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prot

Motherboards with low DPC Latency

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prot   

I am looking for a mini-itx/micro-atx Intel motherboard with the latest 9x chipsets and low DPC latency.

Anandtech does audio & DPC tests, you can just check their latest motherboard review (currently AnandTech | Z97 Mini-ITX Review at $140: ASRock, MSI and GIGABYTE )

 

Unfortunately the only two MBs who scored under 50 do not seem to be a good fit for low-profile cases like Streacom 5.

 

Anyone who knows some other MBs in the under 50 category? (e.g. I understood server MBs are quite good but cannot find any dpc info online)

Or maybe someone knows a way to fit the latest AsRock Extreme6/Extreme4 into Streacom5?

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pre   

an article about DPC latency:

The case of DPC latency

 

one list of results, but does not meet your requirements, but to illustrate some results

which Micro ATX has lowest DPC Latency? - AnandTech Forums

 

how to run DPC test:

How to Diagnose and Fix High DPC Latency Issues with WPA (Windows Vista/7/8) - Sysnative Forums

 

windows users seem to like the optimized win server package

 

an article related to dpc and older version of win server:

https://www.google.fi/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=10&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CGEQFjAJ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cc.gatech.edu%2F~brailing%2Fwin_linux_s2010.pptx&ei=cHnpU6_aBMHmyQPayYGwAw&usg=AFQjCNFklh-W0O5WYJco1lBIj1LMD_KvWA

 

Thanks for bringing up DPC. Above, thanks to short googling.

 

one way of selecting

- light OS version and preferably linux

- player SW that runs in linux => I ended to Daphile

- usb bit perfect out , so procesing in DAC where data flow buffering happens before DA-conversion

- small factor case, no fan, reasonable price, low consumption of energy

- wifi antenna must be outside the case

- availability of reasonably priced linear power supply (12v, 19v) for the box

- full metal case to reduce rfi

- colour black - well not really :-) but I would not buy white box ....

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Skeptic   

It's not really as relevant today, since it only applies to Windows 7 and older, as Windows 8 uses activity alignment and dynamic ticks.

 

vAIeQPf.jpg

 

This is why DPC latency is reported as 1000µs on Windows 8.

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prot   

This is a lot better :)

I was starting to think that everyone here is into silver-sata cables esoterica and noone can help with computer audio basics.

 

@pre

Thx for the links, especially that technical linux vs windows presentation.

 

@skeptic

That activity alignment stuff is new to me, my win 8.0 machine does not seem to use it. Also Resplendence Software - LatencyMon: suitability checker for real-time audio and other tasks seems to be adapted to the new schedulling features in win 8.1 and should show the correct DPC numbers.

And why do you say that DPC is irrelevant? AFAIK, the drivers & winkernel still use DPC.

 

@ringenesherre

I'll have to admit that my under50 target is quite arbitrary. I only heard differences (clicks and pops) on a MB with 200+ latency and with highres material. But why not trying to get the best? :)

 

Also, not so sure DPC is irrelevant for linux/mac. While it is win-specific and depends a lot on driver impl, a very low DPC is also a sign that the MB hardware is well built and the components work well together. For example those Asrock models seem to have a very good electrical subsystem. And even newegg customers (who are generally computer geeks that could hardly be accused of audiophile diseases like "hearing" the sound of sata cables) are mentioning that the new Asrock Extreme boards have particularly good sound. Sample comment

"

Great sound quality. I don't consider myself an audiophile in any way and I only have an older 2.1 setup I have reused through a few computers and a headset for gaming but it sounds clearer at higher volumes than it did on my previous computers

"

Edited by prot
added link & comment

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This is a lot better :)

I was starting to think that everyone here is into silver-sata cables esoterica and noone can help with computer audio basics.

 

Too many actually are into such questionable "improvements" - the typical audiophile "everything matters" mind set.

 

BUT there are tons of knowledgeable people here, from musicians, artists, subjectivists via hardcore recording guys to electrical engineers & computer sicenctists. That is why I always come back here - in between the ridiculous (but often funny) threads on bit rot and power supplies for CD ripping there are really interesting things to learn.

 

I'll have to admit that my under50 target is quite arbitrary. I only heard differences (clicks and pops) on a MB with 200+ latency and with highres material. But why not trying to get the best? :)

 

Why to make life unnecessarily hard? If you can easily obtain some MB with 60 or 80 latency, why bother to go even lower?

 

Also, not so sure DPC is irrelevant for linux/mac. While it is win-specific and depends a lot on driver impl, a very low DPC is also a sign that the MB hardware is well built and the components work well together. For example those Asrock models seem to have a very good electrical subsystem. And even newegg customers (who are generally computer geeks that could hardly be accused of audiophile diseases like "hearing" the sound of sata cables) are mentioning that the new Asrock Extreme boards have particularly good sound. Sample comment

 

DPC is by definition irrelevant for Linux/MAC - but you are right, well-designed hardware is, of course, also relevant for other operating systems. For Linux, a lot of hardware is supported by kernel device drivers that tend to be lean and low latency (not all of them). For Mac, Apple controls the hardware and the drivers - so far I have only made good experience there. That is, no problems for me with any of the Linux or Mac systems I have owned since 1995.

 

Regarding ASRock, when I was a high school student in the 90s, I was earning a lot of money by configuring and assembling computers for local small businesses. I've never been let down by Asus/ASRock mainboards in the last 20 years. And, damn it, I've been putting a hell of them into cases :D

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Skeptic   
@skeptic

That activity alignment stuff is new to me, my win 8.0 machine does not seem to use it. Also Resplendence Software - LatencyMon: suitability checker for real-time audio and other tasks seems to be adapted to the new schedulling features in win 8.1 and should show the correct DPC numbers.

And why do you say that DPC is irrelevant? AFAIK, the drivers & winkernel still use DPC.

Windows 8 uses dynamic ticks by default.

It has to be manually disabled via the debug BCDEdit /set disabledynamictick yes command to revert to the old pre-Windows 8 behavior, though this is not recommended.

 

LatencyMon does work on Windows 8 but my understanding is that it should no longer matter as long as you are below 1000µs due to the activity alignment.

 

FYI Windows update just recently put out some new drivers (07/28) for my Intel LAN card which caused spikes of 6000µs every couple of seconds - that was a problem.

I had to revert to the original Windows 8.1 driver and disable the update.

 

 

A motherboard having a low DPC latency is not necessarily a "sign of being well designed" - more often than not, it is just a sign of it not have much on-board hardware.

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prot   
Windows 8 uses dynamic ticks by default.

It has to be manually disabled via the debug BCDEdit /set disabledynamictick yes command to revert to the old pre-Windows 8 behavior, though this is not recommended.

 

LatencyMon does work on Windows 8 but my understanding is that it should no longer matter as long as you are below 1000µs due to the activity alignment.

 

FYI Windows update just recently put out some new drivers (07/28) for my Intel LAN card which caused spikes of 6000µs every couple of seconds - that was a problem.

I had to revert to the original Windows 8.1 driver and disable the update.

 

 

A motherboard having a low DPC latency is not necessarily a "sign of being well designed" - more often than not, it is just a sign of it not have much on-board hardware.

 

I am already starting to dislike that dynamicticks stuff, looks like lots of people alreafy have serious issues WIndows 8 Dynamic Ticks Freezing issue. My main media pc is still win7 and now I'm thinking about keeping tbe OS.

 

Those driver updates that messup stuff are really annoying, that may be a reason to move into linux.

 

And I have to disagree about the low dpc numbers. In my exp 200+ and/or spikes into 1000+ do make a huge diff (pops & clicks). I actually like simple MBs and usually disable lots of devices and drivers in bios & os. Thats why I was asking for server MBs, those are usually way simpler

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prot   

Why to make life unnecessarily hard? If you can easily obtain some MB with 60 or 80 latency, why bother to go even lower?

 

I already have a laptop which works in the 40-60 interval under Win7. Normally it's between 80-120 but disabling services & devices and using Fidelizer makes quite a difference. Cant say I hear any diff though!

But anyway, I am building a nice mediapc in a streacom fc5 case and I want it to be an upgrade..even if it's only a measurable but not audible improvement.

 

And btw, regarding Win vs. other OSes. I did test that win7 laptop against a friend's iMac (2012 version IIRC) and the laptop did sound better for whatever reason. Pretty faint diff but both I and my friend scored 4 out of 5 in a blind test (not double blind). Hard to describe the diff but I would say that the mac did sound a bit dry/lifeless. We used Foobar+wasapi on the laptop and itunes configured for bitperfect on the imac with a few 24/96 jazz tracks. Both going via usb into a Mytek 192 DAC and Neumann studio monitors.

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Skeptic   
I am already starting to dislike that dynamicticks stuff, looks like lots of people alreafy have serious issues WIndows 8 Dynamic Ticks Freezing issue. My main media pc is still win7 and now I'm thinking about keeping tbe OS.
This was mostly a pre-release issue that should have been resolved long ago. OSX does similar things with Timer Coalescing introduced in Mavericks.

There is a lot of misinformation about this stuff, and things like forcing Windows to use the HPET (which you should not do) or forcing it to use 0.5ms timer resolution. (this is something which audio/video applications can set themselves if required)

 

Those driver updates that messup stuff are really annoying, that may be a reason to move into linux.
Or just disable automatic driver updates, as I have done.

 

And I have to disagree about the low dpc numbers. In my exp 200+ and/or spikes into 1000+ do make a huge diff (pops & clicks).
You should not be experiencing audio problems if your DPC latency is below 1000µs.

I would say that a reasonable target is to get things below 500µs.

You can get it a lot lower than that on a barebones system (less than 50µs) but unless you are using it for an application where latency is critical, there is really no need.

 

If you are sub-1000µs and experiencing audio playback issues, it indicates a problem elsewhere. (buffers that are too small, perhaps)

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Miska   
I am already starting to dislike that dynamicticks stuff

 

Generally dynticks is great. Linux also moved to using dynticks long ago. Old style periodic ticks make event timing precision suffer and wastes lot of power when there is no work to do.

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