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MikeyT

Cakewalk performance

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UPDATE TO THIS TICKET: The motherboard died on the Dell Precision 7920 shortly after the last post on this thread. So, I never go to the bottom of this issue. Many thanks to everyone who did respond.

 

 

Hi,

I'm struggling to get Cakewalk performing reasonably on a high-spec machine and would appreciate any pointers from anyone else who has had similar trouble. In particular, I'm looking for settings in Cakewalk that can help performance (I'm already using the "Use multiprocessing engine" and "Plug-in Load Balancing" options on the desktop - see below).

So, I have Cakewalk installed on two machines:

1. My laptop (which I take out for recording): A Dell Inspiron-15-5570 with  a single Intel i7-8550U CPU @ 1.80GHz and 16 GB RAM

2. My desktop (which I use for mixing): This is a beast of a machine - A Dell Precision 7920 desktop with two Intel Xeon Silver 4114 CPU @ 2.20GHz 2.19 GHz processors, a total of 96 GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA Quadro P620 graphics card.  As mentioned above, I'm already using the "Use multiprocessing engine" and "Plug-in Load Balancing" options on this machine.

For both, I am using a Steinberg UR22C over USB 3.1

On the basis of the above specs, I would expect the desktop to be:

  • quicker when doing tasks such as freezing tracks and exporting mixed projects
  • more stable, particularly on projects with a lot of plugins

However, I am finding them to be much the same in terms of performance. So, for example:

  • Freezing a track takes roughly the same time on each machine
  • Extracting a final mix to a WAV file takes roughly the same time on each machine
  • I simply take it for granted now that Cakewalk will crash at some point during a session and both seem to crash - to be fair, the desktop does seem to be a little more stable than the laptop, especially with plugins

So, are there any settings in Cakewalk that I am not taking advantage of to help the desktop speed things up or to make the system more stable?

Many thanks

Mike

 

Edited by MikeyT

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You didn't mention what drive these machines have. Although, I would also expect your desktop to be faster, if your laptop has an SSD and not your desktop, that could make a difference. I mention this because some of the task you are comparing, freeze track, export, are drive intensive operation.

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One thing worth noting is CPU speed can be a large factor in audio performance, especially when using effects and software synths. 

1.8Ghz / 2.2Ghz isn't particularly fast.  I've got a very old I7-3770 processor, but as it's running at 3.4Ghz it copes pretty well with most projects.

The other thing to bear in mind, is that there's a limit to how much distribution across processors the audio engine can do.  For example, although several effects can be distributed across several processors, if one effect is taking more time to process in a chain, then it'll hold up all the rest waiting on it to finish.
 

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Many thanks @Jacques Boileau and @msmcleod for responding to me - in answer to your questions:

  • Laptop: cakewalk and all the VST plugins are running from an SSD, the project running from a standard SATA drive
  • Desktop: everything (cakewalk, VST plugins, project) running from an SSD

@msmcleod - "1.8Ghz / 2.2Ghz isn't particularly fast." - yes, that's the laptop spec, with a single processor. The desktop spec is two Intel Xeon Silver 4114 CPU @ 2.20GHz processors, so considerably more than the laptop, which is why I would expect to see things like freezing and track and mixing down to be faster. But it's not. I'm guessing your old i7-3770 is overclocking in order to run at 3.4Ghz? I guess I could overclock the Intel Xeon Silver 4114 CPUs (although I'd need to read up on  that). Do you think the limiting step is the CPU speed then?

I've also got the NVIDIA Quadro P620 graphics card, which I don't know that much about but it is set to help with computations as well as displaying graphics.

Just had Cakewalk crash again, although using a ten-year old plugin - the old plugins I use may be a factor in the stability I guess.

Many thanks,

Mike

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Hi @scook - many thanks for that, I will look into this. However, what happens for me is that Cakewalk just hangs, it doesn't crash and display a crash notification.  It hangs, saying "busy" but never comes back, so I have to kill it in task manager.

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57 minutes ago, MikeyT said:

Many thanks @Jacques Boileau and @msmcleod for responding to me - in answer to your questions:

  • Laptop: cakewalk and all the VST plugins are running from an SSD, the project running from a standard SATA drive
  • Desktop: everything (cakewalk, VST plugins, project) running from an SSD

@msmcleod - "1.8Ghz / 2.2Ghz isn't particularly fast." - yes, that's the laptop spec, with a single processor. The desktop spec is two Intel Xeon Silver 4114 CPU @ 2.20GHz processors, so considerably more than the laptop, which is why I would expect to see things like freezing and track and mixing down to be faster. But it's not. I'm guessing your old i7-3770 is overclocking in order to run at 3.4Ghz? I guess I could overclock the Intel Xeon Silver 4114 CPUs (although I'd need to read up on  that). Do you think the limiting step is the CPU speed then?

I've also got the NVIDIA Quadro P620 graphics card, which I don't know that much about but it is set to help with computations as well as displaying graphics.

Just had Cakewalk crash again, although using a ten-year old plugin - the old plugins I use may be a factor in the stability I guess.

Many thanks,

Mike

No, the i7-3770  isn't overclocked. It's not the "K" variant, so it's locked at the base frequency of 3.4Ghz.

Interestingly, this processor replaced an i5-3550. which ran at the same speed but was 4 core / 4 threads  vs the 4 core / 8 threads of the 3770.   Although there's a slight improvement in general application responsiveness with the 3770,  as far as audio processing goes, there's very little difference to the 3550.

Your graphics processor won't make any difference to audio performance. It may improve general  display performance with a large amount of tracks, but it definitely won't affect things like bounce or freeze.

Older plugins can become unstable on more modern operating systems, simply because they weren't designed to run on at operating system. It all depends on how well they were written, what operating system calls they're making, and how those have changed in newer versions of the OS.

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7 hours ago, John Nelson said:

Have you run LatencyMon? What does it show?

Absolutely   Dell are notorious for bloatware. Are you saying it’s only a duo core and only 2.2 ghz?  
That’s not very much these days. My HP pavilion I would love to replace because it’s only i7 4 cores @ 3.5. It’s struggling with working with video. 

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Some Dell computers run a program called “Dell SupportAssist Remediation” which has been identified as a resource thief. See 

 

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Hi mikey,

if I remember right , the  minimum system requirements  for the CPU speed  running Cakewalk is 2,5 Ghz.

My Laptop  is running smooth under 2,4 GHz  and a SSD.

Intel CPU's of the "u" series have often been the reason for large latency on some laptops I have tested for running Cakewalk.

Edited by Pragi

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Many thanks for the replies, all much appreciated.

@Pragi @John Nelson Thanks for your responses - the Precision 7920 has got two of these processors in it and although they are at 2.2GHz they "turbo" up to 3.0GHz as required (I don't fully understand Dell's Turbo Boost thing). Furthermore, each processor has 10 cores each. So, I think the desktop probably does have more than enough power required by the minimum Cakewalk spec.

But what I'm talking about here is the comparison between a modest spec laptop (one circa 1.80GHz processor, 16 GB RAM, STATA drive) and a super-powerful desktop (two 2.20GHz processors with 10 cores each that can turbo up to 3.0GHz each, 96 GB RAM, running everything of SDD). I'd just expect to see the desktop be able to freeze a track faster than the laptop. But it doesn't, they take about the same time. So, I don't think Cakewalk is taking advantage of the resources in the desktop and I don't know how to fix that.

Unfortunately, I don't know much about PC config - I expect someone with better knowledge would be able to tune this desktop so it ran faster.

@scook - thanks for the pointer to the thread on "Dell SupportAssist Remediation”, I will check that out.

Edited by MikeyT

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@scook - I don't have "Dell SupportAssist Remediation” running (or any other Dell stuff for that matter). Also, I've downloaded and run LatencyMon and it seems to think the PC spec is good for running real-time audio without dropouts.

Which it does, to be fair - like I said, I'm just comparing two PCs with different specs and not seeing an improvement of functions like freezing a track in the more powerful one.

Related to all this is I bought Arturia's Buchla Easel software - this runs fine on the low spec laptop but goes crazy on the dual-processor desktop with audio-dropouts etc. No other synth plugin does this and I'm talking to Arturia to see if this is a dual-processor thing.

But to be fair, without someone very knowledgeable coming and looking at my PC, it's difficult to see how anyone is going to be able to help me with this all. I was just hoping there were some Cakewalk settings that could make it utilise the power of this desktop.

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On 11/26/2021 at 7:14 PM, MikeyT said:

the Precision 7920 has got two of these processors in it and although they are at 2.2GHz they "turbo" up to 3.0GHz as required (I don't fully understand Dell's Turbo Boost thing). Furthermore, each processor has 10 cores each. So, I think the desktop probably does have more than enough power required by the minimum Cakewalk spec.

Hi mikey, I don´t think so because the most DAW developer do give advices to turn off hyperthreading and turbo boost .

The basic speed of your CPU is 2,2 Ghz., the minimum system requirement is 2,6 Ghz. As I wrote above :

I´m am a happy camper   that on  my laptop ,an Intel I5-  2,4 Ghz CPU,  CbB  is running smooth , but  its the bottleneck

of the system. 

 

 

 

Edited by Pragi

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Keep in mind the desktop may be powerful but that does not necessary translate into a good DAW solution.

DAWs want a processer with a lot of cores and a fast clock.

Xeon processors are not a great choice for DAWs.

 

Audio dropouts always have an accompanying message displayed at the bottom of the screen. This message contains a drop out code and a link to the help.

In 2021.06 an additional parameter to ignore certain drop out conditions was added to Aud.ini.

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On 11/23/2021 at 10:37 AM, MikeyT said:

I've also got the NVIDIA Quadro P620 graphics card, which I don't know that much about but it is set to help with computations as well as displaying graphics.

In the "can't hurt, could help" category:

  • Check Device Manager under Sound, Video, and Game controllers, and disable any "HD Audio" or similar drivers related to graphics cards. I did this once and noticed an immediate, dramatic decrease in latency and other problems. I posted about it in the Sonar forum and it seemed to be a hit or miss solution - some people also noticed a striking improvement in performance, others noticed no change. If it helps, great. Also see if disabling an audio drivers not related to your audio interface helps.
  • I assume you don't have ASIO4ALL installed on your machine, but I had a friend with problems almost identical to yours, and removing all traces of ASIO4ALL solved the problem. The issue wasn't so much ASIO4ALL per se as it was about a conflict with a different audio interface driver installed on the same computer. 

Finally, I've always relied on obedia.com for intractable problems. I give them desktop access, and it usually takes them a few minutes to locate the problem and solve it. They charge $30 for 30 support minutes within a one-month time frame. 

 

 

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Many thanks to everyone for their responses. Sadly, the motherboard died on the Dell Precision 7920 desktop shortly after Craig's post, so I have not been able to explore further. As the 7920 was a freeby from a dissolving research group and was underwhelming in its performance, I've decided not to get it fixed but will instead invest in a new desktop and canibalise the 7920 for parts.

The new desktop will definitely *not* be a Dell as they seem to have quite a few foibles around the RealTek audio that interfere with ASIO audio interfaces.

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