[PlanetCCRMA] System Requirements For Good Performance?

Fernando Lopez-Lezcano nando at ccrma.Stanford.EDU
Tue Oct 16 09:58:00 2007

On Tue, 2007-10-16 at 08:56 +0100, John Bell wrote:
> > On a very recent Intel laptop running a Core Duo at 2.4GHz (I think
> > that's the speed), SuperCollider would do 500 interpolated sine
> > oscillators with a (roughly) 50% cpu load (in one of the cores).
> Sounds promising. Can I infer from this that I could potentially also
> execute, say, a 128 band vocoder with similar cpu loading?

I imagine that would be possible...

> > But I would not buy a single core
> > processor these days. Even if your favorite dsp engine does not use more
> > than one core, all the other stuff you need to run will be able to use
> > the other and as a result you will get better performance overall.
> >
> > There are tricks you can use, of course. For example, in SuperCollider
> > you could have two engines running and those would tend to use different
> > cores but allocation of synthesis resources would have to be manual.
> Thanks a lot, Fernando. You have convinced me. Apart from anything else,
> these newer processors also have faster & larger caches too.
> This seems to confirm my gut feeling that dedicated hardware accelerators
> (like the basic Capybara system) are no longer needed.
> If I can do almost everything I want now, with a basic CPU system, I might
> as well pay a little more to have all the elbow room I could possibly need.
> During the short time taken for this Q & A, Dell prices (at least) have
> dropped, so I am now about ready to click on 'buy now' for a 2.33 GHz Core
> Duo (presumably like yours), with 2 GB RAM, half a Terrabyte of hard disk,
> and separate graphics card, for about the same price as a more basic system
> would have been a few days ago. (Unless you think still more RAM could also
> be a big help)

Probably 2G is fine (for now :-) As for the graphics card... which one
is it? Most probably you will need to run without hardware acceleration,
or install a binary driver for it which is not included in the normal
kernels. That is still a problem in Linux (hopefully we will see good
open source drivers for ATI cards, now that ATI is part of AMD they are
opening the specs but the drivers will take a while to get written). 

> The next question, of course, would be a dedicated sound card upgrade. I
> already have an old Audigy Platinum sound card in my (Windows 2000) server
> configuration, and was originally thinking of just switching this across.
> However, technology does tend to improve with time, and perhaps there are
> also now significant improvements there too?

Hmmm, if you are happy with the performance of the card you have then
keep it. We tend to use more "professional" cards. MAudio pci line is
good (66/1010, etc). RME is great but expensive. Gina3D and Layla3D's
are fine. Firewire and USB would not be a good choice if you want the
best possible latency performance. 

-- Fernando