Hello everyone, This is my first time posting on this particular forum, but I'm willing to bet that there are some people here who know a thing or two. Very brief intro, I guess I became an 'official' engineer when I graduated IAR in NY in 1997, although I messed around before that. I'm into hip hop and for 7 years after that I did a lot of freelance stuff. I worked at Jim Jonsin's studio back when he was just my friend Jimbo and not a big star. lol But mainly concentrated on my own stuff. Anyway, from 04 to 10, I did graduate from a Mackie/Adats to a computer based set up, but ironically stopped doing anything serious because I was led to believe that I was too 'old and mature' for that sort of thing. Finally, almost two years ago, I was talked into getting back and when I started to see the state of digital recording, I fell in love all over again. Ok tried to be concise there. lol So, the first DAW I ever worked with (and it wasnt even a DAW then) was Acid. Today, although everyone online disagrees and I did try Abelton and Reaper, but I just love acid 7, especially since finding fxpansion Geist, which is just my old MPC 60 on steroids. So it's all good. BUT, here's the question: It just seems that I am getting too much interference (clicking popping, stuttering......) during playback and I want to see how f----ed up it is exactly and why. My system is very humble, an upgrade is in my future but I am saving for something very good! lol But in the meantime, I have a PC running windows xp sp3 (updated fully) athlon processor 3400+, 2.4ghz, and 2.0 gb ram, 200gb hd. I have done all of the common things to optimize it, like the performance settings and page file. I have disabled just about every process available. I have no internet on it. I use an MBox2. I also have an EMU 0404 that's even worse. Asio driver (it's the latest, correct one as far as I can tell). I have the buffer set as high as it will go 4096. I cant get many more than 5 tracks + Geist with a few engines going before I get interruptions. It's maddening. lol It happens on transients like kick and snare, like it's clipping, but nothing is close to the red. I have plug ins reduced to a couple compressors. Minimizing vsts helps, but man, I remember mastering (or tracking) at a friend's studio around 2000. He must've had at most 512mb....yet it was flawless. I have quadruple that and I wouldnt dream about charging anyone to sit through mine on a bad day. Its fickle like that. Sorry so long. Is it 'their' way of making sure we stay upgraded?? Meaning older rigs cant handle newer Vst's and Daw's???? Thanks for any thoughts.