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Mainstream PC DPCLatency Testing ..
Old 20th September 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Mainstream PC DPCLatency Testing ..

I have been evaluating PCs for a new mobile DAW. Looking for a 17" 3610qm i7. I took DPC Latency checker to Best Buy, ran it on many of the machines, and was surprised by the results.

The nicest 17" is the Samsung 7 3615 i7, with a 1080p no glare monitor and a very quality feel. Its $1400 but does not have the latest 3610 i7 and is 10-15% slower than the rest. The other machines had varying degrees of cheapness. Here are the (informal) DPC Latency results.

Samsung 7 - Typical ~100-150, rare spikes to 1500. (This is at transition to red zone.) I really wanted this one to work out so I spent 30minutes in device manager to find the offending driver. Was not able to locate. This one might be a good daw, but the rare 1500 spikes would require larger buffers.

Dell 17r - This one cruised around 150-200, with semi occasional spikes to 1500. This was an i5 but same chipset as their flagship i7 se model. Probably not great for daw, maybe fixable.

HP Pavillion m8(9?) - This was an i7 3610 with a quality chassis, nice look and only $850! Sadly, it had crazy DPC latency spikes that would render this unusable for a DAW. I also tested the other HP Pavillion (I think the i5) and this is symptomatic of their line. Maybe the envy is better?

Lenovo- This one cruised around 200-250, with common spikes in the 1000-1500 range. Nice quality chassis, but they dont have a 17" monitor afaik.

Toshiba- They have two models of the i5 in the stores. Both of them, off the shelf had no DPC spikes, and cruised around 100-150, with very rare "spike" to around 450. Still far in the green. I ordered an i7 model which has similar performance with no spikes, but the keyboard and inside of the chassis is cheap, and it doesnt have a second drive bay.

Summary- The only OTS notebook (at Best Buy) with good low latency streaming performance is the Toshiba. The HP Pavillions will be completely useless unless major driver surgery fixes it (I wouldn't even attempt). The Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung have rare to occasional DPC spikes at the border of the red zone, which means they may work but will require larger buffer sizes.

Sadly, only a small subset of the PCs are any good for audio. I don't mean to disparage these other choices, if you have them working by disabling devices, please let me know how you got good low latency recording. Still trying to decide if I want to keep the Toshiba because there is no second bay.
Old 20th September 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
When you did this, did you disable Wifi and change the power feature to 'high performance'? These two things affect DPC latency greatly, as far as laptops are concerned.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #3
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masaaki ➑️
When you did this, did you disable Wifi and change the power feature to 'high performance'? These two things affect DPC latency greatly, as far as laptops are concerned.
I did on the Samsung and the HP because I really wanted them to work. I did not on the others.
Old 20th September 2012
  #4
Here for the gear
 
manimal's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
thanks for sharing. But dont write those off just yet. next time try disabling, wifi, upping to high performance and disable Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery. i bet you get much better results. disabling wifi and Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery (in device manager) especially can make a huge difference. Another thing to consider is the pre installed crap. easy enough to remove, but may give poor dpc results.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #5
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by manimal ➑️
thanks for sharing. But dont write those off just yet. next time try disabling, wifi, upping to high performance and disable Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery. i bet you get much better results. disabling wifi and Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery (in device manager) especially can make a huge difference. Another thing to consider is the pre installed crap. easy enough to remove, but may give poor dpc results.
I did this on the Samsung and didn't notice any appreciable improvement, although I systematically disabled 20-30 devices including acpi and there may have been cumulative benefit to the overall average, just did not get rid of the spikes. My prior experience eradicating DPC spikes is poor, but obviously this one is a contender and might be salvageable. I just didn't want to go in and have to fight that battle.

The Samsung is by far the nicest of the ones I tested. It has a 1080p no-glare screen which is the greatest benefit, but only a 3615qm processor which is slower than the 3610qm in the latest generation machines. It was also the most costly.

The HP Pavillion was probably the nicest package overall for the price. 17" 1600x900 gloss, 3610qm, but both ones I tested, the i5 and i7 had absolutely horrid DPC latency, the worst I have ever seen. But the keyboard/chassis was the nicest of the ones in this budget price range at $850. The keyboard has a solid feel.

The 17" Toshiba S875 which I ordered and am typing from now has the lowest DPC latency of all, an i7 3610qm, has a very nice brushed aluminum metal outer casing, but the keyboard has alot of flex (works well enough) and it only has one interior drive bay. I am testing out transfer rate to an external 1TB usb 3.0 drive and if it works well, I may decide to keep this one. (I am hoping that the usb2.0 and usb 3.0 are on separate busses so I can record from one and stream audio to the other.) Its like a poor mans macbook with a bigger screen and has more processing power than any current macbook, for only $799 shipped. I still won't recommend it until I have taken it through its paces.
Old 20th September 2012
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
The Toshiba's interior HD is not that fast, is a 750G 5400 w/ average transfer rate of 75MB/s

Surprisingly, the 2TB exterior usb3.0 SeaGate GoFlex drive I have been using for offline storage is getting average transfer rate of 110MB/s. On my old computers usb2.0 I was luck to get 10-15MB/s.

At least the usb3.0 is working well. Did not expect an exterior usb3 drive to be faster than any interior esata drive.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masaaki ➑️
When you did this, did you disable Wifi and change the power feature to 'high performance'? These two things affect DPC latency greatly, as far as laptops are concerned.
Ditto that.

I had been using a USB Wi Fi with my XP tower and watching latency go from 5-35 us up into the hundreds at regular intervals. I disabled Wi Fi and, whaddya know? I ran a Cat 5 ethernet cable under the rug and everyone's happy.


Of course, I recognize those latency figures seem pretty low to those using 'advanced' OS's on multi-core machines. That's why I've been sticking with my single core 2.8 gHz Pentium 4. I just don't have time to wait for the future to catch up with where I already am.

No, actually, it's all trade-offs, I only have 2 GB of RAM and minimal support for hyperthreading [the processor has some HT capabilities that supposedly boost its performance at some stuff by ~15%, they say]... and, for sure, when I'm grinding away rendering some 2 GB video, the appeal of a more modern box is a tad stronger.


And, of course, Manimal's got a good point about getting rid of all the crapware that the vendors stick in their PCs. Now, they get MONEY for it, it holds down the price of the machine, so, you know, there's some small thing to be said for the practice of loading machines with crapware -- but the problem, of course, is that Ma and Pa Sixpack don't have a CLUE how to get rid of those vampiric, performance-draining pieces of s... software.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 ➑️
Ditto that.


And, of course, Manimal's got a good point about getting rid of all the crapware that the vendors stick in their PCs. Now, they get MONEY for it, it holds down the price of the machine, so, you know, there's some small thing to be said for the practice of loading machines with crapware -- but the problem, of course, is that Ma and Pa Sixpack don't have a CLUE how to get rid of those vampiric, performance-draining pieces of s... software.
I made the mistake of buying a custom Dell Studio 4-5 years ago and when I got it, it had consistent,bad spikes which I thought I could fix by removing crapware and removing/upgrading device drivers. I NEVER got that to work and found out that everyone else with that line had the same issues. Dell put something called MediaDirect into the Boot sector of the machine, it could NOT be removed (you could remove it from the HD, but the bios would interrupt and search for it if a button was pressed; i think it was responsible for latency spikes).

Anyway, I decided this time to start with a computer that did not have DPC latency problems, because it's a big risk. Im still not going to recommend the Toshiba until I have it set up as a daw and tested, but its off to a good start.
Old 21st September 2012
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
Skallawa's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have an HP Envy (Aug. 2011) and I have no dpc latency issues. Machine runs smoothly and handles audio well.
Old 21st September 2012 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skallawa ➑️
I have an HP Envy (Aug. 2011) and I have no dpc latency issues. Machine runs smoothly and handles audio well.
Thanks, I definitely want to check that out. Did you have to disable any devices to get smooth performance? And is this a 3610/15qm model? (Wondering if it may have changed since you got yours.)

The HP Pavillions had all kinds of DPC issues in store, but the envy is a top pick, along with the Samsung. The 1080p machines are all around 13-1400, trying to decide if I should spend 500 more for a nicer screen and keyboard.
Old 21st September 2012 | Show parent
  #11
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Skallawa's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SabreChris ➑️
Thanks, I definitely want to check that out. Did you have to disable any devices to get smooth performance? And is this a 3610/15qm model? (Wondering if it may have changed since you got yours.)

The HP Pavillions had all kinds of DPC issues in store, but the envy is a top pick, along with the Samsung. The 1080p machines are all around 13-1400, trying to decide if I should spend 500 more for a nicer screen and keyboard.
It is the model right before that, sandy bridge processor. 3610/15 is ivy bridge. I did not have to disable any devices. Worked right out of the box. But I did disable core parking and tweaked windows for audio (these were for audio performance not latency). My friend has a new toshiba that works perfect. if you want to add another hard drive you can use a caddy. i replaced my optical drive with a hard drive.

you can also try hp elitebook
Old 21st September 2012
  #12
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rodreb's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
For what it's worth, over the years I have used many off the shelf, consumer desktops from Sony and Dell and have never had any issues. They've all made stable, perfectly useable DAWS.
Old 21st September 2012 | Show parent
  #13
Here for the gear
 
manimal's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rodreb ➑️
For what it's worth, over the years I have used many off the shelf, consumer desktops from Sony and Dell and have never had any issues. They've all made stable, perfectly useable DAWS.
Same here. Always off the shelf laptops and built my own desktops. I've never had issues with off the shelf laptops. But I've always tweaked them. I always do a fresh windows install to make sure no crap ware lingers and to make sure its in a fresh state. then Turning off services, unnecessary windows programs like defender and alerts, disabling all unused built in hardware (like modems and Ethernet ports). I haven't had issues when I've taken the time to properly tweak for a DAW.
Old 21st September 2012
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
At lunch I ran DPC latency on a HP Pavillion DV7 at Best Buy.

The guest account ran with no spikes, excellent performance.

Then the sales guy opened the admin account and it was getting all kinds of spikes. He said the admin account is the normal account, and the guest acct is created with limited permissions.

Unless the hardware profiles are different, this might indicate that software could influence DPC latency. I had always thought that was not the case. I checked device manager, both had wifi enabled and appeared to be same between accts.
Old 22nd September 2012
  #15
Gear Addict
 
Goddard's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Yes, of course software influences DPC latency, particularly drivers.

A more informative utility you might try is Resplendance's Latency Monitor (free for non-commercial use):

Resplendence Software - LatencyMon: suitability checker for real-time audio and other tasks

which reveals much more detail than Thesycon's DPC Latency Checker.
Old 22nd September 2012
  #16
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norbury brook's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I ran a HP envy 15 for 3 years no problem at all. I'm now running an HP Elitebook very nicely


MC


https://gearspace.com/board/attachme...-fire-wire.jpg
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by norbury brook ➑️
I ran a HP envy 15 for 3 years no problem at all. I'm now running an HP Elitebook very nicely


MC


https://gearspace.com/board/attachme...-fire-wire.jpg
I returned the Toshiba because of defective keyboard and low build quality. For a few hundred more, I ordered an HP Pavillion DV7-7012nr

This is almost identical in specs to the HP envy except it is black aluminum and it has Intel discrete graphics as opposed to AMD. I decided that I needed 1080p w/ no glare screen.


Amazon.com: HP Pavilion DV7-7012nr Notebook PC, Midnight Black: Electronics
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goddard ➑️
Yes, of course software influences DPC latency, particularly drivers.

A more informative utility you might try is Resplendance's Latency Monitor (free for non-commercial use):

Resplendence Software - LatencyMon: suitability checker for real-time audio and other tasks

which reveals much more detail than Thesycon's DPC Latency Checker.
I was considering drivers as "hardware". I was talking about applications managed by the kernel influencing DPC latency. Both configurations had same hardware/drivers but something that was running in the admin account was causing serious spikes.
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SabreChris ➑️
I returned the Toshiba because of defective keyboard and low build quality. For a few hundred more, I ordered an HP Pavillion DV7-7012nr

This is almost identical in specs to the HP envy except it is black aluminum and it has Intel discrete graphics as opposed to AMD. I decided that I needed 1080p w/ no glare screen.


Amazon.com: HP Pavilion DV7-7012nr Notebook PC, Midnight Black: Electronics
So how does this thing perform DPC-wise? This thing looks interesting but I'm really worried about the latency thing
Old 22nd September 2012
  #20
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
SabreChris,
I had issues with my MacBookPro under Windows 7 and found out that the: ACPI Compliant Control Method Battery was the problem. Go to Device Manager and disable (not uninstall) ACPI Compliant Control Method Battery. This solved my DPC spiking every 10-12 bars as you described above.
I know someone else already mentioned this but wasn't sure if you went to disable it under the Device Manager?

Here's a link to a thread where I posted my findings:
Latency - Macbook Pro (laptop) - Win 7

Hope it helps. I've done this on a few laptops and have found the same issue resolved. Wifi is still on and the spikes no longer occur.
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rednas ➑️
So how does this thing perform DPC-wise? This thing looks interesting but I'm really worried about the latency thing
I haven't received the shipment yet, but the HP Pavillion DV7 at BestBuy got very low and consisitent DPC Latency <100. The caveat is that there were two accounts on the machine. The guest account that is usually loaded was giving me great, consisten, low DPC latency, even when browsing. However, we later logged onto the admin account and there were tons of spikes. Tons.

I know the machine can do it, but there was something running in the default admin account that was causing problems.

The one I ordered has a better video card, faster hard drive, and 1080p resolution, but otherwise is very similiar. My only concern is that the wifi card also has bluetooth, which means a differnt hardware/drivers. Its like a black aluminum MBP for less than half the price and a larger screen.
Old 8th November 2012
  #22
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takman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
What does DPC stand for?

and what exactly is DPC latency?? I cant seem to find an explanation by googling for some reason!
Old 9th November 2012
  #24
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Paul in SoCal's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SabreChris ➑️
HP Pavillion m8(9?) - This was an i7 3610 with a quality chassis, nice look and only $850! Sadly, it had crazy DPC latency spikes that would render this unusable for a DAW. I also tested the other HP Pavillion (I think the i5) and this is symptomatic of their line. Maybe the envy is better?
Yes, the Envy is much better and, in fact, it's a good DAW machine, provided you don't need Firewire. Of course your best bet would be to spring for an Elitebook portable workstation (w at the end of the product #, if it's ends in p, it's a dual-core), which IMHO is the ideal laptop for a musician, since it works fantastically as a DAW machine (officially approved by Avid for ProTools) and it's built like a tank (in fact to certified military standards.) Consider that you can get a used/refurbished Sandy Bridge Elitebook workstation for less than $1,000. I would get one of those over an Ivy Bridge consumer machine.
Old 27th December 2012
  #25
TNM
Lives for gear
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I must say.. with the cost of parallels and a windows home 7 OEM and another drive to run it on (as i need my internal macbook drive dedicate solely to OSX), i just caved and finally bought a windows lappy to do all the stuff that is easier in windows and to leave my macbook streamlined for audio.

well.. grabbed the 2.3 ghz Samsung 15" Ivy bride for 600 bucks !! and they threw in an extra 4gb ram.. so for 600 i got this (discontinued model blowout cause it was win 7) ivy quad core, number pad, 8 gb 1600 ram, win 7 64 bit HP, and it SMOKES my sandy bridge 2.2 macbook pro.. NO tweaking, all the factory junk loaded in the backround, 5400 rpm drive LMAO, Norton even, and with WIFI enabled the dpc never goes above 250... with wifi disabled it hovers around 40-50 with occasional, rare, 150.. wow... i was blown away..

studio one is offering at least DOUBLE the performance of the mac version..

I have high performance power scheme selected and the backround tasks tweak, no other tweaks at ALL on this samsung, not done anything with core parking, or removed any of the junk etc, at this stage. It is INITIALLY louder than the MBP but is stable volume level.. whereas the MBP under load becomes intolerable (well known problem with the 2011 models). The samsung fans spin at a certain speed and stay there.. temps are ok, totally within acceptable intel limits. I also love how it has 2 usb 2 and 2 usb 3 ports.

So i got myself a 480gb sandisk ssd extreme, and have downloaded all the drivers samsung kindly provide, and am going to do a fresh install with zero junk. This is going to be very interesting.. but in my case at least, i absolutely think this is the best value laptop i have ever bought, that is completely usable for audio. Oh, it has intel HD4000 and also a dedicated radeon 7670 1GB with an ati app to configure which programs you want to always use the high performance dedicated for.

Anyway, an absolute bargain in every sense, which i didn't even initially purchase for audio, but i think i'll keep my imac 27 and logic 9 as my heart is always with logic, but there is no point to keep the MBP now as i can use this windows thing for reasonable gaming, and good audio when on on the go.
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