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Importance of GPU in Audio Production
Last post Sat, Oct 17 2020 by bbelius, 2 replies.
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Posted on Sat, Oct 17 2020 07:54
by orhan_nazim
Joined on Thu, Feb 20 2020, Hamburg, Germany, Posts 1

Hello everyone,

For everybody planning to buy a computer custom-built for music production, like I do, I want to share something I think that is less considered because it is not intuitive. This is just for the sake of information, and I encountered this information while searching on reddit.

It is on the importance of GPU in audio production, one of the most overlooked factors, as I think we generally focus on CPU power, hard disk size & speed, and RAM (size and speed). But apparently, the guys from RME and also him discovered the importance of GPU power in regards to latency issues.

Here is the quote from the user, EvoX650, quoted directly:

"GPU is the next most important consideration. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but graphics drivers can affect your DPC latencies by such a large extent, that choosing the wrong one here can, from my repeated experience, cause a lot of random issues and unwanted CPU spikes. DPC latency is a measure of processing delay to the CPU caused by various drivers (Here's a great article on it: https://www.sweetwater.c...ving-dpc-latency-issues/ ). I spoke to one of the developers/engineers from RME (the interface guys) at the NAMM show this year about it. RME is, as you may know, one of the kings of stability in pro audio. He told me, in his words, that nVidia graphics were "Completely terrible" for audio, occasionally causing some huge DPC latency spikes. In fact, he mentioned to me that he believed GPU is the biggest factor in the overall stability of your audio software. I can speak from experience that, having tested a Quadro M4000, GTX780ti, GTX1060, and GT730, all of them gave me trouble with random CPU spikes in heavier projects or graphically intensive plugins, as well as some various and strange GUI bugs in certain DAWs. In some DAWs (Samplitude, Studio One, and Cubase, for example), nVidia graphics actually contributed to an increase in crashes, for whatever reason. Intel's Integrated graphics seem to fare well in regards to stability, but AMD's graphics tested as the best, by a long shot, both from a stability standpoint and from a DPC latency standpoint. I went with the Radeon Pro series for my current audio workstation, and the graphics drivers have not incurred a DPC latency over 25us yet, which is excellent, and a handful of the bugs I noticed using nVidia graphics have been remedied. In comparison, nVidia graphics regularly showed DPC latency spikes of 900+us, and in some cases (the Quadro cards notably) showed spikes of 2000+us. Intel integrated graphics usually hung around 100-300us, which is acceptable. This is not to say all experiences with nVidia graphics are bad- I have spoken to some that say they have had an okay time with them, but if you're building a system purely for audio, it may be better to err on the side of safety and go with AMD graphics. Don't worry about mixing Intel CPU with AMD GPU either, as there's no issue with that. If applicable, I'd disable integrated graphics in your BIOS if using a discrete AMD graphics card, as this helps just a tiny bit more as well. AMD's consumer/gaming cards also worked nicely, although I noticed a very slight stability advantage with the Radeon Pro series. Either would serve you well, though."

I hope this is helpful for anybody who is looking to custom-built a pc soon.

Best regards

Nazim

Posted on Sat, Oct 17 2020 10:42
by bbelius
Joined on Sat, Mar 14 2015, Posts 810

Hi Nazim,

A few months ago Nvidia released the option only to install/update to "studio drivers".
This heavily increases stability and you get way less updates (skipping game-ready settings only updates).

I have not measured myself if and how much it improves the system latency, but it is definitly a good solution if you have a Nvidia card - my system is much more stable now.

Best, Ben

Ben
Technical Support - Vienna Symphonic Library
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