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Experiences using MSP8 on quad-core systems?

Experiences using MSP8 on quad-core systems?

Postby John Reid » Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:18 pm

I recently upgraded to a quadcore and have been having frequent crashes with MSP8. The crashes are more or less random but I'm trying to document it to see if I can discern pattern. I'm wondering how others are faring with new hardware?

I have tried both imaging the old partition over to the new one, and a completely fresh install of XP SP2, with nothing else except MSP8. I suspect there may be some issue with MSP8 and the fact that there are now 4 CPUs to contend with.

My old machine is a 2.8GHz P4C with hyperthreading, running XP Pro SP2 and 2.5GB RAM, the new one is a Q6600 quad-core on a Gigabyte GA-P35C-DS3R motherboard, with 2GB RAM and (the same) XP Pro SP2.

I am aware of all the OS-related quadcore issues out there, and have dealt with all potential problems. Other multi-processor-aware software such as Photoshop Elements 5 and Cubase 4 are working fine (once all relevant updates were installed).

I'm worried now, seeing as Corel have discontinued the product, that I will never be able to get MSP8 to run as stable as it was on my old machine, as there will be no more product updates.
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Postby troppo » Sun Feb 03, 2008 5:10 am

are you able to disable 3 cores and see if it's stable on one? I would place my bets on some sort of motherboard driver conflict rather than the 4 core issue.
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Postby John Reid » Sun Feb 03, 2008 5:19 am

I've tried disabling hyperthreading in the BIOS, but then it amazingly comes back with three (!) processors visible in Task Manager. No joy that way either. If that would have fixed it, it would have defeated the point of getting the more powerful PC in the first place.

Remember, there are no specific drivers of any kind loaded, on a fresh XP XP2 install, if I load a video and play around a little, within a short space of time MSP8 crashes.
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Postby robtywlak » Sun Feb 03, 2008 8:35 am

My experience with random crashes is that it is usually caused by hardware not software... software crashes are usually repeatable.

I would check your memory with some diagnostic tester and also check your power supply to make sure your voltages are correct - dont trust the on board meters and use a real digital volt meter with 1% or better DC accuracy. Does your power supply have enough power?

Another experiement would be to down clock your system and RAM timings and see if the problem goes away. A dirty CPU heatsink can cause overheat issues and random crashes - or one that is undersized for the job. ALso can try a slight speed increase and / or shorten RAM timings - if things get much worse then you know you are operating on the edge of stability.

Next to the CPU quality RAM is very important.

Those would be what I would check into.

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Postby Devil » Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:09 am

Does XP Pro support 4 processors? I thought it was limited to two. ?????????
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Postby cgould » Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:00 pm

MSPro8 has been working pretty well so far on my Quadcore, although not with full multi-threaded speed of course...
I haven't had too much time to do full testing yet. Only recent glitch is that suddenly I can't capture HDV over firewire, something about device in preview mode or... I was able to capture in VideoStudio11+ instead, so maybe there's some ulead software conflict...

I have Q6600 2.8Ghz, Asus P5KE wifi, mushkin 2gb pc8500 ram, no overclocking, 1066FSB (std support per motherboard), eVGA Geforce 8600GT 512m. I have an Antec850W PSU (total overkill, but had good rebate :) ), but the system at max w/ gfx card only draws 180W at the wall outlet.

I have Win MCE2005 SP2, so equivalent to XPsp2 basically. Seems to work fine w/ MCE edition OS.
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Postby troppo » Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:42 am

I suggested disabling 3 of the cores, not as a fix to your problem, but as a troubleshooting aid. If it works ok on one core then you know for sure that is where the problem lies and work out a fix, if it still crashes you can then try something else.
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Postby John Reid » Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:04 pm

Thanks everybody for the helpful suggestions. Here's what I have done so far:

@troppo: the BIOS doesn't allow me to disable all but one core, there is a option there to disable multi-threading (whether real or virtual), but if I do that, it still shows up as having 3 (!) cores in Task manager. Also, on the old PC I used hyperthreading, so I do know that MSP8 certainly has no problem when it sees what appear to be two CPUS.

@Devil: XP Pro only supports 2 processors, but each of those can be a quad-core, giving you 8 CPU cores. In the case of the Q6600, it only counts as one processor for licensing purposes.

@robtywlak: all good advice, I'd already ruled out the hardware (remember, other applications work fine), and I've checked (with a multimeter) both the voltages and temperatures. I can run MemTest86 for 24hrs with no error.

@cgould: good to hear you're working well on a Q6600, I also have the Antec 650W PSU in an Antec P180 case so it's well powered, and well cooled.

What I will do next weekend when I have some time is to rebuild a partition from scratch, install MSP8 and only then install XP SP2 over the top ... I think there may be some files that get installed into the system32 folder by MSP8 that are older than XP SP2 -- but that's just an unfounded hunch at this point!

Thanks again to everyone for the help ... if I have success I post the results here! I will stick at it, as it will be make-or-break time for me as far as MSP8 is concerned .... :(
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Works Ok for me... some more details

Postby jpal » Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:53 pm

I'm running XP x64 on a quad core 6600 w/8G ram. MSP8 works fine, except that I sometimes get crashes on instant-play,and also sometimes when clicking too quick on the timeline (like before, except seemingly more often). Also, it leaves the process active on close-down (I think this is a permissions issue because this is a windows server kind of environment).

Running MSP8 within XP SP2 as a 32bit guest on Vmware with 2 processors, within the XP64 as a host works just fine, and I get more stability there than I did with my original single core old machine running XP 32bit on a 2G system.

Hope that makes sense, What codecs do you have loaded?
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Re: Works Ok for me... some more details

Postby John Reid » Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:12 pm

jpal wrote:Running MSP8 within XP SP2 as a 32bit guest on Vmware with 2 processors, within the XP64 as a host works just fine, and I get more stability there than I did with my original single core old machine running XP 32bit on a 2G system.
What a great idea! I wouldn't have thought the video performance would be very good though ... if this works, it means we can all go to Vista64 and run an XP virtual machine for MSP8 ... I own Vista Ultimate so that has MS virtualisation in it as well ... just never got the time to install it!

jpal wrote:What codecs do you have loaded?
Just whatever gets loaded with a vanilla install of XP SP2 and MSP8+SP2. I'm not sure how to get a list of all of them ....
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Use of VMs

Postby jpal » Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:45 pm

Can I just clarify something about VMs, it's virtualisation NOT emuation and the speed is just fine - I can play dvd and vc1 HD material on the VM, and there are times when I just forget which actual machine I'm on. You're not going to be playing DX10.1 games in the VM though!

The VM also frees up the guest from an awful lot of rubbish that tends to run on multipurpose OSes (the clutter of antivirus, firewalls, services, etc), so the memory is maximised and the registry fairly clean and other conflicts reduced. As well, you can snapshot, clone and recover VMs quite easily.

I use VMWare because it appears to give better support for USB (the MS freebie doesn't), which allows me to run legacy USB devices which don't have 64bit drivers (my Nikon coolscan frinstance).

My experience of MSP8 is that it doesn't use more than one core, and actually doesn't need that much memory (although it does sometimes appear to crash with a memory leak), so the VM doesn't need to be very big. Quite a lot of the other rendering and 3D software does now get 2 or 4 cores humming nicely.

I can recommend getting to 8G RAM if you can with a 64bit OS because a 32 bit OS can only get you to 3-3.5G on most desktop mobos (even with 4G fitted). This would not then leave you with loads of room for VMs. Most apps still run with either a 2G or 4G limit.

I chose Xp x64 as the host for a number of reasons - luddite though I may appear. Vista64 requires driver signing as I understand it, and I'm not that willing to be so purist (and last year drivers weren't mature enough anyway). I want to run MSP on my main OS, and XP x64 lets me do just that without the frigs that people on this forum have discovered for Vista. I hate the UAC stuff. I'm a consenting adult and want to be able to destroy my system without nagging! And I've been alarmed at some of the stuff I've seen about Vista disabling "premium" content. I operate legally, and I don't want an operating system telling me what I can and can't do in my jurisdiction thank you very much, when I may be under some deadline to deliver content.

Runining with 2 graphics cards on 4 screens allows plenty of room for video editing, other content creation, and putting VMs up as required.

Overall, I happy as a pig in clover with this setup, as it's let me continue with MSP for a long while yet, and I'll take my time geting comfortable with a new edit suite.
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Postby sjj1805 » Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:53 pm

Could I enquire what the benefits of using VMware are compared to a multi boot system or removable hard drives in caddies?
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Postby John Reid » Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:03 am

Thanks for the excellent advice. My intention is to eventually go to Vista Ultimate 64-bit, but only as the apps and drivers mature, and in the meantime I'll dual-boot. XP64 is not an option because I also use Cubase 4, which is not supported on XP64, although I do believe it can be tweaked to run on it.

I'm already a big fan of VMWare, as I use it in my day job as a sysadmin, but never considered it might be useful for video! USB support would not be an issue for me as I get my video as already on DVD, so I will certainly give the MS virtualisation as spin as well.

Sad to hear MSP8 doesn't make use of more than one core though ... I thought I'd read somewhere that one of the service packs provided better multi-processor support ... I guess not.
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Postby troppo » Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:39 am

I also use VMware on my mac to run MSP8. Runs perfect. I prefer to run it this way than a dual boot system as it is easy to use mac and xp software at the same time.
Plus, a wmware system can run isolated from the main system, and it can be easy reversed to an earlier time (snapshot) if something goes wrong with an install or codec conflict. (Much better than system restore!)
Now all it needs is better directx support so i can play my xp games, haha.
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Postby Devil » Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:56 am

MSP does profit from dualies and HT during rendering. I often get ~55-60% average from each processor, but, of course, never 2 x 100%. Simple test: render a file with one processor and note the time. Then do it with 2 processors. There is a distinct time difference, although not so much as I would have hoped.

I did it with Mark Dileo's benchmark MSP7 test a number of years ago with and without HT and got up to 12% improvement on some parts.

Unfortunately, the benchmark could not be run with MSP8 because of the titler changes. I've been tempted to re-install MSP7 just to see how my latest rig performs! Unfortunately, Mark has shortened the table to a reasonable size. I remember he had at least one result with a Dual HT, right at the top. He removed my results because they were slightly poorer than his own with apparently identical hardware. If I remember rightly, the table was well over twice the current size.
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