Topic: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

This DPC Spike Checker Tool addresses one of the most common issues that PC users have with their audio workstations.

The so called DPC (Deferred Procedure Calls) spikes are generated by low level system drivers that for one or the other reason makes the system wait. These spikes typically result in audio drop outs, and users experience that raising the buffer size in the TC Near Control Panel does not solve the drop out issues.

In the TC Near control panel, the buffer size setting addresses the so called user mode drop outs. These are the drop outs that are generated because the CPU load is too big, for example if you have too many plug-ins running at the same time, or if background Windows tasks drain the CPU power.

In the new version 2.00 of the TC Near software, the driver (version 3.0.0.80) introduces a method to handle DPC spikes.
It does it in two ways:
1) When DPC spikes occur, they are handled very efficiently. With previous versions of the driver, users could experience that the Audio player, iTunes for instance, would stop playback completely when a spike occured. With this version spikes will still create a drop out, but chances that audio will continue to play is much better.

2) We are introducing a new setting in the control panel, that is called "DPC safety buffers". The DPC safety buffers prevent spikes from happening.
The feature has four options:
Normal, which is the one you should choose if you don't experience drop outs.
Level 1, which is the softest level adds a small amount of buffers to prevent small DPC spikes
Level 2 is more agressive, adding more buffers
Level 3 is the most agressive, adding big buffers to the system

The DPC spike checker tool is able to measure the DPC spikes, and gives you a recomandation of what option to choose.

The downside of this is that larger buffers also adds to the system latency. Fortunately, all TC konnekt interfaces have advanced direct monitoring, which means that you can monitor through the Konnekt without thinking of system latency.

Nevertheless it is always good to find out which driver that is causing the DPC spikes. We have found, that typically drivers that cause DPC spikes are related to networking, especially weireless network cards seem to create problems. But it could be any driver.

The DPC spike checker tool is not able to show you exactly which driver that causes the DPC spikes, so the procedure is to try to disable the drivers one by one and use the tool to see if the spikes are gone.

===

Installation.

The DPC Spike Checker Tool comes in a zip file as a simple exe file. Unpack the file and place it where you want.

You don't have to install the Konnekt software package to use this tool, it runs fine without. It is part of the version 2.00 software, so if you have already installed this, you can find the tool in your Windows START menu, in the All Programs/TC Electronic/TC Near - Konnekt folder.

This means that even if you are not Konnekt user, you can use this tool to check your system.

The DPC spike checker tool does not install any additional files on your computer, so if you want to get rid of it, simply delete it.

DOWNLOAD DPC SPIKE CHECKER TOOL

Thomas Valter
Product Manager, TC Pro

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

under vista when I start the program it states I need to logged in with administrative privileges even though I am?

Am I correct in understanding the new version 2.00 of the TC Near software is not out yet?
SOFTWARE VERSION 1.3.0: seems to be the latest on the download page.

TC Konnekt Live X2, PowerCore 6000
TC Near 2.2.0
Dell inspiron 1520 notebook C2D 2.2, 4g ram. NVIDIA 8600M GT
XP & Vista home| Ableton Live 7, FL Studio, Virtual DJ, liquid mix.

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

figured it out you need to right click dpc and hit run as admin
still getting to grips with vista...

TC Konnekt Live X2, PowerCore 6000
TC Near 2.2.0
Dell inspiron 1520 notebook C2D 2.2, 4g ram. NVIDIA 8600M GT
XP & Vista home| Ableton Live 7, FL Studio, Virtual DJ, liquid mix.

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

The 2.0 Release Candidate runs well on my XP system.

JP
edited to reflect the newer release

Last edited by jpleong (2007-11-16 15:38:54)

Konnekt 24D w/ latest official firmware & drivers
HP Compaq nx9420 Laptop Centrino Duo 1.83GHz w/ 2GB RAM & ATI x1600 w/ 256MB RAM running Windows XP SP2 + external OWC Mercury Elite Pro (1394a/USB2 SATA/Oxford 934)
DAW: Zynewave Podium Editor: Adobe Audition 3.0
Video: Adobe Premiere CS3

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

thanks jpleong downloading now...

TC Konnekt Live X2, PowerCore 6000
TC Near 2.2.0
Dell inspiron 1520 notebook C2D 2.2, 4g ram. NVIDIA 8600M GT
XP & Vista home| Ableton Live 7, FL Studio, Virtual DJ, liquid mix.

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

one thing im a bit confused about is when you set safety buffers to level 1 does that add latency to what ever you then select in the buffer size drop down?

so if I select level one with 128 samples that would add buffers to that setting? (how much)
also why is it that other audio interfaces/drivers don't suffer from DPCs the same way? or do they?

I'm using time code vinyl with this interface so low latency is critical to me.

TC Konnekt Live X2, PowerCore 6000
TC Near 2.2.0
Dell inspiron 1520 notebook C2D 2.2, 4g ram. NVIDIA 8600M GT
XP & Vista home| Ableton Live 7, FL Studio, Virtual DJ, liquid mix.

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

Ok since disabling wireless interent adapter in vista the asio performance has been a LOT better have been able to run at 96samples (2.2ms) with virtual DJ with time code vinyl pluged into the front and running through the RIAA filter very happy with that smile
I'll have a try connecting through the Ethernet cable to the router soon and see how that goes, with out wireless max us was around 1216

TC Konnekt Live X2, PowerCore 6000
TC Near 2.2.0
Dell inspiron 1520 notebook C2D 2.2, 4g ram. NVIDIA 8600M GT
XP & Vista home| Ableton Live 7, FL Studio, Virtual DJ, liquid mix.

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

luke eyeball wrote:

Ok since disabling wireless interent adapter in vista the asio performance has been a LOT better have been able to run at 96samples (2.2ms) with virtual DJ with time code vinyl pluged into the front and running through the RIAA filter very happy with that smile
I'll have a try connecting through the Ethernet cable to the router soon and see how that goes, with out wireless max us was around 1216

hmm strange latter that night I was getting random DPC spikes hiting the roof! I'm going to disable the inbuilt modem, the web cam and any thing ells I can find.

Is it true that software could cause these spikes like sys tray virus protection  or even audio applications?

TC Konnekt Live X2, PowerCore 6000
TC Near 2.2.0
Dell inspiron 1520 notebook C2D 2.2, 4g ram. NVIDIA 8600M GT
XP & Vista home| Ableton Live 7, FL Studio, Virtual DJ, liquid mix.

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

Yes and Yes.

I have never encountered a Virus Scan that didn't cause a problem at some point or another in my work. And some audio applications (especially the non-professional sort) can cause havoc if they're left to run in the background -my guess is that they try to stay in touch with CDDB or iTunes store or check for updates.

One of the things that kind of really annoys me right now is that Adobe, in all its great wisdom, has an Adobe Updater program that automatically updates but only when your Adobe software is running. Now, if someone can explain the computational and resource logic in that... I'm all ears.

JP

Konnekt 24D w/ latest official firmware & drivers
HP Compaq nx9420 Laptop Centrino Duo 1.83GHz w/ 2GB RAM & ATI x1600 w/ 256MB RAM running Windows XP SP2 + external OWC Mercury Elite Pro (1394a/USB2 SATA/Oxford 934)
DAW: Zynewave Podium Editor: Adobe Audition 3.0
Video: Adobe Premiere CS3

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

well in our case if it tried to update when not running it would be problematic wink
at the moment iv disabled quite a few things in vista but wireless Internet seems to make the most difference, any other tips people have found to help? how about video drivers do they make an impact? im hoping to do live audio video streams so far audio is ok but video hangs Virtual DJ not sure whats to blame there though.

TC Konnekt Live X2, PowerCore 6000
TC Near 2.2.0
Dell inspiron 1520 notebook C2D 2.2, 4g ram. NVIDIA 8600M GT
XP & Vista home| Ableton Live 7, FL Studio, Virtual DJ, liquid mix.

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

luke,

Basically any kernel mode driver can create the spikes. We had an example where the cooling fan inside the computer seemed to create the spikes...

Thomas Valter
Product Manager, TC Pro

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

thomas@tc wrote:

luke,

Basically any kernel mode driver can create the spikes. We had an example where the cooling fan inside the computer seemed to create the spikes...

Exactly! I have a problem of this sort - when cooler fan starts a dropout happens, also when it stops. I tried to turn off ACPI, but then cooler don't work at all and CPU getting very hot.

With TC Near v2.0 I set DPC level 3 and audio became more stable when cooler starts. But when it stops a dropout occurs again.

Can anybody share some ideas about solving this problem?

Konnekt 24D w/ TC Near 2.0 RC 710
MacBook 2.2 Core2Duo, 4Gb RAM, Mac OS X 10.5.5
DAW: Logic 8, Ableton Live 6

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

just to clarify when we refer to an audio drop out where talking about a short gap in the audio signal, correct? will this cause the host program to crash? sometimes?

Faktum I wonder if there are some 3rd part software tools for regulating the fan rather than using toshibas software that might handle the situation better?

TC Konnekt Live X2, PowerCore 6000
TC Near 2.2.0
Dell inspiron 1520 notebook C2D 2.2, 4g ram. NVIDIA 8600M GT
XP & Vista home| Ableton Live 7, FL Studio, Virtual DJ, liquid mix.

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

luke eyeball wrote:

Faktum I wonder if there are some 3rd part software tools for regulating the fan rather than using toshibas software that might handle the situation better?

Luke, I tried native toshiba soft to control fan speed. there're 3 levels of fan rotation called "battery optimized", "perfomace" and "full perfomance". no one of this methods can help solving fan caused dropouts - just increasing time between them when i use "battery optimized" method.

so last weekend i bought zalman's cooling system for laptops. now temperature of CPU does not get higher than 40 C, and fan does not speed up. i think it's the most elegant way to avoid dropouts with no system tweaking or bios tuning smile

Konnekt 24D w/ TC Near 2.0 RC 710
MacBook 2.2 Core2Duo, 4Gb RAM, Mac OS X 10.5.5
DAW: Logic 8, Ableton Live 6

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

good to hear faktum, where theres a will...
seems like computers are less compatible for audio now more than ever!
ssomething as simple as a certain brand dvd drive on dells causes problems with RME interfaces for example, bout time some kind of components standed was developed that manufactures could adhere to, to create "audio computers"

TC Konnekt Live X2, PowerCore 6000
TC Near 2.2.0
Dell inspiron 1520 notebook C2D 2.2, 4g ram. NVIDIA 8600M GT
XP & Vista home| Ableton Live 7, FL Studio, Virtual DJ, liquid mix.

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

is it posible to give us the most critical drivers witch have to be deleted?

i want to find out now whats going on

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

Hi guys! I just changed my mLan products to avoid the problems I have had with them and bought a Studio Konnekt 48. I have tested it on 2 different laptops, one ACER Travelmate and a Dell Lattitude D630. The only other gear plugged in is my Korg Oasys on midi in on the SK48. The Acer gives me "pops" in the sound but otherwise the sound is truly amazing. The Dell, wich is brand new, gives me 1/2 second long audio dropouts and the DAW symbol is blinking with 1 1/2 intervals without stop.

I have the newest driver and the dcp chekcer tool says my pc is configured for optimal performasnce.

Can anyone help me?? dont wanna go back to mLan smile

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

kvasin: which chipset does your FireWire controller use? Try to get an ExpressCard with Texas Instruments chipset!

Konnekt 24D; Reaper; Cubase 5; Adam A7X; AKG C414B-XLS
Machine 1: Windows 7 64bit; Dell Precision M4600 (Intel i7 2760QM, 8GB RAM, Samsung SSD, nVidia Quadro)
Machine 2: Windows 7 32bit; Lenovo ThinkPad T61 (Intel C2D T7300, 4GB RAM, Vertex 2 SSD, 7200RPM HDD)
T.C. Electronic G-Major + FCB1010; DIY Modded Mesa Boogie Quad Preamp; Mesa Boogie 20/20

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

kvasin wrote:

Hi guys! I just changed my mLan products to avoid the problems I have had with them and bought a Studio Konnekt 48. I have tested it on 2 different laptops, one ACER Travelmate and a Dell Lattitude D630. The only other gear plugged in is my Korg Oasys on midi in on the SK48. The Acer gives me "pops" in the sound but otherwise the sound is truly amazing. The Dell, wich is brand new, gives me 1/2 second long audio dropouts and the DAW symbol is blinking with 1 1/2 intervals without stop.

I have the newest driver and the dcp chekcer tool says my pc is configured for optimal performasnce.

Can anyone help me?? dont wanna go back to mLan smile

I have Acer Aspire 3023wlmi laptop and KonnektLive. I have similar problems. The laptop has a TI chipset for the firewire.

I can't use the dvd drive at all nor the WLan at the same time with the konnekt, because of the dropouts (The DPC spikes get very high). Also, the laptop's 4 pin connector won't allow any moving of the computer without losing connection. The DAW sign is blinking here too, every now and then. When playing a cd, it goes all gray and never comes back again...

I have the dpc buffer set to maximum and without the wlan in use I can only barely use mediaplayer for playing mp3 music from hard disk. I will never buy an Acer laptop again!

Is there any solution for this? Which laptop would be ideal for use with the Konnekt? Is Zepto any good? IBM?

__________________
Konnekt Live
WinXP SP2, Driver 2.0.0 r2058
ACER Aspire 3023WLMi, 1,8Ghz AMD Sempron 3000+, 2 GB RAM
Disabled wireless, LAN, onboard soundcard, DVD drive

Last edited by simbe (2008-02-05 11:54:09)

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

nixx wrote:

kvasin: which chipset does your FireWire controller use? Try to get an ExpressCard with Texas Instruments chipset!

Not sure on my Dell it reads: IEEE 1394 OHCI-compatibel controller. How do I find exactly wich one I have?

Anyway it is pretty rough that we have to exchange parts in our hardware to get a standard 1394 product working. 

For some strange reason it worked just fine on my ACER last night with just occational pops.

It`s not making med to sure og this thing smile

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

Many Dell laptops use Ricoh chipset - it's quite probable that your does too.

Konnekt 24D; Reaper; Cubase 5; Adam A7X; AKG C414B-XLS
Machine 1: Windows 7 64bit; Dell Precision M4600 (Intel i7 2760QM, 8GB RAM, Samsung SSD, nVidia Quadro)
Machine 2: Windows 7 32bit; Lenovo ThinkPad T61 (Intel C2D T7300, 4GB RAM, Vertex 2 SSD, 7200RPM HDD)
T.C. Electronic G-Major + FCB1010; DIY Modded Mesa Boogie Quad Preamp; Mesa Boogie 20/20

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

thomas -

Is anyone from TC reading these forum posts, and taking any action about the issues?

Don P.

Mac OSX Leopard 10.5.2 Core Duo
Logic Pro 8
StudioKonnekt48
RME FireFace 800

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

donp,

Yes we do monitor the forum as well as the incidents that are entered using our support site. And we do take actions whenever there is a problem that we can reproduce.

Thomas Valter
Product Manager, TC Pro

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

ooo...Hello Thomas.when will be qualitative drivers konnekt48.

Re: DPC Spike Checker Tool for PC

We're constantly working on improving the drivers for all Konnekts.
Are you addressing any specific issues?

Currently, in regards to SK48, we are working on the Fabrik issues that we have seen. As you might have seen, we have posted a beta version that addresses that problem, there are still a couple of things that we have to address before we can release that driver version, so I'll not put a time frame on it.

Thomas Valter
Product Manager, TC Pro