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Buying a new laptop - the firewire issue

Configure and optimize you computer for Audio.

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jcschild
KVRian
 
1176 posts since 25 Dec, 2003, from Kentucky y'all

Postby jcschild; Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:38 am

dang i forgot the most important part..

just going to a USB interface doesnt mean all will be well.

while you have a greater chance of success with USB most laptops have terrible DPC issues that requires a great amount of tweaking
some cant be fixed no matter what you do
others may work with just a few tweaks

and FYI we ship to the EU about once a week.. usually a laptop.
camsr
KVRAF
 
4574 posts since 16 Feb, 2005

Postby camsr; Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:15 am

Marv Dave wrote:Thanks everyone for all the replies. Very helpful.

@plastic i was beginning to think along these lines, myself.

Would anyone else agree that USB external soundcards are good enough? For some reason i had this vague impression in the back of my mind somewhere that firewire was supposed to better for some reason?


Firewire has a dedicated IRQ channel. It will not be interrupted unless there is DPC latency or something more sinister.

OTOH, USB has seen many issues in regards to multiple devices on the same IRQ channel.
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Kaine
KVRian
 
1126 posts since 4 Nov, 2004, from Manchester

Postby Kaine; Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:46 am

camsr wrote:Firewire has a dedicated IRQ channel. It will not be interrupted unless there is DPC latency or something more sinister.


Firewire chips built to spec do yes. Hence why everyone says use TI based controllers because they are the only firm still out there building to spec.

All the problem ones are down to various chip makers building low cost combo chips that do firewire/usb/eathernet or whatever for laptop companies who would rather shave a few dollers off where they can. Apple's premium here is a bonus as they do it properly and don't use combo chips meaning as someone else noted up top they work well in those regards.

Everyone else however trapped in a race to the bottom considers fw just another feature to stick on the spec list and they don't give much thought to bandwidth/irq issues in those regards. Sure they could write drivers that give priority to the FW assigned IRQ but then as most of the consumer market have probably never touched a fw port in their lives so why would that be deemed important?
Marv Dave
KVRist
 
42 posts since 3 Jun, 2007

Postby Marv Dave; Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:03 pm

Again thanks for all the help, I appreciate it everyone.

After reading these tips i suppose im left with a few stand out questions.

1.Would people say that by switching to a USB external soundcard i would be highly likely to have these DPC issues? I will be recording live audio (vocals, guitars, etc}.

2. In the cases where people do have DPC issues, what percentage of the time are they eventually sorted out with a bit of effort?

3. Will this be a total lottery for me when buying a laptop online as to whether i will have DPC trouble or are there certain brands i should avoid/opt for to improve my chances?

Thanks!
BertKoor
KVRAF
 
8303 posts since 8 Mar, 2005, from Utrecht, Holland

Postby BertKoor; Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:36 am

It's a bit of a lottery alas. Most notorious in DPC latency issues is the WiFi wireless LAN adapter. If that's disabled (and you can live without it) and you still have issues, there are tools that can identify what driver (and thus what device) causes the issue. I forgot who made that tool. It's not the regular DPC Latency Checker (although that's a good tool nevertheless)

One way though to get the winning ticket is to buy a computer from ADK / Scan. These are guaranteed to be free of issues, but it comes with a price tag.
We are the KVR collective. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Image
My MusicCalc is back online!!
plastic
KVRist
 
130 posts since 30 Dec, 2004

Postby plastic; Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:46 am

I can only say that it was impossible to use the firebox on my laptop (but also on the desktop) with low latency (<10-15ms), while the NI kontrol audio 6 can go down to 64 samples with no issues other than the CPU load increasing (of course).
As far as I'm concerned, firewire is crap.
Maybe it's better on Apple hardware, no idea.
camsr
KVRAF
 
4574 posts since 16 Feb, 2005

Postby camsr; Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:12 pm

Firewire isn't crap, the laptops' implemenation of it are, as Kaine said.
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Aural Chaos
KVRian
 
1025 posts since 31 Oct, 2002, from the high desert

Postby Aural Chaos; Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:46 am

In the same (or similar) boat- just inherited a Dell running Vista with no on board FireWire. Bought an express card adapter that DOES have a TI chip, but the Firebox emits pops every now and then.
Ran DPC latency checker. No spikes were even in the red. I disabled everything I could, and it didn't have much if any effect on DPC (or audio).

Anything else I can try, other than abandoning the Firebox? Could Vista be an issue?

On board audio with ASIO4ALL may be my best bet short of buying a USB interface, huh?


BTW, same interface works perfectly on my ancient XP laptop. On that one the on board FireWire burnt out, and I'm going through a no name PCMCIA to FireWire adapter.
UltraJv
KVRAF
 
5960 posts since 30 Dec, 2004, from London uk

Postby UltraJv; Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:29 am

Aural Chaos wrote:In the same (or similar) boat- just inherited a Dell running Vista with no on board FireWire. Bought an express card adapter that DOES have a TI chip, but the Firebox emits pops every now and then.
Ran DPC latency checker. No spikes were even in the red. I disabled everything I could, and it didn't have much if any effect on DPC (or audio).

Anything else I can try, other than abandoning the Firebox? Could Vista be an issue?

On board audio with ASIO4ALL may be my best bet short of buying a USB interface, huh?


BTW, same interface works perfectly on my ancient XP laptop. On that one the on board FireWire burnt out, and I'm going through a no name PCMCIA to FireWire adapter.


It could be virus checker/power saving utils/anything running in the background.
Kaine
KVRian
 
1126 posts since 4 Nov, 2004, from Manchester

Postby Kaine; Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:03 am

Aural Chaos wrote:In the same (or similar) boat- just inherited a Dell running Vista with no on board FireWire. Bought an express card adapter that DOES have a TI chip, but the Firebox emits pops every now and then.


Have you tired switching the TI driver over the legacy one?

http://www.focusrite.com/answerbase/en/ ... hp?id=1030
polaris20
KVRian
 
1088 posts since 12 Mar, 2005

Postby polaris20; Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:12 am

Marv Dave wrote:Thanks everyone for all the replies. Very helpful.

@plastic i was beginning to think along these lines, myself.

Would anyone else agree that USB external soundcards are good enough? For some reason i had this vague impression in the back of my mind somewhere that firewire was supposed to better for some reason?


I would say that USB is fine for audio. I've got a 44VSL that does great at low latencies, even with a 3 year old laptop.
Aural Chaos
KVRian
 
1025 posts since 31 Oct, 2002, from the high desert

Postby Aural Chaos; Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:45 pm

Kaine wrote:
Aural Chaos wrote:In the same (or similar) boat- just inherited a Dell running Vista with no on board FireWire. Bought an express card adapter that DOES have a TI chip, but the Firebox emits pops every now and then.


Have you tired switching the TI driver over the legacy one?

http://www.focusrite.com/answerbase/en/ ... hp?id=1030


thanks Kaine! That did improve things a bit. There wasn't a driver that said "legacy", but one did seem a bit more generic, so I switched to that one.

Still get a spike every now and then, but it's close enough for rock'n'roll.
Kaine
KVRian
 
1126 posts since 4 Nov, 2004, from Manchester

Postby Kaine; Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:23 am

Aural Chaos wrote:thanks Kaine! That did improve things a bit. There wasn't a driver that said "legacy", but one did seem a bit more generic, so I switched to that one.

Still get a spike every now and then, but it's close enough for rock'n'roll.


Great stuff. :)

Try disabling your network (wi-fi/ethernet) whilst your working and see if that nails the last of the clicks.
golemus
KVRist
 
404 posts since 6 Feb, 2010

Postby golemus; Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:02 pm

jcschild wrote:NI Kontrol, Lynx, M-Audio Ultra 8R, and Presonus VSL series to some degree have very good drivers


What do you refer to with "NI Kontrol"...?

S2, S4, Komplete Audio, the old ones, could you be a bit more specific...? :)
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