FAQ published on: 13/10/2006
Last edited: 16/11/2006
The following will help you optimize your PC for audio processing.
Change the Processing Scheduling to 'Background Services'. Changing this helps lower the latency and also greatly increases the amount of real-time processing of audio that the computer can handle.
This can be changed in: Start/Control Panel/System/Advanced/Performance Settings/Advanced/Processor Scheduling
Anything that involves large amounts of disk activity can interfere with audio performance. Windows resizing the 'Page File' (which it will do at any point) is an example of this.
The Page File is an area of non-volatile RAM that is used by Windows as extra memory. If Windows uses all available physical RAM then it will then start using the Page File. As this resides on the HD, its use as virtual RAM is one of the main factors leading to very slow PC performance.
It is advisable to fix the Page File size, rather than letting Windows manage it: Start/Control Panel/System/Advanced/Performance Settings/Advanced/Virtual Memory - change. Choose Custom Size. Change both the initial size and maximum size to the same value. This way the Page File is fixed. This value should be between 2 and 4 times the size of the physical RAM installed in the PC.
Lose the animations:
As you multi task between 2 applications - eg Logic and Gigastudio, Windows wants to take CPU power away from your audio applications just to draw pretty little animations of the window smoothly opening. This will quite often result in glitches in playback.
To disable: Start/Control Panel/System/Advanced/Performance Settings/Visual Effects. For minimum effects settings, set the option to 'adjust for maximum performance'.
Stop automatic updates:
Windows is not very smart when it comes to deciding when to update the OS. If left enabled you may lose a take whilst Windows searches for an update, also automatic updates can cause the pc to automatically reboot itself after an update if left unchecked you could lose all unsaved information.
If your pc is connected to the internet and you disable automatic updates it is strongly recommended to perform a manual update at regular intervals.
To disable: Start/Control Panel/System/Automatic Updates and select the Manual option.
If the free disk space on the hard disk falls to below 10% of the size of the drive, performance slows to a crawl. Keep an eye on it.
System Sounds steal a lot of memory and CPU time - you may wish to turn them off. On the majority of systems, go into the Sounds control panel, select the Schemes box, and set it to No Sounds.
It is important to defragment your hard drive regularly, especially after removing a large amount of data. You should defragment your drive once a month. The less free space you have on your hard drive, the faster the drive will become fragmented. Defragmenting your hard drive can improve the PC's performance.
As always it is important to keep a current backup of important files before performing system maintenance.
Virus scanners, ICQ and any other programs that run in the background will use CPU power. Do you really need your audio computer attached to the Internet? If so, and you want to disable virus protection you may wish to disable the internet connection whilst you are working.
MSN is a CPU resource hog - you may wish to turn it off whilst using your audio PC.
More PC tuning tips can be found here: http://www.musicxp.net/tuning_tips.php (link correct at the tme of writing).