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explaining PCIe slots, compatibility & bandwidth?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by audiokid, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    pcrecord and DonnyThompson like this.
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Surprisingly, I actually got most of that. :eek: Yup... me. The world's second dumbest computer idiot. Just kidding of course. Actually, I'm third dumbest.

    Good vid, informative, spoken in a language that most of us could understand - or that at least we could understand eventually. LOL. Although, if you're like me, you might end up having to watch it a few times to get everything.
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


    Also thinking about how this may relate to internal interfaces vs usb or fw sharing ports or slower bandwidth ports.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    As an example, back when i used digidesign Pro Tools, they suggested the cards go in a particular order to get the most stability.
    I wonder how important this all is today, especially for those still considering round trip hybrid solutions.
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I remember that... or at least I recall being told that on one of several (hundred) calls to Digidesign's tech support for various issues I was facing at the time. At that time, I was running PT on two machines, one was a PC, with whatever was the current recommendations for computer audio at the time, and the other was an older Mac Nubus, which actually managed to run PT in a more stable way - the definition of " more stable" meaning only that it crashed less than the PC did while running PT at that time.

    I would assume - ? - that it would likely still matter, based on what he was saying in regard to the various cards - 1x, 3x , etc., but ... I don't know that for sure, and I'm certainly not the one to ask for an unequivocally correct answer.

    Where's Bos? LOL
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    i predict a sunset on this kind of tech .... desktop = doorstop. even laptops are old news. everything is headed towards i Pad and surface type devices with camera ports as the interface.

    only time will tell ..... let's revisit this thread in 2 years and see.
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


    Madi is very cool.

    I notice a very obvious increase in multitrack stability including lower latency (audio and midi) with pcie interface cards.
    I think stability has a lot to do with a dedicated port. I'm betting USB and FW is better on a dedicated port.
    I bought a FW 800 card for the StudioLive AI ind its very stable and fast.

    Could it be why I've had such excellent results using RME PCIe interface cards with AES EBU or MADI multitrack converters? My system is so stable, never had the problems I've read others have had from clocking to running mass amounts of tracks in my DAW in conjunction with 32 DA for hybrid OTB mixing/ mastering. My hybrid DAW experience has been very positive.

    Looking back some years..
    Using the same DAW's I have now, but on FW interface converters was less stable. If I hadn't moved into AES EBU early on in my hybrid approach, I may have missed a lot of what I discovered. I most likely would have been restricted to lower track counts and probably dropped hybrid audio as well.

    Merging Technologies is doing hundreds of tracks now. We should look into what that is about. It must be cutting edge.

    Check this out:
    • PCI-Express 1.1 sends 250 MB/s per direction
    • PCI-Express 2.0 sends 500 MB/s per direction
    • PCI-Express 3.0 brings that number towards a whopping 1 GB/s.
    Even though this is a video /gaming article, I'm sure this is relevant to audio:
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    the gaming laptops i have seen seem to offer the best specs. i got an ASUS laptop with firewire, a 7200 rpm drive, nvida video card, 8 gigs of ram and an I.5 chip ... under $350!
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Thats a great price! I'm told audio has a different (correction) BIOS setting from video systems so you may want to look into that, Kurt. I too bought a Video built PC but it was "BIOS" for audio production. The company said it was important to have them do that.
  10. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    One thing you have to be really careful to check on a lower-price laptop is that the screen has a separate video memory and does not share the main memory. It can be a huge resource hog, especially if you have a DAW that's constantly redrawing waveforms, since the screen takes priority over processor access to main memory.

    BTW, I think Chris is talking about the BIOS.
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Yes, thanks Bos, BIOS.
    Can you tell us anything about this?

    Regarding video cards. I second that. My desktop pc had a poor video card in it which created poor performance in the DAW. Once replaced it, larger track counts in Sequoia actually worked better.
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    My laptop (an i7)suffers a lot if i have too many tracks and a big screen connected. I will even get crackling which appears to sound like a buffering issue.
    If I reduce track count or replace the screen to a smaller one, then it runs smoother.
    Some people are able to mix on laptops but for me with older eyes, laptops are not ideal multi-tracking solutions.

    Desktops with dedicated pcie slots are a priority for me.
    Thats when you have to start picking the right DAW for the laptop! Ableton works great on laptops, Samplitude, not as good. Samplitude needs better of everything.
    Pro tools, needs cards, horsepower to run all the bloat. And so it goes. The subjective nightmare handling necessities, plugs and bloat.
    Know your limit, play with in it.
  13. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I,Bos says: These days, BIOS is really all about managing the computer's setup conditions and does not perform much in the way of I/O or other functions once the OS has booted. So it comes down to making choices on how memory is managed, interrupts are allocated and controlling other things like shutdown and power-saving behaviour.

    Taking defaults is often not the best option for an audio computer, but there is so much variation between types and makes that it's not easy to lay down hard and fast rules.

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