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New PC - How much power is enough?

Buying or building computers for Hauptwerk, recommendations, troubleshooting computer hardware issues.
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IainStinson

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Re: New PC - How much power is enough?

PostSat Sep 18, 2021 2:58 am

You find the detailed level information in the specification of the motherboard and/or in the manual. Essentially it is all to do with the number and allocation of "lanes" (data paths) on the motherboard. Can't remember which board it was, but some recent boards for example reduce the number of operating SATA ports on the motherboard when the second M.2 slot is used. For the Asus bb550M (TUF Gaming);
"*Share bandwidth with PCIe3.0 x1_1, PCIe3.0 x1_2
** When the M.2_2 Socket 3 is populated , SATA6G_5/6 ports will be disabled."


There are quite a few discussions on the Internet about the use of the second (and other) M.2 ports. Worth checking.
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RWatson

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New PC - How much power is enough?

PostSun Sep 19, 2021 4:05 pm

UPGRADING and still not enough power it seems ...

It's early days into a new build to try and wrestle audio glitches into acceptable levels. While it's considerably better than my previous build of Intel i7-10700k (Comet Lake 8-core), this clearly isn't the holy grail either. AudioFire 12 was retired because, suddenly, after a Windows 10 update, it suddenly did not work any longer (except the real pipe drivers).

New build:
    Ryzen 5950x (somewhat) overclocked to 3.7 GHz. 16core/32threads.
    Water cooled CPU with resulting low temperatures (< 55C)
    ROG Asus crosshair viii (DH) motherboard, BIOS 3801.
    4 x DIMM, 128GB, 4400(O.C.) G-Skill.
    2 x M.2, 2TB Samsung 980 pro - one of them for cache organ files.
    2 x 2TB Samsung SSD for Sample sets, etc.
    1 MOTU UltraLite AVB at organ with (long) ethernet AVB to a MOTU 24Ao in pipe chambers - running at 96K with 15 stereo monitors, mostly in pipe area.

Early thoughts (using 6.0.2) - dazzling clarity - really sounds like you're right beside the speaking pipe (and I am right beside similar speaking pipes) and it's but an audio monitor. Used high-resolution setting. 320 is polyphony setting (ugh).

Audio clicks - albeit not nearly as often but agonizingly still there (and frighteningly clear). Watching Hauptwerk CPU meter - like a breathing dragon - pulsates about once per second. Playing can easily shove CPU meter into the yellow and then suddenly in the red with immediate audio confirmation - sort of like "Beauty in Sound" this afternoon. So, it isn't just me.

Windows 11 shows about 8 to 11% CPU load from Hauptwerk; however, that's an average obviously. Individual CPU levels are low with < 5% per core usage except for four (of 32) CPU threads - #16 and #17 are 80 to 100% subscribed and when they're 100% they have same periodic pulsing wave frequency (as the Hauptwerk CPU meter) with resulting audio immediately compromised. Also, one of the early cores is heavily used as well (core 0 or 1 --> like 50-80%). The rest of the 32-cores are very low, as I said. I have *not* optimized/eliminated/reduced anything yet - like Internet or other drivers that I'm not going to use.

Hauptwerk concurrently drives a 34-rank pipe organ - just a 32' Resultant - no real 32' pipes.

So very early days as I try and lay waste the audio glitches. It would seem that good hardware alone is not sufficient and as I've just said, I have not yet turned off all things non-Hauptwerk.

There seems precious little correlation between Hauptwerk's CPU usage meter and Windows 11 CPU meter. Perhaps Hauptwerk uses some threads/cores and takes them to the limit (and beyond).

The MOTU AVB audio works well and the audio/routing examples in the user manual are excellent. The one thing I do know is that I used to be blind and now I can see! (Reaction to reading/understanding the excellent documentation.)

Testing with Rotterdam Laurenskerk - 24-bit.

Any suggestions on where to investigate next would be gratefully appreciated.
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vpo-organist

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Re: New PC - How much power is enough?

PostSun Sep 19, 2021 5:18 pm

Oha, you give me courage. I want to upgrade to a similar PC-setup :-/

You need to disable the Sysmain service (if the service name is still called that in Windows 11).

With your power PC, the polyphony limit should be at 32768 (or max).

@Martin: Is there a trick how to set the polyphony to max without "hundred" clicks?
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Re: New PC - How much power is enough?

PostSun Sep 19, 2021 5:30 pm

If disabling sysmain does not completely fix the problems, then read these tips.
https://www.cantabilesoftware.com/glitchfree/
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mnailor

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Re: New PC - How much power is enough?

PostSun Sep 19, 2021 6:02 pm

As well as killing sysmain a.k.a. superfetch, you need to disable motherboard audio in BIOS. Then check all the other stuff in the HW user guide's Performance Tuning chapter -- there's a checklist for Windows. The glitchfree article mentioned above goes into a lot more depth, but the HW checklist doesn't take as long and covers the usual culprits found in Windows.

After you get Windows tuned for realtime audio, you might still not quite get 16 cores worth of HW capacity. Some of the models in HW are single-threaded, so there's a bottleneck on your single-threaded CPU speed. But Martin has said you should be able to get a benefit from (12 cores): Correction -- 16 cores. See earlier in this thread.

Nice machine!
Last edited by mnailor on Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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mdyde

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Re: New PC - How much power is enough?

PostMon Sep 20, 2021 4:44 am

Hello RWatson,

To add to others' replies re. audio glitches: do try working through the 'Performance tuning' section in the user guide. (The current v6.0.2 version has the most up-to-date steps in the 'Other operating system and computer optimizations and diagnostics' subsection.) E.g. in particular:

- Make sure that you have a reasonable audio buffer size selected, e.g. 1024 at 96 kHz, or 512 at 48 kHz. (Some PCs can manage 512@96kHz or 256@48kHz without audio glitches, but it's more demanding in terms of hardware/driver timing, and it's more CPU-intensive in general.) Also make sure that the audio driver is actually using that buffer size value (not a different one).

- Make sure that the Windows page file is completely disabled.

- Disable SysMain/Superfetch.

- Make sure that no other audio/MIDI software is running (e.g. in the background), and that no other unnecessary software is running in general.

- Then try leaving LatencyMon ( https://resplendence.com/latencymon ) running (but without Task Manager being open) for half an hour or so whilst Hauptwerk is running with an organ loaded. LatencyMon needs to report that the PC is performing well enough for real-time audio before the PC will be able to work reliably for Hauptwerk (or any other real-time audio applications) at low latencies. A powerful PC is no guarantee of glitch-free audio, even with just a single pipe sounding; the underlying system components (hardware, drivers, etc.) need to be performing consistently together within sufficiently tight timing bounds to avoid audio glitches. LatencyMon often gives a clue as to the source of audio glitches (e.g. PC hardware/driver DPC latency problems).

RWatson wrote:Windows 11 shows about 8 to 11% CPU load from Hauptwerk; however, that's an average obviously. Individual CPU levels are low with < 5% per core usage except for four (of 32) CPU threads - #16 and #17 are 80 to 100% subscribed and when they're 100% they have same periodic pulsing wave frequency (as the Hauptwerk CPU meter) with resulting audio immediately compromised. Also, one of the early cores is heavily used as well (core 0 or 1 --> like 50-80%). The rest of the 32-cores are very low, as I said. I have *not* optimized/eliminated/reduced anything yet - like Internet or other drivers that I'm not going to use.
...
There seems precious little correlation between Hauptwerk's CPU usage meter and Windows 11 CPU meter. Perhaps Hauptwerk uses some threads/cores and takes them to the limit (and beyond).


Hauptwerk's audio-CPU meter doesn't show the same thing as as Windows Task Manager's one; it specifically shows how close the system is to an audio glitch occurring with the audio driver that's being used.

If Hauptwerk's audio-CPU meter is sometimes going into, or nearly into, the red even when few or no pipes are sounding then it indicates that the audio driver/host is calling Hauptwerk too late for Hauptwerk to have time to calculate the audio before the hardware needs to play it (i.e. resulting in a 'buffer under-run'), either because the audio driver isn't performing properly, or because the PC is having underlying hardware/driver timing issues (e.g. DPC latency). LatencyMon should help to identify whether the latter is the issue, i.e. whether the PC and its drivers are performing sufficiently well to support real-time low-latency audio.

RWatson wrote:Windows 11 shows about 8 to 11% CPU load from Hauptwerk; however, that's an average obviously. Individual CPU levels are low with < 5% per core usage except for four (of 32) CPU threads - #16 and #17 are 80 to 100% subscribed ... Also, one of the early cores is heavily used as well (core 0 or 1 --> like 50-80%). The rest of the 32-cores are very low,


A reply earlier in this thread covers the CPU cores that Hauptwerk uses:

mdyde wrote:- Hauptwerk's audio and convolution reverb engines should run distributed across any number of logical cores up to 64.
...
- The MIDI/relay event processing (organ switches, pipe on/off events, etc.) are necessarily serialised to ensure that the state of the organ relay remains consistent.

- Each of the background models (wind supply models, pipework modulation, tremulants) runs in its own thread (one thread per model). That's done since the wind model's time-slices need to be extremely short/frequent (sub-millisecond) and serialised. (It might possibly be be able to gain some performance in the future from further multi-threading the wind model within the time-slices, but possibly not, since the overheads of so many, extremely frequent, thread context switches might exceed any potential performance gain.)

- The first few logical cores are kept free of audio/convolution engine loads, and are instead used for the MIDI/relay, background models, and other threads. If there are 12 or more logical CPU cores then the first 4 logical cores will be reserved for those purposes.

- Hence per-core performance may well become a bottleneck for the achievable polyphony, even if you had a huge number of cores for the audio engine.


vpo-organist wrote:With your power PC, the polyphony limit should be at 32768 (or max).


Hello vpo-organist,

Having the polyphony limit set higher does in itself cause some additional CPU overheads (more voice generators to manage). I'd definitely advise not setting it much higher than you genuinely need, and certainly not having it set higher than the PC can reliably manage (for the relevant samples set and audio quality settings, etc.). The polyphony limit setting is there specifically to stop audio glitches occurring when overloading the CPU, which it can only do if tested and set to a value that the PC can genuinely manage. I doubt that even the most powerful of current PC would be able to manage a polyphony of 32768 without audio glitches with the audio quality options (high-definition pitch-shifting, 96 kHz, etc.) set to the maximum.

I would expect RWatson's PC to be able to manage considerably more than 320 once tuned appropriately, though.

vpo-organist wrote:@Martin: Is there a trick how to set the polyphony to max without "hundred" clicks?


The only way to adjust the limit currently is via the arrow buttons on the Audio, MIDI and Performance large control panel, which adjust it in maximum step sizes of 256, although we do have an enhancement request logged for potentially adding additional means for making larger adjustments faster.

However, as above, one definitely shouldn't have it set higher than the PC can genuinely manage (which will almost certainly be much lower than 32768 with the maximum quality options enabled).
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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vpo-organist

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Re: New PC - How much power is enough?

PostMon Sep 20, 2021 2:12 pm

This is currently cumbersome to figure out and set the polyphony.
It's completely different depending on the way you play. If you play a virtuoso work, but most of the time only chorales,
then the polyphony is always set too high.

I once gave the formula for polyphony calculation:
Number of registers used * Reverberation time * Number of voices played simultaneously * Tone changes per second and voice

This is of course only a rough approximation. The active couplings, sub-couplings and super-couplings would also have to be taken into account in the formula.

It would be helpful if there was an "Activate Polyphony Tracking" button. Then I can register the sample set completely, play a piece and Hauptwerk shows afterwards how high the polyphony has been. With a second button "Apply as Default" one could save the value comfortably.
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mdyde

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Re: New PC - How much power is enough?

PostMon Sep 20, 2021 2:40 pm

Hello vpo-organist,

vpo-organist wrote:I once gave the formula for polyphony calculation:
Number of registers used * Reverberation time * Number of voices played simultaneously * Tone changes per second and voice


Yes -- that's also discussed in the HauptwerkBackgroundTechnicalInfoOnComputerHardware.pdf document, which is available via the 'Technical info' link near the top-right on the 'Support | Requirements' page on the main Hauptwerk website:

https://www.hauptwerk.com/requirements/

vpo-organist wrote:t would be helpful if there was an "Activate Polyphony Tracking" button. Then I can register the sample set completely, play a piece and Hauptwerk shows afterwards how high the polyphony has been. With a second button "Apply as Default" one could save the value comfortably.


Thanks for the suggestion.

We do have an enhancement request logged covering potential ideas to make testing and setting the limit easier (e.g. automatically), and I've added your notes to that request.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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Jan Loosman

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Re: New PC - How much power is enough?

PostMon Sep 20, 2021 4:39 pm

Hello RWatson

I use a nice little tool named fidelizer.

https://www.fidelizer-audio.com/


This program has a free version to try and a payed version with more possibilities and more advanced tweaking and also auto startup of audio programs like Hauptwerk and reaper (as used In my setup).
It frees up resources by stopping al unnecessary services , optimizing the processors for audio tasks and you wil also gain some memory for sample sets.
This program is especially designed to optimize a pc for music reproduction.
I have the same processor and amount of memory as you have and the cpu meter never spikes.

Jan
Last edited by Jan Loosman on Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
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RWatson

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Re: New PC - How much power is enough?

PostMon Sep 20, 2021 10:08 pm

THANK YOU all for the effective suggestions.

I have done but two items in the "Performance Tuning" - specifically:

- eliminated the paging file (advanced system settings in Windows 11) &
- disabled "sysmain."

Poof, the problems mostly went away. There were a couple of sudden instances of encroachment into the (Hauptwerk) CPU red but I heard little audio degradation! That was with almost every stop (however silly that is in reality) in front and rear Rotterdam Laurenskerk - 24-bit samples played many times (using Healey Willan's Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue as my test piece (mistakes notwithstanding)). Most of the time the Hauptwerk CPU meter stayed 1 or two green bars and only occasionally 4 or 5 (green) bars. And that was with simultaneous playing the pipe organ relay (only 12 ranks set up at this time - 22 to go).

The hybrid sound is stunning; the pedal stops literally rattle the floors and windows.

LatencyMon reports:
"Conclusion: Your system appears to be suitable for handling real-time audio and other tasks without dropouts." Highest measured interrupt to process latency (µs) 289.60.

Apologies to Martin for not getting to the Performance Tuning section of the Hauptwerk manual earlier. The manual is not exactly bedtime reading - at least for the AUDIO and ROUTING sections. In fact I physically did all of his examples within those two chapters and consequentially understand now how that works. Initially reading - but not doing - was not sufficient for my mental capacity. I printed those two chapters and the resulting paper often hit my nose whilst reading in bed and trying my best to decipher the contents.

We are so fortunate indeed for the incredible and expert help on this FORUM.
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mdyde

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Re: New PC - How much power is enough?

PostTue Sep 21, 2021 3:23 am

Thanks very much. You're very welcome. Excellent -- glad to hear it was easily resolved.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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