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Old 29th March 2017
Lives for gear

I recently set up my new HP Z workstation for recording. I hadn't done a full setup from scratch in a long time. That laptop smokes by the way. Its a quad core I5 with three internal drives, Two solid state and one standard. Its got USB 2, 3 and Thunderbolt too. Boot time is instantaneous. My wife works for HP and they gifted her the prototype.

My current studio DAW is over 5 years old and even when changing drives I simply clone it and keep going.

The new one was 64 bit so I had to do everything from scratch. I actually failed on the first attempt because I tried running sonar X1 in 64 bit and tried to let bit bridge run 32 bit plugins. I guess I had too many plugins in the file or some other issue going on but it became unstable to the point when I wiped the drive and started over. I installed a 64 bit and 32 bit version of X1, got the 32 bit working properly with all my normal plugins, then setup the 64 bit and only installed 64 bit plugins. Even then a few weren't recognized for some reason so I removed them from the plugin folders. I have a couple of essential plugins that will run 32 bit but I'd rather run the 32 bit version if I need those plugins.

Honestly, I don't see any difference in performance running 32 bit vs 64 bit. At least not running sonar.

Win 10 in my opinion sucks as an operating system for a DAW. I spent at least 2 weeks tweaking and optimizing that system to get it up to speed. My unit has the Pro version so there was a bunch of unnecessary services running I had to shut down. The worst part about it is its so invasive. It pushes you to network through a MS account and has big brother watching on everything you do. It took me awhile to figure out how to set the system up as a local account so it didn't connect to the net every time I booted up. If I would could have installed XP or Win 7 I would have but since it was a new workstation being released this year they only had win 10 drivers for the hardware.

Many of the tweaks I did were the same as what I used on older computers, all the stuff shutting down startup programs, turning off eye candy, setting it for background services, and turning off unnecessary services all applied.

There is another I found important. Ever since Vista windows has been using indexing which scans all your files for quick access. This process runs in the background and can cause huge demands on the CPU, especially with a new installation because all the files are new. Indexing combined with MS's invasive security allows all your work to be constantly scanned. Years back I had a bunch of recordings of cover tunes which literally got wiped by security protocols. Because the files had the same names as the originals I guess they got identified as unpurchased copies of something. In any case they were on my backup drive and got damaged.

Since then I've turned off indexing for all by backup drives including the drive I write my waves files to and I no longer have any issues. I know where my backup files are so I don't need to search them. They don't get fragmented because they aren't being moved as slack files shrink and grow like they do on the C drive. If I did need to defragment them I do all that manually. The wave files you write aren't going to fragment much is that's all you have on that drive. Same thing with Virus scammers. If you have antivirus, do scans manually and skip your backup drives if they see no traffic.

I'm still working on a few kinks with the 64 bit DAW version. Apparently the effect plugin presets stick with the project. If I select a customized plugin menu for the 32 bit version, then open that project in 34 bits, whatever 32 bit plugins that were there fail, and it retains the 32 bit favorites menu. I expect it to have the plugins fail but I also have to switch to a 64 bit favorites menu to find my 64 bit plugins. I can then save the project with a new name and the plugins and favorites menu will stick with the program version.

There's still some other unidentified glitch going on which I haven't figured out yet but I'm still miles ahead of where I was before. I'd prefer to kill all the internet and security but the unit has a wireless card and I need some minimal security to protect the system. I wish I could install an older OS but it seems every time they come out with better hardware the software manufacturers are right in there using up all that extra performance with they're bloatware.

Figuring out how to shut off as much of it as you can without crippling the computer is by far the toughest part of optimizing a daw. You can use the task manager to view the apps running and view the CPU load improve as you get stuff to turn off. That's the problem when you have a company like MS who thinks they're operating system has to wow people. All its supposed to be is a platform that lest the programs you run communicate with the hardware. a good 80% of whats loaded isn't needed for audio programs and all it does is rob precious CPU power and memory