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Windows 10 - what version best for Pro Audio?

Okay, moved this post to start a new thread.

As of Oct 2015, Windows 10 Home version is not ideal for Pro Audio but this is also based on my needs to be off the grid as I have a studio in a remote area that is not capable of high speed internet access.

See the various versions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_10_editions
Windows 10 Home is a total PITA, always updating your system regardless of what apps and personal settings you "try" to disable.

I have both the Professional and Home Pro Versions and Professional seems to be much better. Now that I am more familiar with it, for the longest time I was confused why my Home Version (family computer) kept defaulting back to the original install settings.
Be warned, you cannot turn a lot of applications off in the Home Edition.
Thus, the Home edition would appear to be horrible for pro audio, if not for everything because its always calling back to Microsoft for updates and stupid apps that I would never use. It is however, quick and appears to run really well for Samplitude, which is my DAW of choice. So, I have tested both versions and much prefer the Professional Edition.

Looking at the various current Windows 10 versions, Windows 10 Enterprise 2015 LTSB might be the better choice for Pro Audio because its stripped down, thus, doesn't have all the APP crap calling back to Microsoft.

Maybe someone can chime in and expand on this?

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Profile picture for user DonnyThompson

DonnyThompson Tue, 10/06/2015 - 19:44

I recall, years ago, shortly after Windows 98 was released, ( maybe it was shortly before, I don't recall now) Windows released an OS called Windows NT4 - which turned out to be much better suited for multi-media production, because besides being able to work with a longer list of cpu processors, ( remember chipset compatibility issues? LOL) it also wasn't filled with all the extra bloat that other Windows Home platforms were carrying, and, it also wasn't continually "phoning back to the mothership" behind your back for continual updates, either. Updates were strictly manual, and chosen by the user.

I remember talking to several videographers and video editor colleagues of mine at that time, cats who were using programs like Adobe Premier, who were loudly proclaiming their preferences for the NT4 OS over the consumer/home versions of Windows 98, claiming that performance was dramatically better with NT... although we need to remember that at that time ( '98, '99) your common computer salesperson at a big box store didn't even know what a .wav file was, and pro software was far more powerful than what the standard "off the shelf, out of the box from the store" - computer MB/HDD/CPU hardware could efficiently handle; so guys were looking for any possible advantage they could find to strip down their systems and make them as lean and mean as they could - sometimes in an effort to gain even just a little more power, a little bit more productivity.

I suppose that it's kinda like guys who build high performance racing cars - things like air conditioning, CD Player, cruise control, and other unnecessary features are chopped away, because none of those things help the racing performance of the car.

I think that multi media production users are of much the same mindset, in that the very first thing we pretty much all do when we fist set up our PC's, is to get into the Control Panel and start cutting away all the unnecessary progs that came with the machine - games, apps, virus protection, fancy toolbars -and all the other crap that we'll never use - or even occasionally need. If it doesn't serve our craft, if it doesn't help us to work more efficiently and more productively, then it's gotta go, right?
My production PC is stripped down; I got rid of all of that factory bloat the very first time I booted the computer... I got the machete out and started hacking away.

This Enterprise version you speak of, Chris, might be a modern day version of something like NT was? I'm intrigued, and I'm going to research it.

As of this writing, I'm using whatever version of W10 it was that was released for free upgrade and download several months ago; ( although there have been updates since), so I'm assuming it's probably a standard "Home" version; and while I haven't yet noticed any performance issues myself in Samplitude, or with other similar/related audio progs, that doesn't mean that the platform/OS still couldn't be better. ;)

Good thread!

-d.

Profile picture for user Sean G

Sean G Wed, 10/07/2015 - 20:28

Personally, I loathe W10, the same day I uploaded the W10 update to both my pc and laptop I restored both back to W7 & W8.1 respectively.
I then had to then remove the updates that kept updating both to W10 every time I switched on either machine.
As stated above, its full of bloat to say the least. I much prefer the older Windows O/S versions.

Just my 2 pennies worth.

audiokid Thu, 10/08/2015 - 19:03

Sean G, post: 432888, member: 49362 wrote: Personally, I loathe W10, the same day I uploaded the W10 update to both my pc and laptop I restored both back to W7 & W8.1 respectively.
I then had to then remove the updates that kept updating both to W10 every time I switched on either machine.
As stated above, its full of bloat to say the least. I much prefer the older Windows O/S versions.

Just my 2 pennies worth.

I think Windows 8 is worse?
As some may know, I have 2 PCAudioLab PC in the studio so I thought to look on their site for some info on this OS.
Check this out: http://pcaudiolabs.com/windows-10-for-pro-audio/

http://video.namm.org/general/A3E_Microsoft_Keynote.mp4?_=1

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Sean G Fri, 10/09/2015 - 01:49

audiokid, post: 432917, member: 1 wrote: I think Windows 8 is worse?

Unfortunately, I'm forced to use W8.1 on my laptop as the laptop is only 12 months old, but fortunately I only use it for mobile recording applications.
For everything else I use the PC with W7.

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DonnyThompson Fri, 10/09/2015 - 02:39

audiokid, post: 432917, member: 1 wrote: http://video.namm.org/general/A3E_Microsoft_Keynote.mp4?_=1

Thanks for the link, Chris. There's a lot I didn't understand about the inner workings of Windows as an OS; but I did get most of the audio stuff.

I suppose that the question now is - when will that stuff be implemented? They were speaking quite a bit in terms of "future" applications.

pcrecord Wed, 12/02/2015 - 13:56

audiokid, post: 434185, member: 1 wrote: update, updated Windows 10 to the latest version (1511) last night and it is sweet! At first glance it appears great. So, I'm not saying others should upgrade but from where I am sitting, I love it.

What about the audio performance and latency.. any changes ?

audiokid Wed, 12/02/2015 - 14:03

pcrecord, post: 434186, member: 46460 wrote: What about the audio performance and latency.. any changes ?

Good question, I have no idea how it will perform for audio. My Studio PC is still on Windows 7 but this version on my workhorse PC seems really smooth. I'm now debating updating all my CP's now.

So, be advised, I'm only sharing info based on the above.

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Wed, 12/02/2015 - 18:26

pcrecord, post: 434186, member: 46460 wrote: What about the audio performance and latency.. any changes ?

I didn't realize the OS version affected latency. I was under the false assumption it was only the drivers that effected it. Very interesting.

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Sean G Thu, 12/03/2015 - 02:21

DonnyThompson, post: 432921, member: 46114 wrote: I suppose that the question now is - when will that stuff be implemented? They were speaking quite a bit in terms of "future" applications.

Ummm.....my guess is the way MS works....probably Windows 21....

pcrecord Thu, 12/03/2015 - 03:00

kmetal, post: 434197, member: 37533 wrote: I didn't realize the OS version affected latency. I was under the false assumption it was only the drivers that effected it. Very interesting.

It was announced that Windows 10 should have better audio and midi performances.
http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2015/07/29/windows-10-promises-better-audio-midi-performance-easier-app-development/

Hard pagefault and DPC counts, comes from how the OS uses the ressources in relation with the drivers and software running.
Each OS upgrade takes me time to optimise for audio. I must say the last one (8.1) was easier to deal with.
I hope 10 will be good, didn't have time to test it yet...

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DonnyThompson Sun, 01/17/2016 - 19:41

If you turn off automatic updates... you still leave the notifications on though, right? ...To let you know when there's an update available so that you can check it out and see if you need it before you install it...

In my experience, the majority of the updates are security-based - I'm guessing maybe new definitions for Defender, or securing other things for internet use...maybe driver updates for MS apps...

Personally speaking, I've not noticed any difference in system performance or stability - either good or bad - working with Samp in W10.. all my interfaces still work as before, same limits on vst's and vsti's, so I've not seen anything change, at least nothing that's been noticeable - so maybe these changes are for equipment ( firmware), drivers or software that I'm not using.

I can say that I've recently started using Firefox instead of MS Edge because Edge was doing some weird stuff, and I find FF to be more stable... but I'm not sure that's necessarily a Windows thing.

audiokid Sun, 01/17/2016 - 19:48

I did this today and my CP is running better. It seemed to be looking for something a lot lately. I'm at the Lake and my internet is less than desirable, after doing that its running faster now.

I've set it up as described. Manual for me. So, in settings, update, I manually look now. This might not be available for the home edition.

Windows 10 is really nice but I really hate the calling out all the time. WTF are they thinking.

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DonnyThompson Sun, 01/17/2016 - 20:03

I think the whole "calling home to the mothership" thing became more prominent as the complexity of the OS's grew, and as MS's desire to "personalize" people's PC's became the trendy thing.

Then again, for all I know, my PC was phoning home just as much when I was using XP or 7/8 as it is now...

I do know that I'm still on the fence - and wary - about Cortana. That's one thing I wish would have been an option at the time of install, and available at a later date as desired by the user.

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Sun, 01/17/2016 - 20:59

audiokid, post: 435447, member: 1 wrote: I did this today and my CP is running better. It seemed to be looking for something a lot lately. I'm at the Lake and my internet is less than desirable, after doing that its running faster now.

I've set it up as described. Manual for me. So, in settings, update, I manually look now. This might not be available for the home edition.

Windows 10 is really nice but I really hate the calling out all the time. WTF are they thinking.

From what i understand turning off automatic updates is not an option in the home edition. I understand it from a security POV, and most people running w10 home are surfing the web, or doing emails or word processing. So the difference in performance may not be noticeable. Also they may not be as aware as some other users to check for updates. Lol personally i think the OS has a ploy to slowly take over your system. At least w10 pro is reasonably priced at $ 150.

DonnyThompson, post: 435446, member: 46114 wrote: If you turn off automatic updates... you still leave the notifications on though, right? ...To let you know when there's an update available so that you can check it out and see if you need it before you install it...

In my experience, the majority of the updates are security-based - I'm guessing maybe new definitions for Defender, or securing other things for internet use...maybe driver updates for MS apps...

Personally speaking, I've not noticed any difference in system performance or stability - either good or bad - working with Samp in W10.. all my interfaces still work as before, same limits on vst's and vsti's, so I've not seen anything change, at least nothing that's been noticeable - so maybe these changes are for equipment ( firmware), drivers or software that I'm not using.

I can say that I've recently started using Firefox instead of MS Edge because Edge was doing some weird stuff, and I find FF to be more stable... but I'm not sure that's necessarily a Windows thing.

Firefox rules! I've been using it since the win xp came out. All set with any other browser windows or Mac. It just seems to work, and it's own updates don't seem to be obnoxious or badgering.

audiokid Sun, 01/17/2016 - 21:02

kmetal, post: 435454, member: 37533 wrote: Firefox rules! I've been using it since the win xp came out. All set with any other browser windows or Mac. It just seems to work, and it's own updates don't seem to be obnoxious or badgering.

+1

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