RME Newsletter January 5, 2001

1. Problems with single CPU systems and Windows 2000
2. Performance when using GSIF and ASIO simultaneously
3. RME Reference PCs updated
4. Test software for Hammerfall Mac

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1. Problems with single CPU systems and Windows 2000 (Top)

In general we do not recommend to install Windows 2000 on a single CPU system. If you do, problems arise which are not found on dual CPU systems.

The main problem for now is the automatically chosen ACPI mode during installation. W2k will use only one IRQ (9) for all PCI devices. Normally this should be no problem, but in this case the IRQ sharing suffers from bad performance. The computer won't crash, and everything works, but not as good as it should. Two examples: When using a Hammerfall USB/MIDI operation will cause audio stuttering even at highest latency. Data transfers via a network card in the background will disturb audio playback significantly.

The remedy is to change from ACPI to Standard-PC mode. Here's how to do it:

  • Check BIOS:
    The entry Plug and Play OS in your mobo's BIOS should be set to 'NO'.
     
  • Before installation:
    The mode Standard-PC can be selected already prior to a W2k installation. Hit F6 when you are asked for updated SCSI etc. device drivers (blue screen.) Then press F5 and choose Standard-PC.
     
  • After installation:
    Go to Device Manager (Control Panel/System/Hardware), click on 'Computer', then double click on 'ACPI-PC'. Go on with 'Driver' and 'Update Driver'. Select 'Display a list of the known drivers for this device', then 'Show all hardware of this device class'. Now you can select 'Standard-PC' in the list shown in the right window.

Windows 2000 will re-start and re-install all hardware. After this the PC will use the BIOS' IRQ assignments.

For an optimized performance the system performance should be changed to 'optimized for background tasks' (see FAQ, latest additions.)

Note: According to our tests the mode Standard-PC brings no advantage on dual CPU systems!

2. Performance when using GSIF and ASIO simultaneously (Top)

As announced in our last news letter information about GSIF operation can be found on our website (FAQ, Latest Additions.) Additionally the last days brought a big surprise: The performance of simultaneous GSIF/ASIO operation can be much better as it is now, even when using a Hammerfall (which uses no CPU copy routines to achieve the smallest possible GSIF latency.) The reason for the bad performance is Gigastudio, which increases the priority of the process msg32.exe from 'normal' to 'realtime'. A small decrease to 'high' will immediately improve audio performance (less crackling and drop outs) and MIDI timing. The Hammerfall then can be used with two steps lower ASIO latency.

How can one change the priority of a process? You'll need the freeware PrcView

http://www.xmlsp.com/pview/prcview.htm

This tool shows all active processes and their priority, and also allows to change it in realtime. Start GS, load the sounds, start ASIO (Cubase etc.) and change the priority of msg32.exe from 'Realtime' to 'High'. Much more comfortable is the program gsfix.exe

www.inet.hr/~nsiskov/GSFIX.htm

from Nenad Siskov (who discovered this effect), which does this change automatically. Note that it is shareware at this time.

Please note that the ASIO latency 1.5, 3 and 6 ms isn't available during simultaneous GSIF/ASIO operation! The driver automatically activates 46 ms instead.

Nemesys did not comment so far on an update of GigaX, which would make all the above redundant.

3. RME Reference PCs updated (Top)

All three RME Reference PCs (see Tech Info, Hardware Recommendations) were updated.

4. Test software for Hammerfall Mac (Top)

The archive of the Hammerfall's fully automated test software (see download page) now includes a second program, which (still under Windows) allows to test Mac versions of the Hammerfall cards.

Best regards
The RME Team

Copyright © Matthias Carstens, 2001.
All entries in this Newsletter have been thoroughly checked, however no guarantee for correctness can be given. RME cannot be held responsible for any misleading or incorrect information provided throughout this document. Lending or copying any part or the complete document or its contents is only possible with the written permission from RME.

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