Disk cache spikes whenever audio tracks are involved

Hi Guys,

I’ve joined the board to beg you for help…

I’m running Cubase Artist 8.5.20 on Windows 8.1 and I’ve suddenly started to get disk cache load spikes whenever an audio track is added to a project.

The problem only started in the last few days and I just can’t seem to find a solution to it. I can open up an empty project and as soon as I add one bare audio track into the fold then I get disk spikes every time I click on the transport buttons, move locators, click on the ruler etc.

I thought it may have been the latest update to 8.5.20 that caused the problem but I’ve opened up Cubase 8.0.35 and noticed that this version is also doing the same thing now as well now.

I’m seeing no other issues with performance or with my system apart from this so I’m completely baffled as to what the cause may be.

Can anyone please help who may have seen this before? I’m really gutted because I’m new to Cubase having just spent months learning how to use it. I was finally confident enough to start recording and then this happened! :cry:

Thanks for your help in advance!

Dan.

FYI - My setup is below if this helps at all-

Processor Intel® Core™i7 Quad Core Processor i7-4790k (4GHz)
Motherboard ASUS® Z97-A: ATX, USB3.0, SATA 6GB/S, SLi, XFIRE
Memory 24GB KINGSTON HYPER-X FURY DUAL-DDR3 1600MHz
Graphics Card 2GB AMD RADEON™ R7 260X
System Drive 250GB Samsung 840 EVO SSD
Audio Drive 1TB WD CAVIAR BLACK WD1003FZEX
Operating System Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Cubase Version Cubase Artist 8.5.20
Audio Interface UR44 (Yamaha Steinberg USB Driver V1.9.8)
Midi Controller M-Audio Oxygen25

It could be a lot of things? But the first thing you can check is if you received any driver updates via Windows Update. And then especially for display, storage and network drivers? If nothing obvious has changed you could try to revert to a system restore point before this issue started. You might have to reinstall some applications you did after this but at least if it works normally again you know it was caused by ‘some’ update or a program that was installed after!

Another obvious but underestimated thing with conventional drives is fragmentation. Especially with audio this can really cause performance issues. Just to rule this out de-frag your CAVIAR BLACK WD1003FZEX. DON’T do this with your Samsung Evo though. Hope this helps?

Thanks for the reply Nickeldome.

The CAVIAR BLACK WD1003FZEX is literally empty apart from a few Cubase project folders so I can rule that out for now.

Oddly, the computer is offline so the most recent Cubase update was downloaded externally and installed via a flash drive. There haven’t been any other Windows updates installed for a month or two either but I’ve been toying with updating to Windows 10 64 bit for a while. I may bite the bullet, hook it up and do the update. Hopefully the Cubase issue might resolve itself after this.

Does that sound like a sensible enough plan or would you go a different direction?

Thanks again.

I have the same thing happening, only in my case almost every mouse click produces a noise from a VST. Here is a video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omYr38zlfoI

Annoying, to say the least. I’ve had that for a little bit though, couple of months…
B.

My disk spikes are identical to the ones in your video but they happen so quickly that I couldn’t even get a screen shot.

Would you still get this issue on a project with a single bare audio track?

It’s so strange…

Has anyone had this issue before and successfully fixed it? Nothing is working for me. I’ve just upgraded to Windows 10 while it’s still free and the issue is still there.

So I restored Windows 8.1 to factory settings and then upgraded to Windows 10. I’ve upgraded the Bios, graphics card, chipset and every driver I can think of.

I paid out to upgrade Cubase from 8.5 Artist to 8.5 Pro and reinstalled. I open up Cubase 8.5 Pro and the disk spikes are still there like nothing’s changed.

Before I throw my DAW through a window :imp: does anyone have a better suggestion as to what the cause might be?

Thanks.

This is indeed very strange! At this stage I could only blame the audio interface or the meter in Cubase? Do these spikes also present an audible Issue? And I mean by hearing crackles and noticeable distortion? the other thing I’m suspecting now is maybe your video card/chip? Maybe try another video card…? Because that’s about the only thing left after you completely reinstalled your computer?

The UR44 purposely wasn’t installed or connected when I opened up 8.5 Pro for the first time. The spikes were still there though so I can safely rule out the audio interface this time around. The spikes do present an audible issue as you can hear clicks when using buttons on the transport panel. I may have to live with them though as a last resort.

I’ll look into the video card but the computer is relatively new and it’s similar in spec to a lot of the users DAW’s on this forum (which is what’s baffling me). With Cubase running for months without issues with the same hardware and then starting with this out of the blue … I don’t know! I could cry … Haha.

Also new equipment can fail? Knowing your desktop is not connected to the Internet and this issue happened out of the blue I would surely suspect ‘some’ hardware/driver issue is to blame? Especially because you just did a clean install of windows we can also rule out any pollution of OS related stuff? I don’t know if you already did but please run an extensive instance of http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon. This is a good way to discover driver related issues on your system? Please also read the manual to be aware of what to look for in this test? I really do suspect driver or hardware related issues in your case! Good luck and let me know about your findings!

Hi Nickleldome,

Thank you for helping with this. I did what you asked and I ran LatencyMon for 30 mins with Cubase open. ISR and DCP stayed low as far as I could tell but I did hit 2707 Hard Page Faults.

2 other things I noticed was LatencyMon recognised my machine as Windows 8 even though it has been upgraded to Windows 10 which was odd. It didn’t measure the CPU speed correctly either, C-State and Speedstep are both disabled and Turbo is enabled in the BIOS.

My results are below -
Main.png
Drivers.png
Processes.png


CONCLUSION


Your system appears to be suitable for handling real-time audio and other tasks without dropouts.
LatencyMon has been analyzing your system for 0:30:00 (h:mm:ss) on all processors.


SYSTEM INFORMATION


Computer name: MUSIC
OS version: Windows 8 , 6.2, build: 9200 (x64)
Hardware: All Series, ASUS, ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC., Z97-A
CPU: GenuineIntel Intel® Core™ i7-4790K CPU @ 4.00GHz
Logical processors: 8
Processor groups: 1
RAM: 24517 MB total


CPU SPEED


Reported CPU speed: 3998 MHz
Measured CPU speed: 1 MHz (approx.)

Note: reported execution times may be calculated based on a fixed reported CPU speed. Disable variable speed settings like Intel Speed Step and AMD Cool N Quiet in the BIOS setup for more accurate results.

WARNING: the CPU speed that was measured is only a fraction of the CPU speed reported. Your CPUs may be throttled back due to variable speed settings and thermal issues. It is suggested that you run a utility which reports your actual CPU frequency and temperature.


MEASURED INTERRUPT TO USER PROCESS LATENCIES


The interrupt to process latency reflects the measured interval that a usermode process needed to respond to a hardware request from the moment the interrupt service routine started execution. This includes the scheduling and execution of a DPC routine, the signaling of an event and the waking up of a usermode thread from an idle wait state in response to that event.

Highest measured interrupt to process latency (µs): 54.815812
Average measured interrupt to process latency (µs): 2.263825

Highest measured interrupt to DPC latency (µs): 53.278921
Average measured interrupt to DPC latency (µs): 0.994895


REPORTED ISRs


Interrupt service routines are routines installed by the OS and device drivers that execute in response to a hardware interrupt signal.

Highest ISR routine execution time (µs): 2.217359
Driver with highest ISR routine execution time: Wdf01000.sys - Kernel Mode Driver Framework Runtime, Microsoft Corporation

Highest reported total ISR routine time (%): 0.000030
Driver with highest ISR total time: Wdf01000.sys - Kernel Mode Driver Framework Runtime, Microsoft Corporation

Total time spent in ISRs (%) 0.000030

ISR count (execution time <250 µs): 13018
ISR count (execution time 250-500 µs): 0
ISR count (execution time 500-999 µs): 0
ISR count (execution time 1000-1999 µs): 0
ISR count (execution time 2000-3999 µs): 0
ISR count (execution time >=4000 µs): 0


REPORTED DPCs


DPC routines are part of the interrupt servicing dispatch mechanism and disable the possibility for a process to utilize the CPU while it is interrupted until the DPC has finished execution.

Highest DPC routine execution time (µs): 73.250125
Driver with highest DPC routine execution time: ntoskrnl.exe - NT Kernel & System, Microsoft Corporation

Highest reported total DPC routine time (%): 0.014763
Driver with highest DPC total execution time: rspLLL64.sys - Resplendence Latency Monitoring and Auxiliary Kernel Library, Resplendence Software Projects Sp.

Total time spent in DPCs (%) 0.024163

DPC count (execution time <250 µs): 5577240
DPC count (execution time 250-500 µs): 0
DPC count (execution time 500-999 µs): 0
DPC count (execution time 1000-1999 µs): 0
DPC count (execution time 2000-3999 µs): 0
DPC count (execution time >=4000 µs): 0


REPORTED HARD PAGEFAULTS


Hard pagefaults are events that get triggered by making use of virtual memory that is not resident in RAM but backed by a memory mapped file on disk. The process of resolving the hard pagefault requires reading in the memory from disk while the process is interrupted and blocked from execution.

NOTE: some processes were hit by hard pagefaults. If these were programs producing audio, they are likely to interrupt the audio stream resulting in dropouts, clicks and pops. Check the Processes tab to see which programs were hit.

Process with highest pagefault count: runtimebroker.exe

Total number of hard pagefaults 2707
Hard pagefault count of hardest hit process: 1026
Highest hard pagefault resolution time (µs): 502956.563782
Total time spent in hard pagefaults (%): 0.056694
Number of processes hit: 19


PER CPU DATA


CPU 0 Interrupt cycle time (s): 11.417214
CPU 0 ISR highest execution time (µs): 2.217359
CPU 0 ISR total execution time (s): 0.004276
CPU 0 ISR count: 13018
CPU 0 DPC highest execution time (µs): 43.269885
CPU 0 DPC total execution time (s): 2.654496
CPU 0 DPC count: 4974502


CPU 1 Interrupt cycle time (s): 3.016759
CPU 1 ISR highest execution time (µs): 0.0
CPU 1 ISR total execution time (s): 0.0
CPU 1 ISR count: 0
CPU 1 DPC highest execution time (µs): 73.250125
CPU 1 DPC total execution time (s): 0.029437
CPU 1 DPC count: 23233


CPU 2 Interrupt cycle time (s): 3.401572
CPU 2 ISR highest execution time (µs): 0.0
CPU 2 ISR total execution time (s): 0.0
CPU 2 ISR count: 0
CPU 2 DPC highest execution time (µs): 73.096548
CPU 2 DPC total execution time (s): 0.130763
CPU 2 DPC count: 122990


CPU 3 Interrupt cycle time (s): 3.360923
CPU 3 ISR highest execution time (µs): 0.0
CPU 3 ISR total execution time (s): 0.0
CPU 3 ISR count: 0
CPU 3 DPC highest execution time (µs): 72.786643
CPU 3 DPC total execution time (s): 0.062305
CPU 3 DPC count: 65236


CPU 4 Interrupt cycle time (s): 3.091536
CPU 4 ISR highest execution time (µs): 0.0
CPU 4 ISR total execution time (s): 0.0
CPU 4 ISR count: 0
CPU 4 DPC highest execution time (µs): 72.838669
CPU 4 DPC total execution time (s): 0.185007
CPU 4 DPC count: 129860


CPU 5 Interrupt cycle time (s): 3.190701
CPU 5 ISR highest execution time (µs): 0.0
CPU 5 ISR total execution time (s): 0.0
CPU 5 ISR count: 0
CPU 5 DPC highest execution time (µs): 72.453227
CPU 5 DPC total execution time (s): 0.060387
CPU 5 DPC count: 55044


CPU 6 Interrupt cycle time (s): 3.099198
CPU 6 ISR highest execution time (µs): 0.0
CPU 6 ISR total execution time (s): 0.0
CPU 6 ISR count: 0
CPU 6 DPC highest execution time (µs): 72.536268
CPU 6 DPC total execution time (s): 0.218379
CPU 6 DPC count: 135547


CPU 7 Interrupt cycle time (s): 3.238895
CPU 7 ISR highest execution time (µs): 0.0
CPU 7 ISR total execution time (s): 0.0
CPU 7 ISR count: 0
CPU 7 DPC highest execution time (µs): 72.215358
CPU 7 DPC total execution time (s): 0.138777
CPU 7 DPC count: 70828


So I asked Steinberg Technical Support for help and they told me to uninstall Intel Rapid Storage Technology but that’s not installed on my system to begin with. They also said to reload the defaults in my BIOS and then disable C-States, Turbo and Speedstep. I’ve done this too but unfortunately I’ve still seen no difference.

I also enabled and disabled hyper threading and tried turning off page filing in the Virtual Memory. The problem persisted so both of these were left the way they were originally. I tried disabling several devices i.e. LAN Card, Graphics card…still no luck!

Basically, everything that I’ve done so far hasn’t worked and I’m beginning to suspect that this might not be a system issue but could be a glitch in Cubase itself.

The reason for the logic behind this is that the spikes are not down to any ‘actual’ audio being processed by the system at all. They happen when clicking on transport buttons (specifically go to locators, go to markers, forward, rewind, stop and cycle) or in the ruler bar but only with an audio track ‘loaded’. I can ignore this track completely but as long as it is there then I’ll get disk spikes. Would anyone agree that a Cubase glitch may be the actual issue here?

I’ve made a short video to show what’s happening with the disk spikes that may help you guys understand me more. It didn’t capture the Transport Panel but you can still see the issue as clear as day.

https://youtu.be/JH5yBXXS7ew

I’d really like to hear your thoughts.

That is normal behaviour ?
Nothing to worry about.

Thanks for the reply. After you said this I went back through some of my instructional videos and noticed it happening on some of those projects too.

So disk cache spikes are normal for everyone when using the locators and transport buttons? Are the audible clicks and pops that accompany them normal too? Sorry for all the questions…I’m still a complete novice compared to you guys.

As you can clearly see in Main.png you system is actually doing quite well? Don’t worry about Win 10 getting reported as Win 8?

Hard page faults are not the issue that’s causing the spikes in Cubase.

I suspect its your video card or driver version? Also some video chipsets do not agree with Cubase? Especially some Nvidia cards have been known to cause issues like this. And also wireless mice and keyboards can cause issues.

It’s trail and error to find out what’s causing this?



Sorry, but this not normal behavior! You shouldn’t get these spikes! Instructional videos are primarily to instruct the topic at hand, not to demonstrate a system that is actually optimized to work in the real life world?

I don’t get these spikes when moving cursors. You should not get spikes when moving anything, period!

Again, this issue points in the direction of video card and/or mouse driver?

Hi Dan2k78, please share some details about how your system was build? Did you build it yourself and did you install all the drivers yourself? Windows will install most of your hardware automatically but it doesn’t mean these are the most optimal drivers for DAW usage? Did you install the latest chipset drivers? Did you check the vendors pages for updated drivers?

These are things to consider to make sure we rule out the obvious culprits?

Hi Dan2k78, please share some details about how your system was build? Did you build it yourself and did you install all the drivers yourself? Windows will install most of your hardware automatically but it doesn’t mean these are the most optimal drivers for DAW usage? Did you install the latest chipset drivers? Did you check the vendors pages for updated drivers?

These are things to consider to make sure we rule out the obvious culprits?

Hi Nickeldome, I didn’t build the system myself; the DAW was built by PC Specialist. I have run updates since the build without issue but as I said, I’ve just gone back to the factory settings and upgraded clean to Windows 10.

Once this upgrade was done I went to Device Manger and updated the driver software on everything in there. Then I went onto the ASUS website and updated the BIOS and installed the latest drivers for the Chipset and the LAN from there.

https://www.asus.com/uk/Motherboards/Z97A/HelpDesk_Download/

I also went onto the AMD website to upgrade the drivers for the Graphics card (2GB AMD Radeon R7 260X) below -

http://support.amd.com/en-us/download/desktop?os=Windows+10+-+64

Sorry, but this not normal behavior! You shouldn’t get these spikes! Instructional videos are primarily to instruct the topic at hand, not to demonstrate a system that is actually optimized to work in the real life world?

I don’t get these spikes when moving cursors. You should not get spikes when moving anything, period!

Just to be clear as the video I posted doesn’t show it all that well. I only get spiking and audible pops when I click on locators, the ruler and the transport buttons. Just moving the cursor alone doesn’t cause any spiking. But aren’t spikes on the meter a sign of an underlying problem either way though?

Again, this issue points in the direction of video card and/or mouse driver?

I use the Logitech K120 mouse and keyboard but there are no drivers available for these. I’d read on here before about potential issues with wireless mice and keyboards so I avoided them.

I’ve booted without the mouse then without the keyboard plugged in but didn’t see a difference. I’ve also disabled the graphics card and rebooted but not seen a difference either.

So to sum up, I do believe I’ve upgraded all the drivers that I needed to but I won’t be surprised if you spot something that I’ve missed!

I didn’t have the same problem but did have high performance on the VST meters and some pops after upgrading to Win 10 and Cubase 8.5 (From Windows 7, Cubase 8). After replacing/updating my drivers I found the thing that helped was to trash my preference file.

I tried this as it solved some issues several years ago with an earlier version. Worth a try? Obviously just rename the existing prefs file to start with.

Just to clarify, I get no pops or glitches in audio, but the disk meter moves moves plenty when jumping around the timeline in a project. Does not matter if there are zero tracks or 200.
If you get glitches and pops, then something is wrong. Most likely a driver, does not have to be anything audio or video related. In my case it was a VIA usb3 driver that sucked the life out of my computer.
Good hunting.