You are here

Optimising a gaming laptop...

For anything relating to music-making on Windows computers, with lots of FAQs. Moderated by Martin Walker.

Moderator: Moderators

Optimising a gaming laptop...

Postby soulgreed returns » Tue May 25, 2021 8:27 am

Hi folks, looking for some advice.

I've just started running a gaming laptop as a DAW. I feel like this should do what I want without any more purchases but it's coming up short atm.

It's a Dell G3 3590, i5-9300H 2.4Ghz, with 8GB RAM and 500GB SSD. Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050. Windows 10 Home. Soundcard is a first gen focusrite scarlett 2i4.

I'm trying to run reaper, with <20 tracks of audio, superior drummer 2 vst or a similar drum vsti, air hybrid softsynth, mainly cockos plugins. Will want to use more soft synths like Arturia Audio lab, ARIA garritan etc as well.

But I'm getting audio drop outs when listening back to projects (i.e. the whole audio to the headphones goes silent, but the track keeps playing in reaper). Audio only comes back when I open the audio interface window and close it in reaper a few times. Performance monitor is showing about 4% CPU use and 2GB RAM...

All drivers seem to be up to date and I've tried to remove as much bloatware as possible.

Any tips? Is there an up to date article on optimising W10 gaming laptops for audio somewhere? Other than the focusrite one https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-gb/ ... Windows-10. I tried a few searches but couldn't find much...

thanks in advance.
soulgreed returns
Poster
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:00 pm

Re: Optimising a gaming laptop...

Postby Wonks » Tue May 25, 2021 8:42 am

I’d start with the basics and check your power saving settings and turn everything to full performance.

Then theres the priority to background tasks check box that needs checking.

I’d then check your startup programs and make sure only those programs you actually need are being loaded. You won’t want something like Steam running in the background when running your DAW.

Then use a latency monitor program to check that you haven't got any programs hogging the processor for too long.

Make sure you only have one anti-virus program running; the Windows one is fine and integrates well.

Turn off the WiFi unless you really really need it.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11624
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Optimising a gaming laptop...

Postby BJG145 » Tue May 25, 2021 8:50 am

I'd also disable any other sound devices, and try different drivers to see if that's the culprit. Eg, assuming that you're using ASIO, try WASAPI. (You'll want ASIO ideally; it's just diagnostics.)

Does this happen with different projects with different plugins...? Maybe there's a particular effect or synth that's playing up. Could be worth checking Event viewer.
User avatar
BJG145
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5091
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:00 pm

Re: Optimising a gaming laptop...

Postby uselessoldman » Tue May 25, 2021 11:34 am

First rule of thumb, lowest ASIO settings when recording highest when playback and mixing and yes it does make a huge difference.

Superior Drummer, this can take up a lot of memory !! You need to set it to only use the specific samples you need not the whole drum kit. This will save you a lot of wasted unused but allocated RAM

You only have 8Gb and some of that will be shared/used with the Graphics Card/Windows etc so I guess you have about 4/5Gb RAM memory ish left? Probably not enough !! I have 16Gb RAM installed on my gaming machine and 5Gb is used before I open anything just from drivers and utils and that has a dedicated GPU etc.

Where as games use the GPU for its power DAW and audio production uses memory and CPU in that order.

I would bet on your issue being lack of memory and your ASIO settings.
uselessoldman
Regular
Posts: 244
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 6:39 pm

Re: Optimising a gaming laptop...

Postby Rockrooms » Tue May 25, 2021 1:16 pm

Always worth checking if DPC is a problem:
https://www.resplendence.com/latencymon

If RAM is a problem then you'd see at lot of disk IO as things were being paged out to disk. Have a look in Resource monitor at what your disk is doing and if the pagefile.sys is being hammered with lots of writes.
Is the RAM a single module or 2x4GB? A single DIMM means that the system is running in single channel mode, which can affect performance.
More RAM is generally good a thing, but if processes are hitting disk a lot, it's not going to help unless a shortage of RAM is actually the cause of those writes in the first place.

It's worth checking what apps are being run / loaded at startup and if you really need them.
Likewise have a look in task scheduler and see what has installed itself there. Lots of apps have auto update entries regardless of whether you want them or not.
I recently deleted an asus update check that decided 11am was a really good time to run every day.

The Scalett isn't disconnecting and reconnecting is it? Possibly some power saving or other usb style problem?

Joe
User avatar
Rockrooms
Regular
Posts: 123
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:00 am
Location: Oxford

Re: Optimising a gaming laptop...

Postby soulgreed returns » Wed May 26, 2021 9:18 am

Thanks everyone for the tips.

RAM doesn't seem to be an issue yet but I haven't loaded SD yet. It is two 4Gb modules.

Unfortunately, Latency monitor picks up ACPI.sys as the main culprit which doesn't seem to be something I can do much about judging from a quick search of the net... I've been through all the power management settings in the BIOS etc. and still can't get "good" results for DPC latency.

Haven't had a chance to see if the cut out problem still exists in reaper... Windows did seem to have allowed itself to power off USBs to save power which I thought I had fixed previously, so hopefully resetting this solves it.
soulgreed returns
Poster
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:00 pm

Re: Optimising a gaming laptop...

Postby manwilde » Wed May 26, 2021 9:42 am

Besides the obvious need of having your system optimised, I have to set my audio buffer size to 512 or higher to avoid glitches when running EZDrummer, one softsynth and about 20 audio tracks.
Both my music PCs specs are similar to yours, and I use RME UFX and Babyface.
manwilde
Regular
Posts: 284
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 2:57 pm

Re: Optimising a gaming laptop...

Postby soulgreed returns » Thu May 27, 2021 9:51 am

Just a quick update- disabling all the dell assist and vault services seems to have made a huge difference. Latency monitor still picks up ACPI.sys, and says the system isn't suitable for realtime audio, but it's like a new computer compared to what it was. No drop out issues so far (Superior drummer is version 2 btw, which I guess will be less resource hungry than the latest greatest). Don't think it will ever be the ideal DAW but it works for now...

Cheers :beamup:
soulgreed returns
Poster
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:00 pm

Re: Optimising a gaming laptop...

Postby uselessoldman » Fri May 28, 2021 7:16 am

Considering your Laptop is a current model, true i5/4 core using DDR4 and M2 drive I doubt APCI would or should be an issue? I also fail to see why it should fail any realtime audio test that is down to the number of tracks and plugins you use and whether you have enough RAM.

That said
https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/win ... 180c21c1c2

Oh dear me, sounds like you might not be alone and this is not a good read but then I never did like laptops !!!! says me who just ordered a Surface Pro yesterday that cost me more than my mixer and I managed to get full discount on it. I got a student card for discounted drinks in the pub and they accepted it. But I know the Surface Pro works ok cos I borrowed one (older model) and it worked fine.
uselessoldman
Regular
Posts: 244
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 6:39 pm

Re: Optimising a gaming laptop...

Postby soulgreed returns » Sat May 29, 2021 6:31 am

Yeah, I found that and similar on the ACPI.sys issue. Seems I am not alone. If I’d bought the laptop with audio in mind I’d be annoyed, particularly as the one it replaced had better performance with the same reaper set up.

I can live with it in the short term, but a valuable lesson.

Specs on paper are trumped by measured results again...
soulgreed returns
Poster
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:00 pm