Install and get the benefits of Microsoft Windows 8

W8screen

Holidays invites to do new things…

I have since long time ago a couple of systems with Microsoft Windows 7…and I am working for a company that help larger enterprises to upgrade their PC fleet to newer OS/Applications repackaging a and distribution…so I am probably representing Microsoft most positive deployment partner in Sweden. But on the private side and on my music computers at home…I had absolutely no plans to upgrade to Windows 8…for the moment…I was suspicious and wondered what really Windows 8 could offer to me…especially on my old notebooks. (No touch or anything…)

But I have got inspired by Allan at digitalDrummer who has written a couple of posts of going to Windows 8 versus W7.
So – I started to wonder…why not upgrade one system to Windows 8 and see what’s happen. So I did!

The old system
I have two similar systems which I use for generic music tasks like Cubase, VSTs and one system especially target for live drumming using Addictive Drums, MegaDRUM etc.

I selected my live drum system as the W8 victim for my tests! They are both equal and the model is a HP Compaq 6910p system with 2GHz, Intel Dual Core, 3GB, 200 GB hard disk and an external USB based 8 channel DSP based soundcard from M-Audio called Fast Track Ultra 8R(Driver 1.5.1 for W7). So these systems are real old!!

On the current selected system, I had Windows 7 SP1 running in 64 bit mode. I was also running the application VST Host(1.53) in 64 bit mode which hosted Addicted Drums 1.5.4 in 64 bit mode. Connected to the system I used the MegaDRUM USB midi trigger device (Firmware 20121216) and the related MegaDRUM Manager(20121202) + Oracle Java 7 Version 10.

The new system
Windows 8 Pro, same hardware except for the hard disk which now was a 120 GB SSD disk.

W8PerformanceASIO Tests
To test the soundcard latency I used a common used tool from Centrance called LTU. The LTU measures the audio delay in your Windows™ computer. Determines true round-trip latency of your computer audio setup, from input to output, via an ASIO driver. (You actually connect the sound cards output to the input…see http://centrance.com/products/ for more information.

Windows 8 Installation Steps
Loading the W8 OS. I created a bootable USB stick and booted from that. I wanted to create a clean installation on my system. Creating a bootable USB stick – my recommendation to use the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool from Microsoft Store. This application can create a bootable USB stick from a Microsoft Operating ISO file. W7/W8 etc.

  1. Boot your system that you are going to install/upgrade on the W8 USB stick. Proceed with installation sequence. I did reformat my hard disk etc.
  2. Ready!! – Wait for the Windows Update to run do all patching first. A antivirus malware application is included directly from MS called Security Essentials.
  3. Attach all your hardware – normally – W8 will find the requested hardware drivers. In my case I needed to download the M-Audio/AVID driver to install. This was a W7 driver…but it works for W8 without any problems.
  4. The MegaDRUM Device use the Windows Core USB midi driver. Included in W8 – Just to run! Fine!!
  5. Just to install the VST Host for X64 and then also install Addictive DRUMs which now has a very fine online installer!!
  6. For MegaDRUM Manager – Oracle Java 7 is required. Needs to be installed in desktop mode.
  7. Ready for rocken-roll!

Comparisons between the old and new system.

Comparison2

Note: Based on the extreme performance boost showed in Windows 8 – I decided to reinstall the system again but now with Windows 7 and a SSD disk. (Just to see if the SSD disk was the thing boosting the performance) So I did. But when meassuring the latency again on this system I got a result on 10.50 ms in Windows 7. So my conclusion is that Windows 8 is faster!! Okej – Have I done any tweaks on Windows 7 or Windows 8 on the figures above like switching off certain services etc? NO!! I have not spent a minute to tweak them.

Conclusion
W8 is fast as hell!! To boot and to work with. The ASIO performance was worth the whole journey!! On my old system I gained like 3 times in performance boost!! You could always question the absence on the start button…but now your start button has been spread over the whole screen instead…I can live with this. (If you can’t live with this – there are solutions for this also like the Start8) Still missing the hided power off button? There are solutions for this also!!

Nice to see my critical applications like Addictive Drums, MegaDRUM Manager and VST Hosts were working in Windows 8 without any problem. (Even sleep/resume works with these apps running) Of course – they have to run in the old desktop mode…but what the heck – It works and performs well!

Hopefully more and more apps will show up and also use the Modern-UI which makes sense and also opens up the RT based flavor of systems. (I personally would like to see MegaDRUM Manager, Cubase, VST Hosts etc. converted into the Modern-UI)

Bring it all together- I am using the new ARM based MegaDRUM which runs on 12 Mbit/s over the USB bus and internally has a 72 MHz ARM processor, which internally gives me a latency on about 1-1,5 ms from the drum trigger to USB bus. So all together with Windows 8 and the low ASIO latency, the ARM based MegaDRUM and Addictive Drums in 64 bits mode…it actually felt extremely nice to play the drums!! It felt real and near and the system was fast as hell! I have even tried to use the sound card in 96 KHz mode and it works even better and now with even lower latency 1.3 ms!!!!! See the from a live performance (actually at Microsoft Sweden) where my band made a concert and where I used my Windows 8 Setup live! http://youtu.be/IhwcraO6L-k 

Finally, I think I need to go out and find a Intel i7 core based system with touch…that would be a nice live drum system!!

Microsoft Windows 8 – My best recommendations!

Links

Anders Gronlund (ANGR77)

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Comments
  1. ed says:

    Hey man,

    I am having massssssive latency issues with my superior drummer and can’t work out why. I get the latency in standalone or VST, regardless of buffer size. It is a massive latency that makes it impossible to play – probably a few hundred ms. It is the same using either an arturia beatstep (via USB) trigger pads or my megadrum (via USB). Furthermore, my friend had my megadrum working fine on his mac with superior drummer. Lastly, I get no latency issues using a usb keyboard with other VSTs in reaper as far as I can tell…

    I have a top line interface – antelope zen studio, windows i7 with 32GB ram and a samsung NVME ssd, so thought that I would probably have a pretty zippy experience, but it is unplayable.

    I have played with the buffer sizes in superior drummer and within my audio interface to no effect, so I suspect this a problem intrinsic to superior drummer on my system. Any ideas?

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