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View Full Version : Tweaking your PC to get the most out of your RAM



FossMan
06-02-2004, 09:38 AM
I figured this topic should go in the "Tips" category.

If you're like me you really stress over getting the most out of your RAM that you possibly can (I just need to load one more instrument!). Although normally gamers tweak their system for RAM optimation, we musicians can do the same for audio. At www.blackviper.com (http://www.blackviper.com/WinXP/servicecfg.htm) there are instructions for us PC users on how to do this safely (and safe is the key word!).

I hope this helps someone out there. Talk to everyone later!

Styxx
06-02-2004, 11:34 AM
I figured this topic should go in the "Tips" category.

If you're like me you really stress over getting the most out of your RAM that you possibly can (I just need to load one more instrument!). Although normally gamers tweak their system for RAM optimation, we musicians can do the same for audio. At www.blackviper.com (http://www.blackviper.com/WinXP/servicecfg.htm) there are instructions for us PC users on how to do this safely (and safe is the key word!).

I hope this helps someone out there. Talk to everyone later!

Wow thanks - I just went up and took a quick look. Quite informative I will make sure to return.
:cool:

Shazbot
06-02-2004, 11:50 AM
Yes, thank you for sharing that. Here is an article from Sound on Sound (http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Mar02/articles/pcmusician0302.asp?session=ccefd763a17969fde94c914 7535e0c6b) which talks about some tweaks specifically helpful for music production.

Joseph Burrell
06-02-2004, 11:56 AM
Tweak XP (http://www.tweakxp.com/performance_tweaks.aspx)

The two most important is getting rid of the whiz/bang/flash menus of XP and going for the stripped down Windows 95 look, get rid of your desktop backgrounds too BTW. Also another one that always helps is stopping those services from starting up when you boot your computer. Also, anyone out there who is running an Anti-Virus software, it may help to create another hardware profile with the Anti-Virus disabled that you can load when you are seriously churning out the tunes and that turns off access to the computer modem and internet, and one for general usage that allows your computer to be protected when the wife and kids are on it.

Whatever... I'm such an idiot

Joseph Burrell
06-02-2004, 12:02 PM
Yes, thank you for sharing that. Here is an article from Sound on Sound (http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Mar02/articles/pcmusician0302.asp?session=ccefd763a17969fde94c914 7535e0c6b) which talks about some tweaks specifically helpful for music production.

Note: ACPI is known to cause problems with some setups, but I think this is getting to be a more and more rare thing. I would advise anyone to think before disabling it as in every case I've tried to do it, it's done more harm than good. Some computer hardware acts adversely to this being disabled (for example CDRW and DVDRW drives act funny or will not show up at all.) This would be a LAST resort for me.

Styxx
06-02-2004, 12:05 PM
Tweak XP (http://www.tweakxp.com/performance_tweaks.aspx)

The two most important is getting rid of the whiz/bang/flash menus of XP and going for the stripped down Windows 95 look, get rid of your desktop backgrounds too BTW. Also another one that always helps is stopping those services from starting up when you boot your computer. Also, anyone out there who is running an Anti-Virus software, it may help to create another hardware profile with the Anti-Virus disabled that you can load when you are seriously churning out the tunes and that turns off access to the computer modem and internet, and one for general usage that allows your computer to be protected when the wife and kids are on it.

Whatever... I'm such an idiot

What! How the heck to you do that now? Interesting schtuff. :confused: And NO you are not an idiot!!!

galvedro
06-02-2004, 12:05 PM
At the risk of been a bit boring,

I can't recommend enough having two partitions with two separate Operating systems. Can be a pair of XPs, one of them fully tweaked for music aplications, and the other charged with your Firewall, antivirus, network connections, your desktop applications, some mpeg videos of your kids, the fishtank screensaver, etc...

This can be really effective in keeping your Audio Workstation stable.

Joseph Burrell
06-02-2004, 12:12 PM
At the risk of been a bit boring,

I can't recommend enough having two partitions with two separate Operating systems. Can be a pair of XPs, one of them fully tweaked for music aplications, and the other charged with your Firewall, antivirus, network connections, your desktop applications, some mpeg videos of your kids, the fishtank screensaver, etc...

This can be really effective in keeping your Audio Workstation stable.

That's why I mentioned setting up a seperate hardware profile. This is sort of the same thing without bogging down your system with another partition and OS install. OS installs use a lot of hard drive space. There are limits to what you can do with a seperate hardware profile, but it is another way of doing it.

galvedro
06-02-2004, 04:44 PM
Yes, it eats a lot more of your HDD space, and may be more complicated to install the first time. But you will have two different windows registers. We all know how easely the register can be damaged, or filled up with sh**t (Oops, did I say that?) that slows down performance. You don't need to have resident protective software like antivirus. And if you are aware of keeping your network devices disabled, then your DAW is unlikely to get corrupted by worms, spyware, and other malitious software. And it is also more unlikely you run in software incompatibilities with unexpected crashes, for example TV applications - audio applications.

I find hardware profiles useful for, well, exactly that: to manage different hardware configurations for one equipment. But experience prevents me from mixing audio applications with general purpose software and multimedia.

I think It's worth having a couple of 80 GB HDDs, for example. One entirely for data, and another with, may be 3 partitions: 20GB (DAW XP) / 20GB(General Purpose XP) / 40GB (Data). BTW, I don't think HDD space is a concern anymore, is it? Well, I'm not recording multitrack audio, so may be your HDD needs are more demanding.

Anton

Joseph Burrell
06-02-2004, 05:16 PM
I concur and admit that it is more beneficial for everyone to have more than one partition (that way you can customize out the wazoo.) However, XP is limited in that you can't unallocate hard drive space and therefor, when its done its done. You can't go back and partition a hard drive in XP without starting over from scratch unless you want to invest in PartitionMagic or some other hard drive management software. Unfortunately, there's no cheap/easy way around this as of yet. Maybe Longhorn will change this, but I'll say that if anything happens and you have to reinstall XP, then that is the time to really think about a dual boot setup with two hard drive partitions. Interesting conversation at any rate.

galvedro
06-03-2004, 03:09 AM
You can't go back and partition a hard drive in XP without starting over from scratch unless you want to invest in PartitionMagic or some other hard drive management software. Unfortunately, there's no cheap/easy way around this as of yet.

Mmmm, really? I think there shoud be several free software alternatives to Partition Magick, but may be you're right, I don't think they support the last version of NTFS. For people who uses FAT32, I'm sure there are free tools to repartition your HDD without losing data, for example: parted.

Anton

Joseph Burrell
06-03-2004, 07:26 AM
:D Yee Gods, don't you people ever sleep? There's freeware everything, but I don't think I'll trust my data with it. My hard drive is one thing that I just can't trust with just any old program, ye ken? I've (and others I know)lost a lot of irreplacable data over the years due to weird glitches in defrags and the like (due to bad partitions). I don't chance it anymore.

galvedro
06-03-2004, 11:46 AM
:D

And why is this? Because you did not backup your data before fring HDD maintenance :p . This things do happen. We all can tell a couple of stories about losing data on disk maintenance. But this do always occur because we don't keep up to date backups on our shelves. :rolleyes:

Joseph Burrell
06-03-2004, 12:51 PM
Yeah, backing up is one of those things that you don't ever think about until it happens to you. That's a mistake you don't make again though, once it happens.

KevinKauai
06-12-2004, 05:33 PM
Wouldn't another alternative to completely re-doing your XP setup (for an extra partition) be to add a second drive and put the "new" partition there?

I have a completely isolated Windows XP system (connected only by a LAN to my "utility" PC) which I have "optimized" to the proverbial wazoo to get maximum use of the 1 gig (maximum on my hardware) memory. If I was to do that purchase over again, I would've made sure that I got the maximum RAM size capability (which is either 2 gig or 4 gig, depending on who you believe). Am I lusting over the thought of Windows 64? You betcha! (But that will require a whole new round of hardware investment.)

life goes on ... Kev

Styxx
06-15-2004, 08:57 AM
What about all that garbage on the bottom bar near the clock like Quick Time, and other icons. Are those programs that are just there and not running or are they causing problems as well with taking up space in ram? Can they be disabled or are they important?
I swear, computers are only as good as the people who designed them. :confused:

FossMan
06-15-2004, 10:11 AM
What about all that garbage on the bottom bar near the clock like Quick Time, and other icons. Are those programs that are just there and not running or are they causing problems as well with taking up space in ram? Can they be disabled or are they important?
I swear, computers are only as good as the people who designed them. :confused:Some of them do, like any anti-virus protection you have. But then again some of them don't (like the speaker icon). I'm not sure about Quicktime. The best thing to do is right-click on the icon and see if there is a disable function. If there is, then the program is actually running in thge background and taking up RAM. Most of these programs allow you to permanently turn them off as part of their setting preferences.

As a side note, any icon on the same bar on the left side usually are not running programs, but one-click shortcuts to programs.

Joseph Burrell
06-15-2004, 10:38 AM
I agree, get rid of as many of those programs running in the system tray as possible. Programs like Realplayer and Quicktime are terrible about showing up there as well as MSN Messenger and AOL Messenger. These are not the only programs that will run in the background, but these are good to get rid of. Also, you can disable other services as well without harming your computers performance, but this is in depth and would require more time than I have at the moment.

KevinKauai
06-15-2004, 04:19 PM
This is one of the more complete "optimization" links that I've used. It has the benefit of having a fairly complete discussion of the trade-offs of various steps and points. Proceed with caution (and perhaps do a "sytem checkpoint" at key steps along the way -- although one of the steps is -- gasp! sputter! -- turning off system restore!).

http://pcaudiolabs.com/setuptips.asp

I hope this helps add to the knowledge base.

Kev

Styxx
06-16-2004, 06:54 AM
Woe, wow, turning off "system restore". Now that has saved my #$%# a couple of times so far. I don't know if I would go that route yet.
Anywho, I decided to up the ram on my PC for now and disable unneeded programs running in the background. Maybe all of this will help. :eek:

Tom Hopkins
06-16-2004, 04:06 PM
I want to join Styxx in throwing up a huge caution flag concerning disabling ďsystem restore.Ē That feature has gotten me out of more jams in the last few months than I care to remember. It has saved me untold hours of potentially difficult troubleshooting with its attendant hardware uninstalls/re-installs, re-configuring, etc. Each time Iíve encountered problems I have been able to retreat to the previous day and be back to normal within minutes. As a programmer Iíve also found it useful to restore the computer to a configuration on a specific date (even months before) to check for suspected performance changes in software versions and then return to the present (back to the future?) after the check was completed. Invaluable. It has never interfered with my computerís audio performance in any way that I can detect. Disabling system restore removes one of the best features in WindowsXP and itís a change you may regret.

Tom

wes37
06-23-2004, 10:13 PM
I've heard XP doesn't really need to be tweaked...true/false?

Jbon
06-26-2004, 11:23 PM
Yes I also concur, agree, and care as well to see this topic led to as much shedding of as much enlightenment to folks interested, as I am... I have sort of been down the dualboot route... and have faith in its total validity as well as the profile version too, both can serve well, when properly executed, I feel sure, but neither are without their hassle... so I am here to reiterate to the doer... to expect the first prototype to be the "one"..... well at least for me, I now know I may have the dual boot again down the road, and/or the profile thing seems to be a sound means to the similar if not the very same end.. have to wait & learn for absolution...... And at this moment my present project undergoing a sort of a "test" phase -- I am using a scsi system disk as per "RADIFIED" A really unique trove of specialized data for the enthusiast... any enthusiast!

And all though I am not exactly screaming all over creation of how great scsiboot is, I am not for sure I am optimumly cooking with scsi just yet... Its certainly not "SLUGGISH".. I will admit the 10,000 rpm is only 2/3 as fast (in rpm) as it'd have been if I'd sprung for the 15,000rpm variety, but even with my limited scsi knowledge.. I can understand that the ultra320 classification of my drive is not losing any speed via my u160 controller, because the bottleneck of my pc is neither of these factors, but supposedly rather my "bus" ... capable of less than my u160 cards best, much less that of the ultra 320 drive...
PCI EXPRESS is the coming "thing" I THINK.... but I always have to ask, anyway!
Thanks, gentlemen for caring about this stuff !

Joseph Burrell
06-27-2004, 12:09 AM
I've heard XP doesn't really need to be tweaked...true/false?

False, the flashy graphics of XP are memory hogs. There are a lot of simple tweaks to speed up your computer and save valuable ram. Some are more beneficial than others, however. Included in these links to various websites are tips that only the connosieur should worry with (ie: the seriously tweak happy or performance hungry.) Disable as many background processes as humanly possible, grab yourself System Mechanic 4 (for its memory defrag/recover utilities and its ability to disable startup tasks, which are tasks that programs start immediately when the computer comes on that you don't know are running because they are in the background, this is a very valuable tool), and get rid of the flash of XP, and you'll have yourself about as streamlined a machine as you'll need. The rest isn't going to affect your performance enough to worry with doing it.

nexus
07-03-2004, 08:42 PM
There really is no need to 'panic' about turning-off SYSTEM RESTORE. I have always done this, in fact on my WinME machine I removed it completely using a nice utility program I found one time. Removing it may be drastic for most of you but then you will reclaim HD space that still gets eaten up even if you turn it off!

In addition, even when it's 'turned-off' it really is not completely off. It still records your PC's system state just in case you want to turn it back on.

The better option, is to buy a copy of Symantec "GHOST" and use it regularily to make 'images' of your HDs.

I can't describe the elation you will experience after a crash, when you pop in your own restore discs and are completely back up in about 20 minutes!

I am always making GHOST discs of my HDs, particularily my system drive. I date them and makes a note if needed and that way I can always be up and running.

Try it! You'll find it's the best money you ever spent and it works flawlessly.

In addition, making backups on DVD discs is terrific! Just a couple discs and your done.

Lastly, if the 'tweaks' discussed here make you nervous, you can do what I did and just make a GHOST of your HD and start tweaking away!:D

galvedro
07-06-2004, 10:48 AM
Yes, I agree with you Nexus. Making HDD images for the system disks is a good practice.

Anton