PC Upgrade advice.

I built a new PC for the studio last year (so obviously, it’s already starting to crawl), and I’m having random issues with Cubase 8 Elements. There are some patches in Halion SE and the Hypnotic Dance VSTs - mostly pads - which are completely unusable as they drive the VST performance up into the red and everything glitches. It doesn’t seem to follow a pattern - in some projects, simply using a single Izotope plug-in on a vocal track (I use Nectar 2) will send the performance meter from about 20% right up to the top, and in other projects I can have Nectar running on 3 or 4 vocal tracks at once quite happily. Cubase will often crash repeatedly on attempting to load some projects, and then work for no apparent reason (although then it sometimes waits to crash until I’m either about to shut down, or about to save a project I’ve been working on).

I took some advice from a post on the Steinberg knowledgebase regarding the use of Automap, and spent an evening uninstalling it, removing all the Automap .dll files, then reinstalling and reconfiguring it (how did I not know that Novation have finally released a config setup for Cubase 8?!), but that did nothing. I’ve also followed the advice on a sticky thread on here about inserting a word into the Registry, which has made a very minor difference to how long Cubase takes to start up.

So, I’m thinking of a minor hardware upgrade tweak. The trouble is that I’m not really a PC tech wizard - I can build one, obviously, but there are so many things which to my logical mind are counterintuitive about the way that Windows PCs work that I don’t really know the best way to make a decent improvement in performance. Which is likely to give me the most mileage per pound - a RAM increase from 8G to 16G, or a new processor? Might actually allowing Windows 7 to upgrade itself to Windows 10 help at all?

My current system is as follows:

Cubase 8 Elements.
Windows 7 (64-bit)
AsRock FM2A78 Motherboard
AMD A10 7700K 3,4GHz Quad core processor
8G Corsair DDR3 1600MHz RAM.

Any advice gratefully received…

Cheers,

Russ.

It’s a typical Cubase setup mystery - your PC should be capable of running reasonably large projects. It will be one of the settings causing an issue. When you’ve got a glitchy project try changing the buffer size, changing the ASIO guard level, turn Steinberg power scheme on or off (the opposite of where it is) you will hit a combo where that project will run like a dream! These sort of problems have (touch wood) gone away for me since upgrading to 8.5.15 but I have had terrible problems for years.

Don’t forget to turn off all speed step or turbo facilities in the BIOS (actually this is the first thing you should do), this often plays havoc with Cubase.

Once you’ve turned off all automatic speed processing, you could maybe try over-clocking a tad to compensate, with AMD processors an extra 200Mhz or so will usually be fine on stock settings with an OEM heatsink.

The next upgrade for me would be a faster processor - but really I don’t think you need it, your issue is 95% likely to be Cubase being finicky about a particular audio settings - not hardware.

Make sure Cubase multiprocessing is turned on. if it is, experiment with setting the Halion multiprocessing on (set it to one fewer than your core count) they don’t recommend you do this - but it worked wonders on my PC. Keep a note of what you’ve changed so you can keep tabs on combinations of settings.

Thanks! That’s really helpful advice! I was starting to despair of Windows-based PCs being obsolete and useless within 6 months of building - I have a Macbook that I use for live work, and I have no such problems with it - it’s just a bit more of a fiddle to use for studio work.

I’ll start exploring all the seemingly-random settings and see if I can get some improvement. I did get a slight improvement by changing the settings in McAfee so it wasn’t scanning Every File On The Computer All The Time.

The guide for the processor says I can clock it from 3.4 up to 3.8, but I’ve never bothered to. And I’ve never looked at turbo settings in the Bios. I think I’ll look now though!

Get rid of mcafee first off and get a copy of malwareytes… macafee is dreadful bloatware and very often causes more problems that it claims to ‘solve’.
malwarebytes basic version is free, pretty much EVERY network engineer i’ve ever spoken to advocates the use of it as it’s incredibly light weight compared to norton, avast, mcafee etc and so long as you’re not doing stupid things online it should be more than sufficient for the vast majority of users needs.

Yes Norton and MCafe are awful - I’ve always used AVG, this used to be very lightweight but gets more bloated as each year passes.

My machine has just gone out of the warranty period. It is performing as well as ever. In fact the issues that Cubase has had recently with spiking and poor performance seem to be a thing of the past for me - touch wood. There is no reason that a modern PC should not keep up with things as well, if not better than a MAC. I used to have a lot of trouble with Kontakt causing CPU overloads until I turned it’s multi-core setting off on advice from NI support. I found that a lot of my issues were resolved when I went from Windows 7 to windows 8.1. Unfortunately a lot of issues that we all face, at one time or another, tend to be system based and do take a lot of troubleshooting to find out what might be the cause.

Have you talked to a music computer builder who builds AMD machines? They often have an insight into potential problem areas.

I’ve used AVG myself in the past but even that is essentially spyware now as it’s financed by collecting and selling your data http://www.guru3d.com/news-story/avg-going-from-anti-virus-software-towards-spyware.html

If you want an antivirus that is light on resources and won’t interfere with your audio work, I highly recommend eSet.

http://www.eset.com/