New i7-5820k / X99 based DAW has decreased audio performance


I’ve been using a DAW with a Gigabyte Z68 motherboard for more then 5 years using an i7-2600k which I overclocked to 4,4Ghz. The audio performance of this system with the build in TI 1394a FW port seemed to be better compared to my new DAW based on a i7-5820k. Both have 16gb memory (new DDR4, old DDR3). The new motherboard (ASRock X99 Extreme 4/3.1) hasnt been overclocked yet because the current cooler doesn’t allow that. I will try that when I received a new cooler.

I’ve been trying to optimize lots of settings/services etc in Windows 10 with the new DAW and used latencymon to reduce the amount of issues. Latencymon mentions that the DAW is capable of handling audio without dropouts BTW. The new DAW uses a PCIe FW card with a XI022i3BZAY chip. I currently use the 1394a port with my trusty RME FF400.

As I’ve been already tuning BIOS and W10 settings I would to know what main factors influence the audio performance of the FF400?

  • Is the 1394a FW of the older Gigabyte Z68 motherboard better than the PCIe card? The drivers being used are the 2006 version of the Microsoft TI OHCI compliant host controller on both systems;

  • Would using the 1394b (FW800) port of the PCIe card instead of the 1394a port improve performance?

  • In Cubase 9 Pro the average load and real-time peak are both high when using memory and CPU intense VST plugins (Keyscape, Omnisphere, Toontrack Superior etc.). When reducing the buffers of the FF400 this can be reduced of course. Asio guard also helps but increases latency.
    The previous DAW was performing better with the same project then the newer one.

  • There are no interruptions on the W10 system anymore from background processes. I eliminated those with latencymon. Would increasing memory from 16 to 32Gb help?

  • How can I see if W10 is low on memory?

  • How can I monitor W10 to check which areas can be improved?

  • Would moving to a USB based audio device improve performance?

Thanks for your help!

There are 3 variables which come together

  • windows 10
  • Cubase 9
  • new system

Did you run the win10/C9 combo on your previous system as well?
Or did you upgrade from Win7/C8 combo to Win10/C9 on new system?

The C9 ASIO bar reports differently.

Thanks for your quick reply!

Only 1 variable is new, the DAW. :wink:
I’ve already ran Windows 10 (I even upgraded from Windows 7) and Cubase 9 Pro on the older system, and also compared it to that.
I just re-checked the VST performance on the old system (average load and real-time peak) are both ares slightly lower and “move” less are less spikey in the VST performance window. Also the buffer size seems to less influence the performance.

After optimizing settings, drivers and apps/services my hunch is that this might be most related to the FW PCIe card. Everything in the new DAW is faster but the audio performance is lower which seems mostly related to the FW interface.

  • Could using FW800 (1394b) improve performance?
  • I have a driver disk with the FW PCIe interface but these are only for non Windows 10. The default TI OHCI compliant worked well on the prior DAW so I don’t think it’s related to the driver.

As an alternative that I could try out to compare the performance:

  • Would the UR44 from Steinberg be a viable USB alternative to my FF400? Or is the Babyface Pro from RME an overall better audio interface?

C9 reports performance differently, so that’s nothing to worry about