I currently record and mix on my pc which has a 3ghz processor and 1gb of ram. I track and mix using my firewire soundcard/interface and its great until I get about 20 tracks with a couple of plugins on each, at which point it starts to make weird noises then cut out altogether. I have a decent PCI soundcard which happily takes a lot more tracks/plugins, but can only simultaneously record 4 tracks compared to the firewire 8. The obvious thing to do would be to record with the firewire and mix with the PCI, but I've had some problems flciking between the cards.
Would an extra GB of RAM give me more headroom to mess about with plugins etc, or is the bottleneck at the processor?
Also, a friend of mine suggested that using the firewire slot on the motherboard might be slower and said a dedicated firewire PCI card might be better? I'm well aware of the fact that that may not have made sense.
Ryan, it sounds to me like it could be an issue with shared IRQs or PCI latency. In particular some sort of bandwidth problem caused because I reckon your onboard firewire chipset and hard drive controller are sharing the same resources. As your track count increases there is more data streaming from the disc and is causing a sort of track jam at the firewire end.
If you were to follow your friends advice and get a PCI Firewire card and put it into the slot your PCI soundcard is currently in (it has no problems so I assume that slot is using different interrupts) then your Firewire sound interface should work fine.
Check with the interface manufacturer for what type of firewire chipset they recommend (Motu for example advise the use of Texas Instruments based firewire cards). And don't forget to turn off the onboard firewire in the BIOS once you install the PCI card, it will keep things cleaner.
I do not think an increase in RAM will be of any benefit as far as the problem you describe, but it will have other benefits for sure.
I see it's been updated to allow automatic running on boot up, which is handy. It solved a few problems for me back in the day when I used a pentium 3 with a terratec soundcard but you had to set the whole thing up every time you restarted the computer which was a pain in the ass.
- If your motherboard supports more RAM, then buy more RAM! It's cheap and makes your computer better :)
- Make sure all your BIOS and Windows and chipset drivers are up to date.
- Google for "doubledawg PCI latency timer", download the wee app and use it to tweak the latency of things plugged into your PCI bus, it can solve a lot of glitchings.
- Ignore crap advice spouted on Fastfude by eejits who have no clue[/quote:8eedf1d8a9]
Everything I said made perfect sense. I answered his questions mofo. If you want a competition of who knows more about the inside workings of a computer, why not get yer man there to write a test and send it out to us? The winner will win a night with a 21yo Russian lady.
Firewire 800 is almost as fast as a bog standard PCI slot when it comes to pure data transfer speeds. Remember a firewire card has to connect through a PCI slot anyway, so it can never be faster. There is PCI-E to take into consideration as well though (PCI-E x16 slots are about 4000MB/s and are therefore off the scale of the graph below!).
BUT Firewire 400 will handle well in excess of 24 simultaneous and discrete tracks both input and output. So "speed" isn't a worry. Firewire and USB2 interfaces are so much easier to deal with and often have far better feature sets that are possible with external boxes. Mic pres, headphone outs, instrument DIs, metering etc etc.