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Topic: Disappointing performance - what could be wrong?

  1. #1

    Disappointing performance - what could be wrong?

    I just got a 1GHz PIII, 256MB RAM, ASUSCL2 board with two big ATA/100 drives (no slaves) and Aardvark DirectPro 24/96. I\'m running SONAR 1.0.2 and Gigastudio 96. But the performance is TERRIBLE! When I play a VERY simple 3-track MIDI piece (no audio) in SONAR and use 3 instruments (each under 8MB), there is popping and dropouts and then I get the \"illegal operation\" message in SONAR with invalid page fault, and then the whole thing hangs. If I mute one of the tracks then I get cracking and popping but no crash.

    So far I have tried:

    I have a high performance video card ATI RAGE but it is AGP and I set acceleration to none. Can this still be a problem?

    I don\'t have MSOffice or any other crap installed on my machine.

    I used Sandra to benchmark my drives and they come up with 6ms access time. Though the \"index\" was about 9000 which is only 1/3 of the benchmark index of ~30000 for an ATA/100 30GB drive (mine is 60GB).

    I didn\'t find any IRQ conflicts and I set all sampling rates to 44.1.

    Any suggestions?


  2. #2

    Re: Disappointing performance - what could be wrong?

    If you have installed the Intel ATA/100 drivers, uninstall them. In general their performance is questionable for this application. Then reboot.

    Now go to Settings / Control Panel / System / Devices tab - select your harddrive and make sure the DMA tick box is ticked (this will re-appear once the Intel ATA drivers have been uninstalled).

  3. #3

    Re: Disappointing performance - what could be wrong?

    Also, if you have 2 drives but no slaves - where did you connect your CDROM? This indicates you have a plug-in IDE card.

    In such a case it is best to have your harddrives on the motherboard, rather than the card. But if you cannot avoid using the card for a harddrive, put the card in the \"Priority PCI slot\" (this board has one, see the manual).

    Otherwise, try putting your soundcard in the priority pci slot.

    Make sure priority PCI is turned on in the BIOS.

    I presume the board would have a recent BIOS version - still it is worth checking, since early BIOS revisions for this board had some oddities.

  4. #4

    Re: Disappointing performance - what could be wrong?

    Right, I have an Ultra ADA/100 controller card. And I have one drive on each of the two controllers. The CD-ROMs are on the motherboard IDE controller. I checked the drivers for the hard drives under the Settings tab. It says Provider: Standard Disk Drives and No Drivers are Required or Have Been Loaded For This Device. Should it say something else?

    So I shouldn\'t have the hard drives on the controller card? I thought that\'s what it was for, in order to support DMA Mode 5. Confusing.

    I\'ll check out the BIOS. BTW, OS is Win98SE


  5. #5

    Re: Disappointing performance - what could be wrong?

    Ok, well, if you have your harddrives connected to the card, leave them there for the moment and do the following:

    In control panel / settings/ system / devices, go to the properties of your harddrives (to the screen where you see about standard disk drive. This is OK by the way). The select the settings tab and if there is a tick box for \"DMA\" make sure it is checked.

    If this is not the issue, update the IDE card drivers from the Internet, and see what happens.

    If this is not the issue, move at least the gigs harddrive to the motherboard\'s IDE controller.

    (And BTW, set your video accelleration back to full, in order to decrease your CPU load).

    The things with these controllers is that they normally do not give you quite as good access as doing it from the motherboard. I derive from your post that you have a CUSL2 or CUSL2-C board - these do IDE just fine. In any case, gigastudio performance depends on the access time / random block read rate, not the throughput, so you really just need ATA/33. The Intel drivers give good throughput, but bad random block read rates.

    Now in your case, the 6ms access time looks good, however the low score suggests that too much CPU power is being used and hence the pops and clicks - this suggests that DMA has not been turned on. Because you get 6ms, you should be able to use the drives on the card just fine.

    I have a CUSL2-C and can get 160 voices from either a drive connected thru such a card (in the priority slot), or from my drive connected to the motherboard.

    However, I prefer to use the motherboard drive, since when it transfers data, it does not need to use the PCI bus. The intel i815 chipset has a separate bus for this IO communication.

    By comparison, the IDE card uses the PCI bus, and is thus subject to \"glitches\" in the audio each time something like the videocard needs to send a lot of data over (typically when the sequencer redraws the screen).

    Again, if you connect you gigs drive to the motherboard, make sure you don;t have the Intel drivers installed, and make sure that DMA is enabled for the drive.

  6. #6

    Re: Disappointing performance - what could be wrong?

    Okay, VERY BAD THINGS happen when I set my video acceleration to full! If I try to use SONAR at all, my system hangs AND the video card cuts it output and it won\'t come back until I reboot. Remember this is an AGP card, which I understand to mean it doesn\'t use the PCI bus, yes? Maybe I should just go get a cheapo card (if they still make those) if my video is causing problems like this!


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