I would be scared about overclocking a laptop. As overclocking means force an higher frequency and thus an higher temperature, while it can be difficult to cool a laptop significantly more. If the CPU temperature goes too high, the CPU will throttle in order to protect himself against too high temperatures. The throttle mode consist in drastically reducing the frequency for cooling down the CPU and that’s not what we want for real time audio processing.
Fingers crossed it works okay out of the box.
The thing is, as Frank said, it seems like Intel is setting a low frequency base CPU for all its top line chips.
They seem to anticipate that they will actually operate higher than base frequency (Turbo Boost Max 3.0)
But, on the other hand, live audio performance is not their first priority…
The clock speed (commonly referred to as the frequency) of a CPU is how many instructions per second it can process. Turbo Boost is available on many Intel CPUs and is essentially a temporary overclock that increases the CPU’s frequency when additional processing power is needed. This can only happen as long as it the CPU is below a certain power, current and temperature threshold so it is not a full-time performance boost. The amount of frequency increase will vary depending on the number of cores that are in use. When fewer cores are in use, the clock speed of the remaining cores can be increased more than when all of the cores are in use.
The problem is that audio DSP processing and the software architecture of the applications, like VSTs, are quite specific in the way they operate and how they are written to use the available resources. In general, audio processing is linear and not able to use multicore, hyperthreading resources (and I am vastly oversimplifying, no flames please!). Quite a lot has been written about this here in the Community so I will let you do the research. What I usually find useful are tailored internet searches to see what various forums and manufacturers of software that use audio processing thinks works best for the current year. You get a sense of the circle of good cpus, vendors, machines and combinations and from that you should be able to make an educated guess on your particular choice. My personal guess is your choice will work just fine for what you want to do, and since you have purchased it we will all be looking for your experience with it - quite helpful for future members just like you that would like to know what others are using. How you set up GP has an significant effect too (like predictive loading and limiting how many rackspaces can load), so don’t forget to include your configuration and how you manage your gigs!
That was great. Thank you.
I suspect I will be fine.
If there is a bottleneck, I could also explore multiple instances of GP (using another one of those extra high performance cores).
You can explore this blog article → [blog] Clever ways to optimize your plugin usage
Don’t worry if there is a bottleneck, I believe that Deskew is the only company that has all covered: Windows optimization, Mac optimization, plugins/best practices/tips/hacks, so don’t worry, you are at the right place
(I also monitor and index tips across this community, don’t want to lose any of community gems!)
Yesterday I’ve been toying around with using a lot of plug-ins, pushing cpu (according to gp) as high as possible without distorting sound. The test:
- Sample rate 48.000 at 64 samples
- ThrottleStop active
- Unfiltered Audios’ Triad to act like a heavy plug-in. This is no-way intended to make Triad look bad, I love Triad for the creative things you can do with it
- Tenth generation I7 cpu (6/12 cores/threads), base 2.5GHz, turbo 4.5GHz
- Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 Gen 3 interface
- Windows 11 latest patch.
Here some empirical findings (with all the usual disclaimers):
- Without ThrottleStop, stable sound is not possible with 64 samples anyway. 192 samples is my normal safe-go-to-haven
- Intels’ turbo does a good job, together with ThrottleStop. When I throw in multiple Triad-instances, the cpu-frequency goes to somewhere between 4-4.5GHz. and stays there
- Cpu in GP compared to cpu in taskmanager gives different readings, but that is explainable because GP only considers the audio-thread (for good reason)
- Somewhere between 65%-75% cpu in GP, sound becomes unstable. Taskmanager shows that one of the cores clips at 100%. Increasing the sample buffer to 192 samples helps, probably because it lowers (also) the cpu-usage
- Triad eats a lot of cpu of the audio thread, even when disconnected (hence the reason I used it for this test). I got at 70% cpu when using approximately 11 instances.
My main conclusion is that you do not have to make the base frequency the main consideration, you can take the turbo into account as well.
This are my cents 3 and 4
Thanks, Frank, that is very encouraging. (I am currently okay with a 256 sample buffer on my Dell XPS 13 with 32 GB ram. More than that bothers me. I do not have Throttle Stop installed).
I think you hit one of the core (no pun intended) questions.
Does “turbo” (not really a great name for this, in my view) allow flexible adjustment of (single core) CPU speed in real time.
David seems to take a bit more skeptical view (disclaimer, everyone here knows more than I do). And I have read posts where people complain about artifacts that seem to be due to “turbo” kicking in,
But, I think I have read more posts that the base frequency is pretty much a floor and turbo does a decent job raising the speed up in typical audio situations (up to the Turbo Boost max or less depending on other demands, heat etc.). It does not seem to be limited to very short amounts of time. There is a range between the base frequency and the top turbo frequency where (I am hoping) you can expect to operate when using GP with “typical” (whatever that is) usage.
Maybe they have improved turbo? (Now “Turbo Max 3.0”).
Well, once I get up and running (may take a bit), I will report back.
(My most important factor me in selecting the new machine (Lenova Thinkpad 16 w/ 64 GB installed ram, expandable up to 128 GB) was ram capacity so I can keep adding rackpaces years into the future without the need to create separate gig files or use predictive loading. Fingers crossed.).
It is flexible. Lets say it is “cpu on demand”, but practically it means, once you need more, you get that and it will stick there for a while (some kind of hysteresis), so al least in my situation, it doesn’t bite.
I can relate to that: Trust is nice, having control is better…
But after all, we are in the situation that we will have to put up with it, because cpus with a fixed frequency, at least with Intel, are not available anymore. The only thing you can do is switch off everything (SpeedStep, SpeedShift, Turbo, C1, etc.), but then only the base frequency remains and that is also not really what I want…
Keep us posted how your laptop performs. I’m rather eager to see. Within a few years I’ll have to buy a new laptop myself (again)…
Interesting, what did you do with that?
Things that need extra attention:
- SpeedShift to 0 means I’m more interested in cpu-power than battery-life. It is editable, although that’s not clear in the interface
- Click on the ‘+’ to add the ‘High Performance’ power plan to Windows. After that you tick the box to use that one.
This added some magic. You might want to change the power plan back to the original, once you’re going to use your laptop for other nice things than GigPerformer (What?? Is there life besides music and GP? Well, there is, but it’s just recently been discovered )
First I tried QuickCpu, but that has a zillion options, and I do not intend to become a boss on the subject :-). ThrottleStop has also a zillion options, but I didn’t need those and it actually worked, much to my surprise I may add. I never succeeded till this far to use a buffer < than 192 samples.
BEWARE/Disclamer: Both tools ThrottleStop and QuickCpu are capable of damaging your system, especially when it comes to over- or undervolting and overclocking!
I have been using ParkControl Pro by Bitsum for years. When I bought my new laptop (Lenovo P17), I found out that the power profile is locked. The previous Lenovo model (P70) was known to suffer from occasional overheating problems. The P17 fixed that, but I can no longer change the power profile. Makes sense to me. The app consumes almost no resources, so I still run it, mostly for informational purposes. The new version I just downloaded (v3) has something called power overlays. I’ll have to look into that to see what they add to the mix, given the locked profile.
I assume that other power management apps also lost their ability to manage the power profile on newer laptops with locked power profiles.
ThrottleStop, QuickCPU, ParkControl… we will soon need a @npudar blog article to decide what really helps in which condition for helping GP…
By the way, I happen to find an article that may shed a bit more light on the base frequency v turbo issue:
A small word on power (see this article for more info) – rather than giving a simple ‘TDP’ value as in previous generations, which only specified the power at a base frequency, Intel is expanding to providing both a Base power and a Turbo power this time around. On top of that, Intel is also making these processors have ‘infinite Turbo time’, meaning that with the right cooling, users should expect these processors to run up to the Turbo power indefinitely during heavy workloads. Intel giving both numbers is a welcome change, although some users have criticized the decreasing turbo power for Core i7 and Core i5.
[Could be different for 12900hx, which is intended for laptops…]
I found this too:
“With the said feature, Intel CPUs to improve the performance of single-threaded applications by moving these single-threaded workloads to the faster, favored/best core. This technology works by using a driver and information store on the CPU to select workloads that fit the needed specifications to be able to be moved to favored cores. Intel themselves state that you can the new Boost 3.0 algorithm can improve performance by as much as 15% for single-threaded applications.”
“Microsoft’s Windows OS natively supports this feature and is enabled by default so there is no need to activate in the BIOS. You’ll need Windows 10 x65 - RS5 distribution or later to be able to take full advantage of the Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 feature.”
“This newer technology doesn’t replace Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, which indicated the highest possible frequency achievable across all the cores rather than just a single core or two cores. Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 enhances the Boost Technology 2.0 by having one or two favored cores, which increases the frequency of these cores even more.”
So, in theory at least, it looks like Intel is trying to make its newest chips work optimally in a wide variety of environments, including where most of the work is done in a single core (except for the issue of graphics, I would think gaming would have similar needs to Gig Performer (emphasis on single thread and need for immediate real-time responsiveness)).
I guess time will tell whether it will live up to the hype and whether the concern with base frequency is no longer relevant for new processors.
We need to see A/B tests in practice
Any information will be useful (and indexed in one place for future readers).
This will be very useful indeed for people searching for a new system.
I on purpose didn’t want to pay much for a laptop as this whole adverture (VST, GP) started as a kind of experiment, but so far I’m happy.
So I probably in some years will find my laptop is too slow (especially using some CPU hungry VSTs like Massive X), and a good idea what I can expect from a new laptop or mini case PC would be very useful.
I used to use a laptop before, which worked well with most plugins, so computing power was not actually an issue, but this laptop had to work almost permanently at “full throttle” which caused it to seriously heat up.
So my main concern was not only the fan which made quite a lot of noise, it was the heat itself… when i played and worked at home the laptop was put with the lid closed in a narrow shelf… then one day i noticed that my laptop started to look like balloon since the battery began to blow up…
That was the point when i decided to not use a laptop anymore.
Schamass, did you overclock it?
No, i didn’t. But it seemed that an open lid was part of the general cooling concept.
Having it running at full throttle for a long period while sitting with a closed lid in a narrow compartment maybe wasn’t the best idea.