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Topic: Attn Everyone! This may be of interest to you!!!

  1. #1

    Attn Everyone! This may be of interest to you!!!

    Lately I had been experiencing horrible MIDI playback. Notes going in and out - just sounding choppy and horrible. Finally figured it out. For some reason my system just does not like to see anything in the vcache section of system.ini (i.e. maxfilecache and minfilecache). Now I know in general everyone says to specify settings under vcache.

    Anyway, leaving vcache blank has made giga act so much better. Instrument files load lightning fast (loading is slow with the vcache settings) and MIDI playback is very smooth even at high polyphony.

    Try your system with and without the vcache entries in system.ini and let me know if you notice a difference!

    And if someone can tell me why vcache settings screw me over, please tell me!

    Here are my system specs:

    Asus A7V board (w/ latest 4-in-1 drivers)
    Athlon Thunderbird 800
    256 MB RAM
    Win98 (installed with 98lite)
    Dual IBM Deskstar 75GXP ata100 7200rpm drives (one for audio one for apps)


  2. #2

    Re: Attn Everyone! This may be of interest to you!!!

    I\'ve said the same for some time also.
    A low vcache gives you less polyphony.
    A large vcache gives you a very high latency.
    I use pulsar synths, gigastudio + logic audo pl. with effects/mtron/evp88/b4 and a few audio tracks. I can get high polyphony without a hitch. I don\'t have any min/maxcache settings.

  3. #3

    Re: Attn Everyone! This may be of interest to you!!!

    \"I don\'t have any min/maxcache settings.\"

    Of course you actually do have min/max settings, even if none are specificed or referenced. Windows defaults to a min/max setting. When you manually specify, or a program (like Cubase) specifies, this is overriding the default settings.


    Melodialworks Music

  4. #4

    Re: Attn Everyone! This may be of interest to you!!!

    Brian, what were your vcache settings before when you experienced your problems?

    I still think the vcache should be set since that will help with audio recording and also efficiently manage your RAM. Otherwise, you will be letting MicroSoft Windows manage your vcache which will just keep growing and growing without ever seeming to let go of the memory that it grabs. I have seen it grab hundreds of Megabytes of RAM without ever decreasing. This may result in speedy performance for many applications, but not for audio. Even for other applications, it is not an efficient use of RAM. For general applications, some sort of vcache setting is useful, like the MinFileCache of 1/8 RAM and MaxFileCache of 1/4 RAM as recommended by the Sandra benchmark utility. In audio applications, the lower the MaxFileCache the better (with MinFileCache set equal to MaxFileCache). Frontier Design suggests a value of 4096 or 8192. Cakewalk Sonar will actually set the value at 4096 upon installation (which may be a good value but at least the user should be informed and have the option to refuse when this is done). Tascam suggests a value of 16384. I personally use 24576. If you notice that things like GigaStudio polyphony or other issues can be improved by increasing the MaxFileCache, then the value can be increased but by the smallest amount possible to keep it optimized. ChunkSize is also an important parameter. I get good results with 512, while others have suggested 1024. So set your vcache accordingly based on your PC configuration and your applications, but you probably shouldn\'t let Windows do it for you.

  5. #5

    Re: Attn Everyone! This may be of interest to you!!!

    Well, when I had my a7v 900mhz athlon pc, I found out that I got the best results, when not using any vcache settings in win.ini. (I know of course, that windows sets the value automatically, if you don\'t write a specific number into win.ini - I was referring to not using a specific value).

    As I wrote, I use logic audio (asio enabled) and gigastudio together. I found out that, using a very large vcache, like 512mb (necessary if you use more than 512mb of ram) doesn\'t make much of a difference.
    8-16mb of vcahce gave me less polyphony, and problems with loading pulsar synths.
    Around 40-60 mb (and more) of vcache, gave me a very noticeable latency in Gigastudio, when playing on my keyboard. Sounded like about 40ms, which is completely unplayable.

    I haven\'t tested vcache settings since then.
    I now use a a7m266 ddr-ram with 1.33 ghz athlon. It works incredible well. I can really recommend this setup. Only problem is, it only has two memory slots. I\'m using 512mb now, and it\'s definately not enough.
    My drumset alone takes up about 25% of the ram. (1.7gb) ..I love gigastudio...

  6. #6

    Re: Attn Everyone! This may be of interest to you!!!

    Have you had any stability problems with the A7M board? I have an Athlon 1.33 with the A7A motherboard with 512 megs of ram. Strange things happen sometimes with my system. I couldn\'t find one of the A7M boards anywhere. They are supposed to be a little faster than the A7A. The Ali Magik chipset seems to be a little questionable for now. For the most part however my system is very fast. Peace.

  7. #7

    Re: Attn Everyone! This may be of interest to you!!!

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size=\"1\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by stmikkel:
    I\'ve said the same for some time also.
    A low vcache gives you less polyphony.
    A large vcache gives you a very high latency.

    I\'d like to know more specifically what you mean about a large vcache giving a higher latency. I assume you are referring to the time it takes to complete a read operation from the hard drive and not the latency in the audio path from giga through the sound card, as the audio latency should not be directly affected by disk caching. Certainly, however, if the hard drive is taking too long to retrieve data then it might require you to select a higher audio latency (assuming your configuration allows it) to avoid clicks/pops/etc. Perhaps that\'s what you mean?

    But anyway, let\'s consider more closely the time it will take the hard drive to complete a read operation: the size of the file cache itself should not increase this value. (In fact, a bigger cache increases the likelihood that the data will already be in memory, reducing the number of HD reads that have to take place.)

    On the other hand, the amount by which the HD reads ahead _will_ increase the time it takes the read operation to complete. (The idea, of course, is that if the data read ahead will likely be used later, then it will have been much more advantageous to read a big block at once rather than in small chunks with potentially time-consuming seek operations in between. But if that data is never used, or the cache is small enough that the data is discarded before it is used, then the read-ahead was not worthwhile. And if so much data is being read ahead that the operation does not complete quickly enough for a time-sensitive application--like Giga--then you can imagine the problems that result.)

    So the question is, how does one control the size of the read-ahead? Certainly it would be nice to have some (especially for long sustained notes--assuming the drive is defragmented and the audio for a note is therefore contiguous) but not too much (so the operation finishes quickly so reads from other parts of the drive can take place--important in high-polyphony situations).

    I believe there is a setting in Win9x system properties, in the \"File system\" section of the \"Performance\" tab, called \"read ahead optimization\". (I can\'t check now because I\'m in NT.) Does anyone know how the slider setting affects the absolute amount of data read ahead? Also, what is the nature of the \"chunksize\" parameter in the vcache settings? Does that affect read ahead as well? And finally is there any way in which the size of the read-ahead is influenced by the total cache size? (In this way, too big a cache could result in slow HD reads.)

    oops! I guess I went overboard. But the point is that, since so many people have found tweaking vcache to significantly affect performance (either positively or negatively), I think it would be worthwhile to figure out what these settings actually do, and use them to our advantage.


  8. #8

    Re: Attn Everyone! This may be of interest to you!!!

    A7M266 is definately the fastest athlon-ddr board. ALI is supposed to be pretty crappy, and VIA has poor PCI-bandwidth (when using soundcards like Pulsar. - the v-link technology wasn\'t that great after all I\'ve read..)

    I\'m having some (very little) instability yes. I get some blue screens (rare, but happens) - stack underflow...or something. This is related to my pulsar soundcard. Don\'t know why it happens though, it could well be a bug in the pulsar soundcard drivers/or wrong settings.

    Otherwise, it\'s stable as a rock. Of course, I got one of the bad mainboards (that short circuit when using both memory slots), but got it to work after some \"tweaking\".

    If you use logic audio/cubase (with audio engine enabled) and gigastudio together, you HAVE to use PrcView. This program finds all the tasks running in the background. All you do, is pick the gigastudio driver, and choose normal priority instead of realtime.
    Major difference. Even on my pc, msg32 realtime priority doesn\'t work at all.
    Forget about the sequencer priority function in gigastudio. It didn\'t work for me.
    Use PrcView and a fast athlon computer.

    I use huge instrumentsets (3-4 gb) +polyphony up to about 100, together with B4/mtron/evp88/plenty of effects/a couple of audio tracks in logic audio.
    I haven\'t had a single hick-up yet (when everything is running normal), since I got my a7m266 and athlon 1.33.ghz.
    Major difference from 900mhz and a7v.
    I\'m sure you can have plenty of audiotracks also running without problems, but I haven\'t tested this.
    I use some pretty fast harddrives though.
    Good luck.

  9. #9

    Re: Attn Everyone! This may be of interest to you!!!

    My fastest machine (gets highest polyphony) is the VIA chipset machine. It outperforms the 440BX chipset. I know many others claim the VIA is slow in memory access -- that may be true -- but it excels in PCI performance. Note that USB must be turned off at the CMOS level though.


  10. #10

    Re: Attn Everyone! This may be of interest to you!!!

    Psssst. VIA chipsets do NOT excel in PCI performance. Just ask Creamware or any Pulsar user!! You should use BX or i815/850 for best PCI performance right now. Some of the upcoming VIA chipsets might be up to i815 on PCI performance, but none of the existing are. As for memory speed, it\'s not all VIA chipsets that are bad. The AMD ones are a lot faster than the Intel (133/133a) ones. I use Gigastudio on a VIA KT133 machine and it runs very well - I can get 160 voices most of the time. But with the Apollo Pro 133 and my P3 I couldn\'t do that, and I\'d get a good amount of clicks\'n\'pops if I got above 110 voices or so.

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