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 126.96.36.199) 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.
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.
Product Manager, TC Pro