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Old 01-26-2015, 09:00 PM   #1
rjwillow
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Default Reaper stumbles a bit reading from 2nd hard drive

Hi folks...
Recently upgraded my Dell inspiron 15 3521 to an SSD and 1TB 5400rpm HD in an optical bay caddy.
I have my OS and programs (and VSTs) on the SSD and media/project files on the HD
The SSD is a samsund 850 and is wicked fast. The HD is a WD blue 1TB 5400 in a cheaper optical drive caddy from ebay
The SSD is optimized by samsungs magician software. But I want to make sure that I amgetting the most out of my HD.
It seems to stutter and glitch when loaded up with tracks/vsts and such.
I did the upgrade to SSD to get a little more out of the system as I did run into the usual taxing of the system when pushing the limits with many tracks, vstis and such.
I know I did gain a bit with this upgrade. But I seem to be getting more glitches, spits and stutters now.
I have 6 gb of ram and a moderate pagefile on both drives. Many of the glitches occur upon visual/graphic/mouse changes
SO the questions that I have are:
Am I running into slow transfer speeds?
Is it due to the caddy? Or due to the 5400rpm HD? or the WD blue 1TB just being slow?
Can I optimize the settings better? I do not know if SATA 2 is supported by the optical bay and don't know if it makes that much of a difference.
I will eventually go to 16gigs or ram. But how much of a difference will it make? It seems that this is a transfer issue. I can get a 7200rpm HD for less than the cost of the RAM. I went with the 5400rpm drive due to power and heat concerns. But if that will make more difference, I'll go with that.
I'll stop here because this is probably becoming more of a novel than you folks want to read. But any help from those who have been there, would certainly be appreciated.
Thanks
rich
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Old 01-26-2015, 09:36 PM   #2
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I am no computer expert but having been around the block I am sure the 5400 HD is pretty much too slow out of the blocks.
Normally audio usefulness is 7200rpm.
I am sure the devs will put you straight on the rest.

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Old 01-27-2015, 06:38 AM   #3
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Graphical mouse changes ?
Optical drive caddy ?

OK
Is the caddy USB ?
Is the mouse USB ?
Are they both on the same USB port/hub (Note here, most motherboard USB is hubbed from teh same port, you will need to check)
It is an old and very rare situation for sure, but a mouse being scanned can mess with the USB, especially if it is a gaming mouse with higher rescan rates/DPI.
Also is the audio interface USB, these are all things you need to look in to.

For what its worth 5400 RPM is plenty fast for most people, how many hard tracks are you running ?
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Old 01-27-2015, 10:56 AM   #4
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Default Hi Tooshka

Love your vids BTW...
I have the 2nd HD in a caddy that installs into the optical bay of my laptop. So it's not USB.
ANd the original HD was 5400 500GB so I don't think it's that.
By visual/graphical/mouse changes, I mean that a screen refresh or a movement of the mouse/cursor or dragging an object can trigger the stutter/glitch. But it seems to happen on its own just about 2 seconds after hitting play. The play head cursor will start, move for a short distance. Then hang up for a split second. This is accompanied by the dreaded clicks and pops as the music drops out.
My mouse is a wired usb trackball. But I don't think that this is the real issue.
I am splitting hairs a little with this since I have 50 or so tracks going with vsts. I found my limitations with the old internal drive a few times with less than that. But it did seem a slightly different sort of glitch when the system was just overtaxed with vstis and such.
I'm no expert... but I get the distinct feeling that it is a data transfer issue and there seems to be an issue reading from that 2nd hard disk in the optical bay.
I tried moving all of the media and project files into a work folder on my SSD and it ran fine. I will have to find a project that consistently causes problems and try that on the SSD to confirm my suspicions...
Because I am sure you will understand, let me say that the ONLY files on the 2nd drive are media/project files. All reaper files, vsts, vstis, presets, impulses, ans sundry data files are on the SSD. I did not move the hidden app data files to the 2nd drive. I WILL do your portable install trick at the next reaper update...
Thank you very much
rich
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:08 PM   #5
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I think you should run the

DPC latency checker<-click me

while REAPER is running for a while and check for high (red) spikes on the display coinciding with the dropouts.
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:15 PM   #6
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Default DPC results

Thank you very much!
Ran dpc checker with reaper playing... couldn't get it to drop out of glitch audibly. But I did get a few spikes. DPC recommends turning off drivers one by one to isolate the cause.
SO I stopped playback in reaper and ran the test with reaper open but not playing. Still got a spike
So I closed reaper altogether and let the dpc checker run. Took a while but got a spike.
Rather than disabling drivers willy-nilly. I opened performance monitor and ran it side by side.
Looks like the Ethernet coincides with the dpc spikes.
I've disconnected the Ethernet cable and have dpc reset and running and will see if I get anything else.
I know that I turned off wifi a while ago to avoid cpu usage.
I just recently connected via Ethernet in order to transfer zips and renders between my daw and my main pc.
I suspected an issue at one point with having the Ethernet cable in and may have tried it in and out. I left it in recently since I figured that it was fine. But maybe not... Thanks again
I will look into the drivers and update them or possibly disable them. Do you think that I am on the right track?

Quick update: I did get one spike with the Ethernet cable unplugged. But it hasn't happened again. No indication from process manager what it was because wifi and Ethernet show as disconnected.
Anyway... I'll leave it there for now... Any more thoughts?
later
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:20 PM   #7
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rjwillow
I still can not fathom why you would put a 5400 HD in your souped up computer?
They are yesterday.

Grinder

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Old 01-27-2015, 01:36 PM   #8
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Hi grinder
Thanks for the response
Thanks again
rich
I put in a 5400 mainly because it is brand new and I already had it.
But also because the original HD was 5400 and did OK.
Also power consumption and heat were a factor because this 2nd drive is in an optical bay caddy.
I still do not know what sata mode is supported with this connection.
SO rather than spend $ on a new 7200 6gbs that may only connect at 3gbs, I used what I had. My 5400 drive will run at 6gbs if the caddy/optical drive supports it.
Have you experienced and issue like this where the root cause is the HD rpm?
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:46 PM   #9
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I did a huge heap of research into audio computers.
Every thing pointed from the start to 7200rpm drives.
As has been alluded to having usb drives plugged in (exterior drives) to the wrong place re hubs do cause errors etc.
These Dells I have had a few and always had trouble even knowing the routing of the usb section. Our new Lenovo has problems re keyboard.This is not my audio computer.
There are far more capable people on the forum to give you advise on this however as per the 7200rpm drives they are the go for audio.
I run a 32GB Ram WITH TWO 7200RPM hd'S and a SSD Primary drive I have no trouble.

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Old 01-27-2015, 02:03 PM   #10
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Default Grinder and Ollie

I hear you grinder. My pro rig will have about the same setup eventually. But this is my laptop. It was originally just supposed to be for fun. But it performed so well with reaper that I might never go back. I end up taking the laptop down to the studio just for the bigger monitors...
Ollie
Thank you again for your help so far.
I have dpc running without the Ethernet plugged in and got one, maybe 2 spikes in 45 minutes or so. all of my drivers are up to date and running properly according to windows. so I will continue to investigate
later
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:13 PM   #11
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rich,

Here is a program similar to what Ollie showed you. This one will attempt to tell you which driver is the 'offending' driver. See here:

http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon.

Good luck.


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Old 01-27-2015, 03:18 PM   #12
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Cool
Thank you very much. Checking it as we speak
later
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:14 PM   #13
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Default Update: and new question

Thanks to all so far...
One thing that I've learned is that my 2nd hard drive in the caddy is connected at sata II 3gbs rather than Sata III 6gbs. Also learn that this should be of no consequence as a spinning hard drive can't take full advantage of that anyway.
Ran the tests recommended by Ollie and bluzkat
First test MAY point to the network driver but not sure.
2nd test came up with an issue but it's hard to decipher right now. Maybe I need to recheck my bios and see if any of the power ssaving features are turned on. I disabled them before and did all of the DAW optimization.
I ran the 2nd test again and it confirms the network driver may be an issue and still shows that cpu throttling may be enabled somewhere. I will investigate.
But here is a new question:
what are some of the settings inside of reaper that NEED to be correct to avoid dropouts and such? I read a bunch for the last week and may have changed some settings. I want to have them all correct and I can't remember right now... one of them had to do with "worker threads" and there might have been 1 or 2 more. Any ideas?
thanks
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:56 PM   #14
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Most common cause of DPC spikes are Ethernet and WIFI, so you may be on the right lines, if it is a modern Ethernet chipset it should have no problems what soever though, the newer ones tend to be rigged from the ground up for AVB style networking.
For what its worth i rarely touch the audio based settings in Reaper, but if you do, make sure you switch them back after testing to make sure that isnt the cause, the defaults have been set up pretty well by the devs, hopefully Ollie can help you out a bit more with those, he is the whizz with that stuff
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Old 01-27-2015, 05:10 PM   #15
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Thanks Tooshka
What I am taking from all of this is that these spikes WHEN combined with high track count or many vsts/vstis can cause random dropouts. Am I correct?
My question about the internal reaper settings is mainly because I can't remember what I messed with and I don't remember if I returned the settings to original...
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Old 01-27-2015, 05:31 PM   #16
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Default Some clarification and more questions:

I just want to add this in case it wasn't covered well enough in my previous posts...
I do not have constant severe dropouts or odd behavior.
When the computer was in its original state (one 750GB 5400 HD and 6 Gb RAm)
I had almost no issues unless I loaded a project with a ton of plugins and hard tracks. I could get 45 -50 tracks (some were sends/busses/etc) and have 2 instances of EZdrummer replacing snares and kicks at the same time.
If I pushed harder or used 10 virtual keyboards and drum machines, it would glitch. The solution was to freeze some tracks to make processor room.
After going with this SSD and hard drive in the optical bay I was expecting more. I might have an increase in workable capacity. But I might not.
At this point I am not sure if I went backwards or not.
I was just suspecting that it was taking longer for the media to get accessed from the optical bay rather from the internal drive. This may not be the case. As I said. it's not too severe. But I want to know why and do the best I can to have the system the best it can be.
I can always put the original drive back in and go back to how it was. I cloned the original to SSD after moving the locations of my media files to the 2nd HD. But Having a cool-running, fast booting laptop that loads reaper in seconds is enough of a benefit to continue down this road.
While I'm here let me ask, what is the best location and size of a pagefile on this system. I was recommended to have a 4048 on the HD and a system managed size on the SSD. But that was from a tech that admittedly has nothing to do with DAW specific applications.
Anyway... I have to check my bios and power settings again and I'll get back here...
later
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Old 01-27-2015, 06:27 PM   #17
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OK... found that intel speedstep was active in my bios. I disabled it and ran latencymonitor. Got a hit in like 10 seconds. It mentions to disable speedstep and that my lan drivers may be at fault.
Disabled my lan and got a clean bill of health after running clean for almost 15 minutes. The only thing that is troubling is that latency monitor is telling me that my cpu is running at less than 1/2 its stated rate. When I had speedstep on it was running at about 3/4 of the stated rate. But latency monitors tells me that I am clean and ready for real time audio.
Running DPC latency checker now for 10 minutes clean as of this minute.
Now I need to get back into reaper and do some real work and see what's up.
Any thoughts so far?
Also would like to know about the pagefiles and reaper internal settings that I asked about before...
thanks again
rich
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Old 01-27-2015, 06:41 PM   #18
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Default OK... HELP!!!! :)

Just pulled up a session and it won't play smoothly at all...
Choppy and stuttering the whole time. Gotta be that processor speed. Latency monitor is telling me that it is 515Mhz rather than the 1896 reported speed. Going back into bios and re-enabling intel speed step.
Anything else that I should be looking for?
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:38 PM   #19
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Quote:
While I'm here let me ask, what is the best location and size of a pagefile on this system. I was recommended to have a 4048 on the HD and a system managed size on the SSD. But that was from a tech that admittedly has nothing to do with DAW specific applications.
Why on earth would you want part of your swap file on a spinning disk?

Also, what audio interface, at what buffer size, are you using?

One thing definitely worth trying: Set the bios back to how it was when things were working, and put the project in question on the SSD, and see if the problem goes away. If it does, then the HDD is likely the problem. If it doesn't, then something else with your hardware/software is causing the problem.

Also, you don't have your hard drives sleeping after 10 mins or anything like that, that could mean waiting for a disk to spin back up when it is accessed again?
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Old 01-27-2015, 09:04 PM   #20
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Disabling SpeedStep is a good idea of course, but unfortunately...

http://en.community.dell.com/support...518/t/19350739

...so you'll have to make do on the Windows power settings.

- A dependency of artifacts with mouse movement and other on-screen events strongly suggests a problem with your GFX driver, I don't know if your Inspiron came with an ATi GFX chip and if so, whether or not you can turn it off to run only the Intel IGP, but I'd try that. If you can't, there may be a driver version or setting that behaves better.

- When I said "run the DPC checker" I meant you should run it while you have a project playing that is now misbehaving, IOW that's also streaming tracks off the HDD in the drive bay (which is the one thing you changed apparently). Even if it doesn't cause DPC spikes, it can still be a problem.

- I'd take out the additional HDD in the drive bay (temporarily, to test) and run some project (one that misbehaves now) off the SSD.

- There is no magic setting in REAPER that mitigates overloading projects with plug-ins. Adding a HDD does not help with that either, because the CPU is the limiting factor mostly.
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Old 01-27-2015, 09:37 PM   #21
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Try a BIOS update. The BIOS might not even have an option for SpeedStep, but an update has the potential to fix a lot of issues. I have a Tecra M11 (i7, 8gb RAM, etc) that couldn't work with my interface at all (ProFire 2626 with TI based FW expresscard). Updated the BIOS, and it went from an instant BSOD to great stability.

5400RPM drive is enough for basic tasks with audio. I'm not saying it will keep up with a fully done up session with a ton of plugins, but for a basic session, it will do just fine. My MacBook Pro has it's original 750gb 5400RPM drive, and I have recorded 10 track, 4 hour long live sessions onto it with not a single issue, no breaks, no glitches.

Before messing around too much with disabling devices, also make sure your drivers are up to date. Windows Update takes care of this, but in case you've disabled Windows Update, you may want to re-enable it, run all the updates, and see if things improved. Anything that doesn't update through Windows Update, you should seek out a new driver. I do not disable anything just to open a program and record things, and that's been the case on all of my DAW machines. It sometimes takes a few tries to find the right combination of drivers, but it's rare for a computer to just not work for audio after some trial and error. Not unheard of, I worked in a computer shop for almost 5 years and saw all sorts of things, but for basic use, no reason it shouldn't work without issue.

Whatever tech you talked to that said to have a system managed paging file size on the SSD needs to read up on SSDs. Paging files are very bad for SSDs, and I suggest you disable it. The Paging File used to act as a sort of "on demand" memory similar to RAM, only a portion of the hard drive. It was implemented to offset the time it takes to write data to the RAM. Readyboost in Windows 7 did a similar thing, only allocating space on a USB flash drive. SSDs are so much faster than a spinning disk that a paging file is simply not necessary in the slightest bit. Also, if your secondary drive is just there for data storage basically, for audio work, I would say it's plenty safe to outright disable the paging file on that drive as well. You have more than enough RAM to work with.

Finally, the CPU clock speed issue is a mixture of SpeedStep (when the CPU lower it's clock rate to save power), and TurboBoost (when it increases it's clock rate on demand). Disabling Speedstep fixed a huge amount of issues on DAW systems, and it's something I noticed several years ago when I was doing tech support for M-Audio. You'll want to upgrade your interface drivers if you haven't tried that already first. Then you'll want to make sure that you try disabling both Speedstep and TurboBoost, and seeing if the CPU operates at it's "advertised" clock rate. If you know exactly what CPU you have, head over to ark.intel.com to check what the rate is supposed to be. Static in recording was caused by an audio interface driver failing to recognize when the CPU clock rate was changing. Why don't you see this happening in programs like Pro Tools? Pro Tools forces the CPU to run at it's full speed as long as it's open. That's why it was hard to pinpoint that problem, it took me long enough to find someone at Avid who could readily tell me that.

But the DPC Latency Checker is only as good at telling you there's a problem as your are at figuring out where the problem is. I find the checker to be a great indicator if there is a problem, but that's about it. It's much like having the key to a car. The key is really important, but you need to know what it goes to, where to put it, how to start the car, and most importantly, how to drive the car for that key to really be of any value. Just going through and disabling things isn't much of a plan, but unfortunately, that's the only way in a problem like this. Going through the device manager to disable things one at a time until you find the offending device. The catch is knowing what you can/can't disable.

Lastly, so many computers are so different (and manufacturers like Dell have extremely restrictive BIOS configs) that there aren't really a well defined set of how to configure a computer in order to have it set up best for DAW work. In the next couple of days I can dig through some old documents and get you a general running list of how I had worked things out, but it may not completely apply to your computer now, a lot changes in the computer industry in 4 years.
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Old 01-27-2015, 10:24 PM   #22
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Mr Drumphil
and OllieWhy would I want to put my swap file on a spinning disk? I don't know... that's why I was asking... I guess that it was recommended to save space on the SSD... I figured that "why have it on 2 different drives?" But it is supposed to be mre efficient... or so I was told.
I checked the video drivers for updates already but they are the latest. Also no indication of video driver issues in the 2 latency monitor programs that I just ran. But if I can get away with going with just the basic intel drivers, I'm all for it
I'm running asio4all at 512 and an mtrack 2 in 2 out basic interface.
I've set the bios back and just disabled the LAN and it seems to be working better. or at least I can't MAKE it glitch on demand. But then again, I couldn't force or predict a glitch before either.
As I might have said before, I did move a project to a folder on the ssd and things went well. It was one of the reasons I suspected HD transfer speeds were out of whack in the optical bay.
And no... no sleep mode... all power saving is off and optimized for DAW use.
Yes... I've realized that turning off speedstep cripples the processor and is not an option without a custom bios and tweaking...
I know the intent was to run the checker while reaper was running. But there were spikes that did not result in an audible artifact. and when I stopped playback and still saw spikes, I went with no programs running in the open to see what system processes might be kicking in. That seems to have pointed me in the right direction at least...
So it seems that disabling the LAN (and wifi) has made a big difference.
I opened a few projects that had glitches and couldn't get them to glitch.
I will have to see how it goes in real life.
I now realize that SSD and HD are not going to replace processing power. SO I just want to make sure there are no unneccesary impediments.
When I run into a problem project, I wil try moving it to the SSD and remove the HD.
So I could probably go back to my original single internal drive and get about the same performance. But the ssd and 2nd drive are a benefit in other ways.If the network drivers were the root of the problem and I can get away with running simpler graphics, I am good with that. I was hoping to be able to just disconnect the Ethernet cable when not needed. But that doesn't seem to be the case.
This dell does have a touchscreen, so messing with the graphic drivers may not be feasible
If the root cause was slow transfer speeds from the optical bay caddy/HD combo. I had a workaround for that by making a work in process folder on the ssd. But that adds enough to the workflow to make it not worth it for me.
So maybe I am reaching processor limits and need to freeze some tracks now and then. If that's all, I am probably fine with that. too. But if I could squeeze a little bit more "working headspace" with a few tweaks, I'd like to do that. I am not ready to strip all non-daw stuff and run without antivirus and such. But I'd like to get it running ayt least the best it can. (and know my limitations)
SO my last questions (I think) are:
What page file size and location(s) are recommended?
and... How much help is more ram? I will eventually have 16GB instead of the current 6gb. Even if it doesn't allow me to load up hard tracks and vsts, Will it make things smoother in other areas?
Thanks so much again
rich
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Old 01-27-2015, 10:49 PM   #23
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Default Thank you mr grabow

Bios is up to date as are all drivers. Windows update is on as is antivirus... these are things that I couldn't give up since it is 99% of the time a daw. But I want to be able to use it when I travel.
I've also figure that 5400 is not an issue (most likely)
There seems to be differing opinions on the paging file. One camp says why put the pagefile on a spinning drive and others say don't reduce the life of an SSD by the constant reads and writes of a pagefile. When I go to 16gb of ram, I will disable pagefiles or at least make a small one for crashdumps and such. But I'd like a definite answer on the location one of these days...
I can't disable speedstep on this dell. I could if I install a custom bios. But I'm not ready to do that.
The dpc checker and latency monitor programs ( as well as the windows monitor) seem to led me to what might be the solution... the LAN drivers.
Right now, I just have to run into an issue with a large project to be able to tell if it is fixed or not. I can't duplicate the glitch with my other projects right now. But that is always the case... Take your car to the mechanic and it behaves like a new car...
Thank you for your input
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Old 01-28-2015, 06:48 AM   #24
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Just leave the swap file as system managed on the SSD and leave it at that.

You don't have to worry about wearing your SSD out. SSD's do have a limited number of write cycles, but you aren't going to run into that for a long long time.

I saw some figures from testing a samsung 840 evo, and it didn't have any trouble until 700TB of data had been written. And that is a TLC drive, that in theory should wear out faster than other types. Some drives were still going at 1000TB.

In any case, you got a samsung, so you should be fine.

No point getting an SSD and then not getting all the benefits of its speed, to save on wear. By the time it wears out, you'll probably have a completely new computer anyway.

All drives fail, solid state, or spinning disk, and data you don't have backed up is data you don't want. So, do backups, and enjoy not waiting on spinning disks.
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Old 01-28-2015, 07:01 AM   #25
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I'm running asio4all at 512 and an mtrack 2 in 2 out basic interface.
I missed that! Why aren't you using the asio drivers that come with the m-track? Asio4all is for audio devices that don't come with their own asio driver, and yours does!

Try that and see if performance improves.

One thing to consider is that depending on your asio buffer size, and how efficient the drivers/hardware combination of your audio interface, you'll get glitches before you actually use all your CPU.

It is common for interfaces to not only use less cpu power with larger buffers, but for it to also be possible to use more of the CPU, often nearly all the way to 100% without glitching.

Lower settings not only use more cpu running the drivers for the interface, but also quite often will suffer from glitches long before the CPU actually reaches 100%.

Better interfaces don't increase load as much at lower buffer settings, and let you use more of your CPU at these lower latency settings.

I suspect your problems are more due to the latency/cpu power/driver and interface balance, than they are to do with hard disks. Having said that, 5400rpm laptop drives are damn slow. So maybe a combination of the two.

Anyway, actually using the right driver for your audio interface should be taken care of first, and could cause the issue to disappear, if it isn't just the drive not keeping up.

What cpu usage are you seeing in task manager running your projects at 512 samples latency? If it is approaching 100%, it might just be lack of cpu. If it is up around 60-70 percent, then maybee the m-track is crappy enough to have problems at that level of system load... or maybe something else. Computer troubleshooting is great fun eh?

Hope that was of some help to you.

Last edited by drumphil; 01-28-2015 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 01-28-2015, 08:32 AM   #26
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Thank you again Mr Drumphil!!!
I will set the pagefile to the ssd only and be done with it.
I am looking into the video drivers and seeing if I can run just intel graphics. I'd rather just mess with the graphics settings in windows and may just do that. I have some unneeded options disabled. But setting the graphics to 100% performance make the screen look like a B&W TV. So I pick and choose and see what I can live with.
As for asio. The particular drivers that came with the m track did not work and m audio actually suggested asio4all. I don't remember what the issue was. But maybe is was due to windows 8.1 compatibility. I will see if there are new drivers that will work.
I have run larger and smaller buffers in the past. It just seemed that 512 was the default and I left it there. After I do the above, I will try different buffer settings to find the sweet spot for mixing and for recording.
Eventually I will get a better interface. Probably a focusrite 16 as I do drum tracks/replacement/overdubs on occasion and recording to my hardware 24 track and then aligning tracks afterwards in the mix adds 20-45 minutes to the flow...
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Old 01-28-2015, 08:47 AM   #27
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I'm going to take a shot in the dark, but you should check if the SATA port your 5400 rpm drive is plugged into is sharing an IRQ with your graphics card. It would account for the graphics causing dropouts and also account for the fact that it didn't do it with your old drive setup.
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Old 01-28-2015, 09:20 AM   #28
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Default sharing irq?

Thanks darkcloud
But what does that mean and how do I find out if it is.
One thing, though. It was doing this before and only when heavily taxed.
Sometimes zooming out to avoid constant page refreshes would help get me by until I could freeze some tracks and regain headspace...
thanks again
rich
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Old 01-28-2015, 09:44 AM   #29
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I was hoping you wouldn't ask that, ha ha. I'm at work on an old XP machine so I can't walk you through specifics, but I'll try to give you a general idea. I apologize if some of my terminology is wrong because I'm double checking myself on this XP machine and I know they changed a lot of the labels and terms in W7.

First thing is to go to the device manager. You can right click on the My Computer icon and select properties and dig around until you find the device manager button. It may be easy to find from the control panel as well. Then find your graphics card in the list and open open up the property page. There should be a tab for "Resources" there that will list what IRQ is in use.

It's a little trickier for the hard drive because the drive itself won't list an IRQ in the resources. You have to figure out which port it is plugged into and check that listing in the device manager. If they are sharing the same IRQ number, it can cause problems.

Just FYI, IRQ stands for Interrupt Request. It's basically what a piece of hardware uses to get the attention of the CPU when it needs something. Devices that share the same number basically can't request the attention of the CPU at the same time, so one device will sometimes wait on the other device to get finished. Therefore, the hard drive might have to wait for the screen to finish drawing in order to transfer it's data.
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Old 01-28-2015, 09:54 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjwillow View Post
Hi folks...
Recently upgraded my Dell inspiron 15 3521 to an SSD and 1TB 5400rpm HD in an optical bay caddy.
I have my OS and programs (and VSTs) on the SSD and media/project files on the HD
The SSD is a samsund 850 and is wicked fast. The HD is a WD blue 1TB 5400 in a cheaper optical drive caddy from ebay
The SSD is optimized by samsungs magician software. But I want to make sure that I amgetting the most out of my HD.
It seems to stutter and glitch when loaded up with tracks/vsts and such.
I did the upgrade to SSD to get a little more out of the system as I did run into the usual taxing of the system when pushing the limits with many tracks, vstis and such.
I know I did gain a bit with this upgrade. But I seem to be getting more glitches, spits and stutters now.
I have 6 gb of ram and a moderate pagefile on both drives. Many of the glitches occur upon visual/graphic/mouse changes
SO the questions that I have are:
Am I running into slow transfer speeds?
Is it due to the caddy? Or due to the 5400rpm HD? or the WD blue 1TB just being slow?
Can I optimize the settings better? I do not know if SATA 2 is supported by the optical bay and don't know if it makes that much of a difference.
I will eventually go to 16gigs or ram. But how much of a difference will it make? It seems that this is a transfer issue. I can get a 7200rpm HD for less than the cost of the RAM. I went with the 5400rpm drive due to power and heat concerns. But if that will make more difference, I'll go with that.
I'll stop here because this is probably becoming more of a novel than you folks want to read. But any help from those who have been there, would certainly be appreciated.
Thanks
rich
Here's the deal.

Fastest system and biggest bang for the buck:
OS/apps on a SSD
The remaining free space will be your high performance audio work space.

Use the SSD for 'big' projects like live sound mixing + recording all the multitrack or large studio projects with 100+ tracks & plugins with HD audio.


There will still be plenty of smaller projects that would run from even a 5400rpm drive in an external USB case (slowest scenario I can make up). Your 'data' HDD's will still be useful for more than just storage.

Going to a 7200rpm HDD for the data drives will make them even more useful as well as quicker to copy a project over to the SSD when needed. (Note that the data transfer rate isn't the only variable. Seek time on a HDD is far slower than a SSD. For a high track count, a HDD would have to be seeking all over the place to keep the streams from all those files going.)


Don't go messing around putting bits of your OS on a data drive (and then have to manually point everything to it). If you have a gigantic sample library that will not fit on the SSD, you can either move the whole thing and make an alias to it from the original library location (easiest). Move it and point the app or plugin to its new location (usually slightly more of a PITA). Or make a small subset of said library that you actually use and then put the rest away in storage on a data drive.


Hard drives are hard drives. There shouldn't be any OS related tinkering you need to do to switch from a HDD to a SSD. (At least in my Mac user experience. If some of the above tinkering is actually required in windows just to swap a hard drive, then holy blank blankity blank Hell Batman!)


Lastly, there is a Reaper Preference setting for media buffer (for reads and not to be confused with the disc buffer/block size setting for interface I/O) with a default of 1200ms. If you have your project audio on the SSD, you can get more processing power for more plugins if you reduce the media buffer to 200ms. This can help in large projects (150+ tracks and plugins with HD audio) and especially when using 3rd party plugins. This would not be good advice for audio on a HDD.

PS. Was that optical drive PATA? (SATA interface only became a thing for optical drives in 2008. The last PATA holdout.) If so, then you're running that HDD on your PATA bus. Much slower.

Last edited by serr; 01-28-2015 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 01-28-2015, 11:00 AM   #31
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Default Darkcloud and serr and drumphil - updates

Thank you both for all the help...
It seems that the graphics and hd are on different ports (prt2 and gfx0) and the device manager report no conflicts I might be able to dig a little deeper to find the irq for port 2 if you think it is worth it...
And sorry to bother you at work...

senn-
OS and all programs, vsts, samples, and program data are on the SSD. The only thing on the 2nd hard drive are my media and project files. I did make a "work in process" folder on my ssd and move an offending project into that. So I know that works. I just didn't want to have to add to the workflow by importing into the HD, then move to the work folder for mixing etc and then move them back to the HD for storage. I figured that the transfer rate from the 5400 hd at sata II might be an issue. It might still be. But I haven't been able to duplicate it since disabling network and wifi drivers. So the "problem" MIGHT be licked... or at least as licked as it can be. But I am still looking to have the best optimization within my requirements and preferences. I will expand below in my response to drumphil...
Mr Drumphil-
I think that I am coming to the end of this ordeal...
Asio4all it is since the Mtrack drivers are (still) not available for windows 8.1. It seems that even using a hack such as downloading and renaming the m track plus drivers yields results no better than just using asio4all. When and if m audio figures out the driver situation, I will install them. But I may have a focusrite by then...
I lowered my asio buffer to 128 and playback suffered tremendously.
I put it back to 512 and will try lowering it (along with the internal reaper buffer recommended by senn) when I have a big project on just my ssd.
Graphics: Intel HD is what it is... I can only affect it thru windows performance options. I do not have it set to "performance" But I have just about everything disabled except for the ones that bother me ( like smooth fonts)
Disabling speedstep and virtualization in bios is a no go due to the dell bios. without speedstep the cpu defaults to 500~MHz or thereabouts. Power options are set to make the best of it. Virtualization in this dell bios handles some support for older programs as well as 32 bit compatability. Don't know if it will cause an issue. But I guess that I will leave it on.
I do NOT have my internal soundcard disabled nor system sounds since I do use this laptop (quite irregularly) for other things. And also... I want to hear if/when other things are going on such as critical stop notifications.
Even during large projects, I have rarely seen cpu usage go that far above 50% at 512 buffer.
So...as I have said, I might have this licked and I might have a better understanding of my limitations. Now I just have to find a project that will consistently cause problems and see what factors affect it most.
If there is anything else I might be overlooking let me know...
I will post a course of action summary a little later in case it might help someone else down the road....Thanks again to all
rich
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Old 01-28-2015, 11:07 AM   #32
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Default serr

The HD in the optical bay is SATA III 6gbs 1TB 5400rpm and the caddy supposedly supports sataIII. The actual optical bay only supports sataII 3gbs
But since it is a spinning drive it could never get to those speeds anyway.
I was originally afraid that there might be something making it default to SATAI 1.5Gbs. But apparently it is not and might not be such an issue even if it did....
Thanks for reminding me
rich
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Old 01-28-2015, 03:40 PM   #33
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Default Latest update- possibly solved???

Hello all and thank for all the support. It is truly appreciated.

I think that I am just about done here- unless I am missing something...

I was able to find a better/newer driver for both my network and graphics. while I was at it I updated all the chipset drivers as well as inter rapid store drivers. I had rapid store disabled in the past due to high memory usage. But these new drivers took care of that issue and rapid store is working as it should now. I can always disable it again if I get any indication it is a problem...
Since I needed to have internet for the updates, I left the lan on and the Ethernet cable connected.

So... with that all done, I put my reaper buffer to 200 and asio down to 144. I loaded a project into the ssd and ran it hard... I zoomed way in to get the play cursor flying and the page refreshing VERY quickly. I floated as many vst windows as I could and dragged and resized a bunch of stuff. Had dpc checker and performance monitor open along with SPAN and a few regular window folder.. Finally got it to crackle just a tiny bit and it only did it once. That coincided with a big cpu spike in the high 90's, while before that it was running abound 75%. Turning up the asio buffer got the cpu down to 65% or so and I could NOT get it to glitch at all.
After that, I loaded a project from the HD in the optical bay and did the same thing... it will NOT run at low asio buffer but it seems to have no real problem having the reaper buffer set at 200. Setting the reaper buffer back to 1200 puts back a few % in cpu. Again the whole time I had dpc checker and performance monitor on. I did get a few spikes in network on the perf mon and a few of them resulted in audible glitches. But dpc checker stayed stable and gave me a clean bill of health the WHOLE time... audio glitches or not during playback. There were a few hits/spikes on the C drive. So maybe those were pagefile hit... I don't know. But the memory use didn't seem to stray farther than 50% with my 6GB or RAM.
The most telling thing during this operation was that while reaper never really used more than 50% of cpu ( and mostly 25-35%) reaper host 32 was running 40% or more.
SO...
1- I guess that it was more of a running out of CPU thing. And these little spikes from the graphics and network drivers push it over the top... or at least did not help the situation.
2- I am assuming that my extensive use of 32 bit plugins is running reaper host 32 hot and no RAM or SSD or HD is going to help with that.
3- My expectations of the SSD and 2nd hard drive were probably unreasonable as they give me no benefit in processing power. But at least I have a well organized system that boots fast and loads programs in a flash.
4- The slowness of a sataIII 5400 1TB HD in a sataII optical bay is not enough to be of concern.
5- Having the Ethernet cable plugged in and/or having the lan drivers enabled CAN cause spikes. But the cpu has to be already taxed for it to manifest in audio glitches.
6- Same for graphical events, mouse movements, scrolling, dragging and expanding windows... They sure don't help when the system is pushing he limits.
7- Not having drivers suitable for the M track other than asio4all may be a factor as it seems to only like 512 on these heavier projects... (still up in the air on that one...)
So in conclusion, my course of action will be to Set up my computer how it is most convenient to me-
Ethernet connected and enabled so I can xfer between my laptop and desktop and use the internet
Wifi off unless I'm away from the office
Power and graphics performance settings are already optimized as best they can.
And when I run into issues I will:
Disable the lan
Increase the asio buffer
Freeze tracks.
If I really need help, I can always turn everything but reaper off like antivirus and such. I already have my antivirus set not to run any tasks in the background while reaper is running...
So does this sound like a plan or what????
If I am missing something, please let me know...
Thanks again to all that helped. his forum is awesome!!!
Later
rich
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Old 01-28-2015, 06:52 PM   #34
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No, that's pretty much it, apart from throwing the m-track in the river and getting something decent. Nothing against m-audio, but that interface in particular has crap low latency performance, and crap drivers.

Worth testing: can you use asio4all with your on board sound, and get better results than with the m-track? If so, then the m-track is the real problem.
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Old 01-28-2015, 07:25 PM   #35
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Default Oh Well :)

That's what I figured...
As for the M track... I got it because it had what I needed and was cheap.
I needed it originally for my electronic drums/midi. And it had balance outs for my big monitors downstairs in the studio.
I record acoustic drums and other tracks on my hardware 24 track and export the wavs into the laptop. The future goal is to build a dedicated desktop and have a 16 channel interface. I was starting to think that I could just get the interface and use the laptop. I still might be able to do that anyway. I am not getting paid to lay down my drum tracks, or Bass or mixing for that matter. But if I venture down that road I will build a system.
When you get right down to it, reaper on this little dell with a few $59 peripherals plugged in is pretty freakin amazing. All free plugins, too... My wife bought me the laptop off the shelf at Costco. So it's not like something that I would have spec'd out. But it is fun just as a laptop. being able to run reaper on it to the level that I do is awesome. For my own music/performance/recording, it's more than enough.
See... there... I've almost convinced myself that I don't need to mess with it anymore...
Thanks again so much
later
rich
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