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Thread: Help with a computer build issue

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    Help with a computer build issue

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    Hi all, this is my first post on the forum, and I need some help with a computer build.

    Currently, I am running Reason 10 on a Desktop with the following hardware / stats:

    - Lenovo ThinkCentre M710T
    - Intel Core i7-7700 Processor (Quadcore, 8M Cache, 3.6GHz base freq, up to 4.20Ghz )
    - Windows 10 Home 64
    - 16GB DDR4 2400 UDIMM
    - 500GB Hard Drive, 7200 RPM, 3.5", SATA

    My recording interface is a Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD

    My Audio settings in Reason are as follows:
    - Sample Rate: 44,100
    - Buffer Size: 1,072 Samples
    - Input Latency: 29ms
    - Output Latency: 40ms
    - Recording Latency Compensation: 20ms

    Finally, I'm using Positive Grid's Bias Amp, Bias Amp 2, and Bias FX emulators for my guitar recording, which I open as a plug-in on an Audio track.

    With this build I've been able to get done most of what I need for the recording I'm doing. If I'm sticking to drums and other Keyboard controlled programs inside of Reason, I don't run into any problems.

    I'm also able to do most of the guitar recording stuff I need to, except that when I'm recording with Bias Amp (especially Bias Amp 2) / Bias FX, and start to stack up guitar tracks on a song, certain effects and amps start to pick up that "static" / "Click-y" noise that means there's too much going on for the computer to handle. This is understandable, since I know that Positive Grids programs tend to suck up a lot of memory.




    With that in mind, I recently decided to upgrade my recording rig to a complete beast. Additionally, because I'd like to be mobile in my recording, and start taking some classes in Reason that my local Guitar Center is offering, I decided to go with a laptop.

    The laptop I bought had the following specs:

    - Lenovo ThinkPad P51
    - Intel Core i7-7820HQ Processor (Quadcore, 8MB Cache "up to 3.90GHz") - Base Frequency 2.90GHz
    - Windows 10 Pro 64
    - 64GB(16x4) DDR4 2400MHz SoDIMM
    - 1TB 5400rpm HDD
    - 1TB SSD PCIe TLC OPAL2


    When I received the laptop, they had sent it with Windows loaded on the HDD, rather than the SSD, so I went ahead and loaded Reason and Positive Grid on the Solid State Drive, thinking that as long as they weren't running from the same place it should still be faster. I also matched my Audio settings in Reason on the laptop to the settings I was running on my Desktop.


    When I opened up Reason and opened an audio track with Bias Fx on it, however, the computer immediately made one of those buzzy "D'oh!" noises that are all of our worst nightmare, and displayed the following message:

    "Computer too slow to play song. Please optimize the song (see documentation). The song can still be exported as an audio file. Audio is re-enabled by pressing play or stop." This happened every time I tried to use Positive Grid. Even just opening the add on.


    That is not a message that I'd *ever* gotten on the desktop machine, and this machine had better RAM, split drives, and what I thought was a faster processor, so I'm pretty confused.

    One thing that I did realize with more digging was that the Processor on the laptop, which advertised as having frequencies "up to 3.90GHz" was actually only running at a base frequency of 2.90GHz. That was the only reason I could think of for the slowness issues, since my Desktop has a base frequency of 3.6GHz, up to 4.20GHz .


    I didn't want to take any chances, so I returned the laptop to Lenovo and got a full refund.

    So now I'm researching computers trying to find a new machine that won't have the same issues, I'm, confused as hell. With everything so tricked out on the laptop I bought, I'm not sure what to do when I buy a different one that will fix the issue. The possible causes of my previous issue are:

    - Do I just need a faster Processor? Trouble being that the fastest processor available on the Lenovo laptops is the Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6 Processor, with a Base Frequency of 3.10 GHx, and a "Turbo" Frequency of 4.20 GHz, but if the base frequency was the issue, then I'm still gonna be slower than my relatively clunky desktop. I've looked at laptops from other companies and it's about the same. Are laptops just not machines you can do this kinda thing on? Alternately, is it possible to just tell your computer's processor to *always* be in "Turbo" mode?

    - Was it putting Reason / Positive Grid on the SSD while running OS on the hard drive that screwed things up? Doesn't seem like it would, especially since I was running everything on one hard drive on my desktop without the same problems, but I'm a relative novice on splitting drives like that.

    Or is there something else I'm missing here? FYI ahead of time, I have no intention of switching DAWs, and I know PosGrid is a memory suck, but it was somehow able to perform usably well on a much less souped up system, so I don't think it's just that program that's the problem.

    Sorry for the novel length post, I wanted to give all the pertinent info up front rather than being vague.

    Any help at all here would be hugely appreciated. Thanks!

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    Both of those machines are more than capable of running massive sessions, there are guys on here that will quote antique pc's running smooth as silk. I'm no reason expert but I'm betting it's more to do with 3rd party plug-ins or configuration.

    Thee are tons of good articles online advising about optimising windows for DAW's PC Optimization Guide for Windows 10 | Sweetwater that's a good one from Sweetwater.

    Take your time and get it set up right then clone your disk

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    I would have thought it had enough power too, and I *did* optimize windows when I got the new laptop.

    To clarify, what I'm saying is that for some reason my less powerful (with the exception of a faster base processor speed) desktop machine was able to run my DAW and my guitar plugin with relatively little trouble, while my brand new laptop that I tried to hardware optimize as much as possible was barely able to open the programs before giving a "computer too slow" message.


    I'm trying to find out if anyone else has had that issue with "base" vs. "turbo" processor speed messing up their DAW / other recording plugins.

    Alternately, will running Windows from the HDD and the DAW from the Solid state drive, rather than the other way around, mess things up?


    Much thanks to anyone with info on those questions, or any other helpful specific advice here.

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    Hi,
    This could be a number of things although the first I'd look at is that 5400RPM drive.
    I understand Reaper was on the SSD but was your session/session audio on the 5400? If so, I'd expect that to be the reason for the dropouts.

    If that's not the case, I'd look at CPU usage.
    The CPU in the new machine is roughly 20% less powerful that the old one. If your old machine was having to work very hard, then this could be your problem.

    I'd try again with all session audio+files on the SSD and, failing that, keep watch on windows resource monitor for CPU/RAM/HDD activity whilst running the session.
    That should give you more accurate info about what's happening.
    ---------- Steenaudio Website ----------

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    THanks for the tips! - That actually reminds me of the one last tech thing I should have mentioned - I was saving the session to an external 1TB USB 3.0 drive, which, on the older computer sped everything up a lot.

    I will take a look at the CPU usage though, that sounds like a good place to start. When you say the CPU is less powerful, do you mean the processor speed I referenced above?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fooltooth View Post
    THanks for the tips! - That actually reminds me of the one last tech thing I should have mentioned - I was saving the session to an external 1TB USB 3.0 drive, which, on the older computer sped everything up a lot.
    Ok. That's one of those things where you shouldn't have a problem, but it would definitely be worth putting the audio session in full on the SSD to rule it out, IMO.
    I guess an external USB drive could/should perform faster than a spinning system drive, but SSD should outperform both by a decent margin, whether it's the system disk or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fooltooth View Post
    I will take a look at the CPU usage though, that sounds like a good place to start. When you say the CPU is less powerful, do you mean the processor speed I referenced above?
    Yes, I'm afraid so.
    I mean, it's not awful or the end of the world or anything, but the one in your old computer was slightly more powerful.
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    Oooooo! Oh that CPU comparison website is AWESOME. Thank you for that link , that is going to be incredibly helpful in deciding where I go from here in getting a new machine.

    Thank you for the feedback - the processor speed was what I thought a big part of the issue might be - it's frustrating that the speed they always give is the "Turbo" speed, which isn't what the processor will actuallly be running at mostly.

    On that subject, is there any way to force a processor to stay in that "turbo" / overclocked mode all the time? Just curious.

    Much appreciate the help Steen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fooltooth View Post
    Oooooo! Oh that CPU comparison website is AWESOME. Thank you for that link , that is going to be incredibly helpful in deciding where I go from here in getting a new machine.

    Thank you for the feedback - the processor speed was what I thought a big part of the issue might be - it's frustrating that the speed they always give is the "Turbo" speed, which isn't what the processor will actuallly be running at mostly.

    On that subject, is there any way to force a processor to stay in that "turbo" / overclocked mode all the time? Just curious.

    Much appreciate the help Steen.
    No probs!
    Just remember, without proof it's nothing more than a guess.
    If it turns out your toughest session is pushing the CPU at 30% or something, this is all irrelevant.


    Regarding turbo-boost. As far as I know some CPUs will give you control via windows power management options.
    I've seen people set min+max thresholds before.

    That said, the idea is that the CPU will run at the lower clock speed when there's no heavy demand, and will kick up to high gear when needed,
    so I'm not sure how helpful any options would be to you.

    Update: FYI, I found an app (I'm on mac) that disables Turbo Boost, but in doing so it fixes CPU frequency at the lower figure.
    Just a headsup in case you find something similar for win.
    ---------- Steenaudio Website ----------

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