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Testing PC performance for audio production

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Just stumbled upon some freeware to test the performance of a PC for audio applications. Good if you're feeling a bit dubious about the specs sheet, or that disconcerting smile from the sales assistant in the shop... you can pop these on a USB and check out what components are really inside before you buy...

This is the PC Wizard utility which defaults to the 'Hardware System Summary' with information about the make and model of the motherboard, its chip set, how much RAM it has, the processing speed, the type of video card it has and the capacity and type of connected drivers. You can also confirm how many expansion slots exist and what type they are and if they're already fitted with a card. The 'Bus Firewire' function will tell you the brand of the Firewire controller chip.

Thesycon's DPC Latency Checker will run a performance test to check how smoothly the hardware drivers perform and will reveal their potential to cause audio clicks and pops in a graphical display. The interruptions show up as 'spikes' in the analysis.

(If you have trouble with the above link, just go to the OCCT homepage and click your preferred language).

Running this will check the CPU cores' temperature stability, which ensures that the cooling fan is doing its job. If you run this in conjunction with DPC and check the DPC window, any disruptions caused by the fans can be seen too.

...and that sales assistant lurking around you will disappear very quickly I should say!!! ;)

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