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Samplitude and AMD


Scott473
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I've been trying to setup Samplitude to work reliably on a laptop and I'm finding that a much lower performance single core Pentium M at 1.86Ghz gets better results than an AMD Turion dual core at 2.3Ghz! Benchmarks will show than the Turion system is better than twice the performance of the Pentium M. Both machines have 2G RAM - Win XP SP3.

However...

On the Pentium M (Dell D600) I ran a simple test with Century Guitar. I created a MIDI file with four overlapping 6 note strums using the Default (not ECO) guitar. There are at least 12 notes sustaining at a given time and probably 18 for a short time. The Pentium M handles it without trouble (Samp reports a CPU usage of around 80% in the status bar).

With the same test... the 2.3G dual core AMD system (Dell Inspiron 1501) chokes! It has audio dropouts and the status bar shows max CPU at (200%) as soon as an audio dropout occurs.

The AMD system is about a clean as it gets. Only 30 processes running. The Pentium M system has some other junk running and still performs cleaner!

Yes, neither of these systems is a high performance DAW, but a 2.3G dual core should be a reasonable mobile DAW platform.

I should also note the Pentium M system only requires 384 byte ASIO buffers. They AMD system requires at least 768 byte ASIO buffers!

I have heard of Samplitude not being very AMD friendly in the past. Is this still the case? Is Intel really the only way to go for a DAW? I'm running Samplitude MSMX - which should be the latest Samplitude code base I assume - with reduced features.

Thanks for the input,

Scott

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Hi Scott,

your test sounds like a single-thread workload to me. Hence, the processor will win that has the faster single core. Other parameters like Cache architecture will go in the equitation as well. If there is AMD or Intel brand on the box is probably less important.

Regards,

Sebastian

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well there are too many variables to really come to a conclusion here but...

I built a new machine from the ground up...

Intel Core 2 DUO P8400 2.26Ghz

4G RAM

Win7 Home Premium 64 (hand tuned down to 31 processes at idle)

It absolutely blows away the AMD system running at a slightly higher clock rate.

The Intel system operates very well with ASIO4ALL buffers at 512 or less. Lower

CPU usage and has no trouble with any of the VSTi's that caused audio dropouts

on the AMD machine. All in all, the Core2 DUO laptop seems a very capable DAW.

Now aside from the CPU we are talking different chipsets controlling everything from memory to disk access.

Also, the Win7 scheduler is no doubt more advanced than the XP scheduler.

If nothing else it verifies something we all should know...

that the performance of your DAW is determined by more than the CPU speed.

Also another point on interest. I tried Win 7 Ultimate first (yes these are legal installs)

and it turned out to be a total pig compared to Win7 Home Premium. Ultimate and Pro add a

bunch of stuff you simply don't need for a clean DAW... IMO.

Scott

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Also, the Win7 scheduler is no doubt more advanced than the XP scheduler.

If nothing else it verifies something we all should know...

that the performance of your DAW is determined by more than the CPU speed.

Also another point on interest. I tried Win 7 Ultimate first (yes these are legal installs)

and it turned out to be a total pig compared to Win7 Home Premium. Ultimate and Pro add a

bunch of stuff you simply don't need for a clean DAW... IMO.

Scott

I run Win 7 Home Premium, and I would agree that the "ultimate" version extras will probably be for corporate networking and things. I seem to remember seeing a checklist on the various Win 7 specs before I got it and I didn't see anything important for a DAW in Ultimate.

I've just switched from a 2.9 AMD X2 to a QX6700 quad which is clocked to 3.2GHz and I have a lot more headroom now, but having said that, the AMD dual performed very well and was very reliable. I've used AMD CPU's for 10 years and I've not had one fail on me yet, I only ended up with the QX quad because it was cheap off a friend.

I'm glad to hear you got yourself sorted. :)

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I've just switched from a 2.9 AMD X2 to a QX6700 quad which is clocked to 3.2GHz and I have a lot more headroom now, but having said that, the AMD dual performed very well and was very reliable. I've used AMD CPU's for 10 years and I've not had one fail on me yet, I only ended up with the QX quad because it was cheap off a friend.

I'm glad to hear you got yourself sorted. :)

I've always liked AMD also. It may be that Dell had a lousy chipset with performance bottlenecks that are not obvious. I have a Q6600 quad desktop that also does rather well with Samplitude at only 2.4Ghz.

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