Questions on a computer build

  • Hi all, this is my first post on the forum, and I need some help with a computer build. Hopefully this is the right section for that - there's multiple factors that might be causing the problem in question.

    Currently, I am running Reason 10 as my main DAW, along with Positive Grid Bias Amp, Bias Amp 2, and Bias FX as plugins for my guitar recording, on a Desktop with the following hardware / stats:

    • Lenovo ThinkCentre M710T
    • Intel Core i7-7700 Processor (Quadcore, 8M Cache, 3.6GHz base freq, up to 4.20Ghz )
    • Windows 10 Home 64
    • 16GB DDR4 2400 UDIMM
    • 500GB Hard Drive, 7200 RPM, 3.5", SATA

    My recording interface is a Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD

    My Audio settings in Reason are as follows:

    • Sample Rate: 44,100
    • Buffer Size: 1,072 Samples
    • Input Latency: 29ms
    • Output Latency: 40ms
    • Recording Latency Compensation: 20ms

    With this build I've been able to get done most of what I need for the recording I'm doing, except that when I'm recording with Bias Amp (especially Bias Amp 2) / Bias FX, and start to stack up guitar tracks on a song, certain effects and amps start to pick up that "static" / "Click-y" noise that means there's too much going on for the computer to handle.

    With that in mind, I decided to upgrade my recording rig to a complete beast. Additionally, because I'd like to be mobile in my recording, I decided to go with a laptop with the following specs:

    • Lenovo ThinkPad P51
    • Intel Core i7-7820HQ Processor (Quadcore, 8MB Cache, 2.90GHz base freq, up to 3.90GHz)
    • Windows 10 Pro 64
    • 64GB(16x4) DDR4 2400MHz SoDIMM
    • 1TB 5400rpm HDD

    When I received the laptop, they had sent it with Windows loaded on the Hardrive, rather than the SSD, so I went ahead and loaded Reason and Positive Grid on the Solid State Drive, thinking that as long as they weren't running from the same place it should still be faster. I also I ran it through all the standard optimization for Windows 10 stuff, and matched my Audio settings in Reason on the laptop to the settings I was running on my Desktop.

    However, when I opened up Reason and opened an audio track with Bias Fx on it, however, the computer immediately made one of those buzzy "D'oh!" noises that are all of our worst nightmare, and displayed the message:

    "Computer too slow to play song. Please optimize the song (see documentation). The song can still be exported as an audio file. Audio is re-enabled by pressing play or stop." This happened every time I tried to use Positive Grid. Even just opening the add on.

    That is not a message that I'd ever gotten on the desktop machine, and this machine had better RAM, split drives, and what I thought was a faster processor, so I'm pretty confused.

    One thing that I did realize with more digging was that the Processor on the laptop, which advertised as having frequencies "up to 3.90GHz" was actually only running at a base frequency of 2.90GHz. That was the only reason I could think of for the slowness issues, since my Desktop has a base frequency of 3.6GHz, up to 4.20GHz .

    I didn't want to take any chances, so I returned the laptop to Lenovo and got a full refund.

    So now I'm researching computers trying to find a new machine that won't have the same issues, I'm, confused as hell. With everything so tricked out on the laptop I bought, I'm not sure what to do when I buy a different one that will fix the issue. The possible causes of my previous issue are:

    • Need a faster Processor? Trouble being that the fastest processor available on the Lenovo laptops is the Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6 Processor, with a Base Frequency of 3.10 GHx, and a "Turbo" Frequency of 4.20 GHz, but if the base frequency was the issue, then I'm still gonna be slower than my relatively clunky desktop. I've looked at laptops from other companies and it's about the same. Are laptops just not machines you can do this kinda thing on?

    • Was it putting Reason / Positive Grid on the SSD while running OS on the hard drive that screwed things up? Doesn't seem like it would, especially since I was running everything on one hard drive on my desktop without the same problems, but I'm a relative novice on splitting drives like that.

    Or is there something else I'm missing here? I know that PosGrid is a beast for memory, and it was only when I opened it up as a plugin that the problems really started on the new machine, so I figured here would be the best place to start.

    Sorry for the novel length post, I wanted to give all the pertinent info up front.

    Any help or specific insight on what might be happening here and how to fix it would be hugely appreciated. Thanks!

  • A2

    That current computer is so many billion times faster and stronger than computers I've mixed hundreds of albums on

    The latency numbers you are showing concern me, what sort of interface and drivers are you running where the latency needs to be that high? Or are you running incredibly hungry processes that require that much buffering?

  • @pipelineaudio RIGHT!?!?! That's why I was so surprised there was any trouble.

    And the interface I'm running is the Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD - it's a USB 2.0 interface that's pretty straightforward and low profile in terms of drivers and stuff. I guess I didn't realize that latency was so high. When I moved around the sample rate / buffer size when I got it in order to get it working, it set the latency stuff automatically and I just used the compensation setting to make up for it.

  • A2

    With those drivers, you'd need to be running like 50 instances of kontakt, WITH input monitoring enabled on armed tracks to need that much buffering. Something else funny is probably going on.

    I had a reverb once that was using less than 1% cpu yet required massive buffering to work. A friend had made it so I kept trying to push through it. Turned out if was incorrectly reporting its own latency, which was showing at 64 samples but was actually using 32,000 samples.

    Weird things happen

  • A2

    If I were you I would have tried to run windows on the ssd along with the other softwares...
    btw your brand new laptop was very powerful...and it makes me surprised you didn't get enough power to handle bias amp 2

    at this time I run everything on a mid 2012 15" macbook pro (512gb SSD, 8gb DDR3 1600mhz of ram and a 2,3ghz i7 quad core as cpu)
    ...and i have no problems at all..

    so to me, the only thing is that your OS should have been running on the SSD..

    anyway, at this point if u have enough money I would recommend you a dedicated desktop PC for music...there are a lot of people out there who build, test and optimize pc's for music production/recording

    In my country I know this company:

  • A2

    That wouldn't need the latency he's getting though, maybe if he were running massively sample heavy projects on the same drive and it had to call samples constantly....maybe

    What is reason's performance like compared to other daw's nowdays?

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