Acer laptop harddrive latency isssue, urgent help please

Configure and optimize you computer for Audio.
KVRist
33 posts since 24 Nov, 2007

Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:25 am

Hi all,
my problem is urgent because i've got 2 days to return my brandnew laptop and
want to establish if there's a hardware or software/driver issue at hand.
Any help, any possible idea or lead would be very greatly appreciated
I am NOT a noob at pc or audiosoftware,drivers,latency..

My problem :
When the harddrive or usb harddrive needs to read or write data the program DPC latency checker reports large latencies 6500microseconds and higher, where the CPU is not released fast enough to continue errorless realtime low-latency audioplayback : system or drivers not suited for realtime performance. Audioprograms running Asiodrivers confirm this with glitches, interruptions of the sound.
This is NOT an audiodriver issue!
I repeat this is not an audiodriver issue. the problem clearly only presents itself when the harddrive does a read or write( especially so) operation like Ableton live writing asd files or NI Traktor writing once it has analysed a song.loading of songs or large samples also.

Possible causes?
This leads me to now thinking its got to be one of these things :
bad drivers for either sata controller
or some kind of microsoft/intel bottlenecking issue,pherhaps requiring only a certain hotfix to be solved.
or bad cpu-hardware thingy...or even faulty hardware
This is a brandnew laptop so posibly some first-generation hardware/driver problem..??

It's NOT :
In my now 48hour nearly non stop quest to isolate and determine the problem
I have eliminated possible causes doing following things
different audiosoftware used,
different usb audiodevices used,known to work on old audio pc
different Asiodrivers used including Asio4all
different latencies used, problem is a little bit more audible when working
at buffersize 128 than at buffersize 1024 but clearly not the issue
nearly all XP tweaks
fresh install of Win XP from factory restore image
different usb ports used for the audiodevices and external Hd
read and write from internal as well as external drive causes exact same issue
playback only of even intense 80%cpu projects is without a hiccup, even
testtone of ableton confirms this at 128 buffersizes.playback is not the
problem!
the external seagate has a built in drive safety shutting it off every x unused minutes, but even without it connected and writing to the internal disk the problem is still there.

The laptop specs :
Acer Travelmate 6592g 301Mn a core2duo T7300 2.2Ghz
1Gb 1 stick unbranded RAM 800Mhz FSb
internal harddisk WD 5400rpm SATA 160Gb
3partitions 10Gb Restore,60Gb System and 70Gb Data
external harddisk Seagate 300Gb usb2
Win XP sp2 FRESH install
nearly fully tweaked : backgound processing,services disabled,
bluetooth,firewire,network,infra red,wireless,cardbus,com ports,modem,smartcardreader,unused usb hubs all disabled

I am as of now nearly total loss so anyone with any ideas please please post
I spent a great deal of time researching specs before purchase and if i cant find it its going to cost me a total of 60 euros for returning it( postage)wich i will surely do tomorrow night.
because i've had to save up for nearly one year to be able to afford this baby, and i want to make it work, but if i can't it's going! sorry i'm losing it for a minute now..

KVRist

Topic Starter

33 posts since 24 Nov, 2007

Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:33 am

anyone know any other daw/tech forums where i may post this message?

KVRAF
7799 posts since 24 Feb, 2003 from Earth, USA

Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:39 am

We just had this discussion/arguement on another thread a few weeks ago. Not all laptops are suitable for audio.

It sounds like you've done everything, it's just not going to work for what you need it to do. Have you found anyone else on the net that's using that laptop as a DAW successfully?

Laptops from what I've seen are a crapshoot these days for audio. It might work well in certain situations, and totally won't do the job in other situations. I'm sure it's not what you wanted to hear, but I've experienced the same thing (not your exact situation, but getting pops clicks in audio above 50% CPU load on multiple audio cards on same laptop with a Intel Core Duo chip) on newer laptops and so have others around here.

Devon
Simple music philosophy - Those who can, make music. Those who can't, make excuses.
Read my VST reviews at Traxmusic!

KVRist

Topic Starter

33 posts since 24 Nov, 2007

Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:47 am

hi Devon
i was kinda hoping to get a reply from you, you seem very knowledgeable noticed you in another thread a few months ago, and user himalaya there had just bought a very similar model as mine, altough acer switches internal components even between revisions, i've sent him a pm now but that's the only user i've found doing audio with a new generation acer.

however i find your answer too general, i wil not stop my quest until i find the exact culprit and only then will i accept defeat. i'm biting down on this one if i may, but i suspect you will be right.
none the less it could be something fixable, and i am in great anticipation because it seems to be running large projects at low latency without issues as long as it doesn't need to read/write a lot eg if it is keeping samples in ram etc further testing is pending of course but i just want to find the exact source,

and thank you very much four your input, any further thoughts?

KVRAF
7799 posts since 24 Feb, 2003 from Earth, USA

Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:52 am

Hard not to be general when something so simple that should work flawlessly isn't working in a very specific configuration. It sounds like a problem with the southbridge implementation.

Are you familiar with perfmon? Start doing some logging and see if you can spot a bottleneck somewhere. CPU? Disk? I'd like to know CPU load, Current Disk Queue Length, Disk REads/Sec and Disk Writes/Sec during your problem. Let's make sure the drive is keeping up with what you want to do in short.

Devon
Simple music philosophy - Those who can, make music. Those who can't, make excuses.
Read my VST reviews at Traxmusic!

KVRist

Topic Starter

33 posts since 24 Nov, 2007

Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:59 am

glad you are on board!
sorry dont know perfmon is it a windows run command?

just tested the internal drive with hd tach
average read is 38.8MB/s at cpu 4% random acces is 17.1ms the graph goes between 55 and 25 MB/s for sequential read speed
the burst speed is at 115.5 Mb/s wich is less than ATA at 125 and SATA at 150
but to be expected for a 5400 laptop model i guess

however the shareware version of hdtach doesn't test write speeds so i'll try perfmon if u give me some directions please

KVRAF
7799 posts since 24 Feb, 2003 from Earth, USA

Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:11 pm

Sorry, I'm trying to watch a 1 yr old right now, so a little stretched for time. ;)

Here's some detailed instructions -

http://www.sqlserveraudits.com/instruct ... rfmon.aspx

Get those 4 counters I asked for, turn on the collection, do what you do to make the problem happen. Let me know Maximum counters for all of them during your sample period. Do a collection time of every 5 seconds.

Devon[/list]
Simple music philosophy - Those who can, make music. Those who can't, make excuses.
Read my VST reviews at Traxmusic!

KVRAF
7799 posts since 24 Feb, 2003 from Earth, USA

Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:13 pm

Oh, the counters I want are under Physical Disk for the disk drive.

Devon
Simple music philosophy - Those who can, make music. Those who can't, make excuses.
Read my VST reviews at Traxmusic!

KVRist

Topic Starter

33 posts since 24 Nov, 2007

Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:16 pm

i just ran perfmon while make the problem appear,
however i am not experienced with how to log it all in perfmon so you might have to guide me but this is what i came up with
as my win xp is in dutch i hope i am translating the correct data
\\ACEER
physical disk
average waiting load 0,000
memory
pages per second 0,000
processor
percentage processortime 5,469

just saw your new message i will read up and performe the test like you described i'll be back soon so you 2 can go and play now :wink:
have fun and thanks again for take the time you are godsend for me right now

KVRAF
7799 posts since 24 Feb, 2003 from Earth, USA

Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:33 pm

florkii wrote:i just ran perfmon while make the problem appear,
however i am not experienced with how to log it all in perfmon so you might have to guide me but this is what i came up with
as my win xp is in dutch i hope i am translating the correct data
\\ACEER
physical disk
average waiting load 0,000
memory
pages per second 0,000
processor
percentage processortime 5,469

just saw your new message i will read up and performe the test like you described i'll be back soon so you 2 can go and play now :wink:
have fun and thanks again for take the time you are godsend for me right now
Yes I want Current Disk Queue Length, Disk Reads/Sec and Disk Writes/Sec under Physical Disk. You can watch the counters in real time too. Click the + above to add a counter.

Devon
Simple music philosophy - Those who can, make music. Those who can't, make excuses.
Read my VST reviews at Traxmusic!

KVRAF
5446 posts since 23 Mar, 2006 from pendeLondonmonium

Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:44 pm

florkii wrote: ...and user himalaya there had just bought a very similar model as mine, altough acer switches internal components even between revisions, i've sent him a pm now but that's the only user i've found doing audio with a new generation acer.
Yes, it appears I have the same model number, albeit a slower CPU. Mine is 1.8 Ghz with 2 Mb cache, but still the fast 800 Mhz FSB.

I haven't received your PM.

BTW. I have used this laptop just to do some sound design and to noodle around while traveling, and I haven't done any serious tests yet, nor have I stressed it with big projects, like I do on my desktop PC.

Would you want me to do some testing ?
http://www.electric-himalaya.com
VSTi and hardware synth sound design
3D/5D sound design since 2012

KVRist

Topic Starter

33 posts since 24 Nov, 2007

Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:00 pm

@himalaya yes a quick test just use an audioprogram with audiodriver at say 512 samples buffer and use dpc checker program to check out system performance while loading a few 10mb mp3's or large samples, while letting a soundfile play, i'm very curious as to the results
you might have more luck than me..
have you used it with an asiodriver yet? wich progs do you use?
thank you for helping, i'm sure your gonna want to know the truth too..

@ DevonB
here are the results as
disk queue-read-write-cpu


0-16.90-3.13-99
1-460.93-1.00-62
0-61.102-6.207-55
1-472.07-3.93-29
1-573.39-1.59-50

done in 5s time interval for a duration of60seconds
i hope these are the correct numbers i'm not finding it easy to get my head around perfmon logging, also the test is done with a low asio buffer to increase the problem visibility, but it's s only momentary glitches so i don't know if i've set the logging correctly to capture these??

KVRist

Topic Starter

33 posts since 24 Nov, 2007

Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:11 pm

more system specs

ati hdx 2400 with 512mb of dedicated videomemory
15.4inch screen
texas instruments firewire chipset!
webcam fingerprint,card reader docking connector the lot very complete in devices, only acer put a shitload of progs on it after disabling freed up over 200mb ram usage..now its superfast except for this thing i've been awake for 48hours trying to solve, and thanks to you guys i'm now ful of adrenalin feeling a and maybe nearby, reaching the end of the tunnel and no im not on dope here just going crazy with a passion.


@ himalaya
for the rest it seems this laptop is running very well for me, powerfull, cool,near silent..sturdy built
i could be a very happy customer

KVRist

Topic Starter

33 posts since 24 Nov, 2007

Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:33 pm

more test results from perfmon this time with a 1 second interval
current disk queue, read per second, write per second, cpu

"2","17.200510687975562","2.8547285301302927","99.999870719390387"
"2","225.88798822780424","25.987113689924382","11.71875"
"2","314.68545037387776","28.97104146299192","17.1875"
"2","233.7735112878463","20.979674089934925","9.375"
"2","221.56535483653309","21.956927055872647","11.71875"
"3","258.2564133970136","40.03975401504087","14.84375"
"2","245.75757533471241","35.96452321971401","21.875"
"2","237.76645443658367","23.976449186882387","14.0625"
"3","223.77363482462155","23.975746588352312","17.1875"
"2","216.57556683841898","21.956969909885796","14.0625"
"2","198.78880170164885","20.977712742385052","17.96875"
"2","212.80761648562944","22.979226193283932","10.9375"
"2","230.54799121052665","22.954994795853302","9.375"
"2","247.75581184084163","24.975384258149358","25"
"2","209.06026031804174","21.311968284848916","13.28125"
"2","204.99767448131757","19.902686842846368","10.9375"
"2","218.7849767084754","24.975453962154727","20.3125"
"1","537.95086247806375","29.941606445903361","19.53125"
"1","1183.8242932097905","3.9960313694845251","45.3125"
"0","577.87716613356883","1.8792753370197361","53.90625"
"0","0","3.0052169810185512","58.59375"
"0","0","5.9930552086911462","54.6875"
"0","677.43943277710275","1.9983464093719845","58.59375"
"1","1438.6058218025385","1.9980636413924144","66.40625"
"1","1388.672446606402","1.9980898512322329","64.0625"
"0","1069.3163355863351","3.0235146152299768","64.0625"
"0","0","4.9950698812585159","54.6875"
"0","0","1.998036874606133","53.125"
"0","0","2.9971264119194738","53.90625"
"0","0","1.9979833431849781","56.25"
"0","0","1.9980296253915981","55.46875"

i'm now persuing another train of thought :
since it comes with sp2 but it has not been connected to the net, would updating get me some possible hotfixes automatically?
intel application accelerator does not support this chipset, but i've known several years ago problems like these to be solved by pci latency timer adjustments and stuff lmike that

KVRAF
5446 posts since 23 Mar, 2006 from pendeLondonmonium

Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:33 pm

florkii,

I've used the Acer with Sonar6 PE, Tassman, String Studio, Gladiator, some other VSTs and some rex files. I've yet to install some of the large sample libraries I use....I can't wait to see how these will cope with the slower hard drive and the smallish cache memory...I'm planning to get another stick of 1 GB of RAM to help the one giga already there. This should help loading instruments into RAM, rather than stream from the slower disk.

Do I have time to do the test tomorrow morning ? It's evening time here, and family makes it difficult to noodle on the PC after I have just done so all day long...the wife gets upset. :D

But let me see....
http://www.electric-himalaya.com
VSTi and hardware synth sound design
3D/5D sound design since 2012

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