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ASIO glitches under Windows 7 w/ Fireface - NVidia to blame???? Audio Interfaces
Old 12th January 2010
  #1
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ASIO glitches under Windows 7 w/ Fireface - NVidia to blame????

Greetings Gearslutz...

First off, let me say that I consider myself well trained in the art of PC optimization for audio. I've been lurking here for a long time, and maybe I don't know as much as guys like Kara***d*** , but I'm far from just your average n00b.

Now that I've reformatted with Windows 7, I'm running into a strange problem with my FF800. I apologize if this is off-topic, as it's not in direct relation to the Fireface, but instead other devices which are impeding upon my baby's performance.

Whenever I move or resize a window, or minimize/maximize, I get an ASIO glitch of epic proportions... Now I know that it's not a good idea to be resizing windows or changing stuff during ASIO operation, but I do expect some degree of heartiness in this regard. In fact, I am using DPC Latency Checker, which also jumps into the yellow or red whenever this happens.

Lo and behold, I've gone into Device Manager and checked the Resources by Connection, and found that my NVidia card is on the same IRQ as my SATA controller... Of course ask Microsoft this question, and they say "it's OK for devices to share IRQs," as if it's no problem. But clearly I have two of the most high bandwidth devices on IRQ 16, and that would appear to be causing me some serious grief. After 2 reinstalls, a BIOS update, and every other tip and trick explored, I still have this issue (which I may add that I didn't encounter on Win XP).

It seems that outside of this IRQ sharing thing, the problem here is that the NVidia Graphics controller is hogging the bus... I'd tell it to stop being such a hog, but there are no options in the driver options or NVidia control panel that make much of a difference. I can always just run a generic driver, which has the added benefit of assigning a different IRQ to the card (reinstalling the NVidia driver then just switches it back to IRQ 16), but the generic driver has zero acceleration support, so just by virtue of the video performance being slow as molasses it doesn't function well.

Any ideas/suggestions/wisdom?

My setup (the part that's causing me grief) is:
Thinkpad T61p, 4GB ram
7200 RPM SATA drive
NVidia Quatro 570 discrete graphics w/ 256mb RAM
Intel Core2 T9300
Fireface 800
TI 1394 controller PCMCIA card, also Ricoh 1394 onboard
Old 12th January 2010
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

I have had bad graphics drivers mess up latencies, but in my case it was ATI. Don't know if the IRQ really matteres, but sure it could be the driver.
Old 12th January 2010
  #3
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Yeah, seems like it's in direct relation to the stupid driver...

I've tried the latest build, the one that was included with Win7, the Lenovo supplied version. All functioned the same.

Now once upon a time, someone had passed along an important tidbit about Power Management - saying that disabling the power management of the NVidia card actually helped significantly. But this option does not exist in the Win7 version of the driver, at least not that I've seen.

Something like this seems to be a good lead:

NVIDIA ForceWare 190.38 BETA Graphics Drivers With Power Management Capabilities - 3D Tech News, Pixel Hacking, Data Visualization and 3D Programming - Geeks3D.com

Note that it doesn't refer to my laptop video, which is NVidia Quatro 570M.
Old 12th January 2010
  #4
Here for the gear
Wait, hang on one second... Forceware seems like it MIGHT run on my card.

I'll be testing this and reporting back, as I found another gentleman who is having a similar issue.
Old 12th January 2010
  #5
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Nope, no love on this Forceware ****. Back to the drawing board.

Here's an interesting article on how to disable Powermizer, which seems to have worked for some. I'll be trying it as soon as I get home..

Disable PowerMizer **Tested**
Old 12th January 2010
  #6
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Timur Born's Avatar
 

sorry, doublepost
Old 12th January 2010
  #7
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Timur Born's Avatar
 

Your problem likely has nothing to do with what you perceive as IRQ sharing (IRQs above 15 are virtual anyway, so it doesn't really matter much).

More likely it's because of dynamic clocking when the Nvidia goes into 2D power saving mode. Have a look at the following thread about how to force your Nvidia driver to stay in 3D mode.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/4050467-post26.html

Check DPCs again after that and report back.
Old 12th January 2010
  #8
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Cheers Timur,

I'll give it a go!

Louis
Old 13th January 2010
  #9
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Hey Timur!

I got a sizeable improvement by using RivaTuner, but now I have all sorts of other glitches that weren't there before. I was wondering - it seems like there are only a few screencaps in the link you had posted, but some of them come up as broken links. Am I missing anything?

Either way, I have at least some hope that I'll be able to wrangle this in.
Old 13th January 2010
  #10
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Timur Born's Avatar
 

There are 4 pics linked in the post, none of which are broken here.

What does DPC Latency Checker say after switching NVidia's Performance Mode (especially when scrolling around in a DAW or web browser)?

Did you try both the "Low Power 3D" and the "Performance 3D"?

Since you are on a laptop disable the "ACPI compliant Battery" thing via device-manager and see if it makes a difference (you wont get low battery messages anymore, so watch out).

Did you disable Wlan via device-manager for a try?
Old 13th January 2010
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timur View Post
There are 4 pics linked in the post, none of which are broken here.

What does DPC Latency Checker say after switching NVidia's Performance Mode (especially when scrolling around in a DAW or web browser)?

Did you try both the "Low Power 3D" and the "Performance 3D"?

Since you are on a laptop disable the "ACPI compliant Battery" thing via device-manager and see if it makes a difference (you wont get low battery messages anymore, so watch out).

Did you disable Wlan via device-manager for a try?
You're right, there are no broken images there, but IE8 was suggesting there was.

DPC Latency Checker showed a dramatic improvement, although still had some spikes which I resolved by disabling WLAN and any other devices that would never be in use for my audio partition.

Ironically though, the audio performance actually became pretty bad after this, and I'm not exactly sure why. DPC was still reporting values of about 100 or less...

So that's when I tried the Performance 3D setting vs the Low Power 3D setting. No difference.

I haven't tried removing ACPI Battery Support - I didn't even think to do that. I will give it a shot next.
Old 13th January 2010
  #12
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valis's Avatar
What Aero mode are you running in, and what CPU are you using?
Old 13th January 2010
  #13
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Aero disabled completely

Intel Core2 T9300
Old 16th January 2010
  #14
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Well... RivaTuner helped considerably, and after a clean install, I'm getting reasonable latencies. In most cases I'm getting DPC to report <100us.

Still, if I do anything that spins the hard drive, like opening Control Panel or browsing in IE, I get a lot of glitches, and DPC starts jumping into the yellow. WiFi disabled of course.

Overall it's much better than it was initially, but I think maybe I've reached the limit. Until maybe someone figures out a way to adjust PCI latency timers on Win7.
Old 16th January 2010
  #15
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Do you use an IDE drive or a SATA one? Does it say something about "AHCI" in device-manager?

Do you use hd controller drivers from the chipset manufacturer or the standard Microsoft ones (check via device-manager)?

Also check your BIOS options whether you can switch between AHCI and some legacy/other mode.
Old 16th January 2010
  #16
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Hey Timur,

I have two options, AHCI and Compatability mode, and I'm currently using AHCI mode. Should I try the other?

I use one SATA drive, 7200rpm, which has the Windows install and my audio apps.

I use one PATA drive, 5400rpm, which is for storage of MP3s mostly.

Finally, I have also tried using the bundled Win7 driver for the drive controllers, and I have also tried using the Intel branded ones which come with the chipset drivers and from the Lenovo site.
Old 16th January 2010
  #17
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Switch off AHCI and disconnect the PATA drive (including any PATA CD/DVD). Then try again.
Old 16th January 2010
  #18
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No real change to speak of, unfortunately. For a second I thought it was better, but then I got a major spike anyhow just when I wasn't expecting it.
Old 16th January 2010
  #19
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Herb's Avatar
 

I just wanted to add something but it may not be relevant I haven't read the thread in detail.

When I moved to Windows 7 and updated to latest Fireface drivers in the readme it says that the Windows 7 implentation of firewire has problems with audio devices and gives instructions on forcing legacy Firewire drivers under Windows 7.
Old 16th January 2010
  #20
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Hey Herb,

I'll read up on that. Could be relevant.

Thanks!
Old 16th January 2010
  #21
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It seems to be very relevant, there are problems apparently with every manufacturer when using the bundled W7 firewire drivers, you need to go to Device Manager, find your firewire controller, click update driver, choose from list, and then you'll see a driver with [Legacy] written next to it.
Choose that one, reboot and you should be good to go.
Old 16th January 2010
  #22
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My experience is that with TI based Firewire you cannot use RME hardware without the legacy driver (yet). I don't know about the Ricoh.

So if you didn't already try the legacy driver you should do it, but that wouldn't explain the DPC spike. Try one of the two Firewire ports via device-manager and run audio over the other with and without legacy mode.

If that doesn't help you need to find the driver/hardware that is responsible for the DPC spikes. You can only do that by going through them one by one via device-manager. Things to look for are Wlan, Bluetooth, USB card readers (!), ACPI Battery, anything else connected to USB and onboard sound.

Did you already try to replace the graphic driver with the "Standard VGA driver"?
Old 16th January 2010
  #23
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mykhal c's Avatar
 

this tool will identify the driver/process that is issuin' the most interrupts/causin' the DPC spikes... RATTV3
Old 17th January 2010
  #24
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Same problems over USB

I'll post some more later, but I thought I would weigh in that I just started testing a new HP computer running Win 7 with an nVidia card/driver with an RME Fireface 400 UC (that's the USB version) and I am having the same basic issues described above. I also have done a lot, but not all of the disabling and other possible solutions. With the generic Windows drivers set at a slightly distorted resolution, the ASIO errors disappear entirely even running at 48 samples. DPC Latency does NOT report errors associated with the (seemingly) video card/driver problem.
Old 17th January 2010
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mykhal c View Post
this tool will identify the driver/process that is issuin' the most interrupts/causin' the DPC spikes... RATTV3
I read somewhere that the RATTV3 tool doesn't work on Vista/Win7 but that xperf might: Pointless Blathering : Measuring DPC time
Old 17th January 2010
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorAcoustic View Post
I read somewhere that the RATTV3 tool doesn't work on Vista/Win7 but that xperf might: Pointless Blathering : Measuring DPC time
good to know. thanks
Old 17th January 2010
  #27
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Wow, thanks for all the great suggestions all...

I'm pleased to report that I tried once again to remove the NVidia driver and use the Standard VGA Adapter driver, and this time IT WORKED!

I still want to take a look at the measuring DPC time article and try the methods explained there. 96 samples seems to be working best for me to avoid any glitches whatsoever when I browse or open/resize windows. Hopefully if I'm really lucky I can chip away at that number a bit, but that's just icing on the cake of course.

Thanks once again, and I'm glad that other people have benefitted as well (I thought I was the lone ****** with problems).
Old 17th January 2010
  #28
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A long story involving RME, Samplitude, Reaper, HP, Dell and me. And a couple of questions.

This has been an interesting journey. I got the opportunity to record a multi-track live jazz band concert in mid-December. Until then, I had been recording 4 tracks using a Sound Devices 744T, either with an outbound pre-amp for two of the channels or with a sound board feed. I decided to jump in with both feet.

I purchased an RME Fireface UC because of my own concern about firewire. I also acquired a used Mackie 800R pre-amp and digital cables to word clock the RME, Sound Devices and Mackie. I initially used a Dell Lattitude E6400 that was on loan to me. The RME website lists that computer as fully compatible with the Fireface interface.

So I commandiered my living room and set up lots of mics to test out the set-up. I have had both Samplitude SE V8 and Samplitude 10 Master. I knew that the Master version had limited tracks, but remembered that Samplitude SE V8 could handle 48 tracks. Well, quite to my surprise, SAM SE only handles eight inputs and eight outputs, although I guess one can edit up to 48 tracks. I needed up to 18 tracks and I knew that SAM 10 Master was limited. So I hit the forums and decided to give Reaper a try.

I've learned a lot of software over the years and thought Reaper would be easy to learn. I guess at some level it is, but it took me quite a while to get my head around the integration of the RME Mixer and the Reaper Mixer. Fortunately, a very generous chap on the Reaper Forums actually consented to call me and I got through that hurdle.

After lots of hours of running, I began to realize that I was getting recorded beeps in my tracks. I found that confounding. I spent a lot of time reading RME, Reaper, Samplitude and GearSlutz forums, and learned about all sorts of tweaks folks have had to make to their notebooks. I learned about running dpclat.exe. And yes I was getting spikes. I managed to run the set-up for 4 hours without any USB errors (this is what the RME software repeated each time I got a recorded beep.) I disabled everything I could imagine in the BIOS. I made sure that the power settings were optimized.

I ended up going to the job without having solved my "beep" problem. I just hoped and prayed that I could get through it unscathed as I had when my unattended session ran for four hours without errors. I began recording very early in the sound check. My inputs were direct pre-fader outs from the house console. The engineer and I shared mics, that is we used some of his and some of mine. Great chap. I guess at the end of the day, I ended up with 15 mic or line sources from the band into the computer, and I fed my stereo pair to the Sound Devices, figuring if the project failed I would at least have a stereo pull.

So I rolled early, I moved a couple of sliders with the mouse and voila, two beeps. It dawned on me right then that there was a definite relationship between the mouse and screen and the beeps. I got four hours of error free recording during my unattended test because I hadn't touched the screen.

Thankfully, with that last minute revelation, I simply avoided the mouse and the screen. I was setting my levels from the console. I managed to get the entire show recorded without errors.

Back home, I called tech support at RME (very responsive) and Sweetwater (very responsive also). One of these told me something I had not realized: Disabling a device in the BIOS makes in inoperable, but the device drivers are still loading.

I disabled the wireless in the Win XP 32 Device Manager, and I didn't get a latency spike or USB error again.

So then it was time to return the laptop to its owner. I managed to get all the settings and the BIOS restored.

So I needed a new audio recording computer. After agonizing about it, I bought an HP dv7t-3000 notebook with a 17" widescreen LCD, two internal 7200 RPM 500 GB drives, Win XP Home, an i7 720QM Intel Quad core and nVidia GEForce GT 230M video. Seemed like a reasonable setup. I bought it through a warehouse store, Costco, that allows computer returns up to 90 days, no questions. They also extend the manufacturers warranty for an additional year.

So I setup the HP and the RME and Reaper and my new Samplitude 11. Before doing anything, I disabled the internal sound, disabled wireless, disabled the ethernet port, worked through power management settings. I needed to set about mixing the earlier mentioned project, so I got my tracks set up in Samplitude and played them back. Not until the buffer is set at a latency of 512 can I avoid ASIO errors. This setup has not generated USB errors, but rather, ASIO errors.

Since this ultimately seemed related to "touching" windows with the mouse, and wireless was already off, I decided to try newer or different drivers for the nVidia GEForce GT 230M video card. Neither the newest nVidia driver, nor the newest HP video driver for this card resolved the problem. So I uninstalled the nVidia driver altogether, and used only the native Win 7 support. I haven't had either a USB or ASIO error since then, even running at a latency setting of 48 samples.

Therefore, the nVidia driver and/or the RME driver card seem to be the culprit.

The native resolution of the LCD monitor is 1600 X 900. The native Win 7 drivers only support resolutions of 1280 X 720, which is the correct aspect ratio, but makes certain windows extend beyond the visible screen, and 1280 X 768 which so far doesn't create the "too big for the screen problem", but given the different aspect ratio, distorts a bit, stretching things horizontally. Not so much that I can't get my mixing project done, but I would like to get back the real estate and lack of distortion that the 1600 X 900 resolution afforded.

Questions:

Since the nVidia drivers and HP drivers didn't resolve the problem, what else might I do, if anything to get back to a resolution of 1600 X 900?

If I go back to the nVidia drivers, do I care if I run the RME at a sample latency of say, 256 or 512 since I can do direct monitoring with Samplitude and the RME (I think)?

What else would you do?

Thanks for listening.

[BTW, in this process, I learned that for hearing and measuring latency as well as lining up tracks recorded on different devices, a metronome is a great tool.]

Last edited by DoctorAcoustic; 17th January 2010 at 06:41 AM.. Reason: punctuation corrections
Old 17th January 2010
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overfiend
I'm pleased to report that I tried once again to remove the NVidia driver and use the Standard VGA Adapter driver, and this time IT WORKED!
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorAcoustic
Since the nVidia drivers and HP drivers didn't resolve the problem, what else might I do, if anything to get back to a resolution of 1600 X 900?
Ok, we need to go a step further into this.

I already explained earlier that you have to force the NVidia driver into a *fixed* performance mode via the free utility "Rivatuner" (DoctorAcoustic, scroll some back, there is a link with a "Howto").

Normally the Nvidia driver dynamically clocks the GPU up and down depending on the graphic load. There are three modes: 2D Power Saving, Low Power 3D and Performance 3D (despite the names it doesn't matter if you are using 2D or 3D). Each "mode" is just a preset clock-rate for the GPU and its onboard RAM.

Overfiend wrote that he already tried that and it made things better, while using the "Standard VGA Driver" fixed the problems all together. There are two possibilities from here:

1. You may have used Rivatuner wrongly and did not really fix the clock-rate. You can check that easily with Rivatuner itself. What you need to do is to start RT's "Hardware Monitoring" and check that clock-rates never change under no circumstances. For normal (non-gaming) work I recommend "Low Power 3D" mode.



To check that, scroll exessively through webpages, especially ones with flash movies, run media player, if possible run some 3D game and after all that just leave the computer alone for around 2 minutes. Whatever you do the graph of RT should never change.

2. Your Nvidia card just doesn't allow this workaround to help. In this case the only thing you can do it buy another card. It doesn't have to be another vendor, forum feedback has it that different models of NVidia cards behave differently. Even worse the same model may behave differently in another computer. So you have to try yourself which one works.
Old 17th January 2010
  #30
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I really appreciate the reply.

I did try RivaTuner last night after reading this thread. Unfortunately, it does not support my card and the options illustrated by your screen shots do not exist. What I gathered from reading forums about RivaTuner is that it doesn't support laptop cards in general.

I wonder if another tool exists for laptops. Haven't spotted one yet.

I further understand that video cards all integral to motherboards in laptops and are not replaceable. I know on my homebuilt machine it was plug and play without incident.

The native Win 7 drivers do not cause the glitches with either Samplitude or Reaper. At the cost of a skewed screen resolution.

I still have this general question:

"If I go back to the nVidia drivers, do I care if I run the RME at a sample latency of say, 256 or 512 since I can do direct monitoring with Samplitude and the RME (I think)?"

Any thoughts?

Thanks for all the great information.
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