[LAU] Linux mint for audio?

david gnome at hawaii.rr.com
Wed Feb 20 09:04:46 CET 2019

On 2/18/19 6:10 AM, Len Ovens wrote:
> On Sun, 17 Feb 2019, david wrote:
>> On 2/17/19 1:01 PM, Len Ovens wrote:
>>> - no hyperthread
>>> - etc.
>> Yet on my i7 laptop, audio works with hyperthreading just fine.
> My experience is that HT is ok at 64/2 but starts to have problems at 
> lower latency. This doesn't matter for most recording where the audio 
> can be run at 1024/2 but when using the computer as a live synth or 
> guitar effects unit, it matters. My general thought is that if something 
> matters at a lower latency... sooner or later it will bite with a 
> "stray" xrun even at a higher latency.

Can't do 64/2 with my USB card. 512/3 on a non-RT kernel runs at 10.7ms 
with no xruns.

>> It is in performance mode, though. I think keeping a steady clock is 
>> more important for RT audio than the number of threads.
> In recent intel chips with "Boost", 

Mine is old enough it has no Boost settings of any sort. Can't be 
overclocked, either. Runs at 2.4GHz max. Under heavy loads - not when 
doing audio stuff, but when stitching big panoramas - it heats up a lot.

> Performance mode means set the cpu 
> speed to rated speed. However, at higher cpu use the speed will still go 
> up and down between the limmits of rated speed and max boost speed. 
> Going up does not seem to be a problem, but going down does. Also, Boost 
> is temperature controlled... this means that the cpu is running closer 
> to the maximum temperature and if it gets too close the speed will go 
> below rated speed to cool down. Temperature control uses cpu time... but 
> the code is not controlled by the OS and over temperature events tend to 
> do bad things to audio. 

I think temperature is the biggest performance problem on laptops.

> So it is worth turning Boost off to give a 
> steady clock frequency. (I have in the past found that setting speed to 
> 800Mhz does better audio than "ondemand" at 1.6Ghz) By watching 
> temperatures while running the cpu(s) at 100% (build Ardour for example) 
> I have found that I could actually run at a higher speed than 
> preformance by setting min/max speeds rither than a governor. However, I 
> don't do this because I know that things like dust and wearing fans will 
> change this over time and rated speed does give some headroom.
> Anyway, I set jack to 16/2 and tweak for (hopefully) no xruns or best 
> case. Then I am pretty sure I have done the best I can do at higher 
> latency. (I turn cron off too while recording) I have a PCI audio 
> device, USB devices will not do 16/2... 16/3 maybe, probably 32/* is a 
> better target for USB.

Thanks, will keep that in mind. I have a Presonus Firewire card around 
that I'd like to connect into the setup. (My old laptop had a Firewire 

My good old reliable motherboard in my desktop machine decided that 
being six years old meant it was time for the onboard video to die. I 
was using the onboard video because the added video card had also died a 
few years ago. (I also switched to a KVM that used USB connections, and 
the old BIOS in the machine only recognizes keyboards plugged into the 
PS/2 port.) So I'm looking into Ryzen 2700x/mobo/memory combos while the 
desktop machine now does reliable work with a 3GHz Pentium.

David W. Jones
gnome at hawaii.rr.com
authenticity, honesty, community

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