What’s Under The PC Covers of your Sonic?

As we start to dive into the VST discussion I expect there will be side discussions regarding what makes the PC inside of a Sonic “tick”.  This morning we ran a scanner to grab a summary of the overall configuration and learned we have a “ASRock B85 Pro4” motherboard. You probably already know that the default Sonic configuration ships with 8 GB of RAM, an Intel i7-4790K CPU @ 4.00 GHz and a 255 GB SSD. In our case we currently have 212 GB free on the “C: Drive”. That is room for a few small samples but will we quickly run out of storage space. In addition, we would like to keep the operating system (Windows) and OAX on the current C: drive and have whatever sample libraries we end up with. hosted on a second SSD.

For more details on the motherboard.

5 thoughts on “What’s Under The PC Covers of your Sonic?

  • 08/12/2017 at 15:10
    Permalink

    Hmm – Something went wrong and Mark’s comment wasn’t showing up for everyone to see… Let me copy-n-paste it in so others can see it:

    Hi Curt,

    Looking at Chris’ comment earlier, it would be good to understand what the disk was 100% busy doing, and what proportion it was doing read, write, wait, what the response times of each were, and to which files, as that will enable some tuning activity. If you start seeing any issues, might be worth looking at Perfmon as mentioned the other day, and more than happy to help analyse any data if you need, although haven’t touched that area since 1998, the laws of physics haven’t changed. What is going through my head at the moment is how to stripe the sound samples over a RAID set, so that read performance is enhanced (albeit at the expense of write performance, but we don’t do much if that) via USB. Don’t even know if that is possible, as my own RAID devices I use for my personal storage are Synlogy NAS’, which are IP based, and thus already slower than direct connect, but not noticeably so when opening photos and docs, however very different type of workload to Real-time sound samples, where network latency would be a killer!

    I haven’t done much work on WinTel performance evaluation, as my focus had always been MVS, VM and DOS/VSE, but from memory PC’s don’t offload the I/O to a separate I/O processor like S/390 hardware, and thus when doing or waiting for I/O the i7 will either be showing the time as CPU busy or CPU wait, but whichever way, is unproductive during this time. Therefore tuning the I/O could free more CPU resources for productive use as it will spend less time waiting for I/O to complete.

    When we used to look at database performance (DB2, CICS, IMS and IDMS) we used to go for number of spindles rather than individual disk capacity, so that we could gain faster concurrent access to the data, so given the vast amounts of data volume in the Kontakt samples, would be interesting to see whether I/O or CPU saturate first. As mentioned before, I have no experience with SSD performance analysis, but there must be some performance profiles and guidelines out there!

    Hope that is useful.

    Cheers
    Mark

    Reply
    • 08/12/2017 at 18:39
      Permalink

      HI Mark
      Things have changed significantly since the late 90s; all HDD/SDD operations are offloaded to the chipset so that the CPU is never tied up with such mundane operations. (To be honest the only similarities between the computers you mentioned are they still have a motherboard, CPU and Ram)
      The way SSDs work (Virtually instant access to files) with the SATA 3 system used in the Sonic have faster read/write speeds than a stripped HDD Raid Array, plus they don’t respond to Raid 0 like HDD do. (No you can’t Raid USB 3 drives, but you don’t need to anyway)
      In Windows 10, right click Taskbar, choose Task Manager, (Or just type Task Manager into the search box) click the Performance Tab and open Resource Monitor if you want to see what is going on. (No need for perform or other software as things have moved on since those early days)
      Win 10 has already been optimised for best use with OAX and VSTs, however if you want to check, touch settings, documents and you will find all the settings in the documents that are included as standard in OAX.
      Hope this helps
      Bill

      Reply
  • 08/12/2017 at 14:56
    Permalink

    Hi Curt,

    Looking at Chris’ comment earlier, it would be good to understand what the disk was 100% busy doing, and what proportion it was doing read, write, wait, what the response times of each were, and to which files, as that will enable some tuning activity. If you start seeing any issues, might be worth looking at Perfmon as mentioned the other day, and more than happy to help analyse any data if you need, although haven’t touched that area since 1998, the laws of physics haven’t changed. What is going through my head at the moment is how to stripe the sound samples over a RAID set, so that read performance is enhanced (albeit at the expense of write performance, but we don’t do much if that) via USB. Don’t even know if that is possible, as my own RAID devices I use for my personal storage are Synlogy NAS’, which are IP based, and thus already slower than direct connect, but not noticeably so when opening photos and docs, however very different type of workload to Real-time sound samples, where network latency would be a killer!

    I haven’t done much work on WinTel performance evaluation, as my focus had always been MVS, VM and DOS/VSE, but from memory PC’s don’t offload the I/O to a separate I/O processor like S/390 hardware, and thus when doing or waiting for I/O the i7 will either be showing the time as CPU busy or CPU wait, but whichever way, is unproductive during this time. Therefore tuning the I/O could free more CPU resources for productive use as it will spend less time waiting for I/O to complete.

    When we used to look at database performance (DB2, CICS, IMS and IDMS) we used to go for number of spindles rather than individual disk capacity, so that we could gain faster concurrent access to the data, so given the vast amounts of data volume in the Kontakt samples, would be interesting to see whether I/O or CPU saturate first. As mentioned before, I have no experience with SSD performance analysis, but there must be some performance profiles and guidelines out there!

    Hope that is useful.

    Cheers
    Mark

    Reply
  • 08/12/2017 at 14:05
    Permalink

    I’ve purchaged my Sonic 600 with an expansion of 32 GB RAM memory ! Don’t know if one day I”ll need some big part of it .

    Reply
    • 08/12/2017 at 15:01
      Permalink

      Very nice! Not sure when but I do expect we will bump our 700 up to the 32 GB max. Should you follow along with us down the “VST path” – it will come in very handy!

      Reply

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