Topic: PC requirements for MADI PCI card?

What are the basic PC requirements for running a PCI MADI and Digiface PCI card simultaneously?
Does RME have a list of basic motherboard or PCI buss requirements.

I have been using a dual digiface setup without problems, but upon attempting to upgrade to a MADI/ADI648 & Digiface combo I am having all sorts of problems. The computer is terribly unstable, crashing unexpectedly, restarting unexpectedly when attempting to start Digicheck or alter VST connections in Cubase, not waking from sleep mode, and problems passing audio correctly.

(eg Audio passes to my digital mixer and the meters look fine, however, the sound output is a strange electronic beeping, in time with the meters. All clocks however show correct sync, and levels in totalmix and meterbridge of the desk look fine. I have tested an identical setup (using the Digifaces and minus the MADI/ADI648) without problems using the same signal chain to my DAC, so it is definitely an issue with the MADI/ADI648.

I am currently running an Asus P5AD2E-Premium board, with 3GB RAM, and a P4 3.2GHz CPU. My video card is an ATI Radeon X800 PCIe card.

I use no other PCI cards and have not had any trouble running my two digifaces. All PCI cards (including MADI PCI) have been flashed to the latest revision, and I am using the latest driver WDM/ASIO driver(3.02). I have tried every possible combination of PCI slots, and would like to know whether it is a simple bandwidth issue on the PCI Buss that is causing all the problems?

The task manager does not show undue stress on the CPU, so I can only assume a PCI bandwidth issue. I assume that the 56/64 channels of the MADI card are always active and thus eating bandwidth, but what sort of motherboard/CPU would one require to run the MADI and Digiface PCI cards comfortably, without stressing the CPU and PCI buss. Do you need a server board, with multiple PCI busses? Will one of the newer Intel 965 or older 975 chipsets do the trick??

Any help would be appreciated.
Kind regards,
George

2

Re: PC requirements for MADI PCI card?

SuburbanStudio wrote:

I assume that the 56/64 channels of the MADI card are always active and thus eating bandwidth

Not at all. If you have only two channels of the MADI card active in VST connections, then ASIO and the PCI bus transmit only those channels. Testing this should also show quickly if this is a bus bandwidth issue.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: PC requirements for MADI PCI card?

Hi Matthias,

Thanks for your reply.
Well now I am a little confused.

The only change I have made was going from,
1) Using two digifaces with PCI cards, to
2) Using one digiface and one MADI PCI card, attached to an ADI-648.

The old system was rock solid, and I can't troubleshoot any new/other cause. Clocking and sync are as they should be (I am using a Mytek master Studioclock) with correct termination. If the PCI bus transmits only used channels, then there obviously shouldn't be a big change between the two scenarios, as the software and drivers have remained constant. Maybe I have a bad PCI card, as I have also been having trouble with Midi over Madi, and also when using the breakout Midi ports. (I have also tried the latest versions of Midiremote with no luck.)

Well, I guess it's time to get in touch with my local distributor (Innovative Music Australia) and see if they can help me out. Thanks for clearing up the PCI bus behavoiur Matthias, I wasn't sure how it worked.

Kind regards,
George

Re: PC requirements for MADI PCI card?

SuburbanStudio wrote:

Hi Matthias,

there obviously shouldn't be a big change between the two scenarios, as the software and drivers have remained constant.

You didn't have to install the MADI HDSP Driver when you installed the MADI card?

MADIface-XT+ARC / 3x HDSP MADI / ADI648
2x SSL Alphalink MADI AX
2x Multiface / 2x Digiface /2x ADI8

Re: PC requirements for MADI PCI card?

Hi Randyman,

Yes I did install the new WDM/ASIO driver for the new card, however this was merely a second instance of the same driver (3.02) which was operating fine with the Digiface setup. When Windows notices the hardware configuration has changed on boot up and and prompts the user to install a driver, I did as I have always done with my RME cards and as is outlined in the manuals and Readme notes. I did not let Windows search for a driver, but instead went through the usual route of pointing to the specific driver folder via 'Have disk' etc... I don't believe that the driver has anything to do with the issues I am having. Once installed all the Madi/Digiface inputs/outputs showed up as they should in the VST connections section of Cubase (SX3.1) despite the computer slowly grinding to a halt. First the mouse starts to track incorrectly, skipping around in short erratic bursts, and soon no menu functions are available. The Start menu takes 20 seconds or more to open making shutdown problematic, and when I can get to the task manager it sometimes does, sometimes doesn't open after a long wait. This is then followed by an unexpected restart, or complete lockup if it hasn't already happened earlier.

If you are using a a Madi PCI card, what motherboard and CPU set up are you using?

Kind regards,
George

Re: PC requirements for MADI PCI card?

Hi George,
Are you using the Silicon image Sata controller and the WiFi option on this board?
Disbale all your sleep modes. Most motherbaords do not implement this correctly and can causes issues with hardware.
Also sense you are using 3 gigs or ram your memory is runnning at half te bandwidth it normally does. Dual channel memory support requires all sticks to be the same size.
Chris

Chris Ludwig | ADK Pro Audio
www.adkproaudio.com
https://www.facebook.com/adkmg

Re: PC requirements for MADI PCI card?

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your suggestions.

All sleep/power-saving modes are off, however I do use the Sata controller, as my audio drives are setup in Raid 0. I do sometimes use the onboard Wi-Fi to download updates etc. however this is disabled via Device Manager when not in use. As regards RAM, I have 1.5GB per side (1 x 1GB and 1 x 512MB stick per channel), so that the dual channel requirements are satisfied.

I'm still under the impression that it's a PCI card issue, as the Midi-remote never locked correctly despite trying different midi-channels (DIN and via MADI). I tried moving the PCI cards into different slots, but this didn't change the behaviour. I spoke to my local distributor and will be seeing them at the end of the week, to see if they can help me troubleshoot the problem. Thanks for your thoughts however. I'll give it another try this evening and see what I can come up with.

Kind regards,
George

8 (edited by Randyman... 2007-05-22 04:31:52)

Re: PC requirements for MADI PCI card?

I think you are still not running in Dual Channel mode, as you need 2 identical DIMM's for Dual Channel.  That is likely giving you a BIG hit in RAM Bandwidth (probably in the 2000-3000MB/s range where it could likely be closer to 5000MB/s or higher).

Also, using a PCI based SATA Controller as your Audio Drive interface is not a good idea IMO.  Your Audio Cards (over 100 channels worth IIRC) and ALL of your Audio Data are sharing a single 133MB/s bus.  Not good IMO.  I'd probably go with a PCIe SATA card, or put your Audio HD's back on the Northbridge Controller (ICH7R on that board IIRC) where they belong wink  I don't see how your system can achieve the lowest possible latencies in its current configuration IMO...

cool

Randy V

MADIface-XT+ARC / 3x HDSP MADI / ADI648
2x SSL Alphalink MADI AX
2x Multiface / 2x Digiface /2x ADI8

Re: PC requirements for MADI PCI card?

EDIT - I see you mean you have 2x 1GB and 2x 512 sticks (I thought you meant 1x 1GB and 1x 512).  In that case, you probably are running in Dual Channel mode, but likely at 2T command rate since you have 4 sticks.  You might get better performance (1T command rate) with 2x 2GB sticks as long as your MoBo likes the larger modules.  DDR2 RAM has really come down in price the past 2-3 months. 

Your HD arrangement is still an issue though.

cool

MADIface-XT+ARC / 3x HDSP MADI / ADI648
2x SSL Alphalink MADI AX
2x Multiface / 2x Digiface /2x ADI8

Re: PC requirements for MADI PCI card?

HI George,
From the motherboard manual.

"For dual-channel configuration, the total size of memory modules installed per channel must be the same size. *

Also make sure the ASUS WiFi software is disabled as well as the device.

It could be possible the MADI is acting up but the only way to confirm that would be to try it on another machine.

Also how are MADI and Digiface clocked?


Chris

Chris Ludwig | ADK Pro Audio
www.adkproaudio.com
https://www.facebook.com/adkmg

Re: PC requirements for MADI PCI card?

Hi Randy and Chris,

Thanks for sticking with me on this. It's quite a learning curve getting up to speed on both the audio hardware/software aspects, as well as the finer points of PCI, HD and motherboard configuration. I am booking in a consult with a local DAW specialist to help get me on top of the PC specific issues. The relationship between northbridge/southbridge pipelines (or in my case Intel MCH, ICH7 stuff etc..) and the way RAID drivers and newer PCIe video cards react with other PCI/PCIe/PCIX slots and firewire, USB busses I still find a little confusing. The way motherboard manufacturers implement these factors is also often unclear. Do you have any links to reputable tutorial/articles/sites that focus on these areas from a DAW perspective. The few I've found are not paricularly clear, and the assumed knowledge often leaves me feeling like I've missed an obvious point.

As regards the clocking Chris, I am using a Mytek studio-clock (and DAC), which has never caused a clocking problem with my RME gear or digital desk. (Rarely I have to set the desk up as master and slave the rest off that, however this is only when the desk gets finicky about slaving as it uses an Apogee add in card, that is sometimes a little temperamental). I have checked all termination options, and all sync settings on both the breakout boxes and in the Settings Dialogue are as they should be.

As for my HD situation Randy, I'll check out better setup options when I meet with my DAW man, and see if he can clear things up for me. What I find most confusing however, is that the new MADI card simply replaced another RME PCI card, without a change in the bandwidth used. This shouldn't have changed things to such an extent I would have thought. Anyway, I'll be back with the latest when I get a crack at it this evening hopefully.

I appreciate your assistance guys,

Kind regards,
George

Re: PC requirements for MADI PCI card?

Hi all,

Just a quick update to keep you Madi-philes in the loop.

Today I took the ADI648/MADI PCI combo in to my local RME distributors in OZ (Innovative Music Australia) and it turns out that the PCI card was not flashed up to the latest revision (204)!

What is odd is that I attempted the FUT update many times, with different downloads, but the program would not run and I did not receive any error messages. I assumed that meant that it was the latest revision, but thought I should double-check the hardware revision numbers listed in the 'Hammerfal DSP Settings" dialog box to make sure. Sure enough it showed hardware revision 204 for the Madi and 54 for the PCI card, both being the latest revisions. This PC had never seen another MADI card, so it could not have been a residual setting from a prior card. Strange indeed?

So it seems that either my/the Flash update file was corrupt, didn't take for a system specific reason or was just flaky.

Either way, a big thank you goes out to Warrick (hope the spelling's right) and Steve at Innovative Music for helping me out and troubleshooting so quickly and effectively. The gear was dropped off pretty late in the day and I got a call well after closing time to give me the good news that the card was running fine with the new firmware in place. Also thanks to Chris, Randy and Matthias for your suggestions and advice. I'll be delving into the PC side of things a little more now that I'm capable of running more i/o to really choke my system.

PS Another possibility is that the prior owner of the card (who was a MAC owner) could have flashed up to the OS X 204 revision (not the latest 205) and this somehow caused problems with the PC FUT program reading the firmware and then updating correctly. That may also explain the 204 listing in the settings dialog?? Larger brains than mine can ponder that possibility, but it may provide a clue as to the odd behaviour.

Kind regards,
George

Re: PC requirements for MADI PCI card?

SuburbanStudio wrote:

PS Another possibility is that the prior owner of the card (who was a MAC owner) could have flashed up to the OS X 204 revision (not the latest 205) and this somehow caused problems with the PC FUT program reading the firmware and then updating correctly.

No, this should not cause the problems.


Regards,
Daniel Fuchs
RME

Regards
Daniel Fuchs
RME

Re: PC requirements for MADI PCI card?

Hi Daniel,

Thanks for the clarification. I'm still puzzled however as to why the settings dialog would list the card as the latest revision, when it wasn't. Maybe the flash was corrupted halfway or something?

Should the FUT always run despite any problems on the card? I couldn't get it to start at all, whereas the FUT for the Digiface PCI cards always ran without a problem each and every time. Does the presence of another PCI card cause a problem for the MADI FUT? Anyway, it's all academic know, and probably running an unconventional setup like this leads to problems that aren't enctountered too often.

Kind regards,
George

Re: PC requirements for MADI PCI card?

If the card is recognised properly, the FUT should run. Sometimes I've seen the card "sort of" running but not really responding to the drivers correctly. I would look at the Win registry for answers here.