Known conflicts with other hardware

Our DSP24 series of cards need a good and optimized system configuration to work with optimal performance. Because of that we are regulary testing our products with different hardware setups to ensure and check best possible compatibility. We had to notice that a number of other PC components have certain compatibility issues when used together with our hardware. This page provides special setup instructions and settings for a list of products to avoid possible trouble when used together with our hardware.

The following components are compatible with our DSP24 series of products but special attention is needed to their configuration when used together with our hardware:

VIA KT133, KT133A, KX133, ApolloPro133 and ApolloPro133A chipsets
VIA MVP3 chipset
Promise Fasttrack RAID controller
Adaptec 2940UW/U2W SCSI-controller
ATI Rage 128 chipset based AGP graphic card
Matrox Millenium/Mystique PCI graphic card
SiS 645, 735 and 745 chipsets

VIA KT133, KT133A, KX133, ApolloPro133 and ApolloPro133A chipsets

You can read many strange stories about the VIA "133" chipsets on the web. Some people tell you they are great and work well, other will tell you that they only had problems and are not performing good enough. Before going into details: there are absolutly no compatibility problems with these chipsets and our hardware. But why are many people complaining about these chipsets, some of them even about the combination with our hardware? The reason are the default configuration settings that are not very good considering the demand of modern harddisc recording hardware. Please check the following configuration steps to ensure a stable configuration, otherwise operation with low latencies will not work without clicks and drop-outs:

The DSP24 PCI card needs to get a unique and unshared IRQ. If you use Windows 2000 or XP, disable ACPI.

Secondly, a recent version of the VIA 4-in-1 driver (we recommend at least v4.31) and the VIA USB Filter driver must be installed (check the VIA website [1] or the website of your mainboard manufacturer). Please check if there is an update for the BIOS of your mainboard that is newer than about mid 2001 ... if so, please download and use it.

If you are using Windows 98SE with USB enabled, Microsoft's UHCD update [2] should be used as well.

On mainboards with the KT133 and KT133A chipset, you must use high quality 133MHz memory modules only. Also check the correspsonding setting in your BIOS (it should be set to 133MHz) and make sure the memory timing is not set to an incorrect (e.g. too low) value. Our tests have shown that low-quality or bad memory modules are causing most of the possible trouble on a VIA chipset based mainboard. Only get tested high-quality modules from well-known brands.

Set PCI DELAY TRANSACTION in your BIOS to DISABLED (if you have still problems after that, change this back to ENABLED). Then, set PCI DEVICE LATENCY TIMER to a value of 32 or lower. PCI MASTER READ CACHING should be set to DISABLED as well (this could cause performance problems, but because of the VIA southbridge bug). On faster systems with the KT133A chipset, ENABLED can be better - depending on the other PCI-components in your PC. If one of these settings is not available in your BIOS, download the latest update and/or contact your mainboard manufacturer.

Last but not least, we recommend to disable all power managment related functions.

We think it is fair to mention that most other current chipsets do not need a similar amount of configuration changes to avoid performance problems. So if you want to avoid changing too much PC configuration related settings, mainboards based on other chipsets could be a better choice. We generally recommend Intel chipset based mainboards for systems with Intel CPUs and AMD or nVidia chipset based mainboards for systems with AMD CPUs. In any case, a optimized PC confguration is always needed to get best results.

VIA MVP3 chipset

The VIA MVP3 chipset can be found usually in systems with AMD K6 or AMD K6-II CPUs. Mainboards with this chipset are no longer available but still in use. Most mainboards with this chipset have been produced / developed before the PCI 2.1 specification that is needed for our DSP24 hardware so the first thing you need to check is the BIOS revision. If you can get an update from your mainboard manufacturer, use it.

Secondly you should check that you have installed the chipset drivers. You can download the chipset drivers either from the website of your mainboard manufactuer or you can find them on the CD that you should have received with your mainboard.

Generally the performance of the MVP3 chipset is not excellent when it comes to PCI transfer rates. This means that a hardware configuration that includes other busmaster devices (e.g. SCSI controller, network controller or an additional soundcard) should be avoided, otherwise you are not able to use our DSP24 hardware with low latency settings.

As the AMD K6 and K6-II CPU does not provide optimal performance for most audio applications (they usually depend very much on FPU performance), we generally recommend a more modern mainboard and CPU apart from this info.

Promise Fasttrack RAID controller

The Promise Fasttrack RAID controller can cause performance problems with our DSP24 series. Recording and playback, especially with low latencies, can generate pops and clicks with the default drivers and settings of the controller. The controller is available as PCI card and as onboard chipset on some mainboards. Both are affected by the issue that we describe here.

To solve the problem, download and install the latest drivers for the controller. Also download and install the utility software [3] for the Fasttrak RAID controller. Inside this software, move the PCI Bus Utilization option to about 1/2 of the range or less (the lower, the better). This solves the problem completly - please also refer to the documentation of your RAID controller.

Adaptec 2940UW/U2W SCSI-controller

The famous Adaptec 2940 SCSI controller series is causing performance problems when installed in the same system as our DSP24 series and when the audiodata is stored on a SCSI-HDD connected to the controller. To get good results in benchmark tests, the Adaptec controller keeps steady access to the PCI bus. The result is a reduction of data transfer of other PCI cards like the DSP24 hardware. This means that the ASIO/MME buffer size (which is the latency) needs to be set to a relative high value to avoid stuttered audio playback and drop-outs during recording. The performance problems can be reduced if both the DSP24 and the Adaptec controller both have a unique and unshared IRQ. Still the performance will not be as good compared to the regular onboard IDE-controller of a modern mainboard. This means that the best solution is to use a IDE-HDD to save the audiodata from within your recording software. The simple presence of the controller (that is used while the audiodata is stored on a IDE-HDD) is no problem.

We have noticed that the onboard version of this controller (AIC-7800 chipset) seems to be affected as well but not as much. Onboard SCSI-controllers usually provide better performance compared to PCI SCSI-controllers.

Other PCI-SCSI controllers we have tested do not show similar problems. Considering the price/value if you compare SCSI with IDE systems, modern IDE-HDDs on modern mainboards are providing usually better performance compared to older SCSI-controllers and SCSI-HDDs.

ATI Rage 128 chipset based AGP graphic card

ATI Rage 128 chipset based graphic cards can cause performance problems with the ASIO driver of the DSP24 series. This may result in pops and clicks during playback if the color deepth is set to 8bit (256 colors) or 16bit (65536 colors). To solve the problem, set the color deepth to 32bit (the maximum value) and use a screen resolution that supports 32bit colors. Do not reduce the graphic acceleration setting of Windows, despite what you might read on other websites or what other people might tell you (very important).

Matrox Millenium/Mystique PCI graphic card

We generally do not recommend to use PCI graphic cards together with our DSP24 hardware because of the increased system load they cause compared to more modern AGP graphic cards. Unlike quite a number of PCI cards, the Matrox Millenium and Mystique cards do provide a setting to avoid possible problems. If you use one of these cards, please download and install the current drivers for it. Inside the Matrox specific options of the display properties you can find a setting called Busmastering - please disable it. This allows you to use the DSP24 card also with low latency settings without clicks & pops.

SiS 645, 735 and 745 chipsets

SiS is producing chipsets for both AMD and Intel CPUs. SiS chipset based mainboards have become more famous recently as they offer good performance for relativly low prices. The PCI performance is in fact very good, especially with current chipset drivers. Also the amount of configuration that is needed to get a very stable setup with good performance is considerably lower compared to current VIA chipset based mainboards. As a result, SiS chipset based mainboards can be used and in fact recommended if you are on a budget. Some famous mainboards with SiS chipsets are the ASUS P4S333 (for Intel P4 CPUs), the ASUS A7S333 or the ECS K7S5A (both for AMD Athlon CPUs).

After we had some feedback from customers, we have done a number of tests with the two mentioned mainboards. The performance under Windows XP is very good on ACPI-installations. This is important to know as we are generally recommending to use the Standard-PC HAL instead of ACPI-PC HAL on many systems (e.g. with VIA chipsets) [4]. The SiS chipset drivers however seem to have severe performance problems with the IDE controller that reduces the IDE transfer rate below any acceptable value for HD-recording when ACPI is disabled. Also the performance problems appear under Windows 98 SE and Me.

Conclusion: if you use Windows XP, the SiS chipset is a great choice. If you use Windows 9x/Me, we recommend not to use these chipsets. If you use Windows 2000, the performance is OK but not as good as under Windows XP.

>> Back to Knowledge Base <<

last updated: 10/21/2002 author: Claus Riethmüller

References to other documents or external websites
[1] VIA Technologies, website of VIA Technologies; you can get the latest 4-in-1 drivers here
[2] Microsoft UHCD, link to the Microsoft Knowledge Base to download the UHCD update for Windows 98
[3] Fasttrack utilities, screen shoot of the Promise Fasttrak RAID controller software
[4] Optimizing Windows 2000 / XP, ST Audio Knowledge Base

Einige der genannten Waren- oder Firmennamen sind eingetragene Warenzeichen ihrer jeweiligen Hersteller und unterliegen daher den entsprechenden gesetzlichen Bestimmungen. Seite zuletzt aktualisiert am 17.04.2005.