Windows 8 – Testing audio performance in comparison to Windows 7

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How well does Windows 8 perform with audio and music production when compared to Windows 7? Rain Computers UK reveals their testing and discusses what’s good and bad about the new Windows version.
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33 Comments

  1. i think windows 8.1 is a much smoother experience audio wise. higher track counts, more plugins can run. everything is the same but muuch smoother. worth the change,and i hated it when it came out.ย 

  2. Those who want to keep using the mouse can, to me using a mouse with music software has always felt like sitting in the driving seat and using a remote control to steer. Thank god we are finally about to get an alternative. I work with a guy who used a win8 tablet for an hour and when he went back to Win 7 it took him all afternoon to get used to NOT being able to just press the buttons on the GUI. Anyone who thinks touch devices are pointless is really missing the point

  3. Window frames? In the desktop you can resize with the mouse as much as you like. Windows 8 can offer the same potential, performance and stability as Windows 7 – but if you have a rockin' Win7 setup then why change? My experience is that Windows 8 requires very little tweaking really – but it depends on your system.

  4. Iยดm working on a C2D, 2.9Ghz, 8GB, HDD + SSD (S830), Win7 U 64bit. Itยดs running nothing but Audio (C7,WL8). Lots of research&tweaking turned my HP office machine into a system running projects with 40+ Channels, full of EQs, greedy VSTs & VSTis at around 75-80%, but stable as rock. No freezes/sound issues, no need to render too early to save CPU. Does anyone know whether Win8 offers similar potential? I heard e.g.adjusting the width of the window frames requires editing the registry. ๐Ÿ™

  5. Hi – use standard Windows 8 for up to 16GB of RAM, if you are planning to use more RAM then you'll need the pro version – otherwise they are more or less the same. The NI box is an audio interface, the MPC is a controller so they are different things.

  6. Wow, sorry you're so upset – it's just an operating system – the desktop is still just the desktop and i'm still using a keyboard and mouse – what are you talking about?. You're aware that you're on my YouTube channel yes? Rain Computers – building computers for music production? I'll be forever grateful that you took the time to set me straight about how awful Win 8 is otherwise I would have happily just carried on working. Check out my other vids on multi-touch in Win8 for some more awfulness.

  7. It has nothing to do with opinion – there is simply no advantage in changing from a mouse and keyboard optimized interface to a touch interface unless you're using touch. There is no advantage in learning this and paying for the privilege. There are NO enhancements to the desktop, you're just saying that to justify wasting your money and time on this crap.

    Like I said, you're obviously a consumer, whereas I am a creator and need professional tools, not fucking Facebook, weather and adverts.

  8. All opinion is subjective mate. You seem fixated on the Metro screen. If you are working on the desktop, or Pro Tools or Cubase or Photoshop then Metro is irrelevant. The desktop in 8 is everything that 7 is but enhanced, with better file management, navigation, ribbon options – what's not to like about that? There's no massive reason to upgrade but "stupid", "idiot" and "mess" and not useful, accurate or helpful terms to describe it – but we are all entitled to our opinion ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I suppose that if you're stupid enough to find W7 clunky then you may well find this awful mess appealing. Idiots need big flashing adverts on their screen and call this tidy. They accept that a mouse and keyboard are lower priority, even though it's their primary tool, and they accept everything that Microsoft shoves down their throat.

    Metro is useless, I have all the "apps" I need. You haven't listed a real benefit, instead just giving a subjective opinion on why you prefer this mess.

  10. I disagree. Win 8 has the same interface as 7 – the desktop. In fact 8 tidies up and improves the 7 desktop immensely. Going back to 7 feels very clunky and tiresome. The comments you make are actually directed at the Metro start screen – it's just a way of launching programs – if you pin your programs to the task bar then you don't even need to use it. Metro also brings a ton of other useful apps. Why, as a pro, limit yourself to 7 when you can everything 7 has in 8 but with more good stuff?

  11. There are no advantages to Windows 8 if you're using 7. 7 is stable and has the better interface. 8 is optimised for touchscreens, which is no use for most people who do actual work on their computer. Sure, if you want a tablet for watching movies and checking Facebook, then 8 willdo the job.

    But for a pro user, changing to Windows 8 is beyond retarded. You lose a familiar interface, you have to reinstall programs and drivers, you gain zero benefit and you pay for the privilege.

  12. hi, I have assembled a frankenstein of a pc… Its got an msi z77a-gd80 motherboard thunderbolt ready, g-skill 16 G 2×8 sticks RAM, some 1x G asus GPU, an intel 3.4 processor cpu and a intel ssd not sure on exact space it has but its over 100 G, My question is: What windows 8 version should i install, pro or just the standard 8? I plan on using ableton 9 and an MPC renaissance controller, i am using an NI audio kontrol usb interface atm, and havent got the mpc yet, will the mpc replace NI Card?

  13. That's a tough question – I've have to look up some kind of CPU comparison chart. I find that windows 7 and 8 are very similar in performance. If you hate the metro stuff then stick with win7 – if your stuff is compatible and you don't dislike the metro stuff then go ith windows 8 – you cant lose either way.

  14. โ€ โ€ โ€  You are right – the 32 bit test is definitely not pertinent much less a congruent comparison to the fresh 64 bit tweaked install used on Rain DAWs. My apologies: I missed those important bits ๐Ÿ™‚

    All accounts suggest performance is negligibly different. So if performance is factored out of the equation, do you enjoy XP, 7 or 8 more & which do you think offers maximal efficiency for multipurpose power users wanting instant access to files and lots of apps?

    โœˆ โ–Œโ–ŒWhatMoDid . com

  15. โ€ โ€ โ€  This is the FASTEST RESPONSE of my entire life. I have conversations with slower responses. If you're this fast, Rain computers can't be far behind ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Would a Rain i3 notebook be faster than a Q6600 overclocked to 3.4?

    Perhaps minuscule OS performance differences are less important than the overall experience.
    If you say go with 8, I think I will.

    Love Doesn't Stone Women: (John8)
    TheAngel . com โ€  Peta.org โœˆ โ–Œโ–ŒBanIslamNOW . com

  16. Well, you know, you get the results you get, that's all you can go on. I would point out that back in September 2012 its unlikely the MOTU had Windows 8 drivers and firewire is known to have some problems with Windows 8. He also did an "upgrade" over the top of Windows 7 – i'd always do a fresh install. There's no real mention of any tweaking that he did to the OS. And finally he used 32bit everything which isn't that helpful. So, he got what he got but you have to take it in context. Thx ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. โ€ โ€ โ€  Excellent Analysis ๐Ÿ™‚

    But… I was shocked into a catatonic state because a humorless German at Steinberg conducted an impeccable (?) scientific comparison between Win7 & Win8 & got the opposite results:
    tinyurl . com /windaw
    I love XP: quick launch gives me 100 APPS 1 click away. But for more memory I was about to jump to Win7 based on the German's results. But you, being British, can probably sing better. German vs British results…hmm.

    Love Doesn't Stone Women:
    โœˆ โ–Œโ–Œ BanIslamNOW . com

  18. Hi yes, well first of all Pro Tools 10 isn't supported on Windows 8 – it can work but it can be fiddly. Is you Mbox USB or firewire? If it's firewire then you'll have trouble as Windows 8 doesn't come with the right firewire drivers to get it to work either. So the fact that you have it running at all on Windows 8 is pretty impressive. I would do a search on pro-tools-expert . com and you should find tweaking tips for pro tools and windows 8.

  19. i have a brand new desktop with win8 and more than enough juice to run protools 10. pts with be the first app that i install. i instld it and rcordg is.fine but ply bk has alot of cracking.it recrds.with no.issues.i have the avid mbox 3rd gen, no plug ins. i also have reason 5 istld and working like a champ. but pt is.giving me head aches. ive look on forums.this is the first vid i have seen with win8 with any daw at all. if you have any suggestions please feel free to reply.

  20. I agree on testing latency, but FYI LatencyMon and dpclat don't currently work on Windows 8 due to "kernel timing" changes. More info on the DPC latency checker website. So real-world testing would be necessary.

  21. I'm sorry I didn't test in a way that was useful to you – i'm just presenting what I did in the hope that it's helpful to somebody. The question I get asked every day is "how many plug-ins can I run" and so that sort of comparison seems important to people. But for me I just wanted to show a comparison – which is what I did.

  22. "replicable, easy to compare and makes some kind of sense"

    Testing lower level stuff is harder, but expertise in this domain is your business, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

    "higher numbers to give your results some resolution"

    That depends on what you're trying to resolve. In this case, higher numbers destroys all our resolution of low level OS overhead.

    You wouldn't test the frequency response of monitors by driving them at 100%, because that's not typical usage, right?

  23. "the main factor is going to be the quality of the drivers so your test would be more about the audio interface than the OS"

    Not necessarily. Many manufacturers just get their existing Vista/Win7 driver re-signed for Windows 8; I'd like to know if performance is affected. More importantly, I want to know if other driver subsystems (ATAPORT.SYS, USBPORT.SYS, etc.) are hogging more resources under Windows 8.

  24. There's lots of different ways of looking at it. At very low buffer sizes the main factor is going to be the quality of the drivers so your test would be more about the audio interface than the OS. At some point you have to decide on a test that's going to be replicable, easy to compare and makes some kind of sense. Also you need higher numbers to give your results some resolution. DPC latency monitoring doesn't work on Win 8 so unfortunately that's not a tool we can use. Thanks for the comment.

  25. Why do you focus exclusively on load testing? I'm never going to run 50 sampler instances, but I routinely play virtual instruments or live monitor through plugins at minimum buffer settings. You're far more likely to find differences there, where even tiny differences in system performance have a huge impact, than in maximum throughput tests where OS overhead is totally overshadowed. Carefully analyzed dpclat or LatencyMon results would be a lot more useful to many musicians, IMO.

  26. Although if you check the differences between the RME fireface UFX firewire and USB versions, the firewire card performs up to 20% better at low latency settings. And that's a ยฃ1500 card too by a company that write some of the most stable drivers. Look at Avid's Mbox 3 – the USB version doesn't even work at 64 buffer, whereas the firewire model is knocking out some respectable results.

  27. I am SO glad I came across this video because I was struggling with buying another tower with Win8 because I was wondering about overall performance…and I want to carry over some of my old equipment (E-Mu Pro sound card, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, etc.) and was really hoping I wouldn't lose anything. I was using Ableton Live 8, Cakewalk, Cubase and others on my old system. this is very encouraging. Thanks for this video mate!

  28. It varies. If you checkout the Dawbench figures of many interfaces you'll see USB and Firewire performance varies from manufacturer to manufacturer – Focusrite being generally poor, RME being generally good – a USB RME interface would dance all over a firewire Focusrite one, so, you know, it depends but i don't think you can say that firewire is better than USB without qualifying which interface and doing what – if you see what i mean ๐Ÿ™‚
    dawbench.com/images/dawbench-llp-09-12-1.jpg

  29. Just got back from DAWbenching the Focusrite Scarlett 18i6 USB interface. Have to say the performance was nothing like firewire on the same machine. My laptop with the scarlett managed about 40 URS channel strip pro @ 7.5ms latency as opposed to 120 on the MOTU 828mkii @ 6.5ms. I can't speak for the MOTU or Steinberg interfaces but at comparable latency settings the performance of USB interfaces is still very much behind firewire from what I've seen.

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