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SONAR X1 performance in Windows 8 vs Windows 7

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殇旭 发表于 2012-7-20 11:38:36 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
                                    Benchmark: SONAR X1 performance in Windows 8 vs Windows 7
So let’s get to the meat of the benchmark. To evaluate how Windows 8 performance stacks up as compared to Windows 7, we ran our standard SONAR benchmarking test suite. The test suite covers common scenarios that cause performance bottlenecks in a DAW. Besides the test suite, we also included a real world test by including a couple of the sample content demo projects in the tests. The files tested were the Cori Yarkin project “Floating” and “Shifty and the big shots".

System configuration and specs:
Processor:     Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU  965  @ 3.20GHz, 3193 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 8 Logical Processor(s)
Installed Physical Memory (RAM):     4.00 GB
Audio Interface:     Motu Ultralite MK3, Firewire audio interface.
Operating Systems:     Windows 7 and Windows 8 were set up on the same physical machine and all tests were run from the same disk partition.
The operating systems were clean default configurations and the OS images were loaded using disk imaging software.

Capturing the results
To perform the tests, we load the reference projects above and start playback and monitor several metrics to determine the system load at various audio latencies (buffer sizes). To monitor these we use a nifty in-house application called SONAR Perf, developed by principal engineer Keith Albright, which hooks into SONAR and captures and displays these performance metrics.




Windows 8 Benchmark ResultsThe tables below show the results from the Windows 8 benchmarks





Windows 7 Benchmark ResultsThe tables below show the results from the Windows 7 benchmarks




Summary and Analysis

The results of the benchmarks were surprisingly good! Windows 8 performed better than Windows 7 across the board in all categories, and in many cases with fairly dramatic performance gains.
Disclaimer: Though this benchmark was performed in a relatively controlled environment, it represents a single hardware configuration. As such the results here cannot be assumed to be generally valid until such tests are validated across a larger variety of systems. Also  the tests were performed by running the application with sample sets lasting a few minutes. To be more conclusive the tests would need to be repeated multiple times to reduce jitter error.
SONAR CPU load at low latency
SONAR CPU gains were observed when using Windows 8 for Low latency performance tests. These gains mean you can run bigger loads in Win8 at low latency without audio glitching.
low latency plugins… 15.5% CPU reduction
input monitoring… 8% CPU reduction
high track count… 23% CPU reduction
High bandwidth audio …6.2% CPU reduction
SONAR multi-core CPU load balancing at low latency
Workloads for cores are more evenly balanced at low latencies on Windows 8. Better balanced core workloads translate to more efficient use of multiple CPU core hardware and thereby better workload scaling for large projects.
low latency plugins… 23% improvement
input monitoring… 31.7% improvement
high track count… 30.6% improvement
High bandwidth audio …17.5% improvement
Memory usage
A 7.9% reduction in memory use under Win8 was observed when loading a large real world SONAR project (Cori Yarkin project from SONAR sample content) under identical system configuration. Reduced memory load can be observed in most of the tests.
Disk Performance
A 78% improvement under Win8 was observed in disk read/write performance while reading large buffer sizes. Improvements were more moderate at smaller buffer sizes.
System calls per second
An 85% reduction in system calls was observed under Windows 8 in the input monitoring case and more moderate gains in the other cases. Fewer system calls translate to improved CPU load as well as fewer user mode to kernel transitions which mean fewer audio glitches.
Kernel use
25 – 50% reduction in kernel use can be observed in some of the tests with Win8. Lower kernel use results in fewer audio glitches since it leaves more headroom for audio drivers.

Conclusion
All the tests above were done running the current shipping version of SONAR X1 with no special Win8 tweaks. The tests ran very smoothly with no problems noted under Win8 using SONAR X1. In fact you could push the system harder under Win8 without getting glitches in audio as compared to Win7. The tests show that despite the controversial changes to Windows, there are some significant benefits even for standard Windows desktop apps running Windows 8. This is great news for existing Windows 7 users who are considering an upgrade to Windows 8.
Regarding Metro however, the jury is out on whether it will be a suitable platform for high performance music production applications. Until Microsoft addresses some of the concerns in Metro, WinRT is unlikely to be very robust as a platform for building such applications.

Acknowledgements
A big thank you to Seth Kellogg from QA who did the laborious benchmarking. Also thanks to Ryan Munnis from Tech Support for his help with some of the tests.

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