an Affinity of FFE (Win 10, apparently difficult on a Mac). This also helps stabilize CPU usage meters at low latency.
.......
I hate to sound like I've spaced something over for years, but I think I have. Could you elaborate a bit, or point me into the right direction?
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Old 06-29-2018, 08:50 PM
ejinbc ejinbc is offline
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Default Re: Re-reminded that BIOS optimizations are critical

After a quick Google I found a way to set affinity when Pro Tools is being loaded. Google "CPU Affinity Shortcut for a Program - Create in Windows"

For my 8700K i7 system with Pro Tools, I have found that leaving 1 core for the operating system is optimum for best low latency performance - no clicks/pops at 64 buffer when recording 16 audio & 3 Kontakt VIs with midi at 24/96 for over 3 hours.

For example, the command line to start Pro Tools using only 11 of 12 cores for my install:

cmd.e x e /c start "ProTools" /affinity FFE "C:\Program Files\Avid\Pro Tools\Protools.exe

<remove spaces in ".exe" above - required for posting on duc>

What this does is reserve one processor for the operating system. It seems that at low latency this decreases task switching on the core and thereby reduces CPU spikes - or something like that. If you look at the CPU load in Windows Performance Monitor, at low latency (64 buffer, 24/96) there is steady 10% activity on the released core, so Windows is doing lots of work to get the audio through the ASIO driver. Note, I use a MOTU 1248 interface with USB. At higher buffer settings this is not necessary on my computer.

I do not believe there is an easy way to do this on Macs.
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Old 06-29-2018, 10:02 PM
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EGS EGS is offline
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Default Re: Re-reminded that BIOS optimizations are critical

Quote:
Originally Posted by ejinbc View Post
After a quick Google I found a way to set affinity when Pro Tools is being loaded. Google "CPU Affinity Shortcut for a Program - Create in Windows"

For my 8700K i7 system with Pro Tools, I have found that leaving 1 core for the operating system is optimum for best low latency performance - no clicks/pops at 64 buffer when recording 16 audio & 3 Kontakt VIs with midi at 24/96 for over 3 hours.

For example, the command line to start Pro Tools using only 11 of 12 cores for my install:

cmd.e x e /c start "ProTools" /affinity FFE "C:\Program Files\Avid\Pro Tools\Protools.exe

<remove spaces in ".exe" above - required for posting on duc>

What this does is reserve one processor for the operating system. It seems that at low latency this decreases task switching on the core and thereby reduces CPU spikes - or something like that. If you look at the CPU load in Windows Performance Monitor, at low latency (64 buffer, 24/96) there is steady 10% activity on the released core, so Windows is doing lots of work to get the audio through the ASIO driver. Note, I use a MOTU 1248 interface with USB. At higher buffer settings this is not necessary on my computer.

I do not believe there is an easy way to do this on Macs.
Wow - never heard of this. Anybody else here doing this on their PTools rig?
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  #9  
Old 06-30-2018, 06:38 AM
PatriotsBiker PatriotsBiker is offline
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Default Re: Re-reminded that BIOS optimizations are critical

Quote:
Originally Posted by ejinbc View Post
After a quick Google I found a way to set affinity when Pro Tools is being loaded. Google "CPU Affinity Shortcut for a Program - Create in Windows"

For my 8700K i7 system with Pro Tools, I have found that leaving 1 core for the operating system is optimum for best low latency performance - no clicks/pops at 64 buffer when recording 16 audio & 3 Kontakt VIs with midi at 24/96 for over 3 hours.

For example, the command line to start Pro Tools using only 11 of 12 cores for my install:

cmd.e x e /c start "ProTools" /affinity FFE "C:\Program Files\Avid\Pro Tools\Protools.exe

<remove spaces in ".exe" above - required for posting on duc>

What this does is reserve one processor for the operating system. It seems that at low latency this decreases task switching on the core and thereby reduces CPU spikes - or something like that. If you look at the CPU load in Windows Performance Monitor, at low latency (64 buffer, 24/96) there is steady 10% activity on the released core, so Windows is doing lots of work to get the audio through the ASIO driver. Note, I use a MOTU 1248 interface with USB. At higher buffer settings this is not necessary on my computer.

I do not believe there is an easy way to do this on Macs.
I googled this yesterday and got lost before posting my question to you. I googled again and did not get lost. A thread right here in the DUC - http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=397594 - and eventually down to your post at #20. It's my good fortune that we share the same mobo and 8700k processor.

I did try the manual way, but I tested 2 cores, not 1. It did not fair so well. Kind of odd that I got the PT running out of CPU error running a low 38% on the PT System Usage scale. I will try the 1-processor option tonight.

I found your comments about parallel verses serial audio chains interesting (post #20 in the thread I linked to above). While my main session template does a lot of parallel, I do ultimately route those into one bus and THEN I go out to the main out. My processor usage bars looks like they are sloped, but uniformed and all inclusive. It would looke like a very short, spread out Pyramid. They are never the same all the way across. I wonder what is considered good or bad? Something to look at in greater detail down the road.

Thank you for your info sharing.
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  #10  
Old 07-03-2018, 07:23 PM
PatriotsBiker PatriotsBiker is offline
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Default Re: Re-reminded that BIOS optimizations are critical

a quick update. I did try running a heavy hitting session using the 11/12 Affinity manually. It worked as advertised. This is definitely one to keep in the tool-box for when a heavy hitting session's system processing is jumping around too much. It even allowed me to utilize some of the "excess" processing cycles I should have had available all along.

This "tool" did not do anything for me in the situation when starting up PT and getting unprovoked spiking on an empty or nearly empty Sessions. I don't think anyone said that it would do anything for this, but I did want to clarify the point.
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